If Talk is Cheap Blame it on Joe Lucatorto

I was told of the passing of Joe Lucatorto last week and I wanted to share my memory of his leadership.  Joe was an amazing leader and accomplished a great many things in his career in the phone companies.  He oversaw the development of Interstate private line services and was instrumental in the way services were bundled into a managed service.

Joe was a true native New Yorker and understood the communications requirements of Wall Street better than anyone.

When I first started meeting with him, Pete Kos asked me to find a partner for Bell Atlantic New Jersey to bring SONET to NYC.   The region was ignoring the opportunity of the corridor and was helping Interstate operators.  When I first came to meet Joe his office had a number of couches lined up in the hall and I was just like every other vendor looking to meet the Don of Telecommunications.

When I had my audience he understood the situation better than my management and wanted to partner.  However, the city was not a place for SONET rings the way we had architected them.  You see often in the Towers of NY the circuits of an entire central office were less than the capacity needed for a single address in lower manhattan.

His need was for us to support NYNEX Enterprise which was a mix solution built on Newbridge Networks gear.

I worked to get the plans in place and was looking to have a kick off meeting the day Ray Smith announced he was merging Bell Atlantic with TCI.  My VP and entire management team never made it to the meeting.  I looked pretty foolish and Joe had gathered an executive team at NYNEX for this kickoff.

However, Pete Kos and certain unnamed management types told me to hold down the fort and keep visiting Joe.  I know that other phone conversations followed me into NYNEX management.

The TCI merger did not go through and in the long run NYNEX and Bell Atlantic merged. Those talks were above my pay grade, but Joe Lucatorto and his team gave me lots of credit for sticking it out and gave me a chance to work with them.

I have a lot of regrets corporately and one of the largest is leaving Luca’s organization.  He was brilliant and his team was dedicated to him.

I think of him often and expect that will not change.



Unicorn Awareness 8 of 149: Fanli

This is a series of articles aimed at making people aware of the endangered Unicorns that exist among us.

It is not their fault that they are endangered. It’s the price and pride of ownership. So where along the way the decision was made to feed them more than they can consume and that lean was not as import as means.

Some of the unicorns have done well on this diet. Others have not. We don’t pass judgement on the individual unicorns. We just highlight the herd for your awareness.

We will ignore the fact that there were 147 about a month ago and now we are at 149 again so the venture capitalists are clearly back into their optimism or flush with cash.


Note to friends in China. I am flying blind on these investments so if you can comment on your experience with Fanli please help. Fanli‘s “website offers discounts and rebates on various products and services” so you can think of it as a chinese groupon.

It ranks well in China but the usage goest through tremendous spikes that I can not explain from a far. It may be that the company has sales or that China’s Internet has some special characteristics like better rates for connectivity.

Regardless Fanli has a 33.3 evaluation with 30M translating to $1B with powerhouse investment houses.

It’s Time for a Serious Reboot.

Lately I have been meeting a lot of old friends and they have reflected on the past. Some think that there were good old days, some feel like we have not progressed.

Back in 1996, I started working for a large carrier on the Internet Strategy and how to deliver dial up that was the equivalent of a private line circuit.

It was a fools errand, but I did not realize it at the time.

I had calculated that if I charged for the circuit at about 70 dollars, I could deliver a pre -switch interface that would protect the central office switch from blockage.

As we were progressing on our effort to create the service, AT&T declared they were offering a dial-up Internet service for under $20 “unlimited”.

And the congestion continued.

But so did the effort to reinvent the central office, which had the consequence of reinventing the carrier.

When I was working on the strategy, my boss reminded me that 70% of the company worked on Voice Grade Switched services (AKA POTS). And maybe 10% understood private line.

Likewise the cable operators had a team that as a friend put it, was the equivalent of a sprinkler installer. They could cut a pipe and put in another valve, but that was about the level of their network sophistication.

Both communications operators have come along way. Today as Verizon manages the strike it has reduced the union workforce to 20% of what it used to be when I first made my Internet pitch.

The cable operators have not only made a triple play to compete with wireline operators but delivered a viable Wi-Fi service that goes beyond the home.

All while the customer base has found shown a willingness to abandon old business models for services that are more convenient. David Walsh the CEO of Genband points out that Amazon has become so powerful a brand that you have go to page 5 in a Google search to read about the River and not the company.

And with Facebook’s announcement of messaging bots and IBM’s Watson exemplifying machine learning we are about to go through another shift in knowledge work.

Whether we like the speed of change or not it is in motion.

Optical Investments and ROI

I promised to be prolific, but I also never said it would be here. The first week of January I had been busy writing my articles for the new M2M Evolution Magazine. It was pretty intense getting enough information on Fleet Management. It resulted in my M2M newsletter article being about ROI.

The Article in Mobility Techzone was about the use of Opticals for Ethernet in support of backhaul. It also mentions the TV Incentive Virtual Event we ran with TMC.

These were the articles of the week.

My One New Year’s Resolution – Be Prolific

To be candid,  I have had a hard time writing in real time,  I find that in five hundred words I normally can give a good circular article that provides some insight, takes a point of view, and if you read it makes you go “hmmmn” as Arsenio Hall used to say.

The problem now is that I have about 8 blogs to keep active as well as obligations to write 10 articles a month and then there are those damn tweets and posts.  What are they suppose to be about.

Worse the articles and blogs are suppose to be easily compartmentalized.  HTML5, Mobility, M2M, Small Business, etc.  However, I am eclectic and as Richard Bach said to his wife,  “It’s all One”

Take the interviews I am working on right now for M2M, with Jerry Coumo and Gari Singh of IBM.  We hit mobility, Instant Messaging and JavaScript.  And that was just in an hour discussion.  I am working on breaking it up for easy reading but its like that.

