The more you do, the more you can do!

Image of dirty hands with a seedling

Yes. I am highly qualified to build an entire business from the ground up. I know a great deal about the entire business lifecycle (cradle-to-grave).

  • I’ve raised over $9M in venture capital.
  • I’ve sold enterprise hardware & software to organizations around the world.
  • I have been media trained and am a published author.
  • I lecture to MBA students, and I’ve written patents.

However, please do not “miss the forest because of the trees.” My success and accomplishments have been achieved not on the backs of others, but by my belief that teams (as in sports), when properly motivated, have the capacity to exceed even my wildest dreams. I don’t just hire people to make my dreams & visions come true, I ask people to join me on the journey, offering to lift them up on my shoulders. I choose to see people and opportunities as they can be, not (necessarily) as they are today. This type of optimistic thinking allows me to achieve and accomplish much more than most, however, it does set me up, occasionally, for disappointment.

I am an “in-the-weeds,” get your “hands dirty” kind of guy. Just because I know a lot about a lot and have made it my business to ride the leading edge of the “bleeding” edge, does not mean I have forgotten how to create for today.

Things I’ve done, personally, over the last 18 months include:

  1. Architected a state-of-the-art web application.
  2. Built a business, as employee 0, from the ground up.
  3. Established and maintained an accounting system.
  4. Hired and motivated 21 brilliant people [18 engineers, 3 other].
  5. Conceived of, architected, and implemented (with a team) the highest quality, browser-only, transactional video as a services platform you’ve ever seen.
  6. Architected, implemented, deployed, and maintained an entire AWS (cloud) infrastructure.
  7. Lead and motivated a group of people far smarter than me.
  8. Written production-ready code in:
    1. Python
    2. Javascript
    3. PHP
    4. Java
  9. Designed and implemented production-ready relational and non-relational data models
    1. SQL (MySQL & Postgresql)
    2. NoSQL (DynamoDB & MongoDB)

Bottom line…

I am a guy who builds things on the Internet. Period.

The fact that I am able to build effective teams stems from the fact that I am, at heart, an engineer of things (businesses, software, etc.). People follow me because I lead by example. I believe engineers respect me, and follow me, not because I have a PhD (which I don’t) or because I’m some guru (which I’m not), but because they know that I actually know what I’m talking about because I actually write code to solve actual problems. Sales people follow me because I have successfully “sold” to over 700 enterprises. Marketing people follow me because I know how to effectively communicate a message of benefits, not simply features.

My best and brightest years are ahead. There is no way you can beat me, so why not get me to join you? In the words of Lucille Ball…

“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more you do, the more you can do.”

Designers design. Developers develop. Everyone wins.

Any project / product, whether it be a website, or a mobile application, or a widget, needs to be designed and developed. I realize this is a truism, but bear with me.
The following is my articulation of how I think this process should work:
  1. Product Manager(PM) communicates the vision to the lead designer (translating what was communicated to the PM from ownership/leadership/stakeholders).
  2. PM and designer do a couple of instant iterations, then the PM leaves it to the designer to work his/her magic.
  3. Designer provides 1 (maybe 2) options. (I prefer only seeing the one the designer feels is best, as I’m not really interested in spending my time evaluating the #2 option.)
  4. Sometimes the PM makes suggestions. Sometimes the PM gives the designer brilliant ideas. Sometimes the PM just says “That looks amazing. Let’s use it as it is.”
  5. Designs are handed off to development:
    1. Development’s job is to figure out how long it will take to turn the designs into reality.
    2. It IS NOT development’s job to re-design the designs.
    3. Development is supposed to give a risk assessment and a breakdown of what time the implementation will take.
    4. It is development’s job to make suggestions to the designer(s) that will make the designs easier for end-users and easier for development.
    5. It IS NOT the designer(s) job to tell development how to develop.
    6. It IS NOT development’s job to “pick and choose” what’s to be implemented.
    7. It is development’s job to go through 1 iteration with design, where designer(s) make the final decisions for what everything is going to look like and work like, based on the recommendations from development.
When this process is working properly there is one person (the PM) who makes final decisions in the event of a conflict between design & development. If you have the right people on both sides of the fence, there are no “final decisions” that need to be made, because development is implementing what design designs, based on the limitations articulated by development. The feedback-loop, when dealing with professional adults, is extremely productive. (a.k.a. Agile)

In my experience, this process works amazingly well, provided:

  • The development side does not act as if they are better designers than the people responsible for the design;
  • The designer(s) don’t act as if they are better developers than the developers.

The process breaks down under 3 very obvious circumstances:

  1. Timelines and/or requirements are changed without proper respect for the process.
  2. Development does not implement what has been designed and approved.
  3. Design insists on things that are to complex.

Is physical media (DVD / Blue Ray) worth saving?

If the “powers-that-be” in the entertainment industry were to ask me (which, by the way, they have not), I would tell them they’ve completely missed the boat on the DVD -> Blue Ray thing.

Had they been smart, and not closed minded, paranoid, and self-destructively greedy, they would have already realized that for physical media to have any chance whatsoever in the mass market, moving forward, the price needs to be considerably under that which they are currently charging for DVDs. Unfortunately, they chose to make Blue Ray content a premium. Mind you, I am not surprised by this un-enlightened approach, but I hope, once and for all, someone in a position of power comes to realize that physical media’s only chance to remain relevant for a even a few more years is to “carpet bomb” the mainstream market with easily accessible, in-demand, content. (Notice I did not say “on-demand.”)

If I were any/all of the major distributors, I would make the following offer to all consumers…

Sign-up on our special website, catalog your current DVD collection, send us all your “old, 20th century technology, low-quality” disks and we will send you brand spanking new Blue Ray disks (packed with all sorts of extra resolution). And, as a special offer, if you register and return more than 20 DVDs, we will give you a Blue Ray player!

Next, I’d let the “Send us your tired and poor DVD” program run for about 6-9 months, then I’d announce that all new Blue Ray discs will be $14.99 or less moving forward.

Finally, sometime around 2015, when it becomes perfectly clear (like it has not already) that “on-demand” 1080P content is what everyone really wants, I’d abandon the consumer market with physical media (DVD and Blue Ray) and focus all my “physical media attention” on the super-premium consumer. I’d make special Blue Ray only editions of classic content and selected new releases, presented in gorgeous packaging with special audio/video tracks, etc., and I’d charge $100+ for these and limit their release. Even better, I’d make them only available to “registered collectors” (anyone can register) and would figure out a way to customize the presentation (package and disk) for each “registered collector.”

For digital content on physical media to remain relevant it needs to be entirely re-targeted. If you are someone that depends on DVD and/or Blue Ray sales for your living you are pretty much at the “end of the proverbial plank.” If you don’t make some changes, and make them now, both you and your livelihood are destined to go the way of VHS.