Look Up Down All Around!

Your Brain 3D Printed [1]

The effects of technology do not occur at the level of opinions or concepts. Rather they alter patterns of perception steadily and without any resistance.

~ Marshall McLuhan

First i hope everyone is safe. Second, this blog is more meta-physical in nature. The above picture is a present i received from a dear friend who 3D printed it for me. A transhumanist pictorial if you will for accelerating our wetware. This brings us to the current matter at hand.

i was traveling recently and i couldn’t help but notice how many humans are just sitting, walking, running and even biking looking at their mobile devices. Families no longer talk to each other, couples no longer kiss. Kids no longer day dream. All no longer LOOK UP, DOWN and ALL AROUND.

i must confess at this juncture that, as a technologist, i am conflicted. As they say we make the guns, but we don’t pull the trigger. As a technologist, i truly love using and creating with mathematics, hardware, and software. it is an honor as far as i am concerned, and i treat it as such, yet when i have time to sit and ponder i think of the time i held the first telegraph in my hands. Yes, the FIRST telegraph that read:

What hath God wrought!

Invented and sent by Samuel Finley Breese Morse 24 May 1844. I held it. Of course it was behind plexiglass, and this is a link to said telegraph.

Why is this important? It converted numbers (morse code in this case) into a readable document, content if you will. Even if you do not believe in higher-order deities or some theistic aspects what was transmitted and received via the message of the telegraph herewith was multi-modal and carried some weight to the message.

There seems to be a trend toward a kind of primitive outlook on life a more tribal attitude and i think its a natural reaction to industrialization. Unfortunately i think it is a bit naive because the future is going to become more mechanized, computerized as you call it and i dont think there is any turning back.

~ Jim Morrison

Intelligence it seems, is now but a search engine away or if you will a “tic-tok” away. It also seems due to this immediate gratification of content and information that, we no longer talk to anyone. “The Pandemic” seems to have modified several aspects of our existence. The results of this i believe will take decades of evolution before this change is truly understood from a systems theory and first principles engineering view.

We have been sequestered into a living environment tethered to the LazyWeb(TM). Per my commentary about seeing families with their heads buried in their phones during all modes of so-called social engagement, this is creating considerable fractures in how we deal with friends, families, and most importantly ourselves.

Now in recent times, Humans are going into the office or “back to the hybrid workplace” and taking a zoom call in the adjacent meeting room to where the REAL PHYSICAL meeting is occurring. So the more i pondered, the more i thought i would post a bunch of pictures and talk about cyberspace vs real space.

Live Oak with Sunshine

i have read all the books: “Neuromancer, Cyberspace, SnowCrash,Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (DADOES), Super Intelligence, 1984, Brave New World, Realware etc”, i first worked on full Virtual Reality applications in 1993. Yes there were computers back then, big red ones called Silicon Graphics Crimson machines. These augmented with fixed point digital signal processing equipment created the first six degrees of freedom ( 6DOFS) head tracked stereoscopic renderings complete with spatial audio. So it is nothing new just executed in a different fashon.

i recently went to the NASA Astronaut Training Experience at the Kennedy Space Center with my eldest daughter and we took a walk on Mars and did some trivial tasks. It was tethered environment with mono-based audio however it was impressive from a simulation standpoint. When the alert system informed me that a sandstorm was coming, i was non-plussed. Having worked on top-secret systems, i understand the need for simulations entirely. Simulate all the emergencies over and over again that you can think of when going into an environment of conflict.

Double Rainbow

On a regular basis “Humans being” and living do not constitute simulation unless you buy into Bostrom’s theory that we are living in a simulation, then what of it? Please make the most of IT. Talk to that person across from you. What color do they love? What is their favorite food? Do they like puppies? If they are close friends and family, above all – show them how you feel. Hug them.

I believe that computers have taken over the world. I believe that they
have in many ways ruined our children. I believe that kids used to love
to go out and play. I believe that social graces are gone because
manners are gone because all people do is sit around and text. I think
it’s obnoxious.

~ Stevie Nicks
Sunset and Oak Tree

If you are not the talkative type go outside build a fire, Walk through the city. Go sit under a tree. If you live in a place where you can see the sky go outside and just stare at the sky and let your eyes adjust. The stars will come out and think about the fact you are made of the same substances.

