by Adam Fisher @AdamcFisher
stay hungry. stay foolish. – steve jobs, quoting stewart brand
i grew up in what is now known as silicon valley
the book.. is a compendium of the most told, retold, and talked about stories in the valley.. they’re all true of course, but structurally speaking most of the stories have the logic of myth. the oldest of them have acquired the sheen of legend.. ie: doug engelbarts’ 1968 demo .. et al..
to capture them, i went back to the source.. i tracked down and interviewed the real people.. almost everyone is still alive.. many in fact still young..
i interviewed more than 200 people.. most of them for hours..
almost to a person.. their childhoods sounded like mine.. early exposure and then fascination w computers.. w led to fascination w hacking, computer science or even electrical engineering..
i cut the transcripts together as one might so many reels of film..
the editing was often literally done w printouts, a pair of scissors and a roll of tape.. .. ai is nowhere near good enough to transcribe an interview w any accuracy, either..
process took 4 yrs.. or.. banking stories for past decade
i want you to hear the stories as i heard them.. unfiltered and uncensored.. straight from the horse’s mouth
not much of me in the is book.. my pov: i think that what’s the most interesting/important, about sv is the culture, that aspect of the valley that gets under people’s skin and starts making them think – and act – different..
orkut buyukkokten: i think all over the world people have great ideas, but they don’t necessarily have the means to implement them. in sv.. it’s a lot easier to make an abstract idea and turn it into reality
imagine that the focus then.. hearing/facil ing.. all the voices.. every day.. tech as it could be..
book one – among the computer bums
the big bang – everything starts w doug engelbart
doug was the first to actually build a computer that might seem familiar to us today..
engelbart’s idea was that computers of the future should be optimized for human needs – communication and collaboration.. t
mufleh humanity law: we have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity – Luma Mufleh
they should augment rather than replace the human intellect..
letting nonengineers interact directly w a computer was seen as hare brained, utopian, subversive even.. and then people saw the demo
listening to every voice – tech as it could be..
doug: in 1950 i got engaged. getting married and living happily ever after just kind of shook me. i realized that i didn’t have any more goals. i was 25. i started thinking: this is ridiculous.. i had a steady job.. but other than that.. i didn’t have any goals.. which shows what a backward country kid i was.. well why don’t i try maximizing how much good i can do for mankind..? i have no idea where that came from..
steward brand: there is a sense about doug that he is trying to express what humanity needs
doug: then i thought.. i’m an engineer and who needs more engineering? what are the things the world really needs?.. looking at diff kinds of crusade you could get on.. the product of these two factors, complexity and urgency, had transcended what humans can cope with. it suddenly flashed that if you could do something to improve human capability to deal w that, then you’d really contribute something basic.. that just resonated..
bob taylor: computing was, in those days, believe to be for arithmetic. that’s it. data processing, calculating payroll, calculating ballistic missile trajectories, numbers.. i wasn’t interested in numbers and neither was doug
doug: i finally got my phd and was teaching and applied to the stanford research institute, thinking if there was anyplace i could explore this augmenting idea it was there.. .. by 1962 i had written a description of what i wanted to do, and i began to get the money the next year
bob taylor: there was this proposal called ‘augmenting the human intellect’ by someone at sri, who i had never heard of .. i love the ideas in this proposal.. the thing that i was most attracted to was the fact that he was going to use computers in a way that people had not: to as he put it ‘augment human intellect’.. i got in touch w this chap and he came to see me in dc and we got started on a nasa contract.. it got him and his group off the ground
ready player one
stewart brand: alan kay was definitely my avenue into understanding the xerox parc and a great deal more.. he was very articulate and operated on a level of abstraction , in terms of having a theory of what’s going on , that was reminiscent of doug engelbart. though alan talked and acted like more of an engineer w a strategic vision and doug acted more like the visionary w the visionary vision, i suppose
alan kay: because of my experience w seymour papert i got converted from thinking about computers as tools for adults to thinking about them as media, like reading and writing. and once i go tt hat idea, you have to make it usable for children.. which means that the user interface has to be very different..
