Thursday, November 13, 2003

Spoke as Napster of Social Networking

A friendly VC suggested this meme -- will Spoke be the Napster of Social Networking? And that isn't Napster as in good -- viral, inventive, breakthrough, industry changing... that would be Napster as in bad -- accused of breaking laws, shut down, investors sued...

If you haven't investigated social networking yet you should take a look at the two services that are making waves -- LinkedIn and Spoke

Did you know that you are probably already in Spoke? Only 50,000 users and already 7 million people are linked to each other. They do this by taking their member's email mailboxes and indexing everyone that the member has ever sent or received mail from. Then they cross-index with anyone else already in their system and add a variety of other Internet sourced information about each person to build a profile of the member's contacts.

Imagine the ultimate result -- an automatically generated profile of you which includes your photo, your home address, phone numbers, email addresses, jobs you've worked at, your blog, other people's opinions of you... in short any piece of information out there about you. A people Google on steroids.

Feel that your privacy has been encroached on yet?

So with spoke gathering information and building dossiers on millions of people that have no connection to the service, isn't it just a matter of time before someone sues?

Monday, November 10, 2003

Desktop Linux

In a recent article, C Net reports the "news" -- IBM warms to desktop Linux Amazingly the article is actually about how one IBM exec is giving a speech at the Desktop Linux Conference. This is news? What is particularly sad about the article is that IBM seems to be still locked into the mind set of using Linux as a replacement for 3270 terminals. Someone needs to show IBM Mac OS X -- ok its not Linux, but it IS a complete Unix environment with fantastic (better than Microsoft) look and feel. It will take some effort to make Linux as easy to use as the Mac, but it is clearly possible.

If IBM really wanted to create a competitor to Microsoft it would cost less money than they are currently spending to give Java development tools away for free (eclipse). So the real question is -- why don't they want to compete with Microsoft?

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Moving on

For a variety of personal and professional reasons, the time has come (after 3 1/2 years) for me to move on from Borland. I am working on some start up ideas which I will share via this blog as they develop. In the meantime, my Borland email address no longer works, but you can still reach me at the afterink email listed here (over to the left...).

One of the greatest beneficiaries (second to my daughter anyway) of my departure from Borland may be this blog. Both because I expect that I'll have a little more time for blogging but more importantly because I am no longer an officer of a public company. I had always worried about posting too much about what I was doing or what I was thinking about -- I wanted to be careful to avoid violating (or being perceived as having violated) the SEC's "Regulation FD" -- that's FD as in Fair Disclosure.

For the same reason, I won't be posting anything about Borland even now that I have departed. You may see some views on the industries that I worked in, but I'll avoid commenting on anything too direct in order to avoid the appearance that I have disclosed something confidential about the business.

We all make hard decisions in our careers and leaving Borland was definitely a hard one for me. I have had the pleasure of working with some terrific people over the past few years, and of being a part of one of the few really important software companies. Thanks to all of you reading this who have been a part of that time, hopefully we will meet again under new circumstances.