USA Today did a feature piece on technology pioneer and eccentric John McAfee earlier this week. Penned by John Swartz, who’s gotten to know McAfee personally over the last few years, the story talks about McAfee’s last stand and how he’s getting his head down and back into technology.
McAfee holds an interest in a tech startup called Future Tense Central which has an interest in Chadder, an anonymous messaging app and Dvasive a mobile security app that’s about to make it’s mark on the PC market as well.
Things have changed drastically since the mid to late 80’s when McAfee originally introduced his anit-virus software. He reminds me that in those days people thought he was nuts because no one would want to create programs to corrupt other people’s files or take over their computers. Decades and $7.8 billion dollars later McAfee was right.
Throughout his career he’s also been right about other things, one of those being instant messaging. McAfee’s Tribal Voice, was the predecessor to AOL instant messenger. Again at the time McAfee was bringing the technology on the scene people thought he was crazy, telling him no one would want to send little micro messages back and forth to each other. The founders of SnapChat, Instant Messenger and the creators of text messaging would beg to differ.
McAfee has spent the last few years on the lam, running from the Belizean government. Hundreds of stories chronicle McAfee’s brilliant escape, but in a more relaxed setting, kicking back and enjoying an Alabama evening with McAfee and his beautiful wife Janice at an Irish Pub, McAfee explains the story without the sensationalism some need to move newspapers or get clicks. The story is of a man, an eccentric millionaire who moved to Belize to retire and enjoy life. Along the way, he got shaken down by the government and refused to play. McAfee is privy to information that many in the country wouldn’t want made public so he’s been living life the past few years looking over his shoulder. In the USA Today piece he says he’s tired of running and wants to focus on creating technology that will help people,
Now, his Future Tense Central is growing at The Round House startup space in Alabama, where McAfee has also taken an advisory role. “What Kyle and Chris have created here is an amazing space for collaboration and I want to be part of it” McAfee said in an interview.
“John is really excited about being here and working with other entrepreneurs and startup founders. He likes to create things and give his input where it’s valuable” Tom Gusinski of Future Tense Central said.
McAfee is truly ready for what could be his last stand. Although he’s in excellent shape, McAfee is nearly 70 years old, but he’s certain that he’s bringing one more set of life changing technology products to market, under the name Autonomous Armour. With partners Kyle Sandler, the founder of The Round House, and Tom Gusinski, McAfee has defined another new category of products the way he invented the anti-virus category in the 1980’s.
“Think anti-virus for people, Privacy 2.0” McAfee has said about Autonomous Armor.
“It will be a suite of products both hardware and software that will allow people to function the way they want and enjoy across the web and social media, while protecting their information” Sandler said.
McAfee talks about the dangers revealed in a recent joint study by Stanford University and Harvard University last month. The study basically said if you could plot 5 likes from the same person you would be on your way to building a profile. If you could plot 50 likes you would know more about that person than someone they work with or go to school with every day. At 150 likes you would know more than their spouse or significant other. That information getting into the wrong hands, or even for marketing purposes, is way more dangerous than credit card numbers leaking in a Paste Bin.
Some of the products are being developed in house, in Alabama. Other products will come by way of accelerator or other partnership with Autonomous Armour. In fact, in addition to speaking at the upcoming Hcon conference, McAfee is offering a round table pitch session for startups that may fit in the Autonomous Armor space. Those startups will get feedback and mentorship from McAfee directly.
Startups that may fit in the Autonomous Armour space can also apply to the Locomotive accelerator here at f6s.com they too will get mentoring and guidance from McAfee and a host of other nationally known mentors.
In this day and age of information and technology, it shouldn’t take as long for people to understand the need for Autonomous Armour, but this uphill battle is one that McAfee is used to, and has won in the past.