breakout – jobs and woz change the game
jobs always looking for mentors/gurus
towel designers – ataris high strung prima donnas
parc opens the kimono – good artists copy, great artists steal
jobs was too young to have attended engelbart’s mother of all demos – but he fixated on the mouse.. w the mouse one could point and click, cut and paste, doodle and paint.. it was the key to the virtual desktop on the alto’s screen.. the office of the future.. jobs knew exactly what he had to do
3pic f4il – it’s game over for atari
howard rheingold: at xerox parc, alan kay had sort of been the kid to bob taylor, and now atari was sort of the next gen. alan kay as the adult supervision there..
alan kay: my first act as chief scientist was to hire pretty much all of nicholas negroponte’s graduate students from mit.. because what atari needed was something more like what nicholas had been doing .. and god, he had a great bunch
dang.. such a club
scott fisher: i was working w nicholas negroponte, and alan shows up .. w a bunch of warner execs in tow.. basically they cam to buy the lab.. and nicholas.. in his inimitable way was interest in the amount of money, but i think in the end he said, ‘this is mit. you cannot buy the lab.’.. so we were disappointed. but then alan came back a little bit later and made offers to six or seven of us to come out sunnyvale and work for atari. for me that was a hard choice, because so many fun things were happening w nicholas
jaron lanier: this was all wrapped up in the founding of the mit media lab, which was essentially all the same people and which was getting going at the same time, although the media lab hadn’t quite started yet.
michael naimark: all of a sudden by fall 1982.. alan had a critical mass, this amazing group of people. ..
alan kay: we did a bunch of things: vr, communication.. atari was basically a consumer electronics co, so my thought was that we wanted to do was develop media.
brenda laurel: we actually made this guy up. who we claimed was the new director of the lab because alan wasn’t around a lot..
michael naimark: alan, atari’s chief scientist, was the head not only of atari sunnyvale research lab but atari cambridge lab, which was next door to mit in tech square. and the folks at the cambridge lab were mostly young ai phds – and jaron lanier, the vr guy
brenda laurel: by making this guy up and having multiple interactions w people at all levels, that was sort of a proof of concept. it presages so much, when you think about the value of the things we learned by doing that..
alan kay: atari wasn’t that interesting . atari was us learning about corporations..
scott fisher: arthur was us projecting the director we really wanted..
hello i’m macintosh
fumbling the future
alan kay: computing is terrible. people think – falsely – that there’s been something like darwinian processes generation the present. so therefore what we have now must be better than anything that had been done before. and they don’t realize that darwinian processes, as any biologist will tell you, have nothing to do w optimization.. they have to do w fitness.. if you have a stupid environ you are going to get a stupid fit
bruce horn: i thought that computers would be hugely flexible and we could be able to do everything and it would be the most mind blowing experience ever. and instead we froze all of our thinking.. we froze all the software and made it kind of industrial and mass marketed.. t.. computing went the wrong direction: computing went the direction of commercialism and cookie cutter
yeah .. that
jaron lanier: my whole field has created shit. and it’s like we’ve thrust all of humanity into the endless life of tedium and it’s not how it was supposed to be. the way we’ve designed the tools requires that people comply totally w an infinite number of arbitrary actions.. we really have turned humanity into lab rats that are trained to run mazes..t.. i really think on just the most fundamental level we are approaching digital tech in the wrong way
indeed.. mufleh humanity law: we have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity – Luma Mufleh
ie: tech as it could be..
bruce horn: we’re waiting for the right hing to happen to have the same type of mind blowing experience that we were able to show the apple people at parc.. there’s some work being done, but it’s very tough. and yeah.. i feel somewhat responsible. on the other hand, if somebody like alan kay couldn’t make it happen, how can i make it happen
not about how good a person is.. about what you’re focusing on..maybe going about it the wrong way.. what we need most is the energy of 7bn alive people.. so the tech/mech need so be something that listens to 7bn voices.. everyday.. ie: 2 convers.. as infra as it could be..
