Seriously Considering Quitting the Gym

My whole purpose on joining the gym was to lose weight. However, I’ve slowly come to hate my gym because the people are pretty obnoxious, it’s too crowded, stinky and the equipment sucks. The other thing is that I’ve slowly lost my motivation to go anymore. I feel that going to the gym is futile for me and that no matter what I do, I can never lose the weight I want. Liposuction would be a better solution if I did not hate doctors.

Either way, I think as long as I live in LA working and/or working as a developer, going to the gym is a complete waste of time and money. Most of the reason to hit the gym was to get into better shape and improve my self esteem. However, I just don’t feel that my self esteem can improve these days. Also, I don’t really care anymore to be in shape. I don’t have any desire to get into a diet.

Further along these lines, my purpose was to lose weight to look good. However, in thinking about my situation, I realize that if a girl does not care about my personality in the first place, then going to the gym is pointless.

I’m getting older and want to have more time just for myself. Without the same level of energy that I had several years ago and the fact that almost everyone I like(d) got hitched in some way, I’m pretty certain that I’m wasting my time. I prefer spending my time on me and trying to make myself happy. Not trying to fulfill an image of happiness defined by others. Not trying to make other people happy. I’ve done little in this regard so I think I’m going to start.

My Requests If I Die

I do not like thinking this way, but I don’t have any official type of will. So I decided to post something here to make it official in case something ever happens to me. My main request is that if something were to happen to me that I would like to buried with my stuffed animals. They are the only true friends that I’ve ever had in this world and I want them to come with me no matter what. Please make sure that Giraffe, Duck1, Duck2, Duck3, Cat, Kitty, Hippo are next to each other. If I’m away from my home, they will be located on my bed, the little black shelf next to my bed and a few more will be in my dad’s room. Do not burn my body or I will haunt you and curse every living relation to you and continue for as long as eternity last.

My other requests is that if my mom is still around that she receives my money and car. That includes my savings account, checking account, retirement and the pennies left  in my Japanese account. Thank you.

Finished Thor and Iron Man 2; Awaiting the Avengers

Having been recommended Iron Man 2 and being somewhat bored lately, I decided to check Iron Man 2 and Thor out tonight. Iron Man 2 alluded to Thor as being in the next chain of events in this Marvel series, piquing my curiosity at the end of the credits. I have to say both movies were quite compelling and had reasonably decent direction (far better than the crappy/campy X-Men reboot). However, the hook for me is just the continuation that seems to lead to the first Avengers movie.

I’m not a huge comic book buff but I like continuity and linking stories together. The Avengers is slowly shaping up to be an all-star type of cast and super hero scenario. The writing for the most part between the movies involving the characters for The Avengers has been decent, so I’m hoping that the glut of star power and super heroes won’t detract from a good storyline.

Iron Man 2 did a decent job at re-establishing Robert Downey Jr.’s overly egotistical character, yet introducing weaknesses of his super powers. You gotta hand it to the actor who practically has lived up to the image he established in Less Than Zero because it seems as though nothing has changed. Hopefully, the added humility demonstrated in Iron Man 2 through his personal issues both with the suit, his lack of faith in his friends and his private insecurities that he battled similarly mimicked (mimics?) how he handles himself in real life.

Thor was a change of pace from the cybertronic, high tech imagery in Iron Man 2 since it delved into the Norse mythos to engender its lore. In scenes reminiscent of a He-Man type of science/magical universe, the world of Thor blended both, providing some stunning imagery of what the realm of impossibility could look like if we halted our doubts about the way the universe operates. The character of Thor himself was quite likeable and managed to convince me of his slow transformation/growth from the arrogant/high tempered son to a more cautious individual who becomes more aware of vulnerabilities because of his transient banishment to the mortal world. During his banishment, Thor still remained noble of character, despite occasionally demonstrating conventions of etiquette that most people would probably consider “rude.” These qualities gradually won me over from his hot headed disposition.

In examining both movies as well as the ambition of adding some major super heroes to the Avengers movie mix, I think that the director needs to be cautious in avoiding the dilemma posed from the X-Men movies, which was the limited character development and difficulty in providing enough screen time for each character. On the other hand, the positive aspect in producing each of these super hero movies separately has been being able to create a few back stories to help pre-familiarize audiences before diving head first into the story and forcing on screen character development in unnecessary haste.

