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Showing posts from August, 2011

The Real Jobs Problem

It's the economy, stupid.  Well, yes, it always has been, if you're in the distortion field of politics.  But whose economy? The pundits, the White House, the Republican candidates all miss the mark. They keep talking about debt, taxes, and monetary policy. None of those things tell the real story behind today's economy.  The Old Economy Keynes was right--in the old economy. Economy gets weak, pump some money into the economy through public works projects, which  1) puts people to work, which  2) boosts the economy and  3) generates new tax revenue, while  4) leaving us with another generation of reliable infrastructure to support  5) more growth (for growth's sake, which is another post).  The Beach Ball Imagine a beach ball, partially deflated to represent a recession. Got it? Now imagine the govt pumping that beach ball back up through sensible public investment (which we haven't seen for decades). The New Economy Same beach ball, same pum


About two and a half years ago I broke my jaw. Normally when this happens, it's because of a blow to the face--a well-timed uppercut, or a poorly timed left turn. In my case, it was stress. A few months earlier, in November 2008, I had run a project straight into a brick wall and had to lay off 10 people, shut down the project, and step down as CEO. There are a lot of reasons this happened, but the primary reasons were 1) I didn't have the support of my team and 2) I tried to spend my way around the problem by outsourcing locally at corporate rates. I thought I could outrun the problems. And I was very, very wrong. The good news was that by January I was sleeping again. The bad news is I was grinding my teeth nightly. At some point, parts of my jawbone were protruding through my gums. I went through a painful surgery, followed by weeks of severe swelling and bruising. Keeping yourself stress-free when building a startup--or leaving it--is pretty much impossible. B

Thoughts on Google + Moto

Google purchases Motorola for 12.5 billion in a defensive move to get Motorola's patents. Motorola has 19,000 employees, Google has 29,000. The reactions across the board have been about the patents, the employee count, and Google taking a risk with hardware. Highly risky, yadda yadda. Patents--yes. The rest of it is speculation, of course. Here's my quick take, for what it's worth: This is not a merger, it's an acquisition. Because of this, cultural issues, employee issues will be minimal.  This is chess, not checkers. They've made the first of a number of moves, some of which are acquisitions, some of which are internal technology, and some of which are partnerships. To look at this as anything but a strategic first step is simplistic.  Google's search business is under significant threat from Twitter, Facebook, Bing, and any answer discovery tool out there.  Twitter does not--currently--have a compelling revenue model. And they know it, and Wall

On another note...

I wrote a simple chat server using Node.js yesterday. I left the test running over night, came back this morning and it was still chugging, taking up, well, no CPU and was instantly available. It's a real-time system, and yes, I pulled it from sample code. Take a look at, by Chris Mathieu, for a working example.

The Next Web: Every Device a Web Service?

Someone recently ported Node.js to a jail-broken iPhone, turning the iPhone into a fully functioning web server/app server/web service. Smartphones are capable of hosting web services, where other applications can request and receive information from them. The question is, why? For what? There's a disconcerting premise in a Denzel Washington movie that comes to mind, reflecting how information can be passed from one person to another like a virus, or in this case, a spirit (watch from 00:44): That's where the next generation of web apps explodes just after your brain explodes. Imagine 100 people at a party, each with a smartphone hosting some web service that responds to requests for information. What info matters? What info matters to people at the party vs their networks? Peer-to-peer software shows an early example of the power of highly distributed, single-purpose applications. Napster, Bittorrent, etc. SETI set my brain on fire back in the 90's; I remem

Regenerative Help Ecosystems

I just got an email from the CEO of Apigee , which provides what appears to be a high-volume alternative API to Twitter and about a dozen other web services. I signed up a few days ago while researching. It was an autogen email with an offer of help getting started, with a community manager copied on it. When I first read it I thought it was authentic because of the casual writing and the CC to a real person, but the "Hi charlie.crystle" kind of gave it away. Oh well. Something about that triggered a thought, something about how founders view their lives. On a daily basis, we run into problems along the way of executing our vision. We plan, we research, we try, test, fail, and try again. We offer and accept help along the way. The exchange of help is phenomenal. Stack Overflow has built what appears to be an incredible, fast-growing business on this dynamic. I appreciate it when I'm trying to solve a problem, try something, and someone offers help on how to d