Tuesday, May 27

WCIT 2008 - Tuesday

The day started with perhaps one of the most interesting panel discussions. It was to do with how to produce creativity and what can be done about it. These were the people there.

  • - Arnold Gay, Anchor, CNBC - Moderator
  • - Kamil Othman, Vice President, Multimedia Development Corporation
  • - Fritz Attaway, Executive Vice President, Motion Picture Association of America
  • - Terry Thoren, Chief Executive Officer, Rocket Fish Studios

You cannot get a better collection of people talking about the most creative of industries, motion pictures and a very educational and interesting debate happened. Terry said that the world is changing, Malaysia has twin towers now while USA no longer has it. Who knows what's going to happen in the future? He has severe distaste for politics but great admiration for tech, people, process, creativity, etc

Kamil went into deep details on how to build an innovative industry? Animation in Malaysia. Disappointing take up, long way to go, to make a Walt Disney, you need to start with one million children drawing in grade 8. You cannot create a flash laboratory, shove people in there and wait on the other side of the Lab waiting for Toy Story or Cinderella to drop out of the other side. It has to be started from the very basic levels, people cannot look down on the arts which they do at this moment.

Monetisation of opportunities and content is a challenge, how do you do it? look around you, all countries are pushing people to get educated and into the knowledge sciences, but not all people are thus inclined. Many people simply do not like mathematics or technology. Some people want to study arts, or paint or simply do not have the mathematical skills. What do you do to them? Those who want to write poems? How does he get paid? or fed?

There were conversations around how to create a movie or animated film, quite interesting to see how Hollywood and Silicon Valley literally took decades to develop, you cannot do that just by throwing technology at it. Quite thought provoking indeed. Perhaps one could question whether it is possible to force people to become creative? Or can you just provide the infrastructure and let them get on with it? or is it just let people be, and trust in them to come up with the goods?


The next session had more ministers but I was quite interested and taken by A Raja, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, India. I have to admit, I was quite cynical at first, but was very impressed to see what he had to say about it all, how they are powering ahead with the licence's, what mistakes they made, how the process of governance is happening, who gets to approve what? and so on and so forth. Pretty good and well, I will think that what he is saying is right, because I have experienced the mobile phone revolution in India.

As usual, it has to be different. Rest of the world goes through scientific revolution, industrial revolution, then wars then dial up then broadband and mobile, India starts off with revolutions in 3000 years BC, then has fun, then goes into decline, then starts off with a revolution in Y2K and then the next revolution is mobile and mobile internet and mobile commerce is bigger now, how strange and unique... Very curious, loads to think about there. The technology trajectories of these two countries, based upon what Dr. Jiren of China said, are so different. One wonders what will happen in the future.

Incidentally, there was a gentleman from Saudi Arabia who made me think of the previous session. He spoke on about how much money has been pumped into the industry in Saudi Arabia, the emergence of knowledge cities, and the like. Not impressed at all. Not at all impressed. Setting up a knowledge city and throwing money at it does not solve the problem of creativity or having knowledge industries. For that, you need to have creativity at the school level. They have to inquire and challenge everything. Can you imagine something like that happening in Saudi Arabia? Which is the reason why I couldn't take it any more and went outside to grab a coffee. Perhaps the organisers should have kept coffee on tap, this was crazy!


The next topic was rather dry, Dr. Mobius talked about where the next hotspots will be. And I lost my notes on this lecture. I remember him showing loads of graphs about where and when returns are made. It was an asset management view, so was a bit dry. Still, was a bit interesting, specially around the returns of the various sectors in the asian economy. That is much that I remember... if and when I get my hands on his slide deck, and have time to read it again, will comment...


For the next session, I went to the "Asia, the destination of choice for Shared Services and Outsourcing" session.

  • - Dato’ Narayanan Kanan, Senior Vice-President, Multimedia Development Corporation – Moderator
  • - Michael F. Corbett, Chairman of the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals
  • - Dr Ganesh Natarajan, Chairman, NASSCOM
  • - David Wong, Chairman, Outsourcing Malaysia
  • - Stephen Braim, Vice President Governmental Programs, IBM Asia Pacific

Very interesting, Michael spoke about the impact of the US elections on international outsourcing. I was, frankly a bit puzzled by that kind of emphasis. For two reasons. The first aspect is that the actual number of jobs which are dependent upon the classical aspect of outsourcing is reducing, and the second aspect is, did he really think that the elections will make a tiny bit of difference? Obviously yes, but I am rather disappointed that it was more American rather than International. Also, I was a bit saddened that there was no discussions about international aspects, taxation, technology which allows remote working, etc.

But overall, it was quite interesting, there was discussion about education and how that will help in various countries. What Malaysia is trying to do. What the IBM view was from the perspective of government initiatives and education and so on and so forth. But also, I was a bit disappointed that most people's perspective was the next 8 - 12 months, not more. Still, lets go to lunch, was feeling quite hungry now.


Over lunch, we had a speech by Dr. Rowe, where he was talking about how the worlds of virtual reality and real life reality meet and how they work together. Quite an interesting topic and he spoke quite a lot about his own personal experiences and the like. But not much about real life applications. I then sent him an email afterwards, and this is what I said to him.

  • At ABN AMRO, we used Second Life to actually recruit, it was very challenging and interesting but it ultimately failed because of lack of regulatory frameworks. Ended up with 5.5 FTE dedicated to Second Life but then scaled back.
  • We also used a virtual world to help mentoring. Such as when we have just 2 IT employees in Uzbekistan, then how do I get the junior chap mentored? So we setup a virtual world where mentors and mentee's can congregate in a persistent state across the world. This helps in knowledge capture and better employee retention.
  • My friend from BP is using a virtual world to track every employee in complex and potentially dangerous plants. This location tracking and graphical display of every employee is used for fire, safety, evacuation and training purposes.

Second life and other virtual lives have become really challenging world and are throwing up some seriously challenging questions for us, again which have not been fully explored just yet.


Unfortunately, I missed the next slot because we had to go and get powdered up for our session at 3. Not much to speak about in there, check out the slide deck. Also managed to miss out a large proportion of the next presentation from Dr. Pachauri because we were supposed to be in a room answering questions. But did manage to catch snippets of his talk. Quite interesting.

I had to take an office phone call so managed to miss out on the next one as well. So that was that. Nice dinner, watched a charity auction, observed some very nice and lovely looking ladies. This lady was standing 2 feet away from me. Very fragrant. Nice hair even.

Technorati Tags: ,

No comments: