I had the pleasure of seeing Steve Blank at a LeanLA event at UCLA Anderson last week. It was epic. Everyone in the SoCal tech community came out, and I learned a lot of useful stuff from the creator of the customer development movement himself.
Below are my notes on the talk.
What's a startup?
Business model found
Business model canvas
Second decade: web, mobile, cloud
His slides on slideshare
I finally made it through William Gibson's Neuromancer, which was on my reading list for a while. (I'm trying to mix it up a bit with some fiction.)
A ton has been written about this book, which many say was one of the most seminal works of science fiction of all time. I'll just concentrate on my own takeaways and the things I found most interesting in the book.
First of all, my biggest reaction came as a fan of The Matrix. Did the creators of the movies take 90% of their inspiration from this book, or is it just me? The locations, the scenes, the "jacking in to the matrix," even some of the characters (Molly/Trinity, Case/Neo) -- they're almost copies. I guess this might be an example of the saying, "imitation is the highest form of flattery" (or that "good artists borrow, great artists steal"). I love The Matrix, but I am now more down on it since I see it as less original.
Overall, I found the book extremely well-written and quite different in its language than other science fiction I have read. The biggest thing in the book that made me think was the issue of technology to change our physical bodies and minds -- upgrades and implants. Things like heads-up displays (augmented reality), improved physique, geolocation -- wait a minute, is this sci-fi or real life? It's exciting and scary that these things are converging. Should there be a line we draw? When are we no longer human? Or is humanity just defined by our brain/mind, so if we change everything else we're still human? What if we change/improve/fix our brain with a machine? What if a machine runs our brain?
The epilogue of the book was actually one of the most interesting chapters for me to read as it was written by another sci-fi author analyzing Gibson's work. The analysis focused on how Neuromancer was a projection of Gibson's past and present onto his vision of the future. How much of our hope (or fear) about the future is defined by our past and current reality?
Fun book -- definitely recommended to any Matrix fans out there.