At any rate, 2012 May looks to be an ambitious month. Can’t wait.

Leveling Alliance Toons

For the second time, I started a Draeni Protection Paladin and managed to hit level 18 with her. My path for questing goes from the Draeni starting zone, garnering level 6 or so, before moving her to Stormwind to pick up the human quests. Why this route? The quest rewards are better generally speaking in Cataclysm and I want to improve my reputation with the humans to get a better deal with mounts. Also, a nice little added bonus is that by completing the human starting zone, you’ll be level 7, giving you a slight edge as you quest in the Elwyn Forest.

Since this is my second real time doing the quests in this zone, I came to notice a few things in comparison to the Horde. First, there’s a LOT more mobs packed together closely. My guess is that there’s an expectation that more people will quest together as Allies. Second, there’s a horrible amount of walking. The Westfall zone was terribly put together. I can’t be certain, but it felt as though some of the quests might’ve been leftovers from Vanilla. For instance, the treasure finding quests. That was ridiculous in having you scour the map to try picking up all the different pieces. Yes, I understand that it’s a “treasure finding quest” but you had to do an immense amount of walking that just felt unnecessary.

Next, there’s not a lot of fast moving aids compared to the Horde when moving from one spot to another. One thing I like about the Horde now is that the amount of walking in many zones has been drastically reduced by introducing elements that will take you to the next questing zone. I can’t comment about the other Ally races since I’ve yet to try others. But I certainly hope that Blizzard has introduced mechanics like that.

Another thing is that Stormwind is just HUGE. Orgrimmar feels pretty easy to get around once you get used to it. But Stormwind feels incredibly large by comparison. Not as easy to access some areas compared to Orgrimmar, where everything practically is at the front of the gate or in the rear.

Not sure how anything else will compare. I might try leveling up a Death Knight afterwards just to make me some quick gold. However, things will be tough considering I’m starting from scratch again. Not having any gold, bags and missing professions make things a real challenge. But I like the fact that everything is new.

Already, I started focusing on making gold as I level by taking up mining and selling ore or linen cloth. Copper bar and linen sell quite reliably on servers. However, I definitely need to get a faster mount if I want to do any significant farming. Either that or start my Death Knight sooner and start farming things like cloth, copper and whatnot

Ghostcrawler: A Failed Game Developer

I was reading through various posts about the upcoming 4.3 patch on some different forums and it seems that not many people like this guy. I read his justifications for death knights (for instance) and my impression is that this guy is just reactionary in terms of how he approaches class design. Meaning that these small fixes, which don’t seem well thought out, exist to pacify a small percentage of people in the game.

What was more interesting was reading on a wowhead forum how this guy came from Microsoft and screwed up the Age of Empires series. I don’t know exactly what that was about, but I’m not getting a good impression of him as a game developer. Perhaps, he has the unenviable duty of acting as a buffer between the game community and Blizzard/Activision, but I’m not impressed by the results thus far.

Apparently, he got the baton when Cataclysm came about. So far, I’ve been less than happy with the vast majority of the game changes that continually go on. A lot of it I would have to say could be directed at Ghostcrawler because he’s the lead developer on this thing so he needs to take responsibility for the garbage that is being put out. For instance, his vision of “fun” is basically making people jump around more in the game. Sure, the original version of WoW was kinda stale in the basic mechanics, but now it feels more like a 3rd person shooter as opposed to an FRPG (which is what my impression that the game ought to be).

Not surprisingly, the game has lost subscribers. I think once they started to make an attempt to appeal to old time veterans, they narrowed their audience considerably. So rather than expanding on the game content, they focused mostly on re-doing how the game should be played. This to me was a HUGE mistake. I think the game itself was fine with WOTLK, minus the emphasis on gear.

What Cataclysm needed was an emphasis on content. The content thus far, though revamped, seemed more like stupid pop cultural references that demonstrated what a bunch of no life, movie watching fat geeks Blizzard/Activision employees are as opposed to people who have great insight into what makes an excellent FRPG.

Content, not gear, not game mechanics, and immersion are the two key elements that make a successful FRPG. Right now, there’s very little to get excited about in Cataclysm except more grind fests. That’s why the game has taken a serious plunge. Doesn’t Blizzard/Activision have good FRPG visionaries?

Either way, I don’t think Ghostcrawler knows a lot about FRPGs. That’s why the game is suffering big time. The game shouldn’t be an action oriented game. The idea for this type of game simply should be what the old AD&D Friday night games was: just a bunch of friends getting together to have some fun. Jumping up and down and making continuous pointless changes to a game just to appease corners of a limited community are not what FRPGs and a good Friday night is about.

Gadhafi’s New Career

I think Gadhafi is definitely fighting a losing battle in trying to suppress insurgents in Libya. However, after seeing this latest picture  and reading some quotes from him, I realized that he should start a new career: a rockstar! Seriously. His words are similar to something from a Megadeth album and the guy is just naturally blinged out. Can you see this guy on tour with Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones? Dude, why bother being a dictator when you can get people to head bang for you and chant lyrics! Wrong career man!

Recent World of Warcraft Patch 4.2/4.3 Thoughts (and More)

I’m not a huge raiding fan, so I can’t comment on the new raids. I’ve mostly been doing some grind quests with regards to the Firelands. The whole idea of helping to gear non-raiders seemed somewhat appealing to me. But the quests ended up being quite boring and horribly repetitive. You have to go through several phases before you can reach the next section. I ended up stopping for a bit because accumulating the tree points ended up becoming far too tedious.

One thing I noticed about the recent patch (perhaps as part of a bug fix) is that once you’re at a certain level, all the flight paths open up magically. I’m somewhat unsure if this was a good or bad thing. On the one hand, in some cases such as not questing on one continent, you can get a clear advantage once you’ve reached a certain level. A good example is how my warrior was at level 56 and managed to skip having to trek through ally territory in order to hit the Blasted Lands. Similarly, I wouldn’t be forced to finish a whole questing zone such as Desolace in order to reach Feralas (I tend to prefer the Southern Barrens for questing around level 30).

On the other hand, opening up the flight paths leaves out yet another mini-challenge in the game. I feel that part of the fun of the game is to explore new areas. Even if  you’ve quested multiple times, I like the idea of picking up flight paths as part of progressing through the game. Not only that, but automatically providing flight paths, I think, hurts the game. For instance, after completing Stonetalon Peaks, I decided to head to Desolace. From Cliffwatcher’s Post, I was able to pick up the starting quest there and I mistakenly made the assumption that the flight path sharing the name of someone I was supposed to talk to in Desolace would lead me to the quest drop off. Wrong! Instead, I was forced to return to Stonetalon Peaks and walk to where the quest giver was.

It feels as though the  way the game is being set up, it specifically is tailored to long term veterans by just giving them everything they need. In this case, people who have done these quests a million times would just skip over everything in getting the flight paths. Perhaps, by doing things like this, their higher level friends could just power level them through instances. For a spot like Badlands with Uldaman, I could kinda see why this feature would be nice. But again, it’s all about the challenge. For me, it makes me further feel that only end game raiding at this point is important to Blizzard.

In addition, I’ve been eyeballing the upcoming 4.3 patch. No PTR for me, but so far the only significant advancement is, of course, Deathwing’s arrival as a raid. While the raid sounds epic, there’s little else that seems all that interesting with this patch. Of course, the two other major features will be transmogrification and the void storage. Transmogrification looks like more emphasis on bling than true gaming substance. Sure, you can customize the look of your gear, but I really don’t see the point. I guess hard core role players and fashion lovers ought to get a kick from it. For someone like myself, I can’t see it serving any practical purpose.

Void storage again looks like it’s been catered to only the high end gamers. The cost for placing goods for a ridiculous sum seems to just be for people who’ve played the game way too long, have accumulated too much junk and money and can’t figure out what to do with it all. If you could transfer this stuff to another alt, this feature might seem useful for the in-game cost. In general, just as the name implies, this feature is bereft of substance.

Of course, there’s the last little update which is the Dark Moon Faire. Probably, this piece of content is the only thing that might be worth anything to someone like me. At least, they’ll create a dedicated island for the Dark Moon Faire faction. So there’s something new to see for me as well as goods that might prove to be useful.

Despite all this, I was really hoping that they would expand on solo content similar to what they’ve done with the Firelands. Even if the grinding can get tedious, it was a nice effort for Blizzard to put out content for non-raiders like myself.

