Harbinger or Outlier? Scott Berkun’s Keynote at Saturn 2013

Last week I attended Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute’s annual Saturn Software Engineering Conference in Minneapolis. Attendance was a new record high with 208 software engineers and architects from 20 different countries present.  Conference delegates represented countries as dispersed as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Croatia, Peru, Argentina, and Brazil, as well as Europe, North America, and 19 representatives from South Korea.

The first day afternoon keynote was delivered by tech innovation author Scott Berkun (Making Things Happen, The Myths of Innovation).  He was talking about his new book (coming out in September, 2013) The Year Without Pants:  WordPress.com and the Future of Work (Jossey-Bass).  Here are my reflections:

  • He was the after lunch speaker.  This gets him bonus points in my book.  After a nice big conference lunch many folks are lethargic, or email is starting to pile up, or you need to return phone calls.  All of these factors combine to make it easy to “slip away” or give less than your full attention to the speaker, so Mr. Berkun had the challenge of keeping us all engaged.  He HAD to be entertaining.  I will report that he was enthralling.  He knows how to tell a story.  He knows how to use his visuals properly and professionally (to reinforce the point, but not to provide the full script), and he is a comfortable speaker which makes him easy to attend to.
  • I’m eagerly awaiting his book release in September.  So, given that book promotion is his main reason for speaking about this topic, he did his job.
  • I won’t steal his thunder by giving away his points, but I will give you my list of favorite quotes.  Agree or disagree as you please, they are provocative (another of his stated goals):
    • An excellent talent pool minimizes the need for methodology.
    • Whatever you do last will suck the most.
    • It is a fallacy to assume all developers are equal.
  • In summary, he was speaking at a Software Engineering conference, and telling a story that questions the need for process, methodology, and a lot that Software Engineers hold dear.  I truly cherish this kind of provocative keynote address, one that asks questions that challenge  the attendee’s dogma.  In my experience, it livens things up quite a bit!  Whether you agree or not, it expands the state of the art just to ask and consider such audacious questions.  And, this talk left me wondering if this is an “Après moi, le déluge[i]” moment?

This presentation will join my “Hall of Fame of Provocative Keynotes.”  Bravo Scott Berkum, bravo!

[i] A French quote meaning, “after me the torrent,” from the French Revolution indicating that you are just seeing the first part of the revolution that is about to arrive.

Women In Defense MN Chapter Personal Security Seminar 9/10/2012

WID (Women in Defense) Minnesota Chapter presents:

Retired Navy SEAL Larry Yatch
Foreign Service & International Security Specialist:  Anne Yatch

Date/Time: Monday, September 10, 2012, 4:30 – 7:30 pm
Location: Sealed Mindset Firearms Studio, 5121 Winnetka Avenue N, Suite 110, New Hope, MN 55428
Cost: $40 (members), $45 (non-members) ($10 discount on 2-person team registered by 8/18)

Registration:  wid.minnesota@gmail.com
Sponsorships available:  call Heidi 952-250-7292



Summer Student Position 2012

Honeywell’s Lab has a new position open at our Golden Valley, Minnesota, facility, for
Software Research Intern/Student to collaborate with our lab scientists in realizing innovative applications using the latest software approaches, including SaaS, Cloud and Big Data architectures and solutions.

Your responsibilities will include:
• Work with a team of engineers to design innovative solutions
• Realize system concepts through implementation of research prototypes
• Work with engineers to create an exceptional user experience in the prototype
• Demonstrate the results to customers and Honeywell management

Desired Personal Attributes:
– Works successfully in teams
– Energetic and self-motivated
– Conscientious, ethical, and professional
– Adaptable to different problems and personalities
– Fast learner, eager to experiment
– Entrepreneurial spiritz

Basic qualifications:
– BS degree in Computer Science or closely related field.
– Experience with one or more of the following tools,or technologies:
C# / C++ / Java / HTML5 / Tableau / PHP / .Net / Python.
– Experience with data-driven programming. Designing and using interfaces to relational data and column stores or web-services; structured and unstructured data.
SQL / NoSQL / Ontologies/ XML / XSD / RDF / Hadoop

Preferred Qualifications:
– MS degree in Computer Science or closely related field, highly preferred.
– Strong background in knowledge representations, object-oriented programming, model-based software, web application development, procedural languages, data bases, data analysis, data visualization, and human computer interfaces.

Liana Kiff
Honeywell ACS Labs
Decision Support Technologies
763-954-6516 (Office)
612 222-5674 (BlackBerry)

Who Knew?! 2012/01/23

Click here for the full blog with company listings: Who-Knew-2012-01-23.

“Who knew?” is a phrase I’ve been using a lot lately. I used it when I learned about the long-term dynamism and resilience of Minnesota’s economy as detailed by the U of M Carlson School’s Professor Myles Shaver. As I’ve written before, we’re Minnesotans and we don’t brag, and that means it is sometimes easy to surprise us with our own success. Professor Shaver’s work details some of that success.

