Wednesday, April 25, 2007


As you probably know business school is all about group projects. Given that I've done a fair amount of research on Web 2.0 topics I figured I should put my money where my mouth is. I've been using PBwiki for many of my class projects. I haven't tried many of the competing products but PBwiki was easier to uses the the other ones I checked out. One of the features that I like is that you can set it up to email you when there are changes to the page. This means that you don't have to constantly check to see if your group members have made changes. In addition, they are offering ad-free wikis for educational purposes.

The company has been adding features since their recent round of fundraising.

I'd love to hear what other collaboration tools you have been using. The field of solutions seems to be growing more crowded everyday.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

More Great Video Content

As you may have realized I spend far too much time surfing the internet. I'm always looking for new and interesting sites to help me with my various research projects. Today's Wall Street Journal highlighted a couple of video sites that seem to have a lot of good content. The Research Channel is a nonprofit organization that brings the work of notable and respected researchers, speakers, and professors to the public. is another site that has a lot of great video content. Fora is great because the break the video into easily viewable chapters and also let you download the videos in multiple formats including Mp3, Ipod Video, or PSP Video.

YouTube for PowerPoint

Last fall when I was doing some research on Web 2.0 trends I found a site called SlideShare. The site lets people upload their PowerPoint presentations and share them in much the same way as YouTube. For hot topics like Web 2.0 it was another great place to look for information but I became a bit frustrated when I realized that you could not download the presentations. Since then I've gone back one or two times but found that the site had become cluttered with less factual and more entertaining presentations. Now it looks like they are trying to drum up some new traffic and have added the ability to download the presentations (given the owner's consent). They are currently running a contest for the best slide show. Check out their site and feel free to vote for my entry.

Friday, April 13, 2007

MIT Sloan Places 3rd in Red Hat Challenge

I have to give a plug to my fellow Sloanies who recently placed 3rd in the first Red Hat Challenge. Teams had the opportunity to compete for $20,000 by tacking a real-world business challenge for Red Hat. There was a great turnout for the competition with over 343 teams from 143 schools. Congrats to the Sloan team, Jon Krafcik, Glenn Wilson, Donna Pitteri, and Eric Cheung. The four of them are also competing in the McKinsey Business Technology Challenge which kicks off tonight.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Banking's Most Innovative CIO

As you may know I used to work for a research and consulting firm focusing on financial services technology. Most of my clients were banks and vendors to banks. I get many of the trade emails and I thought this one might be of interest:

Bank Systems & Technology is accepting nominations for September 2007 "Innovative CIOs" issue. The person must be a senior technology executive at a bank (CIO, CTO, EVP or VP in charge of a line of business technology, such as e-business strategy, customer solutions, etc.). Keep in mind that bankers can be from non-U.S.-based institutions as well.

Your role in nominating potential candidates will be completely confidential. This year's nominees will be honored at the Bank Systems & Technology Executive Summit, to be held Sept. 23-26 at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix. Please provide the following information on your nominee (as much data as you can provide will be helpful):
Nominee's name, Title, Bank name, Contact information (if possible)

Tell us in just a few sentences why you think this person should be included in BS&T's 2007 Innovative CIOs feature. Deadline for nominations is Friday, June 1, 2007. E-mail all submissions to with "CIO 2007" in the subject line.

What Can A Wiki Do?

As I've mentioned before I am currently taking a class taught by Tom Malone focusing on how organizations will be designed in the future. Professor Malone is the head of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence and one of the leaders of the We Are Smarter project. As one of our class assignments we were required to contribute to the book (check out my contribution in chapter II under innovation and invention). To be frank I am not sold on the idea of collective writing. Wikis are an excellent tool for short factual information such as Wikipedia or potentially things like employee handbooks. However, they are currently not well suited to writing that requires a narrative (for another example check out the wiki project at Penguin Publishing). For other types of writing the Helium model seems much more promising. Helium pays authors for submissions that the community finds valuable. They claim to have over 600,000 articles and 5,000 authors. I haven't spent much time on their site yet but it looks pretty interesting.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Clayton Christensen and Chet Huber at Sloan

Clay Christensen and Chet Huber co-presented today on the topic of disruptive innovation and GM's OnStar. With Sloan's strong connection to the automotive industry, many students were there to hear from Chet while others were just interested in seeing Clay. Professor Christensen, who is well known for his books on innovation, is practically a celebrity around Cambridge. As it turns out both men were classmates at HBS.

I found the presentation to be interesting although much of Professor Christensen's talk was on material from his first book, Innovator's Dilemma. I was unfamiliar with the OnStar business which turned out to be fascinating. Chet recalled how the set up the OnStar business within GM while maintaining its independence. Little did they know that many of their strategies would align with Professor Christensen's future bestseller.

Later in the day I had the opportunity to join a small group of students for a Q&A with Professor Christensen. Here are a few thoughts from that discussion:
Think about the job the product is being hired for not the market segment/demographic it is being marketed to. Too many companies are missing the reasons people use specific products.
Financial analysis is ill suited to foster innovation. DCF, NPV, and shareholder maximization frequently lead to companies sticking with the status quo. The costs of setting up a new business will always look unattractive in comparison to the marginal costs associated with an existing business.
Competing down market requires speed to market and customization. These customers do not need more features they need a lower cost product that better serves their needs.
Christensen has a rapidly growing consulting practice to help other companies improve innovation. Check out there website for some good reading:

There is also a new article in the Sloan Management Review called "Finding the Right Job for Your Product."

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Costa Rica to Boston

Pardon my recent lack of posts. The last two weeks were Sloan SIP/spring break. I went down to Costa Rica with a group of students and had a great time. I highly recommend visiting. The Arenal region was especially beautiful.

The day after retuning I started the Boston University Tech Strategy Case Competition sponsored by Motorola. This is the second year of the competition. 11 teams of MBA students from around the world took part. They included IIM, Kellogg, Stanford, LBS, Seoul, and others. We were given 24 hours to put together a strategy for Motorola's entry into the digital contnet space. Our proposal focused on using internet enabled set-top boxes as a P2P network. With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work we came in first place earning the $25K prize. Check out the contest blog to learn all the gory details.