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Pursuing Business Idea: Consumer media syncrhonization

February 8, 2011

I am going forward with looking into a business idea and also doubling the effort as my Masters Thesis for my final 6 credits in my IS Masters degree.

I envision it to be initially aimed at business feasibility of the following idea:
Synchronizing large consumer media collections and files amongst many user devices.

More in-depth about the idea

If you know of DropBox.com, think of that app, but for considerably larger collections of data such as music, photos, movies, etc. I am also considering open source and hybrid open-source distribution and business models. Monetization may be very different, and I will need to focus on this.

The thesis is initially more oriented at the business and product side of things. In the real world, this is what I feel is needed. I have done a technical feasibility in my basement lab for years – I know it can be done – but the real question for me is if it is a feasible business for me to spend my resources and time on.

Advisors

I have discussed at length about this with Dr Tony Norcio, and he is on board for being my thesis advisor. I am also hoping to recruit Dr Roy Rada, and another professor for the required thesis committee. I took class last semester on Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship that spurred some of these ideas. The teacher from that course is a business and entrepreneurship guru and I hope that she will also be able to provide me feedback.

I think that I will also try to bounce the idea off of many of my professional network contacts that are CEOs and have run companies and know what to look for. Likely also, I will need to talk to users and what their needs are, to understand at a deeper level what people need, and what audience I might go after.

If you have any advise, I invite anyone to contact me. Wish me luck!

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Cloud startup story: coming to brink of being acquired

December 8, 2010

http://blog.backblaze.com/2010/08/27/backblaze-online-backup-almost-acquired-breaking-down-the-breakup/

Amazing story on how a bootstrapped successful cloud-storage startup went through 6 months of due diligence to be acquired, and then having the deal fall through at the last moment. The main factor was trust. The buying companies board did not trust that the team would stay given the amount of immediate payout money they were forking over. This threw redflags to the cloud-storage company and trust was broken.

He says that these kinds of things need in-person meetings from the start, with all important people attending. Additionally he said to not let it go on for too long and to do your due diligence.

Lesser known iOS 4.2 features

November 24, 2010
tags: , ,

You can read about the well-published 4.2 features at apple.

There are however, other iOS 4.2 lesser known features:

  • Reply to calendar invitations
  • Calendar font size and new .ics importing
  • Find text on web pages
  • Tones to text messages – know who is txting
  • Change fonts in notes app
  • Youtube voting
  • Wireless app distribution for businesses
  • Microsoft exchange support on ipad (already on iphone)
  • Remote device mangement so businesses can deploy fleets of devices
  • Quick controls with easy to change brightness control (ipad)
  • ipadtaskbar

Cloud standardization effort in its infancy

November 15, 2010

NIST has put together an interesting “starter document” on common use-cases for IaaS cloud environments.

http://www.nist.gov/itl/cloud/use-cases.cfm?utm_source=streamsend&utm_medium=email&utm_content=12932421&utm_campaign=NIST%2C%20NASA%20and%20the%20Federal%20Community%20Cloud

This could be the start of cloud standardization and cross-cloud compatibility. They have some good use-cases and they are well-defined. Here are some example use cases: Open an account, Copy Data-Objects between cloud providers, and User authentication in the cloud.

I attended the conference where some of this was presented. It was at NIST last week, here outside of Washington DC. The proceedings were a little bland for me, but there were good nuggets that came out of it. I met Khawaja Shams from JPL who has a good real-world grasp on IaaS architectures in big organizations, and Chris Hoff from Cisco who is a cloud security expert and turned me on to a cool business-card-reading iphone app!

Which IT/Business Jobs are best?

November 12, 2010
tags: , , ,

The following post is my breakdown of information from a study by Money Magazine. Notice that all of the entries below have high stress factors. This is unfortunately a prevalent trend in the industry.  I have done portions of IT Management, IT Business Analysis, Programmer Analysis amongst others not on the list. Product Management still interests me.

Curious is the absence of IT Directors and Entrepreneurs. I guess they didn’t make the cut (top 50).

