FastCompany Global Reader's Challenge 2006
In 2006 I was nominated and made the final
cut for FastCompany's 10th anniversary global reader's challenge. The
challenge spotlights leading creative thinkers--folks who have already
made significant accomplishments, but whose best is yet to come, and
who stand to have a significant impact on the next 10 years.
Lauds & Laurels UCI Award
In 2004 I won the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Science Lauds & Laurels Distinguished Alumnus award. Dean Debra Richardson who nominated me (along with my former advisor, Dick Taylor) said "[Greg Bolcer] is the kind of alumnus who brings distinction and pride to both ICS and UC Irvine. Often referred to as a P2P pioneer, he has led the evolution of the most widely used protocols on today's Internet and has gained wide recognition as one of America's top IT innovators. Bolcer is one of the current generation's thought leaders of peer-to-peer computing. As a school, we couldn't be more pleased to see Greg receive this well deserved recognition." Thanks Debra!
The Parent Test
Knute Rockne once said that "I worked hard around here as an assistant for many yeas, and seldom saw my name in print." I had quite the opposite problem, I was regularly quoted over the years in an abundance of tech articles. You couldn't swing a dead cat around the Net without hitting a couple dozen here or there. No matter how many I sent my parents, they continuously believed that my company was just a few "university" kids playing in a garage. Trying to explain the concept of P2P protocols and Web applications to someone who is just learning the Web results in a lot of humoring. After appearing with my colleague in a full color spread on the front page of the business section of the Orange County Register--a periodical they actually subscribed to--did they realize we were really on to something big. I think it was the fact that most of the friends subscribed to that newspaper and half of them had heard of 'Napster', so I passed the 'parent test'.
The Nokia Thing
To this day, I still get asked a lot about the "Nokia Thing". The official name is the Nokia Innovent Roundtable on P2P: Vision to Reality. It was held in May 2002 at the Women's Technology Cluster building in San Francisco. Peer to Peer was just starting to be taken seriously as a business tool. After the harm caused by the"W* effect" (double-yoo star effect)--the dramatic fragmentation of online Web and mobile Web--my philosophical and technical approach to peer to peer was a welcome alternative. We caught the attention of Nokia as our flavor of P2P seamlessly cut across traditional Web, P2P protocols, and mobile devices. There was a diverse group of attendees including the President of Nokia, Pekka Ala-Pietila, an array of venture capitalists, and other software dignitaries. The panel format allowed each participant to spend enough time to give their thoughts on the subject with the moderator allowing some discussion after each introduction.
Everyone was asked to bring something with them to the roundtable that represented the future of P2P. As we spoke, an artist would translate what she was hearing into a hand-drawn mural, thus capturing the collective understanding of the group. For my "prop", I brought a flat cardboard cutout of an iPaq handheld which you can see in the middle of the mural above (click here for a closer look). The point was twofold: computing technology will continue to get faster, cheaper, smaller, but secondly, paper information at this point in time is easier to use, access, and carry around than digital information. I doubt the convenience and economics will change by 2007 either--the target date we were supposed to speculate about. (aside: I love the IBM "where are the flying cars" commercial...where are the mobile devices as easy as paper??) There was a reception with more VCs invited. The parting gift for the roundtable participants were two signed and numbered bottles of Tara Bella Vineyards Cabernet. The 1999 back then went for about $70 and the 1997 for about $125, but currently they are completely sold out and impossible to find. By far, these were the nicest parting gifts i had ever received.