[Updated with video above]

Our opening conversation at the GeekWire Summit featured Ray Ozzie, the online collaboration pioneer and former Microsoft chief software architect — his first detailed interview since he returned to the startup world. It was a deep dive and a broad look across the modern tech industry, from the mind of a guy who has been there since the early days of online communities.

Ray Ozzie at the GeekWire Summit in Seattle yesterday afternoon. (Annie Laurie Malarkey photo)

Ozzie shared his thoughts on topics including the startup climate, his tenure at Microsoft, the new tools of software and hardware development, and the impact of connected, smart devices in a post-PC era.

And yes, he said, it’s a post-PC era — a comment that sparked a round of news coverage. However, he added, that might not mean what you think it does.

Continue reading for an edited transcript.

Todd Bishop: You once said, “In our industry, if you can imagine something you can build it.” What are you imagining these days, and what gets you excited when you think about where technology is headed?

Ozzie: I know it sounds strange, but there is hardly an area that isn’t exciting at the current time. It’s the most vibrant — I’ve been in this industry for a long, long, long time and at each phase you could look at the technology landscape, and you could look at the potential market customers, you could look at different segments — enterprise, small business, consumers — and at this moment in time, I just have never seen something so exciting in terms of the transformation across entertainment, productivity, communications.

We’re on the cusp of having, within a few years, a billion smartphones out there. … We’re in an explosion of new form factors such as pads, tablets, and so on, that we don’t really understand all of the scenarios that they’re going to be used in and how they’re going to be used. They’re making a transition from consumption scenarios to creation scenarios.

We’re on the cusp of seeing computing revolutionize potentially TV. It’s changed the way we read books. On the embedded front, in terms of what people can imagine now in terms of hardware, there’s so many ways that we can mold hardware very dynamically into things that we might imagine. I don’t know how many are familiar with Raspberry Pi, but it’s yet another small component that enables people to imagine something, hardware-wise, and build it. From the hardware side, from the software side, from distribution.

And probably most significantly from the market. It used to be that the market for technology products was limited. I just got back from a several-week vacation in India, and in rural India, we’ve got guides in Ranthambore trying to swap Facebook contacts with me and with my kids so that we can swap photos afterward. It’s just incredible.

TB: It’s a great point because you were doing online communications back when the rest of us were using rotary phones. What do you think of Twitter and Facebook. If you were looking at this from your time back as a systems programmer on PLATO, would you be disappointed with where we are today, with Facebook and Twitter … or would you actually be impressed with where we are?

Ozzie: I never could have imagined it. When I was exposed to online community on PLATO, we were talking about a community of maybe 10,000 people, who were using about a thousand terminals in a swapping, time-sharing fashion. Even when I did Notes back in the early ’80s, it was very difficult to imagine getting PCs to be ubiquitous, let alone networked PCs.

Even in the early Notes days, we were struggling to understand how networks would be able to be wiring buildings, because there were union problems in New York, where people just couldn’t run the wires that they needed to run. The concept that we’re all connected. Not just connected by some arbitrary email, not connected because of some wire, we are cognizant of the people in our families, online, we’re cognizant of the people we work with, we’re able to work together very effectively.

We have the level of connectivity …. that enables people to dream new software solutions whether horizontally or within verticals that I never could have imagined, early in my career, would happen during my lifetime. It’s staggering.

John Cook: Speaking of dreaming up new things, you have a new startup now called Cocomo. Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing with Cocomo?

(Annie Laurie Malarkey photo)

Ozzie: We’re not ready to make any announcements. Basically I spent the last year on the ground, really trying to validate a number of things that I had theorized and had some contact with when in my previous role, when I had the time, I could go out and meet entrepreneurs, understand the capital environment a lot more, at a detailed level. Understand the core of what are the success factors for startup clusters — for example in New York or Boston or the Bay Area.

