Sunday, May 04, 2008

Startup Camp - Meetings On Blogs and Social Networks

I'll post videos from this event soon, but now I'm listening to a panel that features Matt Marshall of VentureBeat, noted Social Media expert Brian Solis, and others talking about social networks. Social networks -- er, the conversation about them -- have dominated this conference.

The conference is great for networking and I've met -- already -- a number of people I've either seen at other tech events like VentureBeat's great party last Thursday, to people I will be doing business with.

Sun's Jon Schwartz Getting Hit On Lack Of Java Support For Mac

This is still part of the live blog of the Startup Camp and at this point in the Q and A, and Sun CEO Jon Schwartz is getting hit on the perceived lack of support that Sun provides for Java for the Mac. At first he was combative, but settled down and listened.

It's over now. Yeah!

Sun's Jon Schwartz Presents Startup Camp On Sunday Morning - Live Blog

Ok, I decided to not sleep late or go to Church, which is what I should do, and come to this something that's called "Startup Camp" in San Francisco. I'm late so I missed the breakfast, but I came to meet other entrepreneurs and find out better how to raise money for Sports Business Simulations.

Right now, I'm listening to Sun Microsystems CEO Jon Schwartz talk about why Sun's interested in startups and he's going through a Q andA about Microsoft's failure to aquire Yahoo. Generally, he's happy because it means that there's still competition in the marketplace; acquisition of companies like Yahoo by Microsoft hurt that, which hurts Sun's market for new customers.

On Cloud Computing

Jon says that Sun introduced a way to buy time on high performance supercomputers, but that didn't go well. It's time-sharing. But after conversations with the lawyers of big companies it was found that they -- the companies -- didn't want to share clouds with other firms.

Sun is an infrastructure provider. He says that Facebook is a cloud service -- but not for computing, for social networking.

This interview is more about Sun and really not about startups at all at this point. It would be nice to get back to the conversation about the Startup market. Just because Sun's the sponsor doesn't mean that we have to hear about Sun and not startups, or only about startups in the context of Sun.

Yes, the conference is free, but that's no excuse.

Maybe when the questions are opened to the audience that will change.

Jon just kind of busted out the interviewer over a question regarding reducing the workforce. When Jon turned the quesrtion back to him, the interviewer said "I'm a capitalist" -- Jon said "Well, 'm not. That sounds like a sweatshop to me." That got a lot of applause. Good for Jon.

Barack Obama , Rev Wright and My Iron Man Suit

I thank the SF Chronicle's Editorial Page editor John Diaz for the chance to write the essay below that appears in the Sunday May 4th edition of "Sunday Insight" and is below this video:

I've been a supporter of Sen. Barack Obama for president for 17 months, and one large reason is that he's like me. We share the same Aug. 4 birthday, and have walked similar paths of racial discovery.
Both of us have carved out our niche as individuals able to walk in different circles and still be ourselves. That's not easy; it comes as those around you tell you what they think your "place" in life should be. It's no wonder that I felt violated by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's National Press Club speech, as much as Obama did.
Wright made me put on my Iron Man suit again.
My Iron Man suit is a carefully constructed armor I created when I was a 6-year-old boy on the predominantly black South Side of Chicago to protect me from the other kids in the neighborhood. See, to them, I was not "black" - I talked "white" and was "smart." I didn't fight or play basketball - and didn't want to - but those were the prerequisites for popularity at the time.
The suit was my knowledge of everything from politics to Chicago architecture to airplanes and cars and "Star Trek." My suit allowed me to tune out those who said "you need to act black to be black."
The Iron Man suit was also used to protect me from anyone white who thought I should fit a common black stereotype. My Iron Man suit has "Repulsor Rays" I use to shoot "protons" of knowledge to prove I was smarter than anyone else in the room. I used the suit to judge anyone as being less intelligent than me if they didn't have a diverse base of friends - if all they had were, for example, white friends.
But a funny thing happened as I grew up. American culture changed such that I needed my suit less and less. More people accepted me as an individual. American pop culture became more diverse. There were more interracial relationships, and no one seemed to care. The guy who runs American Express was black - still is.
But the best thing was that no one was telling me my place; I'd successfully defined it and society - through generational change - kind of "caught up" to me. Or so I thought.
One problem remains, and Barack's dealing with it. In being the first African American who's one step closer to the Most Powerful Job in The World than any black person before him, Obama is faced not just with doing something "blacks don't do" but with upsetting people who wish he would know "his place."
This "placeism" that Barack and I have had to battle with has come back in the face of Wright and yes, Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, who worked to remind us that whatever we do, we're still just black.
Both represent the old generation. Hey, so does my mom, and I love her to death. She has struggled for years to get me to take off the suit, and finally gave up.
Mom totally understood Wright's anger, but knows why I have the suit, too.
I don't think Wright's outcry came from a desire to show up Barack, but to scream "Hey. I'm black and proud! You're not going to define me!"
What I didn't like - and got into an argument with my mom about - was that Wright didn't think about success for African Americans of the younger generation like Barack or myself; Wright was consumed with his anger.
And in expressing his anger - in his choice to show his "blackness" and insult Barack's integrity - he made me put my suit on. I think mom realized where I was coming from before I went into full suit mode. She's on my side now.
I resent anyone telling me what kind of black person I should be. I will turn away if one says that I'm the only black person in the room. I don't like it when someone works to wreck the success of a black person just because that person's not "stereotypically black." In my view, that's what Wright did and he owes Obama, and me, an apology.