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« Do You Play Cell Phone Roulette? | Main | FREE in France Gears Up for Disruption »

December 31, 2011

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Voxilla

Andy,

Thanks for a lighting a fire with your call the other day, and in this post.

You are right that thoughtful writing about VoIP and what Jeff Pulver used to call "disruptive communications" seems to have withered away. It's as if the debate a couple of years ago whether VoIP is dead was settled in the affirmative, at least by the industry's chroniclers.

Fortunately, the engineers and technical leaders never gave up on IP communications and the technology continues to flourish. In fact, there's been a great deal of innovation in the past year or so. Some writers and bloggers, having moved on to shinier objects like smart phones and tablets, may not have noticed it.

I'll accept your invitation and your challenge to resume writing and, hopefully, Voxilla will provide some of the useful journalistic insight modern communications has sadly lost.

Marcelo Rodriguez

Sherylshusband

Thanks for the trip down memory lane Andy. I'm inclined to recall "it was the best of times; it was the worst of times" in some ways. I loved writing the books, for the magazines you mentioned, 10+ years of blogging, the conferences and the times we had.

For me, it's a past we can't go home to again. The 3 major blogs I wrote for years have all been erased, the posts consigned to an archive on a hard drive. The magazines are extinct. The conferences mutated, but I wouldn't go today. In truth, I spent an awful lot of personal funds to attend for the camaraderie. There was never a dime of revenue return in any of them.

I found a point where family and personal life took precedence over all that. And moving into a role in my career that set me advising C-level execs in Fortune 100 companies and major government agencies shifted the focus of where and how my voice is heard. That's just me, and I know we all have our stories for why our direction changed.

VoIP became plumbing. Sure, I recently helped craft a 100K user VoIP, video collaboration solution that spans the globe. In the real world of major enterprises and governments, the face of these technologies is nothing like we envisioned. The software and tools we loved, in most cases simply don't fit and can't deliver the scale, security, management controls and tools that those businesses require. I'm involved every day in VoIP, video, wireless, mobility, IPv6 and information security. Just not in the way I used to me.

In many ways its very satisfying because I impact more people and businesses directly. I always felt like writing the way I did positioned me as a pundit, and in some ways damaged my credibility as a technology strategist. It didn't at all, but the voices most listened to have always created an echo chamber and never really understood the reality of business in the enterprise. They think they do, but they don't based on working directly with those enterprises. So I guess in some ways I feel vindicated for being the voice I was during those times.

Sheryl and I still maintain a web site (http://itsgeekto.me), but a quick look will make obvious how little importance blogging has held in our lives. I write more than ever, but for a different audience, with real focus.

I left Twitter and Facebook a year ago. I've recently returned to Twitter, but don't use it in the same way I used to. I dabble at Google+, but dislike it. I love Path because of the true personal nature. I recently went back to Posterous as a blogging sort of tool, but it's mostly a scrapbook of ideas and the like, or things I read that made me think about something. If I find myself compelled to rant, it's either in a boardroom or may show up there.

Social media became an echo chamber of noise, all media and little social. The personal social nature of it got drowned about by re-tweeting of retweets ad nauseum. In signal to noise ratio, noise one.

You remind me of a time when signal was high and noise was low. That's isn't the case in the new world of social media. Signal exists, but it's often like listening for a whisper at a basketball game. You have to pay attention to find it. Many people are simply focusing attention where that signal is. I know I am.

And yes, I'm an old fart too. My career moves put me in an elder statesman role of trusted advisor and consultant on the architecture of the future. Not the 2012 future, but the "10 years out future" of tomorrow and the architecture it will require to support the enterprise of that era.

Ok, my comment is becoming a rant, and on New Year's day, it's a great day to spend with family and appreciate the wonder of the world we live in rather than add noise to the echo.

Cheers my friend!

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