My love, the thing that I’ve done most of my career is communications — what today we would call social productivity, what in the past we might have called groupware or computer-supported cooperative work, I like envisioning tools for new environments that let people do things in ways that are more fun, more productive and so on. I’m concentrating right now on mobility, because I think that market is incredibly explosive, and by mobility, it’s a very general statement meaning cloud-based back-ends, phones, pads and so on, on the front end, and I just think it’s great to explore new scenarios of how we can connect with one another with this new basis that we’ve got.

TB: Here’s a litmus test for you, Ray, in your post-Microsoft career. Will your new app be hosted on Windows Azure?

Ozzie: I believe in Azure an awful lot. I’m very close to those folks, for good reason. We know the capabilities and we’re using Azure, and we know the capabilities of Amazon and we’re using Amazon, and we know the capabilities of OpenStack, and we’re playing with that. So right now, the best thing for any entrepreneur is to understand the solution that they’re trying to do, be very agile in terms of what languages, what hosting technology, and so on, and use what works and move forward.

The modern startup world

JC Another quote, you said, “Startups are just incredible, they’re amazing, because you can put all your passion into one thing, and you make that one thing just so beautiful.” You make it sound so wonderful, but we all know, startups are very, very hard, and it’s difficult to make that leap. So what advice or tips would you give to people that are trying to go out and make that startup plunge these days.

Ozzie: You’re right, it is difficult. But like the first day of having your first child, or having any child, they can be anything. That first day, they’re not being sarcastic, they’re not bringing back bad grades, there’s nothing but promise. And you’re just so elated. And the first days of a startup are that way. There’s absolutely nothing like it.

JC: So we’re turning 1 today, what happens now?

Ozzie: There’s more opportunity for learning things that you don’t understand yet.

But I spend roughly half my time when I’m in Seattle — my wife and I are bicoastal and I have an office here — talking to people who are wondering whether they should make the leap or not. These are people that I’ve worked with in different places. Their friends and so on, someone will ask me a favor. People like me and many other people who have been successful take the time to help others because people were very helpful to us early in career.

The biggest thing to understand is that today’s startup environment is extremely lean. You must fit into the pattern of today’s startup environment if you’re going to succeed with a startup. And that means it’s very difficult for people with the five-bedroom home and a vacation home to make that leap. But they can do it. There’s ability and then willingness as two different dimensions that you have to analyze. But you really do need to, in today’s startup environment, return to zero, assess the technologies that are out there today, assess the processes for development  (which are much different than they have been classically in my career) assess what technology you have to build today.

Development is much more of an assembly process than it ever has been in the past, because there are so many components out there. On GitHub or wherever that you can assemble into a working solution very, very rapidly. You have to work in a very lean way from a comp perspective — founders you have to get out there in market before you actually start to raise any kind of serious money. And it’s always been hard, and it’s still hard, but the potential market is so great right now, and it supports much experimentation in many, many different ways.

PCs and Tablets

TB: You said in a 2010 memo, the PC and its ecosystem are going to keep growing, and growing for a long time to come. We just had the announcement of the new iPad today. Tim Cook, the new CEO of Apple, predicts that unit sales of tablets will eventually outsell PCs. Do you stand by what you said back and then in 2010?

Ozzie: Yes. Except that even in that one sentence or even in the past, no one really knows what a PC is. No one knows whether to include iPads or other tablets or computers into PCs, because in some scenarios, they substitute, and in some scenarios they’re new growth scenarios. I will stand by one fact, just vigorously, which is the fact that the overall market for personal computing — people taking some kind of a computation device — and using it for creation activities, sharing activities and so on.

I don’t think anyone knows at this point in time, even with absolutely flawless execution on Microsoft’s part — and they’re doing a great job — but even with flawless execution, no one really knows on the adoption front whether a large set of consumers are going to want to take the 30 years of learning that they’ve had and build on that with new pad scenarios, or whether they’re looking for a clean break. It’s really too soon to tell. We know a lot of different scenarios that are clean break scenarios. But you could actually argue it both ways. But regardless, it is all growth and whether it’s Mountain Lion or Windows 8, the existing people who are in the technology business are trying their best to adapt at time when customers themselves are trying to figure out what to do.

