In celebration of technology

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

It seems everywhere you look within the high tech industry, all you see is doom and gloom — closed companies, laid off employees, crashing Internet stock. I feel as if I should stand on top of a tall mountain, shouting out, “Is anyone still left in the technology industry!?!”

At the bottom of some of my emails I’ve posted the following:

Will the last person leaving the Internet, please turn off the router?

Have we all forgotten why we’re in this industry? Have we forgotten the joy and satisfaction over mastering a new technology, creating something from nothing? If you look around, you’ll see that not only is the high tech industry NOT dead — there’s an incredible wealth of wonderful new technology out there, most of it free or at least freely available. As poor as we are financially, now, we’ve never been richer when it comes to sheer capacity for technical advancement.

So, we’re heading into a recession. Well, in the last recession, back in the early 90’s, a gentleman named Tim Berners-Lee brought together some disparate technologies into this new thing called “the Web”. And he didn’t have the huge volume of “tech toys” to play with we do now.

Instead of looking back on what once was, we should be looking forward with eagar anticipation to what will be — the next great technical innovation, the next Web, the next revolution, the next reason why most of us entered this field for the first place.

Did I get a computer degree because I wanted to be rich and drive a BMW? When I got my degree in 1987, there weren’t many jobs in the computer field. Those that existed were, for the most part, already filled by old time engineers (no offense). There certainly wasn’t a web, though the Internet existed and was publicly accessible.

I ended up in this field because one day I sat down at an old green on black monitor and typed in a few commands in this language called “basic”, on this OS called Vax VMS, and the computer responded. I wasn’t a computer geek — I was studying law of all things. I only took the computer class because my logic teacher suggested I do so because I liked logic, and had a knack for it. However, when that computer responded, all bets were off, and I started my oddessey into, and my love, of technology that I continue to this day.

So, am I going to run away because we’ve hit another recession? No. No. Again, I say, No.

My current contract ends shortly and there are few contracts in San Francisco, at least until next year (end of the year is bad in the best of times). Rather than panic, I’m going to take this time to work with all these new technologies in a way I haven’t since I worked at Skyfish, my one and only foray into the world of dot coms.

(See article Death of a Dot Com at O’Reilly.)

Yes, I’m dipping into my reserves, and I may not find work next year, and may be out on the street (at least San Francisco has mild weather). Every time I receive a bill in the mail or pay my outrageous San Francisco rent, I am concerned.

BUT (big but here), I’m not going to throw my hands in to the air saying “Well, the dot coms have busted. It’s all over. I’m packing it in, and giving up”. I will not run because times are difficult; I will not give up because being in this field is no longer easy.

And I’m definitely not going to let some gutless wonder with a cult fixation on the other side of the world take away something that’s meant so much to me for so many years, as he’s taken away so much — including life — from so many others.


SDForum Talk: RDF and the Semantic Web

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I’ll be speaking about RDF and the Semantic Web at the SDForum in San Francisco, October 9th.

See more on the topic at the forum posting.