Advancing the nexus of viticulture and technology.

Lean IT

Thursday, May 31, 2007

I just received a great article on Applying lean to application development and maintenance from the folk at The MacKinsey Quarterly.

The authors apply Lean Manufacturing concepts to Application Development Maintenance.

Feel free to contact us if you need more ideas on how to improve your IT ROI.


On May 30, 2007, CAWG declared independence as a country – One Nation Under Vines - where life is grape, citizens have the right to bear vines and Arnold Schwarzenegger can be president.

Naturally, it is a marketing campaign that is differentiating California grapes on the basis of growing conditions, experience and sustainable growing practices make a difference in creating world-class wines,

What do you think?

Visit One Nation Under Vines for more information.


Customer, always right?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Following up on my last post on the subject, here's a headline that hurts: Consumers don't care about organic, Fairtrade or biodynamic wine.

So the science-based growers think it's bunk and the consumers don't care, what gives?

Salesforce Developer Conference

We attended another great event by ((NYSE = CRM) on 5/21; the Salesforce Developer Conference in Santa Clara. The day kicked off with a series of presentations by Marc Benioff and Parker Harris describing the vision, some solution AppExchange examples (the Adobe Apollo demo was pretty neat), and the keynote by Guy Kawasaki. As always, his presentation was both funny and insightful (and available online).

We spoke with some Salesforce techies and fans... and are getting pretty geeked about the Salesforce platform and the potential it holds for webware!

Most peculiar, however, was Salesforce's "cautious approach" about Google. They showed off some integration with Google Apps (REALLY COOL), but they had a weird vibe about it...

Something in the works?


Snap Shots™

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I just added Snap Shots™ to our blog (it took me all of 3 minutes to complete!). Basically, when you hover over a link, you'll get a preview without having to navigate away from the site - you can confirm that the link is of interest before you load a new page or tab in your browser.

The interesting part is that it is a "smart" preview - it displays the content that you really want to verify. For instance, when you hover over a link to wikipedia (say, the definition of Web 2.0), a link to Google finance (say Microsoft's latest NASDAQ performance), or a link to IMDb (say the latest news on Pirates of the Caribbean) you just get the right content. It works with a whole host of platforms, so check out Shots Central for more info.

How cool is that?!


Pest Moth in Napa

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have confirmed the detection of a single adult light brown apple moth on May 9 in a residential area of Napa.

The Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) is an exotic pest that can affect a wide variety of plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables. The insect feeds on over 250 plant species, including eucalyptus, apple, oak, willow and grapes. The larvae will feed on grape clusters, increasing botrytis infections. It can be controlled using Bt (Bacillus thuringensis bacteria) insecticides and insect growth regulators.

The moth has recently been discovered in other areas of the San Francisco Bay Area. Agricultural officials have established a quarantine including portions of Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Marin and Santa Clara counties. The quarantine is expected to expand soon due to more recent detections of the pest in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties.

SB 556, a proposed bill introduced by California State Senator Patricia Wiggins (D – Santa Rosa) to address the potential threat posed by the LBAM was approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee.


Widgets & Gadgets

No we're not talking Econ 101... these are new buzzwords for pretty cool publishing tools. Don't worry, we'll help you make sense of 'em. This is an example of a widget.

Widgetbox makes it REALLY easy to make and publish to myspace, blogger, facebook, google, and more.

It should also help make sense of the video we blogged about in this entry on April 26.


Salesforce in Santa Clara

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

We are headed to the the Salesforce Developer Conference in Santa Clara next week. It promises to be a busy day with the usual presentations. We're most excited about the chance to talk with like-minded webware developers, as well as a chance to play with cool AppExchange solutions.

See you there!



The Seattle Times reported the crackdown on DWT - Driving While Texting - in Washington State. Under the new laws, drivers who read and compose text messages or talk on a cell phone without a hands-free device could face a $101 ticket.

Neither offense will be enough to get a driver pulled over by the police, but we think it is a good start.

Just for the record, we discourage any attempt to Grow Smarter While Driving (GSWT)!


Growers Investing in Vineyard Technology

54 % of the wine growers and vintners responding to the 2007 Vineyard Economics Seminar Survey said technology is the most important area of their business that will require additional investment over the next three years.

These results were presented yesterday at the The Wine Industry Symposium Group's 12th Annual Vineyard Economics Seminar. A summary is also found here on the Wine Business Monthly website, and in the most recent edition of the publication.


Powdery Mildew & Botrytis

The nice folks at Winery Exchange have posted a couple maps from Terra Spase illustrating:
  1. Napa Valley Powdery Mildew Risk
  2. Sonoma County Botrytis Risk
See their notes on the Gubler-Thomas Powdery Mildew Index, as well as the Broome Botrytis Risk Index.


Profitable promotions

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I just got the link to this very interesting article on sales promotions from the MIT Sloan Management Review that some of the folk selling wine may find useful: "Any sales promotion worth its salt will increase sales, but creating a profitable promotion is more difficult."

Among various other examples, the article compares GM's 2005 "Employee Discount for Everyone" summer pricing promotion (quickly copied by Ford and Chrysler), to the Cadillac Under Five challenge which aired during the Superbowl (following the promotion, sales of the Cadillac V-series jumped 25%!).

Based on the results of their research, the authors propose three features of successful (profitable) sales promotions:
  • It provides the sponsor with a period of exclusivity because it precludes or delays imitation but encourages quick buyer response.
  • It does not rely on discounting alone, but communicates something about the company, the brand, or the specific goods or services offered.
  • It is launched by companies that have some differential advantage in the marketplace already.
Especially important, in my view, is creating the opportunity for the buyer to respond easily and quickly to the promotion - and here's where the web can really help out...


IT as a source of competitive advantage?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The most recent McKinsey Quarterly article on IT Strategy (The next frontier in IT strategy) reports the results of a survey of 72 senior IT Executives in North America: "IT executives say that they are now helping to shape business strategy but need to improve their ability to tap innovation."

The authors propose that the focus of a company's IT strategy should not only span several years, but should be a proactive part of the formulation of business strategy - evolving from a simple support of business needs by taking into consideration technology trends and the competitive landscape.

I guess I wasn't all too surprised to see that the survey respondents gave their IT strategy lowest points in harnessing emerging technology and taking into account competitors' IT capabilities. They didn't rate themselves very highly in introducing new technology, as compared to the competition, either.

How do you feel about the role IT plays in your organization?


IT Change Control

One of the major things about our service that goes unnoticed is our change control process (good scenario found here). This is a key element of our IT operations that helps us keep track of who did what ...where... when... and why...

It seems a little silly, but this is one of the cornerstones of our security, as well as our ability to provide uninterrupted service. Like our users, I rarely think about it --but now that I am, kudos to our development team for maintaining this best practice!


Green wine?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I'm no viticulture expert, but given that we do get some requests from a couple of our users to include moon phases in our application calendar, for instance, I was wondering about the general consensus in the community.

From what I understand, there will be more of these kinds of requests for us to include biodynamics in the winegrowing practices we support through our webware.

I know articles like this one are quite controversial, given the lack of scientific support for many of the practices that biodynamic growers adhere to, but there is a growing niche for grapes grown "in tune" with the environment. If the growth in this type of demand follows the organic market or alternative medicine trends, why would you NOT follow Mike Benzinger's example?

What do you think?

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