Daily Archives: March 8, 2012

Bold new step for IT-ology, Innovista

This just came in a few minutes ago:

It’s a sign of progress. Friday, the Tower at 1301 Gervais — a landmark in the Columbia skyline — becomes IT-oLogy @ Innovista.

The installation of the IT-oLogy @ Innovista signage exemplifies the already successful partnership between IT-oLogy and Innovista to foster the development, growth and relocation of information technology (IT) companies, small and large.

“This marks the fruition of one of our original visions: a district with the strategic clustering of IT companies in one locality,” said Don Herriott, Director of Innovista Partnerships. “More companies are seeing the advantages of co-location, and IT-oLogy @ Innovista now houses 9 IT companies, and counting.”

SignIT-oLogy’s mission is to promote, teach and grow the IT talent pipeline and profession. With Innovista’s mission of creating, attracting and growing knowledge-based companies in the Midlands of South Carolina, the two constitute a perfect partnership for recruiting to the new IT-oLogy @ Innovista building.  Clustering IT companies in a single location, such as the Tower at 1301 Gervais St., can open the door for new opportunities for partnership and business development, stimulate new ideas and industry innovation and help in the recruitment of new companies to the region.

“Our goal is to bring the IT community together in a collaborative environment to develop the IT pipeline through programs at all levels,” said Lonnie Emard, executive director of IT-oLogy. “The partnership with Innovista is a perfect example of this collaborative effort because we are bringing together people and companies that are dedicated to both of our missions.”

The establishment of an IT district is not about a sign at the top of the Tower at 1301 Gervais St. While that is a visible representation of the partnership, the real story is what happens both inside and outside of the building. The uniqueness of IT-oLogy is that it is not a single company or entity; instead, it is a non-profit collaboration of companies, academic institutions and organizations uniting to address the nationwide shortage of skilled IT professionals. To address this challenge, IT-oLogy offers K-12 programs where students explore numerous IT career options, internships for undergraduate students and continuing education opportunities that keep professionals constantly learning and up-to-date. When all this happens, the result is a vibrant economic picture, which is the goal of Innovista.

The confluence of opportunities in IT-oLogy @ Innovista will provide a home in the community for local talent as well. “At the University of South Carolina, our responsibility to students and alumni extends beyond education. It includes a commitment to helping them find jobs, good jobs, when they graduate,” said Dr. Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina. “The pairing of IT-oLogy and Innovista is perfect because of their complementary missions, each focused on growing our innovation economy in this region and across South Carolina.”

“From the outset, the vision of IT-oLogy has been to have business and academic partners collaborate to advance IT talent,” Emard said. “The lack of IT talent is a national epidemic that is solved in a local manner. The establishment of IT-oLogy @ Innovista is a visible representation of bringing companies together to collaborate and partner, fostering new ideas and technologies.”

Recently, IT-oLogy announced the establishment of the branch IT-oLogy @ University Center of Greenville, located in Greenville, S.C. This is yet another way IT-oLogy is working locally to address a national issue. In the future, IT-oLogy will continue to open branches across the nation as a way to advance IT talent in a grassroots manner.

Innovista is a strategic economic development effort that is connecting USC and university-spawned innovations with entrepreneurs, businesses and stakeholders. Its purpose is to help attract and create technology-intensive, knowledge-based companies, which result in higher-paying jobs and raise the standard of living in South Carolina.

For more information about Innovista, visit www.innovista.sc.edu

This is interesting on a number of levels.

Several months ago, I heard a rumor that Innovista’s headquarters were going to move from the USC campus to this building, in part to emphasize the point (emphasized by Don Herriott) that Innovista is about the whole community, not just those blocks in the area described by Assembly and the river, Gervais and the baseball stadium (and certainly far, far more than those couple of buildings people keep going on about).

Then I heard that wasn’t right. Maybe this idea is what started the rumor I’d heard.

Anyway, this is interesting, and I’m not sure what all the ramifications are yet…

Saving Private Obama

The thing that grabbed me was that this campaign video is narrated by Tom Hanks. Hence the headline.

Beyond that, this video is interesting on two levels:

  • It gives us a taste of how the president is going to sell his record for re-election purposes.
  • It’s a new wrinkle to me — a trailer for a campaign ad. Sort of like the trailer for the Ferris Bueller ad ahead of the Super Bowl. It goes (I think) where no candidate marketing has gone before…

More info, from Politico:

The Obama campaign has released the trailer to director Davis Guggenheim’s 17 minute film about President Obama’s first term in office.

The film is narrated by Tom Hanks and the trailer includes interview clips of Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, David Axelrod, Austan Goolsbee, and Elizabeth Warren among others.

According to the campaign, the film will be released next week at support events around the country.

    What’s the proper price for books that don’t exist?

    Just a couple of days after I posted a video of the director of the Ayn Rand Institute, that organization sends out this release:

    Apple Should Be Free to Charge $15 for eBooks

    WASHINGTON–Apple and five top book publishers have been threatened by federal antitrust authorities. According to the Wall Street Journal, they are to be sued for allegedly colluding to fix ebook prices.

    According to Ayn Rand Center fellow Don Watkins, “Traditional books may come from trees but they don’t grow on trees–and ebooks and ebook readers such as the iPad definitely don’t grow on trees. These are amazing values created by publishers and by companies such as Apple. They have a right to offer their products for sale at whatever prices they choose. They cannot force us to buy them. If they could, why would they charge only $15? Why not $50? Why not $1,000?

    “There is no mystically ordained ‘right’ price for ebooks–the right price is the one voluntarily agreed to between sellers and buyers. Sure, some buyers may complain about ebook prices–but they are also buying an incredible number of ebooks.

