Social Icons

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Intelligent Entrepreneur: Book Review

I recently downloaded an audio book on audible.com that I absolutely fell in love with. I had been considering opening a business for quite sometime and have been seeking books to inspire me and to motivate me to move to the next level. The author, Bill Murphy Jr., interviewed 3 Harvard Business School graduates (Christopher Michel, Mark Cenedella and Marla Malcolm Beck) who founded successful start-up companies and highlighted 10 rules to becoming a successful entrepreneur. If you go to the author's website http://billmurphyjr.com/the-rules/ the 10 rules are reviewed briefly but I would highly recommend reading the book and seeing how the stories developed of the founders of Bluemercury, Military.com and TheLadders.

The 10 rules include:

1. Commit first to the ideal of entrepreneurship.

2. Look for problems to solve before creating business solutions.

3. Focus on innovation and scale.

4. Assemble founding teams with a history of working well together.

5. One co-founder is usually “first among equals.”

6. Manage risk and don’t spend needlessly.

7. Learning to lead requires a lifelong effort.

8. Learning to sell requires a lifelong commitment.

9. Persistence means redefining failure.

10. Time, not money, is the scarcest resource.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Reading After School

Remember the days when you were in school and the reading assignments were mandatory? They were difficult to get through on even the best of days, but like the good students we all were we trudged through it and got them completed. As I no longer have school after a Bachelors and two Masters, I am finding my way back to leisurely reading and I find myself still gravitating towards the books often assigned to us in school. I'm even subscribed to The Economist and am reading the weekly magazine articles that bring economics into a new perspective for me. I have also found myself reading about women during the Italian Renaissance (The Deadly Sisterhood is a great read!). Learning about finance, history, women's roles to name a few has taken a new turn for me since I am no longer required to write reports or get quizzed on them.

Reading has been fundamental in my life. It has allowed my imagination to soar in my fictional novels, and it has allowed my mind to expand and learn new concepts. I have always thought it was my duty to spend my life learning and using that knowledge to make the world better. I still believe it. I've struggled the last several years to find my place in the professional world but I believe with the love of my adoring husband and my ravage need to learn and grow, I will find what I am looking for.

Maybe I'll conquer the Commandant's Reading List? What do you think?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Life after studying

I find myself in an awkward position. Since the end of summer I have not been studying for a class and I have been chomping at the bit to find a hobby or activity to take its place. My husband and I decided to order a subscription of the Economist magazine and while it certainly has filled the void on intellectual stimulation nothing really beats learning new concepts, learning how it is applied and being tested on it in an academic setting. But I know I cannot go to school forever. I am trying to find an organization to dedicate some of my free time to. I find it amazing how some individuals dedicate time, energy, resources to advance causes close to their hearts. I have some ideas about what I want to do but all I need is that little extra push to go out and volunteer. I know I will find what motivates me and inspires me to give back. 

I still plan on eventually pursuing my PhD and I know this is the time I need to explore avenues that will help me decide on what I want to dedicate my research on. I don't want to do something that I will hate one year into it. It wouldn't make sense and I already did it one time. I have some ideas now and am exploring many other alternatives as well. I want to write about issues that mean something to me and will make me a difference in this world. 

"You don't write because you want to say something; you write because you've got something to say."

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Pledge of Allegiance

The other day I was skimming through Facebook posts and stopped at an interesting post discussing the pledge of allegiance. What struck me the most was the seemingly ignorant remarks concerning the historical origins. The original version is from 1892 and read, "I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." In 1923, "the Flag of the United States of America" was added and "Under God" wasn't added until 1954. Each addition was added based on what was happening during that time and as we approach an era where more Americans want to see a division between government and religion it makes sense that attitudes towards the pledge of allegiance will change. I grew up reciting it, I am a veteran and I completely understand the patriotic sentiments that the allegiance stirs in people. Issues change over time and each era will make changes to previous ones. Just a few decades ago it would be unimaginable that the Defense of Marriage Act would be struck down but it did and more states are allowing gay marriages.

We all have the right to vote and bring issues up to our representatives. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but if you don't get out to vote in the first place to me it seems like a waste of time to complain. But if you do complain at least have your historical facts correct.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Little thoughts on cloud computing

I was looking through some of my old assignments from graduate school and I really liked the one about cloud computing and wanted to share some of my thoughts. The following is an excerpt of one of my submissions, let me know what you think!

Cloud computing has come a long way and is ever evolving into a platform for many industries to use especially in disaster recovery. If used effectively cloud computing can be cost efficient, have the potential for unlimited storage options, the backing up of data and restoration options become easier, automatic software synchronization, easy access to information and quick deployment can occur. As an emerging practice in information technology it has the potential to revolutionize the way business is done but there are also inherent risks requiring further examination. Assessing cloud-based risks has many similarities as with other risk assessment measures taken on by organizations and should still use the same process when it comes to conducting risk/benefit analysis within an organization. Three often cited concerns when debating the use of cloud services in addition to such items as security, implementation and cost.

When trying to convince senior management to convert to cloud-based services physical and data security are risks and issues that must be addressed. Stark (2013) stated, “there is often a confusion surrounding terms and technology that abounds in the marketplace, the sensitive nature of financial data has made finance and treasury departments a laggard in technology adoption, for fear of security risks” (p. 55). Data such as financials, sales, payroll, human resource can already be outsourced in whole or in parts to outside vendors but still cause concerns for an organization on how to obtain that data quickly after a major disaster or event has occurred. Cloud solutions are focusing more effort to allow for improved control and dependability by increasing data integrity and availability, through robust security and disaster recovery provisions. Arnesen (2013) described many misconceptions of security have also been attributed to reports of security breaches of credit card and personal customer data at large online companies. Although there are still concerns about putting financial and operational information in the cloud and increasing the possibility of exposing sensitive data to hackers and outside entities this concern is being addressed as cloud vendors are putting significant resources into improving the security of their systems.

