15 Minutes with MarcA

Rohit Khare (khare@w3.org)
Tue, 5 Nov 1996 10:58:34 -0500


Christine.com is an interesting exercise in consultant-self-promotion
itself... RK
Q: What keeps you awake at night?

<Picture>Actually I sleep like a rock. But what I worry about is that we'll
not develop new products quickly enough, that we will target the wrong
customers with the wrong feature sets, that other startup companies will
upstage us, etc. There's no shortage of things to worry about; it keeps us
motivated, and it keeps us working hard.

<Picture>How is the industry different now from 5 years ago?

<Picture>I wasn't in the industry five years ago :-). Certainly,though, now
everyone understands the significance of networks and their impact on how
people communicate and use computers in a way they didn't 5 years ago. That
is what's enabling this huge technology shift and corresponding
opportunity, for customers and vendors alike. I think also it's now clear
that while 5 years ago Microsoft was consolidating their control over the
PC software industry, now developers are more likely to develop for the net
and the points of control that a single vendor could grab 5 years ago don't
exist in the new world.

<Picture>Name one person in the industry you trust?

<Picture>Jim Barksdale.

Q. Describe the industry in 3 years -- who are the players? why? describe
the industry in 5 years? who are the playersQ? why?

<Picture>Companies that successfully transition their products for the
Internet/Intranet opportunity I think will be in fine shape in 3 years;
companies that don't, won't. Netscape will still be here; Microsoft will
still be here; most major software companies will. Consolidation
(mergers/acquisitions) will play a big role,though.

<Picture>Do we need a $500 internet computer? if so/not, why?

<Picture>I don't think so. The PC is it -- but it will be interesting to
see what the PC will evolve into over the next 10 years. (By PC I mean Mac
and Unix boxes also -- the point is that the model of having a fast CPU, a
lot of memory, a lot of disk space, a CD-ROM drive, a sound card, a video
card, a modem, a keyboard, a mouse, etc. on your desk or in your notebook
is the model that will work, versus a stripped-down net terminal model).
The way to look at the question of "need" is, we don't need anything other
than PCs/Macs/Unix boxes for the Internet software revolution to continue
sweeping across the industry. The hundreds of millions of computers that
already exist are fertile ground for the new breed of software that
Netscape and others are creating.

Q. What advise would you give to a developer? Development manager? Software

<Picture>Aim directly at the net, with your products or projects. Be
incredibly aggressive; this is a time of great change and innovation is
likely to be rewarded while stasis or conservatism is likely to be
disappointing. And finally, give us a call and find out about the Netscape
software platform, our development partners program, and what we can do to
help you -- as a software ISV or enterprise developer -- create great
net-based products and services and make them successful.

<Picture>What technology do you think is dying? What are the signs?

<Picture>Software that's aimed at a desktop-centric, unconnected world is
doomed and dying. DOS is dying, finally, thank God. The signs are of a
dying technology, I tend to think, are lack of third-party support, lack of
excitement, lack of buzz. Whether a technology lives or dies is very much a
mindset/perceptual thing, and if there's no halo of excitement around
something, it's probably not going to get enough support in the market or
from developers to make it.

<Picture>Describe a day in your life...

<Picture>In a typical day I'll wake up around 9AM, go to a bunch of
meetings (project reviews, customer visits, planning meetings, partner
visits), go to lunch with someone and talk about business, talk to people
one-on-one on various topics around the company (product development
status, marketing programs, developer activities, staffing plans, lots of
things), respond to email and read the news (particularly the industry
news) on the net, go home to see my baby bulldog Lily, maybe have a
business dinner, then work on either product planning or email from home on
my Thinkpad. Go to sleep by 3 or 4AM and repeat as necessary.

Q. What would your obituary say?

<Picture>"He's dead, Jim."

<Picture>What James Bond do you like best? Why?

<Picture>Sean Connery. Sheer style.

<Picture>What do you care about most right now? .... professionally? ....

<Picture>Both: helping make Netscape successful -- creating great products
and making customers happy. If we can continue to do that I'll be both
professionally and personally fulfilled.

<Picture>Do you have a college degree? if so, in what? if not, what were
you studying/interested in when you dropped out?

<Picture>I have a BS degree in Computer Science from UIUC (I think -- I
skipped the graduation ceremony and have never seen my diploma, but I'm
pretty sure I did graduate). I regret getting a technical degree; I would
have been far happier studying history or philosophy.

<Picture>What makes you happy?

<Picture>Sleeping til 3 in the afternoon and a great cup of coffee.