left wondering…

He’s a nice chap, the man across from me on the train, jolly as we share a ‘What do you do?’ over the tops of our laptops. Mine a Mac with stickers on, his an old corporate HP struggling to boot.

His top button done up, tie pulled tight, pink pin-stripe running through the dark blue of his suit; me in my worn jeans.

“What do you do?” I ask. “I’m a head hunter” he replies. “Oh, what sector?” I ask. “Big industry; Power, Energy, Oil and Gas” he says, smiling.

“That must be interesting, do you do much in renewables?” I ask trying to turn the conversation to something I’d be very interested to hear about. “Oh no, there’s nothing in renewables, it’s just a distraction” he says dismissively. He goes on… “I just finished reading a report, renewables are fine to make us look good but they can’t provide anything like enough power for the needs of somewhere like the UK. For the big companies like Shell, BP, they’re just a distraction.”

“and all this suggestion that hydrocarbons are running out isn’t true, the oil companies are happy for people to think that as it keeps the prices high, but a project I recently hired for has found millions of barrels just off Brazil. There’s plenty of it out there.”

I sit back, wondering if he has kids; if he has noticed the chaotic weather or the news; if he watched The Age of Stupid. I resist asking.

I am left saddened and wondering, do we have any chance at all.

Ground roundup of new eReaders at CES on CNN

Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) — The first generation of electronic readers had little more than black-and-white text. The second generation had black-and-white text, simple graphics and Web connectivity.

Glimpses of the third generation are on display this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show, where manufacturers are previewing e-readers with color screens, interactive graphics and magazine-style layouts.

from Bold new e-readers grab attention at CES – CNN.com.

The 18 Mistakes That Kill Startups

when I think about what killed most of the startups in the e-commerce business back in the 90s, it was bad programmers. A lot of those companies were started by business guys who thought the way startups worked was that you had some clever idea and then hired programmers to implement it. That’s actually much harder than it sounds—almost impossibly hard in fact—because business guys can’t tell which are the good programmers. They don’t even get a shot at the best ones, because no one really good wants a job implementing the vision of a business guy.

from The 18 Mistakes That Kill Startups by Paul Graham.