Bill’s Blog

Just sharing my thoughts (which are my own and not those of my employer)

Archive for the ‘Intel’ tag

Women in Technology

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O’Reilly has been running a series on women in technology.  I just read one from Dawn Foster called “Advice on Careers in Technology for Geeky (and not so Geeky) Women“.   I worked with Dawn  when she was at Intel and I follow her blog, so naturally I was interested in what she had to say.  It’s a great article for anyone to read.

In my first job out of college, I worked for a defense contractor.   There were a few women there, but the majority of them were in administrative (secretarial) positions.  I was surprised when I came to Intel and discovered that my first boss was a women.  In fact, there are a lot of women in technical and managerial positions at Intel.  In my dealings with other technology companies, including O’Reilly, I’ve been pleased to discoved that there seem to be a fair amount of women in high positions.  For example, the VP that I dealt with at O’Reilly was a women.  I hope the opportunities for women in technology continue to grow.

Written by bill

September 24th, 2007 at 10:31 pm

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Finally done!

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We’ve reached the end.  For the past ten days, I’ve been working with six very smart people on an uber-problem.  It’s been great learning about the topic, figuring out what we should do to address the issue, and preparing to recommend a solution.  Today was the day.  We presented to the GM of our division.  For good measure he brought along his entire staff and a few of his peers (think VPs).

Earlier in the week we needed to decide who was going to present our team’s recommendation.  Six of the seven people on the team wanted to present.  That’s actually a low number considering we’re all managers and this is a perfect opportunity to get visibility.  A colleague of mine on another team told me that all seven people on their team wanted to present.  We decided to take a vote.  Much to my surprise, I was selected to present.  Normally this wouldn’t be an issue.  I enjoy talking.  Some might say too much.  I know the material well though, so no big deal.  This time I was nervous.  We went through a dry run yesterday.  My team told me I did well, but I better.  I went home and practices.  I practiced again on the way into work.  We had another rehersal this morning.  The good news is that it turned out ok.  I didn’t forget the summary slide like I did in the rehersal.  I didn’t trip up over too many words.  Since we got to go first, it was eleven and I was feeling relieved to be done.

In the end we didn’t get thrown out on our ears.  Our recommendations were discussed and follow up assignments were given to a couple of staff members.  I’m glad to be done, but it was an exercise worth doing.

Written by bill

June 13th, 2007 at 10:10 pm

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Training in Disguise

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I just finished the first day of a leadership program at work. It’s been interesting so far. They’ve tried to make it special and a bit exclusive. That adds to the allure a bit.

We received our team assignments today and found out which teams we are on. Each team is assigned a meaty problem to go solve. We have the next 10 days or so to come up with a solution to a challenging issue facing the organization. They’ve arranged for us to talk with experts and to have coaching sessions with Sr Execs who are sponsoring the issue. We also had a chance to speak with our GM today to get his perspective on the issue. I hope our team comes up with something wonderful. Day 1 was a bit rough. Some of the team really wanted to solve the problem TODAY. That was an interesting conversation.

One thing I thought was interesting was that the host and the GM stated several times that one of the most important outcomes of the session was expanding our network. This session is a huge investment by the company. To see that high of a value placed on networking is unusual. It’s a good thing, just not typical. Of course, he also told us that several of the recommendations from these things in the past have actually been implemented. Some of the examples were huge (lots of zeros) decisions. It would be exciting to be a part of something like that.

The only downside to the program is the schedule. We’re going from 8 AM to late at night (today was 8 PM) every night, and meeting on the weekends. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I don’t mind the work. I’m sure they pack the schedule so intensely so we can all get the most out of the limited time we have together. It’s just that I’ve heard to much about work life balance lately. This is an interesting twist.

Written by bill

June 4th, 2007 at 11:14 pm

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What’s with the silence anyway?

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Yeah, ok I’ve been quiet for a while. I’ve been keeping busy setting up a new hosting provider and a new Mac.

The Mac experience is the most interesting, so I’ll start there. Using a Mac inside of a primarily Windows company and you’re pretty much guaranteed some trouble. So two weeks ago I drove over to the IT place to pick up my Mac. When I got back to my desk, opening the box was like a breath of fresh air. I stared at the MacBookPro in anticipation. How long until I was blissfully typing emails and chating with my co-workers? Take a guess…

Friday I started the build process. It completely wipes the drive, partitions it, and dumps the special IT version of OSX on the system. Then it automatically does some configuration like adding the machine to the active directory. Finally, it adds a Windows VM using Parallels. Sounds good, right? On Friday mine got as far as copying about half of the 10 or so GB file before I had to leave work. Two hours wasted.

