A Nigerian scam goes awry

November 9, 2007

Details continue to emerge, but my previous blog quip on the Nigerian Intel Classmate PC situation now involves more visible allegations. At times like this, along with potential OOXML improprieties, I’m reminded of a consistent message my CEO gave at a dot-com. “Everyone is playing football, and they see us playing soccer and it looks like a lot of fun. If we just keep playing and they keep watching, eventually some people will switch to our game.”

Now this is a terrible analogy, even by my footloose standards. Soccer is the same as football to many people, and how can you watch a soccer game while you’re playing football. And soccer continues to struggle at a pro level for popularity in the U.S. No wonder our business never went anywhere. But we all actually did get his point: Networking and rapidly falling server prices led many dot-coms to look for success in the same way: select your archaic business of choice, re-engineer and streamline all the processes and use cases based on a new networking real-time computing paradigm – then sit back and watch those fat cats sweat as a group of young go-getters redefine their industry. Banking, insurance, auto, telecom: the whole practice of business needed to be refactored for the digital age. Let’s hope we’re more successful than the typical dot-com.

Don’t you feel that way now? That in general we’ve reached the limits of the traditional software business and people (free software) are just saying, “Screw you, we’re starting a new game.” Now I know that bribery is a well-honored and time-tested tradition. But even with bribery, sometimes MS just can’t compete. Why? Because they still adhere to a level of rules (and not necessarily legal ones) for a different game than we’re playing. Who hasn’t watched the Matrix and thought, “So, this is pretty much what we’re doing with the computing monopoly?”

I’ve seen an agent punch through a concrete wall. Men have emptied entire clips at them and hit nothing but air, yet their strength and their speed are still based in a world that is built on rules. Because of that, they will never be as strong or as fast as you can be.

What are you waiting for? You’re faster than this. Don’t think you are, know you are. Come on! Stop trying to hit me and hit me!

Ignore the Architect (Ballmer) when he tells you, “But, rest assured, this will be the sixth time we have destroyed a software competitor such as OS/2, and we have become exceedingly efficient at it.” Keep wearing your $300 sunglasses and black latex goth gear. Keep dodging bullets and keep kicking ass.

2 Responses to “A Nigerian scam goes awry”

  1. nathan Says:

    I have been waiting for someone to make that Matrix analogy for way too long, but it certain is pitch perfect for the current state of technology. Keep on rockin!

  2. RH Says:

    Man, it’s practically impossible to read a linux blog these days without reading about a dig towards Microsoft, IBM, Sun, BSD, “evil” linux distros etc. etc.

    I read linux blogs for news/insight for cool shit people are doing in linux, but instead everyone watches what everyone else is doing instead about what is positive and interesting and i’m pretty much sick of it.

    To use your own analogy, it seems that we all might start playing football instead of soccer..but as you say, soccer isn’t really catching on anyway.


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