Reflection and superpowers.

I remember the day I found the internet. Well, not the specific day (it was several lifetimes ago), but the what the moment felt like. It was 1992, on a service called Mindvox out of New York. It was a dial up service, yes using modems, and used the command as its interface. I found this service through a paper magazine called Mondo 2000 – one of two great sources of digital information on paper. The other being Wired… well, the early Wired.

The potential of unencumbered communication between people, real people, was mind blowing. In those days we had “long distance calls” – you had to pay per minute to reach people outside of the arbitrarily placed boundaries (they were intentional, but created as a toll by telcos). This meant you really only called people that weren’t in your city when there was some sense of urgency, or you had business reasons.

Along comes the web, which gave those that cared to learn how, the ability to publish anything we wanted to – for anyone on earth to read. The history of the web is covered well elsewhere so I’ll spare you that rollercoaster. At the time, say 1995, big news media and publishers controlled the narrative, and people were simply one-way consumers – reading magazines, newspapers, and watching TV as the sole sources of information inputs. There were exceptions of course (the BBS, Usenet, FidoNet, Compuserve, AOL, etc.) but most people didn’t know about them.

The sense of wonder and possibility that accompanied this new Information Age has materialized in my world in the form of technology startups. I use the term startup, though it’s not really the best descriptor. It’s more like tests, or more commonly MVPs: I have an idea for a thing, dissect it, build it, then let a few people use it and see what happens. If there’s enough interest, I’ll add a revenue model and test/iterate.

By the way, this is a terrible approach for most founders and will result in a lot of lost sleep and relationships. If you’re looking for the quickest path to MVP, please pick up the Startup Owners Manual and read every page. I do not recommend the “build it and they will come” approach.

I digress. I’ve been reflecting on this ability to make things quickly quite a bit lately. It feels a little like a superpower. I can take something that exists as a simple idea to the computer screen in all of its glory. It may be ugly, but it will work. There’s a term in web development called “full stack” which means front end (browser/client side using HTML/CSS/Javascript etc.) and back end (server side databases/scripting languages, etc.). Today most people are trained (or choose) to specialize in one or the other. There are technical and non-technical founders, single founders in search of co-founders to fill some gap or even help formulate the idea itself.

I’ve been working on a few ideas and will present them here for your scrutiny and feedback. With the launch of Apple’s Vision Pro, one of these ideas has been occupying more time in my brain than it has in a while. It may be the first to materialize… it’s a new take on the web in 3D with no changes required to the web itself. It works with existing websites and infrastructure. More on that soon.

How about you? What’s your superpower?

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michael

Husband, father, epic adventurer, perpetually curious, rule breaker, startup guy, innovator, maker.

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