TB: We have this scenario where the tightly controlled ecosystems that have emerged from the mobile market are now spreading up to the PC.

Absolutely.

TB: Microsoft is actually adopting that, in some respects, in Windows 8 through the Windows Store. What do you think will be the prevailing model. Will it be that tightly controlled app store, that end-to-end environment, or is there still a place for an open bazaar of software and services that are available without any kind of gatekeeper.

Ozzie: Well, one man’s gatekeeper is another man’s distributor, distribution channel. One of the things that hurt the PC ecosystem over time is that early on in the PC ecosystem it was very straightforward for a developer to understand how to get their things in the hands of consumers. You built software, you shrink-wrapped it, you contracted with an intermediary distributor. They would distribute it to the world’s computer stores, and you would use classic PR channels to get the word out, you’d get user groups to get feedback.

It was a model. Then there was this long intermediate period where it was the promise of distribution. It’s an Internet! It’s accessed everywhere, people can just download what they want. But the distribution ecosystem collapsed. At this point in time, it’s back. Distribution is back.

It’s very straightforward for a developer to understand, if I create this, how am I going to get it in the hands of a user base. That’s why it’s an exciting time. And app store gatekeepers earn their money. They distribute it out there. There will always be room for ways of distributing around the app store, and when you get big enough, you can have other distribution channels. But I think the app store is a tremendous boon.

There are other things in other parts of the ecosystem that are as important as app stores. There’s sites like Kickstarter which on one hand are funding vehicles but on the other hand enable one to generate excitement around something and bootstrap a distribution ecosystem.

Reflections on Microsoft, and its future

TB: You spent five years at Microsoft, and we don’t want to turn this into an exit interview, but I think most of the people in the audience would want to know, what do you think when you reflect back on your time there. How do you feel about your legacy, and how do you feel about the job you did there?

It’s a good question. My job there was primarily a change management job. I was asked by Bill and Steve to come in and look at the company, decide what was broken, and try your best to fix it. It was that general. When I came in, I saw a company that had a tremendous history, that had many, many, many great technology assets, and many great people assets, but who was having trouble at that point really trying to understand how to internalize what was happening on the outside with its PC past.

Both on the server side, meaning what was the future of servers going to be, and on the client side, how does the web relate to PC software and so on. I tried my best to help groups in various ways — at every company change management is done differently — to communicate with groups, for example with the Office group that their purpose in life was to sell productivity, as opposed to selling PC-based productivity. To the Xbox, what you’re selling is entertainment, not necessarily the box or the plastic disc, and so on.

No one person is responsible for many things, but I feel very very good about a number of things that did change, and it took a lot of people. It took Steve, it took the senior leadership team, the presidents, it took lots and lots of other people, it took the individuals who were doing the coding to want to be receptive to change. The company is a lot different right now. The company has come a long way, and I’m happy about some things. I’m impatient about other things, but it’s a tremendous company and I really love a lot of the people there.

JC: What do you think it’s going to take for them to get their mojo back, and for them to really regain — if they can — that mantle of one of the top technology companies?

Ozzie: It’s going to all be based on whether people buy the product. I mean, I hate to be that trivial about it, but you can strategize as much as you want. You can argue, could have done this, should have done this … but the reality is that if Windows 8 ships in a form that people really want to buy the product, even if it’s for a specific key scenario, the company will have a great future.

In any industry, people look at their own needs, and look at the products and say, well, I understand why I had it then, and I want something different, they will not have as great a future. But it’s too soon to tell, and there are a lot of people working hard to make sure that they do have a great future.

JC: And is that opportunity there considering, for example, the rise of Android and the iPad?

Ozzie: You can paint many scenarios that are either at the doom-and-gloom or at the extremely positive extreme. At the doom-and-gloom extreme, it’s a world of phones and pads and devices of all kind, and our interest in general purpose computing — desktop computing, as it has been taught to us — begins to wane, and people start doing the same things and more in other scenarios. In the opposite extreme, Windows 8 bridges people from the world that was there, and there is growth, rapid growth in that market.

