Thursday, March 29, 2007

Utah Technology Council

I just returned from a great Utah Technology Council luncheon, where Shane Robison (CTO of HP) gave the keynote address. He spoke of HP's growth strategy, and how all companies, regardless of their size, have the same headaches regarding sustained growth. He discussed their M&A approach, and the need to carefully monitor the cost structure of the company.

In this meeting, yours truly was also honored as the Utah Technology Council CTO of the Year for 2006. The Deseret News picked up the UTC story on Saturday, and had a small notice regarding the award winners.

All in all, it was a great meeting...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Utah High Tech

I just came from an advisory board meeting at Utah Valley State College (my alma mater, soon to be Utah Valley University). There was a very interesting discussion regarding the state of the Computer Science field. For the past couple of years there has been a decline in enrollment in the Computer Science disciplines (nationwide). Of course, this affects Utah specifically, since we have always had a very strong base of software engineers to draw upon. This base is diminishing. With the economic development in the state attracting high tech companies here mainly because of that base, we seem to be accelerating toward a brick wall.

I have recently had a very tough time hiring good developers, mainly because they don't want to drive the 30 miles north to our Salt Lake offices. Many of my peers are also commenting about how difficult it is to hire good developers these days - both in the Salt Lake valley and Utah County valley areas. The market is definitely tight right now (what a difference two years makes). It seems to me that it is not only the base of young developers, but the overall market for solid development and QA talent that is diminishing.

Add to this the reality that many jobs are being created over seas with the up-tick in outsourcing, and I believe we have a serious problem in front of us. If we are going to continue to have the great base of high-tech companies here, we need to do something to attract young people to the Software Engineering discipline. I believe that part of this is due to parents being concerned that all software jobs will be outsourced so they direct their children to other fields, and also to the mis-perception that software engineers are "geeks", sitting in a dark room in the back of the office, typing on a keyboard all day. We somehow need to help young people see the cool, artistic, creative, human-interactive side of the high-tech industry. We need to help them understand that technology helps flatten the world, and keeps people in touch with each other, and is not just some bits flowing through the air with geeks pulling the strings behind the scenes.

It has been a very interesting and thought-provoking morning.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


If you are not already using LinkedIn, you should be. It is a great business tool, and a wonderful way to stay in touch with co-workers, fill jobs, find jobs, and generally network. It is free to set up an account - and if you do, make sure you "link" to me!

The Knapton Blog...

Well, I guess it is time that I officially enter the bloggospere. I have never been much of a writer, nor have I really tried to keep myself on the web (I used to have a little web site for my family, way back) - but I figure that blogging may be worthwhile. I'll give it a shot.