Cloud implementation can often be difficult for some organizations. Specific aspects can significantly impair or enable an organization’s ability to reap its rewards. Heffes (2013) stated some of the areas of concern in implementation occurs in security, regulation and tax areas. In more than one-quarter of the companies surveyed by Heffes found that “security-related challenges can be extensive and are a prime example of where business executives and IT need to work together to create a cloud security strategy” (2013, p.12). Companies are also looking to address possible future legal, regulatory and tax issues by strategically looking at how cloud computing can make a significant difference to the company’s tax position and bottom line.

In a survey by consulting firm KPMG International, organizations discussed how most felt confident about their cloud operations but still expressed low confidence in the maturity of cloud software providers, their ability to integrate cloud operations with existing architecture and achieving the full potential that cloud computing had come to represent to the organization (Babcock, 2013). Organizations were still underestimating the costs and complexity of integrating multiple cloud provider platforms and traditional systems into cohesive business services. Violino (2011) discussed how “it can cost tens of thousands of dollars per year to move large volumes of data to public cloud services and to store that data for long periods of time and many companies might not be aware of the expenses involved”. Network bandwidth, internal labor costs and costs for long-term data storage in the cloud are just some of the areas that organizations sometimes don’t fully comprehend which can lead to not analyzing the benefits of whether to stay internally or move to cloud computing.

Security, implementation and cost certainly are risks associated with cloud computing that need to be reviewed during a business impact analysis or risk assessment. In the disaster recovery environment cloud services “ensure that end-users have access to recovered applications and data, but just because the cloud is active doesn’t mean that users can access it” (Weidman, 2013). As Weidman goes on to explain it will not necessarily be the best choice for some organizations but the strategy to use the cloud for D/R purposes has to be determined by the results of the BIA and what the RTOs and RPOs are for the organization. Although the cloud computing concept is rooted in history it is a technology only now being used and integrated in a myriad of ways. It’s not without risk and each organization needs to do their own analysis based on their risk-thresholds. Preparation will help organizations from making decisions in the heat of the moment and protecting from risk. It will ensure organizations are better prepared to meet its goals of recovering more quickly after a disaster or event.

References

Arnesen, S. (2013). Is a cloud ERP solution right for you?. Strategic Finance, 95(2), 45-50.

Babcock, C. (2013). Cloud implementation costs, complexity surprise companies. Retrieved April 21, 2013, from http://www.informationweek.com/cloud-computing/infrastructure/cloud-implementation-costs-complexity-su/240147948

Heffes, E.M. (2013). Cloud adoption more complicated and challenging than anticipated. Financial Executive, 29(3), 11-12.

Stark, B. (2013). Risks/Rewards of moving Treasury to the cloud. Financial Executive, 29(3), 54-56.

Violino, B. (2011). Preparing for the real costs of cloud computing. Retrieved April 21, 2013, from http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/359383/The_Real_Costs_of_Cloud_Computing

Weidman, D. (2013). Cloud computing. Retrieved April 20, 2013, from
https://onlinecampus.bu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_group=courses&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2FdisplayLearningUnit%3Fcourse_id%3D_5578_1%26content_id%3D_774903_1%26framesetWrapped%3Dtrue

Friday, October 4, 2013

Joy of reading

This will be a short blog post today. I love to read. My mother used to drop me off in the library when I was young and tell me to stay in one area while she went to shop for groceries (because she couldn't find a babysitter but please know she never left me for long!) and I would grab so many books with pictures and pretend to read until she returned. I used to watch the Reading Rainbow and LeVar Burton and love how they emphasized reading and exploring all new possibilities. The library was such a magical place for me as well and when I finally learned to read it was a glorious experience using my imagination and escaping into a far off world. Books are such a treasure to me and over the years I've become ravenous. I can read a 300-400 page book in a matter of an afternoon. Bookstores to me still bring a certain level of child like awe that my husband even makes fun of me. I love the smell of a brand new book and how the pages feel running through my hands. The invention of the e-reader (I use the Kindle) has given me a medium to read even more at a relatively low cost but nothing will ever beat the feel of a book. Recently I started a collection of classical novels because when I have children I want them to experience what I did.

I have a goal. I want to reach reading over a million books by the time I'm older. I'm going to look for a journal to track solely the books I've read. Maybe mark the title, date started, date finished and maybe what I thought of the book? I think it would be a great heirloom for my children! Husband is on board, what do you think?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Star Trek Life Lessons

Since the first day I watched Star trek back in mid-1980s I fell in love with it. I loved how this world was created that showed the possibilities of what the human race can aspire to become. Of course as a little kid I loved the cool science fiction behind the story and the characters that brought this world alive to me. As I got older I learned to appreciate the complexities and I would say Captain Picard was my favorite character. I loved his leadership style, his sense of always doing what is right and his diplomatic approach to all situations.

Twenty plus years later I still love watching it because it brings back such cool childhood memories and now I have a husband who loves watching along with me and its almost as if we are seeing it for the first time again through each others eyes. I recently saw an episode (Tapesty, 141st episode) where Q gives Picard the chance to relive something in his past which changes his future. It gave me the motivation to take a big step in my career that I will hope eventually pan out.

All the Star Treks have a little knowledge that can be gleamed from them. I would love to hear any other stories!