I think the high level question, really just to step away from Microsoft is, our industry is in constant flux. As long as I’ve been in this industry, you can draw lines of technology and adoption and predict where things are going to be in certain ways. We know right now, there’s no denying that we’re in a great transition. People argue about, are we in a post-PC world. Why are we arguing? Of course we’re in a post-PC world, but that doesn’t mean the PC dies. That just means that the scenarios that we use them in, we stop referring to them as PCs, we refer to these other things. But it’s still general computation.

In other scenarios there are also other post-worlds. For example, in productivity, the PC era was defined by documents. Documents are the core of how we have thought about productivity. But if you count the words that everyone here types on a computer, increasingly in Facebook, in Twitter, in this blogging package and tis and that, by addressable market of words types, the classic document, is decreasing as a part of that, and what productivity is the meta level around documents, as much as the documents. So we’re actually into a post-doc world, as much as we’re heading into a post-PC world. But there’s opportunity in everyone of those. There’s opportunity for Microsoft, there’s opportunities for startups to help customers go beyond what they’ve already used in the past.

Studying the technology industry

TB: For about a year, after you left Microsoft, we’d hear and see you pop up at these startup events, you were like a mystery man, we’ve got another Ray sighting. What were you doing, and what did you learn through that process?

Ozzie: Well, if you ask people at Microsoft how I did my job, it involved some level of work with senior people, and some level of work with people who actually do the work. I am a developer by trade. I built software, I wrote a lot of software — a lot of software — and I believe that in order for me to be effective, I have to have my finger on the pulse, I have to understand not just the capabilities of technology but processes, funding and so on. There was a certain amount of that I could do when I was at Microsoft but after I left I had the opportunity and time to find other ways to learn. Yes, I go to startup events, I go talk to people. I have visited a number of startups. I look at the processes they use to release — the roll of test, the role of waterfall vs. rapid deploy. Things are very different now, and the only way I can do that is to get out there. And I appreciate that there are people who host events where I’m able to do so.

The audience at the GeekWire Summit. (Karen Ducey photo)

TB: What did you learn about Seattle, specifically, and how would you say the Pacific Northwest stacks up as a tech hub against Boston and the Valley, and how could this region improve?

Ozzie: That’s a really great question, and I think, first and foremost, I want to make sure that everyone understands that the most important thing is not to worry about the region. The most important thing is to worry about, are people building stuff. Average entrepreneur should not be worried about the Seattle ecosystem, they should be worried about, do I have a great idea, do I execute it. And they can do that independent of location. They can do it from Europe, from Asia, it’s tough to do it in certain environments because of regulatory or finance things, but Boston, Seattle, everything is fine, it’s great. If you look at the aggregate statistics, VC funding is having a hard time, the trends are not great in Seattle The capital markets are different than they were in the past.

But you see very caring individuals who really want the regions to thrive. In Boston, there is a center of innovation around IT in East Cambridge. There’s another center of activity in this thing called the Boston Innovation District, which is in a certain area of Boston. Up here, you have startups doing exciting things whether it’s in South Lake Union whether it’s in some of the classic space in Pioneer Square. I’ve got an office closer to downtown here, but it isn’t as coalesced as a startup area of the city, but it’s happening. There are lots of factors that I could say would help, that might be catalysts, but speaking in generalities, it’s very difficult.

Probably the single most important factor, if someone were to want to turn a knob, would be the presence of accelerators in the area. I don’t mean incubators, I don’t mean space where people can work, because entrepreneurs can find any of a number of places to work, and incubators are great, but accelerators are to be differentiated from that. Things like TechStars or Y-Combinator, which help mentor and help entrepreneurs to learn what they don’t know, and teach them that they don’t know what they don’t know yet. Help bring them along, to enable them to to rapidly develop that idea.

What makes for a good developer today

JC: Bill Gates once called you one of the top five programmers on the planet.

That was a long time ago.

JC: But you’ve still got the claim, I would take it and run with it. So what makes a good developer or programmer in your mind today?

