This week saw the third VivaTech and for the first time I didn’t go. Things are busy at the moment and I couldn’t see what I’d learn that was new this time. The organisers have spent three years working on the model “if it ain’t broke, do the same but bigger”.
They now have a massive international success on their hands but they’ve salso started to bang up against the events rule of three.
Do something once and it’s new, original, interesting and feels like a breath of fresh air.
Second time is comfortable, it’s less awkward and you get a ton of value from it. You are less surprised by the rules and you know what you’re doing.
You get to the third event and you realise that people are bending the rules and gaming the system. It’s time to do something radically different.
I’ve seen this many times professionally and privately. VivaTech needs a second act and to move away from it’s corporate roots.
Where did I spend Saturday? At Startup for Kids, it was the first year; it’s tiny and they’ve a load to learn but were did get the pirate robot to work in the end!
I had the chance in the last couple of weeks to lead our Partner Day in Paris where DXC spent a day with the teams of our largest partners in Europe. It was a great day where we were able to explain, in a very transparent way, how we work and learn from our Partners how they operate.
Inside-Out is increasingly important to all companies but especially Technology companies. In the 1980s a single company could supply almost all your computing needs. Trying to do that today is pointless.
So, what’s the difference between a Partner and a supplier?
When it works, it’s when you stop counting what you’re getting out of a relationship and just know that it’s mutually beneficial over the longer term.
Sounds like a marriage and it’s probably why we call the other half of a marriage a Partner!
Like a marriage the same basic rules seem to apply; be clear about what each partner wants, don’t assume that you know everything that your Partner is thinking and constant communication.
Of course, all this makes sense and easy to list. However, like a marriage do we remember to do this every week of the year? No but we should at least try.
Talking with a client this week, he was complaining about Agile methodologies and stated that his “next generation projects” were not delivering the expected productivity gains.
What was happening? I think that there were a few things at work here…
First, our client had spent a large amount of time and money “adapting” the methodology to his environment. During this process, a number of key aspects had been watered down to the point where the base intent was lost.
Second, there was a serious lack of experienced Agile team members who knew what they were doing. I see this more and more across the industry. Without these experienced people to coach and lead, teams lose time and focus as they search for existing solutions.
Lastly, there are natural diminishing returns as the new practices are generalized. The first couple of generations of Agile projects were staffed with the best and most proactive advocates. With each generation of projects this gets watered down and there is a return to the mean.
It’s essential that companies understand what’s happening, where their projects fit in the larger heirarchy of Agile and adjust accordingly. It’s not possible for every project to be world beating but then every project doesn’t have to be.
For those not following along at home, I live outside of Paris. There are no Parisien buildings, no boulevards and there is a single train line that links us to “civilisation”.
A couple of weeks ago I was researching software carpentry and places in France where training was happening and found to my surprise Bures sur Yvette on the list! Even stranger, I’d walk past the entrance to Proto204 without ever going in…
Inside is hidden the world of Proto204. A place for researchers, students, start ups and even us locals to meet and discuss technology.
To kick things off I managed to get a ticket to the session titled “Optimistes Numériques (O.N.)” which thanks for the single train line I turned up to spectacularly late but…
The videos are available here, and are well worth watching:
A standard part of game design is the Tech Tree; or the skill tree. Of course, the tech tree is more or less complex depending on the game, the one below is from Civilisation, which as the name suggests is all about getting your team up the tree as quickly as possible.
So how does this help the modern corporation? Well, consider that most companies need to decide where they’re going to put their R&D dollars, can partner themselves into complete branches of the tech tree and more importantly have little idea of the technologies that they need.
Google understood this early with the legendary map of google future…
Of course, having access to a technology is also only part of the problem. The organization also needs to be able to exploit, produce and benefit from it. That’s a matter of training, tools and investment.
So apart from Google, where are the technology maps. What does it look like for an insurance company, or a pizza resturant?
I may spend a few hours translating the Gartner hyper curve into a Tech Tree!!!
Many, many years ago I attended the early Le Web conferences. You can find some old blog posts here. It was an interesting experience that initially I loved, I’d get on my bike and head over to Loïc’s strange world, be battered by an unexpected mix of silcon valley, TED, bloggers and a man in a kilt for eight hours and then head home to think it over.
Over time something changed and it stopped being about the web and the tools. It started being about how to get money from investors. The low point was a talk by Brian Cox, he’s worth listening to, but we could hardly hear him above the drone of deals being made in the cafe.
The Paris Maker Faire seems to have hit the same issue but in a different way. Last year they moved to the Foire de Paris. This has a host of advantages, larger space, more visitors and a higer profile.
However, something has been lost in the process. The additional people are not Makers and are more like tourists. Every year, it’s a new flow and therefore the sense of progression has been lost.
The Solution? I think that we need a second Paris Maker Faire. Smaller and more specific, somewhere where we can start making progress together. Somewhere with enough time and space to talk and discuss.
Of course, needing a second Faire is already progress of sorts!
“Scientists at the University of Darmstadt in Germany have stopped light for one minute. For one whole minute, light, which is usually the fastest thing in the known universe and travels at 300 million meters per second, was stopped dead still inside a crystal. This effectively creates light memory, where the image being carried by the light is stored in crystals. Beyond being utterly cool, this breakthrough could lead to the creation of long-range quantum networks — and perhaps, tantalizingly, this research might also give us some clues on accelerating light beyond the universal speed limit.”