Saturday, October 31, 2009

TED Talks James Surowiecki: When social media became news

comments which received in the talk, best talk from James, and best comment which pulled mw to write this in my blog

  • Nov 4 2008: In my view this talk is short sighted
    Somewhere i agree. but with the big picture i for sure do not.
    Everything is a network.. not just the internet..the universe itself is a network of networks.
    We are already slaves to this in the first place.
    And next to that people getting locked into a network is something that happens when you remove choice.
    Ants don't seen to have choice or never use it..
    We humans loose choice by getting told that there is such a thing as wrong and right.. making us doubt.. and then logically go for what everyone else thinks is right.
    I think a 'human' communication network like the internet that works purely on information and is seen as a place where every bit of info is just a possibility and wrong or right is as relative as everything else, has no reason why such a thing should flail.

    In short it is doubt that creates science and space for adventure.
    It is static ideas of good and bad that create a locked down system.
    This has always been my soul reason to be against any kind of religion.
    To believe is a lie.. it is trust and love you should give..
    well.. enough rambling:)


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Copenhagen's Inconvenient Truth

 How to Salvage the Climate Conference 

Summary -- 

The Copenhagen conference won't solve the problem of climate change once and for all. Rather than aiming for a broad international treaty, negotiators should strengthen existing national policies and seek targeted emissions cuts in both rich nations and the developing world.

MICHAEL A. LEVI is David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment at the Council on Foreign Relations.

This December, diplomats from nearly 200 countries will gather in Copenhagen to negotiate a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which for the first time bound wealthy countries to specific cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Most of these emissions come from burning fossil fuels -- coal, oil, and natural gas -- for energy, from deforestation, and from the agricultural sector. They must be cut deeply in the coming decades if the world is to control the risks of dangerous climate change.

Most of those devoted to slashing the world's greenhouse gas emissions have placed enormous weight on the Copenhagen conference. Speaking earlier this year about the conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was emphatic: "We must harness the necessary political will to seal the deal on an ambitious new climate agreement in December here in Copenhagen. . . . If we get it wrong we face catastrophic damage to people, to the planet."

Hopes are higher than ever for a breakthrough climate deal. For the past eight years, many argued that developing nations reluctant to commit to a new global climate-change deal -- particularly China and India -- were simply hiding behind the United States, whose enthusiastic engagement was all that was needed for a breakthrough. Now the long-awaited shift in U.S. policy has arrived. The Obama administration is taking ambitious steps to limit carbon dioxide emissions at home, and Congress is considering important cap-and-trade and clean-energy legislation. The road to a global treaty that contains the climate problem now appears to be clear.

But it is not so simple. The odds of signing a comprehensive treaty in December are vanishingly small. And even reaching such a deal the following year would be an extraordinary challenge, given the domestic political constraints in Washington and in other capitals that make such an agreement difficult to negotiate and ratify. The many government officials and activists seeking to solve the climate problem therefore need to fundamentally rethink their strategy and expectations for the Copenhagen conference.

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When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order



With the prospect of China's economy surpassing the United States' in less than 20 years, the great debate today is over whether China will integrate into the existing world order or seek to transform it. Invoking the grand logic of the rise and fall of great powers, Jacques, a journalist, makes the case that China will dominate and reshape the global system. He argues that although China's first steps toward global preeminence are economic, eventually its political and cultural influence will be even greater -- and that, overall, "China's impact on the world will be at least as great as that of the United States over the last century, probably far greater." Jacques also claims that Beijing appears to offer the world an alternative route to modernity -- and therefore a different vision of world order. Having adopted the trappings of Western capitalism while embracing a more illiberal conception of social order, China is modernizing, not westernizing. Therefore, Jacques argues, its coming hegemony will reorient politics and society. But the book is better at describing differences between the East and the West -- their cities, customs, values -- than alternative logics of global order. It does not explore in any depth what it will mean for China to become a global hegemon. Hegemony involves building a system of institutions that other states seek to join, overseeing an extensive system of alliances, and providing public goods. The United States' liberal orientation has facilitated its leadership. It remains to be seen whether China can build a Pax Sinica without an open, rule-based world order.

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Better and Better: The Myth of Inevitable Progress | Foreign Affairs

Indur Goklany's The Improving State of the World offers a healthy corrective to the pervasive view that everything is getting worse. But its facile suggestion that further advances are all but inevitable misreads the true causes of progress.

James Surowiecki is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of The Wisdom of Crowds.

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Crowd computing

                                  Crowd computing is an overarching term which defines the plethora of human interaction tools that enable idea sharing, non-hierarchical decision making and the full utilization of the world’s mind space. Examples of these tools (many falling under the Web2.0 umbrella) include collaboration packages, information sharing software, such as Microsoft’s SharePoint, wikis, blogs, alerting systems, social networks, SMS, MMS, Twitter, Flicker, and even mashups. Business and society in general increasingly rely on the combined intelligence, knowledge, and life experiences of the “crowd” to improve processes, make decisions, identify solutions to complex problems and monitor changes in consumer taste.  An early example of crowd computing was the discovery of a gold deposit location at the Moribund Red Lake Mine in Northern Ontario. Using all available data, the company, Goldcorp, Inc. had been unable to identify the location of new deposits on their land. In desperation, the CEO put all relevant geological data on the web and created a contest, open to anyone in the world. An obscure firm in Australia used their software and algorithms to crack the puzzle. As a result, the company found an additional 8 million ounces of gold at the mine. The only cost was the nominal prize money awarded.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

8 Steps to running your business on (mostly) free apps

"I should thank me frd @dhaneshkk for this article."

