Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

why we do what we do

Over at Anne's weblog an interesting conversation developed, and I thought that my latest comment there merited an entry here (ie., post here a slightly edited version of what I wrote over there). We were talking about how we look at design, and in one of her comments Anne said:

And here's another context issue: Diego runs a business and wants to build "useful" things right now.

Anne is right about my context, but just as a clarification, the situation is actually the other way around. That is, I don't think like this because I'm building a company, rather, I'm building a company because I think like this.

A company shouldn't, can't, be an end in itself (As I've said before). A successful company (IMO) is not one that only makes money (although that's important of course) but also contributes to the life of its employees, its community and society, and does its part, to put it simply, in making things better.

What I probably didn't make quite clear (as usual :)) is that I do agree with taking a long-term view of things, doing basic research, and generally pushing boundaries. (Plus, I enjoy these things immensely). But as a history buff in general (and tech history buff in particular) I also think often of the hundreds of great ideas that have fallen by the wayside simply because they never left the lab, and not because they were "bad" ideas but because of external market factors (price, availability, compatibility, etc). I'm often frustrated with how little of all the great research actually reaches most end-users. My (possibly misplaced) personal brand of idealism (or is that pragmatism?) pushes me to try to reconcile far-out concepts with the reality of markets--which inevitably leads to compromises of one sort or another.

If I could only make small, incremental changes that make things a bit better and help simplify our lives in some way, I'd take them any day of the week. But these conversations are hugely important to me because they are a good reminder of how far we have yet to go before we definitely leave behind us this Era of Crappy Software (TM!) from which we can't seem to escape :).

Plus, it is my opinion that lots of the "new breed" of companies (particularly those that deal with blogging, search, collaboration and social software) have similar goals, implicitly if not explicitly. I don't want to name names :), but don't hide, you know who you are. Which makes me feel as less of a crackpot in saying all of this. :)

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on February 6, 2004 at 6:13 PM

movabletype and db versions

Dylan has a great post on recovering from a database version change that left his MT weblog data inaccessible. Got me thinking about my recent brush with disaster, and the possibility of moving to mysql (I didn't know BerkeleyDB had problems with large DBs, and my weblog is well over 1,500 entries right now). Not with this server but, since I'm planning to switch servers soon maybe I'll do it then.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on February 6, 2004 at 3:31 PM

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