August 2, 2006

Bulk view

I heart the Toronto Public Library

I can’t believe it took me a year to get around to making the most of
the Toronto Public Library. I grew up in a country without a good
public library system and thus had no idea just how cool one could be.
Fortunately, two of my friends are avid fans of the TPL. (Hi
Dan Howard! Hi Quinn Fung!)
Quinn’s always telling me about some book or other that’s available for pick-up, and Dan told me about the trick of reserving one gazillion books.

Today I gave the web-based library catalogue a spin, and promptly requested dozens and dozens of books. I knew they’d take some time to be delivered to the branch nearest me, but I headed to the College and Spadina branch anyway as it was just a few blocks away from my residence and I wanted to raid the stacks for interesting Wednesday night reading.

It was a good thing I took my wheeled grocery bag, as I ended up
checking out far too many books. I winnowed the list down from the
stack of books I’d pulled off the shelves for browsing, but was still
sorely tempted to push the library limit of 50 (50!) books checked out
at any given time.

I’ve already finished one: Beauty Fades, Dumb is Forever, by Judy Sheindlin (of Judge Judy fame). The main thing I took away from that book is that guys aren’t built to be nurturing, and there’s nothing wrong with nurturing myself. I knew that. =) Also, the book had interesting anecdotes from the life of a no-nonsense judge. Not a bad read.

I heart the Toronto Public Library. It’s pretty up to date – lots of 2006 titles, yay! – and the web-based reservation system totally rocks. Sweet!

UPDATE: See also Bookmarklet for the Toronto Public Library

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Pampering myself

Wednesdays are for catching my breath. I spent the evening pampering
myself.

I lathered my face and wiped the suds off with a soft washcloth,
poured boiling water into a large bowl and steamed my face for ten
minutes, and then used some tissue to extract some of the oil from my
skin. (Must get ingredients for clay or strawberry mask.)

I scrubbed my feet with pumice, soaked them in a warm bath (the
cleaning bucket is *just* wide enough to accommodate my feet
crosswise!), and scrubbed them again.

For good measure, I decided to have a proper bath, too. Self-massage,
mmm. I read a book until the water cooled a bit, then I ran cold water
in to energize me.

Sweet.

Next week, maybe I can try adding a few cups of milk or some drops of
essential oils. A little bit of indulgence…

Meeting about courses

I met with Mark Chignell about the courses I should register for this term. He suggested signing up for all of them, attending the first few lectures, and choosing the one I like the most. I’ll have to rely on my intuition for this because the course descriptions all sound good. If I get along with the professors, I might even be able to explain my personal background and goals and get their help in figuring out which course would be best.

We’ll meet again tomorrow to flesh out my research plan.

Next action: Brainstorm a few things I can prototype. Also, take care of some paperwork.

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Cross-fertilization

I’d love to take a business-related course to round out my education and widen my network. If I can convince the Rotman School of Management to let me take an MBA elective, that would totally rock. Alternatively, I could cross over into CS. Here’s what I’m looking at:

MGT 2019: Commercializing Technological Innovations
How *does* one value innovation, anyway?
MGT 2050: Skoll Project: The Technology/Management Interface
Directly related to my research into adoption of technological innovations. I might be able to talk my way into this. Geared towards large companies.
MGT 2017: Strategic Networks
Directly related to my interest in supporting social networking. I might be able to talk my way into this based on my research.
Marketing High Technology Products
Hmm.
CSC2527H The Business of Software
Sounds like a terrific course.

Details:

MGT 2019: Commercializing Technological Innovations

This course is intended to improve your ability to determine whether,
when and how to commercialize technological innovations. It will also
enhance your ability to manage your firm’s technology strategy
post-commercialization. As such, this course will be of particular
interest to students interested in technology-driven businesses and
new ventures, as well as financial analysts interested in how to
assess and value a firm’s technology-related activities and even
policymakers interested in formulating supportive technology policy.
This course is highly complementary with several other strategy
electives including Cooperative Strategy, Corporate Strategy, Game
Theory and Competitive Dynamics, Strategy in the Creative Industries,
and Technology Strategy.

