Friday, February 24, 2012

Talk About Documentation

I was wondering where does the need for documentation come from originally. No doubt we can thank Johanes Gutenberg and the printing press but long before that civilizations had a way to document their world, lives, death, religion and games.

This week the Parsha of Terumah brings out much of the documentation about the Ark or cabinet that would hold some extremely special items. Like your data servers, this Ark had some serious specifications. Sizing and design of the UI were just the start, then it was to be virtually not touched by human hands as well. A NOC to hold The Ten Commandments solid stone, the destroyed copy of them  and a jar of the Manna.

Indeed there is no other mention of anything else except the guidelines to install in place the aforementioned items. Sure everything discussed had other meanings and later on would be recreated again once the 1st Temple or Beit Hamikdash was built and would also reappear in the Book of Esther, which we read in 2 weeks on Purim.

Funny thing to remember is they were in the desert and yet were told to use wood, skins, metals, gold, and so many things that were exacting to standard.

When you are building that Ikea furniture, your 427 engine or a new server, it's those exact instructions you seek to get everything right.

We learn from this that God wanted us to be detailed in everything we do in our life. So please provide directions or documentation or guidance to others who follow you in your endeavors.

Parsha Terumah in the book of Shemot Exodus 25:1 - 27:19

It is said that the Torah or Bible could be interpreted in over 70 ways. More likely these days 100's of ways. In light of this idea, I am writing some posts that bring a business sense to what we can learn on a weekly basis. Enjoy, Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I will be Speaking at SugarCon 2012

Decided to go back to where it all started for me. Databases and CRM.

Eons ago I wrote some of these in Dbase 3+ and through the decades went through the ACT, Goldmine and Lotus Notes home grown written CRM apps. Speaking of which John Ferrara of Goldmine has a new CRM offering, check out if you like Tweetdeck and are in Marketing or Sales it has some great promise.

Since looking into CRM's again I realized something has not changed. It's still a "look at me and use me" world but it's full of "let someone else do it people". So in the spirit of Social, Collaboration and CRM, and a bit of competitiveness, I submitted an abstract:
Business Anti-Social: Why the Boss Doesn’t Use SugarCRM
CRM is a huge investment by your organization. Yet why do many Executives not take an active role in it's usage? Don't they want to be social? The answer is not so simple and sometimes even the opposite of what you may expect to hear.
We will discuss some reasons for this problem and how to work around them.
We will encourage others to take the first step to a better dialogue with your clients. SugarCRM is that first step in so many ways but so few make good use of it.
Strategies used by other vendors will be touched upon because there are personality types you need to understand.
How to encourage management to embrace the Social Business aspects is key to helping your business go up against your competition...shouldn't your executives be in on this?

I know a bit self serving of a title, but the reality is some of the same issues we face on the Lotus side appear on the CRM side as well. The SugarCon blog posted this about my session:
This one’s not just about Sugar, but really about all CRM applications; one major reason for failure in all CRM implementations is the lack of executive buy-in. Keith Brooks of SAS Group plans to talk about the reasons behind this phenomena and he’ll suggest ways to negotiate different executive agendas. What does he want people to learn from this session? “How to be a social business no matter what your executives think, say or do,” he says.
So there you have it, a little social, a little CRM, a little psychology and we will learn some things along the way too.

On behalf of my partners at the SAS Group  I look forward to representing us in San Francisco at SugarCon 2012. April 23-26 at The Palace Hotel.

Maybe this time I will get to hear and meet Guy Kawasaki, sadly I missed him at Lotusphere last month.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Read The Fine Print

The devil is in the details they say.

Sometimes in business we go out of our way not to be responsible or exempt specific cases or situations.
On the customer side we find out the warranty we thought we had really is not so useful or the insurance we were told would cover medical issues really does not.

The next step is to find someone to blame. Usually the vendor says it is your fault for not reading in details the 100's of pages of legalese.

I await a reply from AC Delco about a 6 year battery warranty I have on my dying car battery. While I would like to think it will replace it, most likely I will get some partial refund. But still, what's the point?

This week's Parsha, Mishpatim, elaborates on the 10 commandments found in last weeks reading. Some legal guidelines are discussed around animals, stealing, marriage, servants/employees and other items where the responsibility is clearly written.

Luckily we do not stick to this aspect, Exodus 21:23-25:
23. But if there is a fatality, you shall give a life for a life,  
24. an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot,  
25. a burn for a burn, a wound for a wound, a bruise for a bruise.
And instead provide for compensation of a monetary form. yet there are those in the world that still hold to such ideas.

When did we stop taking responsibility for our actions and those of our employees or pets? Why do vendors hide behind their paperwork instead of admitting a mistake and trying to rectify it.

It is not so bad to admit you were wrong or broke something although it can be an expensive admission.

