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Soul of a New Machine

The Soul of a New Machine

In 1982, Tracy Kidder published a book called “The Soul of a New Machine”. He precisely captured the transition between the traditional big-iron landscape of the computing industry as we adopted smaller desktop units. During 2019 and 2020, I recognized that software and hardware had again made a similar step forward. In homage to Mister Kidder’s insights and timing that have named this work: “The Soul of an Internet Machine”

The Soul of an Internet Machine

Commerce and innovation fuel the global economy. Follow the team through the ups and downs of the design, development, and launch of a new business venture. Along the way, we explore The Cloud and software development. Two stories for the price of one.​

I am a tool smith. For over thirty years, I design and build the tools of the modern economy. My craft and the practice of it evolved from an older time with people working over flames, and forges, and whacking things with hammers.

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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.

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

Released: 21 OCT 2020

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.

Released: 28 OCT 2020

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.

Released: 04 NOV 2020

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.

Released: 11 NOV 2020

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.

Released: 18 NOV 2020

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.

Released: 25 NOV 2020

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.

Released: 02 DEC 2020

Chapter 8 | Okta

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

Released: 09 DEC 2020

Chapter 9 | The First Minute

14 steps. 6 vendors. 1 minute. GO!

Released: 16 DEC 2020

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…

Released: 13 Jan 2021

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.

Released: 20 Jan 2021

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?

Released: 27 Jan 2021

Echoes 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.

Released: 03 Feb 2021

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    Upcoming Episodes

    Chapter 14 | Faux Amie

    Most tasks, or jobs, require that finishing effort. The beginning of jobs may involve big movements, big structures and progress seems very fast. As we approach the end, progress seems to slow as we focus on the tiniest of details. This detailed work requires that we work with a little paint brush; little tools.

    Release: 10 Feb 2021

    Christina Moore at the mic
    Christina Moore at the mic

    Just talkin’ away at my mic. You can find me on Twitter (@cmoore_sp) and LinkedIn. If you listen all the way to the end of an episode, I read out my email. I do answer email.

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