I have been through a complex time mentally over the last few months, with the changes here at Whitehill (now Skywire), and with my own transition within (and ultimately out of) the organization.
It is now time to face fully forward, and I am doing so right now with more excitement than I have had in a long time.
For the past number of months, I have been looking at a lot of options as to what to do next (as described in a previous post), and while there have been many ideas floating around, I have had a hard time getting truly fired up by any of them. Part of it was just inertia and fear of change. But a big part of it has been my own thinking. I have become extremely conservative (in some ways – not politically) as I have gotten older. So, much of my planning has centred around conservative ideas, or at most conservative approaches to more exciting ideas.
It is, unfortunately, very difficult to get fired up or inspired about playing it safe. That does not mean I am going to go off and do things without due consideration, or take unnecessary or ill-conceived risks. What it does mean is that I am going to follow a path which has been successful for me at previous times in my life – follow the big dream. In addition, have fun doing it. The dream itself is not the main goal, it is the act of chasing the dream and enjoying the path.
I have been searching for great words to express what I want to do next, and have finally found them in a cartoon of all places:
Pinky: “Gee Brain, what do you want to do tonight?”
The Brain: “The same thing we do every night, Pinky—Try to take over the world.”
So, that is what’s next for me – try to take over the world, or at least some interesting piece of it.
Stay tuned – this is going to be fun!
PS – here are the immortal words of Pinky and the Brain in their original form:
I am always amazed (and somewhat amused) to listen to the press and many bloggers pound on Microsoft, and hold up Apple as this golden idol of alternatives. Don’t get me wrong, I love Macs – I have ever since I started using and programming them back in the late 80s. I even liked the Newton. And the new iMacs – damn I want one.
But there are a few points of the Microsoft is evil/apple is great discussion that I find deeply amusing and ironic:
- Apple, with Steve Jobs, handed the desktop market to Microsoft on a platter. The Mac UI in the early eighties was way beyond anything Microsoft would produce until Windows 95. With that lead, Apple could have taken over the desktop. However, through the closed, anti-clone, “we must maintain the purity of the platform” view they had through the eighties, they gave that advantage away. Even though DOS was crap in terms of usability, and Windows was graphical crap, the availability of cheap clones and many, many hardware choices, the PC won out. Once again, inferior technoogy won because the people behind the better technology acted stupidly. (Note that Steve Jobs continued this stupidity with more great technology with Next).
- Apple has always been the ultimate “closed platform”. Standards rarely come into play. If you want to develop on the Mac (at least anything useful) you use our tools. Until recently, even all of the hardware has been non-standard. If Microsft were anywhere near as closed as Apple, the Justice Department would have shut them down. Heck, on many Apple devices, you are not even allowed to change your own battery, or add an industry standard memory card.
- Apple has rarely created technology which benefited (from a tech community sense) anyone but Apple. Consider Microsoft’s Tablet PC platform. Microsoft could have “gone it alone” on the Tablet, as Apple would have (and probably will). Instead, Microsoft defined the specification for a Tablet PC, and left it to hardware vendors and startups to build the hardware, and IVSs to build the application, thus creating a sub-industry benefiting many businesses beyond Microsoft. Compare to Apple and the launch of the iPhone.
Again, I love Apple, and I think they have some of the best design people in the world. But I do not fool myself into believing that they are in business for anyone’s benefit but their own.
I noticed this over on GigaOM GigaOM Web Innovators Group: Boston Startups Come Out & Present «. I noticed that a company called frevvo. This company was founded by a gorup of people I have worked with in the past. They have some cool technology that is worth checking out (I would describe it, but hey, go look for yourself!)
So it is the weekend, and my brain is tired from being on vacation all week (I read even more when I am on vacation than when I am at work – that is why I take vacation, to catch up on my reading!). Looking at a lot of stuff I am following lately, much of it relates to social networking, web 2.0, mashable content, etc. – much the same as everyone else in this business I guess.
There is also a significant amount of press related to age, and this being a young person’s game.
You know, the idea that no one who is not in their 20s or younger should be starting a Web 2.0 business, and people in their 40s are completely out of it.
Now, I personally do not buy this for a minute (probably because I am in my 40s). I do start wondering, however, whether I really grasp all of this stuff. I get a lot of it, but some of it is just beyond me. I have already talked about Second Life, and I still am not convinced that it is meaningful. There are Twitter and Pownce. These I just do not get. I do not need to know that much about anything anyone is doing. Mashups I get, and I wholeheartedly agree with the idea, but I do not think I get them on that deeply intuitive level.
So, I ask the question. Am I getting too old for this?
Just read Nirvanix To Challenge Amazon S3. I have been playing with Amazon’s web services for a number of months now, and I am impressed with some of what is there, and Nirvanix looks to be in a positions to challenge the same space. I find it interesting to look at some of the “success stories” on Amazon’s web site, reflecting to the potential for web startups to avoid large initial investments in infrastructure. Even in a well funded startup, it would make sense to focus resources on core IP, as opposed to buying infrastructure.
In my opinion, this is a more fundamental shift than many trends receiving a great deal more hype. Previous ASP hosted models, and more current SaaS models are less fundamental than this. To have a computing infrastructure that performs like a utility opens up many new possibilities.
Now I just have to figure out what they are 🙂
Zero Motorcycles cranks out whisper quiet electric bike – Engadget
This is another interesting concept. Unfortunately, I have a problem with the whole concept of electric cars – at least with ones with batteries which need to be charged from the electric power grid. In terms of a solution to our energy problems, or to global warming, these really make no sense whatsoever. All they are doing is moving the problem from one place (vehicles) to another place (the power grid), where the environmental impact is potentially as bad or worse. If even a small percentage of our vehicles were switched to electric, the impact on the power grid would be enormous.
While I admire the idea behind this effort, I believe the environmental advantages are largely illusory.