Category Archives: Personal

Thank You Steve Jobs

I have never purchased an Apple product, not for any reason other than I liked Microsoft computers, and by the time I wanted a MP3 player, smartphones had evolved with that capacity.  My parents bought my brother an Apple II back in the day, and he continues to use Apple products with great regard, so perhaps I need to reexamine my next computer purchase?

For me I see Steve Jobs and Apple in two distinct timelines.  Before Apple and to some extent Steve Jobs, held this esteem of a cool, hip, groundbreaking, culturally changing company, they both had demons to exercise.  Lets recall, Apple was in such a bad shape, it had to accept funding from the “evil empire”, Microsoft.  In 1985 Steve was forced from the company he founded, with many analysts writing him off, yet Apple did prosper without him, growing from $850 million to over $8 Billion in revenue.

When Steve’s company NeXT was acquired by Apple in 1996, this provided Steve a way back into Apple to work on his vision, with new respect from his Pixar dealings.  The first and in my opinion the most pivotal product release for Apple, and Steve was the iPod and subsequent iTunes music store, which was really the first “Application” store created.  The iPod introduced the general public\consumers to technology that was cool and easy to use.  Steve designed the iPod to be “human-focused” while many MP3 players before were “technology-focused”, and soon white headphones were appearing everywhere.

Of course the next release was the one that changed our world….the iPhone.  I recall seeing this in 2007, and thought immediately that this just changed everything.  In fact, I told representatives from RIM in the early 2008, if RIM did not have embrace this new touchscreen technology completely, they would be marginalized.  When the RIM guys in the room laughed and told me the phone was cool, but would never be accepted by business, I knew then and there RIM would be replaced in the enterprise in 5 years.

So while I am not an Apple customer, clearly the impact of Steve Jobs has and hopefully will continue to impact technology, observed by the copy-cat products that have since emerged form the iPhone launch.  Apple, under Steve Jobs perceptionally invented the Smartphone market, and created an entire genre of Mobile Devices that have fundamentally transformed how we do business, how we live, and how we relate to each other.

Steve Jobs did something very magical.  His executed vision was far more than cool technology, it actually created a new cultural paradigm, and in my opinion, without Steve Jobs and Apple, all the benefits of Social Business, Social Enterprise, Social Networking would just relegated to be just another web site.

So thank you Steve for being brave, for being daring, and for being honest with yourself and most importantly with all of us.


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Your social network now becomes the “Universal Network”…

univeral network

If you look at how many people are on the various social networking sites, the total would be well over 1.5 billion, with 900,000 million users on Facebook and Twitter alone.  Imagine how many people that is and the impact on our lives….Sharing photos, news, connecting to family and friends, promoting events, ideas, growing businesses, etc.  Now what if I told you all those uses of Social Networking pales in comparison to what is coming?  Imagine your network expanding 10-fold, 20-fold? Imagine being connected to more than humans, Imagine being connected to almost everything you own, everything you use, all the time, anywhere?

So now your saying, Richard; I don’t want any more connections, any more things to look at on my wall.  I was drinking from the firehose before, and now your going to double it???? no thanks…….well, your Universe could get a whole lot larger….

Toyota announced it was setting up a social network between cars and their owners using’s Chatter and Microsoft.  The impact of this is huge, but not from the sole standpoint of your vehicle tweeting you or FaceBooking-ing you when it has something to share.  No the real impact of this is NOT from only the consumer side, but more importantly from the Industrial and Manufactoring  sectors involved with Building Management, Remote Monitoring, and assorted other Industrial uses like Energy Management Systems.  The events with Toyota will no doubt help fuel the race for consumer productsd being able to share with their owners various status updates and other engagements, pinning on the heels of the SmartGrid and SmartMeters ability to inform you thru your Social Network and Mobile Devices of occurring changes to their status and your environment.