Monday I started again. This time the file copied and OSX was installed. But, it wouldn’t recognize the network. I spoke with the coordinator for the project and was told to “try it again”. Ok, six more tries and it still didn’t work. Somewhere in there I heard that the connection between a couple of sites was down so the Mac couldn’t be added to the active directory. So I headed out for the long weekend without my mac :(

Tuesday morning I plugged it in and started the install process one more time (if you’re counting, that makes 8). This time it worked! In a completely automated fashion, my machine had installed

  • OSX
  • Office for Mac
  • Parallels VM
  • Windows Build
  • All Windows SW
  • Added to the active directory
  • copied all my data from my old system

I’ve been using the Mac as my primary business machine for four days! It’s pretty cool. The only thing I don’t like is having to use Windows to run outlook. If there was a similar email client for Mac that integrated well with Exchange it would be Nirvana. They way Outlook is configured also has some quirks. My OST files are on a parallels shared file system. When I go into standby and come back, outlook loses itself. I have to shut it down and restart it beforeit can see the mail folders again.

Any suggestions for me? What apps should I try now that I’m using a Mac?

Written by bill

June 1st, 2007 at 10:32 pm

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Out with the ISN team

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The ISN team went out on the town today. We took a break from the site and spent the afternoon at the OMSI. Our first stop was lunch at PF Chang’s. Next we headed downtown to tour SS581, a Blueback Sub. We wrapped up the afternoon with a viewing of “The Alps“ The Omnimax theatre was incredible! I highly recommend it.

What’s great about these type of events is that we get to spend some time getting to know more about the people we work with. We can let our hair down a bit and have some fun. I like the people I work with and enjoy getting to know them better.

And yes, I took pictures of the event. The low light inside the sub made me choose ISO 1600 for many shots. It’s a great effect with the red lighting.

Written by bill

March 23rd, 2007 at 11:12 pm

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We did it! We launched the new ISN blogs

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We did it. We launched the new Intel Software Network blogs. Normally launching a new blog isn’t a big deal, right? People do it all the time. Why I’m so proud of this one is because it was my team that did it. It was great watching them work on this. They are professionals, and they always do good work. This time, it was different. This time there was passion. They weren’t working to a spec. They weren’t working on just another project. In this case, they were working with passion. They believed in what they were doing. They wanted to make it great.

Did they succeed? You tell me. I think they did a wonderful job.

Written by bill

February 12th, 2007 at 10:57 pm

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Evans Developer Relations Conference

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Evans Data is hosting their 3rd annual Developer Relations Conference March 12-13 in Redwood City. I am giving a talk there about how Web 2.0 has changed developer programs and what we’re doing to keep up. If you’re going to be there, drop me a line here and be sure to say hello in Redwood City.

Written by bill

February 2nd, 2007 at 11:04 pm

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How to write a good blog

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Heres the last installment of what I learned from Stephanie Booth when she came and talk with us about blogging. These notes are from a two hour session she held with many of the ISN bloggers.

  • Blogging takes time. Set aside enough time to do it well. An hour a day or so is great. Her advice was to spend every other day writing and every other day reading other bloggers
  • Write for the web.
    • Use short sentences and paragraphs.
    • Remember that people dont read, they scan. Take this into account when youre writing.
    • Avoid words that your audience wont understand, such as abbreviations or industry jargon.
    • Make your blog more scanable by using bold, lists, and links to emphasize text.
    • Use links with your text. Dont post raw URLs.
    • Use informative, rather than catchy headlines. You want to use titles that are going to get people interested in your topic.
  • Other style tips
    • Spelling remains important. The odd typo is ok and even expected, but good spelling never hurts.
    • Short posts are good too. More short posts are better than a few long ones.
    • Write for people who know a little less than your target audience. I thought this one was particularly insightful. If you assume everyone knows what youre talking about, you are likely to be wrong. Start from the beginning. Introduce the topic and grow from there.
    • Dont sign your blogs (we had some people signing their blogs like you would sign a letter
    • Imaging youre talking with someone. Use a conversational style.
  • Content
    • Tell a story
    • Show your passion
    • Take risks
    • Ask hard questions
    • Be critical
    • Maintain focus. This helps your readers stay with you.
  • Listen
    • Use technorati to see what others are saying. Think up good keywords. Engage with others. Subscribe by RSS to those you find interesting.
    • Write about what you hear
    • Link to what people are saying
    • Read other blogs. By colleagues. By friends. By strangers. Use an RSS reader to make it easier and quicker.
  • Its all about conversations
    • Respond to comments. Get involved with whats happening on your blog.
    • Dont wait for people to talk amongst themselves. Engage them.
    • Dont expect comments. Theyre a bonus
    • Ban anything resembling corp speak TM, marketing speak, motherhood and apple pie, insider jargon
    • Dont be too upbeat. It feels fake

