FarmBot: Open­source precision farming

FarmBot is an open­source and scalable automated precision farming machine and software package designed from the ground up with today’s technologies. The world’s population is growing and is projected to surpass 9 billion inhabitants by 2050. As a result farms must increase production by about 60 percent to meet demand which is stunning since many believe we have reached the limits of traditional farming.
FarmBot

In comparison to desktop digital 3D printers and CNC machines FarmBot extends the idea of X, Y, and Z directions and applies it to plows, seed injectors, water and sensors in order to accurately and efficiently grow plants and soil. I think that I would like to try this out in my own backyard.
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Latest read: Corporate Agility

How do organizations compete today?  Corporate Agility: A Revolutionary New Model for Competing in a Flat World provides a good reference on how major US companies have adopted a new business model for competing in a flat world.

corporate agilityAfter reading Tom Friedman’s The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century book series on globalization and the breakthrough work by Jerry Wind and Victor & William Fung in Competing in a Flat World: Building Enterprises for a Borderless World.

I found chapters in Corporate Agility a fit perfectly to the above works.  Corporate Agility supports business case studies throughout the book that span a wide range of industries with lessons for all who are seeking new models for business in the 21st globalized century.

The strongest chapter is early in the book surrounding the shift in company buildings and the move to a mobile workforce that permits companies to break expensive building leases and create smaller ‘offices’ with limited administrative staff and resources.

I have experienced these efforts directly in working with clients who have been forced to trim staff and yet end up in an dry office complex with over 50% of their office cubes empty.

Actually I’m reminded of a PR company who hired temporary workers to “work” in all their empty cubes while a potential client made an office visit.  Needless to say they did not understand the basics of a company’s need for agility as described in the book.

I feel the early chapters of Corporate Agility is an expansion of The World Is Flat while the book’s case studies just touch the surface that is presented in detail by Competing in a Flat World.

Corporate Agility’s book website

Latest read: Ahead of the Curve

The title of Philip Delves Broughton‘s Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School was interesting enough to jump on my reading list but when I began to see his book mentioned in blogs and on twitter I pulled it from my wish list and dropped it into my cart.  It was not a mistake. The opportunity to learn about the life of a Harvard MBA candidate is a pretty interesting read.

Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business SchoolBroughton is the former Paris bureau chief for The Daily Telegraph of London. His writing was easy, flowing and pleasant.  Broughton was also very human in his approach to writing about the elite training ground for the high stress world of finance, venture capital and banking.

Broughton was also able to describe those MBA alums who spoke of those demands and losing wives and children to the long hours of business.  It was a bit odd to read that more than a few alums went through the divorce process four times.

Worse yet was those few who admitted their own children did not know who they were due to those demanding hours.  Most wanted their MBA to provide for their family while in fact they were losing touch with them in the process…all for the glory of wealth and fame.

And yes it was interesting to hear how his class of 2006 could land $400,000 jobs, his thirteen interviews with Google were pretty demanding.

In the end he skipped his graduation on a rainy Saturday in to take his infant son to his favorite Boston spot for cannoli.  At one point in my life I would have ridiculed this man for skipping his Harvard commencement.  For $175,000 (minus his new BMW — see below) you better be sure I would show up come rain or snow for that moment.  Today with two small children and a backdrop of a soggy event on Harvard Square I kinda understood his decision.

I was impressed with his review of their first year known as RC: required cirriculum.  The demands of Harvard’s case studies was rather impressive as their main tool for teaching.  And from the looks of it those case studies required round the clock research and planning.  The feel of his fellow students all aiming for post Harvard success was an interesting read, especially from the foreign students.  Most of his fellow students agreed they did not want to be called upon to review a case study.  The demands were extremely high and Broughton described a couple of painful episodes of his participation and those by his fellow students.
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Latest read: Bangalore Tiger

Y2K.  Remember the rush to fix computer software that was programmed to stop working on January 1 2000?  Many Americans probably did not realize their software fix was coming from Indian companies including WiPro located in Bangalore India.  Today American business is filled with examples of India’s outsourcing success.

Bangalore TigerBangalore Tiger is a must read for everyone working in Information Technology. Organizational leaders will learn how one of the larger tech companies in India is changing the rules of business competition in today’s globalized marketplace. If you read

The World Is Flat then you already know about all the success coming from India’s technology outsourcing giants in Bangalore.

If you want to learn how a company located in the heart of India’s globalization capital can thrive this book is really for you. The early chapters focus on how Wipro is taking on the West (and winning) as a new breed of tech company.

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