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What's our purpose in life?

Recently, on the way to school my 2nd grader asked me, "What's our purpose in life?" That's a deep question, especially at 7:40 AM, so I thought my best tactic was diversion. "Did you bring your backpack?" I responded. "Yeah. But I wanna know what our purpose in life is." It was clear he wasn't going to let me off easy, so I answered something like you'd read in Chicken Soup for the Soul: "To be nice to other people and take care of your family."

Take a look at Michael Robertson's new personal web site
"That's NOT a purpose and besides, that will just mean there will be more people on the planet. I want to know WHY we're here. What's the goal?" Luckily, right about then we arrived at his school and, like a knocked-down prize fighter, I was saved by the bell. It gave me a solid day to think about a better answer because I was sure he'd resume the inquisition after school.

I know what my purpose in life is - to use technology to build companies that promote choice and opportunity. My personality embraces big ideas, even if that means competing with powerful companies/monopolies and defining new legal ground. I'm a believer in open standards, consumer access and healthy competition.

Being born in 1967 makes me an analog baby. During my lifetime the world is moving completely digital: entertainment (music, photos, videos), communication (written, spoken) and commerce - even activities that you wouldn't necessary think of, like girls playing dress-up. This shift is creating amazing business opportunities for my generation that future generations will look back on yearningly as the "big opportunity time."

To maximize my purpose, I have decided to make the move to Chairman of Linspire. I've turned the CEO title over to Kevin Carmony, Linspire's long-time President. He started Linspire while I was still at and is officially the first Linspire employee. He's a tremendous leader and knows Linspire better than anyone in the world. I'm excited to see him build on Linspire's momentum and take it to the next level where there will be millions of Linspire users. As Chairman, I'm still actively involved with Linspire and care more about it than ever, but this will give me more time to devote to some of my other projects.

I recently broke down and launched a personal web site - - to list some of the companies I'm currently

Read About MIchael's Ventures
involved with. I've resisted for a long time because I've thought that most personal web sites are about as silly and useless as vanity car plates. Hopefully, mine will have more useful information than just glamour photos. This is where you'll be able to read the Michael's Minutes each week. You'll also find links to some of the companies that I've mentioned in past Minutes like MP3tunes, REEF, and SIPphone, but also some links to some that I haven't mentioned like Sadie's. You'll see a couple of new entries to the web site in the next couple of months. And I'll do my best to chronicle the progress of these companies on the web site.

When I arrived home that night my son was sitting at the table doing his homework. "Dad, you never told me what the purpose of life is." Having had a full day to contemplate, I responded: "Everyone's purpose in life is different. I can only tell you my purpose, but you must discover your own purpose in life. Now finish your homework."

-- Michael
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