# "value" entries

## Expect no, but fight for yes

### At the end of the day, there are no rules, only guidelines.

Editor’s note: this is the transcript of DJ Patil’s commencement address to the 2014 graduating class at UC Santa Cruz’s Jack Baskin School of Engineering; it is published here with permission.

DJ Patil with his father. Photo: courtesy of DJ Patil.

Thank you, Dean Ramirez and the distinguished faculty here today. And thank you to all the friends and family who have come out to celebrate this day. Thank you all for being here.

But most importantly: you. The Class of 2014. I gotta tell you guys: you look awesome. Downright amazing.

Now, I recognize that I’m the person standing between you and a selfie with your diploma, so I’m going to do my best to keep it short. And to start, I’m going to start with a confession: ever since Professor Getoor reached out and asked me if I’d be willing to do this, I’ve been dreading it. I mean really, really dreading it. I mean like as in final-exam-in-compilers dreading it. Read more…

## Where will software and hardware meet?

### Software is adding more and more value to machines. Could it completely commoditize them?

I’m a sucker for a good plant tour, and I had a really good one last week when Jim Stogdill and I visited K. Venkatesh Prasad at Ford Motor in Dearborn, Mich. I gave a seminar and we talked at length about Ford’s OpenXC program and its approach to building software platforms.

The highlight of the visit was seeing the scale of Ford’s operation, and particularly the scale of its research and development organization. Prasad’s building is a half-mile into Ford’s vast research and engineering campus. It’s an endless grid of wet labs like you’d see at a university: test tubes and robots all over the place; separate labs for adhesives, textiles, vibration dampening; machines for evaluating what’s in reach for different-sized people.

Prasad explained that much of the R&D that goes into a car is conducted at suppliers–Ford might ask its steel supplier to come up with a lighter, stronger alloy, for instance–but Ford is responsible for integrative research: figuring out how to, say, bond its foam insulation onto that new alloy.

In our more fevered moments, we on the software side of things tend to foresee every problem being reduced to a generic software problem, solvable with brute-force computing and standard machinery. In that interpretation, a theoretical Google car operating system–one that would drive the car and provide Web-based services to passengers–could commoditize the mechanical aspects of the automobile. Read more…

## The media-marketing merge

### Can good content come from pay-to-play relationships?

I ran across a program Forbes is running called BrandVoice that gives marketers a place on Forbes’ digital platform. During a brief audio interview with TheMediaBriefing, Forbes European managing director Charles Yardley explained how BrandVoice works:

“It’s quite simply a tenancy fee. A licensing fee that the marketer pays every single month. It’s based on a minimum of a six-month commitment. There’s two different tiers, a $50,000-per-month level and a$75,000-per-month level.” [Discussed at the 4:12 mark.]

Take a look at some of the views BrandVoice companies are getting. You can see why marketers would be interested. Read more…

## Building conference programs: it’s about the attendee

### The essential principles of conference development.

I’ve chaired computer industry conferences for ten years now. First for IDEAlliance (XML Europe, XTech), and recently with O’Reilly Media (OSCON, Strata). Over the years I have tried to balance three factors as I select talks: proposal quality, important new work, and practical value of the knowledge to the attendees.

As the competition for speaking slots at both Strata and OSCON reach intense levels, I wanted to articulate these factors, and the principles I use when compiling conference programs.

## How the program is made

My guiding principle in putting a program together is value to the attendees. They’re why we do this. By putting out quality content and speakers, we attract thinking, interested attendees. In turn, our sponsors get a much better quality of conversation and customer contact through their presence at the event.

Here’s the process in a nutshell: proposals are invited through a public call for participation, and then reviewers, drawn from the industry community of experts, will grade and comment on each proposal. I and my co-chairs use this feedback, along with editorial judgement, to compile the final schedule. For keynotes, and a small number of breakout sessions, we will augment the review process by inviting talks we think are important for the program.