If you build it, they will come

Posted on Apr 12, 2013 in Alumni News and News

profile_brian_mcclendonThe favored success story of tech-mad modern America involves visionary youths who rock the world even before framing their college diplomas. Not so for Brian McClendon, e’86, who took 18 years to get from KU to Google, embracing each stop along the way as an opportunity to expand both his engineering talents and personal networks among colleagues and investors.

The official debut of Google Earth, the high-flying digitization of planet Earth, unleashed expensive satellite and aerial imagery and all the mighty power of Google’s massive computing resources to provide never-before-seen planetary tours for everyone–for free. McClendon had dreamed of this moment, or something like it, since 1998, when he and the other three founders of a gaming software startup created their first demonstration graphic to dazzle potential investors, and the demo-the now-iconic Google Earth zoom from near-Earth orbit straight down to rooftops and sidewalks dazzle its creators even more than the money guys.

Because of immense computing power now available to anyone with a computer and access to Internet-based software and storage, Silicon Valley startups no longer require $5 million for equipment and manpower; anyone with vision and determination who is will to work without salary can reach their first set of product releases, McClendon says, “literally without spending a dime.”

“If you build it they will come’ is a very accurate statement.” McClendon says, “You can’t think of all the ideas yourself, so the goal is to build platforms and let other people build on top of your platforms to create amazing new ideas.”

–Adapted from story in Kansas Alumni magazine, No. 4, 2012, written by Chris Lazzarino

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