Ozzie: No. 1 you have to be a generalist in terms of the technology. There’s so many different languages out there. There’s so many different types of database. There are no simple answers to, should I use this relational database, or should I use this caching subsystem or management layer, there are so many options, and you really have to be agile about it. You have to connect yourself as a developer into the open world of development that’s happening right now. That means contributing to projects on GitHub, that means paying attention to Hacker News, Y-Combinator Hacker News, on a daily basis, and taking an active personal interest in what’s going on, who are the movers and shakers. What are the hot projects and what are the declining projects?

It means being willing to accept that there are different ways of doing things than one may have done in the past. That doesn’t make the other ways wrong. It just means that that’s not how people are doing things right now. The way that you dynamically deploy services is radically different. It’s tempting for people who are experienced to be dismissive of modern techniques, because the way you ensure quality is so different. But there’s so many examples now of successful companies using these techniques, that the best thing is to just be open.

TB: Have you been doing any coding?

I have not been doing coding. I remember the last code that I wrote in Lotus Notes Release 4. It brings a tear to my eye, but the people who work with me would be happier if I stayed at the architecture level.

The evolution of mobile devices

TB: We were talking earlier, and I hope you don’t mind me revealing this, but you have a Samsung Galaxy Note in your pocket. Talk about the devices you’re using and what you’re seeing in terms of the actual form factors. What excites you, apart from the online services that they’re connected to. What do you like, what do you think will be the predominant things that we’re carrying around in our pockets?

Ozzie: Well, I kind of use everything. I think that’s what you have to do. I was very fortunate at Microsoft in that I had a lot of infrastructure where people could expose me to a lot of things on a recurring basis that were happening in many different areas.

As an individual, in my home, in my mobile life, I try lots of different things. So, for example, I was a passionate Windows Mobile, then Windows Phone user for a long, long time. Then at one point I switched and did about nine months of Android, and for the last nine months or so my primary phone has been an iPhone, but I have a secondary phone, and with my secondary phone, I try lots of different things.

I’m really enjoying the Galaxy Note because it’s different. It’s just something that’s somewhere between what I’ve used in a larger tablet and a phone. My eyes aren’t what they used to be. And so I have no idea what will catch on for what scenario or not. All my TVs, in my house have been on different types of boxes. I try to use the devices in conjunction with those. At the embedded level, I’ve been involved in a couple of projects over the past year that have used Arduino-based systems. I’ve gotten a better exposure to the rapid assembly and prototyping at that level. So it’s difficult to focus in on a specific thing.

TB: It’s got a stylus, who wouldn’t like that?

JC: Steve Jobs wouldn’t.

Ozzie: But the stylus, there are scenarios. You can’t be binary about this stuff. I do understand that there are critical mass devices and critical mass pieces of software that will take off, but I think it varies based on the form factors.

The way you use a phone as a guy, it’s in your pocket. You can respond to notifications in a certain way. My wife cannot do that, she keeps it in her purse, so the usage scenario is slightly different. She likes the form factor of the Note better than the form factor of the other phone that she was using because, when she reaches in her purse, she can find it faster, which is something that we might not immediately embrace.

The stylus is great when you want to do a quick annotation of something. I haven’t found the killer scenario yet, but I’m really enjoying experimenting with it. And looking at what Amazon is doing with the Kindle Fire, understanding how the Android ecosystem is going to pan out, moving forward, it’s exciting times.

Striking a balance in online privacy

Audience Question via Twitter: Do you see real dangers to privacy in a modern, social, app-driven world?

John Cook and Ray Ozzie. (Karen Ducey photo)

Ozzie: Absolutely. Truth in advertising, I’m on the board of advisers of EPIC, so I have some privacy viewpoints. We are in a time when we don’t know the social norms yet that should be present online. We have to be very careful in terms of being aware of what online service providers and app vendors are doing with our data. But I just think we need to be reflective and understand that even in a pre-PC world, we developed norms that were imperfect. Business cards that we all get, and we all collect. What rights do we convey to a person when we hand them that business card, in terms of republication rights.

