Space: The Final Frontier

Today is July 20th and it signifies a very important day in the history of mankind. It is the day we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the moon landing and, in many ways, the culmination of the advent of the technology age. 40 years ago today, we began a journey into space that has not receded (though we have not recently returned to the surface of the moon).

Much is being made of this anniversary today. WeChooseTheMoon.org, a fascinating real time re-enactment of the mission, including the days leading up to the pivotal moment, is a project of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

It was Kennedy, in an address to a joint session of Congress in 1961, that called on Americans, with a specific mandate to NASA, to put a man on the moon by the end of that decade. An excerpt of this speech:

Finally, if we are to win the battle that is now going on around the world between freedom and tyranny, the dramatic achievements in space which occurred in recent weeks should have made clear to us all, as did the Sputnik in 1957, the impact of this adventure on the minds of men everywhere, who are attempting to make a determination of which road they should take. Since early in my term, our efforts in space have been under review. With the advice of the Vice President, who is Chairman of the National Space Council, we have examined where we are strong and where we are not, where we may succeed and where we may not. Now it is time to take longer strides–time for a great new American enterprise–time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on earth.

I believe we possess all the resources and talents necessary. But the facts of the matter are that we have never made the national decisions or marshalled the national resources required for such leadership. We have never specified long-range goals on an urgent time schedule, or managed our resources and our time so as to insure their fulfillment.

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I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations–explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon–if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.

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Since then, the United States and the world have gone through vast technological breakthroughs, often in greater haste than the 8 years it took to put a man on the moon. For instance, consumer electronics continue to progress at a staggering speed, particularly with the advent of the iPhone.

The internet burgeoned from a 5 hours monthly dial-up plan with AOL to saturation of broadband in many areas of the world.

Companies like Google continue to harness computing power to create vast databases of information.

Currently, NASA has the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter (LRO) circling the moon in advance of a new moon mission by the end of 2020. The LRO is trying to map the entire moon surface (including the notoriously unknown “dark side of the moon”) to determine resources and terrain for the construction of a manned lunar outpost.

Many companies, news sources and blogs (including this one), are commemorating the moon landing with special logos, graphics or other site modifications. It’s just our way of saying “Wow”.

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Five Years of Blogging

In years past, when I reached milestones such as the one I’ve reached today – five years blogging here at technosailor.com – I’ve made a big deal of it. I’m not going to do that much today, however. These anniversaries become mundane after awhile.

I will however, thank you for reading. Things are often sporadic as I write when I feel compelled to, but I feel like five years of blogging has made me a better critical thinker, better at channelling my thoughts, better at marketing and honing my message, better at doing all the things needed to be a blogger.

Over five years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many people and maintain good relationships inside all types of industries: enterprise software, government, silicon valley and the greater web startup community, major media, politics, marketing and communications, acting… and the list goes on.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

For now, here are a list of the most popular posts written on this site by me and other editors:

  1. How to Change Your Signature on a Blackberry – published December 5, 2006
  2. WordPress to WordPress Import – published July 5, 2006
  3. Is MySpace Dead? – published June 16, 2007
  4. 10 Things You Need to Know About WordPress 2.7 – published November 18, 2008
  5. The Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing – published April 8, 2009
  6. Marketing Plan Series Part 2: Situational Analysis – published May 28, 2008
  7. How to Configure Your Mac to Send Mail Regardless of Where You Are – published October 25, 2006
  8. Business Card Fail – published May 2, 2008
  9. WordPress FAQ: How do I Integrate WordPRess into a non-blog Site? – published April 14, 2007
  10. The Problem Microsoft Created: Mac Office 2008 – published February 22, 2008

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Longevity: 4 Years, 4 Authors, 2000 Posts

Tomorrow we are celebrating four years of Technosailor.com and I’d like to thank everyone who is coming out for the birthday bash in downtown DC (There are still tickets available!). It’s been a ride and we are only now hitting our ascent into a full fledge media property.

In the past four years, this site has gone from being a personal blog to covering politics to covering blogging to covering social media and on to where we stand today as a site oriented and geared toward sober and provocative analysis of the internet landscape we have today.

We don’t cover Techmeme and the latest and greatest stories. Not yet, anyway. At some point, we’ll cover the technology and business news of the day as well, but primarily we are about figuring out the intersection of all the web technologies with your everyday lives. What does it mean? How does it change us? Where is the value add in a society plagued by less and less bandwidth to cope with the cool bling that is showing up on the net.

In the past year, some of the best content we’ve ever written has shown up here. A sampling:

