Would you still be doing it in 5 years if it wasn’t successful?

Warning: this blog post re-iterates an other from a few weeks back.

The tide is turning for me. I am dreaming less and less of the possibilities promised by the wide weaving world of web 2. My thirst has turned to a gaze, an observant gaze, trying to make sense of the madness. I have the beginnings of some clarity.

It is like a gold rush. Tens (if not hundreds) of thousands are pulled in with the promise of opportunity and riches. Everyone’s got an idea, and everyone can smell the gold at the end of it.

I’d love to know how many thousands of hours are being burnt each day on projects that will nose dive… how many millions of lines of code borne of sweat equity.

I dont think I’m disillusioned. Really. There’s an ignorant kind of dishonesty, a brand of foolishness being peddled by certain players that preys on the youthful exuberance of these gold diggers. I dont think these players are sufficiently self-aware to see it like that. They are not evil, not ill-intentioned. but they are not terribly self aware either. But they _are_ approaching the dubious ethical practises of record companies …

Take Google’s App Engine. Its free for anyone to build anything on. Why? Google is crowd sourcing the ‘next big thing’. No need to pay developers to develop new ideas anymore…. now they’ve got an army of youthful exuberance developing stuff for free within their backyard. Add water to the 1 in 10,000 projects that show promise, ‘sign them’ in, and voila … maximum gain for minimum risk.

Watch the others follow suite (read Amazon). Look, its very clever…. you have to give it to Google. Its a mind shift that the others seemed to have missed.  Why charge for people to develop on their web-application platform? Its silly. Just let’em go for it, and if the venture is successful then suck’em in.

Then watch Techcrunch.com announce “First successful Google App Engine application!”… and see the wide-eyed wanna-be dreamers jump with desire for success. 22 year old “Ralph Developer” will be plastered as the new poster boy in the startup scene, and discussed on blogs from scobble to every no-name wanna-be blogger.

And Google insists that everything has to be free. So the small (sincere) players will never be able to make a buck. You cant compete with free.

Market economics? I dont know. Its very vicious, and it is heavily dominated by the large players.

Where does this leave Ambisonia?  Well, I’m feeling relaxed. I have friends who have started and ended several projects whilst I’ve not strayed from Ambisonia. When people want to discuss new ideas for ventures, the first question I always ask them is “would you still be doing it in 5 years if it wasn’t successful“? If the answer is no, then my bet is the project will die quickly… because they are just chasing an illusion of success, and when that success doesn’t come, they’ll discover that success was their principle motivation.

I’ve got 2.5 years left on Ambisonia before I hit that 5 year mark. By that time, Dylan (my son) will be 3 years old, and maybe I will get enough sleep to have a bit of energy to spare …

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