10 Moments in Canadian Tech Stock History That Changed the World

Is it inevitable? No. Is it probable? Yes. If you are a Canadian inventor, and your work is of the highest importance, it will probably be commercialized in the United States. One way or another, this is the fate of many of the best Canadian inventions. Ask Henry Woodward, who sold US Patent 181,613 to Thomas Edison in 1874 -that was for the light bulb. Or talk to James Gosling, the Calgary tech geek who invented the Java programming language while working for Sun MicroSystems. Or even George Retzlaff, a CBC director in Toronto, who invented instant replay during a 1950 episode of Hockey Night in Canada and was actually prevented by the CBC from reusing it.

Every now and then, however, a Canadian inventor not only hangs on to an invention, but the intellectual property ends up in a Canadian listed public company. Perhaps without even being aware of it, millions of Canadians have had a financial stake in some of our greatest achievements. This is the criteria we put forward for this list. What are the greatest Canadian achievements that we all could have, in some way, owned a piece of in our RRSP's (before the Canadian only ban was lifted on those savings plans)? Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED), for example, is out. Even though The Company was founded on a Canadian invention, it's strictly a US listing. Although Research in Motion has a NASDAQ listing, it's also listed in Canada, so it's in. Many Canadians have owned, and continue to own RIM in their RRSP's. Now that we're clear on the criteria, let's get right to the list:

1. "Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you."

Although these famous words, spoken by Bell to his assistant Thomas Watson on March 10th, 1876 have secured their place in history, Watson was actually in an adjoining room when they were spoken. Later that summer, a less heralded -yet equally important- moment happened in Brantford, Ontario when voices could be heard clearly over a call placed over four miles away. This proved that the telephone could work over long distances. A decade later there were over 150,000 telephones in the United States and, with 1,497 shares, Alexander Graham Bell was the largest shareholder of The Bell Telephone Company. Bell Canada is now part of BCE Inc. and trades under the symbol BCE on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

2. The Dynamic Duo Join Forces

In 1989, Jim Balsillie graduated from Harvard with an MBA. He surprised some of his peers by taking a job with a small Kitchener tech firm called Sutherland Schultz. It was here his paths would cross with Mike Lazaridis, as Sutherland Schultz bought circuit boards from RIM. After Lazaridis rebuffed take out attempts by Sutherland Schultz, Balsillie joined RIM as VP Finance. He invested $125,000 of his own money for a 33% stake in the fledgling company. It turned out to be a pretty good investment. Balsillie and Lazaridis would eventually become co-CEO's and RIM would become one of the most successful and innovative companies in Canadian history, with revenues now near $15 billion.

3. Nortel Rises and Falls

It ended badly, very badly, for a staggering number of Canadians. At its peak, in 2000, Nortel had a market value of $350 billion. At one time, the stock represented 36% of the entire value of the Toronto Stock Exchange. It's likely that no stock has ever been owned by more Canadians, either directly or through pension plans and mutual funds.

Out of nowhere, it seemed, cracks began to emerge. October 25, 2000, CEO John Roth warned, for the first time, that Nortel would not meet its sales targets. The stock fell from $96 to $71 that day. By 2002, half of the company's 90,000 workers had been laid off. And then it got worse. Debt downgrades, missed reporting deadlines and financial restatements killed a meager rally in the stock. It spun out of control and never recovered. Nortel declared bankruptcy on January 14, 2009.

Now that we live in the post-Nortel world, what to make of this? It's cold comfort to those who lost their jobs, homes, savings or all of the above, but some believe that Canada will continue to derive benefit from Nortel. In an editorial in the July 14th, 2009 Financial Post, Sue Spradley, North American head of Nokia Siemens Networks talked about Nortel's legacy after Nokia Siemans had submitted a $650-million bid to buy certain Nortel assets. "Consider that over the years hundreds of companies have sprung from Nortel, generating immeasurable innovation and untold economic benefits for Canada.: she said. "Nortel's labs were destinations for the brightest and best students that Canadian universities turned out. It was a magnet for the brightest and best from many of the world's top universities as well. In fact, Nortel is largely responsible for the fact that Canada has one of the world's most enviable telecommunications systems, and that it is a global incubator for the industry."

At year end 2007, Nortel had approximately 3,650 US patents and approximately 1,650 patents in other countries. It is estimated that these patents could garner over a billion dollars in revenue. Some speculate that Research in Motion may be an aggressive bidder in this process; RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis has called Nortel's fourth generation LTE or Long Term Evolution technology a "national treasure.". In fact, RIM today owns approximately 1,300 patents and nearly 10% of these cite Nortel patents. Click on the ad to learn more about Serenic (TSXV:SER)

4. Mike and Terry lose some Lawnmowers

Mitel. "Mike and Terry Electronics" or "Mike and Terry's Lawnmowers"? While Michael Cowpland has shot down the latter explanation of the origin of the company's name, the reasoning is based on an actual event. In 1973, Cowpland and Terry Matthews, who had met at Nortel forerunner Bell Northern Labs, intended to import and sell cordless electric lawnmowers. Only trouble was their first shipment was lost at sea. This must have been taken as some kind of sign to the now-legendary partners, because they immediately forgot about the lawnmower business and began to produce a telephony tone receiver product that was based on Cowpland's Ph.D. thesis. By 1981, Mitel had reached the $100 million dollar annual revenue mark. In 1985 British Telecom acquired a controlling interest in Mitel, making Matthews a billionaire. Matthews then went on to form Newbridge Networks which was sold for more than 7 billion to Alcatel in 2000. Matthews, who emigrated to Canada in the 1960's became the first billionaire in the history of Wales. Cowpland went on to found Corel which, at one point, was Canada's largest tech company.

5. Roger That

In 1925, Edward (Ted) Rogers, Sr. invented the world's first alternating current radio tube. This invention enabled radios to be powered by ordinary household electric current. This was a dramatic breakthrough in technology and it became the key factor in popularizing radio reception. Ted Sr. died young, at the age of 38. While his then five year old son didn't turn out to be the inventor his father was, his business acumen commercialized his fathers invention to a greater degree than he could have imagined. Ted Rogers Jr. founded Rogers Radio Broadcasting Limited, which became the earliest proponent of the FM signal in North America. A couple years later, Roger's CHFI-FM quickly became Canada's most listened to FM radio station and also became the most popular and profitable FM radio station in Canada. Rogers' interests in radio led him to cable television in the mid-1960s. In 2009, Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.A) did nearly $12 billion in revenue.