With that out of the way, my current endeavors in WoW have been mostly working on my protection warrior and shadow priest. So far I have to say that playing a prot warrior is quite a bit of fun. I’m not a huge fan of single target type of DPS types, so getting to play someone who can handle multiple mobs is pretty fun. It’s not as fun as a prot pally, but I am getting used to some of the mechanics behind a prot warrior.

With my shadow priest, that was something I didn’t plan on initially. And despite my not liking single target DPS types, I have to say that the shadow priest is pretty fun. I think what makes the shadow priest fun is the incredible amount of DPS they can output. I haven’t mastered the shadow priest DPS rotation, but I’ve been finding myself 1-2 shotting mobs around say 1 out of 10 times. My biggest issue thus far has been managing my mana.  I can probably take on three opponents at best before having to refill. My shadow priest is a blood elf so I tend to utilize her Arcane Torrent capability quite often. However, the amount of mana refunded is quite tiny. Furthermore, at the moment, I’ve found almost no gear whatsoever containing spirit. That makes my mana regeneration really sluggish.

Once I get these two toons to 60, I might move back to my rogue and mage. Afterwards, I’m going to start looking for another PVE realm, except that I’ll switch to alliance just for fun.

Developing the Foundation for A New RPG

These past 2-3 weeks, I’ve been doing an incredible amount of work on writing up the foundation for a new RPG. The idea has been in my mind for years, but I had been focusing on writings on Japan rather than the fantasy world. Since all these Japanese women that I’ve been in love with for so many years have gotten married and pregnant, I’ve become somewhat turned off by Japan and decided to return to my roots in the fantasy genre.

My current work isn’t fancy but just a general outline and notes I’ve been writing both on and offline for what I envision will become the perfect RPG for me. This game has nothing to do with other people’s opinions, but just something that I would be willing to pay for if it was sold. The way I’m looking at my game is based on the different games I’ve played over the years and taking the pro’s/con’s and somehow reflecting what I like about these games into a single entity.

I don’t want to go into many specifics because it’s still very raw. However, here’s a list of things I’m working into the game:

  • A wide range of attributes
  • Numerous races, each having distinctive abilities that scale as a character progresses in levels. Races will not be treated simply as a bling factor but have unique capabilities that will entice players to try different ones out with different classes.
  • A large number of classes with no single “god class”. Instead, classes are formed from four base classes (your standard fighter, thief, mage, priest types) with overlapping abilities from specializations (an example would be a swashbuckler who combines the abilities of a fighter and thief).
  • A huge amount of skills that each class can receive a portion of. Skills will have a point system that is not based on a percentage system (a la Wizardry) but bonus numbers and random numbers that are added/multiplied respectively against a general target number. In addition, skills can be improved through usage.
  • No cap on levels. However, prevent overbalancing from occurring (meaning that a level 20 vs a level 25 should still have a chance).
  • The use of social status and reputation to reflect how characters are treated in and out of society/cities.
  • A complex physical damage type system that has different penalties and bonuses against the armor types.
  • A well defined damage type system as well as classifications of  spells.
  • Multi and dual classing.
  • Various methods for gaining experience points.
  • Resources for being able to use certain abilities.
  • A profession system related to skills that allows players to earn gold beyond killing, questing, etc.

My goal (outside of  entertaining myself) is to make a flexible and varied game system, taking the best of breeds (according to me) from various game systems I’ve experienced and placing it under a single umbrella. I haven’t started designing the world yet as I want the character creation and development process to drive the game play more than the environment.

One thing I would like to do is prototype the actual process of creating a character once I’m satisfied with a basic outline. I think one of the tougher things will be to enumerate all the skills, powers, abilities and spells in the game. I think that might result after seeing what a character who levels a few times might look like between levels.

Unfortunately, I doubt I will be able to come up with a paperdoll type of generation system. The concept is great but it’s quite tough coming up with the graphics for each permutation. I think if I ever get involved in graphics, I’ll probably have to settle for something like an Ultima 5 environment at best.

Content-wise I have made no decisions. I have a few ideas to develop as an overarching storyline but between the start game point and the end game point, there’s no connection  since I’m focusing more on game mechanics and the type of game I want to play.

Bye Bye WebOS. Didn’t Even Get to Know Ya

HP made a rather shocking, albeit somewhat expected (from me), announcement earlier this week in pulling out WebOS and their consumer computing in exchange for focusing on business computing. While the entire withdrawal from the PC market is a massive change in direction for them that bewildered me, the end of WebOS wasn’t so much for me.