If you spend, or plan to spend, substantial dollars on Web services or software support for your startup, you’ll want to read this post. I’m going to show you how, with my 8 Steps to Running Your Business Off Low-Cost Web-Apps, it is possible to run a substantial company on software services and infrastructure that are either entirely free, or available for a low monthly fee, on the Internet.

As an entrepreneur and bestselling author, I’ve lectured and written previously about how intense competition on the Web has lead to a proliferation of companies that offer mission-critical services for free or at very low-cost. I am not the only one who has recognized this phenomenon.

In late September, I took another step to try and amplify the benefits of this trend for entrepreneurs: I launched Search Free Apps , a search engine that includes over 700 hand-picked enterprise-quality applications that are free on the Web. This week I will also launch the Your Web Applications Audit by Search Free Apps, which you can use to save more money on the Web services you’re currently using, or to locate new services to support your startup’s low-cost expansion.

The benefits of this approach extend beyond lowering your operating costs. Avoiding a cost-prohibitive investment in custom technology will also afford your young company greater flexibility to adopt new, better Web technologies as superior technologies or services evolve. This will be even more important as your company grows. All of which adds-up to a more competitive firm.

At the end of this post, I share the list of free or low-cost apps that deliver mission critical infrastructure to my startup, Search Free Apps. I hope you try my service to find additional apps that suit your particular business. Even if you don’t, read my 8 Steps to Running Your Business Off Low-Cost Web-Apps, below. Follow them to gain even more value from my low-cost strategy.

1) Establish a bias towards software-as-a service.
Find free online applications (such as Weebly or ImageShack) that you rent on a monthly basis. Software should only be adopted in extreme situations. By adopting capabilities that reside on the Web, you eliminate the headaches associated with software maintenance. You also get the benefit of ongoing upgrades.

2) Identify the services you need; assume free or low-cost versions are available.
(See sample list below). Low-cost services should form the baseline for your ultimate choices. Then, any higher-cost service you identify needs to demonstrate the value of a premium price through some combination of factors including: better features, greater reliability, superior support, or greater ease of use. (In my experience, many premium-priced products do not).

3) Never commission custom software.
Custom code limits your flexibility by locking you into the offerings of a specific vendor for a lengthy period of time. You’ll pay for upgrades, and also lose the opportunity to try new low-cost Web services that come to market.

One way of thinking about this issue is to look at the costs of sophisticated services over time. It’s not an exaggeration to say that if a particular feature costs $50,000 to $250,000 today, a year from now it may well be available as a Web-based service that can be rented for less than $40 per month, and two years from now it may be one feature in a service package that rents for less than $25.00 per month.

4) Live by my 60% rule.
If a particular service meets 60% of your needs today it is what you should use. It’s good enough. As Web-based services are constantly enhancing their offerings, within a few months it will likely meet 80% of your needs, or even include valuable features that you had not imagined.

You must also accept that in a 60% world some potential customers will get away. But the appropriate question to ask is: How much revenue can I add to our business by filling in the gaps in a 60% solution? The answer is likely to be very small. Moreover, it’s my experience that businesses that invest in finding infrastructure services that are perfect, as opposed to good enough, rarely achieve profitability. They spend too much time looking for “perfect capabilities” outside their core offering, tend to over-spend on these capabilities, and thus, lack the flexibility of their competitors.

5) Focus on how a service works, not the brand-name provider who sells it.
In a large number of cases, sophisticated service platforms may be designed for one purpose, but can be implemented to provide a variety of purposes that are valuable to the needs of your enterprise. Think creatively about how a service may be extended and integrated into your infrastructure, and you will find many valuable uses for it.

6) Automate as much as possible.
There may be aspects of your business, particularly in your core offering, that require human intervention. However, you want to build a low-cost infrastructure that automates everything else. Once you need to put people power against any part of your infrastructure, you have lost the ability to easily scale the business.

7) Always have a backup ready.
The long-term reliability of any Web service should always be on your mind. I counsel companies to have a replacement for all services identified at the time they decide what services to use. Also include an estimate of the time it would take to replace a specific service, and an ongoing means of ensuring any valuable data or records accumulated by any of your services are transferred to you..

8) Learn html.
You or someone you trust must be educated in simple html. Sure, many Web businesses have in-house capabilities that eliminate this issue. However, I have seen too many start-ups founders from outside the Internet industry become totally at the mercy of outside vendors. For the lack of some easily obtained knowledge, they lose the ability to make the majority of the responsible judgments and tradeoffs advocated above.

The low-cost or free Web app can be a very powerful tool in the arsenal of any company. In today’s intensely competitive environment every startup founder should carefully investigate whether his or her company is fully integrating these cost-saving and flexibility-enhancing services.

Sites where I get free or low-cost services for Search Free Apps:
  1. Mozy: continuous online backup of PC’s. It’s free for the first 2 Gb.
  2. Weebly: free site hosting and easy Web site creation service.
  3. Wufoo: sophisticated forms; free for the first three forms.
  4. Weber: auto-response service, with unlimited follow-ups and mailings for $19.95/month.
  5. Feedburner: free RSS management.
  6. Typepad Pro: unlimited blogs for 14.95/month. (Other are free, like
  7. Web-Stat: Web tracking free, or $5.00/month.
  8. Image Shack: free web-based management of images.