Software Architect

Like architects who design buildings, they create the blueprints for software engineers to follow — and pitch in with programming too. Plus, architects are often called on to work with customers and product managers, and they serve as a link between a company’s tech and business staffs.

Pay
Median pay
(experienced)
$119,000
Top pay $162,000
Opportunity
10-year job growth
(2008-2018)
34%
Total jobs
(current)
110,000
Quality of life ratings
Personal satisfaction B
Job security B
Future growth A
Benefit to society C
Low stress C
Flexibility A

Product Management Dir.

Oversees the creation of strategic plans to ensure the sale and profitability of new products, lines, and services, and the evaluation of the financial aspects of product development, such as budgets, expenditures, research and development appropriations, returns-on-investment and profit-loss projections.

Pay
Median pay
(experienced)
$148,000
Top pay $192,000
Opportunity
10-year job growth
(2008-2018)
12%
Total jobs
(current)
20,000
Quality of life ratings
Personal satisfaction A
Job security A
Future growth A
Benefit to society C
Low stress D
Flexibility A

IT Manager

Implementation, deployment and operation of information systems and techonology solutions for business needs. Plans, directs and coordinates daily activities of a department/group/team. Hires, reviews, and fires non-management employees. Plans, directs, and coordinates the development.

Pay
Median pay
(experienced)
$102,000
Top pay $169,000
Opportunity
10-year job growth
(2008-2018)
17%
Total jobs
(current)
150,000
Quality of life ratings
Personal satisfaction B
Job security B
Future growth A
Benefit to society C
Low stress D
Flexibility A

Management Consultant

Advise companies on how to grow the business or battle a problem. Economic upheaval is forcing many firms to rethink strategies, creating a need for advisers on everything from pricing and operations to cost-cutting and sales growth. Information technology consulting is one of the fastest-growing areas, as is helping companies explore international markets.

Pay
Median pay
(experienced)
$117,000
Top pay $209,000
Opportunity
10-year job growth
(2008-2018)
24%
Total jobs
(current)
50,000
Quality of life ratings
Personal satisfaction B
Job security B
Future growth A
Benefit to society C
Low stress D
Flexibility B

IT Business Analyst

Analyzes management, operations, healthcare, engineering and other business information processes to identify and specify computer software and hardware solutions.

Pay
Median pay
(experienced)
$82,000
Top pay $115,000
Opportunity
10-year job growth
(2008-2018)
20%
Total jobs
(current)
140,000
Quality of life ratings
Personal satisfaction B
Job security B
Future growth A
Benefit to society C
Low stress C
Flexibility B

Business Development Analyst

A business development analyst researches markets, clients, and competitors and performs internal financial analyses of business development proposals.

Pay
Median pay
(experienced)
$75,000
Top pay $109,000
Opportunity
10-year job growth
(2008-2018)
24%
Total jobs
(current)
20,000
Quality of life ratings
Personal satisfaction B
Job security B
Future growth B
Benefit to society C
Low stress C
Flexibility B

IT Program Manager

Develops and maintains plans, policies, and procedures for all project phases. Works closely with developers and testers to ensure functional designs and also assigns duties, responsibilities, and scope of authority to project personnel. May drive and participate in design, development and implementation.

Pay
Median pay
(experienced)
$103,000
Top pay $149,000
Opportunity
10-year job growth
(2008-2018)
17%
Total jobs
(current)
20,000
Quality of life ratings
Personal satisfaction B
Job security B
Future growth A
Benefit to society C
Low stress D
Flexibility A

Computer Scientist

Conducts research into fundamental computer and information science as theorists, designers, or inventors. Solves or develops solutions to problems in the field of computer hardware and software.

Pay
Median pay
(experienced)
$115,000
Top pay $167,000
Opportunity
10-year job growth
(2008-2018)
24%
Total jobs
(current)
25,000
Quality of life ratings
Personal satisfaction A
Job security B
Future growth B
Benefit to society B
Low stress B
Flexibility A

Programmer Analyst

Writes code to create single-threaded or user interface event driven applications, either stand-alone or those which access servers or services. Designs, implements, and tests database schemas. Uses source debuggers and visual development environments. Works with designers and content producers. Writes code to generate web pages, access databases and business logic servers.

