Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Blog goes back to Croatian

This blog has been inactive for a while now. Almost half of the decade. In that period, I tried to build something, a company. Did that, Facebook become the medium of choice and finally - I must admit, I've lost some interest for topics previously discussed here.

This place will go to Croatian langues, topics would shift to something like ideology of everything and it will primarily serve as my therapeutic writing area. (I like the domain name:))

Old posts wouldn't be deleted. Whatever written word remains I believe is valuable or at least potentially valuable for someone in the very distant future. Other than that, I am changing the theme and lets go.

Main objective is to provoke criticism, share ideas and promote conflict of thought. Additionally, I believe that world is going to hell big time so it definitely deserves some reflection in my mother tongue.

Friday, September 3, 2010

My Way

I am on vacation from today until 1.10.2010.... That is the date when my company will officially start with operations. I will briefly explain why, what and some other questions in this short blog post. If you have any interest in it, read on... if not, browse to the next blog.... 


I've been working in corporate sector for my entire career. It's very easy to get used to the comfort and benefits of such lifestyle. All the doors are mainly open for you. There are always people who take care of stuff. You have nice business cards that give you additional credibility. You start to lose the feeling about is it really you or just your position. It's not bad at all but there is one small if... (as always)... 
  • what if you want to be the one setting the strategy
  • what if you don't take your environment for granted
  • what if you want to change things
  • what if you believe in stuff that ain't always the mainstream opinion
  • what if you're not happy with dynamics of how things are progressing
  • what if....
Than you have two basic choices - you forget about it and live with minor annoyances happily ever after.... or.... You change what one can change! That is what I am currently doing....I am not complaining about things, I am trying to change them.... 

So far, I tried IT from SW development to sales. I tried telecom IT in it's most extreme operational pressure. Now, after 12 years in corporate sector, I've decided to give myself a try in entrepreneurial streams.... 

Why now:
  • why not?
  • I am still young enough to blow it and still get back to decent company
  • I believe I have something to offer in the market I will mention later
  • economical crisis is very inspiring moment for start ups

Two completely different industries are converging into the very same market - Telecoms and IT are coming together. Or, better to say - it seems they are actually clashing. Telecoms are looking into the adjacent markets for sustainable growth, while IT companies are looking for new distribution channels. Telecoms believe that IT is next big thing, IT guys believe that telcos hold the keys of their success. Cloud providers are actually making their future very uncertain in some aspects. It seems that we are seeing a big melting pot of fundamentally different industries in the same marketplace, competing for the same customers in some strange coopetition mode (cooperating and competing with each other). 

This is the very narrow niche where I want to position my business consulting company. It's main mission is helping Telcos enter the IT markets and on the other hand, helping IT guys to sell with Telcos. Croatia is obviously small for it, so I will try regionally (maybe even globally).  


Tagline, or better say mantra of the company is: Bringing IT and Telecom together. In order for this marketplace melting pot to create new value for it's customers, those different industries mentioned above need to understand each other first. This is where I hope I can help. Of course, for profit :) 

This is my master plan. Now, let's roll!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fight Power with Power

There is a raging debate going on for decades now, about how corporations, actually the capital itself, is ruling the world instead of officially elected politics. I am not that much concerned about the new world order, but rather the phenomenon of the corporations that we think are in charge today. Their internal dynamics is so inefficient that it makes me scared when imagining how crucial decisions are really being carried out. And finally, if they are really determining the future of our mankind, we as a mankind could have done lot better at this stage of our evolution.

First of all, I am an insider. I've spent my whole career working for multinationals. Those companies are growing
inefficiency as their binding tissue. It is actually what holds them together. This is especially true when it comes to regional growth. Geographical expansion is driving a need for control. Control itself is creating a whole new class of employees within those companies. They are not enough highly ranked to makes decisions, and they are not close enough to the field where work actually happens. Lot of questions arise here:
  • What is this middle management actually doing?
They are supposed to coordinate regionally or functionally dispersed activities, transfer the strategic directions into tactical operations, control the execution, consolidate various reports, steer the business so it remains within the given compliance framework and finally to govern the business on behalf of shareholders and management boards. Fair enough but the main problem is in their size.
  • What values do they produce?
They produce value for themselves (net salary). In order to justify needs for such roles, they necessarily create additional work for ordinary workers, filed workers, people actually doing the job. That's a negative value or better say cost for shareholders, since in that period, workers are not focused on actual work processes whatever it may be. Additionally, companies are paying taxes on their salaries and therefore, produce value for the countries. This is best described as increasing employment and therefore again a positive effect.
  • What is their contribution in adding value to their companies?
I don't have a magic formula for this equation but it seems that very often net effect is negative. The main problem with these employees is their size. Positive effects of control, governance and strategic messages transmission are neutralized with negative effects of non productive work that they impose to other employees. They can't work alone, so they engage others in these processes what is reducing overall time left for actual work and added value production.
  • Most important question is - what value are they adding to the macro economical systems of their home countries?
None (once again, except the salary taxation). Since I concluded in the previous paragraph that they can not produce enough value even for their companies, it's hard to believe that some value is being created for their home countries. Furthermore, these companies are hurting their economies since they engage scarce intellectual resources in low value processes.