Bruce Judson is a Senior Faculty Fellow at the Yale School of Management, the author of Go It Alone!: The Secret to Building a Successful Business on Your Own (one of the first books to be published on the Web, Bruce’s book is yet another free resource for you to tap!), and the founder of Search Free Apps.
Copyright 2007 Bruce Judson. All rights reserved.

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Add files to your Dropbox!‏

Hi Swathi Dharshana,

We noticed that you signed up and installed Dropbox recently, but haven't really used it yet.

If you put files into your Dropbox folder, they'll instantly be available on any computer that you install Dropbox on. Once files are in your Dropbox, they are automatically backed up and accessible online.

Try putting files in your Dropbox today!

- The Dropbox Team

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Crowd Science

Changing how you think about market research sample

We believe in the long-term sustainable approach to data collection. Crowd Science offers a sampling and data collection methodology that not only achieves the reach of river sampling, but also the targeting capabilities of traditional panel research. Continuous website audience profiling allows Crowd Science technology to efficiently and accurately target the right sample in the right contexts. This gives researchers access to targeted respondents who would never join an online panel but are happy to participate in surveys on their terms. This provides ‘passive’ survey takers the best chance for a positive experience. The end result is a sustainable long-term option for the market research industry.

Who are we?

Crowd Science is a research technology and services company that offers a fresh approach to online research. It was founded by a group of software engineers and researchers who came out of comScore, Apple, Netscape, IBM, and Cisco. Crowd Science is a Granite Ventures portfolio company, with locations in Silicon Valley and Toronto.


Your Crowd Science Demographics Package

Before you can begin, please choose your ideal package plan

Pricing Plan (more information)

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Free Personal Premium
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Price FREE $5/month $200/month
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A real-time demographics platform


Easy setup

Set up is simple. All you need to do is create an account, add your site, tag your pages (just like existing analytics/ad/widget services available), and you are done. No worries, we are compatible with existing ad systems, so you can sit back and enjoy.


Polite, customizable invitations

No flashing, no punching monkeys, no free iPods, and a zero-pixel footprint. We know you care about your visitors, and so do we. Our main focus is to be as polite and non-intrusive as possible to your audience. You can choose from four types of invitations, customize colors, and include your own branding and invitation text. It's your call.


Audience profiling with short inline surveys

Visitors stay on your site while taking the survey. Each question has been carefully selected to be useful for publishers and advertisers alike. Our surveys are short and to the point. Crowd Science Demographics' technology makes sure that only a small portion of visitors are invited to provide information. Being temporary and occasional is the key to keeping your audience focused and happy.


Comprehensive reporting

Real-time reporting. As a publisher, you’ll have full and controlled access to your data via the Crowd Science account interface, where you can choose who else gets to see your data, as well as how they will see it (in pie and bar charts).


And more

We also feature day-in-week and hour-in-day displays. You’ll be able to identify the “shape” of your audience.


Aggregate across multiple sites

You can track multiple sites and organize them into groups/channels/topic areas, and aggregate at the group and account levels.


Share your data

Choose what you want to share and who you want to share it with using our customizable Media Kit hosting service. You'll be given an editorial space within these presentations, where you can qualify and explain your data. You'll be able to say that your data is third-party validated.


Or take it with you

You can export your data in Excel/CSV format, and use it with other tools or data. There is no format lock-in and you are free to do what you please with your data.


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Google Wave Use Cases: Education

Written by Richard MacManus

Google Wave is a much hyped new Internet-based communications and collaboration platform. It was announced at the end of May, released as a 'Preview' product shortly after and 100,000 more invites were made available at the end of September.

Early users reported mixed feelings. But one month after Google Wave was opened to tens of thousands of people, how are people using it now? What use cases are being discovered? Let's start with the education sector. We'll explore other use cases in upcoming posts.

What is Google Wave Again?

A quick reminder of what Google Wave is. In a nutshell, Google Wave is a new form of real-time communications. Google describes it as "equal parts conversation and document." In our first 'hands-on' post at the beginning of June, we described it as "real-time email with a big dose of IM built-in" - although we noted that "this only describes a small part of what Wave can do."

In a recent CNN profile, Wave creators Lars and Jens Rasmussen described it as making email "collaborative and instant."

Wave in Class

After searching some public 'waves,' we came across an educational wave. Entitled 'Wave in Class,' this wave was started by Loren Baum (a self-described "collaborative learning enthusiast" and graduate student at Ben Gurion University) and Sam Boland (a Politics student and "Tech Enthusiast" at Occidental College, Los Angeles).

The wave was started to explore concepts like "Collaborative Note Taking" and "Wave as a Debate Host." Nearly 100 people are included in the wave, ranging from teachers to PhD students to IT professionals to high school students.

This particular wave was framed at the start as being "a set of collaborative documents, supported by a chat."

As a note-taking tool, Samuel Boland wrote that "there appears to be a concensus that this [Google Wave] will work as a note-taking tool, the only disagreement is over how to implement it." Options for note-taking include voluntary extra-curricular groups, rotating in-class groups and small in-class groups.

A few users enthused later in the wave that "Google Wave combines a lot of the best features from different applications" - but with a real-time twist. It was noted that while Google Docs can be used to share notes and collaborate on assignments, with Google Wave students can collaborate in real-time. This could be important in education for things like notetaking, asking questions (a.k.a. a backchannel) and collaborative projects.

Another feature of Wave that would be useful for education purposes, according to this 100-person wave, is the play-back ability - "so instructors can see exactly who did what, and see the progression of ideas."

Will Wave Make Students Lazy?