book 2 – the hacker ethic
what info wants – heroes of the computer revolution
kevin kelly: nobody was reviewing software then..so stewart’s idea was well.. this is going to be big: let’s start reviewing this and make a guide to it.. we’ll have a whole earth software catalog..
steven levy: the publisher spent $1.3 mn for it. it was the most that was ever spent at the time for a softbound book..
kevin kelly: i read (steven levy’s) hackers and was blown away, because i knew nothing of this world.. i was talking to stewart about the fact that there were 3 generations of hackers and they hadn’t met – they themselves didn’t know about each other.. and stewart said.. we’re going to do this..
stewart brand: we got a pretty good influx of folks. there was ted nelson, obviously. lee felsenstein, the sort of mc for the homebrew meetings
intro’d to lee in neurotribes
ted nelson: it was the woodstock of the computer elite.. 114 came
the whole earth ‘lectronic link
the well became the place to be in cyberspace and in fact is the place where the word cyberspace first acquired its contemporary meaning. excited by the success of this new and very social medium, brand was sucked in – and burned. he discovered that the well had a darker sie, too. flame wars, trolling, cyberbullying: all the social media dysfunction that is so familiar today came as a disturbing shock in the mid 80s
lee felsenstein: you could say you were a hippie and didn’t like tech, but what whole earth was telling us all and we all believed was that you are going to be using tech if you are a human. and so, as stewart said, ‘we’d best get good at it’..
kevin kelly: what whole earth wanted to do was to try out the experiment of what happens if you open this up to ordinary people. how does it all work? no one had really opened this up to the public beyond what compuserve and prodigy were doing – very controlled, minimalist systems..
still haven’t.. we still don’t have a mech to listen to every voice.. we could.. we just don’t.. ie: tech as it could be..
howard rheingold: part of it was not trying to shape it, enabling the shape to emerge. letting the people there make whatever it was..
imagine letting the people everywhere.. not just there.. make whatever it is
kevin kelly: one of the design principles of the well was to try to get as close to free as we could get. the idea was to see how cheap can we possible make this, cheap for the user
stewart brand: i priced it to be very inviting
invited vs invented ness
stewart brand: we made it easy to make conferences, and people would invent conferences. anybody could start a conference
howard rheingold: it was like there was a party happening in the walls of your house. you know, people were talking about serious things and exchanging knowledge, but they were also having fun..
kevin kelly: that became one of the biggest jobs that we had: people having to moderate the conversation..t
tech as it could be..
reality check – the new thing – that wasn’t
vr (kay and lanier) was the well’s cyberspace made real. taking advantage of the ensuing limelight, lanier swiftly assume a more jobs-like role and marketed the heck out of his vr machine, but in the end, the cost of an e ticket was just too high
kevin kelly: why did it not take off? i certainly expected it to take off.
jaron lanier: my worst mistake w vpl was the business model.. at that point all you can do is either try to go down in pricepoint to sell something to larger numbers of customers – or turn into a military contractor (for the full on thing it was mn bucks a person)
or.. try something sans money
from insanely great to greatly insane.. general magic mentors a generation
general magic.. pulled off the tech equiv of a working iphone .. a decade before apple started working on the real thing. shortly thereafter, general magic itself vanished (early talked of steve jobs being a lurker in the well)
megan smith: (marc porat was very tied into negroponte and the whole mit media lab convo) and marc came up with this idea that he called a personal intelligent communicator – (pocket crystal) a smartphone, basically. the whole idea was there
megan smith: pierre omidyar was running all the develop services stuff
megan smith: the devices were doing so many new things that nobody knew what we were talking about. why would they want something like this (earlier on pierre’s really interesting work of thinking up online services that would work on these mobile devices)
what we need is a mech to just listen and connect.. ie: tech/phone/whatever as it could be.. what we need most is the energy of 7bn alive people.. not people jumping into other people’s boxes/ideas/groups/meetings/conferences..
