I just don’t see the value…

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“so your device connects everything to an iPhone?” The man asked after the pause.

“Well, not just an iPhone. It will connect everything to anything as long as you connect to the device if that makes sense.”

“Now I have to say I am confused” the seatmate said. He looked puzzled.

“In the modern world everything communicates, would you agree with that? A lot of vendors talk about the Internet of things. What I created is a device and software that manages those connections. It acts as if it were a personal cache.” he said.

His seatmate looked confused and struggled to say something until finally he said “I just don’t see value. I can do that with my phone today, why do I need your device?”

“You are right, you can do everything with your iPhone today. What my invention does is actually taking that concept and expanding it. My device has a connection with the software that runs in the background. The software looks at your calendar and pre-loads the information you will need for that day onto the device. No matter where you are it creates secure connections for you automatically. So in an insecure location? You have a secure encrypted connection thanks to the device. No one will see your information.” He answered.

“But then I am at risk if I lose your device. All my information cached and otherwise is there for someone to take.” the seatmate was starting to grasp the concept.

“Well first off, there is a fingerprint reader on the back side of the device that requires your fingerprint to connect to anything. The activation period for the device is managed by the software. The more secure your information, the more often you have to log in. But if you are carrying information like that around you are used to that. The device is a brick unless the person who its connected to, touches it.” He answered.

“Wow,” The seatmate said. “Still having my information locally is why I carry a laptop.” he continued.

“Sure. Agreed. However, is your laptop smart enough to cache information for offline use, simply because your available bandwidth is decreasing?” He asked.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

I’m a traveler how would I use it?

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“Any idea?” His seatmate asked.

“Well there are limited,” he intoned, “things you can’t do like weapons or things that people can use to do damage. You probably wouldn’t be allowed to build a spy satellite, but there was a timeshare satellite launched in 2013 by a crowd sourced funding site. You were able to either buy time or buy a picture of a picture you selected with earth in the background.” he finished. He was talking fast, a problem he had always had when he was excited and engaged on a topic.

“So what is your project?” his seatmate asked, pointing at the bag in his lap.

“it’s a project focused on travelers.” He answered hoping that was enough and the man would stop bothering him. There were 3 hours and 44 minutes left to Phoenix.

“I’m a traveler,” the man said “how would I use it?”

He gently slid the bar out of its case and held it up for the man to see. It wasn’t much to look at. He had molded the plastic in a kiln his sister had in her garage. the guts were inside the device. it was meant to be small, although it was much larger as a prototype than it would be in production. You can mill plastic much better when you have the actual milling tools. “it’s a prototype,” he said.

“what does it do?” the man asked.

“It manages connections.” he answered. he pulled out his iPhone and held it up for a second. “You have Bluetooth and wi-fi connections that you use all the time. This device and the software I created let’s you use them more efficiently.”

“Oh.” the man said. He was clearly disappointed and the flood of questions stopped. He was expecting a game changing device. Or Steve Jobs holding up the iPhone in front of a cheering crowd. Something stunning. Stunning only worked when you had the resources of professionals and professional machines. You didn’t build wow in your garage.

He thought about that for a second – Steve Jobs had built wow in his garage but not visual wow. They had built amazing technology that was game changing. The wow came later. He hoped his device would have wow later.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

A funny seatmate…

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As he gently laid it on his lap the person next to him leaned over. First class was always more chatty than coach. People were uncomfortable in the back and didn’t talk as often. He wished for a second as the words rolled in that he hadn’t taken it out, and that he hadn’t been upgraded.

“That’s an interesting device” his seatmate said.

For a second he thought about feigning sleep and cursed himself for not having thought of that earlier in the process. Taking the window seat and pretending to be asleep was the easiest way to combat inquisitive seatmates. Of course 9/11 remorse flooded over him forcing him to respond. The person was simply making sure he wasn’t going to blow up the plane in part.

“Its my invention.” he answered. He had applied for a patent but that took weeks so he was a little nervous about saying too much in a public place about his intellectual property. “I am heading to the inventor’s conference in Phoenix” he added hoping the last bit would catch the person’s interest.

“I didn’t know they had invention conferences,” the man said. “What do you do at an invention conference, invent new drinks?” The man smile. He was an airline seat comic. Someone who fancied himself funny.

“Its more of an industrial show,” easier to ignore a seat comic and continue the conversation than to leave the joke hanging in the air or to respond with laughter. “You bring your invention to the show and the various manufacturers either offer to build it and share the profits, buy it outright or some co-funded option. Its sponsored by Kickstarter, the funding web site.”

“Kickstarter? I’ve never heard of that site.” The seatmate said.

“Its an interesting place.” He smiled. His device gently sliding back into the bag as he thought, out of sight, out of mind.  “Basically if you have a great idea and an understanding of the “cost” of production you sign an agreement with Kickstarter and they begin a campaign to raise the money you need to build or deliver your idea.”