One concern that seemed to pop up several times in the wave was that Google Wave could make it too easy for lazy students to get by. As Justin Neitzey succinctly put it: "I don't think kids should be allowed piggy back of the work of others."

This is a similar concern that some in the education system had with Wolfram Alpha, another innovative Web tool that is set to change the way education is delivered.

Manny Guendulay responded that "reading those notes and participating in the collaboration of those notes hold totally different of levels of thinking." He argued that "the person simply reading the notes (passively learning) has no chance to perform at the same level as someone who helped collaborate (active learning) on those notes, or even watched and read along while they were being created."

In other words, engaging with Google Wave - and the Web in general in fact - will lead to smarter, better performing students. That sounds reasonable to us, but time will tell for both Google Wave and Wolfram Alpha on that score.


Overall, it is clear that Google Wave has potential to be very useful in the education system, particularly as a real-time collaborative note-taking tool. Three students experimented with just that in a lecture; the resulting notes were said to be "more complete" than if Wave hadn't been used.

If you're interested in exploring other education waves, check these out:

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Future Is Big Data in the Cloud

While when it comes to cloud computing, no one has entirely sorted out what’s hype and what isn’t, nor exactly how it will be used by the enterprise, what is becoming increasingly clear is that Big Data is the future of IT. To that end, tackling Big Data will determine the winners and losers in the next wave of cloud computing innovation.

Data is everywhere (be it from users, applications or machines) and as we get propelled into the “Exabyte Era” (PDF), is growing exponentially; no vertical or industry is being spared. The result is that IT organizations everywhere are being forced to grapple with storing, managing and extracting value from every piece of it -– as cheaply as possible. And so the race to cloud computing has begun.

This isn’t the first time IT architectures have been reinvented in order to remain competitive. The shift from mainframe to client-server was fueled by disruptive innovation in computing horsepower that enabled distributed microprocessing environments. The subsequent shift to web applications/web services during the last decade was enabled by the open networking of applications and services through the Internet buildout. While cloud computing will leverage these prior waves of technology –- computing and networking –- it will also embrace deep innovations in storage/data management to tackle Big Data.

A Big Data stack
But as with prior data center platform shifts, a new “stack” (like mainframe and OSI) will also need to emerge before cloud computing will be broadly embraced by the enterprise. Basic platform capabilities, such as security, access control, application management, virtualization, systems management, provisioning, availability, etc. will have to be standard before IT organizations are able to adopt the cloud completely. In particular, this new cloud framework needs the ability to process data in increasingly real-time and greater orders of magnitude -– and do it at a fraction of what it would typically cost -– by leveraging commodity servers for storage and computing. Maybe cloud computing is all about creating a new “Big Data stack.”

In many ways, this cloud stack has already been implemented, albeit in primitive form, at large-scale Internet data centers, which quickly encountered the scaling limitations of traditional SQL databases as the volume of data exploded. Instead, high-performance, scalable/distributed, object-orientated data stores are being developed internally and implemented at scale. At first, many solved this problem by sharding vast MySQL instances, in essence using them more as data stores than true relational databases (no complex table joins, etc.). As Internet data centers scaled, however, sharding MySQL obviously didn’t.

The rise of DNRDBMS
In response to this, large web properties have been building their own so-called “NoSQL” databases, also known as distributed, non-relational database systems (DNRDBMS). But while it can seem like a different version sprouts up every day, they can largely be categorized into two flavors: One, distributed key value stores, such as Dynamo (Amazon) and Voldemort (LinkedIn); and two, distributed column stores such as Big Table (Google), Cassandra (Facebook), HBase (Yahoo/Hadoop) and Hypertable (Zvents).

These projects are in various stages of deployment and adoption (it is early days, to be sure), but promise to deliver a “cloud-scale” data layer on which applications can be built quickly and elastically, all while having aspects of the reliability/availability of traditional databases. One facet that is common across these myriad of NoSQL databases is a data caching layer, essentially a high-performance, distributed memory caching system that can accelerate web applications by avoiding continual database hits. Memcached’s (disclosure: Accel is an investor in Northscale, parent company of Memcached) broad distribution (which is behind pretty much every Web 2.0 application) has become this de facto layer and is now accepted as a “standard” tier in data centers.

PLIManaging non-transactional data has become even more daunting. From log files to clickstream data to web indexing, Internet data centers are collecting massive volumes of data that need to be processed cheaply in order to drive monetization value. One solution that was been deployed by some of the largest web properties (Yahoo, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) for massive parallel computation and distributed file systems in a cloud environment is Hadoop (disclosure: Accel is an investor in Cloudera, the company behind Hadoop). In many cases, Hadoop essentially provides an intelligent primary storage and compute layer for the NoSQL databases. Although the framework has roots in Internet data centers, Hadoop is quickly penetrating broader enterprise use cases, as the diverse set of participants at the recent Hadoop World NYC event made clear.

As this cloud stack hardens, new applications and services –- previously unthinkable -– will come to light, in all shapes and sizes. But the one thing they will all have in common is Big Data.

Ping Li is a partner with Accel.

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Most influential open-source gurus

Influence in open-source development communities is earned through years of writing and sharing great code. Perhaps not surprisingly, then, influence in the business side of open source is also gained through sharing expertise, and not necessarily from making mountains of cash.

At least, that's the lesson I take away from MindTouch's inaugural survey of 50 open-source business executives. MindTouch, an open-source collaboration company, has spent the last few months surveying executives within the commercial open-source community, asking them to name the most influential people within the commercial open-source ecosystem.

