Tom Ortega II

Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

The Life Cycle of Commerce

In Business, Technology and Software on December 28, 2016 at 2:06 pm

TL;DR

Commerce has a life cycle just like human life does. Our world is full of patterns that oft repeat, why should commerce be any different? We started with bazaars and villages, then shops and cities, then department stores and metropolises, then malls/big box stores and suburbs, and finally (I predict) a return to the bazaar and village lifestyle with a technology twist.

I see the traditional retail model ending. Recently, we saw enclosed malls die off in 2006. Next, it was big box stores (sans food retailers) in 2013. With the explosion of home based businesses in 2016, the future is very clear. The bazaars of old where vendors congregated to meet consumers will make a comeback with a spin: No longer will either party have to go anywhere because the bazaars will be rise from suburban neighborhoods via home based businesses. Much like Amazon is a software driven business, so too will these new bazaars be driven by modern software. The difference is that instead of one software platform to serve them all (as in Amazon’s case), these new bazaars will be driven by a hodgepodge of various mobile apps and complimentary platforms, mimicking the diverse makeup of the new industry they will serve. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fix Work Life Balance Now, Not Later

In Business on March 13, 2015 at 8:20 am

The Google CFO is leaving to spend more time with the family. Here’s a quote from the article:

“Third, this summer, Tamar and I will be celebrating our 25th anniversary. When our kids are asked by their friends about the success of the longevity of our marriage, they simply joke that Tamar and I have spent so little time together that “it’s really too early to tell” if our marriage will in fact succeed.
If they could only know how many great memories we already have together. How many will you say? How long do you have? But one thing is for sure, I want more. And she deserves more. Lots more.”

I’ve been working professionally for almost 20 years. I’ve been married to Alison​ for almost 14 of those years. At times, I think to myself: I should be more successful by now. I should have made a few million (possibly 10s of million) dollars, but I just sorta scrape by. We’re not poor by any means, I make good money but not outrageous money. By scraping by, I mean I haven’t built a business empire yet.

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Conference Time

In 360Flex, Business on March 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I don’t get to travel to many conferences much these days. When I was helping run 360Conferences, we were always going to them because we were running them. 🙂 However, I find myself traveling less nowadays. April will be the exception though, I’ll be going to 3 conferences that I’m sure will be great!

First off, there is DevConnect, a conference dedicated to the future of the web: video and mobile. This one day show will take place on April 2 in NYC. I’m slowly becoming a pure mobile convert. Other than programming and blogging, everything I do on a computer I do on my iPhone. My iPhone is not only my primary internet connection, but it’s also my primary camera (for stills and videos). All of this points me to the fact that mobile is the future and desktop will be for the few heavy lifting tasks we rarely do. I’ll even go out on a limb and say someday, I’ll probably blog and program on my mobile device even.

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Helping Change the System

In Business, Community on December 2, 2011 at 10:00 am

I’ve spent a longtime thinking about this post. Is it perfect? No. Is this the way I live my life? Not fully…yet. Is it something I’m gearing towards? A bit more each day. Is it something I hope happens? For the sake of my kids and grandkids, yes.

Much like a legal document, let’s define something at the start to ensure we’re on the same page. When I use the word System (note the capital “S”) in this article, I’m referring to mass media and big business. I’ll leave the topics of Wall Street and our government for some other (far distant) day.

The only way to bring down the System is by depriving it of life. Yes, this could be achieved by violent actions, but I’m not a violent kind of guy. Instead, I’m thinking of something that will bring about the same effect, but will use positivity and humanity to starve the system of the money it needs to survive. Because more than anything, the System craves one thing and one thing alone: money.

And who is going to bring about this change? Why you and I, of course. For if not us, then who?

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Features vs Products, Sell vs Grow, Corporations vs Startups

In Business on November 11, 2011 at 10:55 am

Let’s Talk Business

I talk about business with a lot of people. The concepts behind a business: the whys, the hows, the wheres and the whats. One thing that has always boggled my mind is exit strategies. Some companies are clearly built to be flipped (i.e. sold early on), while others are intended to be around for a long time.

In an interview with Dropbox CEO, it was brought to light that Steve Jobs wanted to buy the online storage company. Steve told them, “You don’t have a product, you have a feature.” Clearly, the team at Dropbox disagrees, but that got me thinking.

Build to Sell or Build to Grow?

Up until fairly recently, I didn’t understand people who built to flip. Yet, at 360Conferences, I really did want a bigger media company to buy us. I wasn’t building a company to flip, I just thought that while we were good at doing conferences, we’d be better applying our mentality inside a bigger media company with the resources to fund wild ideas we dreamt up. John was definitely more of the “I want to do 360 for life,” which is why I sold out my half to him.
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You Can’t Plan a Business, You Can Only Show Up

In Business on June 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm

To date, I’ve had about a handful of entrepreneurial activities. Looking back, I realized something: You can’t plan a business.  I know that sounds pretty counter-intuitive, but I’ll be honest, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. At least for me.

Don't get stuck on Planning and never hit Implementing

Don't get stuck on Planning and never hit Implementation

Don’t believe me? Alright, well, let’s take a walk down memory lane and let’s survey the land to see what happened.  NOTE: I’ve had way more ideas than this, but these are the ones that I put more than a few days or weeks into.