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

It is the future…

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From airborne to change was 4 hours. Four hours from New York City to Phoenix Arizona. Everything he needed to make the chagne in his life was in his brief case. He pulled it out of the bin after the 10,000 foot ding.

“You may now use electronic devices” The flight attendant said “but we ask that when you are seated you keep your seatbelt buckled.” Then the captain came on the intercom “Looks like a pretty smooth flight today folks,” the captain said “we will be cruising at 33,000 feet and from reports we’ve heard a pretty smooth ride. I’ve turned off the seatbelt sign. But as your flight attendant said when your seated keep it snapped.”

He pulled the bag open gently. Pulling out the case he opened it. His life’s work. He wondered for a moment if, based on the nature of his device if it would interfere with the navigation system of the plane. Now was not the time to fall plummeting fro the sky. Although, was there ever a good time to plummet from the sky?

The device wasn’t shiny and wasn’t machined to perfection. It was the prototype that he had worked on the past two years in his spare time. It had consumed his time like a locust leaving nothing but work and the device. It hadn’t mattered. His wife had left years before with another man. Certainly a sad event but in the end freed him from social so that he could focus on his device.

It was the future he thought. What a sentence he thought. Past tense was with the pre-tense future. It is the future he corrected himself.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Gently lifting into the air

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But only for a time he thought to himself. Happiness lives and dies in a very small lifespan. Humans have long lifespans. He thought about all the “one” moments of happiness that he had let slip away and for a second the happy to turned to sad.

“Good afternoon and thank you for joining on flight 271 to Phoenix Arizona. We realize many of you are experienced travelers but please just take 2 minutes to listen to the safety presentation about this Boeing 787 airliner.” The flight attendant’s voice faded to black and he resumed his inward journey.

When did it start? He struggled to recall the beginning. There is an old quote that hindsight is 20/20 but you have to be careful with hindsight. You can spend your day looking backwards and in the end create more havoc than good. Not that he hadn’t at times driven backwards through his own life. His presence the very backwards facing wrecking ball that with 20/20 hindsight vision regretted all of the havoc he had caused. It happens to everyone.

At what time did the original process stop and this new one start? When did he start trying to turn things around? Was it when she left? They had been dating by then for nearly 4 years. She wanted so much more and he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t pull the trigger and then suddenly she was getting married to someone else and he couldn’t stop crying. Was that the lowest point? From there is was a long uphill climb to normal?

Or was it when, in looking back he realized he had left regrets throughout his life in little paper bags filled with cheap wine bottles? I am not who I was, he thought. His 20/20 view of the him who was him harsh and glaring. I am not him. He thought again. The gentle bump right before liftoff shook him back into the real world. The flight was airborne.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

For a time you can be happy

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His seat was in first class, the value proposition of flying so much was that you sat in the front of the plane, first on, first off. People looked at him sitting with a glass of beer, sipping as they walked past. They were to a degree envious. But he thought to himself are they willing to give up everything?

He thought for a moment about the device in his briefcase above him in the bin. There was a time when he thought that would change the world. He wondered as he watched the faces trod past him how many of his counterparts had made it through security and were also about to be airborne. Like a virus they would expand filling airplanes, trains and cars spreading quickly through the country.

I am part of the virus. He thought to himself. It wasn’t comforting. It was simply reality.

It had been a long road from where it began to where it was now. A journey comprised of a million miles flown in the air. A thousand hours spent far about the surface of the earth, looking down and wondering.

What could have gone wrong? Why so long? Why? The questions growing shorter as time passed. The frustration growing with each passing day. Until one day, you wander into a place and find out you are not alone. That there are other’s who feel as you do and are looking for the same answers you are seeking.

For a time you can be happy.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

Beyond the counter

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“Flight 271 bound for Phoenix Arizona now boarding gate 17a. Please have your ticket ready as you approach the counter.”

People asked him all the time, it must be wonderful to travel so much. To see the world, to be out there moving around all the time. He would smile because, roots need soil to grow and he had not roots. How do you tell someone with roots that your roots are rotted and can’t hold onto the very soil you were both standing on. It’s a harsh Buzz killing moment when you do.

He handed his ticket to the counter person who smiled at him, scanned it and handed it back to him. He shuffled along at the speed of the queue. He had learned long ago that the queue for the plane moved at the speed of the queue and no faster. Once, a long time ago he had been at the back end of the line. Suitcase and guitar in hand, a one man band pushing at the back of the line trying to make it move faster.

Now he was at the front of the line carrying only the briefcase that went everywhere with him. He headed down the ramp slowly with the queue speed. Some planes were fast, their queues well oiled machines filled with those who fly all the time. Step, lift, bin, sit almost a stomp musical. Each person moving in a rhythm. Those were the flights where everyone stood in the gate waiting for their number to be called in the upgrade – lotto. First class has checked in full please be seated in your previously assigned seat the announcement that shatters the gate area into hundreds of disappointed travelers.

As he stepped onto the plane it occurred to him, to be heard you have to listen.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow