I’m delighted once again to have picked up honours at the 2014 MATRIX Poetry Competition. This year I was runner up in Category One, open to people with a science/technology background, with my poem “Turing“.
The competition was judged and award presented by respected poet and retired academic Professor Ignatius (Iggy) McGovern. The Award ceremony was followed by a reading from his new book, “A Mystic Dream of 4” which is a sonnet sequence based on the life and times of the Irish mathematician William Rowan Hamilton.
My poem has Alan Turing as its subject. Turing was a mathematician, wartime code-breaker and pioneer of computer science. His contribution to the war effort and technology were only recognized recently due to the secret nature of the work, his prosecution for homosexuality and untimely death by suicide at the age of 41.
Much of the research carried out within CSIT on areas such as cryptography, algorithms and artificial intelligence can be traced directly back to his ground-breaking work back in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
Once again here is my poem:
Celebrated for his passion, persecuted over love In Bletchley Hut 8 he tackled Enigma Breaking the ciphers and stemming the tide Only science mattered, not social stigma
His bombe silenced bombs, he moved on The genius visualised a machine in his mind A device for computation, competing with men His automatic computing engine, all seeing, blind
Without his intelligence, artificial or otherwise Machine learning, algorithms, big data; unfathomable As scientists, today, the evidence is clear The debt of gratitude owed Turing is utterly incalculable.
Since writing the poem I have learned that a film called “The Imitation Game” based on Alan Turing’s life will go on general release in the UK on 14 November 2014. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing and is directed by Morten Tyldum with a screenplay by Graham Moore, based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges. You can view a trailer here:
In this post I shall look back at the second 30 days. Personally speaking its useful for me as I slot into the organisations appraisal system to reflect on what I have achieved thus far in the role.
Day 31-60: Take ownership
According the Ninon, days 31-60 in a new PM role is all about taking ownership. As with my previous post, before getting into the points specified in the original post, here are a few thoughts on this period.
This period began with exhibiting at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. I blogged my thoughts on the Congress here. While this took me out of the office for a whole week it was a useful learning exercise personally and an opportunity to test what we as an organisation are doing in the marketplace. It certainly helped me achieve some of the points outlined below including networking and building relationships with existing and potential partners and customers.
Uncovering new opportunities for the application of our research as well as helping me get up to speed pretty quickly on the commercial environment in the mobile space was invaluable not to mention the process of developing our messaging around this massive market pretty early into my tenure.
Two weeks after returning from Barcelona we hosted Belfast 2012: The 2nd World Cyber Security Technology Research Summit at CSIT. Preparations for this were pretty consuming. Again the process of prepping for and hosting this event were priceless in terms of building relationships, setting our commercial and research roadmap as well as firming up my thoughts around strategic direction.
Now lets look at how I think I performed against the list:
Meet with my manager for a first 30-day review. Ensure I am focusing on the right activities and adjust as necessary.
Partially done. We meet weekly and continue to chat most days regarding ongoing activities. We plan to sit down to formally appraise my performance over the first 2 months next week. It should have happened last week but more important priorities meant this had to be pushed out.
Take ownership of some projects.
Done. I am currently working on a number of projects which have short and medium term delivery dates. There are no shortage of projects.
Contribute my thoughts/ideas on how to streamline industry partners and programs.
Done; ongoing. These get discussed each week as part of our commercial team meeting.
Make a list of activities/project that will contribute to meeting the department objectives and set up a plan to reach the goals.
Partially done. See earlier comments.
Go to lots of meetings and begin to run some of them.
Done. I already chair a monthly marketing meeting with marketing representatives from the various research clusters feeding into that. I also attend several organisational weekly meetings.
Continue to build relationships.
Done. Mobile World Congress and The Cyber Summit were excellent for doing this. I also continue to meet with colleagues from across CSIT as often as I can to build up a funnel of content for our websites and for raising our profile globally.
Begin to write materials (drafts)
Done. I am in the process of refreshing our web estate which necessitates writing new and rewriting old contents. I have also been updating marketing collateral, drafting funding proposals and producing press releases.
Continue to learn and read as much as possible.
Done. The role is such that I will never stop learning and reading. It’s par for the course.
By this time I hope to have uncovered some promising unexploited opportunities for growth and have begun to figure out how to exploit them.
Done. I’ll keep them under my hat for now.
So I make that seven out of nine achieved and a further two partially achieved. Not a bad result given the events that took place this month.
Update: I almost forgot to mention that during all this I took time out to guest on The Tech Show, a podcast in eamonmallie.com’s Tech section focused on the technology scene in Northern Ireland presented by Chris Taylor and Matt Johnston. On the show I talk about cyber-security and an exhibitors perspective of Mobile World Congress.
I started this morning writing a long post about my second 30 days in my new Technical Marketing Manager (TMM) post with The Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT). I found myself explaining how a TMM is similar to a Product Manager (PM). It probably deserves a post of its own. So here it is.
Some of you might be wondering why I take advice from a product management blog (On Product Management) when my job title is Technical Marketing Manager. So what does a Technical Marketing Manager do?
In a sentence I see it as taking overall responsibility for marketing the product of a hugely technical organisation; something that is much more than the 4 P’s.
I see my current role as sitting on a spectrum of similar roles spanning from Technical Product Manager, Solution Specialist, Product Manager, through to Analyst, Product Marketing Manager and finally Technical Marketing Manger. I’m probably a much better communicator than technologist, therefore the marketing aspect just feels like a better fit.
Ultimately all varieties of PM need most or all of the following skills:
Just doing it
Decision making ability
Negotiation (both internally and externally)
Networking (of the human variety, not 802.x)
The list isn’t exhaustive but I reckon I use all of those every day.
Hat tip to onpm again for the skills list. I’ve added a few of my own.
I returned from Barcelona on Friday after a week of lead generation, market positioning research and generally being a booth bloke at Mobile World Congress for my employer The Centre for Secure Information Technology (CSIT), an innovation and knowledge centre specialising in cyber security research based at Queen’s University of Belfast. I have spent the weekend mulling over the experience and trying to distill a few thoughts regarding the Congress which I share here.
There’s no austerity or lack of confidence in mobile industry
The GSMAs event attendance figures speak for themselves. 67,000 visitors from 205 countries. The number of attendees was up 11% on last year. Business is not just as usual, it’s booming. It is ten years since I was last at MWC with Jinny Software when it was in Cannes. The growth in that decade has been phenomenal.
The level of investment in stands and presence by exhibitors both large and small exuded a level of confidence in the future of the economy currently not shared by many across this continent. I have no doubt that the level of investment here will be followed by growth in consumer confidence and spending in the coming years.
Mobile security is gonna be massive next year
This is the first time we at CSIT have exhibited at the event though all three of our commercial team have represented previous employers at it. While we had a number of pre-arranged meetings lined up beforehand this for us was about dipping the toe in the water of the mobile space and see what turned up.
With limited marketing activity prior to and during the event we were simply astounded by the numbers and calibre of companies and organisations who sought us out at the event based on our “Breakthrough technologies for mobile security” pitch to speak to us about our research into things like Physical Uncloneable Function, ITACA, Intrusion Prevention and SCA. Our activity there was very targeted – sponsoring the Network Intelligence Alliance networking evening where we could engage with prospective partners and customers away from the hustle and bustle of the halls. This was a great opportunity to raise our profile in a niche area were we can add most value.
Mobile security will be a huge market. If you are working in this area speak to us.
Its about so much more than mobile
If you are building solutions that communicate over IP protocols you are now a mobile company – you should be at next years Congress. No excuses. With the phenomenal growth in smartphones and the advent of FTE, Wimax and other wireless data standards if you are involved in any sort of solution that communicates data you need to be there if only to unearth opportunities which may not be entirely obvious if you only think of it as a mobile trade show.
In the last week we spoke to companies about opportunities in utilities, banking, transportation, satellite communications, fixed line operators, government and more.
It doesn’t cost the earth
We exhibited on the Northern Ireland pavilion with a number of other local companies. The Invest Northern Ireland team did an excellent job in supporting us before and during the week. It’s the perfect mechanism for getting a low(er) cost presence at the event. Speak to them about going next year. You can’t afford not to be there.