Monthly Archives: October 2012

Peter G. Neumann in New York Times

Peter G. Neumann is one of my heroes – a computer science and security expert with a sense of humor (his dry comments on the Risks Digest are legendary), inventive solutions to problems (he once built a keyboard with two pedals (for “alt” and “ctrl”) to deal with carpal tunnel syndrome) and far-reaching views on most things. He is currently profiled in New York Times, including the story of the RTM Worm, which I remember clearly, and where the RISKS Forum played a role in analyzing and stopping it.

I remember an email exchange with Peter in the mid-nineties, when I was writing a research report on knowledge management for CSC Research Services. Peter has been running the email list RISKS forever (I signed up for it sometime in 1985) and when asked about how to find people to do such a job in a corporate setting he replied:

The bottom line is that moderating a newsgroup wisely takes serious dedication to, familiarity with, and commitment to the subject matter and willingness to put oneself into an intrinsically sensitive position. It does not work well if someone is arbitrarily assigned to the task.

In other words – if you want social media to work in a company, let people loose and then support the leaders that emerge, rather than try to replicate the current organization in the new medium. Not a bad insight to have 15 years ago – before this social media thing started.

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Not quite the game I hoped for

Playing the GamePlaying the Game by Alan Lelchuk
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was lent this by my daughter’s very capable history teacher on the assumption that, since I am interested in both basketball and history, this would be interesting. I love the premise – an obscure history professor and assistant basketball coach at an Ivy League college gets appointed as head coach, with nobody expecting much. By recruiting disadvantaged youth and reading passages of American history to them, he brings the team to the NCAA finals.

It should work, but it doesn’t. The main character is not believable, the history excerpts are too long-winded, and the adversities encountered (racist faculty, an NCAA looking askance at the newcomers and plotting against them, etc.) seem rather contrived. In the end, you start wondering whether the whole story is a figment of the main character’s imagination – not just the author’s.

Pity, it had so much going for it…watch Danny DeVito in Renaissance Man instead – it has humor and compassion, and a slightly similar subject. And the academic comes out on top.

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Assignment for Essec-Mannheim class

To:       Students Essec-Mannheim EMBA module
From:   Espen Andersen & Hermann Kopp
Date:    October 2012
Subj.:   Evaluation session, Friday October 5, 2012

Dear students,

For the evaluation, we will have each study group prepare a case analysis and present it to the class. Since listening to 7 groups on the same case would not be very productive, we have assigned two cases, Daksh and Glamox – groups 1, 3, 5, and 7 will present the Daksh case, 2, 4 and 6 Glamox.

Daksh case:

  • Daksh (A): 1999 Business Plan(Stanford case E-251A), Arippol/Wendell)
    Study questions:

    • From an investor’s perspective (and without the benefit of hindsight), in general, how attractive would you find the opportunity, what are its attractive and unattractive features? What do you think of the compnay’s 1999-2000 market entry plan?
    • Regarding making an investment, which would be the more important decision factor for you: The founding team (the “jockeys”), or the opportunity itself (the “horse”)?
    • How do you evaluate the growth and financial projections for Daksh contained in exhibit 11? Realistic? Conservative? Overstated?

Assignment for group 1, 3, 5 and 7: Prepare and give a 10-minute presentation (please limit the number of slides to no more than 5, the fewer the better), evaluating the Daksh business plan as if you were a financial consulting company advising a group of investors. What would your recommendation be to Daksh? To the investors?

Glamox case:

  • eBusiness from within: The organizational transformation of Glamox (NBS case, Andersen et al.)
    This case describes the reengineering of a small manufacturing company in Norway, and is useful in seeing how IT can be a vehicle of change. It also shows many of the difficult decisions that a CEO has to face in situations with hard competition and falling markets.This case will be prepared as a group. Here some questions you can think about to help you analyze the case by yourself:

    • What are the differences between the ”old” Glamox and the new?
    • How does the new technology change the role of the sales person?
    • How does the new technology change production?
    • Why isn’t the company making money after the e-Business project?
    • What did Christian Thommesen do wrong?
    • What should he do now?

Assignment for group 2, 4, and 6: Prepare and give a 10-minute presentation (please limit the number of slides to no more than 5, the fewer the better), evaluating the turnaround process as if you were a strategic consulting company advising the Board: What worked, what didn’t (and why), and what should Christian Thommesen do now?