Why I love what I do

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2007/08/PID_012118/Podtech_AlwaysOn_Irving_IBM.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/home/3783/talking-with-long-time-ibmer &totalTime=1315000&breadcrumb=5f90fd9f4ea84703aacf8fd891424155]

This conversation demonstrates why I pinch myself every morning.

I have a quick chat with Larry Magid of CBS News (and PodTech) and Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger.

Don’t know who he is? He is one of the most celebrated old-timers at IBM. Just retired but is chairman emeritus. You should read his bio. Dr. Irving isn’t your average geek.

He talks about virtual worlds and large systems. It takes two interviewers to keep up with him. And I’m only halfway joking about that.

I could listen to smart people like this for hours. Even better, he has a blog so we can read what is on his mind.

Hope you enjoy. Tomorrow you get to hear the story of how Microsoft got the operating system business instead of Digital Research. I am still amazed at that story and you’ll want to listen along.

61 thoughts on “Why I love what I do

  1. @Chris [#25] as you say, “the guidelines seem appropriate if somebody is identifying themselves in the virtual world as a representative of IBM”.

    I agree. They even point out that it’s worth being clear about whether or not you are acting as a representative, which makes sense to me.

    As with blogging, if people know who I work for then I need to make it clear whether I’m talking as me or as IBM. Most of the time, I’m just me, and to some extent it doesn’t really matter whether I’m formally representing IBM (e.g. making deals and commitments, which I’m generally not), or just getting to know people; my actions still reflect on the company as well as on myself.

    I don’t think we NEEDed virtual worlds guidelines either. Indeed, we coped for a couple of years without any, but I do believe they are helpful. It’s worth disclosing that I helped write them, but isn’t it cool that they were authored by the people inside the company who were already using virtual worlds? Common sense goes a long way, but a set of guidelines (and if you’ve read them you’ll know they are much more about examples of etiquette and common sense than a rigid set of rules) can be very helpful when people have questions about the balance between exploring virtual worlds and being an employee.

    They’re clear about what is expected, and more than anything show that the company actually quite likes the fact we’re doing these things. For me, this feels more like protection than restriction. Not every company lets its employees blog in public, or wander around in a virtual world being open about which company they work for, but ours positively encourages both these things.

    By the way, replying to this comment reminded me I’d been meaning to post about this on TerraNova, which I’ve just done. Thanks.

  2. @Chris [#25] as you say, “the guidelines seem appropriate if somebody is identifying themselves in the virtual world as a representative of IBM”.

    I agree. They even point out that it’s worth being clear about whether or not you are acting as a representative, which makes sense to me.

    As with blogging, if people know who I work for then I need to make it clear whether I’m talking as me or as IBM. Most of the time, I’m just me, and to some extent it doesn’t really matter whether I’m formally representing IBM (e.g. making deals and commitments, which I’m generally not), or just getting to know people; my actions still reflect on the company as well as on myself.

    I don’t think we NEEDed virtual worlds guidelines either. Indeed, we coped for a couple of years without any, but I do believe they are helpful. It’s worth disclosing that I helped write them, but isn’t it cool that they were authored by the people inside the company who were already using virtual worlds? Common sense goes a long way, but a set of guidelines (and if you’ve read them you’ll know they are much more about examples of etiquette and common sense than a rigid set of rules) can be very helpful when people have questions about the balance between exploring virtual worlds and being an employee.

    They’re clear about what is expected, and more than anything show that the company actually quite likes the fact we’re doing these things. For me, this feels more like protection than restriction. Not every company lets its employees blog in public, or wander around in a virtual world being open about which company they work for, but ours positively encourages both these things.

    By the way, replying to this comment reminded me I’d been meaning to post about this on TerraNova, which I’ve just done. Thanks.

  3. @21, [I have to disagree, and disagree strongly... I think Robert’s style (which I admit can be annoying from time to time)]…

    How can you disagree strongly but parenthetically agree that Robert is annoying at times? Sounds like you agree with me.

