Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Businessweek Pieces: USA Inc. / Cloud Computing / Hubris & Hacking

Three different feature stories from Businessweek lately that stood out to me as particularly interesting.

Cover story from the Feb 24 issue was "USA Inc.: Red, White, and Very Blue", a report on the financial health of the country as if it were a corporation. Written by Mary Meeker, it's reading that trends a bit towards the heavy for someone not financially minded, but is nothing if not in-depth (has an accompanying 460 page presentation).

Beyond the sheer weight of it, though, the story struck me as important and featured specific recommendations of what steps could be taken to improve the financial health of the country.

As Meeker writes in the beginning of her examination...

I reached three conclusions. First, USA Inc. has serious financial challenges. Second, its problems are fixable. Third, clear communication with citizen-shareholders is essential. If the American people embrace the need for bold action, their political leaders should find the courage to do what's right.

Perhaps her statement could be met with a hearty "yea, if only...", but this type of response wouldn't necessarily mean she's wrong.


The Businessweek cover story from a week later was "The Cloud: Battle of the Tech Titans". Perhaps not as big a nut as the financial health of the U.S., but really... in terms of the Tech Business, there's not many more important topics. In June 2009 I wrote on another BW Cloud Computing feature and in the close to two years since then, the growth in Cloud Computing has been tremendous.

This latest story featured interesting compare and contrast material looking at industry establishments like Hewlett-Packard and IBM (with significant hardware and consulting services) as well as more "true cloud" providers like Amazon.


Last (and most recent) Businessweek story I found of interest lately was "Hacker vs. Hacker" about the shenanigans at and against a top exec of Computing Security firm HBGary Federal. The hubris of this guy Aaron Barr is pretty remarkable... and almost (but, not quite) equalled in zeal on the part of the hackers taking him down piece by piece.

Quite the entertaining read.