Rowan Trollope

There are other annapurna's in the lives of men

Uh oh

Thanks to my climbing buddy for sharing this tidbit of love with me - and this is just one day after we discussed our next ascent…

I for one did not realize the risk of my favorite sport - Alpine Mountaineering.  Ces la vie…  

And who rides a motorcycle 8 hours a day? :)

The age of excellence

Jason continues to come up with insightful views on technology development, most recently his article on the age of excellence http://blog.launch.co/blog/the-age-of-excellence.html/ and his follow-up, the Time to Excellence http://blog.launch.co/blog/t2e-time-to-excellence.html.  

I think Jason is on the right track, but I am not convinced about his views on “T2E” Time to Excellence.  Consider for instance the iPhone5, which Jason asserts is excellent.  I agree iPhone5 is pretty excellent, but it still dies before the end of the day, has much to be improved in the home screen navigation, sports a keyboard that still frustrates many, maps that send you in circles, crappy quality facetime video, and it drops calls all the time (just like all mobile phones).

When we’ve got full HD/3d video conferencing on our phones, a 7 day battery, a dynamically extruded touch sensitive keyboard, gesture recognition and incredible natural language recognition — what then will we say about iPhone5?  Was it an excellent phone by comparison?  No, it will be viewed as positively archaic.  Good for its day?  Yes.  Excellent for its day: Absolutely.  To Jason’s point, I’d argue that the Palm Pilot was excellent in its day, napster was excellent in its day.

My view is that excellence is a relative benchmark.  Excellent for today is not excellent compared to some future technology.  

Another dimension beyond excellence is timing.  There have been plenty excellent technologies which were simply ahead of their time.  For example, take Google Wave (or any other half decent email replacement, of which the past is littered like the Everest basecamp).  At the end of the day, while these technologies may have been better than what they replaced, they never caught on because they were ahead of their time.  The world isn’t ready for an email replacement, so every email replacement has failed.  When the world is ready, then I’d bet that some of those old approaches could be dusted off and made to take off in a significant way.  

Taking both dimensions into account gives us killer apps.  Its about finding the sweet spot of excellent technology at the right time and place. 

With Perry about to head back to school, we decided to get out and climb. Without enough time to get to Yosemite and back, we opted to explore the local climbing at castle rock state park.  Coming upon an observation platform with what looked like climbs below it, we rigged our two 60m ropes and rapped to the bottom into the creek.  Here Perry deftly works his way up what seemed to be a 5.10a route. A great day outdoors!

With Perry about to head back to school, we decided to get out and climb. Without enough time to get to Yosemite and back, we opted to explore the local climbing at castle rock state park. Coming upon an observation platform with what looked like climbs below it, we rigged our two 60m ropes and rapped to the bottom into the creek. Here Perry deftly works his way up what seemed to be a 5.10a route. A great day outdoors!

Test drive - Tesla model S - Outstanding

This Sunday I had a chance to visit the new Tesla factory in Fremont and test drive the Tesla Model S. 

In a nutshell, after the short test drive, I was impressed.  Really impressed.  There’s a lot to like about the model S, and a few things I didn’t care for. Here they are:

The good (great):

1) Handling and Performance. This car drives like a dream. I tested the performance edition, which does 0-60 in 4.6 seconds (or thereabouts). It was so fast! I drive a BMW M6 with 509 HP so I am used to a fast car. This car seemed faster than the M, even though it is not. It’s the linear acceleration that makes it seem so quick. As fast as this car is, it was the handling that really took me by surprise. It drives like its on rails. Seriously amazing handling. You immediately notice the low center of gravity as there is almost no body roll, yet it is supple and smooth and there is no harshness to the ride. It is a completely different driving experience than any other car I have ever driven. It is this aspect of handling that completely wowed me and convinced me I have to have one. My friends and I compared the Tesla S to the M6 one after the next, and agreed that the S felt like a rocket ship ride, and the M6 felt like a bucking bronco. The S is smooth. The M6 is rough and wild.

2) Electronics. I’m a geek so I love this stuff. The google maps integration, the 17” screen. The awesome software. WOW. Getting back into the m6 felt like a prehistoric dinosaur by comparison. The electronics are just insane and amazing.

3) Obviously the electric motor, the range, the simplicity of design (mechanically), etc.

4) The styling. The exterior of this car is really beautiful. It reminds me of an Aston Martin. Not quite as refined (IMO), but still a great looking car. It also looks powerful and muscular, which is great.

