Saturday, August 30, 2008

Is that IP worth Protecting?

I attempted to watch the movie Hancock before its theater release. I say attempted because I was doing this online at one of the bootleg movie distribution sites, it wasn't exactly the entertaining experience I'd hoped for. The movie was distributed in three separate streams/downloads and the quality was very poor, but I got the gist of the movie and decided after watching the first stream that I should probably go see it at the theater.

The experience got me thinking though, why don't movies theaters release a low quality, multiple stream versions of the movies before release? Would the movie do better or worse at the box office as a result? Isn't this low quality version similar to giving away free samples of your product or content? If they are concerned about their brand why not just support the bootleg sites? My guess is that the main blocking issue is protecting the copyright.

These thoughts/questions led me to other question closer home; why don't we publish our product documentation online on the company's website? I asked a few folks here at work and the response I got was we didn't post the documentation to protect our intellectual property (IP) and maintain our competitive advantage. Does this really give us a competitive advantage or is the IP captured in our product documentation after the product is released really worth protecting? My personal opinion is that we stand to gain more from sharing the documentations than we stand to gain by not sharing. I believe it gives potential customers an opportunity to evaluate the product and be more prepared to ask questions based on an understanding of the literature. It is also a great complement to our scripted demo which covers the products only at a very high level and showcasing the features we consider most appealing.

In any case, it looks like the product documentation will make it online with the next revision of the company's website. I might even get luck and talk people into release portions of our source code as well. Doing that might encourage some rogue Developer to build SharePoint integration application using our source code as the foundation and we might be able to charge him/her good bucks if/when they get stuck ...... who knows.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Controlled or Valuable? That is the question

I got the following feedback on an article I'm writing for KMWorld (which arose out of my The Long Tail Of Enterprise Content Posts) and thought it was interesting enough to share the feedback and my response to it:


Ok, there is something bothering me about the word “Value” all content within an organization is valuable, that is the point of SharePoint, our connectors and search working together. Is the left axis really value or “Controlled”.

My Response:

I agree that organizations have typically “Controlled” ( the 80/20 rule I mentioned) content in the enterprise to varying degrees, the question is how what is controlled is determined. It is in answering the question of what to control and how the long tail theory applies to content in the enterprise that I’ve used the content’s value which can be determined through computation e.g. risk analysis. We are also in agreement that all content within an organization is valuable, however I believe the relative value of content differs ( i.e. some more valuable than others) hence the tail of the curve, although it tends to zero it never touches the zero value line (i.e. the x-axis).

Content to control, in my opinion, is determined by the value of that content to the enterprise e.g. if regulation requires that the content be placed under control and there is a penalty for non compliance, then the relative value of the content is higher than content not subject to the regulation. Other factors as I indicated in the article can also be used to determine the value of a piece of content and hence if it should be controlled or not.

If, as you are suggesting, you graph the decision made after the content’s value is determined i.e. what goes into the Advanced ECM systems (typically the controlled content in the enterprise) versus what does not (typically the less controlled content in SharePoint and other non Advanced ECM repositories), you will not have curve let alone a long tail. You will end up with a bar graph or pie chart of categories of controlled content which does not lend itself to analyzing The Long Tail theory and it’s applicability to enterprise content.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Heaven Sent?

I like the song Heaven Sent by Keyshia Cole so much that I wanted to know the lyrics. Since this is the year 2008 I searched the internet for it, found it and in the confines of my bedroom belt out the lyrics to the song. Interestingly though, it brought back memories of the times before the internet, the days before CDs, DVD, MP3 etc.

Back in the day, my whole family would congregate around a tape recorder (yes I'm that young!) trying to decipher the lyrics of our favorite song. There usually was an operator, a scribe and the rest of us listening. Those where the good old days when we would simply wear out the tape from several Play, Stop, Pause, Rewind, Fast Forward sequence or worse still have the tape jammed and delicately remove it from the tape recorder's head. Deciphering the lyrics to songs was certainly a family activity we all participated in and probably enjoyed with each of us listening intently to the song till we completely build out the lyrics to the song and then on to the next song, till we completely an album (sometimes) - I think we did this for Lionel Richie's Can't Slow Down album.

The internet is definitely Heaven Sent, it saved me hours of trying to do this, especially since I would have done it alone - see we are all grown now, live in different countries and don't have much spare time - plus tape recorders are pretty much extint now. My simply search also gave me a bunch of information on the artist. It however won't replace the memories of a time I shared with my siblings. Anyone up for a tape recorder reunion?