Archivo de la Categoría ‘Educación / Education’


Visit to Linden Lab (Silicon Valley 08, Day 4)

Escrito el 6 junio 2008 por Ricardo Pérez Garrido en Educación / Education

As thursday came to an end, we were on the road again (:-)) towards San Francisco, after an exciting morning in Cisco. But not to our hotel, we were headed to Linden Lab headquarters, to visit Claudia L’Amoreaux, who helped with our different initiatives in Second Life, and Chris Collins, in charge of Business Development for the company.

As you might expect the company has a great feeling to the people working there, the organization and flexibility, the stuff going on there… everything creative, fast, changing… we met Claudia and Chris in a very open discussion about their future, how they face the new situation of second life for the press, I mean, after being the new big thing las year today everybody wants to bury them… The first answer from Chris was “we are already profitable”, and growing from there… So basically the exploration today is what should have been from the beginning: companies trying to understand what they can do in this environment that ADDS VALUE to the experience of their clients. Not being there for the sake of it.

A great experience also in terms of how they organize themselves: from an application were you post a “thank you note” to some coworker that has helped you with something, to a democratic approach to decision making… A very interesting approach to organizational innovation, which also fits a visionary group that started to talk about virtual worlds almost ten years ago.

This was the final activity of our trip. We went back to the hotel for a wrap-up session, to analyze what we had learned those days and to share our vision of what is the secret sauce for all this innovation that happens in this corner of the world. Again, as almost every time I face this question, people and freedom were at the center of the equation.


Visit to Cisco (Silicon Valley 08, Day 4)

Escrito el 5 junio 2008 por Ricardo Pérez Garrido en Educación / Education

Our last day in our Silicon Valley Tour 08 started at Ciscois EBC in San Jose. It was a packed agenda, with two tracks organized by Alberto Mazagatos, former CEO of Cisco in Spain and now in Strategic Development for the Mediterranean Region. The day was designed to help the group understand how a clear leader in an industry like Cisco pushes for the next level, to keep innovation and growth at the center of their strategy and, more importantly, at the center of the efforts undertaken by its employees. The first thing to notice when you are there is that high level meetings and demonstrations are at the core of the activity of Cisco. The EBC was a great display of technologies, even with administrative staff serving several positions thanks to telepresence. There was also a feeling of success that was somehow around in anything you could see there.


The two tracks where managed by Alberto and Noni Alwood. The first one was oriented towards understanding the position of Cisco in the telecom and media industries, the link between marketing, strategy and a deep understanding of industry trends, and challenges. The second one was centered around the need to manage IT in a different way, more integrated and with a global vision of its role for different industries. We also had the opportunity to visit the solutions center that presents some of Cisco’s technologies in context (a retail shop, a business office, a home, a hotel…), which gives you a grasp of how detailed the vision for a specific set of technologies can be articulated.

The connection research- our daily lives- products and services was obvious during all our time spent there, and the degree of connection with the reality of corporations, institutions and even professionals working for Ciscso and its partners was really high. Great approach and, again, pride and success all over the place.

Thanks again to Alberto Mazagatos for this great opportunity.


Michele Libraro at our Silicon Valley Tour 08

Escrito el 4 junio 2008 por Ricardo Pérez Garrido en Educación / Education

Our last conference for Wednesday was Michele Libraro, with a long history of success in the industry, he now runs Global Startups, a VC firm in the Valley specialized in telecommunications and technology (he was a top executive at Cisco before). Thanks Michele as always for your help (we were a bit late with traffic from Santa Clara…).

He did a great job explaining the basics of the activity and steps for getting funds in the area, and how the relationship financial markets – innovation – startup works. It seems like such a natural process for the area, and so difficult for other countries like Spain. The amount of money, the type of projects, its ambition… the size of everything is just different to the average project you will see in so many places. And it just works. There is something in the approach to risk and failure, and the amount of people -good, very good and skilled people- and ideas that move around that money and some support from the legal system is what you need to close the virtuous circle.

In this space the role of VC’s is, as I understand it, sort of professionalizing the life cycle of companies and helping them move faster to the place where you get the money and go to the next one. Many efforts will fail in the process. But that is sort of part of the game. And the final goal is to cash out, something that might be odd for the concept of entrepreneur that at least I see around in Europe. Thus comes the serial entrepreneur as a key role in the development of areas like Silicon Valley. Starting again and again is just a way of life.