The result is effectively an all-star list of open-source business executives. The top five are as follows:

  1. Larry Augustin, CEO, SugarCRM
  2. Matt Asay, vice president of business development, Alfresco (and fellow CNET blogger)
  3. Mårten Mickos, entrepreneur-in-residence, Benchmark Capital, and former CEO, MySQL
  4. Jim Whitehurst, CEO, Red Hat
  5. Dries Buytaert, co-founder and CTO, Acquia

As part of MindTouch’s 2009 open source best practices research,  we asked C and VP level Open Source Executives who they thought are the most influential people in the industry today.  Over 50 votes from Executives in Europe and North America were cast to determine the 2009 edition (note: they could not vote for anyone in their own company).  What makes this list remarkable is that industry insiders were the judges.

There were a few surprises from outside of the open source industry.  For instance, Steve Ballmer was voted in because of his negative remarks on the open source industry and its subsequent positive impact.  Vivek Kundra was voted in because of his contributions to the industry inside the US Federal Government (in fact the site was revamped with open source software).  Notably absent however are any influential women.

This list of the top influential Executives of the 2009 is ranked by the effect these individuals have had on the open source industry.  Not all are recognizable, but these leaders are the movers, shakers and thought leaders of the open source industry.   Want to know the future direction of open source?  Just ask a few of the people on this list.








Larry Augustin

Larry Augustin is CEO of SugarCRM.  One of the group who coined the term “Open Source”, he has written and spoken extensively on Open Source worldwide. In 1993 he founded VA Linux (now SourceForge, NASDAQ:LNUX), where he served as CEO until August 2002. While CEO he launched and led the company through an IPO in 1999.




Matt Asay

Matt Asay has been involved with open source since 1998, and is one of the industry’s leading open source business strategists. Asay currently manages sales and business development activities in the Americas for Alfresco.  Asay also writes a very influential open source blog on CNET.






Martin Mickos

Mårten Gustaf Mickos was chief executive officer (CEO) of MySQL AB. He served as chief executive officer from January 2001 to February 2008, when Sun bought MySQL AB. He served as senior vice president of the database group at Sun Microsystems until February 2009. In February 2008 he was announced as member of the board of Mozilla Messaging, in May 2009, he also joined the board of directors at RightScale. In September 2009 venture capital firm Benchmark Capital hired Mickos as their Entrepreneur In Residence.





Jim Whitehurst

Jim Whitehurst was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Red Hat in December 2007. Whitehurst joined Delta Air Lines in 2002, serving in various roles, most recently as Chief Operating Officer, responsible for Operations, Sales and Customer Service, Network and Revenue Management, Marketing and Corporate Strategy. Prior to joining Delta, Whitehurst served as Vice President and Director of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and held various leadership roles in their Chicago, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Atlanta offices.





Dries Buytaert

Dries Buytaert created Drupal in 2001 and has led the software project ever since. He has guided it through rapid growth and to widespread acclaim. Dries is able to motivate the burgeoning community of users and developers by communicating ‘the big picture’ while paying careful and measured attention to the technical details essential to good software development. These two factors have been crucial to Drupal’s popularity and success to date.

Honorable Mentions


Their Company


Their Company

Mark Radcliffe DLA Piper Mark Shuttleworth Ubuntu Project
Andrew Aitken Olliance Group Rod Johnson SpringSource
Marc Fleury Retired (JBoss) Scott Mcnealy Sun Microsystems

The full list is available here.

The common theme running through these top-five vote getters is how open they've been with their peers. Larry Augustin sits on several boards of open-source companies, but he also frequently speaks at industry events and has been involved in open source from its inception.

Matt Asay, my friend and fellow CNET blogger, sits on more than 10 open-source advisory boards, chairs the Open Source Business Conference, hosts an informal get-together every year (called Open Source Goat Rodeo--don't ask why), blogs at an unhealthy rate for CNET on open source, and has actively helped a range of aspiring open-source entrepreneurs understand the mechanics of running an open-source business.

Mårten Mickos made the world safe for the $1 billion open-source acquisition, but he has also traveled the globe speaking at open-source events and is very generous with his time, sharing know-how and best practices with other open-source executives.

Jim Whitehurst, breaking the typical Red Hat mold, has been active in industry events, has hosted a range of dinners and other small-scale, intimate events with open-source executives. He is amazingly accessible, given that he has a fast-growing open-source company to run. It's unfortunate that Whitehurst is the only Red Hat executive to make the list; Red Hat should follow his lead and be more permeable to its peers. Its influence would grow accordingly, just as Whitehurst's has.

Finally, there's Dries Buytaert, who blogs frequently on his project, Drupal, but also regularly attends and speaks at industry events. He has also been active behind the scenes, working with other open-source companies to share information on how to optimize community development.

Open-source code becomes valuable when you give it away. The same holds true for open-source business expertise. There are individuals who have made more money than these with open-source software, but in terms of influence, the more you share, the more influential you become.

What do you think? Who else should be on the list? Who influences you?

Posted via web from sdn's posterous

We hate HomeWork

The Best Way to CHEAT in EXAMS

# The long-sleeved shirt method

This approach is best used in the winter. Before an exam you should write a whole bunch of information you think is important on you forearms. Then put on a long-sleeved shirt to cover your arms. Make sure to get a seat in the middle of the room, so a teacher may not get a good look at you rolling up your sleeve for a minute. The rest is obvious.

