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What does IP mean to me

By John | July 18, 2007

A friend of mine recently asked me what IP means to me.  I use the acronym a lot and I know it can mean a lot of different things.  Instead of regurgitate wikiepedia let me give you a few snips of what I think of when I use the letters IP.  A few years ago I was doing some Tivoli consulting for the Navy in Hawaii.  The hotel I was staying at had a little Ukulele shop.  Each afternoon when I came home from work I would walk past the shop and peek in the window.  One day I stopped in and asked the shop keeper if he could show me a few chords on the ukulele. He hemmed and hawed and seemed annoyed.  Then he told me he is not really a teacher and he really didn’t want to do it.  Then I told him that if he showed me just a couple of chords I might buy one.  Reluctantly he handed me a cheat sheet that had about 6 chords on it.  I fumbled for a few minutes and then broke out  playing and singing a killer rendition of “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison.  The shop keeper looked up in amazement and asked me if this was the first time I had ever played a ukulele before.  I told him that yes it was the first time and that was a true statement.  What I didn’t tell him is that I hade been playing the ukulele’s six string ancestor, the guitar, for over 30 years.  That my friends is what I am talking about when I use the term IP.


I’ll give you another example.  If you do a search on Google for resumes of people who can install Tivoli monitoring you will find hundreds of resumes.  However, there are less than 30 who can actually make it work.  It’s the same software why can’t those hundreds of consultants make it work.  Young consultants that work for me are always amazed when they show me some new software program that is written in Python or Ruby I can scan it quickly and tell exactly what the program does and why.  What they don’t realize is that I spent my first 10 years of my career coding assembler and the language is the least significant part of the program.  One of my favorite authors is the Italian philosopher Umberto Eco (Name of the Rose, Foucault’s Pendulum).  He writes all his novels in Italian however I have read all of his books in English and I have had no complaints. So when I look at the OSS ESM market and hear Nagios vs. ZenOSS or Groundwork vs. Hyperic what I look for is the IP around those products.  What does the vendor’s service internal and external organizations look like?  How much IP is there around the implementations using the vendor’s software?  If it’s ZenOSS, Hyperic, GroundWork, Nagios, or Zabbix who cares. 

Where is the IP?

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