Method and Apparatus for Kicking Ass

By Mike / On / In Appsterdam

The past few weeks have been very dark indeed. Rovio and others targeted by new lawsuits, Craig Hockenberry predicting doom, and Matt Gemmell’s morale falling like Stonewall Jackson. The only thing keeping me from joining my colleagues in abject depression is working for an 11th hour rally.

Rally time starts now.

Intellectual Ventures and their ilk are many tentacled beasts who use thousands of shell companies to do their dirty work. When they send blood-sucking tentacles like Lodsys into our community, we need to cut them off.

Eventually the head will figure out to stop losing tentacles. Eventually the patent trolls will learn to avoid indies the way dogs in East Texas learn to avoid anthills.

Of course patent trolls are more likely to be from California than from Texas, so they might not know about the anthills. I actually spent part of my childhood in Texas, and learned the hard way that if you step on an anthill you’ll soon be covered in swarming, biting ants. You could, in theory, crush them one by one, but it’s much easier to just avoid anthills.

Let App Makers be as the ants of East Texas, minding their business until someone invades their anthill. Then Swarm! Swarm! Swarm! We will let the patent trolls know: if you attack one indie, you attack all indies, and we will file every motion we can against you, we will attack your patents, and we will show you for the mafioso thugs you are.

Our general in this fight is Michael McCoy, a Longhorn Texas technology attorney who is also conveniently licensed in California. We’ve been meeting in Amsterdam to hammer out a strategy and form a plan for immediate action.

When he returns to work next week, Michael will assemble and lead the Appsterdam Legal Defense Team, establish the Appsterdam Legal Defense Fund, and start implementing our strategy, codenamed Operation Anthill.

Legal action and education will be the start. We will also consider other ways of protecting ourselves, such as pushing for legislative reform. Of course, our enemies are both wealthier and better connected than we are, so will have to take our story to the people, let the public know that small businesses, jobs, and the economy are being threatened by parasites—and pray that democracy can still prevail.

We must move the fight away from the story that has been conceived by our enemies. This isn’t a patent infringement issue. There’s nothing most of the affected App Makers could have done to avoid being targeted. This is extortion, plain and simple, with the familiar twist of misappropriating the law to harass the very innovators patents are meant to protect.

NPR primed the pump of public awareness with the latest episode of This American Life, “When Patents Attack!” Ready or not, the time to act is now. I propose a tongue-in-check brown ribbon campaign to raise awareness. Brown? Obviously.

Software patents are bullshit.

Steve “Scottie” Scott and John Fox of iDTV recorded an interview with Michael McCoy and me, Mike Lee. (8:15 audio file, MP3 format). If you are a member of the media and would like a high quality copy for your broadcast, or would like to schedule an interview, please contact bmf at

Appsterdam Legal Defense Initiative home page:

For press or other inquiries, email

Meet the Makers

By Mike / On / In Appsterdam

Although much of the world’s technology is produced in Silicon Valley, people outside the industry don’t directly benefit from that. The offices in the Valley don’t have better workflows. The municipalities don’t have better websites. It’s like living next to an oil refinery, but not getting cheaper gas.

This is less than ideal, and our community outreach initiatives are intended to make sure locals benefit from the technology being produced by Appsterdam. The first such initiative, launching this week, is called Meet the Makers, powered by IceMobile.

As opposed to Weekly Wednesday Lunchtime Lectures, which are likely to be technical talks of interest only to App Makers, Meet the Makers tells the story behind an app, and should be of general interest, understandable to anyone.

After hearing about the app, you are encouraged to literally meet the maker, to ask questions, and to give feedback. Not only should you get a good idea of what the app means for your life or your business, App Makers should get a good idea of how well they are serving you.

Here are the details of the upcoming event:

Meet the Makers of ABN AMRO Mobile Banking on Thursday, August 4, 2011, 1:30 PM at the offices of IceMobile, Mensinge 2, 1083 HA Amsterdam. RSVP

The Summer of Appsterdam was our plan for spending the summer building the world’s most advanced infrastructure for App Makers. With this we’ve launched all the infrastructure building initiatives we announced at the launch party, and a few more besides.

I’d say phase one is going pretty well.