There are commercial motivations that will naturally make certain providers do the wrong thing, or do the thing that’s self-interested, to their commercial interest, but we also need as a society to develop a regulatory infrastructure and to just develop social norms that make the best of these things and make the right tradeoffs between us citizens, and what we want to happen, and online service providers.

I don’t know how many people are aware of this, and I don’t even know if it’s still the case, but for many years I had to pay to have my entry removed from the white pages. In that case, we said the default is that commercial providers can publish your info, and they have

TB: Are we limiting ourselves as technology users by being too focused on privacy to the point that we’re limiting the ability of the technology providers …

Ozzie: I’m not worried about that. I’m not worried about us being too careful. The nature of idea people  in the product realm will be to push the limits and then through journalism, watchdogs, regulators, there will be pressure applied, and things will come back. And we have to find that in many different domains, whether it’s health data, personal contact information, photos, documents, each one will have some kind of norm that develops.

Why databases are hot

JC: Another question from the audience. What excites you the most right now? What technology solution are you just super-hot on that you’ve seen, either a startup company or something that you’re using? People want to know. Somebody mentioned that you’ve mentioned GitHub three times. They’re going to start a drinking game if you mention GitHub again. 

Ozzie: GitHub, GitHub, GitHub, GitHub, GitHub. … Well no, the reason I talk about that is that I’m working with a team of developers pretty closely at this point in time. There’s some in Seattle, some in Boston, and I’m watching the tools and the libraries and things like that that they’re using.

JC: So beyond GitHub, what else is out there that you think is really hot?

I know this is boring, but I’m going to take it out of the consumer device realm, because we’re all enamored with consumer devices, but I am fascinated by the development of NoSQL databases, and some new new SQL databases. Mike Stonebreaker in Boston has a number of companies that he has started. There’s a guy named Jim Starkey who has a thing, NuoDB, which is a relational DB. The database technology is really fascinating the way it’s developing and maturing right now. That kind of has a lot of my focus. There are also a number of real-time technologies.

TB: A number of real-time technologies such as?

OzzieWebRTC and things in that realm. I think we’re at an interesting juncture, in that the average bandwidth and the average connectivity is such that, where it used to be very very difficult to do real-time communitications — for example, Skype,the infrastructure was very hard to build — you’re going to see more and more innovation in different apps and services that connect people in an audio way, in a video way, in different types of conferencing. Different innovative ways of interacting one another.

TB: Building on the existing infrastructure rather than inventing new infrastructure as a form of innovation.

Ozzie: Right. There are lots of components that are out there, and weaving them together is the magic. It’s figuring out what impact you’re trying to have with an individual in their daily lives, whether it’s a business daily life, or a person who goes to a ballgame, or something like that, and figuring out, how can I meaningfully impact that and weave together a solution to do so.

And I just want to step back just so that we don’t just think about frivolous solutions. One of the things that has been striking to me and is why I spent so much of my time last year in China, and I just got back from India, is that there are people who are now getting smartphones very inexpensively who have never had a PC.

They have just not had access to apps or the Internet. And this is going to change their lives. This is going to be transformational to them in ways that are impactful at the very, very local level. I’m extremely excited about that, and I’m not sure if the entrepreneurs who are going to tackle those solutions are local over there or if they’re also worldwide, but there are so many opportunities to make a difference.

Social collaboration in the enterprise

JC: How do you see social networking technologies impacting business?

Ozzie: There is a guy by the name of Ethan Zuckerman who said something like this, and I’m going to translate it. He laid out a taxonomy of public, private, secret, self as scopes of voice, that is when you’re speaking in public, you speak a certain way. When you’re speaking to a semi-trusted group, you speak a little bit differently. When you know you can trust a group of people — five people, all your best friends, you’ll really start talking trash — and then when you’re alone, you’ll just start thinking just the worst.

But when we talk about Facebook and Twitter we’re really talking about the public sphere, that is, you’re speaking in a voice externally. And one of the interesting things about Twitter is that you’re speaking more in a private voice to the public, and it’s transforming things a bit. I think when you get into enterprise and business scenarios, there are some organizations where speaking publicly in a public voice is very useful. Professional services firms promote an internal culture where speaking openly and being known as the professional who knows something about something works a lot better than certain manufacturing company, where the internal norms might be different in terms of secrecy and confidentiality.