Around April just prior to looking for a new job, a friend of mine suggested that I look into the WebOS platform when I was developing a web application. My original thought was to develop mobile applications first for Android then for the iPhone. However, he tried to convince me that WebOS was a good platform and that HP was hiring. In fact, another friend of mine around that time was approached by his friend inside of HP to perhaps work as a security architect for the WebOS platform. It seemed that HP was going to make a massive push in building up their war chest for WebOS.

In my stomach, things didn’t feel right.

And if my stomach doesn’t feel good, I know it’s not good.

Fast forward to the present where it only took a few months for HP to concede mobile to Google and Apple (in fact, the entire consumer market).

For myself, I’ve always had good instincts on making bets like this. So what was my gut telling me this time?

First, I barely heard about WebOS up until then. Maybe I heard it in passing, but in general I had no clue what it was. As someone keen in technology, if I don’t have much of a clue on something like this, what chance will the public at large have in adopting a technology?

Second, it’s not a platform that I probably could ramp up quickly. With Android, it had Java backing it (which is why Oracle is so keen on Sun and their lawsuit against Google). Even if the framework for Android would require a fair amount of time learning, not having to learn a language certainly boosts that time to productivity. I’m certain that other developers felt the same way, which is why Android, imo, has taken off with reasonable celerity.

Next, the market share for WebOS just did not exist to justify spending significant amounts of time learning. Without a doubt, many businesses probably concluded the same thing. Already I spend far too much time attempting to correct browser issues between Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer (and it’s various inceptions) and Safari. So if I wanted to delve into the mobile market, I would be forced to add more platforms to support. One typically is more than enough. Two is a headache. But after that, you better have the guaranteed money coming in to make supporting that platform worth it.

Finally, I think HP/WebOS just attempted to make a venture into this market far too late in the game. HP really isn’t perceived as the “cool company” to begin with anymore (Fiorina fucked that up long ago). So just dangling a new API in front of developers won’t attract them so easily.

Of course, this all goes back to the idea that software is what is driving this economy. Software defines a purpose for devices and the base platforms (i.e. OS, databases, etc.). Naturally though, for software to exist you need developers. And lots of them. However, once developers become committed to a few platforms, it’s going to be intrinsically difficult to move them away from those platforms. Despite whatever incentive HP attempted to put out, it apparently wasn’t good enough. I think the problem is that developers in general are pretty smart people. The best ones will want to use the best technology they see as something that will make their lives easier. If not for that factor, then the technology is required to have a coolness factor. Whatever WebOS was satisfied neither requirement, which made it doomed to fail from the beginning.

I was chatting with some coworkers a few days ago and commented on how HP had long lost its way mostly when Fiorina took the reigns. The problem was that the firm had been for engineers who built things for engineers. That culture practically was wiped out when Fiorina decided numbers were far more important than the core values of what HP was founded upon. It seems that over the years, HP never found those core values and it’s been hurting them. Very sad way to end a legacy.

How This Is No Bubble 2.0

Marc Andreessen had an interesting article discussing about how software has become a dominant factor in the world to the point where it’s the driving force behind almost all industries. Part of the article addresses concerns about the difference between the original Dot Com Bubble Burst and the current situation in terms of economics, using the high profits being made from software (-as-a-service), the burgeoning growth of the mobile device and dying older industries as examples to back up his beliefs.

As a tech worker who has emerged from the original Dot Com Bubble Burst, I wholeheartedly agree with Andreessen’s assessment. Software has, indeed, reached a point to defy the constant naysayers of tech that still are stung by the scars from the Dot Com Bubble Burst era. However, I can point to some huge differences from my own experience to demonstrate why the current state of technology is the Real Deal.

Smarter hiring

Back when I started out, the growth of companies was ridiculous. At one of my first start ups, the ambition was to reach 200 people when we were around 40-50. Although we were making a little over a $100k/month, the executives alone were making that per year. Taking into account other salaries, property lease and equipment, one had to wonder how the revenues could match our expenditure. Of course, the venture (vulture) capitalists wanted to expand to that level, but there was no plan to reach that point. Eventually, the company’s VC’s pulled out and left the company for dead.

These days it feels as though every person matters working in the start up world. Each person must pull his/her weight and companies seem to reach out for new employees only when necessary in order to grow. Even asking for new hires is a bit of a begrudging stretch as employers aren’t all that willing to sign new paychecks and provide benefits as each nickel is observed with hard scrutiny.