Commercialization of technological innovation entails facing a host of
challenging questions including: What is the value of an innovation?
What is the right way to commercialize it – when is licensing
preferred to joint ventures or diversification? How can I understand
and anticipate technological change, and pursue strategies to take
advantage of my insight? Can technology strategy be a source of
competitive advantage?

This course will introduce you to the issues and analytical arguments
behind these questions and others, drawing on recent advances in the
literatures on competitive strategy, organization economics,
industrial organization and technology management. The theoretical
arguments developed in the course will consistently be applied through
case analysis and the course project. In addition, the course will
provide insight into current “hot” technologies, including
nanotechnology and information technology.

The overall objectives of this course are to provide you with
analytical frameworks and tools that will sharpen your ability to:

  • Recognize and evaluate commercialization opportunities;
  • Anticipate problems faced by technology-driven ventures;
  • Understand the relationship between market and organizational characteristics and the success or failure of an innovation;
  • Develop and assess an overall technology strategy.
MGT 2050: Skoll Project: The Technology/Management Interface

Technology and innovation must be actively managed. This course
focuses on the concepts, techniques and processes used to facilitate
successful technological innovations in firms. The objectives of the
class are to (1) introduce students to the multiple factors involved
in successful technological innovation in firms and (2) provide
students with opportunities to integrate and synthesize the multiple
demands and requirements faced by managers in innovative firms. This
course is a requirement for all students in the Skoll BASc/MBA
program. Other MBA students interested in technology are encouraged to
take this course.

MGT 2017: Strategic Networks

The purpose of this course is to learn how social networks affect the
organization and coordination of work, and create economic value. In
particular, we will focus on network entrepreneurs – individuals or
organizations that use social networks to discover and exploit
economic opportunities. We will begin with some recent examples of
network entrepreneurs, and then introduce the underlying network
principles, followed by a discussion of network forms of organizing.
The course will focus on the relevance of social networks for both the
formulation of strategy for new (i.e., entrepreneurial) ventures and
the implementation of strategy in existing organizations. Social
networks will be examined at the individual level (e.g., the pattern
of friendship relationships among individuals in a firm) and at the
organizational level (e.g., the pattern of strategic alliances among
firms in an industry).

Marketing High Technology Products

The rapid evolution of high-tech products and their technology offer
many new challenges to the marketer. Marketing start-ups as well as
established products, managing the introduction of upgraded or
innovative products, distribution channel selection, branding,
advertising, the use of media such as the Internet, and developing
strategies to profit from the convergence of previously diverse
technologies, are some of the topics covered.

The Computer Science department is also offering an interesting course this fall:

CSC2527H The Business of Software

The course identifies the principles for starting and operating
successful and growing software venture. Students are expected to
understand the “why” of these principles by the end of the course.
Student work is centred on building a real business plan for a
software venture with a group of other students. The intended audience
for these business plans are potential investors, including angel
investors and venture capital funds. Guest entrepreneurs and other
industry participants provide ‘real world’ perspective.

OBJECTIVES

The main objectives of this course include development of:

  • An understanding of the high-technology business environment in
    general and of the computer and software industries in particular.
  • An understanding of the basic principles involved in crafting a
    small healthy growing business within the software industry
  • The ability to write, present, and critique business plans and to
    formulate basic computer-based financial forecasting models.
  • A capacity to analyze the first-person perspective of entrepreneurs
    and other industry participants.

SYNOPSIS

Topics will include the definition and scope of the computer and
software industries; an analysis of the sources of innovative
opportunity; a discussion of strategy and, key trends such as open
source, outsourcing and ‘software as a service’; software market
planning and product planning; the management of R&D and software
development; software product marketing; software sales and sales
management; software support; the financing and financial management
of high technology ventures; legal protections for software as
intellectual property; and leadership, management, and human resources
for high technology industries.

The class will be enriched by the participation of guest entrepreneurs
– skilled practitioners active in the industry.

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