Reflect on and into yourself. Shut down all the noise and chatter. Listen. What do YOU hear?

I can’t fax you my love.
I can’t e-mail you my heart.
I can’t see your face in cyberspace,
I don’t know where to start.

~ Jimmy Buffet
Full Moon At Night

When you get up in the morning, don’t start the Doom Scroll. Contemplate. Get a notebook and write some thoughts. The visceral act of writing activates differing neural patterns that allow us to remember and learn. Think about what you would like to accomplish. Hopefully, you made your bed. That is at least one thing you can check off that you did accomplish, and your parents would be proud.

i wrote a blog a while ago called Its An Honor To Say Goodbye. Many seemed to enjoy it for several different reasons. As you look up from your phone and are around, folks play a game. What if that person just disappeared as though they were shot by a BFG (Big F-in Gun) in one of the first-person shooting games and could not re-frag? Just gone from the simulation? Poof!

How would you feel?

Purple Beach Blue Night Sky

i’ll have to say if this is a simulation, it is pretty good and has to be some quantum information theoretic manifestation[2]. Yet! Feeling that embrace from a friend or loved one, feeling the spray from a wave, smelling and touching a rose, A dog licking you in the face, tasting that steak, the carnality and sensuality of it all transcend, at least for me, the “meta” aspects of the online experience.

Go Outside! The Graphics are Great!

~ Sensai Todd
Turquoise Beach Storm

So folks, when in doubt, put that device down for a bit. Go for a walk. Say hello to that person across the room and ask how the day is going, and mean it and listen. Go outside and sit against a tree at night, or take a walk near the ocean or body of water (my favorite). Draw. Shut your eyes and deeply listen to music. Dance. Make stupid sounds. Try something you have never done before. Do something besides being fed programmed content.

Look UP DOWN and ALL AROUND.

So question for all of you:

Q: Would you prefer a telegraph, facsimile or simulation of this life?

TV The Zero Day Virus

Until Then,

tctjr

#iwishyouwater <- Nathan Florence on a hellish scottish slab paddle out. He aint worried about who clicked like….

Muzak To Blog By Forestt “Into The Woods”. i would classify this as Martial Folk if i may use genre classification liberally.

[1] Someone i really respect technically and now consider a dear friend printed this out for me. He also prints body parts. Heavy stuff. He is a practicing ER doctor and also codes.

[2] On the above commentary concerning simulations, i do believe in the Minowski multi-verse theory and view of The Universe. Its all happening NOW with multiple probabilities, our noggin cant sample fast enough to reconstruct all of the information simultaneously. Also, remember, girls and boys, YOU are the universe.

[3] i took all of the pictures included herewith except the last one.

references:

[1] this is a great interview with The Lizard King (aka Jim Morrison when he was 26 in 1970. Listen. This isn’t hippie stuff. Click HERE.

What Is Your KulChure?

Got It?

We are organized like a startup. We are the biggest startup on the planet.

S. Jobs

First, i hope everyone is safe. Second, this blog is about something everyone seems to be asking me about and talking about, but no one seems to be able to execute the concept much like interoperability in #HealthIT. Third, it is long-form content so in most cases tl;dr.

CULTURE.

Let us look to Miriam-Websters OnLine Dictionary for a definition – shall we?

cul·​ture <ˈkəl-chər>

1

a: the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group also the characteristic features of everyday existence (such as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a place or time ; popular culture, Southern culture

b: the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization a corporate culture focused on the bottom line

c: the set of values, conventions, or social practices associated with a particular field, activity, or societal characteristic studying the effect of computers on print culture

d: the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations

2

a: enlightenment and excellence of taste acquired by intellectual and aesthetic training

b: acquaintance with and taste in fine arts, humanities, and broad aspects of science as distinguished from vocational and technical skills; a person of culture

3: the act or process of cultivating living material (such as bacteria or viruses) in prepared nutrient media also a product of such cultivation

4: CULTIVATIONTILLAGE

5: the act of developing the intellectual and moral faculties especially by education

6: expert care and training; beauty culture

Wow, This sounds complicated. Which one to leave in and which one to leave out?

Add to this complexity the fact that creating and executing production software is almost an insurmountable task. i have said for years software creation is one of the most significant human endeavors of all time. i also believe related to these concerns the interplay between comfort and solutions. Most if not all humans desire solutions however as far as i can tell solutions are never comfortable. Solutions involve change most humans are homeostatic. Juxtapose this against the fact that humans love comfort. So what do you do?

So why does it seem like everyone is talking about kəl-chər? i consider this to be like Fight Club. 1st rule of kəl-chər is you don’t talk about culture. It should be an implicit aspect of your organization. Build or Re-Build it at a first principles engineering practice. Perform root cause analysis of the behaviors within the company. If it does in fact need to be re-built start with you and your leadership. Turn the mirror on you first. Understand that you must lead by example. Merit Not Inherit.

i’ve recently been asked how you change and align culture. Well here are my recommendations and it comes down to TRUST at ALL levels of the company.

Create an I3 Lab: Innovation, Incubation, Intrapreneurship:

Innovation without code is just ideas and everyone has them. Ideas are cheap. Incubation without product market fit is a dead code base. Intrapreneurship is the spirit of a system that encourages employees to think and act like individual entrepreneurs and empowers them to take action, embrace risk, and make decisions as if they had founded the company themselves. Innovate – create the idea – Incubate – create the Maximum Viable Product (not minimum) – Intrapreneurship – spin out the Maximum Viable Product. As an aside Minimum Viable Product sounds like you bailed out making the best you possibly could in the moment. Take that Maximum Viable product and roll it into a business vertical and go to market strategy – then spin the wheel again.

I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.

E. Musk

Value The Most Important Asset – Your People

Managing high-performance humans is a difficult task because most high-performance humans do not like to be managed they love to be led. Lead them by example. Value them and compensate them accordingly. Knowledge workers love achievement and goals. Lead them into the impossible, gravitate toward dizzying heights, and be there for them. Be completely transparent and communicate. Software is always broken. If anyone states differently they are not telling the truth. There is always refactoring, retargeting, more code coverage and nascent bugs. Let them realize you realize that however let them know that if they do make a mistake escalate immediately. Under no circumstances can you tolerate surprises. Give them the framework with OKRs and KPIs that let them communicate openly, efficiently and effectively and most important transparently. Great teams will turn pencils into Mount Blanc Fountain Pens. Let them do what they do best and reward them!

Process Doesn’t Make A Culture

Nor does it make great products. Many focus on some software process. Apple used and as far as i know still uses strict waterfall. As far as i am concerned, we are now trending towards a Holacracy type of environment which is a self-organizing environment. However, this only can be achieved with the proper folks that appreciate the friction of creating great products from the best ideas. The Process of evolving from an idea to a product is magic. You learn you evolve; you grow your passion for and into the product as it becomes itself the team that built the product. Your idea and passion are inherent in that shipping software (or hardware).

What do you want me to do

To do for you to see you through?

The Grateful Dead

Empower Your People

Provide your people the ability to manage themselves and have autonomy. Set them free. Trust them to make the decisions that will drive the company and projects into world-class endeavors. Take a chance with them, Let a new college graduate push some code to production. Let a new sales associate push a deal with a customer. Let your new marketing person design an area on the company site. Allow them to evolve grow and be a part of the Great Endeavor. Put them in charge and provide the framework for autonomy to make decisions and when they deliver – award them not with something ephemeral but volitional. Money and Stock work wonders. Empower. Align. Evolve.

Provide and Articulate a Common Vision

Provide a vision of the company or project. Two sentences that everyone understands. Most people who are empowered and given the frameworks to create within know what to do in these circumstances. Articulate the vision and gain common alignment across the organization or project. That is leadership that high performance teams desire. Take this alignment then map it into the OKRs and KPIs then in turn pick a process and let everyone know how this aligns to the vision. Create the environment that every line of code maps to that vision. Show commitment on this vision.

