Accidental Empires, Chapter 12 — On the Beach

tropicthunderGiven The Startup Channel this chapter on startups is very important. We also cover shareware and I want to point out that Buttonware founder Jim Knopf asked me to respect his pseudonym “Jim Button.” Who was I to argue with that? 

ACCIDENTAL EMPIRES

CHAPTER TWELVE

ON THE BEACH

America’s advantage in the PC business doesn’t come from our education system, from our fluoridated water, or, Lord knows, from our tax structure. And it doesn’t come from some innate ability we have to run big companies with thousands of employees and billions in sales. The main thing America has had going for it is the high-tech start-up, and, […]

Accidental Empires, Chapter 11 — Font Wars

john-warnock-steve-jobsClearly, given the recent battle between Flash and HTML5, things changed later in life between John Warnock and Steve Jobs. There’s a story I’d like to understand better. Meanwhile, back in the early 1990s….

ACCIDENTAL EMPIRES

CHAPTER ELEVEN

FONT WARS

Of the 5 billion people in the world, there are only four who I’m pretty sure have stayed consistently on the good side of Steve Jobs. Three of them—Bill Atkinson, Rich Page, and Bud Tribble—all worked with Jobs at Apple Computer. Atkinson and Tribble are code gods, and Page is a hardware god. Page and Tribble left Apple with Jobs in 1985 to found NeXT Inc., their […]

Accidental Empires, Chapter 8 — Software Envy

mitch&billACCIDENTAL EMPIRES

CHAPTER EIGHT

SOFTWARE ENVY

Mitch Kapor, the father of Lotus 1-2-3, showed up one day at my house but wouldn’t come inside. “You have a cat in there, don’t you?” he asked.

Not one cat but two, I confessed. I am a sinner.

Mitch is allergic to cats. I mean really allergic, with an industrial-strength asthmatic reaction. “It’s only happened a couple of times,” he explained, “but both times I thought I was going to die.”

People have said they are dying to see me, but Kapor really means it.

At this point we were still standing in the front yard, next to Kapor’s blue rental car. The guy had just […]

X-Prize Foundation defends their poorly-conceived Qualcomm Tricorder contest

X_PRIZE_Foundation_logo_HiRes_jpgThis message from the X-Prize Foundation is in response to the letter I published yesterday. They seem to feel the contest is fine as-is and my objections are without merit.
Dear Bob,
 
I am the Senior Director in charge of this competition and I appreciate receiving your letter of interest dated January 11.  First, let me offer you my highest level of encouragement for your creation of a SIDS monitoring device. As you know, medical technology is one of the most difficult areas to make significant progress in. To make something really work and pass through all the regulatory hurdles in […]

Qualcomm Tricorder X-Prize is another poorly conceived contest

tricorderSo of course I wrote a letter to Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs. This went out January 11th and was delivered on the morning of the 14th. No answer yet.

Dear Mr. Jacobs:

As a professional blogger I’d normally be posting this letter on my web site but this time I’ll first try a more graceful approach.  You see I have a beef with your Qualcomm Tricorder X-Prize and I want you to make some changes.

In 2002 my son Chase died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) at age 73 days. I wrote about it at the time and received great support from the Internet community. My pledge to do something about SIDS manifested […]