Author Archive

Custom Centric Marketing Means Shifting to “Resolution Messages”

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Events, skmurphy

Mary Sullivan addressed “Customer Centric Marketing” last Monday, providing a number of examples of marketing messages based on the customer’s operating reality. Mary highlighted the need for marketing campaigns to recognize that the customer is in charge of the buying process today. The example messages cut through the noise (Mary provided an estimate that every day we receive some three thousand odd commercial messages) and were able to catch a prospect’s attention by speaking directly to their needs and clearly indicating how the offering would resolve them. This inverts the traditional

“Product Specs -> Features -> Benefits”

And replaces benefits with “resolution messages” to yield:

“Needs -> Resolutions -> Product Specs”

Mary has two articles available on the KickStart Alliance website that nicely summarize her presentation:

Stirr Mixer 1.8

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Events

I dropped by tonight’s Stirr Mixer at Illusions on 260 California Ave in Palo Alto. It’s a better venue for parking and it’s not as loud as the Blue Chalk—-if it’s too loud you are too old? I am certainly at risk for this in the Stirr crowd.

The West Coast team from Charles Rivers Ventures was there to talk about their 250K bridge loan program they announced Nov 1.

Three interesting people I came across

  1. Jim Rowson, who I last saw at Redwood Design Automation before it was absorbed by Cadence in 1994, is now helming tracking shot, a very interesting site devote to helping you assemble slide shows and put them to music. My only quibbles were that it should not require local storage of the pictures (e.g leverage Flickr and/or Photobucket) and there should be an easy way to provide a voice over narration.
  2. I had a chance to meet Steve Larsen, CEO of Krugle, after seeing him demo at Office2.0. I followed up with an e-mail to Ira Baxter at Semantic Designs, their Clone Detector offering might be a nice add-in for Krugle. Nothing will likely come of it but you never know
  3. I had a chance to meet Jeffrey McManus after seeing him demo Approver at Office2.0; alas I confused him with another Web 2.0 startup that had written on the SVASE mojo wire that they were looking for funding so we talked about that instead of how to focus Approver more sharply at a niche. My bad.

Some follow-up back and forth with Jim Rowson over e-mail

Voice over narration is on our list of stuff to do at some juncture. However, we’re thinking at the start that simple, automatic, decent videos from photos and music has a broader appeal. Doing voice overs requires a fair bit of expertise (microphone, etc.).

My thought was that it would allow Tracking Shot to do more “business oriented” stuff because messaging could be added via voice.  Folks could also add background narration snippets around a photo, group of photos, or sequence of photos. But I do agree on the recording quality, although with all of the audioblogging going on they might be able to leverage another service and just mix them in.

Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto for Growth

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, Rules of Thumb

Bruce Mau wrote 43 statements in 1998 to articulate his beliefs, motivations, and strategies in what he called “An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth.”

His focus is on “growth” in the sense of increasing both craftsmanship and artisanship. I have selected eight that I think are are the most applicable to folks in software startups. I kept the numbers from the original, adding comments and some hyperlinks not in the original because that’s what bloggers do.

Mary Sullivan on Customer-Centric Marketing at SDForum Marketing SIG Tonight

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Events

Mary Sullivan has prepared a great presentation on “It’s All About Them: Customer-Focused Messaging” for the tonight’s SDForum Marketing SIG at DLA Piper Silicon Valley.

Mary offers a messaging framework for moving beyond product-centric features and product-centric benefits to demonstrating your understanding of a prospect’s problems, needs, and wants. If you want to see more samples of her thinking for startups see her two blogs “Way to Grow” and “First Year

The meeting starts at 6:30 with networking, Mary’s presentation will be from 7-8:15PM. I have previewed it with her and was struck by the number of thought provoking suggestions for marketing folks–and software startup founding teams–used to focusing on features.

Just a brief note on the SDForum Marketing SIG, our promise is “Practical tips and techniques for anticipating, identifying, and satisfying customers needs for emerging technologies profitably.”  We are guided by this quote from “Management: Task, Responsibilities, Practices” by Peter Drucker on the importance of marketing:

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only these two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”

Update August 2008: Mary Sullivan’s slides are now available here http://www.sdforum.com/document/docWindow.cfm?fuseaction=document.viewDocument&documentid=85&documentFormatId=103

KMWorld 2006 Wrap-up

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Events

I did my profile in http://kmi06.pbwiki.com/SeanMurphy in the form of a FAQ

Q:Why do you come to KMWorld?

