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Entries in MIT (3)


Mary Chung

Mary ChungSprouts

464 Massachusetts Avenue
Central Square, Cambridge, MA 02139-4132

(617) 864-1991

In the spirit of healthy eating, some of my friends have been very helpful.  Some kick me in the butt when I order something I shouldn’t; some celebrate my progress (down 57 lbs and still at it.)

One client/friend isn’t getting the healthy eating thing.  The last place we went served over a dozen types of meat….all at one time.  We were at the MIT CIO Symposium, and the boxed lunches didn’t look “appetizing.”  So it was off for Chinese food, at a long time restaurant Mary Chung.

Mary Chung is located on Massachusetts Avenue, a short walk from the MIT Campus.  The restaurant is located in a simple building, without anything remarkable to draw you in.  In fact, you would Simple Interiorprobably walk by it without looking. It turns out my buddy lived in the area when he first started working after college.  He and his Indian roommate would go to Mary Chung because there were plenty of options for satiating my carnivorous friend AND his vegetarian roommate.

No wonder.  The menu, protected by plastic sheet protectors, has over 243 items….and they can alter spicy for “mild, medium or very hot.”  I was forewarned, the very hot, “will have you breaking out in perspiration.”  The menu has Chinese and English, with the English being an add since my buddy lived there.

Serving only beer and wine, the lunch crowd was a series of businessSpinach people and researchers.  Apparently the evening crowd tends to be more MIT fraternity types…attending after their weekly chapter meetings.

Food quantity was generous.  I went with the relatively safe and conservative General Gau’s Chicken, and found the chicken tasty in a thick yet not overpowering batter.  I didn’t specify “hotness,” and found the standard fare quite mild.

General Gau’s ChickenBe aware, Mary Chung is a cash only business.  The bill for lunch was $53 for four, not bad for the amount of food consumed.

The interior environment is clean yet simple, and apparently never changes.  Nor does the food I’m told, food everyone at our table handsomely consumed with leftovers available.

Mary Chung isn’t a destination restaurant you simply have to go to.  However, if in the area it is a safe bet for great Chinese.


Sun, Mon, Wes, Thur – 11:30AM – 10:00PM
Saturday and Sunday 11:30-AM – 11:00PM
Closed Tuesdays

Monday-Friday 11:30AM -2:30PM (except holidays)

Chinese Brunch (Dim Sum) Saturday and Sunday 11:30AM – 3:00PM

Mary Chung gets a GREEN LIGHT…go and enjoy.

About the RAG scale:

       Green Light – Go and enjoy

       Amber Light – Use caution

       Red Light – Save your time and money


MIT CIO Symposium – 2013 Synopsis

MIT Sloan has for 10 years held a “CIO Symposium.”  This is an opportunity for thought leaders in industry and academia to compare notes and contemplate the future.  This year’s theme, “Architecting the Enterprise of the Future.”

My synopsis of the one day session?  IT is DEAD.  The CIO title often referred to as the Chief Information Officer (not the Chief Investment Officer of financial services firms) really means Career Is Over.

Many things in IT have died over my career.  The mainframe was declared a dinosaur in the 70s and 80s as “distributed computing” took over.  Companies like Prime, Data General, and Digital Equipment Corporation were poised to dethrone International Business Machines (IBM) as the leader of computing.

Who remembers Prime, Data General, and Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC)?  Each of these companies was a once proud Massachusetts computer company, and IBM thrives.

I left the session with a distinct feeling of coming from a wake, where memories of the dearly departed were shared.

Sage advice like “IT needs to align with the business” has been a mantra for decades.  “IT needs to speak in business terms and not IT terms” is an evergreen comment.  I was live tweeting from the audience, and at one point was challenged by a friend:



“The Use of Power and Influence During the Process of Innovation” was a theme of an early session. 

My tweeting shows some good soundbites, and perhaps nothing new:



“Big data” got a bit more of a reaction:



And some reaction was bittersweet:


As an IT professional, do I think IT is dead?  No (although I did tell my son not to get into the business, and he did anyway.)  IT needs to evolve or perish.  (This isn’t new either.)

IT is seeing a repeat of the mainframe death knell because so many business lines can now “do their own thing.”  Salesforce.com has revolutionized the way sales teams work, and business lines feel empowered.  Are there issues around privacy and “islands of automation?”  You bet.  And many organizations are balancing agility with regulations and are being successful.

I’m going to submit “islands of automation” was one of the cries in the era of Prime, Data General, and Digital Equipment Corporation.  It’s déjà vu all over again. 

What drives business lines to do these projects is IT is viewed as an obstacle, not an enabler.

Georgia Papathomas, VP and CIO of J&J Pharmaceuticals, had some great insights in a session, “Driving Innovation and Managing Expectations:”

  • Everything in IT takes too long,”
  • “There is only a business strategy, no IT Strategy.” It’s an IT roadmap at J&J.  This is a subtle powerful shift.
  • We are using technology to evolve to a Health Care company, from a Product Company.  And that doesn’t mean it’s IT leading the charge.

The session “Strategic Agility through IT: Harnessing the Convergence of Data, Analytics and the Cloud” offered some jewels like:

  • Agile methodology not just for IT; for business unit as well (somehow that doesn’t sound like business speak.”
  • “It used to be work had the best technology, and not home. It’s switched. And the people managing tech need to understand,” offered Michael Relich, EVP, CIO and Strategic Planning for Guess
  • Sharing data between private clouds (like fraud data) is a large opportunity for companies

The award for the best stream of soundbites in the session, “The Evolving Cloud Agenda” went to Scott Blanchette, SVP of Information and Technology Services at Vanguard Health Systems:

  • Security and Privacy regulations most significant barrier to cloud
  • We put the appropriate (security) wrappers around data in the cloud.
  • Buying equipment is cheap today; even EMC. (Crowd knowingly laughs)
  • Don’t ask your barber if you need a haircut yielded  don’t ask a hardware vendor if you should go cloud from @ValaAfshar
  • Processing speed is accelerating faster than collection of health care data
  • We put governance in place for people who come up with the best ideas.  “The best ideas will come from someplace that we don’t expect.”

My view of the best session, the one giving me the most reason for hope, was put on by Andrew McAfee, Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management.  Sadly he was on at the very end.

He posits the steam engine propelled humankind as first machine age and we are on the precipice of 2nd machine age.  He sees the following CODE:

  • Cyborg - new man/machine combinations will propel us, combining human/digital contribution
  • Open - organizations will be more open. The smartest people work somewhere else. With enough eyes the bugs are small
  • Data-Driven - rigorous analytical approach is driving economy. (Think a restaurant owner can identify theft)
  • Evolving - how quickly innovation is happening and disruption happening.

Whether Information Technology stays in the “C” suite or not, it is clear IT can study the past, and use this knowledge as a way to leapfrog (and not simply repeat.)


Gary L Kelley’s twitter feed from the MIT CIO Symposium and other extraneous topics can be viewed at https://twitter.com/glkelley


Notes from the MIT CIO Symposium

This week we attended the MIT CIO Symposium and, as in previous years, found it thought provoking, inspirational, and actionable. We want to share some interesting comments from a keynote CEO panel.

The panel was moderated by Gregory Huang (Editor, Xconomy Boston) with the following CEO’s panelists:

The main theme was alignment and the need for IT organizations to understand business organizations in order to help them innovate. Business leaders want to “be on the edge.” IT leaders want to focus “on the core.” The problem with staying at the core is “innovation gets stifled.” Therefore, IT needs to “bring the core out to the edge.” When this is achieved, then CIOs can pull CEOs towards innovation and help the CEO “look smart.”

A leading factor preventing IT from innovating and moving the core to the edge is the organization of IT. Most IT “organizations are structured like the military.” There is a clear command and control structure with a specific ration of managers to staff. At Google they operate with 60 staff members being managed by one manager. In order to break old habits, IT will need to redesign itself and think about using new techniques for communication and accountability. At a different session, the question was asked how “Gen-Y” employees want to work. A CIO said he didn’t know, but he looks at his 16 year-old son playing Xbox and maybe has a clue. His son is playing a game where he is the leader of a team of virtual people (soldiers). The people are real and located all around the world. His son is able to organize the team, establish productive real-time communication, enable a virtual command and control structure and win the battle. Pretty impressive for someone who hasn’t graduated high school.

The CEO’s felt IT has become order takers. They would prefer them to be “Deflationary, Destructive, and Disruptive.”

In a discussion about talent management, one CEO stated he no longer reads resumes before meeting someone. He claims a resume is simply “person branding,” and doesn’t tell you much about the person. The CEO will read the resume after the interview, only if he likes the candidate. A highly provocative approach.

The conference was fantastic and this panel was ideal as a kick-off for many panels and discussions around the role of IT and the need for technology-driven business innovation.