6. Canada Lends an...Arm

If you were a taxpayer in Canada in the 1970's and early 80's you may have felt that the Canadarm was built to deliver a solid uppercut to your pocketbook. The Government of Canada invested $108 million in designing, building, and testing the first one. The program, which was carried out by The National Research Council of Canada, featured an industrial team that was lead by Spar Aerospace, which was ultimately acquired by McDonald Dettwiler (TSX:MCD). The project also included engineers from CAE Electronics (TSX:CAE), who built the display and control panel as well as the hand controllers located in the Shuttle aft flight deck. The Canadian taxpayer eventually shook off the effects of the Canadarm's initial hit; the original investment resulted in nearly $700 million in export sales, including the sale and maintenance of 4 Canadarm systems to NASA, the sale of robotic components to Japan and Europe, the sale of simulators, and the development of robotic systems for the nuclear industry. It also helped stem the "brain-drain" establishing Canada as a world player in the fields of advanced manipulator systems and robotics.

7. Ski Dog

In 1937, a Quebec mechanic named Joseph-Armand Bombardier dreamed of dreamed of building a vehicle that could "float on snow." A few years later schoolchildren in rural parts of that province were among the first people in the world to ride snowmobiles, which began as large, multi-passenger vehicles. Bombardier's invention was actually called the "Ski-Dog" as it was intended to replace dog sleds. A painter actually misread the info and painted "Ski-Doo" on an early model. By the time of Bombardier's death, in 1964, his eponymous Company had sales of $20 million. Bombardier's later ventures into aerospace and railway grew the company to the internationally recognized giant it has become, now nearing $20 billion in revenue.

8. Open Text becomes a Synonym for Innovation

Before there was Google, there was Open Text. In January 1985, the University of Waterloo established the Centre for the New Oxford English Dictionary, a collaboration with the Oxford University Press to computerize the OED. This engineers on this project realized that it required developing search technologies that could be used to quickly index and retrieve information. The search technology developed for this project, which incorporated full-text indexing and string-search technology, was recognized as being useful for other electronic applications. In 1991, at about the same time the Internet was emerging, the results of this project were commercialized by a private spin-off called Open Text Corporation.

As the Internet expanded in usage, Open Text grew as organizations found they needed to index and search their existing and growing stores of electronic information. In 1994, Open Text began hosting its Open Text 4 search engine on the World Wide Web, competing directly with the AltaVista Web search engine. In 1995, Open Text provided the search technology used by Yahoo! as part of its Web index.

By 2009 Open Text had $725.5 million USD in revenue, and is recognized as a world leader in enterprise content management (ECM) software solutions.

9. SXC Health goes Public.

Since 2006 SXC Health, founded in Milton, Ontario has experienced the kind of growth we see perhaps once a decade in Canada. The Company's revenues have gone from about $80 million in 2006 to more than $1.4 billion in 2009. But if it weren't for the unique way that Canada's venture markets operate, this Canadian success story might never have happened.

Frequent Cantech Letter contributor, and Caseridge Capital boss Adam Adamou, who as a fund manager in the mid-1990's was an early private equity investor into SXC and later as an investment banker worked with the broader public market and venture capital participants to finance the company through various acquisitions and restructurings, says that estimates of the size of Canada's venture capital market almost always miss the mark because they fail to understand our hybrid system.

"In Canada, the venture capital market and the public equity markets need to work in tandem for technology companies to have access to the capital that they need in order to compete globally", says Adamou. "Private equity companies in Canada often attempt to replicate the Silicon Valley venture model, the all private equity to a huge IPO model, and that model just doesn't exist here in the same way."

Many investors in SXC today may be unaware that the seemingly unconventional method that SXC used to go public -a reverse takeover of a publicly listed shell, allowed the Company to raise $10 million in 1997 which was followed by further and larger rounds by venture capitalists and institutional fund managers over a period of over 10 years before SXC finally "hit it big" with a sizable initial public offering on the NASDAQ exchange in 2009. This is actually a very common method of raising venture funds in Canada and in this case the hybrid system provided not only the capital but also the support from the greater investment community of venture capitalists, investment bankers, research analysts, retail brokers and institutional fund managers that allowed the company to build a sustainable long term business model over an extended period of time. SXC Health stands today as perhaps the best example of the flexibility and the value added by the Canadian hybrid system.

10. Canada's Immigrant Experience -A Graphic Example.

In 2006, the City of Toronto was home to 8 per cent of Canada's population, but hosted 30 per cent of all recent immigrants. One would be hard pressed to come up with a better GTA rags-to-riches story than that of K. Y. Ho, who co-founded ATI Technologies in Markham, ON with fellow immigrants Lee Ka Lau and Benny Lau. Born into poverty in mainland China, Ho moved to Canada in 1984 and founded ATI (originally called Array Technologies) the next year. Throughout the next two decades ATI would become a world leader in 3D graphics chips, competing with Nvidia and Intel for supremacy in the graphics industry. In 2006, after posting revenue of (US) $2.22 billion the previous year, ATI was acquired by Advanced Micro Devices for $5.4 billion.

Promoting Your Brand With New Web Technologies

Promoting your brand is both more enjoyable and easier than ever with the advent of social media, but how can you truly make money by promoting your brand using the tools now available in the digital age? Often, people have major social media accounts for their business with Twitter and Facebook, but are not using them effectively. This article features suggestions regarding self-promotion using the web.

Rule 1: Schedule Social Media Into Your Day

There's no point to opening a Facebook or Twitter account and leaving it dormant. You have to engage with people! Consider how you use Social Media in your non-business life. Aren't you more apt to follow your friends on twitter if they tweet frequently? Don't you love it when your friends post funny videos online? Your business should regularly post status updates on Facebook as well, but take it a step further, too. Comment. Ask questions. Give expert advice. (If you'd like, you can link your Facebook Updates to go to Twitter, and vice versa!) Pssst! A great time to update is around lunch hour! People who have office jobs often flip through their social media feeds around this time.

Rule 2: Content Matters

When promoting your own business in the digital age, what you broadcast matters! You aren't going to gain many twitter followers or retweets if you simply broadcast the same sort of content every day. Switch it up! If you are a yoga teacher trying to promote your yoga studio, trying tweeting a photograph of a yoga pose one day, and then a great quote from a well-known yogi on the next. The same idea applies for any business that you might want to promote. Even if you're trying to promote your band! Post a song one day, and a music video the next!

