Thursday, February 23, 2012

Article on 12 Most

Check out my new article on 12 Most that compares technology companies to countries.

12 Most Striking Comparisons of Technology Companies to Countries

In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives (Book Review)

In little more than a decade, Google has grown from a smart, disruptive search company to an Internet behemoth, with over $39 billion in revenue and a product portfolio now spanning advertising, mobile, cloud computing, and video.

Since Google's inception, millions have used its search engine and services and come to rely on the company for fast, reliable information. Indeed, the company name itself is now a verb meaning "to search".

Steven Levy's In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives chronicles the story of Google, from its origins and founding, through its incorporation and rapid growth, and to its ascendancy as one of the biggest and most influential companies on the planet.

I found the text well-crafted and fascinating. Though a work of journalism, the narrative flowed very much like a story, with Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt cast as the main characters. The book elaborated all the major developments in the company's history, including the founding, the maturation of search and advertising as major revenue streams, "Don't be evil" and the distinctive company culture, incorporation, the acquisition of YouTube, Google's moral dilemma in China, and the company's recent challenges with privacy and social media.

I highly recommend In the Plex for anyone interested in learning more about the history and DNA of Google.

You can read more about In the Plex at

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Remember Win?

Super Bowl week can be tough on Bills fans. On the one hand, the coverage and retrospectives force reflection on probably the greatest run in the franchise, but one that did not end with a championship. Lately, Super Bowls are a reminder of how irrelevant the Bills have become and how far they are from even competing for a playoff spot, let along reaching a Super Bowl.

It’s now been twelve years since the Bills last played a playoff game. This was the “Music City Miracle” against the Tennessee Titans that was played on January 8, 2000. Think that was long ago? The last time the Bills appeared in a Super Bowl was eighteen years ago, in Super Bowl XXVII, when the Bills lost to the Cowboys, 30-13. The date of that game was January 30, 1994. Since then, seventeen Super Bowls have been played, with another one coming this Sunday.

To crystallize the long run of Bills futility and remind everyone how long it's really been, I’ve listed 46 facts about 1994. One for each Super Bowl.
  1. In 1994, Bill Clinton was President of the United States, George W. Bush was preparing to run for Governor of Texas, and Barack Obama was teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago. 
  2. Windows 3.1 was the current Microsoft operating system. Windows 95 would not be released for another year and a half. 
  3. Reality TV was just starting, with shows like MTV’s The Real World beginning to define the genre.  
  4. The average cost of a gallon of gas was $1.09. 
  5. There was no Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Google. 
  6. Wayne Gretzky was a member of the Los Angeles Kings. 
  7. Tiger Woods would enroll at Stanford in the fall of 1994 under a golf scholarship. 
  8. The movie Forrest Gump would be released in the summer. 
  9. Nancy Kerrigan would be attacked at a practice session during the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. 
  10. A few months after the Super Bowl, the Buffalo Sabres would win a 4 OT game against the Devils but ultimately lose the playoff series. 
  11. Seinfeld was on top of the sitcom world. 
  12. New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was four years old. 
  13. The population of the city of Buffalo was approximately 310,000 (today it is around 260,000). 
  14. The 1994 Winter Olympics would take place in Lillehammer. 
  15. In November of 1994, George Foreman would win the WBA and IBF World Heavyweight Championships. 
  16. Five months after the Bills’ fourth straight Super Bowl loss, OJ Simpson would flee law enforcement in his white Ford Bronco. 
  17. There were only 28 teams in the NFL. 
  18. 1994 was the year of the Rwandan Genocide. 
  19. The cost of a Superbowl ad in 1994 was $900,000. 
  20. Arkansas would win the NCAA Tournament in 1994.
  21. Michael Jordan had retired, and the Houston Rockets were preparing to take advantage of his absence to win their first title. 
  22. There were no iPads, iPhones, or iPods, and Steve Jobs wasn’t even working at Apple. 
  23. In July of that year, Brazil would win the 1994 FIFA World Cup, defeating Italy by 3–2. 
  24. The Internet was just forming, and there were under 10,000 websites. 
  25. Anthony Masiello was the newly elected mayor of Buffalo. 
  26. The Sabres were still playing in The Aud. 
  27. Grunge was popular, but Kurt Cobain would commit suicide. 
  28. The Swedish band Ace of Base would achieve international fame with their hit “The Sign”. 
  29. Very few people had mobile phones. 
  30. The Bon-Ton would buy local Buffalo department store chain AM&A’s.
  31. Encyclopedias were physical books. 
  32. The New York Rangers would win the Stanley Cup, and NY would celebrate an NHL championship for the first time since 1942.
  33. The movie Pulp Fiction was released. 
  34. Chatting meant talking to someone. 
  35. A players' strike would end the MLB season prematurely on August 11, 1994, and there would be no postseason or World Series. 
  36. In the mid-term election in November 1994, the Republicans would gain control of both houses of Congress. 
  37. People still used typewriters. 
  38. In 1994, all of these teams were active in Buffalo: Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Bisons, Buffalo Bandits, Buffalo Stampede, and the Buffalo Blizzard. 
  39. Popular television shows of the day included Seinfeld, ER, Home Improvement, Grace Under Fire, N.Y.P.D. Blue, and Murder, She Wrote. 
  40. Irv Weinstein was an anchor for WKBW.
  41. Bruce Springsteen would win a Song of the Year Grammy for "Streets of Philadelphia". 
  42. The events of 9/11 were still six years away. 
  43. Nelson Mandela was elected the first black leader of South Africa, after the country had its first free multiracial election. 
  44. Star Wars was not yet sullied by the prequels.
  45. Doug Flutie was playing for the Calgary Stampeders (and threw for 5,726 yards in 1994).
  46. None of us thought it would be more than a decade -- and conceivably a quarter century -- for the Bills to reach another Super Bowl.