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What’s in your pocket? Typically I would have two devices with me; a BlackBerry for e-mail and my phone. I recently moved to the 7100 and it’s the first one of the BlackBerry family that’s good enough to be the primary phone. I haven’t decided if I’m going to stop carrying my phone which is a PalmOne. It’s a bit big, but it has my calendar, schedule and everything on it. So I’m a two device guy, except when I’m carrying music then I’m a three device guy. I’d like to get back to being a two device guy.
First crush? At High School I got a programmable calculator, a TI 58, it had 214 sections and the biggest choice because it was expensive – at the time it was probably $200 which for me in 1976/77 was a lot of money. I had to choose between the version that had a memory card for $100 more or the printer. Love is a strong word, and that was the time I was discovering girls, so I wouldn’t use the word love, but that was the first technology that captivated me.
True love? I wish there was a single answer. I remember when I first saw the Xerox Star in 1983, I thought this is the future of computers. It was beautiful, but it was slow and not really a commercial product And then in 1993 I downloaded the first web router. The Mosaic browser was the first that did graphics and was the one that fuelled the network effect. What I loved was seeing the future and seeing how hypertext and the infrastructure of the web was going to create a transformational experience that would be at the heart of the subsequent 12 years of my professional life.
Latest squeeze? This BlackBerry 7100. One of the problems in a converged phone/organising device is combining number and text entry. Rather than having the normal three letter ABC, DEF etc on top of the numbers, they’ve done something called short type, where each key has just two letters on it and the numbers, largest. This means instead of having only nine or 12 elements on a keyboard you have about 20 with the numbered ones at the centre.And because you’re dealing with the first two letters for each word, it gets it right first try 95 per cent of the time.
If money was no object? I think a portable music device that allows you to take all your music with you to share it with your friends by literally pushing a button and you would have a song that you liked, and I could get songs from friends and you’d be able to connect. I think that would be very cool.
PC or Mac? PC
Linux or Windows? Windows on the desktop, Linux on the server and the set top box.
Google or not? Yes, Google. Best product, best consumer experience.
How wrong have you been? I feel good about my ability to see the seminal moments of the future – the role that PC’s would play in all of our lives. In 1981 I worked for IBM and decided I wanted to spend the next 10 years sat around the PC and I thought Microsoft was a great place to do that. In 1993 when I was with Microsoft and downloaded the web browser, I decided that was where I wanted to spend the next chapter of my life and 12 years later I’m still in to that chapter. So my experience is when you get the big ones right, you can get some of the little ones wrong.