Rule 3: Stay Ahead of the Curve

New sites are developing every day, and marketing opportunities for your small business or venture. Read technology magazines online, and watch for new methods being used by your competition at all times! For example, Actor Charlie Sheen used streaming video to promote his personal brand, and streaming video is becoming quite a great way to monetize on your talents. Regardless of business, a streaming video channel where you can interact with customers, patrons, and fans live is the foreseeable next development in promoting businesses on the internet. People value live advice via streaming video, and will pay a premium for real-time help rather than waiting for a response as the internet and new technologies continue to grow.

Technological Equipment and Software Financing

In today's competitive business scenario it is very important to stay abreast of the best of technological advancements, essentially, those dealing with computer peripherals and relevant software. Technological or computer software comprises of new computer system, routing software and safety equipment.

These gadgets are often steeply priced and so it helps if someone provides the capital for the technological gadgets and computer software. However such specialized technological tools and software may not find their sponsors. This is owing to the lack of knowledge about these equipments and the business idea behind them. Therefore someone proficient in computer hardware and software has to impart the know-how on these tools. And it is not difficult to procure such technologies once you have the backing of some authentic sponsors.

There are a range of computer peripherals and software to choose from. Therefore the ways in which the financial institutions help with capital are various.

1) Audio visual equipment companies need their relevant tolls that are used in the business. Companies that are involved in mass communication deal in such equipments. The high price tags of these gadgets often require financial assistance.

2) Safety and security equipment forms the top priority when it comes to technological spending. It involves products like safety alarms, burglar alarms, fire safety alarms, metal detectors, closed circuit TV, motion detector and likewise. These are essential for maintain security in the offices and also homes. But its astronomical price deters individuals from floating such business. And hence there is the need for financing safety and security gadgetry.

3) Modern day businesses rest on the mighty shoulders of telecommunications. It is due to this technology that lots of companies could be incubated in campuses across the world. It has bridged the gap between production and the management. Sound and systematic communication is possible with the latest of technology in telecommunications. Offices are up o date with the latest of technologies like broadcasting equipment, multiplex equipment, telephone system and transmitting gadgets. But a ubiquitous high price bars these technologies from reaching small and medium scale businesses. Telecommunications funding gives them the chance to float such ventures.

4) Computer peripherals are essential for surviving in today's business environment. So, most companies source such products. The data storage equipment, server, workstation are the must haves of businesses these days. But their configuration keeps changing from time to time. So hardware up gradation is a must to stay competitive. Therefore technological and software funding provides the necessary oxygen in these ventures.

5) Your business will also function smoothly only with the help of latest software. But conservative lenders would not allow their money to be used to source software. But the fact remains that businesses require various kinds of software like accounting software, ecommerce software, manufacturing software and CAD software. Infact every company runs on software. Therefore some financial institutions realize the value of software and offer them assistance.

Since, the process of technological and software equipment funding is smooth and hassle free, therefore, it's ideal for small and medium scale companies to apply for such funding assistance.

Simple Steps For a Joint Venture Agreement

When you want to take advantage of a leading marketing tool to grow your business and increase your profits, a joint venture agreement is a way to form a strategic alliance that provides your company with additional resources and expertise. Most businesses will consider a joint venture agreement because they gain increased distribution channels, technology, financing, or advertising advantages that can lower costs and increase profits for both companies.

When forming a strategic alliance agreement, you need to pick your partners carefully because a bad choice is worse than going it on your own. The main reasons that business relationships fail are poor or unclear leadership roles, cultural differences or poor integration of the partners. Once you have found a suitable partner that can benefit your business and that you can offer benefit to, you are ready to consider other factors for your joint venture agreement.

To reach a joint venture agreement, you need to have a blueprint for how the strategic alliance company will work. You need to use your knowledge and take action, use salesmanship, good communication and negotiating skills to reach a business relationship agreement. There are business consultants that specialize in bringing strategic alliances together, but you can reach your own joint venture agreement, if you understand what it takes to make a successful strategic alliance.

When you have resources to offer another business partner, you can negotiate a strategic alliance agreement. Just because you may not have the distribution or technology resources, email list or capital to offer doesn't mean you can't bring other valuable resources like expertise, talent or an exclusive product right to the joint venture. There are successful strategic alliance agreement companies formed everyday and typically, one partner is stronger than the other in certain areas.

A good case in point is that Toshiba develops strategic alliances with a variety of partners for different technologies they develop. They believe in the strength that a business partner agreement can bring, when it comes to the principle of two small hinges can form enough leverage to open a large door. They have successfully used a business partner agreement to be successful in many endeavors using the strength of other partners, both large and small.

Once you have settled on potential business partners, it is a good time to write down the attributes you will bring to the partnership and be prepared to sell the benefits that a joint venture agreement will offer your business and the partnering business. Most strategic alliance companies are formed for a relatively short-term, (5 to 7 years), but the commitment to increased profitability is the primary reason that most companies will enter a joint venture agreement. It allows for higher profitability and lower expenses for both companies.

Pursuing Green Technology Entrepreneurs Think Big!

Have you ever heard of spray on solar panels and fuel produced from bacteria? Sounds crazy, right? Like some thing straight out of a science fiction novel? These farfetched strategies are truly becoming looked at in the business, academic, and scientific worlds. What is even crazier? A number of these ideas have already raised millions in funding to get off the ground!

Right now is the perfect time for green technology. Customers are clamoring for the next huge thing and if it is green, even better. Last year, US Energy Secretary Stephen Chu announced that the government was giving $151 million to clean tech ventures within the form of 37 grants. So with the government on board with green technology ventures, the sky is the limit.

You'll also find private firms like Khosla Ventures that take these ridiculous ideas and fund them too. According to their site, they supply seed money to "a crazy concept that may have a significantly non-zero chance of working". What's that mean in plain English? They fund items that they think will work and will take off. A few of the hot ideas (literally!) that they have invested in incorporate AltaRock Energy. What's their idea? They plan to inject water into the Earth as far down as 3 miles and use the steam that rises up to generate electricity.

A few of the other ideas which are floating out there include:

* Airborne Wind Turbines. Makani Power's giant wing uses wind currents to produce electricity.

* Richard Alan Hales wants to put turbines at airports. The airplanes' exhaust blasts could then be utilised to create energy.

* Nanotechnology. Experts in this field are hoping to create solar panels that can be sprayed or painted onto various surfaces.

* Quantum Dots. These dots are mixed into ink and then could be applied to charge electronics, vehicles, and even buildings. This is being worked on at places like the University of Texas in Austin, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and the University of Toronto.

