Archive for November, 2014

Throwback Thursday–product from the 1990s

November 13, 2014

Microsoft Groupware Templates for Access.


Above is an article from the September 13, 1993 issue of Computerworld describing Microsoft’s set of templates for their Access database product. Here is a link to the image on Google Books.

This was back in the days when software was delivered in a physical box with media and manuals. This product was no exception, having a SKU on the box and everything.

As the article indicates, Microsoft asked several firms to provide various templates for inclusion in this product. My firm (at that time), Canaan Analytics, was asked to provide a template for coordinating meetings; which we did.

I have built a lot of software systems over the years in all sorts of environments. This however is the only time that my software was shipped by Microsoft as part of an actual product and for which I received explicit credit on the box. I wonder how many other people can say that they got Bill Gates to sell their software and put their name on the box?

Don’t get me wrong, the software itself was nothing particularly exciting. In fact it was written for a version of Access that was outdated by the time the product shipped. The version was mandated by Microsoft, so I had no choice in the matter. Today Access is far from the appropriate database for one of these applications in the internet age where all of these type of applications are available as online services.

What I like to remember is that Microsoft came to me for software and I delivered. Further they liked it enough to ship it in a product. It has always been, for me at least, both exciting and fun to work with Microsoft. I am proud to have contributed to the Microsoft story in some small way.


End of an Era.

November 7, 2014

For the past four and a half years I have been the Information Technology Manager for a media measurement firm in Berlin, New Hampshire. Just as all good things must end, so too did our operation in Berlin.

Back in the spring of 2010 I was in Florida when I saw a tweet from a college classmate, Katie Paine, asking if anyone knew of a IT professional interested in working in northern New Hampshire. While I was enjoying my time in the sunshine, I was also missing Maine where I was born.

So started my odyssey with media measurement and media analytics, a field I have grown to love. Katie’s firm, KD Paine and Partners, was one of the premier firms in this industry and Katie herself is recognized first as pioneering the field of independent measurement by unbiased outside  readers and more recently has championed the use of recognized measurement standards culminating in the Barcelona Principals.

Media Measurement, along with journalism, is undergoing dynamic times to say the least.  Mergers and restructuring are happening on what seems like a daily basis. Thus it was for our firm as well when we were acquired by News Group International of Dubai back in 2012. This brought a new name, Salience Insight and a new focus. Things changed as they inevitably do. Katie subsequently left to start a new firm, Paine Publishing. Our computer operations in New Hampshire were transferred overseas, computers were shipped to Dubai etc. Then on October 24, 2014 we closed the door on the office in Berlin for the last time and everyone is moving on to new opportunities.

This mirrors in macrocosm the sweeping changes in media with printed newspapers and magazines being upstaged by online media like Twitter and Facebook. Many of these new media sources did not even exist in 2010 when I joined KD Paine. Volumes have skyrocketed; where once a firm might have just a few mentions in printed sources on a given day now there may easily be thousands if not millions of tweets about a company in a 24 hour period. Manual analysis by human readers has evolved into sophisticated combinations of humans partnered with computers using artificial intelligence and algorithms like deep neural networks.

In the words of Bob Dylan, Times They Are a-Changin’. Amid all the hype  it is important to remember that some truths endure, I am reminded of one of Katie Paine’s key messages, measure what matters (which is also the title of one of her books).

So as I seek new opportunities I want to thank all of my colleges at KD Paine and Newsgroup International who I will miss.  If you happen to run into me and I start talking about things like key message communication, paid vs. unpaid media, prominence, dominance, sentiment and tonality you will know from whence it comes. Thank you Katie Paine for teaching me virtually everything I know about public relations and media measurement. I have truly been taught by the best.