Friday, January 18, 2008

First post - why Blog?

The first blog post: a tall order. It should set the tone, establish a voice, and identify a point of view. It needs to justify its existence. Weeks from now I can drone on about how tedious Vegas is during InterOp, or how cool company X was at Demo. You will move on, with a click and a judgmental sigh . But this post, you read to determine if it joins your Blog roll, gets added to your favorites, or forwarded to a friend: is it worthy of your attention and your return?

I hate to disappoint, but all I am going to do here is reveal my motivation for blogging (in a way that initiates a respectably tag cloud). The rest you have to determine for yourself. So why am I writing this? I am moved to blog because the world will change more in the coming decades than ever before in history. I figure I get to play for at least a few more decades. This blog is but a small gesture, a minor contribution in my active participation in that change.

Fifteen years ago, I founded a company that was part of the initial commercialization of the Web. The mission of Fabrik Communications was to bring Internet email to the corporation. In 1993 email was the realm of academics, researchers, and a few groups inside governments and corporations that used PROFs on their IBM mainframes.

I was among the cognoscenti with an Applelink address and a Well account. I sat across from VCs at Crosspoint, Accel, Mayfield, IVP, Greylock, Brentwood, USVP, and others trying to convince them that within a couple of years everyone would carry an Internet address on their business card. I was fortunate enough to convince Accel, Crosspoint, Vangaurd and HVP to write a check.

After Netscape went public, I spent time with investment bankers trying to convince them that an application service provider was a legitimate business model – kind of like time share only better. With Fabrik, I was part of changing the world forever: when did you last get a business card that didn’t have an email address on it?

But, the first Internet wave, known mostly for the bursting of the Internet bubble, was nothing compared to what we will see in the coming decades. Everything we know will change: the way we live, the way we interact, the way we spend our time, the way we work, what we expect of our lives and what we expect of each other. Forget about the American Dream – "my kids will have a better life than I have": Things will be so different it will be impossible to compare.

Some of the emerging new world is apparent now. And those little edges beginning to poke through are so intriguing that it is becoming obvious how dramatic the change will be.

In my son’s life time the population of the planet will level off and likely decrease. We will move from a fossil based energy supply to something different. If you think it will just be windmills and solar panels, you’re betraying your limited imagination. For instance, it is likely you will heat your house from gas generated from bacteria digesting a diversity of materials including cellulous and oil shale. Steel in cars will be used only for esthetics, like chrome is used today. The structural elements will all be carbon fiber. We will be able to treat most cancer, but likely die in greater numbers from emergent viruses.

What will this world really be like? We can only begin to guess. But it is a great time to be alive. Adaptation truly distinguishes humans from other animals. What we get to do in the coming years is modify, re-conceptualize, regenerate, transmogrify, and adapt. What could be better that that. My motivation – be an active participant. This blog is a token effort in that direction.

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