Give FeedBack

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Collaborate. Collaborate. Collaborate. Till you puke. i cannot emphasize this enough. You must be prepared everyday to manically interact with your teams and have the hard friction filled uncomfortable discussions. You want to keep the top performers let them know where they stand, how they stand and why they stand in the rankings and how they are contributing to the vision. Again attempt to create coder-metrics across your organization or project that exemplifies this performance. Interact with your most important asset your people. Over communicate. We have the ability to reach everyone at anytime, email, zoom, slack, granite tablet where once used to message. Write the message and give feedback. Better yet go take a walk with them. Have 1:1s. Listen to your people receptively and without bias and judgment about their concerns, passions, what scares them, what makes them happy, their joys, goals, and aspirations so they feel validated and understood. Solicit feedback, shut up and listen.

What all of this comes down to what i call – Amplifying_OthersTM. This is easier said than done. Personally, i believe that you need to commit even to the point of possibly finding them a better fit for a position at another company. This goes back to understanding what truly drives the only asset there is in technology the people. Always Be Listening, Always Be Networking, and Always Be Recruiting.

This brings up the next big question for your company – How do you attract the best right talent? Hmmmm… that might be another blog. Let me know your thought on these matters in the comments.

Until Then,

#IWishYouWater <- Psycho Session In Mentawis

@tctjr

Music To Blog By:

American Beauty by The Grateful Dead. Box of Rain and Ripple are amazing. Also if you haven’t heard Jane’s Addiction’s cover of Ripple check it out. i am not a Dead fan but the lyrics on some of these songs are monumental.

References (click for purchase link):

The Psychology of Computer Programming

Mythical Man Month

The Essence of Software: Why Concepts Matter for Great Design

Review: Zappa (The Official Documentary)

Art is making something out of nothing, and selling it.

Frank zappa
Frank Zappa

First i hope everyone is safe.

Second i’ll am writing about something off my usual beaten path and that is a movie review.  Yes once in a while i watch ye  ole “boob tube” as they used to call it back in the day.

This movie is a special movie to me as it is about the life of Frank Zappa the rock and roll guitar player, the composer, the artist, the movie maker, the recoding engineer, the American representative to Czechoslovakia, (or Czecho-Slovakia)  and most importantly a man who fervently fought for free speech.  Mainly at least for me it is a testament to someone who was constantly creating and recording that creation as well as documenting and saving those creations. While i’ve been into Zappa since a teenager i really started trying to understand the magnitude whilst in graduate school at the University of Miami where i was lucky enough to engineer and work with a group called the Zappa Ensemble. The musicianship and complexity blew my mind and it was hilarious all at the same time! It finally clicked!

Kerry Mcnabb and Frank Zappa getting physical in the mixing process (photo courtesy Magnolia Pictures)

Alex Winter was the main creative force behind Zappa with Frank Zappa’s oldest son Ahment Zappa producing. 

Zappa Trailer:

One of my greatest enjoyments is being part of making or being in deep active listening of this thing human’s call music and Frank Zappa to me is one of the greatest composers of the 20th century of which this movie showcases.  His ability to meld performance, musician ship and lyrical satire i believe will never be seen again in my time or possibly anyones time.

lf you’re going to deal with reality, you’re going to have to make one big discovery: Reality is something that belongs to you as an individual. If you wanna grow up, which most people don’t, the thing to do is take responsibility for your own reality and deal with it on your own terms. Don’t expect that because you pay some money to somebody else or take a pledge or join a club or run down the street or wear a special bunch of clothes or play a certain sport or even drink Perrier water, it’s going to take care of everything for you.

Frank Zappa

The movie deeply focuses on the extreme drive Zappa had to create and duplicate the sound that he heard in his head transferring it from paper to little dots of which we call musical notation then taking it to the studio and attempting to reproduce it as accurately as possible to the sound being heard inside his head.  The recording process to me is truly astounding.  It’s what i term “a perceptual to parameterization to physical transform”.  He was self taught in all aspects of his creative pursuits of which he was what i consider to be an ultimate autodidactic.

This movie starts off with Frank’s last guitar performance then cuts to him  in his Vault of recordings and VHS tapes identifying original master recordings.  I was awestruck.  

You’ve got to be digging it while it’s happening ’cause it just might be a one shot deal.

Frank Zappa

Through my research on the film i found out that alex Winter was Bill in the “Bill and Ted” films although i have no idea what those are as i haven’t seen them only heard about them.  Evidently he has been making documentaries for a decade. He approached Zappa’s widow Gail (the film is dedicated to her as she died in 2015)  for permission on the project.  The result is a a cacophony of a life lived loud with constant feeding the disease of composition and creativity.

