Urban Challenge, Birthdays, and Delivering a Keynote

Some interesting things have been happening over the past week. I’m pleased that the Carnegie Mellon University team won the DARPA Urban Challenge and the $2 million prize. The Urban Challenge was held on a 60-mile course at George Air Force Base using totally autonomous vehicles racing around an urban setting. The vehicles had to navigate the course while obeying California traffic laws and avoiding a variety of real-world obstacles such as four-way stops, traffic circles, multiple lanes of traffic, and more. Eleven vehicles started the competition, and six vehicles finished — a good showing. This bodes well for the safety of our troops in future warfighting scenarios.

Last night, we celebrated Malin Burnham’s birthday on the USS Midway aircraft carrier in San Diego. It happened to be my wife Betty’s birthday too, so it was doubly important. The event was spectacular. There were opera singers, circus performers, an excellent dinner, and a carefully thought-out program documenting Malin’s life. Malin has long been a friend of mine and an asset to San Diego, and I suspect he will continue to be for many years into the future.

On Wednesday, I will deliver the keynote address at the ESOP Association’s national conference in Las Vegas. The subject I will present is “Beyond the ESOP,” and my message will be that there is more to employee ownership than just ESOPs. We employed a variety of different equity sharing techniques at SAIC to achieve our goals of widespread employee ownership. I hope to see you at the conference — if you’re there, please stop by and say hello.

— Bob