# The hat trick

A very easy way to cheat on exams is to wear a hat (preferably a baseball one) forward. With your eyes concealed from a surveying teacher's view, you can glance over to the exam of the person next to you. The good old "wandering eyes method," but without the worries of the instructor saying "Keep your eyes on your own paper" because he cannot see your eyes. But beware of those teachers who walk around, make sure to sneak a peek at where they are to minimize your chances of getting caught. Jeff (*****@*****.edu) adds that, "At my school, the most popular way for guys to cheat was similar to your 'hat trick.' They would make a crib sheet, and then tape it on the underside of the bill. The way guys wear their hats so low on their heads, most of the teachers still haven't figured it out. Just be careful you don't tilt your head too far back or your notes will be revealed." And especially don't wear your hat backwards, then you can't read your notes.

# Desk notes

Very simple and to the point. There is one sure fire way to cheat on an exam, and that is to write on the desk. This is best used for math/science exams or some multiple choice. When the instructor is still not ready to start the exam, and you are still allowed to have books out, write a few quick notes on the desk. If the instructor comes by during the exam just push your papers over it, and when its all over just rub it off with your hand to destroy the evidence.

# Kleenex Method

Sometimes instructors have tissues on their desk. This mainly works sometime after a few people have turned in their exams. So during an exam make like you are sick: cough, gag, blow your nose, basically do anything to give you an excuse to get up and take a tissue from the teacher's desk. No teacher would ever say no to a student coming up and asking for a tissue. But while you're up there sneak a peek of the tests people already handed in. Remember what you saw and write what someone else already wrote, but be sure to footnote! Alexander (*****@*****) net says that, "another good way to cheat is to get some 'Puffs Extra Thick' tissues," and in them write information you don't feel like studying to remember, and use up a box or two of tissues on the test.

# The all-knowing TI-82

This method only works for classes in which a calculator is needed to do some of the math. Make sure to borrow a friends TI-82, or some other nice expensive graphing calculator if you don't own one. With this little gadget you can type in formulas, notes, even examples with step-by-step instructions. If you think you'll get caught, don't worry you won't. This method is fool-proof. Your teacher may know about possible cheating like this, but refuse to let him reset your calculator. This would erase all the contents of the calculator, instead argue that you have your life's work stored in it, and that it contains the launch codes for the US nuclear arsenal (Just make up something good). Some fella who goes by "MRF" (*****@*****.edu) sent this, "2 variations on the TI-85. I have a friend who is in the habit of taking his cellular phone out of his back pocket whenever he sits down so he doesnt crush it. You write notes in the alphanumeric memory location. Or: Timex Data Link Watch note mode. Nuff said." I guess so mrf!

# The buddy system

This is an old method that still is undetectable. Sit next to a friend who knows what is going on in class, or pay some stranger off, and take the test next to this person. When they finish, which will be way before you because you haven't got a clue as to what is going on, have them sit back and hold their exam up so you have full view of their answers. Copy away!

# Grab-bag method

Make sure to bring all of your notes to the exam. Get there early at least in time to have a lot of seats to choose from to sit in. Get your notes out and place your backpack on the floor by your feet. When the instructor calls for everyone to put their notes in their bags, be sure to place yours so that you can see your notes from taking the test. Pull the sides of your bag up so that it makes a protective wall around your notes so no one can see your notes but you. It's like taking an open book test, but not.

# Stress Relief

This method is similiar to the hat trick method, and was submitted by Ron (***** During the exam sigh deeply as if you are so totally stressed out. Then procede to lean your head into the hand that doesn't have a pen. From the front this looks as if you are so stressed and frustrated that you are about to bust. Remember, teachers like to see students stress out on exams so this will can only help you. Meanwhile, your head is tilted directly at the person's paper next to you or across the aisle. You have to have good eyesight because you are looking out of the corner of your eye, but it is shielded from the instructor by your hand. If you wear contacts remember to clean them with the proper enzymes to make sure they are crystal clear. Or there is the occasional stretch. and yawn. really stretch back, arms in the air, yawn and close your eyes, turn your head to the side, and open the eye furthest away from the instructor. They will see one eye closed and assume the other is as well (they can't see it) you have about five seconds here to either check your answer off someone elses, or just get six or seven multiple choice answers! Using this with several more adventurous cheating methods will increase the success rate.

# Doublemint!

Here's a modification to the crib note method suggested by some fellow who did not give a normal name so I didn't know whether to include his alias (***** Everyone likes to chew gum, well except those weird people on the cinnaburst commercials, and depending on the teacher most will let you chew it in class. So before the test write all the information you think you will need, and even some you don't need, on the inside of your gums wrappers. When you get stuck reach for a piece of gum, chew and cheat away. No one will ever think that Wrigley's gum was an accomplice to your cheating, if they did than your teacher is very clever. Always keep one with no notes in case your teacher questions you, and you should offer him a piece of gum as a gesture of good faith. Tell him, "Ok I'll give you a piece, but how would some guy at the candy factory know what I needed to know for your test! Unless you know the guys at the factory and tried to set me up!" This also works well on cough drops with paper wrappers especially since a teacher usually has no problem with cough drops.

# Erase the Evidence

This was suggested by Chris (*****@*****.no) and complements many of the aforementioned standard cheating techniques. If you don't know a THING of the subject of your exam, it would be wise to have a friend (that knows the subject pretty well, or is easily bought) write down the nessesary 1,2,3's or years on a eraser or paper inside a pen, and have you borrow it. In fact, Chris claims to have tested this method under very strict control lab experiments, and it has been proven to work repeatedly. A rular or back of a calculator or dictionary works well too, but the eraser can leave no trace, just start erasing, and "poof" any evdence has vanished. Sam (*****@*****.com) writes that his "method is fairly simple, but it works. If your school has desks with a polished surface, "write" necessary data on desk using eraser or (my preferred method) the sweat of your hand. You can only "read" data if you look at desk from certain angle (reflection of light). I have yet to meet a teacher who had any clue of what I was doing.