More on Silicon Valley: Visit to Sun Microsystems

Escrito el 3 junio 2008 por Ricardo Pérez Garrido en Educación / Education

Wednesday afternoon, after our time in Electronic Arts with the Sims team, we moved to Sun EBC in Menlo Park, where we had the opportunity to meet Brian Moriarty, VP of Corporate Development & Alliances and Rick Moss, Senior Director of Corporate Development (they are the ones in the photo). We spent some time talking about the strategies of growth and innovation of Sun, especially in the open source arena. The balance of internal research and external acquisitions was also an issue to discuss. Although they have gone through difficult times, you could see that they have a clear orientation towards creating their own space in the relationship hardware-open software. Will be very interesting to see how it plays out.

After this interesting talk we moved to Santa Clara to visit Sun’s ECO Data Center. It was great to see imagination, invention and innovation (the one that brings benefits to a company, in this case huge savings), play along in a way that was intended to reduce pollution, consumption of electricity and costs, and that is (at least in my opinion) going to bring revenues and new ideas to Sun. The reasons and description of the project, how it was developed with the intervention of all the stakeholders and oriented to experimentation… how it is bringing new and revolutionary ideas on how to reduce electricity costs or ventilation efforts… all in all a great example of invention then innovation.
An then back to the hotel in San Francisco for a conference on Venture Capital and investment in the Valley by Michele Libraro, founder of Global Startups¦ but that is another story.


Visit to Electronic arts (Silicon Valley 08, Day 3)

Escrito el 27 mayo 2008 por Ricardo Pérez Garrido en Educación / Education

We finished our visit to Google, of course, having lunch at the main cafeteria. I had been there already, but it is all you might expect: people from all over the world, food also from everywhere… and a combination between fast and slow, work and fun, that is so difficult to achieve…

We went back to our hotel in SF, where Rob Weiner, Chief Evangelist and Innovation officer for Genesys offered his vision on how to manage innovation in mature industries. This is a compelling and interesting vision combining the role of engeneering and management teams and the life cycles of products and industries. They have managed to lead their industry for decades and now is trying to keep ahead of the market as part of a group (Alcatel-Lucent) that is not doing so well and is struggling to maintain its position and create a culture of innovation (remember, this is the same company that owns Bell Labs…).

The next day we move to the entertainment industry: Electronic Arst and The Sims management/development teams. Again the culture and the approach to the market are key. We spent some time with Steve Seabolt, VP Brand Development for the Sim Franchise. He has been in the industry for years, and the vision of how seriously they take the customer was very interesting. A couple of interesting projects with Ford and Ikea are a signal of the times to come, with more advertising into the game –the good one. Later on, Ben Bell, Sims3 executive producer, guided us through the evolution of the game, its nature as a play-alone game, and the efforts to coordinate and motivate a team of +200, with different profiles and interests. The industry is becoming more and more like a film studio, with long and expensive projects where big bets are placed in each project.

As always one of the most interesting parts of the day was the visit to the development teams, where in the same floor you have creative staff, management, programming, testing… and again a feeling of freedom and at the same time tight control over timing and results… tough combination to manage. Probably it has something to do with their position as leaders. The combination of really advanced software development methodologies with the creative aspects of a game was somehow challenging, but apparently it worked very well. The key point: creating a common vision of the game to pursue as a team. Thanks to Bart Menayas for his engagement and openness. He is one of the producers of the Sims (coming to EA from Maxis) and added great value to our understanding of the industry and the process of creating a successful game in a very competitive environment.


Understanding the “secret sauce” of Silicon Valley

Escrito el 20 mayo 2008 por Ricardo Pérez Garrido en Educación / Education

Our first day was oriented to understand what is the “secret sauce” of silicon valley, what makes it a special place on earth where everybody in the technology world is eager to go and create “the next big thing”. On this day (last monday) we had a number of conferences: personal perspectives during the morning, success stories in the afternoon.

During the morning trying to understand it form the personal perspective of two visions of the valley: Marco Marinucci, entrepreneur and now in Google, and Philipp Stauffer, with a long career at Accenture and now working as a sort of bridge between startups and big 500 companies that Accenture collaborates with. The perspective is somewhat clear: part of the secret is the money and the legal/financial system, part of it is the special culture of risk and failure. Where in most other places you will be considered a failure after you tried, here it this failure can become positive, help you in your next endeavor. Cultural shock coming from Spain, where failure is… let’s say not a good thing for your career even as an entrepreneur.