the bengali typhoon – wired’s revolution of the month
by early 90s.. sv had racked up an impressive array of fascinating failures.. the well never scaled up, vr never took off, general magic imploding.. money and power shifting north.. then san fran’s techno underground launched a raft of new titles. including. and most importantly, wired
on wired’s beginnings – negropante and mit media lab.. to kevin kelly writing it up.. to amsterdam ians (jane and louis) coming/getting bruce sterling to write
richard saul wurman: when i first did ted every single conference was white guys in suits that were either politicians or ceos sitting on a panel or a guy who stood at the lectern and put downa speech and read it. every conference was about one subject – siloed. ted wa snot siloed. it was about a convergence between disciplines. i had captured this audience at the convergence of tech, entertainment and design. these two people came, the beautiful jane metcalfe and the somewhat acerbic and very bright louis rossetto, a handsome couple.. they said ‘we found an audience for everything that we’ve been thinking about’.. and ted was their audience. ted was wired – what they had in their minds..
they get first.. nicholas negropante.. (bill gates not in).. and then kevin kelly .. and john battelle
toy stories – from parc to pixar
alvy ray smith: so we decided to build this machine for george (lucas).. it was basically a supercomputer for images
jerry garcia’s last words – netscape opened at what?
jim clark founded netscape in 1994 and in just over a year the company laid the foundation for virtually every tech that define today’s online experience..
alan kay: a lot of people think the internet appeared in the 90s.. it started in 1969
steven johnson: so hard to get internet in 91 and 92.. then starting in 93 an 94 you started to hear word about mosaic.. this new browser that was here – but we didn’t really know what that meant..
sergey brin: i used mosaic at the time. i tinkered w it, like a hobby. it was more of a fun thing to do than an oh.. this is going to change the world..
steven johnson: and then the mosaic browser becomes netscape. suddenly you had a unified front end for the internet..
netsacape found by : jim clark and marc andreessen (clark background in math for vr and chip) – they were going to drag the web out of its ivory tower
howard rheingold: jim clark is sort of like who bob taylor was to doug engelbart. he found this guy who had an idea and really made it happen…
(again the college group thing.. marc and his buddies do netscape)
steven johnson: and because no one owned the open web, it unlocked this period of unbelievable creativity and innovation.. suddenly a couple sitting in the proverbial garage could come up w something and change everything again – like larry and sergey starting google or biz and jack starting twitter, or even mark and fb..
john doerr: the greatest legal creation of wealth in the history of the planet..
jerry garcia died on day of netscape ipo.. opened at $663 mn
a fish, a barrel, and a gun – suck perfects the art of snark
howard rheingold: the beginnings of internet meme culture came from suck
culture hacking – the cyberunderground goes mainstream
r u sirius: timothy leary was an enthusiast for what we were doing right from the beginning and we were enthusiasts for him
jaron laneir: if you talk to time about it, and he’s no longer with us, he said that actually this plan was set in motion years earlier by william burroughs, who told him that the computer people would eventually remake the world.. and it was really important to connect w them as soon as it started to happen. and so tim felt he had sort of marching orders from burroughs from way back..
mitch altman: vr is the ultimate psychedelic toy, right?
intro’d to tim and psychedelics in neurotribes
jaron lanier: tim’s nickname for me was ‘the control group’ since i was the only person he knew in the scene who hadn’t taken lsd.. i use dot get a lot of flak for being the straight man in the scene..
ru sirius: in those days it was very much a psychedelic drug scene bu tit was very intellectual psych drug scene..
kevin kelly: cybethos was in 90.. i was inspired by steward brand to see what you could do w a happening..
po bronson: it was rave scene somehow under the guise of a tech thing, because all the tech people wanted to rave..
brian behledorf: hyperreal became this kind of independent incubator for interesting little projects that i started to get into. it became home for erowid.org; it became home for burningnman.com
r u sirius: and then, again, there was this huge adoption of burning man by the tech culture.. it became this massive thing that everybody had to do.. you couldn’t plug in.. it wasn’t really a tech even..
r u sirius: i think the core energy of the cyberculture counterculture thing seemed to dissipate in about 94
jamie zawinksi: and then, when the money came in .. let’s just call it july 94.. the industry exploded. suddenly there’s another 1/4 mn people in this industry who are 19 yrs old, 20 yrs old.. and haven’t met these old hacker guys, and their experience w computing is completely different..