This is my third year, so it’s something of a triumph of hope over experience, but I believe that there are a number of techniques and technologies in the “knowledge management” space that are going to have a profound impact on business. This conference is one place to listen to bona fide practitioners and see vendors with innovative technology you don’t see in many other venues and certainly not all together.

Q: Are there specific technology issues that you are interested in?

  • How are wikis, blogs, and instant messaging (IM) tools going to merge into content management systems on corporate intranets?
  • How can the very powerful text analytics tools available for enterprises be scaled down so that they work for personal information management: I am thinking of a number of things like latent semantic indexing, recommendation and group lens systems for small teams and ad hoc groups, and e-discovery tools that I could use for my e-mail and IM (instead of by a corporate compliance officer or outside counsel).

Q:If you could merge this conference with another one which would it be?

Two choices: Techdirt Greenhouse and Office 2.0:

  • Techdirt Greenhouse (see also the wiki for the Jun-10-2006 event) fosters a level of discussion among the attendees that would be very energizing at KMWorld. Have 3 people come up and present a current challenge in their organization related to knowledge management. The group breaks into six teams, two each working on the three issues. There is small group discussion, a report back to the larger group by each team, and then a large group discussion
  • Office 2.0[1] had a number of vendors aimed at replacing PC based apps with web services, the net effect was to focus on enabling group process and communication. Many of these applications have a strong potential to enable much more effective knowledge sharing at least in a team setting than any of the “top down” enterprise class portals that make the same promise.

Q: Any sessions in particular you plan to attend?

I missed Tuesday because of a prior commitment but today I plan to listen to Dave Pollard, whom I find to be consistently insightful, talk about “Adding Meaning and Value to Information” in Session A203

Q: Did you see any new vendors on the Exhibits Floor that are worth mentioning.

The Abbrevity folks look like they have a very interesting and very scalable file classifier that is extremely low cost, designed to be run in parallel, and could scan an enterprise intranet and attached file systems overnight. It may form the basis for some interesting vertical applications when they find the right partners.

One under-appreciated company is Traction Software which offers a richly featured blogging / content management system that has seen uptake in environments with complex security requirements (e.g. a number of three letter government agencies). But they already ten years old, and may not be willing to make the changes (or perhaps take the risks) to gain wider acceptance.

I spent a lot of time in the adjacent hall in the “Streaming Media” show where there was an interesting mix of technologies for video and audio broadcasting that struck me as very applicable to enterprise training needs. One company that I was interested in there in particular was Blogtronix looks like it would be very useful for mid-size and larger corporations with rich internal blogging ecosystems that they want to keep inside the firewall (or perhaps only publish via extranet/VPN), it offers a mix of functions that others are sure to follow but I was still excited to see it. I chatted briefly with Dave Sifry last year after an AlwaysOn breakfast and asked him why Technorati didn’t offer an appliance for intranet blogging ecosystems: “off strategy” was his reply. Probably the right answer for his firm but there is clearly a need. (Update Nov 7: Intel seems to think so as well with SuiteTwo)

Q: Any advice for the Conference Organizers?

It sure would be nice if each session had a permalink and trackback function, if it’s available I haven’t found it).

Q: What else can you tell us about yourself?

I have a backgrounder here: https://www.skmurphy.com/about/

[1] Update Jan-18-2011: Office 2.0 website www.office20con.com has been taken over by spammers, links deleted.

Blogging From KMWorld 2006

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, Consulting Business

There is a wiki for the conference at http://kmi06.pbwiki.com/ where I will also be doing some gardening (which I think sounds better than gnoming).

