In todayís socially connected global bazaar, you hear the news of some teenager developing some cool iPhone or Android app and starting a business. They talk about how this whiz-kid was doing programming since he was seven years old and how he came up with an idea for all his classmates to share whatís in their lunchbox today, so they can decide how they would trade lunches. And then everyone around the kid hails him a hero and then two months later everyone forgets about him and life goes on.
Silicon Valley has changed so significantly in the past decade that it is not a Silicon Valley anymore, but a Social Plateau or Mobile App Land. And many of us who grew up in our careers over the past two decades are beginning to wonder if there is any room for us who are trying to offer tangible value to businesses and consumers. The venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road have quickly forgotten what made us great and what made them richer while offering real tangible value to communities, businesses and consumers. If it is not a social networking play with some frivolous value to the youth around the world to share who snores in their sleep or share their silly videos or something like that, the VCs are not interested in funding your idea.
Well, hereís an example of how Silicon Valley morphs itself into a vibrant community with creativity and offers real value to real consumers with real applicationsóand that was developed, not by a teenager from some high school, but by a chip designer in his 40s with many years of chip design and EDA applications engineering experience.
The company he co-founded, General Eyeballs Inc., has developed an application for iPhone and Android phones that enables drivers to find legal parking places and warns (via in-phone and SMS or email) if they are violating any of parking ordinances in the city of San Francisco, thereby saving them hundreds of dollars in fines and endless driving around trying to find a good parking place. ParkingTicketStopper.comís database is regularly maintained to keep up with the cityís changing parking rules. It is all legal and offers tremendous return-on-investment (saving one parking ticket pays for two years of subscription), thus offers real tangible value.
Manohar Kamath, an electrical engineer (a damned good one), an applications engineer (an excellent one) and a chip designer (a brilliant one) had enough of getting categorized as "old school." He went "new school," learned a few new tricks in iOS, Android and Blackberry programming and then teamed up with a friend to start a mobile applications company. In just one year, they have come up with a fantastic application called TKT STPR, and they are now helping hundreds of new and seasoned drivers in and around San Francisco to find legal parking spaces and avoid parking tickets due to lack of understanding parking regulations that might cost the driver hundreds of dollars in parking fines. Their next target is the Big Apple.
So, while some of us are only paying attention to rocking, happening, and rad teenagers coming up with cool apps, there are some chips off the old block who are also bringing the good old groovy into the new millennium and doing very well. So, watch out Global Village, Silicon Valley is morphing itself one more time.
Nitin Deo is a technology and business management executive of semiconductor and software industries residing in Silicon Valley.
It is of great value-add to have experienced professionals come up with new ideas in technology. Who can beat that? Indeed, the new generation will have great ideas never thought of, but sometimes it is also good to encourage more experienced technology professionals to come up with new apps and software, as they will have more experience to cover all areas of possible worst case scenarios and provide solutions to it. We need constant supply of new ideas from these professionals on top of what the younger generation of app developers.
A few years back I participated in an update of the Lejos project - making Java run on the Lego NXT robotics platform.
I was about 45 at the time and I was the youngest with the oldest somewhere around 70.
It is a complete myth that programming and tech is the domain of the young.
This is particularly true of embedded. The skill of making the most of limited resources is not part of the modern curriculum.
Nice - great work -- But the real app is the one where the Engineer in his 40's knew of an integration (SW/HW/firmware) issue in his car (the same issue plaguing numerous "devices" in massive numbers) and ended up at MK Auto in Sacramento on a late night few months ago and was able to get his "Great Car" to pass SMOG so that he had a place to sleep in and somehow get to work only because he lived 2 blocks from MK Auto. And along the way, kept track of the struggle Sacramento has/had been going through to retain an essential "business entity/identity" in the Sacramento Kings via the new arena ( Government / Legislation / JOB Center to enable a greater understanding of the implications and opportunities created/forced by "new laws" and "times"). Where the final solution to build the arena was to sell leases to parking. Thus, this engineer tried to convince a 30+ year old Hispanic Man to join him in an venture where an "unique" but probably know algorithm could predict not only the next free parking spot but also the next two for the two cars awaiting on him to parallel park. And if that did not fly, the real money was in the same algorithm sold to the City to determine what "they" could charge for the next to parking spots in realtime. All this so that 35+ Man could finally make an living that his 18+ daughter with two kids would be proud of and he would not have to go back to "Jail"!!! And I paid for his last month's rent so that he would not get evicted and we could talk and have a chance to go MK Auto Sales Manager to propose this idea as it takes a family of good people to get anything done that lasts more than 3 months.
And at a personal cost that is too difficult to utter.
God Bless America - Peace of Earth - Semper Fi to all those who support and take care of our friends and children.
TKT STPR App sends you alerts (in-phone and SMS or Email) if your meter time is running out. Other alerts one can receive are as follows, inclined parking (curb your wheels), street sweeping reminders, residential zone time limits, Tow away zones etc..In the next revision you will be able to see Parking Garages and its cost, have capability to pay at the meter via the App and also be able to remotely increase your parking time at the meter if you are running late.
I just started iApp development, and looking under the hood of Apple's dev IDE XCode made me feel young again!
Seeing the shades of Next Computers emerging from the mist took me back to my forties!
You wanna stay young? Learn new stuff.
Great idea for an app. Now for the next one, how about an app that tells you the time remaining on your parking meter, so you get advance warning that it's time to run out and feed it some more quarters?