When I train sales or technical people I stress that they must admit what they do not know when asked. Lying to your client or potential client will only cause more problems later. Take responsibility for your actions and those of your house, office or farm and your client may respect you more.

Parsha Mishpatim in the book of Shemot Exodus 21:1 - 24:18

It is said that the Torah or Bible could be interpreted in over 70 ways. More likely these days 100's of ways. In light of this idea, I am writing some posts that bring a business sense to what we can learn on a weekly basis. Enjoy, Shabbat Shalom

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sametime Classic Installation for iPads

This post is about how to enable iPad, iPhone and Android users to CHAT within your classic Sametime environment. This means for those that held off to go to WAS(more on Websphere in a minute) and stayed on Domino and have kept up to date with Sametime, they now face the "why can't my iPad connect to Sametime" discussion.

There are some excellent posts and slidedecks about installing ST from Zero to Hero from Frank start here and Gotcha's from Gab and of course various LUG and Lotusphere presentations. But little on  this topic.

You need to be running the Sametime Proxy Server for these devices to connect. No problem, download the file, run it and done....right? Not exactly in our case.

As it turns out, the requirements are a little more detailed. You need the following:
an instance of DB2 running (a limited use version for Sametime is available for Download)
The Sametime System Console to be installed as well
Sametime Proxy server
And check your Firewall ports to the Proxy Server (IBM Technote f# 1097949 for ST Ports is here)
And make sure you enabled all the clients to connect to Sametime, see this IBM Technote #1114318.

So here is a quick and simple guide:
 PRESTEPS: Download the 8.5.2 ST files you need, then download the 8.5.2IF1 files because these are what enable the iPad/iPhone etc. to work with Sametime.
1) Install DB2 first, make sure when prompted for the db2admin password you keep it to NO MORE THAN 8 CHARACTERS!
2) Now you need to create the STSC database. You do this by opening a command prompt with the runas db2admin login and password. (Note if you get an error message that says "the directory name is invalid" change the properties for your command prompt icon to %windir% instead of what is shown more details from MS on this here.) Change directories to the location of the extracted files for the System Console ZIP file. Under this directory \SametimeSystemConsole\DatabaseScripts\SystemConsole you will find the batch file you need to run by typing this command:
createSCDb.bat STSC db2admin
And wait for the completed successfully messages before moving on.
3) Next install the System Console make sure when prompted for the wasadmin password you keep it to NO MORE THAN 8 CHARACTERS! By the way, THIS is where WAS gets installed. So now you have an in to the customer for the rest of ST hopefully.
4) Install the Proxy Server. Note at the Install Packages Features screen which asks if you want to install the Proxy Server, UNCHECK the use Lotus Sametime System Console to install.
5) Use Sametime installed WAS on the next screen.
6) The next screen asks for your WASADMIN login.
7) The following screen asks for your Sametime server, your Domino Sametime server FQDN.
8) It is now installing the proxy server
9) While this is going on, go to your Domino configuration file, stconfig.nsf on the Sametime Domino server and make sure to add the IP address of the Proxy Server to the Trusted IP Addresses list under the section marked Community Connectivity per this IBM Technote #1287327 which also discusses opening it up to any servers. Reboot the Domino Sametime server after making this change.
10) Check the services on Windows if you want the IBM Websphere ones to start automatically. Otherwise you will have to start them manually every time.
11) Once done, reboot it all.

Download the Sametime mobile apps to your Android, iPhone or iPad.

Configuration is server name of the proxy server
Port by default is 9080 but in my case it was 9081. If you reinstall and don't clean up enough registry entries I guess it just adds a number. You may also want to try 9082,9083,9084, etc.
 Normal login and password.
If the client does not connect, send yourself the log file from the device in email, or read it on your device and check for error messages.

Done....enjoy chatting. Meetings are only if you do the full WAS stack.

The funny thing is we could load it all on one box now so most likely they will want meetings on their iPad and we will create a new installation.

Choose Capable People

Yitro was Moses Father-in-Law and a member of royalty or a well known priest, depending on how you translate the text and understand history. In either case, Yitro was considered a wise and smart man. And so it was he came to visit his family and sees Moses trapped by mounds of red tape, petty arguments and meetings and questions of serious legal matters. I know they are roaming in the desert so how many problems could there be? Ever work in a cubicle farm? You get the idea.

Yitro says to Moses in 18:21:
You shall also seek out from among all the people capable men who fear God, trustworthy men who spurn ill-gotten gain. Set these over them as chiefs of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens
Moses being the good Son-in-Law thinks it over and says that make sense. BUT Moses tweaked that advice a little bit as you can see in 18:25:
Moses chose capable men out of all Israel, and appointed them heads over the people — chiefs of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens;
Yes, you could argue in 18:21 capable men are explained and in 18:25 the term capable men is used simply. But this begs the question of what if such trustworthy men could not be found? Ones who didn't take bribes? Again you may ask yourself, bribes? In the desert? Don't forget they left Egypt with as much money and jewelry and objects as they could carry that they received from their Egyptian owners.