Winter was given complete access to the Zappa family archives which as i mention above was called The Vault.  There are many shots of The Vault which is a treasure trove of both audio and video recordings all shapes sizes and formats.  

There is also a ton of footage of his family and how he grew up.  Initially his family completely opposed him getting involved with music and Zappa also notes that they were extremely poor. They also note Zappa was interested chemistry at an early age and tried to blow his school up.

The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.

Frank Zappa

There is a great section of Frank “On The Hill”  testifying before the senate during the PMRC hearings on album and music lyrics which he definitely as i do consider censorship.  The movie then details his pursuit of anything that looks or smells like censorship.  If it weren’t for him doing this at every turn i believe things would be very different even a much a it is now. Then i wonder, today in this environment, he probably couldn’t publish a lot of the music he wrote.

The salient point i was reminded of in this movie is  don’t waste your time go make a dent in this thing we call life and create at all costs even if no one – not one person – views, listens or uses the creation at least one person will and that will be the person of You.  

Never compromise and always choose quality over quantity and remember give “them” a good laugh.  They might not get the joke but at least you can laugh.  

Why do you necessarily have to be wrong just because a few million people think you are?

Frank Zappa

To give you an idea of the sheer output and dedication to the art while alive Zappa released 62 albums. Since 1994, the Zappa Family Trust has released 54 posthumous albums as of July 2020, making a total of 116 albums/album sets.

This dear reader should remind you of one aspect of your life:  Find your passion and dwell on it deeply, daily, hourly, minute by precious minute.  

Personally i hope The Vault is all mined, uncovered, reformatted and converted so that the world knows about the volume and creativity.

If you think that Zappa was all about raunchy lyrics, complex poly rhythms and symphonies most ensembles and orchestras couldn’t play i urge you to listen to this song that ends the documentary.  The documentary ends with amazing shots of his house  and uses a live version that is recorded in 1978 as the back drop. Below are several versions including the studio version from Joe’s Garage album because the comments by the “Central Scrutinizer” are hilarious and are juxtaposed against what i consider to be one of the most amazing pieces of guitar work ever recorded.  The sadness and lamenting of the piece is deafening.  However at the same time as someone who i have met in the land of suspicious coincidence said it is intoxicating.  

For completeness here is the live version in 1978

And here is a version in 2013 by his son dweezil zappa crying while he is playing.  

There is a four “disc” set on itunes of the documentary soundtrack here: Zappa Soundtrack.

Frank Zappa died on December 4, 1993 of prostate cancer.  He is survived by his four progeny: Moon, Dweezil, Ahment and Diva Zappa.  

Until then,

#iwishyouwater

@tctjr

Muzak To Blog By:  Zappa Soundtrack

Rolling Ubuntu On An Old Macintosh Laptop

“What we’re doing here will send a giant ripple through the universe.”

Steve Jobs

I have an old mac laptop that was not doing anyone much use sitting around the house.  i had formatted the rig and due to it only being an i7 Pentium series mac you could only roll up to the Lion OS.  Also, i wanted a “pure” Linux rig and do not like other form factors (although i do dig the System 76 rigs).

So i got to thinking why dont i roll Ubuntu on it and let one cat turn into another cat?  See what i did there? Put a little shine on Ye Ole Rig? Here Kitty Kitty!

Anyways here are the steps that i found worked the most painless.

Caveat Emptor:  these steps completely wipe the partition and Linux does run natively wiping out any and all OSes. You WILL lose your OS X Recovery Partition, so returning to OS X or macOS can be a more long-winded process, but we have instructions here on how to cope with this: How to restore a Mac without a recovery partition.  You are going All-In!

On that note i also don’t recommend trying to “dual-boot” OS X and Linux, because they use different filesystems and it will be a pain.  Anyways this is about bringing new life to an old rig if you have a new rig with Big Sur roll Virtual Box and run whatever Linux distro you desire.