The floodgates could begin to open up on this with the success of the Toyota Social Experiment, and we will surely see copycats in the consumer space, beginning with autos, expanding to appliances, potentially expanding to all types of objects.  With so many additional devices connected to the internet, the potential for abuse is clearly increased exponentially.  I also wonder should this new paradigm unfold as expected, would it signal a dramatic change in Social Network adoption?

I guess our Social Network is about to get just a little bit larger…


June 9th update: Enterasys rolls out software-allows netwrk admins 2 access mgmt system viaTwitter, Facebook, LinkedIn & SFDC’s Chatter.

So here is another example of what I was saying….Now all types of devices will take part on the social wave, expanding your network…

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Re-Kindle your Families…with Facebook…?

When I was a young boy I recall almost every Sunday we would get together with our cousins, either at their apartment or ours.  The adults would talk about business, discuss current political events, or various family matters while us kids would play.  Like most immigrant families our get togethers were centered around food and business.  This went on for many years until we moved out to the suburbs, the kids grew up into their own lives, and our families found our get-togethers more infrequent.   My parents were of that generation, and I think our society in general where Sunday was “Family-Day”, to spend time with each other and keep the family and Extended family relationships close.

So what happened over the years, is typical to many immigrant families; the kids became involved with our own lives, and we drifted apart from the cousins.  Because we lived farther away from each other, natural separation occurred between the families.  I mean, after all, as the kids (myself included) became busy with college, working, so simply engrossed in our own lives, the natural closeness our immigrant parents and grandparents had maintained since coming to America seemingly dissolved.    Even the use of our family’s native language changed as we grew up.   My dad and his family all spoke Arabic, yet few of us kids spoke Arabic once our parents and grandparents eventually passed away.  The following generations tend to lose their cultural roots, including the important weekly get-togethers that cemented the bonds between our families.  I am sure when you look at your own family, and recall hearing “since Grandpa and Grandma dies, the family does not get together as often…”  Recall the Sunday dinners at Grandpa’s house, or the holiday dinners..???  When was the last time you and your cousins got together?  It may be a gentle sad recognition that you and your extended family has grown apart.

Now this is not an critique of America, but I think more of what happens when the next levels of generations grow up more isolated then the previous.  How do you re-capture those time past, linking with cousins and other members of the extended family in keeping your family’s culture alive and vibrant for your kids and grandkids?

Enter Facebook….as possibly a savior for the family and extended family re-kindling that closeness?  So now imagine some way to stay connected to the family, re-discover each other even as our busy lives spiral onward?  Being able to stay connected with what is going on in our busy lives, and have a way to communicate and possibly schedule family reunions using Facebook.  Linking multiple generation together leveraging Facebook, while embracing the social technology that some say damage the family interactions we used to enjoy and take for granted.  Now, the level of reunions that could occur because of the linking occurring on Facebook entirely depends on the family and their desire to reconnect.  But I think within my own family, as more of us connect, it provides the opportunity to reunite on a level previously unavailable due to our geographic distances.   I look forward to the day we schedule a reunion perhaps introducing our kids and grandkids to each other.

Start small with posting on each other walls, wishing happy birthday to a family member you previously had no clue of when their birthday was, engaging in a conversation about what is going on in your lives, post pictures and videos of kids birthdays or holiday events, and you will see the relationship start to re-energize.

I have read articles that Facebook and other social technologies actually damage the family by providing an isolating mechanism to avoid the physical closeness families used to enjoy.  Social Technologies could hurt the family and extended family, if the end result is families link only thru postings on walls.  If however the family and extended family leverage the Social Technologies to reintroduce those members to each other, and perhaps rekindle those relationships, then I say “Thank You Facebook”.  I think this Holiday season could be a great way to rekindle those family relationships, so don’t wait, go to Facebook, connect with your family members you have not heard from, and hey pick up the phone, give ‘em a call, and before long, you will be reminiscing and laughing about old times when you were kids….

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