Thursday, January 15, 2009

Re:Only the paranoid survive (not)

by John Sokol (109591) on Tuesday January 06, @02:30PM (#26346961) On Slashdot
I partly agree.
Most ideas are considered stupid by most people.
Even more ideas that are good, were already thought of and may even be on the market already.
But still there are the few really ground breaking ones.
If I had a dime for every one of my ideas stolen I'd be rich.
Here is where I disagree, execution is a matter of resources.
I had the very first audio every on most computer platforms. From digital audio on the Apple II, Lisa and Mac, C64, IBM PC and XT and even the Tandy Model 2 and 3.
I had the first PC digital audio products on the market the Sound Byte, then someone literally took my name trade marked and and sent me a cease and desists on the name! So I renamed it Audio byte. []
Then another company (first byte) reverse engineered my Digital Audio on the PC speaker and patented it, and tried to sue a number of game companies who also reverse engineered my code and used it. This was Intel Assembly language, almost as easy to reverse as JAVA. So many of these paid me and used my Prior Art to toss out the patent suits.
But the kicker was after 3 years and selling some 5000 units at $30 each, Creative Labs came out with an inferior product for $115 and sold 47,000 units in there first month. Past us by like we were standing still. I found out that the same VC we pitch financed them while not financing me. And there plan used us as an example of market feasibility!
So much for execution. It's all a matter of resources. If you don't start off with enough money, and try to boot strap from sales like I was doing, you going to get killed if it's a really important product.
I have repeatedly had this happen with different ideas. Many I did execute on and for some was even selling and making a profit.
* Wearable computers with VR goggles 1984
* Hand held Oscilloscope 1984
* VOIP (internet phone calls) in 1987
* Streaming internet video 1988.
* 13000 streaming video viewers (VQ) with 384 video servers on SUN Microsystems network 1990
* Online Banking for Wells Fargo, 1992
* Livecam (JPEG, GIF, and MPEG1 & 2, modified H.261) 1994
* The CDN where I built the first on for video in 1994. IN 1997 we had over 1M simultaneous views at 56K. One of the largest consumers of Bandwidth on the Internet, and no one knew who we were, because it was adult.
I can directly trace back to specific individuals where Genutity's Hopscotch network and Digital Islands CDN directly copied what I was doing!
Peer1 that host Youtube is now using one of my methods that I pioneered for CDN.
* load balancing of internet servers 1995
* Caching web servers 1996
* TCP/IP Selective Acknowledgment implemented in my ECIP. 1996 []
* Streaming H.263/MPEG4 video and MP3 1996/1997
* the first Stand alone IP Camera 1996
* Fanless servers to improve reliably in our CoLo's 1997 (used heat pipes on CPU, HD and PS)
* The first CCTV DVR 1997 done in Partnership with Korean company. Also included the first multichannel(16 input) video capture board.
* Cell processors & Blade servers []
* silent computers * computer cooling in 2002
My new stuff I am keeping under wraps now till I can get better resources lined up.
I am not listing these to brag, but to show how much effort I have put in over the past 20 years, with great technical success but only partial business success.
It's always boiled down to one thing, lack marketing budget. Lack of money to manufacture. Lack of the "right connections" to raise money or make large sales because I wasn't part of the good old boys/rich kids club. There is a class system in this country whether you believe it or not.
Almost every one of these ideas I filed or tried to file a patent on, then ran out of money to compete them! On some of the later stuff, I have seen Tecktronix, Fluke, Intel and NEC take my incomplete expired patent filings, and put out products straight from them. Again without money there is also no legal recourse, and after some attack from a big company I find myself having to go back to programming at some day job because the company died.
As soon as Microsoft or Real Video or some other big company with deep pockets took notice, that was the end for me.
One press release from Microsoft about some vaporware was all it took to completely kill my chances for any investment in internet video and CDN's from 1996 to 1999. The never delivered to this day an product that works as well as my 12 year old video player. Then I watch Macromedia come in a take over by adding the same technology I had but not telling anyone till they were ready to roll this was in 2004ish? What is now the basis for Youtube.
In the mean time I spend 10 years tying to raise money to do the same thing since 1996 without much success. Ok, so maybe I am a bit frustrated.
Personally if it's an important idea, and you've researched it and it is unique, then don't work on it at School, or at least keep it secret and don't show your professors. For a class project choose something more mundane.
Then Patent the idea, yourself outside of the School. And be patient. I have noticed that my good ideas, if I don't tell anyone will still be good ideas 5 years from now, and no one will have done it yet.
So get your degree first. Network with the right people so when you graduate you can then run with your idea.
The reality is that if just invented some plastic gadget like some new type of cork screw, I might have made a lot more money and not had to worry about idea theft nearly as much.
High Tech is fun and my passion, I just can't motivate myself to work on cork screws.

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