* Plastic solar cells. Nobel Prize winner Alan Heeger is working on solar cells created of plastic to help lower the cost of solar panels.

* New Energy Technologies is trying to develop a device that will collect energy from braking cars and convert it into power for streetlights.

Even though these ideas sound good, it is getting them to function and getting the consumer to use them that tends to be the dilemma (it has taken several years to get buyers on board with items like bamboo clothes, reusing and recycling, all natural cleaners, etc)!!! 90% of ventures like these are going to fail, but it may be the 10% that succeed that may help make the Earth a better place.

Silicon Valley Special Sauce - Key Ingredients For a Tech Hub

It started out with a bang. The great tech boom swept into San Francisco and Silicon Valley with a massive wave of investment and talented engineers. If a company could throw together a sock puppet and an HTML website they were sure to get millions. Unfortunately, the art of due diligence was tossed out the window like a soggy fast food carton as investment firms began to resemble forty-niners flocking to the gold rush more than prudent businessmen. Inevitably the bubble popped and the tech industry deflated. Fortunately, the foundation that was laid during the early days of the PC and throughout the tech boom left Silicon Valley uniquely capable of fostering innovation and supporting technology companies. Given the high growth associated with technology, other regions have begun to produce and foster high tech sectors. From New York media startups to Chicago's recent tech revival, what are the critical elements to supporting a vibrant technology industry? Here is an examination of some key characteristics that make Silicon Valley such a powerhouse.

Legal Foundation

One of the primary reasons that the Valley is such a tech magnet has to do with its legal environment. During the early sputtering days of innovation before the web 2.0 bubble, certain engineers in the valley decided to take chances. The area was known for research into early computing technology and certain employees developed innovative ideas that the larger companies were not completely willing to back. Shockley Semi Conductor laboratory offer a solid example. Initially founded to research the possibility of replacing germanium with silicon as the best material to build semiconductors, the company eventually gave up research due to assumed difficulties with manufacturing. As the company scaled back their efforts, several key engineers decided to take a risk and form their own company, Fairchild Semiconductor. That day Silicon Valley became Silicon Valley. The brazen risk taking approach has permeated the business culture of the area ever since. Given the increasing level of spin-offs and new ventures, legal firms in the area gained a wealth of expertise in forming, fostering and protecting new ventures. This legal expertise represents a key component to fostering the formation of new technology companies in the area to this day.

Venture Investment

The end of 1980 marked the beginning of the venture investment boom in Silicon Valley. As the local semiconductor industry took off, many players in the Sand Hill road area of Menlo Park began to look for opportunities to invest their new wealth. A couple of upstart entrepreneurs including Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had a little idea about selling kits for personal household computers. Despite the inherent risk of trying to sell computers for individual use, some investors took a chance on the nascent company called Apple. In 1980, Apple issued an initial public offering of 1.8 billion dollars. In the aftermath of this unprecedented success story both individuals and investment firms began to flock to the investment opportunities in the area. Over the years, these investment firms worked to develop a unique understanding of the needs and risks associated with financially fostering technology companies. A dynamic venture capital environment is a critical element for any would be technology hub. Without investment, tech sectors are almost guaranteed to fall behind other regions with more active investment firms.

Human Capital

As the chapter of the Great War closed, a ground swell of troops returned home with dreams of peace, families and success. Education was a primary focus. The GI bill provided an educational stimulus the likes of which had never existed before. Certain universities placed greater emphasis on their specialties to help provide a more useful education to the great numbers of applicants. Stanford, a school with a long history of computer science and engineering, began to buckle down and look for ways to enhance their stature in these fields. The Stanford Industrial park was an early attempt to bolster the technology prowess of the school. In a move to make use of available university owed land, Stanford decided to lease the land to local companies. One of the requirements set forth in the leasing decision was that each company must be in the technology industry. Companies from Hewlett-Packard to General Electric moved into the newly available space and began offering subsidies for their employees to attend graduate school at Stanford while they were working. This combination of educational and employment opportunities began to draw engineers to the region from all over the world. The web 2.0 bubble of the 1990's accelerated the pilgrimage of technology expertise to San Francisco and the greater Bay Area. Any ambitious engineer with an idea and a will could try their hand. Even after the boom, the sheer number of computer engineers in the greater Silicon Valley area is unrivaled. This wealth of available engineers represents the full spectrum of talent from 3rd rate hacks to world leading geniuses. For technology hubs, being able to effectively access your talent pool is almost as important as the availability of the talent itself. Given the supply of engineers, Silicon Valley and San Francisco technical recruiting firms have sprung up to help match startups with the technical expertise required to realize their big ideas. Needless to say, human capital is probably the most critical factor for any region to become a center for technology companies.


The most intangible attribute, and probably the most universally acknowledged one, is the clout of Silicon Valley. Companies with roots in the area are actively competing with organizations on the cutting edge of technology. A corporate address in the Valley is almost like a stamp of approval. Between the venture firms priding themselves on due diligence and the top notch engineers, Silicon Valley has curb appeal. Clout is possibly the most difficult characteristic to achieve. For any aspiring technology hub, establishing legal protections, developing a venture friendly environment and courting engineering talent are the first major steps. With perseverance and a continued commitment to supporting the local technology industry a region can only hope to develop a level of clout capable of inspiring tech entrepreneurs for years to come. After all, inspiration is what puts the twinkle in the eyes of the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates to grace us with their grand ideas. Regardless of where the next big ideas spring up the characteristics the define Silicon Valley are sure to resonate in the next great technology Mecca.

The Google Story - An Inspiring Journey in Time

The story behind a success always makes for good reading. And, if such a story is presented like a drama, interspersed with audacious ambition, envy, struggle for control, rivalry, lawsuits, accusations, counter-accusations, and some humour, it would most likely make for some very engrossing reading. To top it all, this is not a work of fiction - in fact, it is not even a dramatization of reality. It is a chronicle of events that happened behind the scenes of what in the words of the author is the 'hottest business, media and technology success of our time'.

The book starts with describing a scene in 2003, where the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, address a high school in Israel. They explain how Google was born.

Page and Brin were PhD students at Stanford University. The idea of Google was born when Page conceived of downloading the entire web on to his computer to try and devise a search program for it. It was an audacious idea. While he had planned to finish the exercise in a week, he could manage only a portion of it even after a year. "So, optimism is important," Page told his audience, "One must have a healthy disregard for the impossible."

