Posted on February 15, 2012 by Christopher Thrall

On Feb 29 and Mar 1, 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Kelly Graves ’77 will hold sessions on a staggering variety of subjects: check them out here!

On Wednesday, February 29, and Thursday, March 1, 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Kelly Graves ’77 will be on Augustana Campus. He plans to visit several classes to deliver lectures on topics ranging from entrepreneurial financing to social engineering and finding exoplanets. Included in the series is an open lunchtime talk on the future of social media and an evening presentation on a liberal arts education!

Wednesday, February 29

12:50 pm: AUMGT 310
Financing your Vision
This 45-minute presentation explains the sources of funding available to technical startups and explores the strengths and weaknesses of each. Consider the mechanics of bootstrapping, equity financing, debt financing, and government grants. Examine the current investment culture in North America and Europe, and explore the reasons that all of the current crop of venture funds are under-subscribed.
Kelly ill take a few minutes to give some colourful stories from Silicon Valley and from the experience of being a founding principal in a venture capital firm. He will also do his best to undo the intellectual damage wrought by “Dragon’s Den”.

2:30 pm: AUPHY 291/391
Location is everything: How to find 500,000,000 square kilometres for your vacation cottage
This demonstration will show everything students need to know to join the exclusive amateur group doing serious scientific work measuring exoplanet transits. It will run very briefly through the physical geometry of an exoplanet transit, explain the magnitude system and how it is used to measure stellar flux, talk about atmospheric extinction, explain relative photometric measurement, show how to access a through-the-web telescope capable of doing sub-millimagnitude photometry, and dig into the tools needed for planning and reporting.
Without using much math, the class will visit about 50 Web pages and actually control a telescope live from within the classroom (provided the weather cooperates), setting up a data run to gather photometric measurement of one of the Kepler worlds.

Community Awards Banquet
The fractal geometry of Matthew Arnold’s head
Matthew Arnold laid the foundations of our modern understanding for a liberal arts education. This has never been more true than it is today; the pace of change is such that in most disciplines, any set of facts is going to go out of date quickly. We have proven Fermat’s last theorem. We can’t seem to find the bottom of the pile of atomic particles. New forms of music have emerged in the past 20 years. We have discovered new, exciting ways of helping the poor that weren’t possible even a decade ago. Everything is changing: even history is newly-illuminated.
Matthew Arnold said that a liberal arts education is the best way to learn what has been thought and said, and that is the foundation for a new life. The pace of change is now such that each of these students here will need to re-invent themselves repeatedly in the next few decades. That’s a trick that some would argue that Matthew Arnold never really did master … but our students must know how to do this.
What Augustana provides is a set of tools that lets students deal intellectually and emotionally with the best of what has been thought and said, and the best of what will be thought and said. This set of tools can be repeatedly and recursively applied, not just to what Matthew Arnold viewed as the essential cognitive domain, not just to the “delta” (the things that have changed since Arnold wrote), but to anything that might come at our students in the future. The tools, in fact, work best when they are also applied to themselves.
Augustana will give our students the ability to survive in a world where new understanding and new circumstances come at at them in recursive tsunamis of discovery … it gives them the ability to do this, and to remain standing. I can tell you from experience that this works pretty well.

Thursday, March 1

9:25 am: AUMGT 381
Social Engineering and Change in the Developing World
Among the most fruitful ground for social entrepreneurship are countries where the gross annual household income is less than $3,000 a year. These societies are often poor for a very good reason: they don’t offer people many ways to make money. These societies all receive aid from CIDA and other organizations, but this aid often not only fails — it makes the problems worse. In this 45-minute talk, explore the financial dynamics of the developing-country economic monocultures, the impact of big-ticket foreign-aid projects, and some new projects that are attempting to break the establish way of failure with social entrepreneurship using actual examples from projects in the past 15 years on Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Tonga, and Fiji. Lots of photographs!

10:50 am: AUMGT 330
Dynamic Market Segmentation for Web Properties
What were the best target markets for Facebook when it was first written? Mark Zuckerberg had no idea. Did Google know in advance that its median user age would be nearly fifty? They had no clue. What market segment online will respond best to content from newspapers re-cast on the Web? Nobody can figure this one out … but we will.
This 40-minute discussion will look in detail at three separate dynamic market-segmentation techniques that all these firms are applying today. It will demonstrate how, beginning with a “traditional” market-segmentation hypothesis, new web tools are used to refine, reinforce, and sometimes transform market segmentations. It will look in some detail at crowd-sourcing approaches and demonstrate why those approaches almost always fail, look at the “bias confirmation” approach used by AT&T and other big firms, and then examine the very successful “evolutionary” approach favoured by the most forward-thinking firms … and point to a critical weakness in it that sometimes still leads to marketing disasters. We’ll look at lots of online Web properties and dig into the approaches that they take.

Lunch Session on the Future of Social Media
Kelly will discuss various Web sites using the “Wayback Machine” so we can see what the
world used to look like … and guess about what it might turn into tomorrow.
Every new internet sensation turns into a land grab. A few coarsely-dated examples are:

  • 1995: Search engines
  • 1996: Click-through advertising
  • 1997: Geo-location services
  • 2004: personal-information based, status-updating websites (Facebook)
  • 2006: Status-update websites (Twitter)

New search engines are rare. A search engine that can displace Google would be a shock.
Is this the future of Social Media? Is the land-grab over? Is the big trio of FaceBook, Twitter, and Linked-In as far as we get to go, or will we see social media extend in new directions? Will social media be able to deliver benefits-based business functionality, or will it remain casual and largely unstructured?
This 25-minute talk draws comparisons between three successive generations of internet innovation, and speculates about the future of social media.

2:15 pm: AUCSC 310
Big Team Engineering
In spite of the notion that five geeks, 13 pizzas, and 4 cases of Red Bull can create BaseCamp or FaceBook in a weekend, most software development is done slowly and in big teams.
Big Team Engineering is never pretty, but it almost always works. Examine case studies from four different firms: Myrias (parallel supercomputers, with a standard IBM-style “big glass” approach for 50 programmers); Net Effect Systems (distributed Java applications, with a Joint-Application-Design approach for 20 programmers); Tynt (Web metrics, with an AGILE approach for 25 programmers); and Sweet Lightning (evolutionary algorithm design, with a LLALI approach for 15 programmers). Compare and contrast the different approaches, and get a feel not only for the strengths and weaknesses of each but for the experience of living through all-consuming projects where the methodologies are applied — and sometimes fall short.

Kelly Graves '77, 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award winner

Kelly is an experienced advisor, senior analyst, strategist, author and mentor, with broad experience in information technologies, policy, e-business, energy, and customer relations. He is a successful entrepreneur with experience across a wide range of sectors. Kelly has acquired a reputation for his pragmatic, “get-things-done” style, extremely effective facilitation, and an ability to bring out the best in teams and individuals.


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