During the afternoon we had Jaleh Rezaei-Homami, from VMWare and Babur Odzen, CEO of Berggi and Naverggi. You all know Vmware. Great success story and they are just becoming bigger and better. One thing that was interesting about their approach was that they considered their main competitor… Microsoft. Which to me is a sign that there is still a number of issues to be said in the OS arena before Microsoft loses its leadership.
Berggi is a different story. They are still small, they create applications for mobile phones, and their story is about comming to the valley for the contacts, the money and the image. Very interesting approach by Babur, who has development teams all around the world working to be the fastest… management innovation to compete in a market where differentiation is difficult and speed is everything. I am sure they will be very successful.

Great start for our adventure. One of the first conclusions that will stay with us all the week was openness. The approach to sharing information and ideas is totally open, creating and environment of collaboration and positive feedback that is very interesting and different to a mora traditional “closed” approach.


Back from Silicon Valley

Escrito el 19 mayo 2008 por Ricardo Pérez Garrido en Educación / Education

After a week on long days filled with company visits and conferences we are back to madrid, with something equivalent to a battery charge: the energy that the abundance of talent, the openness and the love and passion for innovation and pushing the limits that are essential ingredients of the “secret sauce” for the success of this special region of the world.

After spending time in companies with a lot of management innovation like Google, Linden Lab or EA, and others with lots of technological innovations like Cisco, Vmware or SUN, one of clear concussions I draw from these days is that people is what matters, and although capital and top universities are also important, the key to maintaining success is the people that have assimilated that trying to create the next big thing is the way to go, no matter if you fail, the next one will be better.

I will try to summarize for you in the following days some of the issues covered and companies visited. Let’s see if we can travel there together.


Visit to Silicon Valley, again

Escrito el 9 mayo 2008 por Ricardo Pérez Garrido en Educación / Education

Next week the Master and Executive Master in Telecom and Digital Business Management will be in San Francisco and Silicon Valley for a study trip, with conferences and company visits to Cisco*, Google, Electronic Arts, Sun, Linden Labs, VMWare, Genesys Labs, Accenture*, Berggi and Global Startups.

The theme of the week will be how these companies manage innovation and make it work. All of them have participated in the creation of true competitive advantages in their industries, with groundbreaking use of technologies, business models, even creating whole new markets.

I will be blogging from San Francisco trying to summarize some of their messages, and the experience. As you know this is the second year we organize this study trip (info about last year in several posts of this blog). It’s a privilege for us to have the opportunity to discuss the evolution and future of these companies with some of their key executives, and a great learning experience. One interesting fact is the openness in which they share their ideas and approach questions and comments. I guess this is part of the spirit of the area, and one of the secret ingredients for its success: sharing your ideas is not bad, it can help you improve them.

* Accenture and Cisco are sponsors of the Master in Telecom and Digital Business Management..


Mobile Monday Madrid: Digital Advertising

Escrito el 21 enero 2008 por Ricardo Pérez Garrido en Educación / Education

Today at IE Business School we will host a new Mobile Monday Madrid event. The theme for today is Mobile Advertising, something that we will hear a lot during this new year. The group of speakers is amazing (thanks Rudy, Carles and Marcos). If you are interested in these issues, that are probably the new fighting grounds for publicists, media companies and operators, you can still subscribe to the event.

Note: for those that have been to previous mobile monday events at IE, this time we will be using (exceptionally) a differnt room, go to Serrano 105 instead of the traditional venue)


The future of education

Escrito el 28 noviembre 2007 por Ricardo Pérez Garrido en Educación / Education

Reading Confused of Calcutta, a blog written by one of the technology and business gurus at BT, on Facebook and the value of sharing, I stumbled upon this video on the future of education:

In fact it is more a video on what is lacking in modern graduate education from a student perspective. It presents some of the right questions, though assuming that all the students, methodologies and motivations are equal, which is not the case. Let’s say it is correct in the analysis. Some of the answers relate to the fact that some professors and institutions are not ready to change the way they see creation and dissemination of content. Of quality content. The one they are ready to deem as valid for its use in the classroom. A big shift is needed here, and blogs, wikis, video content… are good steps towards this change. A great challenge for our business.

The question I have is related to that change of roles in corporations: what is the “right” knowledge to have in a specific position. And how well it is moves through the organization. This is probably one of the biggest challenges for companies trying to compete in a converging environment.

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