What you need:

  • A macintosh computer is the point of the whole exercise.  i do recommend having NO EXTERNAL DRIVES connected as you will see below.
  • A USB stick with at least 8 gig of storage.  This to will be formatted and all data lost.
  • Download your Linux distribution to the Mac. We recommend Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS if this is your first Linux install. Save the file to your ~/Downloads folder.
  • Download and install an app called Etcher from Etcher.io. This will be used to copy the Linux install .ISO file to your USB drive.

Steps to Linux Freedom:

  • Insert your USB Thumb Drive. A reminder that the USB Flash drive will be erased during this installation process. Make sure you’ve got nothing you want on it.

  • Open Etcher Click Select “Image”. Choose ubuntu-16.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso (the image you downloaded in Step 1).  NOTE: i had some problems with 20.x latest release with wireless so i rolled back to 16.0x just to get it running. 
  • Click “Change” under Select Drive. 

  • Pick the drive that matches your USB Thumb Drive in size. It should be  /dev/disk1 if you only have a single hard drive in your Mac. Or /dev/disk2, /dev/disk3 and so on (if you have more drives attached). NOTE: Do not pick /dev/disk0. That’s your hard drive! Pick /dev/disk0 and you’ll wipe your macOS hard drive HEED THY WARNING YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! This is why i said its easier if you have no external media.

  • Click “Flash!” Wait for the iso file to be copied to the USB Flash Drive. Go browse your favorite socnet as this will take some time or hop on your favorite learning network and catch up on those certificates/badges.

  • Once it is finished remove the USB Flash Drive from your Mac. This is imperative.
  • Now SHUTDOWN the mac and plug the Flashed USB drive into the mac.

  • Power up and hold the OPTION key while you boot.
  • Choose the EFI Boot option from the startup screen and press Return.
  • IMMEDIATELY press the “e” key.  i found you need to do this quickly otherwise the rig tries to boot.

  • Pressing the “e” key will enter you into “edit mode” you will see a black and white screen with options to try Ubuntu and Install Ubuntu. Don’t choose either yet, press “e” to edit the boot entry.
  • This step is critical and the font maybe really small so take your time.  Edit the line that begins with Linux and place the word "nomodeset" after "quiet splash". The whole line should read: "linux /casper/vmlinuz.efifile=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper quiet splash nomodeset --

  • Now Press F10 on the mac.
  • Now its getting cool! Your mac and Ubuntu boots into trial mode!

(Note: at this point also go browse your favorite socnet as this will take some time or hop on your favorite learning network and catch up on those certificates/badges.)

  • Double-click the icon marked “Install Ubuntu”. (get ready! Here Kitty Kitty!)
  • Select your language of choice.
  • Select “Install this third-party software” option and click Continue. Once again important.
  • Select “Erase disk and install Ubuntu” and click Continue.
  • You will be prompted for geographic area and keyboard layout.
  • You will be prompted to enter the name and password you want to use (make it count!).
  • Click “Continue” and Linux will begin installing!
  • When the installation has finished, you can log in using the name and password you chose during installation!
  • At this point you are ready to go!  i recommend registering for an ubuntu “Live Update” account once it prompts you.
  • One side note:  on 20.x update there was an issue with the Broadcom wireless adapter crashing which then reboots you without wireless.  i am currently working through that and will get back you on the fix!

Executing the command less /proc/cpuinfo will detail the individual cores. It looks like as i said the i7 Pentium series!

Happy Penguin and Kitten Time!  Now you can customize your rig!

Screen shot of keybase running on my ubuntu mac rig!

And that is a wrap! As a matter of fact i ate my own dog food and wrote this blog on the “new” rig!

Until Then,

#iwishyouwater

@tctjr

Muzak to blog by: Dreamways Of The Mystic by Bobby Beausoliel

Revisiting the T’s with Talent

I usually don’t track “the news” or “chatter” but the recent Facebook acquisition of NextStop is about talent.  Possibly geolocation and hyper-local data but more about who is there and why they are there.  I was having this discussion with several persons the other day.  Companies buy other companies for talent, data aggregation and possibly technology.  The reason I say possibly technology is that most companies do not care about the tech – mostly talent.  I have a term for the companies that move our tech world:  The Folks Inside The Firewall.  The Folks Inside The FireWall (TFITF) already have a long term strategic view of where they want to go 5,10,20,50 years.  Take this to the bank.  In a blog a couple of years go I discussed the Three T’s of a Startup.  I listed talent as number one.  Why?  I prefer quality over quantity.  I prefer the elite performers.  I’d rather have two A game coders than 10 posers.  I located a recent plot of distributed and related coding jobs.  While the plot focuses on Casandra rest assured that the areas of machine learning, data mining, natural language processing and semantics are going to skyrocket.  10 years ago we were worried about connections, storage and compute resources.  This is no longer the case.  We are revisiting this world – yet again – same algorithms – more data.  It reminds me of the hey day of digital signal processing engineers.

