Soul of an Internet Machine

Series 1 (2021)

Series 1 of this podcast fizzled as I came to grips with the failure.

I offer no apologies nor excuses. The word failure does not bother me too much. Failures precede success. Sometimes follow success. Failure and success dance on two side of one line. We know the difference between failure and success after the fact, but rarely can we differentiate success from failure in the minute. We tried to launch a novel product into a market space filled with massive noise and distractions. Yes, we opted to launch just as the global pandemic hit. It appeared that all conversations focused on COVID. What was left over, at least here in the United States, got hoovered up into the chaos about our political situation.

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Software is the most ubiquitous tool of our economy and likely the least visible. You may be listening to my podcast on a computer weighing 200 grams – your mobile phone. In the recent six decades, tool smiths like me have put software into the tiniest of items. We have moved software from floppy disks to phone then into The Cloud.

From the first days of this project, I journaled my experiences as a business owner and technologist. I observed a subtle and massive  shift in the architecture of software.

Chapter 1 | An Introduction

Meet the team, the project, and chuckle at the business mis-adventures here in the introduction to The Soul of an Internet Machine.

Chapter 2 | The Cloud

The internet has a birthday (1966). Web browsers and websites do too (20 DEC 1990). The Cloud does not have a birthday. Poor cloud. Why? Because we don’t understand what it is, The Cloud Definition one: The Cloud is some remote place that stores data such as pictures, movies, words, numbers, and files. Definition two: The Cloud is at the mathematical center of the internet. Think about it: If everyone stored and retrieve data from The Cloud with equal ease and equal speed, then The Cloud would be at the center of the Internet. Come explore The Cloud.

Chapter 3 | The Machine

PodcastFlow is an internet machine. PodcastFlow completes a series of tasks, has some automation, required designing and building, and it uses energy. Our machine sits in the Center of the Internet – The Cloud. It uses cloud computing and cloud storage. It is hardware and software. It has digital data connectors to several vendors. The machine is a bunch of different parts that work together. When you stand on the outside of that machine, it just looks like magic.

Chapter 4 | Plans

The perfect plans for PodcastFlow did not survive the first months. The plans never anticipated a global shut down. And the plans failed to have the flexibility to respond to failures. This chapter does offer a checklist of 6 tasks for branding a product or company on the internet.

Chapter 5 | PayPal

Paypay is a legacy in a market they created and now they are irrelevent… they’ve abandoned their own market. lesson: listen to your customers or lose ’em.

There slips PayPal into history. Bye, Bye, PayPal. You’re now a faded sticker in a store window.

Chapter 6 | Recurly

Integrating yet another vendor into our software suite permits us to replace PayPal, the effort lets us explore how to sell to a reluctant audience, how to reach customers with strong defenses, and give me a platform to discuss cluttered, noisy, and crappy websites. Maybe marketing people should accept the idea that the customer isn’t exactly who you think they are. The ideal customer is one who has money and looking for a solution or a product.

Chapter 7 | Wayfair Wayside

By the way, if selling on-line in the United States, you have about 11,000 potential tax payments to calculate monthly or quarterly and you probably don’t know about them.

Chapter 8 | Okta

Sure, they’ll pick up the phone. For $20,000! 

Chapter 9 | The First Minute

14 steps. 6 vendors. 1 minute. GO!

Chapter 10 | How to Hold an Axe

Great teams, great teamwork requires planning, effort, and a handful of cute phrases. A team of software developers likely don’t need to hold an axe. “How to Hold an Axe” represents the importance of the suite of tools we do use daily. Excellence is deliberate. Join us as we explore team work and tool management…

Chapter 11 | PST Baby: Primary, Secondary, Tiertiary

“What could possibly go wrong?”

Around here, if there is one plan there are three plans. We’ve got to have the primary plan, then the backup plan then the other plan for when it all goes entirely wrong. PST – a reminder to start with a primary plan, a secondary plan, and a tertiary plan. Embracing failure may improve our lives, our work, and our teams.

Chapter 12 | "It is just work"

It is just work.

Sometimes all of the work smarter, better tools, teamwork boils down to focusing on the job and doing it. Nike says it well: “Just do it!” A team-building phrase that does carry sympathy and understanding and the tenderness of acknowledging, that work what we get paid to do. It is just work – with deadlines, and challenges, and tiny rewards. Ain’t no real short cuts, but I do find joy in working. Do others?

Echos of a Lincoln Song

Childhood echoes in my today’s movements and actions. This lyrical piece explores the forest of my youth and the history of my long-ago home. Written about Lincoln Massachusetts, tucked between Lexington and Concord, once and still surrounded by literary, political, and scientific giants. I seek treasures, find awe, and rustle oak fallen oak leaves.

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