Multinational corporations inhibit innovation, since no time is left for out of the box thinking. People have to do their work, serve internal bureaucracy, think of internal politics and ultimately their own strategies on how to climb the corporate ladders. The work itself can not be innovative in such organizations, since they are more less organized in pure pyramidal way, almost military, what by definition has to inhibit innovation. Even when innovation happens, due to internal bureaucratic processes, the way from idea to production is very, very long, often painful for individual and not awarding enough for the initiator of the idea. Also, there is a high risk that innovation will be hijacked by someone more senior on its way to actual realization. In return, the risks for breaking the rules or failing with particular innovation is often so discouraging that individuals are incentivized to remain within the given business framework.

Role of governmental fiscal politics and taxation politics is to create a framework for long term, sustainable growth and continuos increase of competitiveness for particular economy. In that respect, a taxation is great tool. Now, my theory goes something like this:

Domestic governments of the greatest industrial nations (especially true for the service economies like US, but also valid for Germany, France, Japan, China... etc) should impose additional corporate taxes on multinational companies bigger than certain number of employees. Taxes should be progressive, depending on the employee size. Also, the tresholds can be set for different industries in a way that more workforce demanding industries have lower taxation dependent on number of employees. Service industries (strongly focused on intellectual property) should be taxed most, and production companies least (but also taxed). In this way, multinationals would be penalized for growing bureaucracy, and thus inhibiting growth innovation. In the long run, they are inhibiting competitiveness of the countries where they operate therefore slowing the economic growth.

Imposing penalties on employee growth will create additional value for all. Only a minor part through taxes, but vast majority of benefits will come through reduction in business bureaucracy. It will free up scarce intellectual resources for more challenging tasks. If you are concerned about lack of capital - don't be. Like an elevated water which always finds its way down if the smallest hole exists, capital will find ways to connect with innovation, smart people that can turn it into even more capital.

I worked for Microsoft with 25k employees and Microsoft with 90K employees. The whole earth was using its software in 2000 and also today in 2010. Company itself has expanded tremendously but it is very questionable whether this expansion was also followed by innovative products or just mega market acquisition investments. Now imagine a difference of 65k bright minds deployed in let's say 5000 companies around the world, growing new ideas and products. Would it increase or decrease the economic growth? Would that create a new value? Instead of hiring tons of middle management, they could have been investing venture capital in India and China. End results would be even better for everybody but MS would have less control. Not a big deal when we know that payback would come for shareholders as well for citizens. (and MS users, not to forget them).

So, starting an extra corporate taxation at 20 000 employees sounds reasonable to me....

Best in class, Twitter has around 100 employees and close to 100 Million users - 1 employee per million users. Thats a staggering statistics. On the other side, IBM and HP will soon have 1 employee per 10 users (just a joke). Question: who provides more value to the general society? Governments are supposed to help us all (but I also believe, to protect the multinationals from themselves) with setting up such regulatory framework that incentivizes innovation and penalizes bureaucracy.

Uff, it's been almost a year since my last post:) Now it's time that someone calls me to Davos to explain this theory at WEF :). I promise to prepare the nice slides and charts...

....ufff, I forgot that Davos is also a multinationals winter retreat:)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Extreme Transparency and Data for all

I've just red an interview with Vivek Kundra, a US government CIO, in the new Wired magazine. It is impressive how radically he is about to change the level of government transparency by applying some well known and already widely accepted (in real sector) standards for investment management.

Two bold goals are highlighting his strategy:

Radical transparency

We, the tax payers, want to know how is government spending our money. Not only on what, but with whom (who are the prime contractors) and also how effectively (what are the results and how many projects actually failed). This is the entry level for any discussion on digital strategy for any given contry. It's the basic hygiene. Nothing else should be accepted.

Step one - implement and track KPIs, step two - share them publicly.
Moving forward, the interest of political elites, in keeping the budgets low profile and non transparent can't be sustainable. It is not about the legal frameworks, nor national security, not even about citizen data protection. It's about transparency that you expect from any publicly listed enterprise. Think of yourself as a supervisory board member or a shareholder of your country. What would you like to know from the ones that you've awarded with 4yrs management contract. I guess everything. Once again, great example can be found at http://www.usaspending.gov ! Search the government contracts, investments, projects or initiatives by any imaginable criteria and enjoy.