Pay
Median pay
(experienced)
$77,000
Top pay $109,000
Opportunity
10-year job growth
(2008-2018)
20%
Total jobs
(current)
130,000
Quality of life ratings
Personal satisfaction B
Job security B
Future growth B
Benefit to society C
Low stress C
Flexibility B

Netflix Lessons Learned after moving infrastructure to the cloud

October 13, 2010

This is blatantly taken from Adrian Cockcrofts  presentation at:
http://www.slideshare.net/adrianco/netflix-oncloudteaser

Netflix has taken some parts of their infrastructure and operations for their massive streaming video product and put the infrastructure out on the Amazon cloud. They have the worlds largest subscription streaming video service, so this is no walk in the park. It will be nice to see some cost and time savings numbers later down the line.

Learnings…

  • Datacenter  oriented  tools  don’t  work
    • Ephemeral  instances,  high  rate  of  change
  • Cloud  Tools  Don’t  Scale  for  Enterprise
    • Built  our  own  tools,  drove  vendors  hard
  • It’s  faster  in  the  end  to  re-­‐code  than  tinker
    • “fork-­‐lifted”  apps  don’t  work  well
    • Re-­architected  and  re‐wrote  much  of  our  code  base  using   fine  grain  web  services,  leveraging  open  source  in  Java,   highly  instrumented.  “NoSQL”  SimpleDB  backend.

Takeaway

Netflix  is  path‐finding  the  use  of  public  AWS   cloud  to  replace  in-‐house  IT  for  non-‐trivial   applications  with  hundreds  of  developers  and   thousands  of  systems.

Live forever via tech advancement and enjoy life while at it

September 30, 2010

Background

This write-up is a long time in the making. It involves thought I have had for 10+ years. Thoughts such as, where is my career going, what are my goals in life? I have started to discuss my ideas with respected peers professionally and personally, and I want to announce it here, having a place to reference my proclamation.

I am pondering a career shift and looking out for jobs and advise on next steps. I’ve done great at past jobs, just the positions have not fit me like a glove. Currently, I am an IT Support Engineer, and it is not for me. I believe that I deserve more creative and executive input into something, therefore I am mis-using my skills on very in-depth technical details.

My Goal

I have a lofty long-term goal of being involved in, or enabling the ability for humans to live for as long as they wish. My current bet is on getting the human brain into digital form – reverse engineering it to replicate what already exists into a super computer. I see myself having more input at a high level: leading, managing, enabling, and deciding how pieces fit together to get to this goal. I see this as something that wont reach realization or traction for many years. I want to prep now for the possibilities. This commands more management, innovation, and business skills that I have not delved deep into. I still want to stay in the tech realm and use my technical knowledge, just in a well-rounded way.

My interests

I also have a juxtaposed set of aspirations of enjoying and living life – not spending it doing all work. I would love to have more time for the outdoors. My various areas of interest do not mix well: IT, visions of mastering life, managing people (professional and personal), and the outdoors. I am continuing to ponder this, and deciding how I can fit them all in together. I do not think that anything – even life eternal – is worth the cost of not enjoying life.

Where to go now?

I am pondering what I should get into now. Some choices are: IT team management / project management, startup acceleration (getting into a startup early), business experience, innovation sourcing, venture funding? Venture Funding in tech has a neat proposition and touches many areas I spoke of. Venture funding sounds like a tough business to get into though, unless you have deep startup success or money. One thought is to build my upcoming experiences to lead towards venture funding, which eventually would allow freedom to do all my above interests.

Others have suggested getting a job associated with labs and business’s in the area of neural-tech research, while others have said to become an innovative manager – driving projects to success via management and creativity, in start-up business’s.

I continue to look for ideas and thoughts. Any input is welcomed and encouraged.