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The Line That Divides

"You're crazy. That will never work!

Recently, Mark Shuttleworth gave a keynote presentation where he talked about entrepreneurship, lunatics, "things" that are on the internet, and the nature of modern software.

(Click the image above to watch Mark's presentation.)

Key takeaways:

  • Successful entrepreneurs and innovators live on the left side of the vertical line depicted in the graph. The curves on the chart represent the level of acceptance of an idea (or product) into society.
  • Do what is crazy now. If people already accept your idea, it's too late.
  • Products that create relationships with their owners are the most powerful.
  • The best early IoT business ideas are likely for toys and entertainment devices,
  • Snappy!

In my (time) travels, I've heard my share of "That's a crazy idea. It will never work." Since, most of my travels recently have been in support of Ubuntu on OpenPOWER, Mark's message struck a particular chord with me. The notion of a ragtag group of dreamers taking on a hardware monopoly seems by most to be "crazy". They think OpenPOWER is downright nuts!

I'm not concerned. In fact, I'm encouraged by this. I can think of two watershed events I've witnessed that support Mark's thesis . What seemed crazy in 1998 is now everywhere (Hint: AAPL). What seemed a fad in 1994 is now the fabric of modern communications (Hint: the Internet.)

The "sane" people in 1994 were betting on America Online (AOL) running on Disk Operating System (DOS), or a Graphical User Interface (GUI) shell bolted onto DOS, which I won't name. I vividly remember their passion for the status quo. Their vision didn't end well.

So, in 2016, do you think the idea of an alternative and open hardware ecosystem like OpenPOWER is a crazy one? Do you think it's crazy to be building Ubuntu for it?

The answer probably depends on which side of the line you ask.

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