We are also helping out New Idea Engineering with their booth; if you get a chance drop by booth 200 and say hello to Dr. Search, who first appeared in Issue 6 of the Enterprise Search Newsletter (and bears a remarkable resemblance to Theresa, at least on the show floor). If your job involves the care and feeding of an enterprise search engine it’s worth subscribing. There is also a Yahoo group for Independent Search Engine Developers

A technical and business discussion group for developers, consultants, IT people and managers who work with Enterprise Search Engines such as Autonomy (now owns Verity and Ultraseek as well), Endeca, FAST, Google (Enterprise), IBM Omnifind, Nutch, Oracle Text, and Lucene. While some engines already have specific groups, most large companies own more than one engine; vendor selection and integration can be rather complex, and of course each vendor pushes their own solutions.

Full disclosure: New Idea is a client, I like wikis, and everyone remains fully clothed at all times while visiting Dr. Search on the show floor.

Tags:

JotSpot Dissolves Into Google Business Model

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Startups

As a Jotspot customer I am not at all excited by the portents around Jot’s announcement that they had been acquired by Google for an undisclosed sum and that, for the moment, no new accounts could be created. From Jot’s Home Page

New users:
We’ve closed off new account registrations while we focus on migrating to Google’s systems. If you’d like to be notified when we re-open registration, enter your email address below.

Why when you would probably have the most interest in your service would you not allow me to add any accounts or allow anyone new to signup. Because it’s going to pull a Writely and dissolve indistinguishably into Google Docs & Spreadsheets. I don’t think this is a good reason to add new clients into a GoogleSpot workspace. This is an experiment on Google’s part. Their business model is advertising driven, and private workspaces for confidential work with clients–which is our use case–are not amenable to having a crawler come through to generate context specific advertising. I certainly agree with the three challenges that Jot faced as outlined by Scott McMullan in their developer blog:

  1. Startups fail all the time — will you be around next year?
  2. This will be mission critical for us — do you have the manpower to support your service?
  3. We need fast, reliable, and scalable access — are you up to snuff?

This looks to me like an experiment on Google’s part, and large companies abandon experiments all the time, especially since they haven’t announced an acquisition price. Mission critical doesn’t require Google scale to succeed (in fact a wiki service based on Amazon’s EC3 would be as rock solid, something for some of the remaining 100+ players to consider). Not only that but Amazon’s business model is more conducive to charging me a small amount for good service on a pay as you go basis. There are other grid alternatives as well worth considering,more on that later.

Peter Thoeney, speaking from the Twiki perspective, believes that this is a good thing because it eliminates them as a competitor in the enterprise space:

I believe this is good news for the open source TWiki project because:

  1. It further boosts the awareness of wikis in the general public; and with this will bring more recognition to TWikis running at the workplace.
  2. With JotSpot moving to hosted only solution and staying away from software packages and appliances, other enterprise level wikis will get more traffic, such as TWiki, Socialtext and Confluence. I have not seen many large companies that entrust their mission critical wiki data to be hosted by a third party.

I am more sanguine about the possibility for hosted wikis penetrating the enterprise, but I do think it’s good news for Twiki.

Ross Mayfield offers a way to “Get Yourself out of a Spot” We may take him up on it, if only to reduce some of the uncertainty for existing clients. Atlassian has also announced a migration path for JotSpot Wiki Server customers (but not folks like me who I think Zoli characterized correctly as preferring to pay rather than have Google analyze all of my shared work product with a client; it would be an interesting exclusion in the non-disclosure agreement: we allow the Google advertising context spider to read everything we work on together).

I will have to browse through the http://www.wikimatrix.org/ and investigate some alternatives. We also use Socialtext and EditMe with existing clients. We also use WebEx Office, which now looks like it should add/acquire a wiki (without raising prices).

I am not knocking the execution and delivery of Google’s Docs & Spreadsheets (see for example an Oct-17-2006 PC Mag Review) I was an early Writely user (but wouldn’t commit to any customers when they wouldn’t give me a monthly fee I could pay to guarantee service) and we have experimented with Google Spreadsheets and was extremely impressed. It’s the alignment of the Google business model with my business needs that has me the most concerned for this application.

End Note: while researching this I was surprised to learn that the San Jose Mercury was podcasting. They posted a Feb 2006 interview with Joe Kraus to add context to their Nov 1 news story.

