Monthly Archives: June 2004

Comcate, Silicon Valley, and Whatever at the University Club

Tonight I spoke at the University Club of San Francisco, a private “old school” social club. While the attendance was light, it was interesting and enjoyable. Average age of audience was probably 60 and their professions ranged including one person who was in the Wi-Fi space. Needless to say, my youth was quite an enticing angle for them to ponder and speculate. It was no surprise to me that the question of colleges came up and I said I have no idea where I want to go…but I did toss in a line to stir something up which is my typical “I protest the traditional academic evaluation process.” Probably not the best thing to say to an old-school, Republican, Harvard/Stanford crowd. But I defended my position with vigor, saying that school is a game that if you choose to play means pleasing superiors, become decent at a wide range of topics, and working to get an A but no more. I think they appreciated my position.

I got into Silicon Valley trends a bit and to my surprise the old folks knew about such things like RFID, blogging,, etc. Questions came up about comparing bar codes to RFID, the salesforce model and how it could be emulated, why did we choose Delaware corp over Nevada and why corp over LLC, and are you concerned about losing your high school experience with Comcate. I was not expecting these types of detailed questions but it was fine.

At these types of functions, since most of them are retired or close to it, there’s little they can do right now to help Comcate and me, but a few did offer to introduce me to friends who could be interested. For a free dinner by the Bay Area Chef of the Year and an engaging chit-chat with smart people, I’ll take that offer anytime!

Political Polarization and the Information Age

OK, so I posted earlier in this entry about David Brooks’ column in a recent New York Times. I am now modifying my post (is that acceptable blog ethics?) based on other opinions on blogs I’ve read. I am a big believer that political polarization is becoming more an issue not less of one. It probably was then that that fact plus my overall liking of David Brooks that I blindly accepted and cheered this column. Indeed, Jeff Jarvis in this blog made some good points about the flaws in Brooks’ argument. Check it out. But what is confusing is that Jarvis chides Brooks on his “arm-chair sociologizing” but then similarly tries to extrapolate his personal example of being a democrat in a republican county into national fact. Jarvis goes on to cite another blog which includes a point that Brooks exaggerated the size of the “information economy” and that it’s a stretch to say people can go wherever they want. Sure it’s perhaps a bit hyperbole but the fact is he’s citing a trend, not a fact applicable to every single instance (so a “but look my neighborhood is diverse in political viewpoints” doesn’t mean that’s a national trend). In any case, you learn something every day…thanks to those who likewise blogged about this column.

Summer Jobs for Teens

My mentor Mike Patterson shared a good idea over lunch with me a couple weeks ago and it became more acute in my mind as I talk to my friends who are looking for summer jobs. Predictably, most people end up working for their parents (you know, file papers, answer the phone, etc). But the thing is no parent really wants to hire their kid because they want young Johnny to get the experience of working for someone else in an environment that more accurately mirrors, well, real work. Why isn’t there a database of parents and their kids so people can swap? I.e. I’ll hire your kid if you hire mine. Seems like a nice little service Monster could offer without much effort.

"Walk week" in the Capitol

This editorial in today’s Chronicle really got me interested in why so many California legislators are abstaining from crucial votes that would move bills out of committees and onto the floor in Sacramento. I hope the Chronicle continues to investigate the real reasons for why these lawmakers are not voting on so many critical bills…except the one which tried to ban people under 18 from talking on their cell phone while driving.

Book Review: Softwar, An Intimate Portrait of Larry Ellison and Oracle

This book is a winner, plain and simple. Yes, it is long (530 pages) and sometimes got into a little too much detail (I certainly didn’t sign up for three chapters devoted to Larry’s boating adventures) but on the whole this is a great read. Symonds was given tremendous access to Ellison and Oracle execs in return for Ellison to have the final word. After Symonds wrote the book, Ellison footnoted certain sentences every other page or so to clarify, deny, or elaborate on a point. This technique makes Ellison come off in a good light. For anyone involved in the software world, Symonds does a good job at explaining the issues Oracle faces (and any enterprise software company for that matter) and describes Ellison’s thinking behind each.

Article: Books Make You a Boring Person

Here’s an interesting article in the NY Times. Being an avid book reader myself, this is an interesting perspective on how some people become intellectually lazy in reading books, regurgitating lines and not thinking and critically challenging what we read. Check it out.

Why I Read The Paper In Print

As compared with my other technology-inclined friends, I am steadfast in my desire to read my three daily papers in real newsprint while sitting in a comfy chair or bed. Each day, I anxiously pick up the San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal which are delivered to my doorstep. First of all, there is nothing to match the mere experience of sitting back and enjoying a quality newspaper. Second, it is important to evaluate with a critical eye an editor’s choice of article placement, ads that surround an article, etc. Most of these benefits are lost by reading a paper online. Besides, your eyes do start to hurt after a while with the intense staring that would be necessary.

The First Post

Greetings! This is my first post to my blog. This blog will be in “beta” status for the first 30 days as I evaluate whether it is something that interests me enough to maintain an intellectually vibrant and funny site of entries and commentary. Please let me know what you think!