There will be a spectrum of communication tools, ranging from secret specialized communication tools, to private specialized communication tools, to internal public — kind of like a Salesforce Chatter or those uses of SharePoint — to public. I know we get preoccupied with Facebook and Twitter public ones, but there’s an opportunity for different types of things, and they will permeate enterprises. … Most enterprises have not yet embraced phones or tablets for anything other than email, calendar, contacts, some rudimentary viewers and things like that. They’re not really part of the business environment. That will change over the next certain number of years.

JC: Seems like a startup opportunity.

Ozzie: Many startup opportunities.

JC: I was wondering if that’s where Cocomo was going, for example.

Ray Ozzie at the GeekWire Summit in Seattle. (Photo by Karen Ducey)

Ozzie: I said something earlier, and I really do mean this. In order to succeed, I believe, as a startup in this world, you have to adapt yourself to the environment, not think that somehow you can be different than the environment. And today’s environment means starting small, not letting your external message get ahead of yourself, build something, get out there with it, don’t claim all these great things, learn from it, refine it, have very dynamic processes and so on. This company, Cocomo, is a handful of people, spread across two coasts. They’re just getting their rhythm going in terms of engineering practices. And I’m really excited about what they’re working on, but it’s not time.

JC: There’s a certain amount of pressure that comes with that if you’re a startup founder like Ray Ozzie. People want to know, and there’s that expectation. So how do you deal with that?

Ozzie: I just don’t say anything.

TB: I’d like to frame the question more in terms of yourself … When you look at yourself and the rest of your career, what are you aspirations for yourself, because when you think back, you were there at the beginning, and you’ve seen these online collaboration technologies evolve, and become things that are astonishing to you, as you said earlier. What impact do you hope to make with the rest of your career?

Ozzie: I can’t think at that meta-level. My aspiration is to keep building, to keep dreaming, to keep taking a risk. When things get too comfortable, to shake things up, to put myself out there continuously in a way where I’m risking something that’s material to me. … I just want to keep building.

Comments

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U2H7S4MG6PLQUVOA2CFNMZ2QUQ Ric Desan

    “TB: We have this scenario where the tightly controlled
    ecosystems that have emerged from the mobile market are now spreading up
    to the PC.”This is exactly why the conventional PC will NOT die and it is why Win 8 will fall on its face! I have ZERO interest in the closed crap ecosystem paradigm crApple created! YOU think were all morons who are willingly being backed into a corner to consume exactly how you tell us to consume? Ask the MAFIAA how well that worked with SOPA! Until you create new interface paradigms that are drastically different than the mouse, keyboard and rudimentary touch, none of the tried and true technologies are going anywhere. Back the eff up and try again!

    • Guest

      Nice!

  • http://twitter.com/buckleyplanet Christian Buckley

    I really liked his comments toward the end about the different voices/filters of how we both consume information and express ourselves through the social channels. I think there is opportunity for entrepreneurs within that little nugget of information, from search refinements to service models.

  • Guest

    Q: What do you think about MS x?

    A: Well, that’s both simple and complex.

    Sorry, didn’t get any real insights here.Just what he thought was PC.

  • Steve Jasmine

    Ray says that you used to have to pay the White Pages to not put your name in there. I think the issue with online privacy is that you tell a company you want your data to be private and they use it anyway. You don’t want an App to upload your address book, they are not supposed to upload your address book, and they do it anyway, and give you an excuse as to why they did this… That is like you paying the White Pages to not publish your number and they do it anyway then make up a reason for doing that. Like sites that require your email address, say they won’t use it for anything and then you suddenly get spam the next day. Having given them a unique email address linked to your website you know that this has come from them. I don’t see this issue being about social norms. I see this as a breach of trust. Google have done it with the Safari issue. Amazon did it with IMDB.com. The privacy issue is about a breach of trust.

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