Comparing this to modern politics is too easy so not going to bother. Instead I want to focus on the idea that here was Moses a man, 80 years old, grew up as royalty, run out of town, a speech impediment and one of the last people to speak to God in person according to the Jewish religion and he takes advice from his Father-in-Law who is perhaps either really old or much younger than Moses, a priest of some other religion.

Amazing when you think about it.

And Yitro's advice is good too. Moses was not adverse to learning form others. He posted his times on his tent and the people would come and ask of him to resolve issues. But no one brought him solutions until Yitro. Why didn't Moses think of this and set up a management structure? Because he had founder syndrome. It's his world, his flock, his people so he needs to micromanage them. Or so Moses thought.

So were Aaron and Miriam, Joshua and Caleb just yes-men and yes-woman? Not likely but the aura around the leadership, just like a CEO or similar executive, sometimes prevents people from making suggestions. You could say Yitro, being his Father-in-Law was just giving his 2 cents but you could also see it as Yitro wanted to see Moses, and his family and daughter, have a better life and accomplish more than what he was doing today. Seek out the best people you can fill open roles with and make your every day life that much easier.

When you go work or see a client and think there is a better way, don't be afraid to let them know about it. They will not usually fire you for providing good advice or even bad advice, as long as you don't act on the bad advice.

Parsha Yitro in the book of Shemot Exodus 18:1 - 20:23

It is said that the Torah or Bible could be interpreted in over 70 ways. More likely these days 100's of ways. In light of this idea, I am writing some posts that bring a business sense to what we can learn on a weekly basis. Enjoy, Shabbat Shalom

Friday, February 3, 2012

"Cloud Cover" was the original "Air Cover"

Air Cover is a war expression, you know, helicopter or plane or sniper cover while soldiers tried to get a position. But maybe that was because I knew sales was a war sometimes. Yet why do we consider marketing and advertising as "Air Cover"? Perhaps it is really "Cloud Cover".

As it turns out, the reference from the Bible, in fact this week's Parsha, Beshalach, states in Exodus 13:21:
And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; that they might go by day and by night:
 And in Exodus 14:19:

And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud removed from before them, and stood behind them
Cloud cover front, back and leading them all the time. Protecting them from Egypt and later other enemies.

Why do we seek such safety? Is it because we are just as afraid as the slaves were then from the unknown of the future? Do we truly believe that a large business will help us the small business or us as customers? Is this also why we lose faith so easily, just as the freed slaves did, when the road to prosperity is not always filled with gold and success?

The parallels live on today just as they did 1,000's of years ago.

How does this help in business? Take care of your partners, clients and vendors. Help them as much as possible, one day you may need their help.

The Cover you get from others may not always be what you want but it is what they can offer and should not be overlooked because some coverage is still better than no coverage.

Parsha Beshalach in the book of Shemot (Exodus 13:17-17:16)

It is said that the Torah or Bible could be interpreted in over 70 ways. More likely these days 100's of ways. In light of this idea, I am writing some posts that bring a business sense to what we can learn on a weekly basis. Enjoy, Shabbat Shalom

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hardened Hearts

Edit: This did not get posted Friday and I just realized, sorry.

Funny thing how you get into a discussion about technology and suddenly someone's spine goes straighter and they become indignant and refuse to believe there is another perspective or technology that could be used instead of The One. Religious fanatics on all sides of the spectrum.

In this week's Parhsa, Bo, God hardens Pharoah's heart numerous times. 10:1, 10:20 in addition to many times in the prior week it's always the same, harden his heart.

Did he really need God to do this? Don't you think a ruler, about to lose his 2.5 million slaves, might be a bit upset and stubborn to believe in the total chaos about to occur?

Where do Executives get this fear from that causes them to act similarly to Pharoah? Do they believe their power will be usurped because they "allow" some other technology to be used? Are they in fear of their ultimate authority which may be in question because a previous Executive had decided on technology A or B? Perhaps the Executive has a fear of the unknown or less known technology and this is how they choose to represent themselves?

In many cases the situation, not as drastic as Pharoah's, occurs where the choices made bring long or short term adversity to the company. Know that it is not your efforts that may have made any difference. The Executive made a choice and does not like to be questioned. After all Pharoah revisited the same discussion at least 10 times and till the end still did not want to give in and see reality.

Have the conversations, make the sales calls and respect the differences you will face from Executives and try to work with them. After all they can't be worse than Pharoah...could they?

Parsha Bo in the book of Shemot (Exodus 10:1-3:16)
It is said that the Torah or Bible could be interpreted in over 70 ways. More likely these days 100's of ways. In light of this idea, I am writing some posts that bring a business sense to what we can learn on a weekly basis. Enjoy, Shabbat Shalom