Tag - office

Are you interested in coworking in the Fraser Valley?

You know coworking? You should …

  • Coworking is smart independent knowledge workers who work mostly solo or in small teams, but don’t want to be stuck in their home office all day every day
  • Coworking is remote team members of larger companies who don’t want to be remote from people & interactions & a place to go
  • Coworking is networking and creative interaction between people with different skill sets, maybe even in different industries, leading to different solutions
  • Coworking is a place to work but not a traditional office
  • Coworking is like the coffee shop, but you don’t have to buy a coffee or a muffin every hour – and it’s a bit quieter
  • Coworking is a space for small teams in larger companies who want to break off and do something innovative
  • Coworking is a place where growing companies can get a few spaces while they’re looking for other offices or premises
  • Coworking is the future

Well, we’re trying to set up a coworking space in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. Yeah, right here in the Fraser Valley. With the farms next door (not really) and Mount Baker in our window (well, maybe).

The “we” part is yours truly, John Koetsier, and Matt Farley, of Pendeavor, a web design firm. You should join. It’s about the community, not about us. It’s about the space and the place, and the interactions with others that can occur when you’re there.

Pretty soon, you’ll have a place to sign up. It’s coming … on a page much like this one:

Details and links coming!

Shout-out: congrats ConquerMobile

I just have to shout out some quick congratulations to ConquerMobile in Vancouver.

They make some amazing mobile apps … and some very cool tools for very simple app creation. And now they’re one of 8 Vancouver startups who have won free “tech space,” otherwise known as office space, in the Generator Challenge.

Very cool, and kudos to Aaron Hilton and Angela Robert!

Mark Betteridge, the CEO of Discovery Parks (where they’ll be getting the free office space) had some words of high praise:

“We selected the winners from a pool of very strong applicants, and believe that these companies could be BC’s next Hootsuite, Cardiome or Electronic Arts, in terms of technological innovation and impact on our economy.”

More details here on Techvibes.

Microsoft and the future: doesn't look too good?

Everyone’s favorite kicking-boy lately is Microsoft, and it’s easy to see why.

Mobile is a disaster, Bing is having issues catching Google, the slate/tablet revolution started by Bill Gates has bypassed Windows … in so many ways Microsoft just feels so yesterday.

Last week Microsoft execs clarified how they view their business, and how they’ve structured around future growth and relevance. They’re focusing on 8 core businesses, they said:

  • Xbox and TV
  • Bing
  • Office
  • Windows Server
  • Windows Phone
  • Windows
  • Business users
  • SQL Server

Let’s leave alone for now the question of whether a company can focus on 8 things simultaneously. It’s pretty clear Apple doesn’t … but Microsoft is a big company with a lot of people. Perhaps they can make it work.

Which of the 8 look like good opportunities and growth areas?

Xbox and TV
Xbox is a runaway success for Microsoft. It hasn’t totally crushed Sony, but it has done very well. And the online revenues seem incredibly strong … a billion-dollar yearly take in online revenue alone. TV? Hmmm … not so much. I imagine there will be some convergence here, however, and with expanding online connectivity, Xbox is a growing franchise.

I think the whole tech world is a little surprised by Bing. No, it’s not grabbing huge share with both hands … but it does seem to be growing share slowly. The key question to me is: will Bing ever shake off the dust and start growing 2-3% of market share per month? That is what would seriously threaten Google … but it doesn’t seem likely. That said … Bing is a qualified success so far with decent prospects.

Office is the office today … almost every professional in North America and Europe, and plenty beyond those places, uses it. In my mind this is one of the most threatened Microsoft business pillars: OpenOffice, Google Docs, and numerous other wannabes threaten the huge Office revenues. This is a decreasing business, even with Office live, IMHO.

Windows Server
Somehow, Windows Server has been taking share from Linux over some of the past few quarters. That said, I’d put Server in the same category as Office: not going to be a significant growth engine of the future for Windows.

In an increasingly heterogenous desktop and mobile environment, and with much cheaper alternatives … good luck.

Windows Phone
You cannot count out a contender with the resources and partners that Microsoft still has … but seriously. iPhone on the high end, Android on the middle and high ends, BlackBerry, Symbian, WebOS … this is an increasingly crowded marketplace. And Windows Phone is WAY behind. Ditto the previous comment … good luck!

Windows is still a massive enterprise, but most of the installed base is XP. That’s in one sense an opportunity for Win7, but in another sense a testament to the growing irrelevance of desktop applications. The browser-based operating system is a growing reality.

Google will merge Android and Chrome. Apple will continue its hold on the high-end and aesthetically-conscious consumer. Linux is fighting at the low-end and the ideological fringe.

And meanwhile … the web keeps absorbing more and more of what used to be desktop functionality. Windows is a great cash cow, and will remain as such for a long time, but it’s not the growth engine of the future.

Business users
Selling to business is hard, but Microsoft has it down pat. And, with business intelligence tools and other enterprise pick-ups acquired over the past 5 years, Microsoft has the potential to really grow this space.