This week’s “who knew” moment came when I completed a joyful annual ritual. I bought and downloaded The Business Journal’s “Electronic Book of Lists (EBOL).” You may see the individual lists every week in The Business Journal, you may get their annual publication of the year’s lists, but you’re not really in business intelligence nirvana until you download the electronic version when it is available every January! I am in data visualization bliss right now! But, my “aha” moment this week didn’t come from a complex multivariate four-dimensional animation, just a simple sort. Yes, sort, one of the humblest of algorithms that introductory computer science students study, the kind of tool so ubiquitous as to render it trivial in some people’s minds. Here’s the deal: The EBOL lists the top one hundred publicly traded companies in our market, from UnitedHealth Group to Aetrium Inc. (originally published 4/1/2011). And it lists the largest privately held companies from famously large and famously private Cargill to the Dakota Electrical Association (originally published 5/20/2011). So, what would happen if you merged the two lists (private and public companies) and sorted the merged list? What would you expect? Cargill with $107 billion in revenue would beat UnitedHealth Group’s $94 billion in revenue, of course, but then you might expect the public companies to obliterate the private companies, right? That’s what I thought too. So imagine my surprise to see how well our local private companies did! In fact, the number 100 private company, Dakota Electric Association (annual revenues of $199 million), has revenues better than forty-four of the publicly held companies. That’s right, better than Digi International Inc. ($187 million), HickoryTech Corp.($162 million), Famous Dave’s of America Inc. ($148 million), Communications Systems Inc. ($120 million), and Stratasys Inc. ($117 million). It’s true, among the top twenty only four are privately held companies, but within the top fifty, public companies make a very respectable showing.

So what’s my conclusion? With the goal of every entrepreneur to “go public” and the goal of all investors to reach a stratospheric “liquidity event”, perhaps those of us who build businesses should be more circumspect and learn the (literally) valuable lesson from our local private companies who succeed quietly and privately on their own. “Who knew” it could be so rewarding?

Bonnie Holub at Carnegie Mellon

ArcLight, Inc.’s founder Bonnie Holub, Ph.D. will be a Research Team Leader at Carnegie Mellon University’s “Opportunity for Undergraduate Research in Computer Science,” or OurCS workshop in Pittsburgh, March 3-6, 2011. Here workshop will focus on Defense Technologies:

This research project is a combination technology/entrepreneurship investigation surveying leading technologies that are in development to protect personnel in harm’s way, to determine “gaps” that exist in current technologies, and to project market needs and investment opportunities for research and development as well as ventures. In this project will we investigate current trends in military research used to protect our soldiers. We will survey current programs underway, and determine where creative approaches are lacking. We will track the success of developments, and determine alternatives. Finally, we will benchmark technologies for research or venture investment.

Press Release: Adventium Enterprises and Adventium Labs Ownership and Leadership Changes

For Immediate Release

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Adventium Enterprises and Adventium Labs Ownership and Leadership Changes

Adventium Labs and Adventium Enterprises announced a transition in ownership and leadership today. Founder and CEO, Bonnie Holub is stepping away from Adventium Labs, a research lab she started with co-founder Brian Isle. Mr. Isle will assume the role of CEO of Adventium Labs. In addition, Dr. Holub sold her majority ownership interest in Adventium Enterprises to a group of long-time employees: Dr. Mark Boddy, Mr. Todd Carpenter, Dr. Tom Haigh, and Mr. Kyle Nelson. “Our goal from the start was to build a company that attracts top quality engineers. There is no greater statement of our success than this: they believe in the company enough to want to buy it. We are excited about the transition,” said Holub.

Mr. Kyle Nelson, Director of Research, will assume the role of CEO of Adventium Enterprises. “Adventium Enterprises is in a very good position today because of the efforts of Brian, Bonnie, and all of the employees, I am looking forward to building on this success”, said Mr. Nelson. These transitions take effect immediately. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

About Adventium Enterprises™, LLC
Adventium Enterprises is dedicated to the maturation and commercialization of leading-edge technologies in the areas of information technology, cybersecurity, automated reasoning, and systems engineering. We take our commitment to technology transfer seriously and focus on turning government funding into commercial products and services

About Adventium Labs™
Adventium Labs is dedicated to performing and publishing scientific research and to the creation, maturation, and commercialization of intellectual property. We are incorporated as a non-profit organization to provide the freedom to work broadly with universities, technology partners and government entities. Headquartered in Minneapolis Minnesota, Adventium Labs brings together an experienced group of people with expertise in each of the three critical components for driving growth: research to feed innovation, translating innovation into commercial use, and building a business to capture value from the resulting offerings.

Media contacts:
Mr. Kyle Nelson, Adventium Enterprises
kyle.nelson@adventiumenterprises.com, 612-280-9843

Mr. Brian Isle, Adventium Labs
brian.isle@adventiumlabs.org, 612-716-5604

Dr. Bonnie Holub
bonnie.holub@comcast.net, 612-720-4960