po brunson: prior to the dot com it was this philosophical aspiration where ultimately the money was irrelevant. there was never a convo about money.
joey anuff: it turned into a money story
jamie zawinski: so the story is that we won the lottery , we made a bunch of money, and because of that, we sucked all the creativity out of the computer industry and turned it into the finance industry, and made everything terrible..
r u sirius: the upscale tech geeks were moving in
book 3 – network effects
the check is in the mail – ebay’s trillion dollar garage sale
(on jeff skoll and pierre doing ebay)
pierre omidyar: if you think about it, commerce and trade is at the base of all human activity , and it’s a bit of an exaggeration but i like to talk about how, you know, in the old days people would bring their stuff to market and they’d do business and then they’d go back to their hillside homes or wherever.. and eventually they were doing this enough that you had to build a wall around them to protect them, and that was the birth of cities and so forth
not the base of all human activity.. or.. could say it is.. but definitely not natural/healthy/undisturbed ecosystem
marsh exchange law et al
pierre omidyar; and again, gross generalizations and simplifications, but fundamentally everything we do in human activities is related to trade and there’s something, i think that’s wired in human beings that drives us to commerce
whoa.. totally disagree.. you’re talking whales in sea world
michael malone: the next time i saw a company grow that fast it was google
the shape of the internet – a problem of great googolplexity
as the nascent web was taking off two grad student at stanford – page and brin – watched from the sidelines. they weren’t interested in using the internet to buy/sell, or to read and publish stories, or even to score grateful dead tickets. they had a better idea: they would use it to get their doctorates. for page and brin aspired to be doctors of computer science, and the www was the field’s unstudied frontier.. yet studying the web was easier said than done. they would have to first capture it – download the web in its entirety – before the phd minting process could begin.. .. in 96 web was still small enough that downloading its entirety to a stack of hard drives in a dorm room was possible, but just barely. they had to limit themselves to collecting the links and tossing the actual content of the web pages themselves.. yet that limitation didn’t matter much because page and brin weren’t interested in the web’s content, but rather its shape
hearing john hagel say .. mistake of web is that it was about content.. (here too.. not about shape).. rather.. about connecting..
and to two aspiring computer scientists the shape of the web looked like an equation – w approx 400 mn variables and 3 bn terms.. the equation proved solvable, but again, just barely.. it spat out a number corresponding to each web page, sorting them like so many cards. when page and brin looked at the order that their equation had forced onto the web, they were surprised to find that they had inadvertently solved th hardest problem in computer science. they had made the internet logical, useful – searchable..
so again – fine… but first.. searching for your daily people (so to page’s .. gap of intention and action approaches zero)
john markoff: there were so many search engines at the time. they were all over the place. building the crawler and downloading the web was not google’s breakthrough. the breakthrough was pagerank
kevin kelly: i said, ‘larry, i don’t get it. what’s the future of search for free?’ and larry said ‘we are not really interested in search. we are making an ai’ so from the very beginning the mission for google was not to use ai to make their search better, but to use search to make an ai..
free as in beer – two teenagers crash the music industry
sean parker: there was so little greed on the part of the people who worked at napster. we would have given the company to the record labels. like,, you can just have it.. we just wanted the idea to survive.. we knew we were the best chance that the record business had of a seamless and orderly transition to a future where artists and labels and publisher all would have been paid.. because we every user all in one place.. i made the argument to the heads of every record label that was willing to listen.. they didn’t listen to us
the dot bomb
biz stone: i was like, damn it.. why didn’t i do that.. i was so blown away by blogger. i was like, blogging is going to e amazing. i just go the shivers thinking about all the people who weren’t coders who would now be able to have a voice on the internet..
arc andreessen: then 9/11 happened, which was obviously tragic, and in addition to being tragic, had the effect of shutting down any business that was hanging on in our industry. basically, 9\11 was it. business just shut down..
sean parker: it went from being the center of tune universe and all these bright eyed bush tailed people showing up from all over the country and reading wired about all the young people who were emigrating to sv to seek their fortune – to nuclear winter.. only the cockroaches survive, and you’re one of the cockroaches..