In this SEO world, I am suppose to find the metatag subject and make Google and Bing happy with the content so it bubbles up to the reader’s interest.

But as Gari Singh said in the interview, its a Pub/Sub world.  So my strategy now is to be prolific and hopefully the sub side will dominate the pub side.

Anyway, if you are still reading this after me pushing out most of my blogs on other sites.  thank you.  I intend to write here daily on what I am doing everywhere else.

It’s new year’s the mayans were wrong, and absent a stray meteor, it should be a good year.

G-d bless us all, everyone.



















Linkedin Needs Some Curation Advice

I have just created a new id on Linkedin for the simple reason that Linkedin has not been paying attention to the explosion of groups.  As a conference guy I have an interest in a lot of places.  The linkedin groups are one place that I like to monitor.  But the groups are all over the place and tracking the right ones to connect to has become painful.  Big numbers does not mean good ideas and for industry country based groups are sometimes restrictive in how they post.

But rather than be stuck trying to choose do I want to track Smart Grid more than Green Initiatives I have decided my solution is in multiple email accounts.

I would rather have a curation tool, but alas that is not in the cards right now.

Going to the Bank or Taking a Bath?

I am waiting for the plane and everywhere I turned I saw the iPhone. Everyone has one, kids, parents, and grandparents.

Apple has made the device franca. No wonder Microsoft is treading lightly as it figures out how to compete with the iPhone and iPad. Nokia and Surface are the brands of record and not Microsoft. Not wanting to over promise everyone is staging and trying to find their path. Microsoft takes the surface out of the box to gauge if they will have demand. RIM’s inventory problem which has led to its stock slide shows that marketing needs to step up and guide how the design to match the demand of the future.

The West Coast players of Apple, Amazon, Cisco, Google, Microsoft and Oracle all have the capital to buy a network. However, I still have a hard time believing that a device company should buy a telephone company. But let’s talk it through with our Stock Market friends on August 16th. You can join us for the DeviceTel conversation you can join us  . However, calling Apple the device franca ignores an important aspect. No one is making phone calls on the device.

“What is everyone doing on the device?” Unfortunately Mary Meeker seems to be the only one with a clue  given the recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics use of time analysis .

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, which needs to find a way to associate the Internet with its time use study, after sleep and work our next biggest chunk of time is spent watching TV. I am not sure if this survey has been changed since Lawrence Welk was first taken off the air (as opposed to being on PBS in rerun).
So let’s do our own study and let’s get a better picture of what we do .
And let’s look beyond the device and to the life style. I tweeted that I feel like we need to update Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance  .

Perhaps you will join us tomorrow at IMTC’s 2025 .

From an operations standpoint we have SIPNOC going on this week.  If the device folks want to be a telco should join us in Virginia.

Interview with Carol Davids of IIT and the RTC Lab

I interviewed Carol Davids while we together at IIT’s RTC event in Naperville, IL.

The discussion quickly got on to the driving force for adaptation of communication. As we talked about the twilight of the POTS, SIP and Mobile are being driven by the consumer’s expectation for rich media.

Texting and videos to 911 are assumed even though no process is in place to accept them. SIP is being pushed into the Web with RTCWeb and the rich media opportunities that provides. The team did a great job of running the event and I look forward to seeing participating next year.

I should also mention that the Lab is a great resource for companies to connect with students by donating equipment that can be then used to research new opportunities.

Envy + Google

Google+ Envy
Unlike Facebook where I am victim of my personal life bleeding into the pages and my two personas having no distinction between each other.
Google+ so far has been very professional. And what has been really great is the ability to add into my circles people of interest for my various activities.
For example, for circle following I am putting in a general basket of people who show up in the people I care about.
I have a circle for everyone one of my events and also for my personal interests and I move from circle to circle to see what the difference is in the walls. Buy in large no one is in more than one circle that gives me the most coverage of what people are saying.
However, certain friends are clearly the “A” team of Google+ Om Malik has almost 30,000 followers and even though I am in his circle, I feel a tinge of envy.
Rob Scoble has over 100,000 people following him, while Ashton Kutcher has a little fewer than 37,000.
On Twitter, Ashton has over 47,000 fans, Rob has almost 200K and OM has over 1.4 million.
Obviously the question needs to be asked what do the demographics look like and are these device dependent or post dependent stats.
For me as my favorite New Zealand Poet has written http://bit.ly/q5Xqfu Boldly Bring I up the Rear. If you are interest in being just a follower, I have to warn you I strive for perfect symmetry where I follow as many as follow me. However for now, I seem to be lagging in the followers.
Hence the envy; we could even call it “Envy+”

A Little Leavity For These Times

Obama is praying to G-d and his prayer is answer by the ghost of Moses who says to Obama, “Have Congress ratify the Ten Commandments”
Obama brings the leaders of congress in and tells them he wants to ratify the Ten Commandments.
Well the democrats consider this a violation of church and state and say they don’t want like the G-d part, but maybe they can go along with the rules about personal property.
The republican like the G-d part but think the killing part is some sort of back door against the military so they want to modify that it only applies to the murder of unborn babies and police officers.
The tea party is upset and refuses to participate because they would like additional commandments about marriage, balanced budgets, and the right to bear arms.
Obama then goes on TV and tells the people he needs their help and cable networks blast him for his inability to compromise. After all he only talked about the commandments in generalities he never wrote them down nor referred to a specific bible.
Obama turns to Michele and asks her for support when he goes back to tell Moses what has happened.
Moses listens and is about to raise his staff when Michele steps in and says. Look, if you can do that Red Sea thing on Capital Hill, we won’t have a problem.
Moses thinks for a moment and says you’re right. I only had one Pharaoh to contend with you. You have two rooms full of them.
And so our prayers go unanswered.