    Content of the interview aside, the gaffaws are annoying and detract from the information being discussed. It’s like a nervous tick or someone who uses the word “Like” a lot as filler. Fix it and you’ll gain more audience for the vblog content.

    Grow up. Be a professional and become a good interviewer. Otherwise stick to the written word.

  4. @21, [I have to disagree, and disagree strongly... I think Robert’s style (which I admit can be annoying from time to time)]…

    How can you disagree strongly but parenthetically agree that Robert is annoying at times? Sounds like you agree with me.

    Content of the interview aside, the gaffaws are annoying and detract from the information being discussed. It’s like a nervous tick or someone who uses the word “Like” a lot as filler. Fix it and you’ll gain more audience for the vblog content.

    Grow up. Be a professional and become a good interviewer. Otherwise stick to the written word.

  5. I don’t understand why anyone commenting here feels the need to condemn Mr. Scoble. One person suggested that it is somehow harmful for his young son to be with him during his work. Instead of offering constructive criticism, another person condemned Mr. Scoble for laughing at his own jokes. Both of these people need a big ‘ol cup of SHUT THE F**K UP. I enjoyed the interview, as there were some good questions and Mr IBM had some interesting things to say. On the other hand, he also came off as a bit of a conversation bully. This is especially noticeable when he continuously interrupts Mr. Magid’s questions and/or comments. At one point you can see Mr. Magid looking around, his body language suggesting the thought, “Why the hell am I even here?”

  6. I don’t understand why anyone commenting here feels the need to condemn Mr. Scoble. One person suggested that it is somehow harmful for his young son to be with him during his work. Instead of offering constructive criticism, another person condemned Mr. Scoble for laughing at his own jokes. Both of these people need a big ‘ol cup of SHUT THE F**K UP. I enjoyed the interview, as there were some good questions and Mr IBM had some interesting things to say. On the other hand, he also came off as a bit of a conversation bully. This is especially noticeable when he continuously interrupts Mr. Magid’s questions and/or comments. At one point you can see Mr. Magid looking around, his body language suggesting the thought, “Why the hell am I even here?”

  7. Great content.
    The heart of this interview, for me, was the emphasis on visual communication and interaction added to written/verbal, as well as the identification of social behavior that is so ingrained and natural that we don’t typically bother describing or even noticing it. Those elements, as I hear it, are essential underpinnings to the business and social modelling that will enable the paradigm shifts for most people. Whether they’re applied by IBM or anyone else doesn’t, I believe, effect the validity of the concepts.
    Vera

  8. Great content.
    The heart of this interview, for me, was the emphasis on visual communication and interaction added to written/verbal, as well as the identification of social behavior that is so ingrained and natural that we don’t typically bother describing or even noticing it. Those elements, as I hear it, are essential underpinnings to the business and social modelling that will enable the paradigm shifts for most people. Whether they’re applied by IBM or anyone else doesn’t, I believe, effect the validity of the concepts.
    Vera

  9. @21 I dunno… Larry King seems to do a pretty good job of drawing guests out, despite his softball questions. Charlie Rose also does an excellent job without being “quirky” or denatured and boring. Dick Cavett was excellent as well. As was David Frost. Scoble could take a few lessons from those guys. I agree that being interviewed by a cardboard news reader doesn’t do anyone any good.

    If “quirkyness” is more successful in drawing people out, then why don’t we see more of it? And why stop with self-serving guffawing? Why not put on a rubber nose, carry a horn and a squirting boutoniere and take quirkeyness all the way?

  10. @21 I dunno… Larry King seems to do a pretty good job of drawing guests out, despite his softball questions. Charlie Rose also does an excellent job without being “quirky” or denatured and boring. Dick Cavett was excellent as well. As was David Frost. Scoble could take a few lessons from those guys. I agree that being interviewed by a cardboard news reader doesn’t do anyone any good.

    If “quirkyness” is more successful in drawing people out, then why don’t we see more of it? And why stop with self-serving guffawing? Why not put on a rubber nose, carry a horn and a squirting boutoniere and take quirkeyness all the way?

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