It was this optimism that helped Page persist with his plan. He kept downloading the web on to his machine, and Brin helped him mine the data and make sense of it. According to the duo, it took a lot of effort, a lot of night-outs, and a lot of working through holidays.

After this brief prelude-like beginning, the story goes back to the beginning - when Page met Brin.

Page and Brin were both PhD students at Stanford, and they had a lot in common. They were both from families which placed great value on scholarship and academic excellence. They both had fathers who were professors, and mothers whose jobs revolved around computers and technology. Computers, mathematics, and intellectual debates and discussions were part of their genetic codes as well as their day-to-day lives. It was only natural, then, that they got along with each other quite well, and started working together.

They also had an environment that was very conducive to innovation, experimentation and ideation. Stanford is known for churning out several successful technology ventures, including HP and Sun (Sun stands for Stanford University Network). People in Stanford are firm in their belief that sometimes, making a business out of a technological innovation delivers a much greater effect than writing a paper on it.

Also, at the time the two were together, there was a major IT revolution happening. The likes of Netscape were creating waves outside with unprecedentedly huge IPO's, and the Internet was touted to be the next big thing. As a result, venture capitals were skewed heavily towards funding technological start-ups. These circumstances created a setting ripe for research and innovation relating to the Internet, and Page and Brin believed that a robust search application was the one thing that Internet users most needed.

Search engines prevalent at that time provided service that was far from satisfactory. There were many in operation - the likes of Lycos, Webcrawler, Excite and a few others. All of them fell short. They would only display a slew of results that made little sense to the searcher.

At that time, another duo from Stanford was running a company which they had named 'Yahoo'. They devised a better search algorithm, by creating an alphabetized directory of Web Pages. Also, another new search engine called AltaVista came up. Its search algorithm was based, like other search engines, on the number of times the key word figured in the web page, but it displayed results using the now popular concept of web links. A link, essentially, is a kind of a pointer to another web page.

The idea of using links for a search engine excited Brin and Page. They started thinking of it on an entirely new dimension.

Coming from families that treasured academic research, Page and Brin looked at links as something akin to citations in academic research. In academia, a paper was considered good if it had citations. The more the citations, the better the paper. Also, not all citations were equal. Citations from quality sources enhanced the paper's value.

Using the analogy, the pair developed their search algorithm, called PageRank. It depended, among other things, the number of links that pointed to the web page. The more the links, the higher the rank. Also, links from the more renowned websites, such as Yahoo, would carry more weight than a link from a lesser known website.

Initially, the Google Guys named their search engine 'BackRub', as it was based on the links pointing backward to the site. However, they eventually decided that they had to come up with a new name. Because it dealt with vast amounts of data, they decided to name it 'Google'. Googol is a very large number - 1 followed by 100 zeros. 'Google', is actually a misspelling of 'Googol', something which many people do not know.

Google was first released internally in Stanford. From the beginning, it has maintained a clean and simple homepage, free from flashy animations and the like. It was an instant hit in the Stanford network.

As their database grew, Brin and Page needed more hardware. As they were short of cash, they bought inexpensive parts and assembled them themselves. They also tried all they could to get their hands on unclaimed machines. They did everything they could to keep their hardware cost at a minimum.

Initially, the duo attempted to sell Google to other major web companies like Yahoo and AltaVista. However, both companies could not accept Google, because, among other reasons, they did not believe that search was a vital part of the Web experience.

In the initial days, the Google guys were not sure of the business model. They did not know just how Google could make money. The motto of the company was 'Don't be evil'. They believed that advertisements on web pages were evil, and hence wanted to avoid having ads on their webpages. They were hopeful that in the future, other websites would want to use their search engine, and they could profit by charge these websites. They were also relying purely on word-of-mouth for their marketing. They did not advertise at all.

Google's database kept growing, and they started buying more hardware and recruiting more people. Initially, Google was funded by a $1 million investment by an angel investor named Andy Bechtolsheim. Eventually, though, they ran out of it, and needed more money.

They did not want to go public and raise money like many other companies did, for they had no intentions of letting their information go public, and they also wanted to have full control over the company. The only option, then, seemed to be to approach venture capitalists. The duo was convinced that they could get VC's to fund them, and at the same time continue to retain their control over the company.

They approached two VC companies, Sequoia and Kleiner Perkins. Both companies were impressed with the idea, and were ready to fund Google. However, because they did not want to give up control, the Google guys demanded that both companies invest jointly in Google.

In Wall Street, two major VC companies would hardly consent to a joint investment in a fledgling firm owned by a couple of unrelenting youngsters. However, due to the inherent attractiveness and workability of their idea, and through help from some of their contacts, the Google guys pulled off a coup that was unheard of. They got the two companies to invest $25 million each, and they still retained full control of Google. The only condition that the two VC's placed was to hire an experienced industry person to manage their business. The Google guys agreed, hoping that they could push such an appointment to as late a date as possible.

As Google progressed, several improvements came up. The now famous Google Doodle - an image that appears in the Google homepage to signify an important event or to honour a person - started out as a signal to employees that Brin and Page were away. When Brin and Page went to a party called Burning Man, they left an image of a burning man in the homepage to signal to employees that they were away. After this, they experimented with replacing the two O's of Google with Halloween pumpkins, to signify the festival of Halloween. It was an instant hit with Google's users. Since then, the logo is often decorated with a doodle to signify or honour important occasions/landmarks/persons.

Google started recruiting people for specific roles. There was an employee dedicated to making doodles, and another to polishing and improving user design. Significantly, they recruited Dr.Jim Reese of Harvard to manage operations. His responsibility was to ensure that Google's burgeoning hardware requirements were consistently met. Since Google saves a lot of money by buying cheap computers and assembling them themselves, it was important that they be maintained, monitored and managed properly. To ensure reliability, Dr.Reeves spread data over several computers, managed them all from a central system, and used redundancy to insure the company against system crashes. By minimizing hardware costs, and using free to use Linux based operating systems over expensive ones like Windows, Google had earned for itself a major cost advantage.

Google got more and more popular. It won the support and admiration of Danny Sullivan, editor of an influential newsletter focused on Internet search. It had built for itself a very loyal user base that gave feedback on even the slightest of modifications to the site. However, it had yet to come up with a way of making money.

At that time, a company called Overture caught Brin's attention. Overture was the company that provided the search results that accompanied searches of Yahoo and AOL, among others. The Google guys liked the idea of having ads based on search, rather than flashy and distracting banner ads. However, there was one practice of Overture's that they did not approve of - Overture guaranteed that if a company paid a certain amount of money, it would find a place among the advertisements. It went directly against their motto of 'Don't be evil'.