Another key factor is that the interview processes are far more difficult. Google and other companies have introduced incredibly tough interviews, which have (imo) resulted in better hiring. It feels as though before the Bubble Burst, anyone with some degree  of technical knowledge could enter. These days, just possessing a degree isn’t enough. You need the experience, major companies and chops to back it up. As a result, in general companies are easily throwing money down the drain for employees. The employees have to prove themselves to be worth the high end salaries.

People Are Online Now

When I started on the internet, I was using a 2400k baud modem connecting to a crappy system called WWIV BBS. Certainly, it did not have all the user friendly features of contemporary browsers. More importantly though, barely anyone heard of the cyberworld except through fiction and the occasional bad Hollywood film (The Net anyone????).

When I joined the work force, people still were on dial up and slowly migrating to the web. However, we lacked a lot of the UI technology, speed and features that would become a dominant paradigm of the mid to late 2000’s of the web. Add the cost of owning a computer back then along with general ignorance since the only people that could afford the web were those that were working (and hence too busy to learn technologies), the scene was not pretty at all.

If anything, people were just starting to build the lowest foundations that would slowly evolve into the current state of the web. That includes just getting the average Joe Blow to sign up. I remember one time while at an English conversation cafe in Japan one Mr Average accused us web programmers that, “We did not deliver as promised.” It’s hard to fathom what exactly “we promised”. Was it one of these bad Hollywood films poorly instructing what the future would look like?

Despite the fact that the guy probably feels differently now, the statement does prove a point: something was amiss back in the late 90’s. That something was definitely people to help drive the vision of what the web ought to become.

12 years later from my own inception into the tech world, the people have finally come aboard. And I seriously doubt they’ll be going away anytime soon.

Building Technology, Not Just Ecommerce Sites

Although ecommerce will always evolve (as someone needs to pay for our high end salaries), one chief difference I do believe between the late 90’s and 2011 is that the focus of technology isn’t located into one paradigm. Instead, engineers are attempting to figure out how to solve all types of problems with the technologies we’ve been building up over the past decade. This is a key point in Andreessen’s article, but you have to compare what the perception was in the late 90’s and 2011.

In the late 90’s, the move was to become Amazon/Ebay Part 2. I think part of it was that the problem was fairly simple from a technical perspective (build a shopping cart, some nice product pages and the occasional affiliate program). However, there was a lot of psychological issues that prevented the success of online retailers back then. First was the perception of trust on the web. Putting one’s credit into a complete faceless stranger’s hands was something many people could not fathom doing.

Another major issue was distribution and logistics. Owning and maintaining warehouses for goods were huge headaches that were not well estimated. For instance, eToys was an infamous flame out that can be partly blamed on the huge investment into their distribution system. Another major example was WebVan. In WebVan’s case, you could order any sundry good like a stick of gum and have it delivered with free delivery. Imagine, if some Joe Blow orders a pack of 99 cent Wrigleys for his office. WebVan would spend more on gas, the delivery guy’s hourly wage and the server time for the order than the guy would just going across the street.

However, because these companies had imploded as a result of poor planning, newer companies have done an excellent job in their place. Take Netflix for instance, who practically have become responsible for the annihilation of Blockbuster. While their original core business would ship DVDs to people’s homes, their current model of streaming further removes the difficulty of even dealing with any hard goods just to watch films and tv shows on demand.

But it’s not just ecommerce models that have evolved. It’s the whole notion that the online/world of the Cloud has become a kind of service, or as some would say “Software-As-A-Service.” Take for instance, Twitter. To the average observer, Twitter is simply just a crappy messaging system. However, to a business involved in technology, Twitter has become one of the de facto social advertising platforms. And that’s the keyword:


The ecommerce systems that first began in the web 1.0 era were insulated, requiring people to build up their own databases of information, their own networks, their own methods for scaling their systems to meet high traffic demand. There was no cloud, no Google, no BigTable, etc. The systems solved an extremely limited set of problems, which was order fulfillment and maybe some marketing.

These days systems are far more complex as people now with web APIs, the Cloud, and interdependent components formulate this new era of computing. The most successful companies have evolved their technologies into platforms for which other companies can utilize. As a result, you create symbiotic relationships that form the ecosystem of the web.

