Why I Am The Future

To follow up on “I Wonder What It Would Take For Scoble To Read My Blog“, I did send Scoble an email shortly after I posted. I modified it a bit to make more sense (as I did not send him the full post, just my question to him). As of yet, I have not heard back.

However, TDavid did pick me up on his blog (MakeYouGoHmm.com) and provided some feedback.

I had some trouble initially emailing Scoble (he said he never received my email) so I switched to using my .Mac account and ironically enough he responded right away.

I do know that my emails get through to him because I sent him an email once before before asking for advice on blogging in a corporate environment (I was just about to start work at Nordstrom). If he doesn’t respond in a week or so, I may email him one more time from my school account….maybe. As TDavid points out, “Emailing somebody busy is something that needs to be done with great care and concern. Too many emails from the same source, especially when they are self-promotional, and one risks become annoying. Becoming noise, not signal.”

You might also want to mention that you own and use a Tablet PC. Most of the posts he has linked to of ours here were Tablet PC related.

If I do email Scoble again, I’ll be sure to note that I do use a Toshiba M200 Tablet PC for school and I love it to death.

You are the future? I like that. Expand on that. Why are you the future? What are you going to do with the future and technology? How could you make Microsoft better? These are questions I bet would at least intrigue Scoble. Especially if they take a fresh point of view on the topic.

Below is a short answer essay to why I wanted to attend Caltech:

After helping someone fix a computer glitch, I often get asked, “Why are you so smart?” It is a tricky question, I will admit that. There is no one thing or event from which I acquired my intelligence. My aptitude is likely the result of two factors: genes and opportunities.

My family has a long line of technical aptitude. My grandfather worked at the National Institute of Standards and Time in Boulder, Colorado, and introduced me to the Cesium clock that keeps America on-time. My dad works in Information Technology Manager at Nordstrom’s. Some of my earliest memories are visiting Nordstrom’s data storage facility and gazing in awe at the massive server racks.

The computer has given me the ability to exploit my natural curiosity. Just before my fourth birthday, my dad brought home a used IBM 286. Scooting along at an astounding 16MHz, I was able to perform what seemed like miracles with it. As the years progressed, we acquired faster and faster computers. I currently use a Celeron 1.8 GHz, over one-hundred times faster than my first computer. But the speed of the computer is not the important factor; it is what I am able to do with them. In my early days, I managed to crank out short homework assignments and doodle with Microsoft Paint. I later became familiar with PowerPoint, using it to develop a short animation sequence. Fifth grade was a good year, not only because it was the end of elementary school, but also because it brought forth the Internet.

With the Internet, I was able to explore places and things not otherwise accessible to a ten-year-old. I dipped my nimble hands in every pond I could reach. I created a website and began learning the intricacies of HTML. I now run my website out of my basement web server. I currently use PHP and MySQL as the primary programming language, which I taught myself. I even developed my own content management system (CMS). In essence, computers and the Internet have helped make me who I am. I see myself as a developer. I look at my website and figure out how I can make it better. What interesting feature could I program to make my site just that much more interesting? I work into the wee hours of the morning sometimes, furiously typing away, finding out why something will not work. In the end, my website is my canvas.

However, this still leaves us with the original question, why am I smart? My mother might say, “That’s who God made you to be,” and I would agree with that. My father would say, “What do you think?” at which point I would say, “I don’t know.” But I think the true answer is “It’s my nature.” I am naturally curious. Not everyone has the initiative to do what I do. Most people are content with life and what it gives them. But I can see what the future holds and I want to develop its secrets.

The point I think I am trying to push is innovation. Today, people like to assume the mantra: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Being an engineer, my adage is: If it’s not broken, it doesn’t do enough things. And my friends will attest to that! I look at the world and see things and wonder, what else could I do with that? I see things on television, usually sci-fi shows, and wonder what the plausibility of such a device is: What would it really take to design a 3D image?

Now let me extend this conceptual thinking to the Microsoft realm. If I could change how Microsoft did things, what would I change?

First off, I would make it smaller…or at least appear smaller to the public. There is a mentality that Microsoft is this huge bad giant that wants to control the world. In short, people believe that Microft sucks (and sometimes I’m tended to believe that as well, although my final paper for History defended Microsoft’s aleged antitrust actions [pdf warning]). I would first split Microsoft into Hardware, Software, and InterNetwork groups. Hardware could then be split into PC Gaming, Xbox, and Peripherals. Software would have OS and Applications. Applications could be broken down to Office, Games, and Productivity. And OS would just be Business and Personal. InterNetwork is actually a folder on my Start menu where I put things having to do with the Internet and Networking. InterNetwork would include things like MSN Messenger, Internet Explorer, MSN Virtual Earth, etc.

Second, I would begin to identify with the customers. Scoble has introduced a very novel way to interact with customers/developers and Microsoft needs to capitalize on that idea. Actively go out and see what people are complaining about and FIX IT! On that note, realize that not all publicity is good publicity. I did audio mixing of live events for 3 years while I was in high school and I for the most part, I only received two kinds of recognition: people complaining when something wasn’t working or people not complaining at all. After a while, I realized that I was doing my job right when no one knew I was there.

After everything is to customer satisfaction. Innovate. Microsoft isn’t innovating like they did in the beginning. The last innovation from Microsoft was the Xbox, and that really wasn’t something that innovative as much as it was breaking into an existing market. Innovation involves risks, and risking big. I would invest heavily in Web 2.0 right now. But I see W2 having two phases. The first phase is going to focus on companies (like Microsoft) developing “systems” and “applications” and hosting them on their servers. The second phase will see the the servers migrate back towards the home and will come when connectivity is available in more homes, at faster speeds, for cheaper cost.

Collaboration will also be key. Open your code to others and they will flock to it and make it better. Also keep in mind that the bigger the come, the harder they fall. Collaboration does not equal domination. Focus your resources on developing a few good pieces of software, not many shitty pieces that everyone hates (even if they do still buy it).

The final change I would make is change itself. Allow Microsoft to grow and adapt as a company to needs of not only the consumer, but also the employee. Google’s 20% rule is freaking genius! So is the incredibly casual workplace at Microsoft. What else can you do?
So quick recap: Become smaller in the eyes of the public (think of how many things GE owns that you may not know about); Identify with your users (and developers, too!); Hire Andrew; Innovate and take risks, Microsoft needs to be the next big thing; Collaborate with others to develop a superior product, but don’t dominate!

Also, what’s up with the dot NET thing but no .NET code? Is that just a reference to the domain? I would think something with dot NET in the title would be about the .NET framework. I wonder if other readers would assume the same thing?

As for the “dot NET” moniker. It’s the culmination of many things. I did want the .com domain, but it was already taken. I actually contacted the fellow, James, and talked to him about it. He’s saving it for his son, Andrew, who’s just a baby now (talk about thinking about the future!). So I picked the .net domain, and sort of copied Wil Wheaton‘s naming scheme. There might have been some parody thought of Microsoft .NET going on in the back of my mind, but I honestly can’t remember.

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