Conferences, comedy, clouds and contracts.

Continuing my attempts to bring Shakespeare into as many posts as I can….

Let specialties be therefore drawn between us,
That covenants may be kept on either hand.

(Taming of the Shrew  II. i. 127-8)

A couple of weeks ago, I presented at the HR Technology Conference in Chicago, the topic being SaaS Contracts:  how not to get ripped off.  I made an animation to start the presentation, as talking about contracts can be a bit dry.


If the embedded version doesn’t behave,  watch it here.    My goal was to show the naivete of the typical buyer when dealing with a smooth salesperson. In the space of about 2 minutes, the buyer makes at least 9 major blunders. See if you can spot them. It is supposed to be funny, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

A week or so after the event I did a podcast  on the Bill Kutik Radio Show, where I go into a bit more detail.  Have a listen here.  I’m not a lawyer, so this doesn’t constitute legal advice, but I’m saddened by the ignorance on the side of the buyer, and the willingness of the seller to exploit that. That is business, I guess.

Or as Camillo said in   The Winter’s tale:

You pay a great deal too dear for what’s given freely.

Also we have a lot of research on how to buy cloud/SaaS solutions.  Gartner clients should definitely check out Alexa Bona’s  research. Whether buying or selling, getting a fair contract is best in the long run.

(I’m very impressed with the Xtranormal tool for animation. I checked with their legal folks on usage, what a pleasure to deal with them).

More Shakespeare. This time on the software sales pitch.


No, Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change:
Thy pyramids built up with newer might
To me are nothing novel, nothing strange;
They are but dressings of a former sight.
Our dates are brief, and therefore we admire
What thou dost foist upon us that is old;
And rather make them born to our desire
Than think that we before have heard them told.
Thy registers and thee I both defy,
Not wondering at the present nor the past,
For thy records and what we see doth lie,
Made more or less by thy continual haste.
This I do vow and this shall ever be;
I will be true despite thy scythe and thee.

Sonnet 123

thanks again to the sonnet a day.

Shakespeare groks in memory databases

I’ve been trying to get to grips with in-memory databases. Seems the bard beat me to it.


(image via wikipedia, thanks)

Thy gift, thy tables, are within my brain
Full charactered with lasting memory,
Which shall above that idle rank remain,
Beyond all date, even to eternity:
Or, at the least, so long as brain and heart
Have faculty by nature to subsist;
Till each to razed oblivion yield his part
Of thee, thy record never can be missed.
That poor retention could not so much hold,
Nor need I tallies thy dear love to score;
Therefore to give them from me was I bold,
To trust those tables that receive thee more:
To keep an adjunct to remember thee
Were to import forgetfulness in me.

Sonnet 122.

Thanks to the sonnet a day site.

Shakespeare on fixing writer’s block

  So oft have I invoked thee for my Muse,
And found such fair assistance in my verse
As every alien pen hath got my use
And under thee their poesy disperse.
Thine eyes, that taught the dumb on high to sing
And heavy ignorance aloft to fly,
Have added feathers to the learned’s wing
And given grace a double majesty.
Yet be most proud of that which I compile,
Whose influence is thine, and born of thee:
In others’ works thou dost but mend the style,
And arts with thy sweet graces graced be;
But thou art all my art, and dost advance
As high as learning my rude ignorance.


Thanks to the fabulous Sonnet a day, and to my Muse.

Tombstones and social software as literary forms.

A significant portion of my job looks at the impact of social software on organizations, especially the HR related space.  Make no mistake, social software is making a impact on HR processes, whether HR departments get it or not. Some do some don’t.  There is a lot of innovative stuff going on, and I hope to see more HR departments using it. And twitter is one of those tools that can play a role in modern HR collaboration.

Anyway, on a lighter note,  I’m most impressed with the complete works of Shakespeare on twitter.  (hat tip JP)  my favourites:

Merchant of Venice. MoV: A greedy lender loses out due to a poorly-phrased contract, women practice law in drag & w/out licenses, and lovers are united.

Henry V HV: Bad-ass Henry V kicks France’s butt with a rag-tag army, many long-bows, and excellent speeches. Henry then marries a French princess.

MacBeth M: Kingship is just not in the cards for an ambitious and superstitious Scotsman.

Hamlet  H: Mommy issues are just the beginning for a prince with a murdered father and new Uncle/Step-dad. Most everybody ends up dead.

For those of you on Facebook, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice  as a Facebook group is  unmissable.

Yes, these are a lot of fun. 

Composing and reducing ideas in to 140 characters or less is not always easy, but constraints are not always detrimental. Powerful constraints often create powerful results.

The constraints of the tombstone size mean that Epitaphs have to be relatively short.  This doesn’t weaken their poignancy, but strengthens it.


(from wikipedia)

Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by
that here, obedient to their law, we lie.

Simonides‘s epigram at Thermopylae

Constraints can be goodness.  In decades to come, a very very very very small  portion of tweets will be revered as much as an e.e.cummings poem. My tweets won’t! But in the meantime it is a very good way to stay connected and meet interesting people.

  You can follow me here.