sean parker: and then after the dot com bust. there was feeling everything that there was to be done w the internet had already been done.. there were no new ideas.. nothing new could ever come out of the consumer internet..
ev williams: the thing that people missed was that it was the financial bubble that burst, not the internet.. this whole time usage of the intent continued to climb dramatically…
the return of the king (jobs)
steve wozniak: apple didn’t grow in size ever over the apple 2 days until the ipod. and it didn’t grow in size when he intro’d the imac. it all started w the ipod – and it was the openness..
sanjeev kumar: it brought apple back from the brink..
andy hertzfeld: they were making literally billions every week from the handheld music players..
alan kay: when steve came back to apple he was not the same steve. he was a very effective steve, but he had lost his zeal for what computers are really good for socially – like *education.. completely lost it. and you know i would try to get him back interested in (bike) wheels for the mind – ‘remember that steve? – instead of dumbed down user interfaces
*ugh.. connection.. not ed
jon rubinstein: the early steve was the bicycle for the mind thing: ‘how do you enhance human creativity, human capabilities, by using computers?’.. w the ipod that got extended into:’how do you make people’s lives better?’ the side effect, of course, was that people tuned out..
alan kay: i used to gt after steve and he didn’t care, because he was selling it to people who were just happy to continue the dumbing down. it’s bad, really bad. most people can’t see it. people don’t have any idea what a computer is. they are just using it to play movies on. this is the corruption of consumer electronics – using a computer basically for convenience rather than for actually doing *primary needs. if you think about it, this is completely fucked up..
and still is f-ed up if we don’t get to very *deep/basic needs.. and use computer/tech to facil that
i’m feeling lucky – google cracks the code
douglas edwards: if you read larry and sergey’s original paper.. where they talked about creating a search engine.. they specifically said that advertising was wrong and bad and it would inherently corrupt the search engine if you sold advertising. so they were adamantly opposed to the notion of having advertising on google..
douglas edwards: there was a lot of pressure to generate revenue, and so larry and sergey decided that advertising doesn’ have to be evil – if it’s actually useful and relevant..
susan wojcicki: it was a really novel idea at the time to serve ads that were targeted dynamically. people were saying, ‘this is a sport site, so we’ll serve a sports ad’.. and we were saying.. ‘no.. we can actually look at the page in real time and figure out what this page is about
ev williams: that’s when google came knocking. it was a really hard decision to sell blogger to google because google was still private, no one knew what was going to happen. this was pre gmail, pre anything but search and advertising. so that was confusing:’why would they want to buy blogger? we were not a search engine’
douglas edwards: it was really simple: once we had adsense, we wanted more places to put ads, and we thought blogger was going to generate millions of pages of content on which we could put ads
sean parker: google really did set themselves up to getgreat engineers by trying to make their environ feel as similar to grad school as possible. google could make the case:’oh , dont’ worry, this is going to feel a lot like when you were a researcher. this isn’t like selling out and going into the corp world, you’re still an academic, you just work at google now/ they ended up getting a lot of really smart people because of that..
ev williams: and then we show up and we are these weirdos: bloggers from the city. so ialways felt like an outsider, but i was still impressed by google..
heather cairns: larry and sergey were first and foremost and probably still are, inventors, that was their true love..
douglas edwards: sergey would just throw out these marketing ideas. he wanted to project our logo on the moon. he wanted to take the entire marketing budget and use it to help chechen refugees. he want to make google branded condoms that we would give out to high schools.. a lot of ideas floated .. most never became full fledged projects. but if larry and sergey suggested something you pretty much had to take it as face value for a while..
marissa mayer: some thing we actually did go out and build – like driverless cars. we brainstormed that
ev williams: so i was not happy at google .. which today i totally blame myself for.. it was 800 people when i got there.. it had just grown really fast and everything was broken and immature and chaotic and i let myself think that was wrong when in fact, it was exactly as it should have been..
charlie ayers: the whole climate of the company was a focus on growth growth, growth..
heather cairns: i would say that by 2003 it’s a very diff place..we’re like 2000 people and people were talking about going public..