As I discussed in my previous blog Three T’s of a Startup many times the companies do not even use the acquired technology.  So please do not take it personally when your great code base is destroyed.  Philosophically Art is meant to be created and destroyed.  The money and vesting schedule will make the destruction worthwhile – trust me.  If you want to go be idealistic go right ahead.  The smart ones wait and vest.  Colloquially called resting and vesting (RnV).  It is a great way to past the time.   That said this brings up the question of is it really about the software now?  Clearly, GOOG does not need a geo-loc technology nor are they going to be a travel agency.  Patents?  Possibly.  In that same blog I discussed how many executives at these companies just say put together a team, write some code, create some provisional patents.  If the stuff halfway does what your roadmap says we will probably buy you.   Look for my next blog on this subject called Mercenaries For Hire – Have compilers – will not travel.

Until Then,

Go Big Or Go Home!

 

Money It’s A Hit!

 

Why We Do IT

“If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose- because it contains all the others- the fact that they were the people who created the phrase “to make money”. No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity- to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created.” ~ Ms. Ayn Rand

I’m not sure about you, but every time I am asked why I do what I do – I always think it sure beats digging ditches.  I mean really folks let’s be honest here.  Would you be doing anything else?  Software is the most scalable profession this world has ever known and in this post-July 4th blog I was thinking – wow America created the industry.  The Epicenter of it all.  I believe that creating software is the epitome of The American Dream.  An Idea, A Computing Device and a Connection.  It is complete freedom.  There are no rules.  The only rules are mandated via the compilers and processors.  The one-to-many multi-cast aspect of creating software and now DataSpaces is completely scalable.  Doctors, Lawyers, and in some cases Stock Brokers are not scalable as many times it is a one to one relationship and is a time allotment with respect to target audience.  If your creation is a hit then there is a non-linearity for scale that cannot be duplicated.  Then comes the after affect.  Money.

Most do not set out to say – “Hey I am going to make some money.”  Nope in the software world you say, “Hey wouldnt if be cool if <insert idea here>.”  I am really getting tired of people trying to soften the aspect of Extreme Capitalism in the software industry.  So for arguments sake which I enjoy let us do a little play acting:

Entrepreneur: I am creating a Data As a Service company for Socnets

Venture Capitalist: So why did you found the Acme DaaS Corporation?

Entrepreneur: To save the White Hooded Wood Owls from extinction.

Venture Capitalist: Wow that is great I can definitely see my 10x return on this $10M Series A investment.  Whoo Hoo!  Lets do it! Woot!

Not realistic huh?

So lets step back here in a minute.  If you want to be a philanthropist and have not inherited a ton of money then creating a really hot software company with a great exit is a way to get there so you can save the White Hooded Wood Owl. (DISCLAIMER: We are not being selective of wood owls please find the brown one here. In fact I do not think there is such thing as a white hooded wood owl).

So what should you say?  Well Mr./Ms. VC I want to sell this and make a ton of…wait….keep guessing…. MONEY!

Don’t posture.  Money Rules the game.

Until Then,

Go Big Or Go Home.

The Way To Do It

The machine in action: ITA hammered it.  Massive 100M Series A raise from the crew at Sequia and Catalyst and then in 2010 Google decides to pick them up for700M after a year long bidding war with the usual suspects. Read it here:

ITA Exits at $700M

That said notice why they were bought:  The Data.  Data provisioning and categorization in a nice neat package.  Fluid data that empowered other sites.  Also note the nature of this deal.  People wonder why The Valley will always be on top.  Most will say because they had a head start.  I say because they will continue to invest in people and ideas.

Until Then,

Go Big Or Go Home.