5) The rear facing child seats. Nice touch. My expanding family will love these (when they are old enough)…

6) Storage space. More storage space than any other car in its class (im guessing here)

7) Sound. I thought I would miss the roar of a 10 cylinder engine with howling exhaust. I didn’t. The silent whine of the electrical engine is thrilling, and somehow I wasn’t missing the sounds of the gas guzzling M. Frankly, the jury is out on this one, but I’m sure my neighbors will appreciate the S :)

The bad:

1) Interior fit and finish. Didn’t quite seem up to the quality of a 100k car like the M6. It was good, but it is not great. Examples: - the door handles are cool (they pop out when you touch them), but the pop out mechanism is subtly jerky - cool idea, needs better execution. - Interior door handles are sculpted, but felt like a cheap car. Hard to put my finger on why, just that is how they felt (I didn’t have much time with them). - there is a cross bar in the center of the roof in the panoramic glass roof model. The covering on this cross bar looked cheap. - the seatbelt buckles were large and clunky. Not normal for a luxury car. Hopefully they fix this. - I could go on, but I only had a few minutes, and these things stood out.

2) Seats. They design feels a bit cheap. Non adjustable head rests are odd.

3) The typeface for the “model S” badge. It’s a custom typeface. They seem to be copying the angular elements of their logo. To my eyes it looks cheap, poorly designed and clunky. I love the naming “model S” reminiscent of the “model T”. I hate the typeface. All the other typefaces used in all of their designs are fantastic, clean, element and modern. This one seems very out of place. I may have to simply remove this from my car when I get it.

4) The black plastic covering the grill. Looks cheap and fragile.

Frankly, when you look at a completely new 1.0 car and one of your biggest complaints is the typeface of the logo, you know the car is pretty darned great.

The car is a step change for the auto industry, and I am amazed at what this team has accomplished. The best thing I can say is that Elon and team have accomplished their goal: the Tesla S is by far the best car I have ever driven.

August 16th, 2011, Perry, Mike and I climbed the “Arete Des Cosmiques” (pictured) on the Aiguille du Midi in the French Alps.  Its a classic ice & rock climb high up (11k feet), and exposed to air beneath the boots.  It was interesting.  Thanks Perry for the best bday gift ever (Father and son climbing ;).  In the photo you can see a few climbers on the very top part of the route.

August 16th, 2011, Perry, Mike and I climbed the “Arete Des Cosmiques” (pictured) on the Aiguille du Midi in the French Alps.  Its a classic ice & rock climb high up (11k feet), and exposed to air beneath the boots.  It was interesting.  Thanks Perry for the best bday gift ever (Father and son climbing ;).  In the photo you can see a few climbers on the very top part of the route.

Aug 18th.  Climbed this route on the Triangle on Mont Blanc du Tacul with Mike Powers.  The route is called “Goulotte Chere”.  Good conditions today.  This is a big ice route.  Almost no rock climbing.  Nice climbing! 

Aug 18th.  Climbed this route on the Triangle on Mont Blanc du Tacul with Mike Powers.  The route is called “Goulotte Chere”.  Good conditions today.  This is a big ice route.  Almost no rock climbing.  Nice climbing! 

Climbing in the alps - update

We arrived in Courmayeur on Sunday Aug 14th. On Monday, due to bad weather on Mont Blanc up high, we climbed an easy 8 pitch rock climb in Aosta. Tuesday weather had improved so we climbed the “Arête Des Cosmiques” an exposed rock and ice climb that runs up to the Auguille du midi. There are only a few hard parts, but they are made much more spicy due to the exposure with thousands of feet of free air beneath your crampons and boots. Looking down onto the glacier below the climbers look like small ants.
Tomorrow the plan is an early start to get up the “Guolotte Chere” an 8 pitch ice climb (Wi4)…

Climbing in the Alps

Next week Perry and I are climbing in the Italian alps. We are staying in Courmayer on the Italian side of Mont Blanc

http://www.effie.org/winners/showcase/2011/4815

I am really proud of the work we did on the Norton brand before I left. The work the team did was so good it was recognized with this Effie award (and many more). Congrats to all my friends and colleagues at Norton marketing and Leo Burnett!  

Here is what they had to say:

"In a commoditized category with free options readily available, premium-priced giant Norton faced an uphill battle when launching its new line of security software. Norton differentiated itself from competitors by putting a human lens on the technical world of online security. By dimensionalizing the villain, it taught consumers that cybercrime is real crime and empowered them to take action to protect themselves. Norton changed the conversation about online security, and as a result saw better-than-imagined gains in brand perception, awareness, consideration, and purchase."

http://www.effie.org/winners/showcase/2011/4815

I am really proud of the work we did on the Norton brand before I left. The work the team did was so good it was recognized with this Effie award (and many more). Congrats to all my friends and colleagues at Norton marketing and Leo Burnett!

Here is what they had to say:

"In a commoditized category with free options readily available, premium-priced giant Norton faced an uphill battle when launching its new line of security software. Norton differentiated itself from competitors by putting a human lens on the technical world of online security. By dimensionalizing the villain, it taught consumers that cybercrime is real crime and empowered them to take action to protect themselves. Norton changed the conversation about online security, and as a result saw better-than-imagined gains in brand perception, awareness, consideration, and purchase."

And the best way to protect your small business…

And the best way to protect your small business…