They decided, therefore, to go it alone. They developed an algorithm for search-based advertising on their own. True to their motto, they ensured that there was a clear demarcation between the actual search results and the advertisements. Like the search results, the advertisements, too, would be ranked. The ranking of the advertisements would be based not only on the amount of money paid, but also on the number of times it is clicked. Hence, popular ads would appear more prominently.

Prices for Google's ads were fixed through a nonstop auctioning process. Auctions were done for every search phrase. A phrase like 'investment advice' would cost a lot more than a phrase like 'pet food'. Companies started having dedicated employees to carry out Google auctions. There were several subtleties involved. For instance, 'digital cameras' would be auctioned for a higher rate than 'digital camera', because a user googling 'digital cameras' is more likely to buy one.

Google advertising policy was not without its share of problems. Once, an insurance company named Geico filed a lawsuit against Google, on the grounds that it had allowed other companies to bid for its name. A user searching for 'Geico' would see in his results all insurance companies that had made a winning bid for it. Geico claimed that Google did not have a right to let Geico's competition take advantage of searches on its name. Google's defense was that Geico's understanding of consumer behavior on the Internet was incorrect. A user googling 'Geico' is not necessarily looking only at Geico's website. Besides, Google was not the publisher of the ads, and it also had systems in place to protect trademarks. It did not allow ads to contain trademarks in their heading or text. Google ended up winning the case.

It has also been alleged that Google's naming of the advertisement section 'Sponsored Links' misleads many users. Many users confuse ads with actual results, and click on them without even knowing they are ads. The ethicality of this lack of clear distinction has often come under question.

With the business model set straight, innovation and new ideas flourished at Google's expanded office, called the Googleplex. One employee came up with the idea of retrieving a person's phone number if his name and zip code are entered. Another came up with the idea of auto-correcting spelling mistakes. If, for instance, you misspell a celebrity's name, Google would automatically correct it and display search results for the corrected name. If a less obvious mistake is made, Google comes up with a "Did you mean...?" link at the top of the page.

Google also launched its Google Image Search, which again was revolutionary. Millions of images are stored in Google's database and can be retrieved at the click of a mouse.

The Google guys created an infrastructure and a culture inside the Googleplex that would make employees want to stay there for most part of the day - and night. Mean as they were with spending on computer hardware, they spent unrestrainedly when it came to creating the right environment for their employees. There were free meals, unlimited snacks, toys, roller hockey, scooter races, and lots more. Even the buses were equipped with Wi-Fi Internet connectivity, so that employees could be productive even while they commuted.

External happenings also helped Google. The dotcom crash of 2000 left several extremely talented software developers unemployed, giving Google access to a vast talent pool. Also, around that time, Microsoft was facing a legal dispute regarding its anti-competitive practices. This made the image of Microsoft take a beating. Google, with its 'Don't be evil' motto, suddenly overtook Microsoft as the ultimate place for a software developer to be in. The creme-de-la-crème of the software profession started preferring to work in Google.

Google also actively encouraged and fostered innovation inside the Googleplex. Employees were free to spend 20% of their time on innovative tasks that interested him. They did not have to worry about whether it could be made profitable, or have any fear about its acceptance or workability. They could so just work on anything that was of interest to them. Ideas were often discussed in bulletin boards and over lunch. As an idea grew, it would get bigger and bigger. Google also provided the resources to carry out innovation. Out of this culture were born several ideas. An avid reader of news came up with an idea of providing users with multiple sources of news clustered together, to help them analyze and understand news better. Thus was born Google news. Interestingly, unlike Google search results, the Google news results are cramped close together. This denseness is intended to give the user as much news as possible. Ranking is based on relevance, and also the source. Another innovation was Froogle, later renamed Google Product search, which helped users search for retail products to shop.

Google soon became a verb in several languages, including English, German, and Japanese. A lot of debates about Google were triggered. With information on people only a Google search away, there were issues related to online stalking of individuals. Google's advertisements, despite the company's checks, included certain obscene websites. In academia, the use of Google by students in preference to the classically used specialized databases was looked at, on one hand, as increasingly easy and wide access to information, and on the other hand, looked down as a shortcut method that fostered laziness.

For all its popularity, Google hardly spent on advertising. Marketing happened only through word-of-mouth. Google kept its homepage clean and free of ads, foregoing millions of dollars of revenue. It avoided a graphics-heavy homepage which would slow down retrieving search results. It focused on getting users fast results, unlike other sites which wanted users to stay on their respective pages for as long as possible. It did not have a user lock-in - there was no need to register to be able to use Google search. By offering a superior product aimed primarily at satisfying the user, Google had eliminated any need for advertising. The only promotion it did was through selling caps and T-shirts with the Google logo.

Google launched a new program, to be able to pull users towards Google rather than just wait for them to find Google. Under this program, any website could register to use the Google search box in its page. Called the affiliate program, it promised to pay websites 3 cents for every search that they added to Google. Google, would, of course, earn from ad revenue.

Ever since they had got funded by the two VC firms, the Google guys had been under constantly increasing pressure to hire a CEO who would manage the business aspects of the company. Google had crossed the threshold beyond which a company was required to go public, and the VC firms were particular about having an experienced business professional as the public face of the company before it went public. Several candidates were sent to Brin and Page by the Venture Capitalists, but none of them managed to please the Google guys.

As pressure mounted and time kept running out, Eric Schmidt, CEO of the software company Novell, stepped into the Googleplex to meet Brin and Page. He had consented to see them only because of the insistence of top people from one of the VC firms, a good relationship with whom he knew was important. He had no interest in the meeting at all. The Google guys were equally uninterested in meeting him. They were expecting another of the dull and boring kind of which they had already seen many.

When Schmidt entered, his biography was projected against the wall, and his strategy at Novell was openly criticized. Schmidt argued back vehemently, and there started a heated debate that went on for a long time. After he left, Schmidt realized that he had not had an intellectual debate of that kind in a long time. Brin and Page, too, found Schmidt to be refreshingly different from the rest of the candidates they had interviewed. The Venture Capital people knew that Schmidt could do the deft balancing act of giving a business structure and direction to the company, while at the same time ensuring that the freedom that Brin and Page so wanted remained unaffected.