# The crib sheet

There is always the age old method of using a crib sheet. To do this you need to take an tiny piece of paper, say smaller than a 3x5 index card and jam every piece of information that you think will come in handy on it. Bring it to the exam, and keep it hidden either with the exam papers or in the palm of your hand. The Phantom (*****@*****.uk) adds that a very effective way to conceal a crib sheet is to wrap your wrist with some gauze or bandage. You can write on the bandage or slip a crib note in their. He goes on to say that another good way to cheat is to hide crib notes inside the casings of a pen that unscrews. Nihilist (*****@*****.net) writes us about how he and the *entire* rest of my class got through 3 years of Japanese with straight A's and not knowing ONE DAMN THING with many of the cheating methods we proudly feature here at the Cheaters Paradise (Now I just want to get one thing straight, this site has only been up since mid-May, and only started to gain some recognition since school began). But this site is missing one that's served this guy well, so we decided to let this fella let everyone in on this cheat. "You need to buy a clear bottle of your favorite beverage (Mountain Dew, Coke, Dr. Pepper, etc.) and carefully peel off the label wrapped around it. Then tape a big crib sheet (or whatever) around the outside and then glue the label back. As you drink your beverage down you get your answers and the instructor will never be the wiser." I must say, that I like it, otherwise it wouldn't have been added. And just so you don't think I'm tooting my own horn, here's this guy's homepage. And "The Swamp Thing," and because that was so original I'm gonna tell everyone your name is Darwyn (*****@*****.ca), decided to make me aware that there is also the old hide-your-crib-notes-under-a-patch-trick (Well just to clear the air, I have never heard of this method, but after reading it I can honestly say I wish I had). For this method you simply attach patches to your jeans on 3 sides to make a secret pocket, and the crib sheet hides inside! He also wanted to make the following Public Service Announcement, "Remember, you are only cheating yourself!" Well Al Bundy says, "It's only cheating if you get caught," and he scored FOUR touchdowns in a single game, so there!

# The Watergate Tape

This was submitted by Ed (*****@*****.com) and it is a variation of the long sleeve method. Write your answers on masking tape and put it in the inside of the cuffs of your jacket/shirt. Leave the cuffs unbuttoned (You don't have to scrub this off after the test like the arm method, all you do is peel the tape and throw it away). You can also put tape inside your lapels, on your socks (Cross your legs and pull your pants legs up until you see the notes. This works very well. If the teacher thinks that you are writing on your arm, all you do to prove her wrong is to push up your sleeves. Just make sure you don't have hairy arms otherwise this may hurt a bit. Robin Williams, if you're reading this, don't try this at home!

# Pre-emptive strike

Also submitted by Ed, this one requires a room decorated with alot of posters, art, projects and such. Remember there is no "I" in "team". Gosh, all those Sesame Street episodes about "cooperation" really paid off! Since this is a real account, this is exactly what Ed said: "We had several people in on this one (Mid term exams). One person made a poster of latin verbs that we were going to have to have on our test (It was announced ahead of time) and placed it in a strategic area in the classroom just prior to the 1st Period bell. When we came in at 6th period (the last of the day), our proud poster was still in place. About half of the class copied from the poster and blew the curve. After class, the teacher discovered the poster, but could not retest about 100 students because we had already left for Christmas break. Man was she smoked." How sweet it is! Looks like Christmas, or Hannukah, or Kwanza (I'm not sure if these are spelled correctly) came early for this bunch of students.

# Like the back of my hand!

"I couldn't believe u forgot the age-old method of writing whatever information you think you'ld need on your hand!" screams Debbie (*****@***** Well she was talking about the simplest cheat of all, writing on the palm that of your hand. A am sorry I forgot it, but it ain't easy making sure all these cheats get posted. Though this one may be risky, because it's so damn obvious, it is still an old stand-by.

# Whisper Those Sweet Nothings

Mark (*****@*****.com) reminds us about the easiest method of all, to just talk to your classmates outside of the exam. "If there are two classes for the same course, ask the people in the other class what is on the test. This has worked very well in high school, but I'm not sure if it would be any good in university." Well it does work, mostly in entry level courses, but hey, that makes Freshman year even more fun.

Posted via web from sdn's posterous

Friday, October 16, 2009

Web 3.0

Web 3.0 = (4C + P + VS)

I have written a few pieces already addressing the disjointed nature of the web, whereby, you go one place for content, another for community, and a third for commerce, the most notable of these is the popular, 4C: Yahoo’s Turnaround Formula.

Let’s quickly recap the terminology:

3C = Content, Commerce, Community |
4th C = Context |
P = Personalization |
VS = Vertical Search

This, I submit, is the formula for the future: Web 3.0 = (4C + P + VS).

Web 2.0 has been a nichy phenomenon with hundred and thousands of microcap efforts addressing one of the Cs, lately, Community being the most popular force, producing companies like MySpace, Facebook, Piczo, Xanga, and Flixster.

In Web 1.0, Commerce had been the driving force, that produced companies like Netflix, BlueNile, Amazon, and eBAY. It had also resulted in the Dotcom meltdown.

The same period that is seeing the surge of Web 2.0, has also seen a great deal of investment in Vertical Search, like Sidestep for Travel.