    “What in the world justifies a bunch of bureaucrats who have created nothing interfering in these voluntary arrangements and declaring that they get to decide what considerations should go into pricing ebooks?”

    Read more from Don Watkins at his blog.

    I didn’t know what the Institute was on about until I saw this Wall Street Journal piece:

    U.S. Warns Apple, Publishers

    The Justice Department has warned Apple Inc. and five of the biggest U.S. publishers that it plans to sue them for allegedly colluding to raise the price of electronic books, according to people familiar with the matter.

    Several of the parties have held talks to settle the antitrust case and head off a potentially damaging court battle, these people said. If successful, such a settlement could have wide-ranging repercussions for the industry, potentially leading to cheaper e-books for consumers. However, not every publisher is in settlement discussions.

    The five publishers facing a potential suit areCBS Corp.’s Simon & Schuster Inc.;Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group;Pearson PLC’s Penguin Group (USA); Macmillan, a unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH; and HarperCollins Publishers Inc., a unit of News Corp. , which also owns The Wall Street Journal….

    This is truly a fight in which I do not have a dog. I think. And it should please the Randians that my own attitude has to do with market forces. I can’t conceive of paying $15 for a book when, after the transaction, I don’t actually have a book.

    So I can approach this dispassionately, and ask, to what extent is this a monopoly situation? After all, Apple has competitors — such as Amazon, which actually pioneered this business of selling “books” to people electronically. The WSJ story addresses that:

    To build its early lead in e-books, Amazon Inc. sold many new best sellers at $9.99 to encourage consumers to buy its Kindle electronic readers. But publishers deeply disliked the strategy, fearing consumers would grow accustomed to inexpensive e-books and limit publishers’ ability to sell pricier titles.

    Publishers also worried that retailers such as Barnes & Noble Inc. would be unable to compete with Amazon’s steep discounting, leaving just one big buyer able to dictate prices in the industry. In essence, they feared suffering the same fate as record companies at Apple’s hands, when the computer maker’s iTunes service became the dominant player by selling songs for 99 cents.

    Now that sounds more like what I would think the market would bear, if the market were like me. $9.99 sounds closer to what I might conceivably be willing to pay in order to have access to the contents of a book without actually getting a book. But it still seems high.

    Yes, I can see advantages to a e-book. You can store more of them in a smaller space. They don’t get musty, which for an allergic guy like me is nothing to sneeze at. And you can search them, to look up stuff you read, and want to quote or otherwise share. That last consideration isn’t that great for me because I have an almost eerie facility for quickly finding something I read in a book, remembering by context. But… once I’ve found it, there’s the problem that if I want to quote it, I have to type it — which is not only time-consuming, but creates the potential for introducing transcription errors. Far better to copy and paste. (At least, I think you can copy and paste from ebooks. Google Books doesn’t allow it. See how I got around that back here, by using screenshots of Google  Books.)

    But I still want to possess the book. Maybe it’s just pure acquisitiveness, or maybe it’s a survivalist thing — I want something I can read even if someone explodes a thermonuclear device over my community, knocking out all electronics.

    In any case, all of us are still sorting out what an ebook is worth to us. Let Apple set the price where it may, and try to compete with Amazon. Then we’ll see what shakes out.

    The infrastructure of a healthy society

    Well, I’m back. I had some sort of crud yesterday that made me leave the office about this time yesterday– upset stomach, weakness, achiness. It lasted until late last night. When I got up this morning, I was better, but puny. So I went back to bed, and made it to the office just after noon. Much better now.

    Anyway, instead of reading newspapers over breakfast at the Capital City Club the way I usually do, I read a few more pages in my current book, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, by Charles C. Mann. Remember how I was all in a sweat to read it several months ago after reading an excerpt in The Wall Street Journal? Well, having read the prequel, 1491, I’m finally well into this one.

    And I’m reading about how settlement by Europeans in many parts of the New World established “extraction societies.” At least, I think that was the term. (It’s one I’ve seen elsewhere, related to “extraction economy” and, less closely, to “plunder economy.” The book is at home, and Google Books won’t let me see the parts of the book where the term was used. But the point was this: Settlements were established that existed only to extract some commodity from a country — say, sugar in French Guiana. Only a few Europeans dwelt there, driving African slaves in appalling conditions. Profits went to France, and the institutions and infrastructure were never developed, or given a chance to develop.

    Neither a strong, growing economy with opportunities for all individuals, nor its attendant phenomenon democracy, can thrive in such a place. (Which is related to something Tom Friedman often writes about, having to do with why the Israelis were lucky that their piece of the Mideast is the only one without oil.)

    Here are some excerpts I was able to find on Google Books, to give the general thrust of what I’m talking about:

    There are degrees of extraction societies, it would seem. South Carolina developed as such a society, but in modified form. There were more slaves than free whites, and only a small number even of the whites could prosper in the economy. But those few established institutions and infrastructure that allowed something better than the Guianas to develop. Still, while we started ahead of the worst extraction societies, and have made great strides since, our state continues to lag by having started so far back in comparison to other states.

    It is also inhibited by a lingering attitude among whites of all economic classes, who do not want any of what wealth exists to be used on the kind of infrastructure that would enable people on the bottom rungs to better themselves. This comes up in the debate over properly funding public transit in the economic community of Columbia.

    Because public transit doesn’t pay for itself directly, any more than roads do, there is a political reluctance to invest in it, which holds back people on the lower rungs who would like to better themselves — by getting to work as an orderly at a hospital, or to classes at Midlands Tech.

    It’s a difficult thing to overcome. Other parts of the country, well out of the malarial zones (you have to read Mann to understand my reference here), have no trouble ponying up for such things. But here, there’s an insistent weight constantly pulling us down into the muck of our past…