Soon, Eric Schmidt was made CEO of Google. He put all his experience into play and acted most maturely. He knew when to push, when to agree, when to back off, and when to argue. He still gave the Google guys a lot of leeway. He realized that they had created in Google a culture of innovation which it would be unwise to tamper with. All he intended to do was to build a business and management structure around the strategy and the culture that Brin and Page had so meticulously built.

There were, of course, points of disagreement between Schmidt and the Google guys. It took a lot of convincing from Schmidt to persuade Brin and Page into appreciating that the payroll system of the company, which was based on free software, needed an overhaul. Schmidt wanted to purchase packaged software of Oracle, which he believed was a necessity, given Google's size and rate of expansion. Brin and Page, however, did not see any merit in paying thousands to Oracle when free software was available.

There were also cases when Brin and Page had their way stubbornly. There was once a violent bidding war going on between Google and Overture over AOL's search business. Google eventually won it by offering AOL guarantees amounting to millions of dollars. Schmidt was worried about this, as the company's cash balance was fast shrinking. Brin and Page, however, went on with the deal, as they firmly believed that search and search-related advertising with a company like AOL was well worth the risk. Eventually, it turned out to be the right decision.

This apart, Google also inked a deal with Yahoo to provide its search results. It also signed a $100 million deal with AskJeeves.com, a competitor, to provide it with search-based advertising. It showed maturity and confidence on Google's part to get into deals with competitors.

In April 2004, Google promised to launch an email service which it promised would be markedly superior to existing email services. Brin and Page knew that, with the abundance of email service providers already functioning, a new email service had to be significantly superior to be able to succeed. Google Mail, or Gmail, they believed, was significantly superior.

Gmail's unique features included easy retrievability through a Google-like search of emails, 1 GB of free storage, which was several times the storage space of existing email service providers, and a unique way of representing a series of emails, resembling a conversation. Gmail was first given to 1000 opinion leaders for testing. They could then give Gmail to a limited number of people on an Invite basis. This gave Gmail a kind of exclusivity which made it a much desired item.

However, just as all seemed to be going well, Gmail ran into troubles. Google had planned to have ads in Gmail similar to those in Google. The ads would be context-specific, based on the content of the email. This announcement led to a hue and cry among privacy groups. Law suits were threatened and there were calls to close down Gmail. The issue was with the scanning of emails. It was felt that by reading every email, Google was infringing on the privacy of individuals. It was also feared that security issues might arise because of the huge storage space and the subsequent long retention period of emails.

Google's clean reputation till then took a beating for the first time. The timing could not have been worse, as Google was soon to go public. Brin and Page, who were expecting positive reception for what they believed was a superior product, were taken aback. They hoped that the protests were only a passing cloud, and that things would settle down soon. They clarified that the scanning of emails was automated, and that they would not be informed about the content. They explained that every email service provider scanned emails for displaying emails itself, and for detecting viruses.

As time passed and more and more users started using Gmail, they started finding the experience highly satisfying. The bad publicity started dying down slowly, and Gmail eventually became a big hit.

When the time came for Google to go public, Brin and Page wanted to play it their way, again. A typical IPO in USA is done with the help of big investment banks. These banks do the publicity with the help of what is called a road show, help price the stock, and guarantee a minimum amount to the issuing company. However, there was a conflict in the goals of the investment bank and the issuing company. While the investment bank would want the stock to be underpriced, so that it rises in value and favoured investors gain. The company, on the other hand, would want the price to be as high as possible, so as to raise the maximum possible amount.

Google did not want investment banks to call the shots. They were ready to pay only half the price investment banks usually demanded, and they wanted to dictate terms in the IPO. They wanted the IPO to be egalitarian - anyone could invest. The minimum number of shares was only 5. Pricing would be based on an auction, just like Google ads. They felt that the road shows unfairly divulged information only to a select few. To make things fair, they released all relevant information on the Internet, for everyone to see.
Also, to retain control, they issued two classes of shares - Class A and Class B. Class A shares were for regular investors, carrying one vote each. Class B shares were for themselves, carrying ten votes each, and giving them absolute control.

As the date of stock issue neared, skepticism started arising regarding Google's stock. The price band - $110-$135, about 150 times its per share earnings, started being seen as too high. It was feared that after the stock issue, employees of Google would exercise their stock options and leave the company. To make things worse, Playboy magazine released an informal and very casual interview of Brin and Page. It was an interview taken a lot earlier, but was timed to cash in on all the publicity surrounding Google. Besides being a violation of SEC rules, it also sowed seeds of doubt in potential investors' mind about the seriousness of the guys at the top of Google's hierarchy.

Google's venture capitalists, who had a lot at stake, had to step in. It was decided that the Playboy article would be attached as appendix to Google's registration documents, to circumvent the violation of the quiet period. Also, the venture capitalists decided to hold back all Google stock they had planned to sell - a signal that they expected the stock price to increase. Finally, Google's IPO was completed and the stock went out at $85 per share. It currently trades at $530 per share.

Google kept going from strength to strength. It won AOL's European business almost from under Yahoo's nose, buy offering AOL million dollar guarantees after Yahoo had nearly consummated a deal with AOL. The deal was made by Sergey Brin. Sergey Brin's responsibilities mainly involved making deals, cutting costs, and handling issues relating to culture and motivation. Larry Page, on the other hand, was involved more in hands-on work. He also supervised hiring of employees, and identified innovative projects that showed most potential. Eric Schmidt, the CEO, for his part, took care of operations. He ensured that projects were on schedule, and that deadlines were met. He also looked after the finance, accounting, and other systems.

Innovations kept coming. Google Suggest guessed what you wanted to search. Google desktop gave a comprehensive search solution for your PC. Google video search and Google satellite map came up. Google Scholar was introduced to help search for scholarly articles. The list just kept getting longer.

In between all this, Google started out on an ambitious project to digitize all books in leading libraries and make them available to Google users. Starting with the University of Michigan, a few libraries were selected. Books were scanned using technology that was gentle on the books, and did not affect them. After scanning, these books would be made available in a form which would not allow copying. For books still in copyright, users would be able to view only snippets of pages.

To win the support of publishers, Google came up with a compelling value proposition. It would cover the costs of scanning and indexing books in return for the right to be able to show them in its search results. It would then present them in a form which would not allow copying. It would also provide direct links to booksellers, from whom the book could be bought. Thus, Google was, in effect, giving the user a flavor of the book's content and enticing him to purchase it. It eventually got support from publishers. The project was named Google Books.

