A few weeks before I left the bay I went up to Berkeley to watch John Dies at the End. The BART got me there too late and I ended up having to go home and watched The Social Network instead.
At the time I was kinda disappointed, but now I’m really grateful for having caught one particular scene where Sean Parker, the founder of MySpace, warns Mark Zuckerberg against cashing in on Facebook too early. He tells the story of Roy Raymond, who founded Victoria’s Secret and sold it for $4 million to The Limited, which then turned it into a company worth billions. After his next venture failed, Raymond committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.
I don’t know if I’ll ever turn a profit on my romanization software. It really depends on how it gets implemented, and how broad software patents are (and yes, I will totally research the law on this matter).
The simple fact is that once my idea is out in the public domain, it’s going to be trivial for anyone to implement their version of it in house without ever paying me a dime.
But I can handle that, because the real legacy of this company is going to be the standard, not the software. If the standard reaches the level of widespread popular acceptance that Google and Facebook are writing their own implementations of it, then my place in the history books (well, the Korean ones) is sealed.
OK so maybe that’s not quite as cool as sitting astride the Victoria’s Secret empire, but hey…