To illustrate this point, let’s rhetorically ask if you can imagine Google one day vanishing. It’s impossible because the current implications in the way it functions as a heartbeat to so many different businesses would cripple not just the economy but a lot of the way things are done. Similarly, Twitter serves a similar function since many businesses utilize Twitter as a core part of their business model.

So to say that these businesses that lack a simple “Buy This” button have no foundation is ridiculous. They are the foundation. And we all depend on them more than ever, which is why they simply cannot go away.

More Players, More Competition, More Money

Because we have moved away from attempting to re-solve a single simple problem and trying to solve numerous small to large scale problems using technology, the competition in technology has become huge. The Me2’s will always exist, but that to a degree is good as it’ll continue to force everyone to be on their toes. And as long as major companies and investors feel that they can get a chunk of the pie, there will be more money to be made.

In the past 5-6 years, one of the more interesting areas of funding hasn’t been through VCs but from acquisitions. And there’s certainly a lot more companies out there with big pocketbooks ready to sign checks for the next big thing to help their revenues. I think in the 90’s, the big thing was simply IPO, so people seemed to rely more on VC money. Splitting up the investment sources simply gave more options for new (and even older  – Hey Motorola!) companies. Also, because there aren’t as many fallacious IPOs as there were in the past, the ones that do go IPO are far more serious about long term growth, which is what investment really (ought to be) is about.

Will there be meltdowns? Of course. We’ll always have a graveyard of companies because either they couldn’t find the right niche, bad business plans or their competition was too overwhelming. Even large companies like HP with the inevitable doom of WebOS will succumb. That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t try. Allowing for a single dominant entity is something everyone who remembered emperor Bill are attempting to avoid again. So even if companies fail in succession, it won’t mean that the entire industry will shutdown. And that’s a huge point in all of this.

Not As Many Rockstar Parties

There was an infamous story of one company (can’t remember the name) who spent $10 million of their VC funds on a private Christmas party with The Who. That probably was one of the few extreme cases that left many VCs with a horrible taste in their mouths, but I’m dead certain that if such a party would come about again, it won’t be derived from the VC’s pocket. Still the whole wasteful spending was something I partly alluded to the cut down of stricter hiring.

Of course, benefits are always going to be a competitive edge that a company can offer to attract and retain top notch employees. But those are pretty well budgeted and partly related to fostering a positive culture that leads to productivity. Looking at the Google offices, you can see what might seem like a futuristic paradise which might bewilder people in terms of how Googlers get work done. But the office space and intent exist to help foster creativity; after all, if your office is more fun to be in than your home, why leave?

A Little Older, A Little Wiser And A Hell of A Lot More Cynical

I doubt any of us who lost their jobs at some point during the Bubble Crash will ever forget the lessons in those days. We’re all more cautious and weary of the different issues I outlined above and a result, we’ve managed to optimize what we’re doing. Because the Bubble Crash has been such a humbling experience to many of us, we’ll never stop looking over our shoulder and pointing to any company making money and not feel an ounce of doubt.

As a result, I think we will keep our own sense of vigilance to prevent an uncontrollable explosion from occurring. Take a look at Google. Despite being around since 1998, I’m certain many of us have been just waiting for the day they crash. Not because we want to (well, maybe Microsoft and Apple do) but because it’s a company that has been “too good to be true.”

When I walk into my office and hear that we’re helping our customers receive 100-300% conversions, I’m left in shock, disbelief and awe. Yet the numbers are there and these companies that I’ve managed to work for or know are proving themselves in their own ways.

The thing is that we’ve come a long way, have evolved and matured quite a bit. As technologists, we aren’t your average dummy but can adapt and improve. And as I do more at my current office, building some cutting edge UI stuff and look back to my days of WWIV BBS, Atari and Commodore, I realize that we’ve barely scratched the surface.

For the technologists out there, give yourself a pat on the back and relax a little.

For the naysayers who don’t have a true grasp of what’s going on, why don’t you do everyone a favor, shut up, sit back and enjoy the show a little. Instead, of spouting off constant negative rhetoric which has not helped the overall economic growth in the past 11 years (because 2000 was the pinnacle), start giving credit where credit is due and start looking investments as investments, not a craps table gamble that you’re seeing just from your ivory tower 10,000 feet in the sky. We’re here to stay and we’re proving it on a daily basis.