ev stone: we were making a lot of money, but before going public, no one knew how much money google was making. but the management did, they were very excited about it..
heather cairns: going public. being rich. going public. going public.. that was really on the forefront of so many people’s minds..
biz stone: i got there in 2003, worked for year, and in 2004 they go public. it wa perfect timing..
john battelle: w the benefit of hindsight, google’s ipo in 2004 was as important as the netscape ipo in 1995
charlied ayers: they’re like, ‘were’ publicly traded now’ so 2004 was not the best year at google morale wise. they started sending more of us to dale carnegie classes..
heather cairnes: larry and sergey used to hold their forks and knives in a fist, scooping. i’d be like, i can’t even watch this. i can’t .. i ‘m going to be sick.. they had to be taught not to do that..
chalrie ayers: there were a handful of us that would go to public speaking classes, media training classes, leadership classes.
heather cairns: nobody has superbad disgusting behavior anymore. it’s really depressing. the personality has been coached out of them – all of them
i’m ceo .. bitch – zuck moves to sv to ‘dominate’ (and does)
sean parker: the dot com era sort of ended w napster, then there’s the dot com bust, which leads to he social media era
steven johnson: at the time, the web was fundamentally a literary metaphor: ‘pages” and then these hypertext links between pages. there was no concept of the user; that was not part of the metaphor at all..
mark pincus: i mark napster as the beginning of the social web – people no pages.. for me that was the breakthru moment ,because i saw that the internet could be this completely distributed p2p network. we could disintermediate those big media companies and all be connected to each other
marc pincus: in 2002 reid hoffman and i started brainstorming: what if the web could be like a great cocktail party? where you can walk away w these amazing leads.. and what’s a good lead? a good lead is a job, an interview, a date, an apartment, a house, a couch..
sean parker: so during 2000-2004, kind of leading up to fb, there is this feeling that everything that there was to be done w the internet has already been done.. the absolute bottom is probably around 2002. paypal goes public in 2002..and it’s the only consumer internet ipo (initial public offering). so there’s this weird interim period where there’s a total of only 6 co’s funded or something like that. plaxo was one of them. plaxo was a proto social network..
aaron sittig: plaxo is the missing link. plaxo was the first viral growth company to really succeed intentionally. this is when we really started to understand viral growth.
sean parker: the most important thing i ever worked on was developing algos for optimizing virality at plaxo.
aaron sittig: viral growth is when people using the product spreads the product to other people. that’s it.. it’s not people deciding to spread the product because they like it. it’s just people in the natural course of using the software to do what they want to do, naturally spreading it to other people..
steve johnson: it took the internet 30 yrs to get to 1 bn users.. it took fb 10 yrs.. the crucial thing about fb is that it’s not a service or an app – it’s a fundamental platform, on the same scale as the internet itself.
steve jobs: i admire mark zuckerberg i only know him a little bit, but i admire him for not selling out – for wanting to make a company..
purple people eater – apple, the company that cannibalizes itself
steve johnson: it’s true, twitter is not a convo medium, and that’s fine.. what i find so beautiful about twitter is that it’s literally like the serendipity of the front page of the newspaper, times 100.. literally every time i hit refresh there is an interesting hint of a take about something. and more often than not a link to something longer that opens my mind in some way. twitter is a serendipity engine..
to infinity.. and beyond – steve jobs in memoriam
sv is a culture, a people, a pov. but if the place had to be represented by just one person, it would have to be steve jobs..
alan kay: i told steve before he died, i said, ‘steve, yo know the best thing you ever did was hanging on to pixar for 10 yrs’ i hope he goes to heaven for just that alone
the endless frontier – the future history of silicon valley
kevin kelly: the biggest invention in sv was not the transistor but the start up model, the culture of the entrepreneurial start up
marc porat: tech, thats what we do here in sv. we just push tech until someone figures out what to do w it..t
kevin kelly: the fundamental disruption, the central even of this coming century is going to be ai, which will be underpinning and augmenting everything that we do, it will be pervasive, cheap, and ubiquitous