Save the date

We have announced three Next Steps conference locations for 2011 — all in September. The first in Chicago; the second in London and the third in Bangkok. Please come.

At Next Steps you can network with your peers from different industries, share your best practices, provide your input into our new products, or just listen to how the latest developments in our enterprise knowledge, learning, assessment, compliance, and talent solutions can free up your people to do what they do best.

This year we will be offering a completely new NetDimensions Product Workshop on the second day led by our technical consultants and featuring two tracks with a total of eight different hands-on sessions. We invite you to enroll in this unique knowledge-packed training program to gain practical NetDimensions product insights that you can immediately apply in your own environments.

Come to the NetDimensions user conferences and let’s take the next steps together.

Compliance matters

The Guardian, one of my favorite UK newspapers, just released an excellent, frightening article on Mexican drug cartels laundering money through an American bank, Wachovia. The drug money ended up in a lot of different places after winding its way through Mexican Casas de Cambio (money exchange and transfer services), the City of London and the world’s money laundering capital, Miami Florida.

One statistic that caught my eye was the amount of unchecked money Wachovia shifted from 2004 until the bank got caught out in 2010 — some US$378.4 billion, more than $4 billion of which Wachovia moved in cash. Some part of that total (the full numbers may never be known) was in effect, according to the Guardian, “no questions asked” banking services for drug dealers.

You can find the article here.

A thousand points of light

My hometown newspaper, The South China Morning Post (SCMP), recently went live with a reader driven mashup site dedicated to reporting environmental damage. The SCMP calls the site Citizen Map. It looks like it’s gaining traction. The public responded with more than 20 tip-offs in the first few days.

Mashups are nothing new. Typical examples include real estate listing databases married to neighborhood maps and school district information, sites that track epidemic outbreaks around the world and geo-location restaurant guides.

But most mashups are meant to broadcast a single author’s voice, or at least a single group’s message. What the SCMP has done looks a little different. The paper has put together a number of services, some commercial, some open source, that let other people generate the content around a theme. Arguably, user generated content is nothing new either. Think Twitter or Facebook.  But Twitter and Facebook cater to everyone, or at least try to.

I would guess that the SCMP has no idea where this is going to go but the framework is clear: the SCMP has created a point solution (in contrast to an enterprise or utility solution) to aggregate community generated information on environmental damage. Individual postings might lead to follow-up investigations, government responses (one hopes), name and shame reporting or public debate.

Synergy 2011

We just finished our start-of-the-year meetings in Hong Kong, Synergy 2011. Our resellers, who showed up in force, came from all over the world (you can find a list of NetDimensions resellers here).

Our resellers are a powerful, variegated group with clients large and small and up to the minute insights. They had a lot to say. I’ll share a couple of points that impressed me and give you a heads up on what our community is doing today and planning to do for the rest of the year.

In no particular order of importance:

The Internet for the rest of us

20-things-coverThe folks at Google have written a book — well, I’m sure they’ve written a few (and indexed a few more) but this particular batch of Googlies have written a children’s book for grownups that explains how the web works to those of us who are, shall we say, technology challenged, which means most of us if we’re being honest.

You can find the e-book here.

And when I say “technology challenged” I don’t mean to be disparaging. I think even those among us who use the Internet every day may lack a deep understanding of how it actually works. For example, how many people do you know who can actually describe how a car engine works? I mean, how it really works?

The book is charming. Clear, concise, aimed at intelligent adults and beautifully illustrated, it’s a must read for all your learning and development staff who do not muck around with code but who might benefit from understanding more about web architecture issues. There is a bit of Googlie self-promotion in certain chapters but hey, it’s free.

Thank you Google.

20-Things-Chapter-12