She also gave some examples of posts that she thought worked and why.

So here it is. Anything youd like to add?

Written by bill

January 26th, 2007 at 1:00 pm

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I disagee with Scoble, but agree there is a lesson here

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Scoble posted about “Why employees shouldn’t blog on corporate sites”. He sites a great example of IBM deleting someone’s blog after they left the company. The blog is now back up on IBM’s site with a disclaimer that the employee no longer works for IBM.

I agree that IBM should not have taken the blog down. I’m glad it’s back up now. What I don’t agree with is that employees shouldn’t blog on corporate sites.

Here’s why:

  1. One of the points of blogging on a corporate site is to show the human side of a company. Blogs are a very real way for customers to connect with the company. The corporate site is the best place to showcase employee blogs.
  2. It shows support. When we started our blogging efforts (disclaimer: I am responsible for Intel’s developer site), our initial approach was to have employees blog on non-corporate sites (wordpress, blogger, etc.). Many employees felt that they wanted to blog on the corporate site because it showed that the company was behind their efforts. I agree with that.
  3. Change. Corporate sites can be quite stuffy. It’s rare that you hear from real people. What you usually get is the corporate PR or marketing spin. Today, blogs are part of a change that’s happening in the world. People are realizing that they need to be more transparent. Companies are starting to realize the same thing. If real people blog about the things they’re working on, the company they work for, and the people they work with, it can change the outside perception of the company itself. Can you do this without being on a corporate site – yes. Scoble proved it. I still say it’s great to see a shift towards transparency and humanness on corporate sites.
  4. Blogs give companies the opportunity to join in the conversation. One of the things I like best about blogs is hearing what the readers think and having the opportunity to discuss it with them. We’re starting to see that on our site and we’re learning a lot in the process.

Well, I’m sure there are more reasons, but I hope you get the point. Individual blogs are great. Clearly I have one and like to use it. Corporate blogs also have their place. And in case anyone wants to point out the obvious, I am blogging this on a personal blog. Do I have a corporate blog? Yes, but just barely. I started blogging on the corporate blog this week. I started my personal blog in August. It took me 5 months to realize that

  1. I liked blogging
  2. I had something to say
  3. I really needed to be blogging on the corporate site as well (especially since I am asking others to do it)

Written by bill

January 18th, 2007 at 9:03 pm

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Criticism can be difficult to handle, especially at 8 in the morning.

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When I invited Stephanie Booth to come talk with us, I asked her to be direct and share where she thought we could improve our site and our blogs. As requested, she came armed with a mind map of where we needed to improve. Here are some of the things she identified.

  • Make sure the objectives and purpose of each feature (blog, forum, wiki) is clear to the end user
  • The site has lots of ways to access information. Simplify.
  • Branding of different areas make visual cues so people know they in a specific community
  • Clear URL scheme (especially for blogs)
  • Blogs are somewhat hidden. Make them stand out in the communities more.
  • Too much clutter. Simplify.
  • Custom 404 would really help

She also identified a few things to work on for the blogs

  • get the few last posts out on the site or on the community home page
  • use meta blogging blog about whats happening on the site
  • standard disclaimer on all blogs, rather than doing it differently on each blog
  • peoples blogs should look unique
  • make a print stylesheet, including the URL
  • remove user generated html, so all blogs keep the same consistent layout

The input was appreciated. Well be able to take action on many of these.

Next up: How to be a good blogger

Written by bill

January 17th, 2007 at 8:36 pm

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