Category Archives: My Companies

Information about the companies I own and am trying to start

Cell Phone Industry and Oops

So, my private business, ThoughPut Inc is winding down. The cell phone market has almost completely consolidated at this point. The big carriers have learned that if they carry more than about 100 games, it begins to hurt their overall sales. Because there are so many game developer wannabe’s (including me, up until recently), the carriers have more than enough to choose from, and the mobile gaming arena has become *extremely* competitive. Even with the average “small” cell phone game costing around $300,000 to produce, carriers are finding that they can deal with only a handful of game publishers, and have more than enough games to fill their decks.

Where does this leave the small game developer? As one carrier exec said, “You do the math. If we’re going to carry 100 games, would want to deal with 100 different developers, or only a handful?” (or words to that extent). Of course, I’m not complaining — I managed to get in at the right time, make a decent profit, and then pull out before I spent all my profits trying to keep up with the industry giants — not a practical proposition. So what does this have to do with my blog, and why do I mention it now? Well, since ThroughPut no longer needs the dedicated web server it has (which is piggybacking off of), I no longer need to pay $109/month for it.

Don’t worry, this site isn’t going anywhere. I am just going to move it back to my old coworker’s data center, where it was before I started ThroughPut Inc. Unfortunately, I botched the job of remote-upgrading my server there from Red Hat 7.2 to CentOS 4.2, and managed to completely hose the machine. So, the conversion will have to wait until I can take a trip out to the middle-of-nowhere, Long Island, and re-install the thing in person.

Maybe this weekend.

Business Progresses

When I first started my latest attempt to take over the world — aka, start my own business — I did so with three main concepts. One of them was to start an electronic voting company, with a new and refreshed look at the subject.

Unfortunately, it turned out that my new and novel approach had already been patented. I contacted the patent holder, and unfortunately he was not willing to part with it or even participate for anywhere near a reasonable arrangement. Further research into this market will tell you that there are some big players involved — going up against them would take a pretty serious commitment from people with deep pockets. Since electronic voting is not my area of most expertise, and because I don’t have those sorts of pockets, I’ve decided to side-line the electronic voting market, in lieu of my other 2 business ideas. Coincidentally, I have managed to make notable progress in both those other areas, although one more than the other. I’ll post more about those in a bit.

Server Beach

Yesterday, my server was having connection problems again. I was getting somewhere around 80% packet loss. This only lasted for a little while, and I have been getting my server co-located for free, but this sort of thing is really not OK — especially since this is my primary email server, and hosts a handful of websites besides this one. So, I bought the entry server kit from Server Beach. I have to say that I was impressed with their service, and they had my machine up and running within 6 hours. I then took the rest of last night and this morning to finish setting it up, and moving over DNS…

Long story short, you are now viewing this site on its new server. It should be much faster and snappier than before, as it has gone from a Celeron 533 / 320mb RAM to an Athlon 2200 / 1gb RAM. Leave me a comment if you have any problems.

PS: Anyone who is using webmail off my site, you should see a BIG speed increase when looking through large email boxes!

Official Notice

I was out sick the past two days with a horrible cold/flu. I’m came back to work today (although I still don’t have my voice back), to find a bunch of emails asking about me leaving. There are a bunch of reasons why I feel that now is the right time to take this step. I’ll outline them, more so I can remind myself later when my resolve isn’t as strong than for anyone else. These aren’t in any particular order.

1. There isn’t enough time in the day to work full-time and run a side business. I tried that for the past two years. It sounds good in theory, but your home life suffers, and it wears you out to the point where if you don’t take a sizable vacation from everything every two months or so, you start to go a little crazy.

2. I am spending about 3-3.5 hours a day traveling back and forth from Long Island to Brooklyn. This is clearly a large and unproductive (and non-entertaining) chunk of the day. From the time I wake up (to go to work) to the time I get home is about 12 hours. This is not an ideal lifestyle when I have an option otherwise.

3. The freedom to make large and unilateral decisions in my private business stressed the lack of that ability in my day job. That’s not anything that wouldn’t be the case at any large company — there are policies and procedures, and they are there for a reason. However, a small company has the ability to turn on a dime in either its procedures, infrastructure, or business strategy, and a larger company can’t. As time went on, the difference between the two was getting more frustrating.

4. If not now, then when? I’ve been talking about starting businesses — with viable plans — among my friends for quite a while. I am about to get married. If I don’t take this opportunity now, then when will I have a better chance to do so? I refuse to be forced to tell stories about what I “could have done, but was too afraid.” After all, there is nothing to be afraid of, other than some serious effort.

5. I think I can succeed. I’ve been reading up on some of the myths of start-up businesses. For example, the proverbial “9 out of 10 fail.” It turns out, that this counts all small businesses — the bulk of which is restaurants, deli’s, dry cleaners, etc. And, of the 9 that fail, most are closed voluntarily, not because they bankrupt. I don’t think the chances are so poor as that. Also, my company already has existing sales. These sales have dropped lately because I haven’t had the time to devote to it.

Of course there are all the other reasons one might imagine: “be your own boss,” “work from home,” etc. I think the ones above are the biggest, for me.

I hope this has answered at least some people’s questions. I think it answers mine.