Friday, May 07, 2004

Asterisk Use Accelerates...

The adoption of a technology outside the initial core group of visionaries is an important milestone on the path to greatness or abandonment. Recently a number of folks have pointed out that Pulver's "Free World Dialup" now supports Asterisk -- you can read about it here on -- Pulver's own blog . A comment over in North American Bandwidth news:

Soon, protocols will be irrelevant since all VoIP devices will support all of them.

An interesting point -- though it misses a key issue. Translation can replace standards as long as the standards are transparent and processor speed is cheap and plentiful. This is true for all open protocols -- think currencies, human language translation... But not so for closed, proprietary protocols. As an open-source VoIP offering, Asterisk makes it easy for anyone to support since their protocol is published. Translation for Skype, on the other hand, might prove much more difficult.

On another front, I spoke to someone who was told by Global Crossing that they are now doing tests to certify Asterisk. If they decide to formally support Asterisk, this will be an even stronger indication that we are on the road to wide adoption rather than oblivion...

COMMENT 5/8/2004 1:40:50 AM Roland Tanglao (www) said:

Hi Ted:

Yes, it can be difficult to translate and emulate a closed protocol like Skype, but it's not impossible.

If Skype doesn't interoperate and coexist with other VoIP protocols but in spite of this still becomes popular with the mass market, somebody will reverse engineer it!

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Corporate Cockroaches

One should never underestimate the lowly cockroach. If any creature could survive a nuclear holocaust, it would likely be cockroaches. They have a capacity for survival that surely puts them in the Darwinian All-Stars. A few days ago a friend of mine (who works for a very large company) and I were talking about the people that somehow survive layoff after layoff inside his company. "They are cockroaches!" he exclaimed. A kind of corporate cockroach. Through a combination of hoarding information, avoiding accountability and spending their work time on building a network of relationships these individuals find cozy cracks and crevices to survive the reduction in force bombs that explode on a regular basis.

One can't entirely blame the cockroach, however. If corporations made their employees feel a little more secure in their positions, perhaps they wouldn't feel the need to spend their intellectual energy on how to protect themselves instead of on how to get their jobs done. Or is society to blame because we learn to attach our own sense of self-worth to the work we do, so losing a job can be a more terrible blow to self-confidence than virtually anything else?

Whoever is to blame, a manager's task is clear -- take out the RAID can and exterminate the beasts. Watch for those three signal events -- hoarding information, avoiding accountability, and inordinate amounts of time "networking." Businesses have to be able to have "roles" and not "faces" as another of my friends recently stated. We each play a role within or organization. Part of our job should be making sure that someone else can play that role if we move on. And we should look to our teams as people playing roles as well. The moment you believe that a particular person is essential, rather than a role being essential, you should recognize that you have a problem.