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John Bullard
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Lots of interesting insights in Lehrer's talk - especially the bit about the impact of physical spaces and team proximity in creativity and quality of work.

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"There's a huge divide between the consumer space and the public sector. Why? The reason is that in government there isn't a Darwinian pressure to innovate that's in the consumer space. Consumer companies are one click away from extinction, so they have to innovate constantly. Yet in enterprise IT, which is far inferior to consumer IT, victory is considered winning that contract. Once companies win that contract, the incentives are to optimize their margins, not to innovate or make sure they're providing better services."
“The budget cycle takes two years.”

Vivek brings up so many great points in this piece, but one I’ve been thinking about a lot is the cycle time of government software development.

Our office space at Code for America is the old Moto Development Group office. (We lobbied Cisco to give us the space for our program, and they generously agreed.) Last May, Cisco bought Moto for an undisclosed sum in order to build up their talent in their consumer products division, the cornerstone of which was the Flip camera (which Moto had helped design). By the following April, Cisco had shut down the division and all of the former Motos who’d occupied our office were out of jobs. 11 months from acquisition to shut down.

What happened? Things just changed too fast. People don’t need a Flip camera because they have awesome video on their phones. This isn’t a knock on Cisco for not seeing that coming, it’s about the dizzying speed of technology in the world today. Except in government. Where CIOs need two years to even budget for a project that is expected to last dozens of years.

There’s no sense in this, and there’s no win for the American public in it.
A decades-old methodology for managing software development projects and other government programs isn’t serving the public good. We need to find the political will to change things, or resign ourselves to continue wasting tons of public money.

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Win! Finally the Obama administration delivers on their antitrust rhetoric. (I'm still a little bitter about Live Nation - Ticketmaster)

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Has anyone taken part in 'reverse mentoring'?

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Pretty candid, and forward looking post from Tim O'Reilly on the future of publishing.
Good post about the importance of understanding business ecosystems. I've made this point myself a lot to publishers, but Joe Esposito makes it very clear here:

"But the lesson of Borders is not about the advent of new businesses and threats; nor is it about the many mistakes made by the Borders management, so many that you can only shake your head in wonder. (The saga of Borders is beautifully chronicled in Business Week.) The real thing to take from Borders’ collapse is that the old infrastructure will not always be there. In one stroke trade publishers lost a huge chunk of their distribution network. That network was not simply sitting around patiently, waiting for publishers to get their digital game plan ready. The distribution network collapsed before the publishers were ready and suddenly unleashed a number of forces for which no publisher was truly prepared."

I like to think O'Reilly was more prepared than most, but the disruption isn't yet over. The lesson I've been trying to get across, which Joe also hammers on, is that the mechanisms for print to be distributed to customers may go away before the demand is completely gone. Business is an ecosystem. During the transition, the costs of manufacturing and distributing print books will be going up at the same time as the infrastructure for delivering them goes down.

The print book will likely be going the way of the LP and the CD and the DVD in far fewer years than most people understand.

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Meant to share this a little while ago: two more reason the carriers are pushing iPhone so hard (aside from being the 'must have' handset), data efficiency and lower churn.

"On its quarterly earnings call, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said iPhone users would provide at least 50 percent more lifetime value than other smartphone users because of network efficiency and less churn. A slide provided by Sprint shows that the biggest improvement comes from network efficiency, which improves user life-time profitability by 50 percent while reduced churn can help by about 10 percent."

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Really well designed civic app hacked together by Code For America. Hope the open data trend keeps gaining momentum.

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Fantastic article about Minneapolis that echoes what +Jennifer Pahlka of @codeforamerica said in her recent TedX Philly talk [video not posted yet] about the importance of cities in dealing with the problems that actually face most citizens:

“City governments are the last standing functional form of government in the United States and possibly the world,” says [Minneapolis Mayor] Rybak, who was 13 when he decided he wanted to be mayor.

I particularly loved this bit in the article:

"there is no Republican or Democratic way to pick up the garbage. And because you have to be able to perform. When somebody calls 911 and needs a police officer, you have to send a police officer. If a water line breaks in front of somebody’s house, it has to be fixed. It isn’t policy, it is doing the work. And that’s what city government is all about."

Of course, city government is not without its problems. Unions, outdated procurement rules, and ignorance of the new possibilities of technology often leave cities behind the curve when it comes to 21st century services. And that's what is all about: getting smart technologists to give a year of service to help build 21st century services in cities that just want to do the job that their citizens need.

A big part of that is building services that help the people to help themselves. As Mayor Rybak says in the article:

“It would have been a lot of fun to be a mayor during the Great Society, where you could write a big fat check and make something happen,” Rybak says. “Now you have to bring your resources to the table. Very few mayors can solve any major problems on their own. You must bring what the city has to offer and inspire people from other levels of government, the private sector, business and residents to come together. There are close to 400,000 people living in 60 square miles here, and my job is to figure out a way to get them to do as much of the work together as possible.”

via +Andrew McLaughlin

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