Phoronix: If you don't mind, many readers would be interested in knowing what you're running on your desktop. Are you running Ubuntu or is it one of the derivatives such as Kubuntu or Xubuntu? Similarly, for the hardware folks, what sort of hardware are you using for your desktop(s) and notebook(s)?
Mark: My desktop runs Kubuntu and it's on a Dell XPS box. My laptop is a ThinkPad and it runs Ubuntu.
Phoronix: Outside of Ubuntu, how are your other projects coming along such as SchoolTool or Hip2b2?
Mark: They're pretty cool and Hip2b2 is very different from any of the others as it's a messaging project to keep South African kids excited about technology. SchoolTool has seen some really nice adoptions in schools inside the US and a few other groups of developers are developing expansions and add-ons to it, which I think is very important as a central infrastructure for school management information systems. We are starting to see people develop the add-on components that address their specific requirements.
Phoronix: Out of all of your achievements up to this point, what would you consider the most rewarding?
Mark: Staying unmarried.
Phoronix: Having successfully sold Thawte and being the founder of HBD Venture Capital, what are some of the suggestions that you have for those living in this technology era?
Mark: I only have one suggestion and that is to know very clearly what it is that you are excited about. Partly that means reading widely and know what is going on in the world and just being honest about what you really enjoy, and doing that because you will be a hell of a lot better at it then if you follow someone else. In hiring guys or funding guys I am always interested in why they are doing what they are doing. If you chase the things you are reading about in the headlines, you are two years to six years too late. You need to look into the future and see what is really interesting and then pursue it. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to be successful as nothing in life means you're going to be successful. I know plenty of people in life who have been successful and then have lost it all. In the technology game, you need to pick things that are inspiring, challenging, and interesting. If you pick well and you pick things that people will find inspiring and interesting later, then you've put yourself in a very good position. It's good to be a few years ahead of everyone else so they will look to you so you can tell them how to do it.
Phoronix: Thank you very much for your time. Is there any other information you would like to share?
Mark: I just think that this is a really exciting time for free software and I would encourage people to figure out how they can participate whether its at the level of sharing the experience with their friends or at the level of actually contributing from the development perspective.
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