There are still many competitors, but not everyone is going to outsource their business apps to Marc Benioff, or run everything on SAP or Oracle … and even if cloud computing starts to dominate, Windows has a pretty capable answer in Azure. I’d put this as a growth engine for Microsoft. The downside is that I think it will be harder to achieve lock-in here than on the desktop, so this may not be as secure a business as Office and Windows have been for the past 20 years.

SQL Server
I’m a little biased here, being most web-based, but I don’t know anyone who’s doing anything cool who is using SQL Server. There are just so many cheap/good options available right now, and expensive/good as well.

I’d have a hard time rating this as a growth opportunity for Microsoft … especially as they are losing the developer-lockin that they once had, since the mobile revolution is sucking them all into Apple’s and Google’s universes. Good luck here too.

. . .
. . .

Tallying it up …
5 of the 8 are not obviously going to be growth engines for the future … at least not at the scale that Office and Windows have been for Microsoft … and significant threats face their other 3.

In other words, don’t expect Microsoft to stop being the favored kicking-boy of technology pundits anytime soon.

Yes, Virginia, consumer software is better than corporate software

This is completely, desperately, and viciously true. I’ve experienced it myself.

A few months ago the CIO was asked by the chief marketing officer to provide a way for marketing employees around the world to share and build documents together, and perform other collaborative tasks.

The CIO discussed the project with his application development group, then went back to the CMO and said “we can do this, in nine months at a cost of $14 million,” according to Whitehurst.

“The CMO says “what are you talking about? I was describing my daughter’s high school science project.” And they were on Google Documents, sharing information, jointly editing documents, and they’re doing it for free. This is a true story. I may have been slightly off on the numbers, but a true story.”

via Google Docs creates expectations CIOs can’t meet, Red Hat CEO says.

The problem, however, is not that this is possible, or that this is competition. The problem is that this is seen as a problem.

Because there’s a very easy solution here: Google Apps for the enterprise. Or Microsoft Office Live. Or a number of different readily available and fairly cheap solutions.

CIOs must, however, get over their NIH (not invented here) mentality, and be open to using distributed tools that don’t necessarily live on their servers and are not necessarily controlled by the organization.

Security is an issue, control is an issue, coordination is an issue, searching and archiving and knowledge management is an issue … true.

But the biggest issue is LETTING PEOPLE DO THEIR WORK EFFICIENTLY AND EFFECTIVELY. That’s the first requirement.

After that … you figure out the rest.

Open Office for Kids

Just saw this today – an Open Office for kids. Essentially, it looks like a slimmed-down set of features that would be simpler for kids to useL

Would be nice to see them go the extra mile and completely redesign the interface from the bottom up for kid friendliness. My company is currently releasing exactly that – more details later!

Big question: Microsoft on the iPad

I’ve been wondering lately what Microsoft will do for the iPad.

As everyone knows, Microsoft is one of the major software developers for Mac … Office being the most obvious example. They’ve also dabbled in iPhone applications.

But now we have the iPad. And now mobile apps have an opportunity to be more and do more than ever before. And … Apple has thrown down the gauntlet by developing special (and cheap!) versions of its own office applications for iPad – the iWork suite.

iWork includes Keynote (PowerPoint), Pages (Word), and Numbers (Excel). How is Microsoft going to respond?

Putting their own apps on iPad is a big, big move, from a lot of perspectives:

  • It would require huge redesign (lots of work)
  • It would implicitly be blessing Apple’s new semi-mobile platform (both annoying and strategically dangerous)
  • It would be at a much lower price point than desktop office … iWork is about $15 on iPad, versus about $100 on a Mac (also strategically dangerous and very financially risky)

And yet, to not do it risks being left in the starting gate as the race for mobile software really starts taking off. Above all else, after all, Microsoft is a software company.

What will they do? My guess: not get in until it’s too late, then jump in with both feet.

By then, Microsoft risks becoming irrelevant.

YAOU (Yet another Office update)

Last week I bought and installed Office 2008 on our new iMac … and immediately had a 400+ MB download to update it. Tonight I started up PowerPoint … and am immediately confronted with a 158 MB to update it again.

I can only assume that Microsoft screwed up something in the initial update horribly, and needs to rectify its error with yet another massive update.

Not cool!

To date I have spent more time updating Office 2008 than actually using it.

Leadership @ work

I recently received a promotion, and I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a manager versus a leader, what kind of leadership I want to provide, and what kind of a leader do I want to grow to be …This is tough stuff, and I’m pretty sure I have a long way to go. But I think the critical piece is summed up in this advice that I found on PositiveSharing (the chief happiness officer’s blog):

A leader is best when the people are hardly aware of his existence,not so good when people stand in fear,worse, when people are contemptuous.Fail to honour people, and they will fail to honour you.But a good leader who speaks little,when his task is accomplished, his work done,the people say “We did it ourselves.”

The person who said that lived 2500 years ago in China: Lao Tzu.[tags] leadership, office, work, lao tzu, john koetsier [/tags]