Monday, February 20, 2006

Beyond FreeMind: Check out CMAP Tools!

For those folks addicted to FreeMind, you should definitely check out Cmap

The CmapTools program empowers users to construct, navigate, share and criticize knowledge models represented as concept maps. It allows users to, among many other features, construct their Cmaps in their personal computer, share them on servers (CmapServers) anywhere on the Internet, link their Cmaps to other Cmaps on servers, automatically create web pages of their concept maps on servers, edit their maps synchronously (at the same time) with other users on the Internet, and search the web for information relevant to a concept map.

The CmapTools client is free for use by anybody, whether its use is commercial or non-commercial. In particular, schools and universities are encouraged to download it and install it in as many computers as desired, and students and teachers may make copies of it and install it at home. (Commercial companies that install their own CmapServer do need to get a separate license for a CmapTools client that will talk to the commercial version of the CmapServer).

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Why I left Cisco Last Year

Death By Risk Aversion has some good lines that capture life in a big product vendor. The 2nd paragraph below nails it!

But whose fear? The metaphor Liz used (she got from someone else) was that many of the "leaf nodes" (what Microsoft and Sun and others refer to as "individual contributors") tend to be innovative and brave, but many of the "branches" (i.e. layers of management) can't stomach the risks. In their (admirable) desire to be strong and stable, the "branches" put safety above all else.


What kind of safety? Sometimes managers are putting the best interests of the company first. That's great--they're often more experienced and have a better grasp of the bigger context. But (and it's a really big but) sometimes they're just worried about their own damn job. In other words, the leaf node/individual contributors often think about the effect of their work on users, while the mid-level managers often think about the effect of their work on their job. And whose fault is that? All those layers of bosses. Even one risk-averse boss in the chain-of-command can do major damage to innovation, spirt, motivation, etc.