on molecular computing


That is not really me, but I'm sure my smile was bigger...

First – thank you Robert Scoble.

Now a little story.  I can still remember the first time I saw a Molecular Model rendered on a Silicon Graphics work station. It was my sophomore year of college and I was looking for a chemistry lab to work in. I walked into the office of the professor my father  (a chemist himself) had recommended and there it was – an amazing model of a burgi amine. The molecule almost danced to the Grateful Dead bootleg playing in the background (little did I know I was about to get my proper introduction to the Grateful Dead as well). I remember how this model peaked my curiosity (much like model cars/planes had when I was a kid) – I had always had a fascination for ‘how things work’ and this was just too exciting.  I remember thinking how powerful that tool must be – I had little sense for just how powerful.  That day is one of those keystone days in my career, first as a chemistry geek and now as a business geek.  It really did set off a love for understanding structure, data modeling and computational magic.  What a great day, as the dead say –

I had a similar feeling of enthusiasm late last night when I read @scobleizer latest post, “coming soon: the disruptive molecular age of information”.  I’ve been having this conversation about molecules as they apply to the social web for the last 12-18 months – I see a place where molecular modeling (related to my first career), market research/intelligence (related to my second career) and social graphs (all the stuff I’ve been focused on as a startup guy) all intersect on a large touch enabled monitor (like a Perceptive Pixel).  All of this, is part of the central nervous system of any business that cares about serving their customers (and ‘engaging’ is just the tip of the iceberg as anyone who has worked on the inside of a brand).  And while the last few years of social have been interesting in that they have made it easier for people and businesses to “engage in a conversation” I want to go deeper, much deeper – I want to go to a molecular level.  I want to see how these conversations, broadcast messages, complaints, customer request, etc all add up.

  • What is that molecule?
  • How strong are the bonds?
  • What atoms constitute its make up?
  • What conditions are required to create the desired molecule?
  • How does the molecule change in varying conditions?
  • What does it take to break the bonds?
  • And one very important question – who really cares? (I have my hypothesis)
  • the list goes on…

With the data that exists, the modeling power that exists and the hunger for new insights, this is all doable.  And I’m looking forward to being a part of that movement.  But as many people have pointed out, that is a large effort with some serious limitations right now so I will set that aside for further discussion another day – I’ll come back around to this concept in the future.  For now I just needed to get the thoughts out.  I’d love to get your thoughts on the ‘molecular’ concepts…

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