Monday, March 5, 2018 to Dot.bomb

I’m going to be honest. I’m part of the Millennial generation, but at the latter end of it. I don’t remember any of the companies mentioned except for AOL and Yahoo. That being said, hearing about CompuServ, Genie, and Prodigy and their rapid rise and fall is very similar to what’s happening right now. Looking specifically at programming in recent years, we have seen a crazy amount of change. It almost makes it a no-win situation when starting a company with a specific language/framework in mind because it’s bound to be obsolete in a couple of months. That’s what I gathered from this talk, that you need to be flexible in order to survive. The companies we heard about are dinosaurs because they’re extinct. They couldn’t adapt to an environment that was changing at a breakneck pace. The few that did survive are like alligators. These are like the dinosaurs of old but were able to change themselves just enough to make it out of the catastrophic meteor that was the dot-com bust.

 Amazon is a prime example. They sold books online, that was their niche. They were an online book store. Now they are a behemoth tech company just 18 short years later. By branching out of their original goal to sell books, they were able to evolve into the monster corporation they are now. Sure, they still sell books, but because of the dot-com bust they were forced to change. The size helped too. Like their dinosaur counterparts, bigger companies have difficulty changing rapidly. They had already been around for a while and were established, so when the change finally came, there was no room for adjustment.

Guest Speaker Shadrach White

                Airlift reminds me of govWorks. I know it isn’t the same, but the premise of contracting with the government and providing automated online services made me think of the movie. Although Shadrach seems like a much nicer person than Kaleil. 

                I agree with him that development is an art. It’s not an easy thing to do, and when you see well written code that has great functionality and high-scalability, it’s a beautiful thing. He strikes me as a philosophical person. It’s great that he just lets his developers do their own thing. I’d love to have a manager like that. It’s important for me to be able to experiment with new technologies and try different techniques, and it’s good to hear that there are business owners in the world that are open that idea. 

                Pivoting back to the topic of starting a business, I think it’s important to talk about a topic he kept referring back to in is talk. He told us the story of getting a contract with a cannabis company for them to use Airlift. It sounded like a great opportunity and it’s a no-brainer that he would take it. However, the question his adviser asked him was even more important: “Do you want to tie your brand to marijuana?” What makes this such an interesting question is that it’s kind of one of those questions that will define what your business is. I don’t think that question was meant to deter him from going forward with the deal, but to help him cement what his business was setting out to do. 

It’s a question anyone can ask themselves when starting a new organization. Maybe not specifically in relation to marijuana, but just in general. Do you want to tie your brand to sports? Do you want to tie your brand to politics? Do you want to tie your brand to cars? Do you want to tie your brand to coffee? Do you want to tie your brand to *insert noun here*? 

Again, these aren’t meant to change anyone’s mind, the exact opposite actually. When answering a question like that, you are essentially making a statement as to what your business will be about. When labeling yourself as a cat food company, you will have greater brand identity, but you could be limiting yourself to what you could do in the future. Documentary

       was a weird documentary. It was easy to tell what it was about from the beginning and what it would eventually lead to. To start this off, I never liked Kaleil. He had his moments, but he just seemed like the kind of guy that would throw anyone under the bus in order to save his own skin. I didn’t feel like Tom was that sort of person, though I disliked him for a different reason. Tom struck me as a guy way in over his head. We don’t really have a lot of background on how the two of them came to start govWorks, but somehow I think it was Tom’s idea. The problem is that Tom doesn’t really seem like he knows what he’s doing. I’m not surprised at all that he was ousted from the company (a YEAR later). He acted like a child when things weren’t going his way. It didn’t make it any better that Kaleil fired him and had Tom escorted out of the building. It seemed like reality show to me. 

                Switching topics now, I did like what the movie was trying to represent and why we were asked to watch the film. It was essentially a candid showing of the life span of a tech business. The rapid rise of govWorks, followed by its inevitable crash is analogous to tech businesses today and stands as a reminder of what could happen.

                Also, I think it’s hilarious that Kaleil was arrested for fraud. Watching this movie, it doesn’t surprise me at all. The ending seemed to unbelievable for his behavior shown throughout the film. How can it just end with him at his house with a dog in the backyard? If only there was a second documentary.