Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bill Gates, Socially Clueless again...

Ok, can't resist pointing out just how stupid this quote is: Love it. Comparing Microsoft software to the pharmaceutical industry.

Hmm, how do I love this quote? Let me count the ways.

  1. Microsoft software truly is in many ways like a drug. An addictive drug. You buy it once, and find yourself needing to shell out extra money every so often to buy the exact same thing again (albeit with a new label and very few additional features, but of course, for more cash).
  2. Microsoft, as much as it's like the drug industry (see above), it's not innovative. As a matter of fact, the whole idea that Microsoft is an inventive company is truly a misdirected concept. Rarely does Microsoft make something innovative -- they bundle a lot of innovative concepts -- ones that other companies and individuals have created. The sad fact is that they haven't really delivered a truly innovative new product in a long time on the operating system front.
  3. .
  4. Software isn't like a drug in a very fundamental sense -- the distribution model is completely different (or it can be, rather) and unlike drugs, it is composed of tons of interlocking parts that as a whole expand upon the other interlocking parts.

    If you could step into your local wal-mart, purchase a few thousand "bundled" drugs to create a completely new drug that fixed just your symptoms, this analogy might hold. Sadly, if it were a Microsoft model, this drug would promise to cure the common cold on the box as a feature. When taken, the patient (let's label them "the victim" here) would find themselves with dozens of new viruses instead.

  5. The GPL-licensed products that come bundled with Linux are constantly getting new features that come from all over the planet. There are tons of people making money from their use (just not people holding others at gun-point at the point of "sale" of the Linux "product"). Lot's of people are employed as systems administrators, for example. Those people haven't lost their jobs and there's very little danger of this as the infusion of new technology from the implementation side of the fence just doesn't seem to be slowing down.
  6. If you follow the argument above, you can see that the real "loss" is just Microsoft's -- companies like RedHat, IBM and Novell and others are making cash just fine from Linux. Apple has also seen benefit using Free Software (non-GPL, but it's a point that they're making out just fine and adding features like crazy). What Gates is bemoaning is the fact that GPL software forces a down-stream effect of not being able to charge monopolistic prices for software. Gee, we're all feeling sorry for you there Bill.
I am resisting the urge to counter that Microsoft is like Big Oil or some other industry. The truth is that Software is a different industry and that the GPL is here to stay. Get used to it Bill -- think about this for a while -- why don't you turn the Windows API into something usable that bolts on top of any operating system? -- Linux or Apple, and leave the OS-driving to the professionals. Please don't jokingly suggest that Vista is an OS -- it seems more like a badly written memory-tester with the ability to launch a few programs. Give up on the whole world-domination thing and just go with the flow.

You're doing some cool things on the charity front -- give the public a break on the monopoly front (they can use it -- fuel is getting expensive). Gas is not cheap, in other words, but the hot air you generate sure makes it seem that way.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Having friends along for the ride...

Recently it occurred to me that I'm having the time of my life.

It's hard to put things in perspective, but I'll do my best to summarize it. About a year and a half ago, I was coming out of a depressive funk (real depression, by the way) and dealing with several life issues.

One of them was relating to a family issue that has (for the moment) resolved itself -- out of my control, the problem required a lot of prayer and diligence. I had to hold the line on some things and to exercise "tough love" on a scale most mortal parents would not be comfortable with.

A second item was the depression itself -- I've said it and blogged it in the past but it bears repeating that yes, even something as painful as depression can end up being good for you.

A third item that really threw me for a loop kind of revealed itself yesterday to be something that was put there to help me understand what would happen to me today. You have to trust in a higher power -- things like this cannot be planned or predicted. Everything I went through in context more or less helped me understand something that a friend and coworker was experiencing. As I said to them later, it's nice to know you're not alone. I might not have understood had I not ridden the same storm.

And finally there was this nagging problem of a simple broken promise. You see, a few years back some rather basic contractual obligations were made to me that through a bit of complex fault and blame transfer, were broken. I spent the better part of a year trying to resolve the inequity (so to speak) and near as I can tell, the party involved simply didn't want to acknowledge his or her duties in this context. When I would bring up the facts of the matter, they would make statements about how I was making them feel "uncomfortable" or holding them hostage.

It was a simple matter, but yet somehow, through some seriously slow (and ineptly executed) process, the party that should have been accountable for delivery simply delivered to someone else. In the end I honestly have to admit that I was a bit insulted.

Well, I'm not anymore. If I were a vengeful sort (I'm not by the way), I could not have planned what has happened since then. Words fail me.

I think I've expressed enough here for the parties in question to know who they are and I'd like to officially state that they were indeed doing Gods work (Albeit, in a rather shifty, backstabbing and morally suspect way, but, heh, at the end of the day even that's something that's brought comic value to my life).

I'm officially saying that I honestly don't care anymore.

Why would I say this? A multitude of reasons, but let's start with the fact that I love what I do. I'm surrounded by creative, successful and fun-loving people and I'm glad they're along for the ride. And I'm right here, right now, thanks to where I've been and quite honestly even the down side of everything I've mentioned above wasn't all that bad so I have a lot to be thankful for. My own creative abilities have enabled this ride -- the fact that I've created space for others to be creative and enjoy their work is huge icing on this cake.

Finally, and even higher on the irony scale, some of my favorite people have followed me here (dare I use the word "lead" somehow?). This makes me understand that regardless of meaningless charts (and really stupid certification-clogged signatures), at the end of the day reality has bestowed upon me the goods that others though were theirs to deliver. I think I like it better this way -- and I really don't have a choice in the matter, so why not love it for what it is?

Gratitude is under-rated. I'm grateful to be here and to have such cool friends in my life. I'm even more happy to see those around me growing and being rewarded for their success.

One of my best friends is starting a really cool blog -- look for some posts in the near future outlining talent acquisition and even more importantly, how to keep talented people in the game.

Talk soon!