Bob Young at UNC

Bert and I are at ibilio's Bob Young lecture at the Stone Center at UNC.  I've never blogged a live event and only have about 20 minutes of battery left - so this should be an enjoyable experiment. All quotes are paraphrased.

Here goes...

Oh yeah, just in case you don't know - Bob Young is the co-founder of Red Hat, founder and CEO of LuLu, and owner of the Canadian Football League's Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

I knew we were in the right place when I saw the guy with long hair wearing an ill-fitting suit and white socks. Most of the people here are engineers or computer science students. It's great to be in a room full of nerds again...

"If you work in technology, you have to spend 8 hours working and then another 8 hours working at home just so that you'll remain relevant when you go back to work tomorrow. If that 2nd 8 hours is a burden - then you should look into selling life insurance."

Bob and Mark Ewing started the Center for Public Domain because all of the money thrown at open source projects in the early '90s. In their opinion, it didn't make sense to "thank" the open source community with more money. Instead, they founded a non-profit to help influence intellectual property laws, which they saw as the most likely demise of the open source movement.

"Google wants to own the world just as badly as Microsoft does. They are the fastest company on the planet to go from a company that says "Do no evil." to a company that implies just the opposite. I love Google, they just have no idea about the evil things that do or might have to do."

The hardest part about turning his first ideas into real businesses:

- "Lulu has been the hardest."
- "Raising funds as a young entrepreneur. 'He's 26. He has no idea what the hell he's doing.'"
- "It takes time, vision, commitment to build a technology before you actually have the customers. It takes 6 months before you realized that you just wasted the last 6 months."
- "The be a successful entrepreneur - to be a successful anything - you have to be a good learner."

Bob's good-humored cracks at professors and university administration have been hilarious:

- "If these teachers knew so much about their field, then they'd be Bill Gates! Who are they to tell you what you need to know?"

- "If I wasn't such a terrible student and therefore constantly motivated to work hard to prove my teachers and classmates wrong, who knows, I might be the director of ibiblio."

"Love relates to other people; not to what you do. I love Linux and open source because of what it enables me to do."

"Patents should be limited to inventions, not ideas. One-click shopping is the worst patent ever. It's stupid no matter how you look at it - there are an infinite number of ways to code one-click shopping."

"Had there been Ritalin when I was a kid, I too could have gone to UNC Chapel-Hill."

Best line of the talk - very facetiously - "My failures? I haven't had any. Next question."

Great talk.