Carole Edman, HR Manager To Go

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Startups

I have had the pleasure of meeting Carole Edman at a number of networking events and been impressed with professionalism and expertise. She started consulting in 1986 as Carole Edman & Associates, and has been offering the following services to small and mid-size companies:

  • High quality interim, on-call, or part-time Human Resources Management consulting services, to prevent or resolve tough issues in hiring, retaining, and managing employees
  • Human Resources training, coaching, and guidance for HR team members, CEO’s, senior and mid-level managers, first-line supervisors, and employees
  • Development and implementation of employee handbooks, benefits, compensation, and performance management programs.

Her website has a rich set of resources on HR questions, one question that came up recently that she was very helpful with was how to determine whether a worker should be treated as an independent contractor or an employee. Here are some references to both Federal and CA rules that are with reviewing before you make this decision.

Carole offered the following advice

The FED & CA rules are not the same and many companies (including Microsoft, FedEx, many others) have had to pay huge fines for misclassifying workers as independent contractors (ICs). Audits occur when ICs who should have been employees make a claim for unemployment or state disability or are unhappy that you terminated their services, or just at random.  They also occur when the IC has only one client and one 1099 in a year, or gets a W2 and 1099 from the same company in the same tax year.  Several small clients of mine have been audited and it is a time-consuming, expensive process, to be avoided if at all possible. The EDD has become very aggressive in auditing for non-compliance, as it is a way for them to bring in $$ with fines and back taxes (payable by the employer, regardless of whether the employee/IC already paid them; they are double collected).

Carole has been very helpful to a number of folks I know. If you are a Silicon Valley startup I would encourage you to keep her HR Manager To Go website on your list of resources for when those thorny employment and human resources issues come up (or if you want to prevent problems consider being pro-active about an employee handbook).

Administrivia in Startups

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Startups

I had lunch with Sylvia Nessan, a veteran of Synopsys, CoWare, and several high tech startups and she made an observation that I thought was worth writing down: the founding team, and CEO in particular, don’t pay enough attention to how much time they waste on administrivia. Hiring an admin or other outside service providers to take care of the four to eight hours a week of work that they really don’t need to do–basic e-mail networking, taxes, finances, office management / operational issues–reduces the number of different balls they have to juggle at once and increases your effectiveness by 25-40% when you take into account that, although it’s an important set of tasks that must be done, the founders don’t have to do it.

Nancy Blachman’s Google Guide

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Events

I’m late to the party on GoogleGuide, based on who else has written about it, this blog entry was triggered by Nancy Blachman’s upcoming talk, “What Google Can Do For Your Business,” Tuesday, November 21, 2006 7:00 PM, at the IEEE-CNSV meeting at KeyPoint Credit Union, 2805 Bowers Ave., Santa Clara, CA.

This looks to be a good talk, but if you can’t make that Nancy has a schedule posted for other upcoming talks. And you can always just consult her Google Guide directly. Two sections I found particularly useful were on adwords and advanced commands. And as the Pandia Post Newsletter observed in January 2004

Take a look at her GoogleGuide web site. There she gives away a lot of web search information for free. Actually, if you print out the printer-friendly version of her site, you end up with a very useful book containing some 114 pages of Google tips and information.

Actually, as of Oct-23-2006, the Google Guide PDF is now 149 pages, so Nancy hasn’t been idle in keeping up with Google’s new features. With her very impressive resume (an MS from Berkeley in Operations Research and an MS in Computer Science from Stanford) she should be working at Google..say on an easy-to-use constantly updated guide to how to use Google for novices and experienced users alike. But she may happier running Variable Symbols and letting her husband work there–since 1999 according to this interview.

If you are a technical consultant in Silicon Valley, the IEEE Consulting Network for Silicon Valley frequently runs useful and informative events and is an organization you should consider joining.

 

Nusym De-cloaks 2

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in EDA, Startups

Some follow-ups to yesterday’s post on Nusym

  • Why de-cloak? Don’t most stealth startups emerge? Yes, at least according to Google and EET. But a good Star Trek allusion (or is it Harry Potter?) always enriches a blog post and the Duke “invisibility cloakdemonstration announcement had recently gone out over the mojo wire, so it was fresh in my mind. Technically I think you have a cloak of invisibility and boots of stealth, so a stealthy start would de-boot (debut?).
    • you might wonder how they could have been “on my radar” if they were in stealth, but think Jorn.
  • Quiet mode (stealth mode): I am normally in favor of this, but if you are advertising jobs for folks and identifying yourself as associated with the startup in public forums it can’t hurt to at least talk about the problem you plan to solve. Other opinions on “stealth mode startups”
  • Other “stealth mode startups” that have emerged in 20006 according to EE Times:
    • Gear6 (FYI their news page allows you to enter your E-mail to be notified of new developments).
    • Takumi Technology (they “emerge from stealth” here).
    • Micro Magic (reborn in stealth after being acquired by Juniper; their CEO believes “What separates Micro Magic from other EDA companies is that we are actually designers.”)
  • The Company page contains a paragraph that looks to be more appropriate for B round solicitation than a customer oriented briefing:
    • The company’s technology is based upon ground-breaking research done at Stanford combined with 60+ years of design and verification experience of the founders. The company has attracted funding from individuals that are legends in the EDA industry and Silicon Valley and from venture capital firms prominent in the EDA industry. We have assembled a team of outstanding technologists and a seasoned management team.
    • You have to be careful that you don’t base your customer briefing on your funding pitch and instead work from scratch on customer pain points. I guess the counter-argument is that it establishes their financial viability.
  • I got an e-mail from Howard Landman (he of the Law and Lemma) that pointed out Patterson’s Precept was coined by “David Patterson, co-author of Patterson and Hennessy computer architecture book, professor at U.C. Berkeley.” I have amended the original post to reflect this.

Details as they frolic in plain view but beyond understanding, like the invisible ineffable cues that a school of fish use to synchronize their movements.

A WACI Track at DAC

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in EDA

From the Call for Papers for the WACI track

Wild and Crazy Ideas (WACI) at DAC 2007
Submit a paper to the new WACI track at DAC and demonstrate your long-term vision! The WACI track will feature novel (and even unproven) technical ideas that create a buzz and get people talking. The aim of WACI is to promote revolutionary and way-out ideas that inspire and generate discussion among conference attendees.

a quick perusal of the submission form shows the following areas of interest:

  • System-Level Design and Co-Design
  • System-Level Communication and Networks on Chip
  • Embedded HW Design and Applications
  • Embedded SW Tools and Design
  • Power Analysis and Low-Power Design
  • Verification
  • High-Level Synthesis
  • Beyond Die-Integration and Package Design
  • Logic Synthesis and Circuit Optimization
  • Circuit Simulation and Interconnect Analysis
  • Timing Analysis and Design for Manufacturability
  • Physical Design and Manufacturability
  • Signal Integrity and Design Reliability
  • Analog/Mixed-Signal and RF
  • FPGA Design Tools and Applications
  • Testing
  • New or Emerging or Specialized Design Technologies
  • Automotive Electronics

In fact, “Automotive Electronics” is a special theme of the show. Proof that a near death experience, in this case for the automobile industry in the US, can re-awaken a desire for innovation, or at least lower internal barriers against risk taking. Judging from his rather wacky website, the WACI track must be the brainchild of Sachin Sapatnekar, 2007 DAC technical program co-chair, who is quoted in announcing it:

“The DAC community is instrumental in enabling the development of all of the latest innovations in electronics and bringing the latest ideas to reality, enhancing all aspects of life. We are excited to provide a forum for the truly revolutionary and controversial ideas at DAC 2007 with this new WACI track.”

The submission deadline for regular papers and WACI submissions is Monday, November 20, at 5 p.m. MST. This looks like a good opportunity to submit some innovative ideas and trigger some fruitful discussions in San Diego next June.

Born with a Face Made for Podcasting

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, Events

So we were up at Office 2.0 last week and Mike Masnick from Techdirt announced that a new offering, the Techdirt Insight Community, was in beta.

I stopped by their booth pedestal in the exhibit area and was surprised to see that I had been selected as a spokesmodel for their new service as I have only been blogging on business topics for two weeks. And yet there I was in the picture on the front cover of their brochure.

Mike assured me that I would be in the “Special Highly Interactive Techdirt” section of the community. I was taken aback because my mother had always assured me that I had a face for podcasting and I assumed that it was there I would ultimately be able to make my mark. It wasn’t until I was in the bar a little later drinking some ice tea, imported from Long Island of all places, that I was able to summon my marketing imagination and jot down captions that Techdirt should consider adding to the flyer when they exit beta. I put them in an e-mail to Mike and then realized I should share them with the four of you reading this blog:

Techdirt Version SKMurphy Version
Take part in interesting discussions with your peers “Maybe if this guy had written this monologue in a blog we might have had the last 30 minutes of our lives back.”
Interact with companies who want your opinion “Is this you, holding forth to a roomful of three people on an arcane topic? If so, you can join our blogging network and double your audience.”
Get paid for your insight “Ever feel like the guy at the whiteboard isn’t really capturing the depth and breadth of your insights? Our blogging network allows you to capture and expose all of your thoughts on a topic.”

Mike offered some clarifications on the program and it’s structure in the comments in response to some speculation by Anne Zelenka.

Details as they are stored in some post-Apocalyptic reliquary whose display case for the 20th century might house a fist sized chunk of the Berlin Wall, a charred fragment from Skylab, and the test tube that contains Edison’s last breath.

Mark Duncan on “New Tools for Increasing Marketing Productivity”

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Events, skmurphy, Tools for Startups

Mark Duncan gave an excellent guided tour at the October 9 SDForum Marketing SIG of several web based applications that marketing teams should consider taking advantage of in addition to (or even instead of) Microsoft Office. He opened with the observation that

The applications bundled into Microsoft Office—word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, calendar, and mail–are the only software tools that many marketing professionals have learned.

Appropriately enough talk was titled “Beyond Microsoft Office: New Tools for Increasing Marketing Productivity.” His slides were done in the “beyond bullet points style” that very effectively complemented his spoken presentation but would be hard to follow without his spoken linkage and counterpoint. So he also created an article to act as the stand-alone representation of his talk (see http://www.askmar.com/Marketing/Beyond%20Office.pdf )

It’s definitely worth a read. Three good ideas I picked up from the talk:

  1. Many marketing activities and deliverables involve collaborating on a document to reach a working consensus by a deadline. While Microsoft Office applications can make you productive as an individual, they don’t help you to leverage the Internet in gathering information or facilitate review and discussion at a team level. Once there are three people involved it’s no longer clear who has the most recent version of the slides or the pitch or the datasheet. Wiki and on-line workspace tools can offer a team dramatically lower friction and the ability to operate much more rapidly against a deadline.
  2. Read Merlin Mann‘s “43 Folders” blog and the group blog at “LifeHack.Org” regularly for practical personal productivity tips and tricks (christened “life hacks” by Denny O’Brien in a famous O’Reilly Etech talk). These are a gold mine of information for knowledge worker productivity.
  3. Two good sites for low cost digital stock photography: istockphoto.com and Lucky Oliver. Mark’s slides made good use of stock photography to complement his talk.

Mark is a marketing consultant who focuses on emerging technologies, assisting companies in entering new markets and developing new business opportunities.

Blogging from Office 2.0 Conference

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Events

I will be blogging from the Office 2.0 Conference[1] for the next two days.

It’s a set of tools that I have been interested in for a while–blogs, wikis, content management systems, chat/IM, VoIP–with a focus on enabling small teams to work more effectively against a deadline. This is the challenge that software startups need to surmount if they are to win the battle of maneuver against their larger, better funded, and more established competitors. I think one of the primary benefits these newer tools offer is that a small team can maintain a shared situational awareness in complex and rapidly evolving environments/markets.

I had the pleasure of sitting next to Ori Weinroth from Microsoft, during the morning sessions. I was surprised to learn that they also had a product family called Office, because they were not listed as an participant.

[1] Update Jan-18-2011: Office 2.0 website www.office20con.com has been taken over by spammers, links deleted.

Continuing Education In Entrepreneurship

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Events, Rules of Thumb

I was sitting in one of the nice conference rooms over at Fenwick & West earlier this year at a TVC half day seminar on “Entering the Entrepreneurial World” (TVC offers great seminars by the way, and they rotate the speakers so that the material doesn’t go stale)and I had a strong sense of deja vu for freshman year in college. Normally when I dream of being back in college I am in an exam for a course I haven’t really studied for–although in my case these are more accurately termed “recovered memories”–but this felt like freshman year again, where I slept spent a lot of time in a large lecture halls.

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