What I Learned From Patrick McGovern

Shortly after I began working at IDG, I received a memo from the Founder and Chairman, Patrick McGovern, complimenting a news story I had written the previous week. The piece was mundane. I was surprised anyone, much less the billionaire head of a global company, would think anything about it at all.

Which was, I later realized, the whole point. McGovern, who died March 19, was a visionary entrepreneur. But part of his genius lay in the commitment he inspired by his personal attention to employees. Continue reading

Telecommuting Isn’t the Villain, at Yahoo or Anywhere

If you’ve read past posts, you know that for two years during the late 1990s, I telecommuted to a job in Northern Virginia from my house in the Boston area. The notion that anyone could, or should, work regularly from home wasn’t completely new, but the internet was making it feasible for more people. My managers let me do it because I had decided to move, didn’t want to quit, and they didn’t want me to quit either. Continue reading

Why I Bought Another Laptop

One word: spreadsheets.

Late in 2011, as I was assessing the IT needs for my new business, I theorized that it might be possible to move to a tablet as my main computer when my aging laptop died (Read “I Need a Mobile Application Strategy“). Then I signed on two clients to produce survey research reports. Each of the nine reports involved datasets containing dozens of tables. Continue reading

What Do CIOs Need to Know About Big Data?

Recently I’ve been looking into how big data is influencing the relationship between IT and other business functions. There’s a consensus that end users, as business domain experts, are going to have increasing influence over investments in data and the technology to analyze it. You can already see this happening: I wrote last month about how Atrius Health transformed its analytics organization. Continue reading

Video Works. So Why Don’t We Use It?

Recently, I covered an event for a client, blogging about each presentation and subsequent discussion. (Sorry I can’t provide a link. The content is proprietary.) The event was in Tuscon, but I attended remotely, via videoconference. So did a handful of participants, including one of the presenters. Continue reading

Canary in the Data Mine

I spent a couple of weeks last month  interviewing experts about the big data workforce—that mix of IT pros, statisticians, mathematicians, engineers and functional business experts who companies need to tame their burgeoning databases. The resulting story, Building Your Big Data Team, is posted at Data Informed, a new website focused on big data technology, applications and management. In my story, there’s some advice for IT and business leaders about education and training for data scientists. Continue reading

Big Data and the Future Workforce

I have spent the past couple of months working on projects that turn out to be related: a feature on Big Data analytics, and one about motivating students to pursue STEM–science, technology, engineering and mathematics–careers. (Both projects are in progress–publishing sometime this winter, I expect.) Continue reading