In the future, we might see Google use its massive computing power to help research in the field of genetics. Already, Google has downloaded a map of the human genome, and is exploring possibilities with biologists. Millions of genes, combined with loads of biological and scientific data form a combination which only a system of Google's power, processing capacity, and storage space can execute.

The book is exceedingly well written. From the beginning, and till the end, the author makes sure that the reader is kept interested and enthralled. And he does so by using no dramatization whatsoever. By just sequencing events logically, occasionally switching focus to ancillary characters, and by simply describing articulately how the Google phenomenon unfolded, the author gives the reader every reason to keep reading the book. The characters of Larry Page and Sergey Brin are sketched beautifully. The book is written like a novel, so the reader never gets bored. The author should also be given credit for his neutrality. While he is generous in his praise for Google in general and its founders in particular, he is also critical of them on occasions, such as their unseemly interview to Playboy.

On the flip side, the author sometimes goes to a level of detail that tests the reader's patience, such as the detailed description of the Burning Man Festival. Also, certain characters, such as Charlie Ayers, the chef, are given undue importance. While it is understandable that the chef's stay at Google created an entirely new food culture and helped motivate employees, dedicating an entire chapter to him and including one of his recipes in it are neither necessary nor justified.

On the whole, the Google story takes you on a journey - a journey in time of the biggest Internet success story till date. It is a journey that will keep you engrossed, and it is one you will enjoy.

Good Gifts for Men

We put a lot of thought into our list of good gifts for men this year. Just in time to help you in finding the best Christmas gift for a man in your life. It can be a daunting task. Of course, you can go with the same iPod, iPhone, iThis, iThat, but those are gifts every other man (or every other human) on the block will get.

To make it onto the list of Best Christmas Gifts for Men we preferred to go with something unique, useful for years to come, and available at a reasonable price. Something every other man on the block will see and say "Wow, what a great gift. Who thought of that?" It doesn't have to be the most expensive gift. All in all, we (men) are pretty simple. So take a look at a few of these ideas. If you don't see anything that catches your eye, come back soon - we'll be adding to it.

GPS Systems for Under $100

GPS systems have to be on the list of Good Gifts for Men. They will certainly be at the top of the list of the Best Christmas Gifts for 2010. But don't delay if a GPS is on your list, they are sure to sell out fast. Although portable GPS devices are great for men and women, they are definitely on our list of Top Tech Gifts for Men. Afterall, men don't ask for directions, but they will take directions from a sleek, new GPS system.

With products like the TomTom 330XL or the Garmin Nuvi 255W hovering under $100, these are cool Christmas gifts that will keep giving year after year. Portable GPS systems are simple to use, right out of the box so you don't have the Christmas-morning frustrations of assembly, loading software, etc.

You also have a huge selection of GPS devices that are feature-packed and beautifully designed so if your budget permits, and your recipient appreciates the latest technology, check out the Garmin Nuvi 3790T, for instance.

Kindle e-book Reader

Kindles are already a top-seller and the Holiday season has just begun. Kindles, of course, are on the list of Good Gifts for Men...women, even children. If you're spending $140 - $190 on someone special, Kindles are terrific gifts that will keep giving, year after you. They also provide you with gift alternatives for years to come - Kindle Books!

But if you want one of these gems, click on the link below and place your order. Do not pass GO (it will take too long), do not collect $200 (it will take even longer), just go buy it now. They will definitely sell out before you know it. This is one that's on my Christmas list.

Headlamps / Headlights (for the outdoorsy, or not-so-outdoorsy type)

Headlamps or Headlights are kind of like SUV's...very few people need anything that will climb a rocky slope or cruise effortlessly over a babbling brook, but we all want to be able to. Whether we camp or hike or fish or hunt, a headlamp is fantastically useful, which puts them on the list of Good Gifts for Men. I may look funny wearing mine, but it makes me feel like a MAN!

Headlamps are one of those items where you get what you pay for. The longevity is the biggest factor, with many made so cheaply that they simply won't last. Other factors to consider are the candle power, lighting features (emergency strobes, red filters), energy saving features and of course, comfort. Here are three excellent choices at slightly different price points.

If you choose a headlamp, be ready Christmas night...he may wear it to bed!


Yes, it's true, men love their flashlights. And we don't mean those cheap, girly plastic things. We want METAL. These are great gifts that we love and they happen to be very useful. Here are a couple of options, from big to small, inexpensive to not-too-expensive.

When you want a flashlight, especially one for a man, MagLite is the only way to go. The big, burly Mag-Lite ST3D016 3-D Cellflashlight uses LED bulbs and is made of strong aluminum alloy. It's large enough that it won't get lost, strong enough to be nearly indestructible, and it could even be used as a weapon. On the small side, consider the Gerber 22-80012 Infinity Ultra Task LED model. It's compact, sturdy and it's waterproof to about 10'.

Emergency Weather Radio:

As men, we have this innate drive to protect our family. Whether it's global warming, the coming apocalypse or just a series of environmental extremes, our weather has been dangerous at times. No home, and certainly no man, should be without an emergency / weather radio. There are some excellent products available that include multiple power sources and cell phone chargers, both critically-important features for an emergency radio, and priced below $50.

Manly Blankets and Throws

Yeah, I know, this is risky. But people always joke about men and our beloved chairs so why not have a nice, manly, comfortable blanket to go with it...just don't buy anything with a color they call "Kiwi" or "Berry" or "Peacock". But if you go for a navy or burgundy or something like that, this will be a favorite on those cold days. And by all means, stay away from things with cute little pictures of cats and yappy dogs on them. Something themed is good, like the Patriots fleece below, but make sure you get the right team! Here are a couple of suggestions: New English Patriots Gridiron Fleece; Berkshire Serasoft Throw; Columbia Coral Fleece Throw; Dallas Cowboys Throw.

Technology Ventures

I am just your average, middle-aged father (and mother, sometimes), brother, friend, mate and son. I, like most responsible men, deal with the challenges of running a business, raising kids and preserving relationships with family, friends and a Significant Other.

My business interests are widely varied. After spending 20 years in the tech industry in a variety of management postions I broadened my horizons to include low tech, "blue collar" businesses as well as internet and technology ventures.

With deep experience in designing technology products, my article topics tend to focus on personal technology. In some cases I may write a "head scratching" article, wondering out loud where a particular product fits or who on earth would buy it. In other cases, I focus on the features and useability of products that I think are viable. In all cases I try to write down-to-earth, useful material for the mainstream, not the tech elite, early-adopter crowd.

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