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John Olson

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Top Stories by John Olson

Products and markets have well-defined life cycles that vary in amplitude and length, but follow historical patterns. As Bob Hendry described in his editorial in last month's issue ("Is IT Outsourcing Worth It?" [Vol. 10, issue 10]), the IT outsourcing craze is in full swing. Certainly the heads-down programmer jobs are rapidly flowing out of this country, but for two centuries the backbone of American success and industrial might has not been labor but rather innovation. During the industrial revolution we made great innovations in industrial technology and went from a small colony to a world industrial power. Continuing innovations as well as the enormous labor migrations of the 1800s carried the U.S. and its allies to victories in the World Wars, where victory was closely correlated to the volume of weapons manufactured and weapon innovations. Decades of American... (more)

A Nose For The Essentials, Interview with Yakov Werde

Though I spend most of my time consulting on software systems, I also have the pleasure of teaching a variety of courses on Sybase Tools. As a Certified Sybase Instructor, I was able to attend a recent conference in Santa Fe that Sybase put on for its instructors. While there, I sat in on a Java course taught by Yakov Werde. Yakov is a very talented teacher, skilled in communication and humor. It's a good mix. I always enjoy the opportunity to learn from him. Recently, we had the opportunity to speak about his job and get a small glimpse of Yakov after hours. Olson: Briefly tel... (more)

Third-Party Products

My goal in this article is to raise your awareness of the products available and give you enough information to go on if you choose to investigate them. I'll also discuss some of the main issues involved in searching for and selecting off-the-shelf products. Finally, this article ends by listing a few dozen products you should find useful. What's Out There? Often the only products that are well known are the ones for which large amounts are spent on advertising, which often translates into a high-price tag. It's a paradox of capitalism. For a company to get its product noticed, ... (more)

What's in a Name?

While studying computer science at the University of California in Santa Barbara, I worked for a company named Inter-Continental Telex (ICT). The name implied a large corporation with offices in major cities around the world. In reality it had only one office, three desks, two telex machines, five employees, and two shifts. It was successful for a few years and the owner considered expanding, but in the mid '80s fax machines dropped below $1,000 and became affordable to consumers, thereby sounding the death knell for telex. ICT moved from telex to fax, but the "T" in ICT was a re... (more)

Running a Tight Ship, an Interview with Brian Wesselink

A few years ago Brian Wesselink took over as director of Sybase's North America Education. Brian received a B.S. in mathematics from Central College in Iowa in 1969 and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Florida State University in 1973. He was an associate professor of mathematics and computer science at the College of Charleston until 1983, at which time he joined Wang Laboratories, holding various management positions within customer education. He joined the customer education organization at Sybase in 1995, and became its director in 1999. I recently had the opportunity to speak wi... (more)