since i was reminded last night of the good old days of the internet boom, and since it is job season. I though i'd post some of what i worked on those years:
in 1998, i helped found a small company, and we never decided what we wanted to do, so we closed it shortly thereafter in 1999. The company was primarily experimental, we incorporated, etc. it was a learning experience.
i worked out some business plans:
1. Application Service Provider, server appliances, and content distribution for k-12 market. I think this could have taken off, the goal was to build an open source learning environment with tools to help manage k-12 tools and then to provide integrated learning communities that would share content, learning modules, etc. amongst schools for a small fee, thus moving the function of inservice days to the online environment. This one never made it past development. forgetful old me, this one did make it past development, i remember submitting a draft proposal of it to bruce perenss venture capital group that funded progeny linux.
2. Integrated Computers. The premise of this company was that computers don't have to be obvious, they can be ubiquitous and available without being a set of big boxes in the office or elsewhere. What i were going to do was to be a middleware supplyer of systems to high end market that would make the computer in your office disappear. It would also provide middle range conversion kits to make your computer look like books on a shelf, old wooden radios, etc. In short, the goal was to use the available technology to make the computer integrate into the office. This one was distributed to a few angel investors who thought that it was a great idea, but hardware was not where the market was going, they wanted software….. it died.
3. the modular computer. this was a plan to take all the essential parts of a computer and put them in to cartridges about 3 times the size of an ipod that could be plugged into a cartridge box which was basically a backplane with a bsd based integrated system that would identify the parts plugged in and let them communicate to each other and be optimized for whatever is installed. So if you had a 6 slot machine, you would have the boot cartridge of your favorite os, which would be more or less a virtual machine with some basic memory. Your video out cartridge which would have its own flashable drivers, your hard drive cartridge, a memory cartridge, a networking cartridge, a processor cartridge, etc. etc. The goal was to get the cost of each cartridge down to a very small cost and then let people build what they need. you need a super vector processing chip system, plug in the vector cartridge, if you need graphics, plug in a second video accelerator. Out of slots? buy a larger backplane system. Of course, this is an engineering nightmare, but in the end I still think it is a better way for the computer business to go. This never made it past the drawing board because no one else was on board
4. Card based internet servers that you could just plug into your computer like an ethernet card. This was done by many companies. My significant differences was to use firewire to do load balancing, across multiple cards. I never pursued this very far though it excited some people.
and that takes us to about 2001, which is when things sort of fell out of those dreams and i started working seriously on my ph.d.:)