Lawyers at Skype bring negative PR to Skype

Ahh, the lawyers at Skype screwed the pooch. I am actually on their side in this fight, too. I know that they need to protect the trademarks otherwise they’ll lose them. At Microsoft the lawyers would do stuff like this from time-to-time (my friend Robert Mclaws told me recently that the Microsoft lawyers are again going after some community members who’ve taken on trademarks too closely).

What should have happened? A licensing deal that doesn’t cost much. Say a buck a year. That way Skype would have been able to shut down bad uses of the Skype trademark, while letting community members who are helping its ecosystem out stay up.

Worst case? Sites like this should be shut down by lawyers when they pop up, not years after they become popular.

Personally? I’ll never start a community site with a trademark in a URL or a name. I know that the danger of getting a lawyer to jump on you is way too high. This isn’t the last time this will happen.


The famous metal worker of Half Moon Bay

You won’t find much about Mauro Fortissimo on Google. But he’s well known in Half Moon Bay. If you walk around town and notice some unique metal work it probably is due to his hands.

If you know famous musicians Neil Young, or Thomas Dolby, they’ve had him do copper work in their homes.

But, this morning, I didn’t know who he was. To me he was just the guy making breakfast at Enso’s in Half Moon Bay.

I’m torn about telling people about Enso’s, cause it really is the best-kept secret that none of us want you to find. It’s a tiny (really tiny) little place right next to the beach in Half Moon Bay. If you weren’t brought there by a local you probably would drive right by and not even notice it.

Inside they only have enough seats for about 10 people. But, this really is a great place to get breakfast because it’s always different, made with love, and you get to meet interesting locals. They only are open on Saturday mornings (they also own a gallery and a Yoga studio on the property).

I digress.

Back to Mauro. We were there pretty late so after everyone else left he poured himself an ice tea and sat down with us. Until that point we had no idea he was the famous artist who makes all sorts of cool copperwork in town and elsewhere.

He plays piano, too, and owns a Yoga studio, a gallery, and a little garden. Much of the stuff we were eating was grown in his garden. He told us he makes food for the pleasure of it, cause it isn’t a good business, he told us. He also teaches art classes where he’ll show you some of his metal work tricks.

But, you know I’m going to loop this around to tech somehow, right?

We started talking about tech cause he asked me what I do. He told me that he resisted getting a computer for a long time and, even now, doesn’t really use it even though he has lots of friends in the tech industry. Even other artists try to get him to learn cause they show him the benefits of planning out his work in advance and how that’d save him time.

“They tell me I could learn to use it,” he told me. “But I answer I could learn to play violin too.”

The Argentinian-born artist, chef, musician has a sense of humor too. He’s the kind of guy that I just love hanging around.

Then I noticed there was a Maker Faire poster on his wall. We talked about that. Turns out one of his best friends is director of advertising at Make Magazine and that he’s throwing a party for Maker Faire speakers and staff members in May. He says they are expecting 50,000 people that weekend and that Make Magazine is doing extraordinarily well.

To bring this full circle. Make is owned by Tim O’Reilly. You know, tech publishers. But, I thought I was just getting breakfast, now I’ve learned about the area’s excellent metal work, the celebrities in town, another tech party I can crash, as well as got another contact at Make Magazine. You never know where your networking is going to happen.

Anyway, hope you are having a great weekend. The stories and weather in Half Moon Bay are just stunning.

Oh, and if you come to Half Moon Bay tomorrow for our Photowalking you’re in for a real treat. The weather is just spectacular.