I recently discovered Jaron Lanier, a world class computer scientist (he’s a capital S Scientist, I’m a lower case s scientist hahahahha – funny but true!) who was putting forth very similar criticisms and concerns to mine, but long before I fully accepted how evil our industry has become, and that I have an ethical obligation to help users by doing what I can about it. Internet users and Texas taxpayers paid for my education, training and experience. I owe them big time – I can’t forget that, either. So please give Jaron a listen, he wants users to be customers the internet industry serves, not data sources to be exploited and sold to people who only want to sell them more crap and take their money.
This picture was taken in 2002, when I was a very busy and very successful internet entrepreneur, business and IT consultant, and network engineer. I had my own internet company, 15 employees, offers coming in constantly. Even better, I also had a wife, a cute little 18 month old baby, and a beautiful big home in Dallas with a shaded pool and hot tub overlooked by a home gym. Those were great days for me and everyone around me. Cyberstation’s best month ever was August 2002. The next year, it was all gone. The dotcom crash was 2000-2002, but the telecom and independent internet and hosting provider business crashed in 2003. Our biggest business partner, IP Communications, suddenly folded in 2003. (This was 100% due to the purposeful sabotage and malfeasance of Southwestern Bell, the incumbent baby Bell. I could tell horror stories of the crap they pulled on DLEC’S!) We used IP Communications to connect to tens of thousands of our accounts across 5 states, plus I had a $50/hr, 40hr/week min. side contract with them. I was paid this retainer whether I worked or not, to be available for any internet networking or services problems or development they needed, and to lock me out of helping any of their competitors. Money was just rolling in, we had a new (to us) house, new cars, new appliances, new baby hahaha and good times. But all things come to and end, don’t they?
I was no spring chicken here, but I do look quite a bit older at times now, Fall of 2018. Mean ol’ Father Time takes his unrelenting toll on us all!!
One of my bestest and oldest friends is Dr. Jack Payne. One year from this month, will be the 40th anniversary of our meeting and becoming friends, as young college kids at University of Texas at Arlington. He’s a flat out genius, he’s actually Dr. Dr. Payne because he has a PhD In physics AND and an MD. I cannot express how much I admire Jack, he’s more than Ill ever be.
He’s going through some tough times right now, so, among other things, I shared with him the following story from my past. I think website readers might find it funny and inspiring, too:
You see, you don’t have to play their game by their rules, no matter who they are or what game is inside their head!! Which, by the way, is the only place their game exists. It’s all imaginary bullshit. The truth is, there are no rules, no boundaries, no limits that outside forces can impose on a free mind.
Another lesson from this tale is the awesome power of “fuck you money.”