  • Lessons in Management Series – Where I share some of my thoughts on leadership as someone growing into an executive management role at b5media.
  • The Art of War: Facebook’s Strategic Plan for Ultimate Victory – a thoughtful post examining Facebook’s release of the application framework. Though I feel they had all the ingredients for success, as outlined in the post, it’s obvious they misfired. My subsequent departure from Facebook in March of this year demonstrates my current State of the Facebook universe.
  • Movable Type 4 Review – With the open sourcing of Movable Type, I figured I’d give them the benefit of the doubt and install it, use it and do a review of it. Though I’ve since moved back off of MT4 at aaronbrazell.com – which is also where my personal blogging occurs, by the way – I see the MT4OS model as a positive step in the right direction.
  • The Apple Store: Where Intelligent People Go to Die – Classic Technosailor.com posts which skewers the Applegasm mindset. Hey, I’m an Apple guy and I don’t even froth at the mouth. Now who is going to wait in line for a 3G iPhone? Be honest…
  • Everything I Needed to Know about PR I Learned from Office Space – The favorite geek movie of all times really has something to teach PR professionals looking to make it in the age of social media.
  • The PR Round Table – Stemming from the Chris Anderson outing of PR spammers, we assembled an all-star cast of bloggers and PR Professionals to discuss the challenges of co-existing in today’s paradigm. The series constituted a week of precision analysis, advice and debate surrounding blogger relations.
  • Facebook, OpenSocial y la Gran Pesadilla SocialCarlos Granier-Phelps joined Technosailor.com to kickoff the Spanish content stream. He has been producing original Spanish content since and building a core Spanish-speaking audience, largely centered around Miami. In his kickoff post, Carlos discusses Open Social and the solution to the social media nightmare: that is, so many services, duplicating so much data, and not allowing for customer data portability.
  • How the Macbook Air is the Future of Computing – The Macbook Air may be small, only have one USB port, not provide an optical drive and have other limitations – but it might have defined the future of computing. If you think about it.
  • Grow Where You’re Planted – In many ways, a personal introspection. However, a challenge to anyone who thinks the grass is greener on the other side. Instead of looking for the next big thing, maybe the next big thing is right here, right now.
  • SXSW Video Interviews – I spent four days on my feet tracking down interesting people, entrepreneurs, and bloggers (not mutually exclusive!) and recorded a series of short videos. Frank Gruber of AOL and Tech Cocktail, Laura “Pistachio” Fitton, Christina Warren of Download Squad, Brian “Copyblogger” Clark, Brian Solis of PR2.0 and Rainier Cvillik of Mogulus.
  • Thought Leadership – Where I challenge the blogosphere to stop repeating everything they see on TechCrunch and Techmeme and start thinking for themselves.
  • Friends vs. Fans – Have we ruined the concept of real friendship in an age of 2000 “friends” per person?
  • Business Plan Series – Steve Fisher joined his blog, Venture Files, into Technosailor.com in April of 2008. In doing so, he brought his very in depth Business Plan Series with him and completed it here. It took him over a year to complete it and it is a solid resource for anyone looking to start a company.
  • Business Card FAIL – One of the more lively, and entertaining post ever written on Technosailor. Steve Fisher talks about what makes a good, and more importantly bad, business card.

And that’s just a sampling. In recent days, we’ve been recognized by Google News as a News outlet and have been accepted into that index, a milestone for any news organization.

The challenges we face, in all honesty, is financing. While this site is on the move and being recognized widely (approached by a significant writer at a significant site who wants to write here instead), we have given up all income by leaving the b5media network as part of my departure from staff. We do not have the experience to close big ad deals and have not been accepted by any of the major ad-repping firms. Without income, it is impossible to grow the base of content as writers deservedly need to be paid, and I cannot continue to pay people out of my pocket. How to tackle this problem is thus far escaping me and will engage any individual or company who can bring solutions to the table that make sense.

I don’t wish to dwell on this though as it is largely an internal problem, but I do note it as a problem requiring a solution. Truth be told, the ability to hire additional writers can only serve this audience better.

Very few blogs, in my opinion, can make the transition from a blog to a media property. It requires a niche approach to growth. Every additional content stream must complement the goals and vision of the network. That’s why bringing Venture Files into the fold worked. An entrepreneur’s approach to building a company, working the venture landscape and instructing other entrepreneurs based on experience complements to analytical business mindset that I’ve cultivated here. Bringing Carlos on to produce original Spanish content around social media complements the goals of this site, while inventing a new community on the blog. The social media community, while vibrant, is largely missing in non-english speaking communities and provided an area for untapped growth.

Tomorrow night, we are also announcing Wicked Marketing, a new content stream from Mike Dougherty, of Wicked Java. Mike carries a huge amount of experience in online and print marketing that, to be honest, is not reflected in his portfolio. He has done work for Comcast and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, to name only a few. Wicked Marketing is a significant complement to Technosailor.com because it bridges online and social media spheres as well as business and marketing.

We’re also noting that this post is #2000 for Technosailor.com, a significant milestone in itself. Longevity is a valuable asset on blogs today. In my opinion, the requirement (whether imposed or self-imposed) to create a certain number of posts in a certain period has deadly ramifications for a site. I used to do this to myself, kicking myself if I didn’t write a post a day. The effect that such artificial requirements create is less-than-quality content existing only to create search-engine indexing, forgetting that the primary audience of a site should be people, not machines. People can see through shallow, quota-based content. Machines cannot, nor do they care.

I moved away from post requirements some time ago, choosing instead to only write when I have inspiration. A secondary benefit of multiple authors and content streams is the gap-bridge that is created between my own posts. Steve can write a few times a week, as can Mike and Carlos, and together we can provide a regular stream of content for readers. It is far less contrived this way, and provides a richer reading experience for readers.

If there’s anything that can be said for this site, it’s here to stay. I didn’t sell a few years ago, though I wanted to. I’ve been thanked since by folks like Matt Mullenweg. It’s transformed from a personal blog to a professional blog and is now in transition to a media property. Longevity is the name of the game and counting the number of blogs who have been around this long, actively, is a relatively short list. I’m conscious of readers and that you are the only reason I remain online. I love what I do, but really, I could do other things as well. I keep coming back everyday because you have given me an audience, you have come back time and again, and you continue to encourage the evolution of this site to new highs.

So thank you. And happy birthday, Technosailor.com.

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