Data infrastructure

Government bureaucracies all around the world have been producing all kind of data collections for at least 300 years. In last 30 years, it is mainly digital. In last 5 years, we are witnessing a great trend in digitalizing everything. So, what do we do with it? Nothing. Nothing, because the government is expected to do something with it but it can't be innovative by its definition. It is like a buried capital.

Unlock the potential of the public data by exposing it in machine readable formats to the world. Today, data is the main asset of the digital world. Structured, unstructured, whatever... Innovative applications, ideas, scenarios, business models are appearing daily all over the web. Their main asset is the data. Recently, it's a user generated data in a Web 2.0 world.

We (the citizens) are the owners of these government managed digital assets, but the data itself is currently in possession of political elites. Give the data to the web. Another great project, and great example on how to turn the data infrastructure into the meaningful applications is the data.gov. It's a web site exposing and publishing government created data in a machine readable way.

Governments have always been in charge of creating the roads and highways, but private sector will create cars and truck to use them. This is the new paradigm of public-private partnership. Give us the data, we'll know how to use it. For sure, new applications will emerge.

Finally, this is how Mr.Kundra himself explains the ultimate goals of data.gov:

"A primary goal of Data.gov is to improve access to Federal data and expand creative use of those data beyond the walls of government by encouraging innovative ideas (e.g., web applications). Data.gov strives to make government more transparent and is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. The openness derived from Data.gov will strengthen our Nation's democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government."

I couldn't agree more!

PS. Dear croatian political elite (especial the one behind www.e-hrvatska.hr), please read this post and act accordingly.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Search vs. Directory

Data classification or content catalogues on the Internet have died long time ago. Lycos, Excite, Altavista, Yahoo, MSN.... Long list of unsuccessful attempts to classify the Internet content into a meaningful list of categories. Then comes Google and it promotes idea of simple search box. Everybody hooks up.

In the same time, plenty of enterprises are looking into Knowledge Management projects and put lot's of efforts into locking the collective knowledge within the company. How to secure your employees knowledge assets within the boundaries of your digital empire? There are many ways to tackle this quest - roles based information push (based on information classification), enforcing document management procedures, data warehousing, knowledge directories, etc... None of them actually worked and here is the answer why:

Employes are not willing to share their knowledge for free. Current compensation schemes are mostly oriented on individual performance. Forced curves in bonus distributions usually increase competition among the employees. So, extra effort in making your knowledge public is not incentivized. Systems supporting this process are very complex and still aren't properly integrated with operational systems where most of the digital assets are created (mostly email). New knowledge categories are emerging every day so instability of the system causes lot's of troubles in managing them. It's basically a never ending software development story with very few static elements. Cost benefit analysis would tell you don't go there.

This is all valid in case that we really want to classify knowledge and capture it for later use. If we scale the scope down, it brings everything to a very basic level of operational process descriptions what is far away from knowledge management. It means than only possible information possible to manage is process description and it is far away from knowledge. It operating manual maintenance.

When considering other structural approaches to information consolidation, first idea are big data warehouses. Complex ETL procedures are loading terabytes of data for later use. When you start comparing what you get in the reports with what you have in transactional systems, disillusionment kicks in. The change dynamics of originating systems is too fast to manage the process along the way. Complexities keep increasing and makes it almost impossible to reflect those changes in consolidated systems.

Let's get back to the beginning of the post. Search engines have made it possible to reach the Internet content as you need it. It seems to me that same approach should taken with structured enterprise data, residing in many heterogenous transactional systems. Information discovery based on search is becoming more popular within the enterprise IT solutions. Have a look at Authonomy and Fast. I am not sure that these companies are getting the full potential of enterprise data consolidation. They are still too much focusing on the Internet scenarios. IMHO, in the future, traditional approach to data consolidation using ETL and Cubes will be squeezed out by more advanced search technologies. Indexing structured data seems to work lot easier than long lasting projects of data warehousing. Analytical power based on search makes every IT user an ad hoc data analyst without any predefined data mining scenarios. Scenarios will emerge by themselves when the appropriate technology will be unleashed.

Recently, Wolfram launched something that aims to be an ultimate knowledge repository software. It is basically a search engine. Fact that the directories are dead and search rules the Internet is not new. Now is the time to transfer this trend into the enterprises and index structured operational systems. For sure, a whole new revolution in information management and use will be started.