Idea #1 – Restaurant Paging/Seating Software

I wrote a fat business plan. I did market analysis. I had a team in place and a product being built. Then I had a personal incident happen that left a bad taste in my mouth on the idea. Regardless though, I spent a few years on the idea and nothing happened. I had a great plan, but never had a product, not even a beta product. I almost became the software arm of one of my would-be competitors, though that fell through at the last-minute because they didn’t understand software.

Takeaway: You can have a great product idea, business plan and market analysis yet still not go to market with a product. In which case, what was the point of all the planning?

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Reason for Serial Entrepreneurs: We Miss Serving Customers

In Business on March 10, 2011 at 7:10 am

Some People Like to Serve Others

I think I figured out why some people, like me, are serial entrepreneurs: We miss not having customers to serve.

Technically, I’ve only begun one real business (360Conferences) with paying customers. However, I also built up a technical user group that served hundreds of (non-paying) customers. In addition, I’ve done some independent consulting where the customer was another business. The point is this: I’ve done a lot of things where the endpoint is providing service for someone.

I like to cook elaborate meals to achieve an unspoken give and take:

  1. I provide them sustenance, which fills a basic need to help keep them alive
  2. They provide the time to eat the meal, which fills a basic need of helping our relationship grow

This is true of my wife, kids, family and friends. It’s an unspoken contract where everyone benefits, unless I give them food poisoning and they yap on their cell the whole time. Neither have occurred yet though and hopefully never will. 🙂

Business is a Special Give and Take

In business, there’s also an unspoken give and take, but it looks like this:

  1. I provide a product/service, which fills a basic need that the customer wants/needs
  2. They provide the time/money, which fills a basic need of helping our relationship grow

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Thoughts on Adobe vs Apple from a guy standing between them both

In Adobe, AIR, Apple, Business, C++, Flash*Flex*AS, Kindle, Mobile Platforms, Playstation3, Programming, Technology and Software, Video Games on April 29, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I’m a developer.  I’m an entrepreneur. No company is responsible for my success or my downfall.  I am responsible for seeing the industry and (re)acting accordingly. As a developer, I know the pains of learning new technologies. As an entrepreneur, I know the pains of someone trying to tell me how to run my business.

Apple won the RIA War without ever joining the battle

Just about a year ago, I was chatting on the phone with Steve Weiss of O’Reilly Media.  I made a statement to him then and, sadly, never made any noise about it.  I think I held back the noise because I have a long relationship of working with Adobe and their products. I didn’t want to admit that I was probably right, so I said the statement, felt the pain of its truthfulness and tried to forget it.  The statement was simple:

“Adobe and Microsoft are trying to push this RIA term.  They’re trying to convince the world that this is a technology they want and need. They’re each trying to instill their own vision of that world: Adobe with Flash/AIR and Microsoft with Silverlight. The one thing that everyone’s missing is this: Apple has already won. iPhone apps are THE most widely used Rich Internet Apps.  Apple has silently won the war and no one’s even noticed. All they have to do is enable iPhone apps to run via Safari (for cross-platform support) and they’ll have crushed both Adobe and Microsoft’s dreams.” That last bit I was off.  Rather than upgrading the iPhone apps to the Mac, they upgraded the size of iPhone OS device and created the iPad.

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Points of Future via MAX keynote

In Adobe, Business, Flash*Flex*AS, Ideas, MAX, Mobile Platforms, Technology and Software on October 5, 2009 at 3:40 pm

There are many ideas being presented today.  I’ll try to highlight a few and also add some personal thoughts.

The youth of today are important.  It’s important to provide them the tools they need to express themselves, or else they’ll find other ways.  To kick off the show with some of today’s creative youth was awesome.

Content is no longer one sided.  One point hinted out early on is that content is no longer the domain of one group.  Today’s web users are just as excited to create content as they are to consume it.  You need to plan for that fact.

It’s important to not just build great websites or ads, but to also know how your customers think and behave.  I know that I would like sites to be smarter about me.  I’m tired having to re-explain myself to each website/company.

The next point is that full version Flash is coming everywhere: desktops, netbooks, smartphones and TVs.  The biggest problem was RAM usage.  It’s a true dilemma for Adobe and device manufactures.  I, as a techie, realize that devices and computers aren’t equal in power and ram.  However, my mom doesn’t understand that.  Most of the public just assume that a machine is a machine.

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Helping Developers Bridge the Gap

In Community, Flash*Flex*AS, flex training, Ideas, Programming on September 16, 2009 at 8:30 am

In yesterday’s post, I talked about finding your niche.  Today, I share more about my niche and my plans to get back into it.

I used to run Silvafug, the Silicon Valley Flex Users Group.  During my tenure, the group accomplished a lot. (Heck even without me, the group is still doing a lot.) However, one goal eluded me, despite having a great need to be attained.  I think it’s time to revisit that goal.  What is it?

Helping Flex developers bridge the gap from beginner-to-mid and/or mid-to-advance level.

It’s an ambitious goal, but hey, why aim small, right?  I sorta started down the path with a “hit” series of mine, “Graduating from Hack to Architected Development” (available on 360|Whisperings and Adobe’s Flex Developer Center)  Adobe said that was one of their most successful pieces at the time, though I’m sure many have surpassed it now.
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