Personalization has remained limited to some unsatisfactory efforts by the MyYahoo team, their primary disadvantage being the lack of a starting Context. More recently, Netvibes
has raised a lot of buzz, but also lacks the same organizing principle: Context.

In Web 3.0, I predict, we are going to start seeing roll-ups. We will see a trunk that emerges from the Context, be it film (Netflix), music (iTunes), cooking / food, working women, single parents, … and assembles the Web 3.0 formula that addresses the whole set of needs of a consumer in that Context.


-I am a petite woman, dark skinned, dark haired, brown eyed. I have a distinct personal style, and only certain designers resonate with it (Context).

-I want my personal SAKS Fifth Avenue which carries clothes by those designers, in my size (Commerce).

-I want my personal Vogue, which covers articles about that Style, those Designers, and other emerging ones like them (Content).

-I want to exchange notes with others of my size-shape-style-psychographic and discover what else looks good. I also want the recommendation system tell me what they’re buying (Community).

-There’s also some basic principles of what looks good based on skin tone, body shape, hair color, eye color … I want the search engine to be able to filter and match based on an algorithm that builds in this knowledge base (Personalization, Vertical Search).

Now, imagine the same for a short, fat man, who doesn’t really have a sense of what to wear. And he doesn’t have a wife or a girl-friend. Before Web 3.0, he could go to the personal shopper at Nordstrom.

With Web 3.0, the internet will be his Personal Shopper.

Web 3.0 & the Semantic Web

My definition of Web 3.0 is one of the most popular entry points into this blog. In it, I proposed the vision of a web which becomes increasingly verticalized by “Context”, and the relevant Content, Community and Commerce elements are successfully mashed up “in Context”. I also proposed 2 other elements: Vertical / Contextual Search, and Personalization. Thus, I concluded, Web 3.0 = (4C + P + VS).

I got both extremes of reactions to this formula. But I also got some good questions and observations, which, after several months of discussions, warrant a follow-on synthesis post.

One question is about Tim Berner’s Lee’s Semantic Web definition and how it correlates with my vision. Tim Berners-Lee originally expressed the vision of the semantic web as follows: “I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize.” [Wikipedia]

Well, yes, my vision is similar. Except, while Tim is an academic, and thinks in terms of new technology, I am an entrepreneur, and I think in terms of execution and viable, sustainable business models, not just technology.

So, let me now provide the bridge between Tim’s thoughts and mine.

You see, I grew up in India, with a household full of servants. However politically incorrect it may be to say so, I thoroughly enjoyed the lifestyle of being able to delegate tedious tasks to these servants. Thus, in the future that I envision, I would very much like to see Intelligent Agent “Servants” taking care of lots of my repetitive tasks.

Now, I happen to have worked on AI algorithms a fair bit, over the years, and can assure you, that for Agent technology to work, you would need to constrain the domain of its activity. Intelligent Agents would never be successful in providing value if let loose in an unconstrained environment. Thus, it needs “Context”.

A “Travel Agent” is not the same as a “Personal Shopper Agent” or a “Personal Financial Advisor Agent” or a “Real Estate Agent”. All those agents are entirely possible, if you design them in the context of the vocabulary (Semantics) of the vertical domain. Unconstrained, and without context, they fail. Thus, the Semantic Web can only be implemented in a Contextual Domain.

And within each Contextual Domain, you would find a sustainable business model that includes Advertising and eCommerce revenues, indicating that the future of the Web, Web 3.0 as we are trying to call it, is a Verticalized, Contextualized, Personalized Web.

Web 3.0 = (4C + P + VS) + Place

Yes, we need to add a new variable to the definition of Web 3.0, and that variable is Place.


You are on a business trip in New York, and you need to buy a gift for your 13 year old son. You need a Size 8 Nike Air Zoom, and you have exactly 30 minutes before you need to zoom out of Manhattan towards JFK, to catch the flight back home.

Today, you have no way of knowing which store closest to you would have in their inventory a Size 8 Nike Air Zoom.

But in the web’s perhaps not too distant future, you can presumably look it up online.

Indeed, as Cal McElroy has put it, It’s About Place.

Place, here, encompasses location. Where ‘you’ are, via GPS technology. Where ‘things’ and ‘places’ are ‘near’ you. Via GIS technology.

You may be at a beach resort in Santorini, and want to know what’s the best spot to catch a beautiful sunset. You may be in Rome looking for a great family run Trattoria near Piazza Parlamento, where politicians, you’ve heard, often gather for meals. Or, you may be looking for a new home or a new job, and need to map out the amenities (Grocery Store, Dry Cleaning, Gym, Restaurants, Nail Salon, Hair-dresser, …) in the neighborhood.

In other words, if you take each Context we have discussed, and explore its “Place” dimension, you will find a set of open problems emerging. The solutions to these problems need to become a part of the new web, so I propose to include it in my Web 3.0 definition, which therefore, becomes:

Web 3.0 = (4C + P + VS) + Place

Related companies: Navteq, TomTom, TeleAtlas, Garmin. You may also want to look up a company called Local is also a big part of IAC’s strategy.

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Steve Job’s Commencement Address

This is one of my favorite speeches of all times and was given by Steve Jobs at Stanford’s 2005 graduation ceremony. His philosophy of life and business is very similar to what I also believe in. That’s why, he’s truly a rock star and huge mentor to our industry. Hopefully, one day I also have the chance to share a similar message in a similar ceremony. Enjoy!

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

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