Reading this makes me think I'm wasting time...all the time. I should be thinking up new and cool things! Oh well. Back to my nap.
I'm surprised at the lack of critique leveled against this now that it's resurfaced here. I can understand the drama and excitement of seeing an idea through and having a business that changes things on the other end. However, 2014 has extremely little in common with 1994, and we're bearing the consequence of those earlier eras in ways that I don't think we fully appreciated in 2014.
The commercial internet is dominated by exactly who'd expect to be dominating it. The space for competitors is in increasingly specific niches. What we do have has been demonstrated to have deleterious political, social, and emotional effects. If you're building something now it needs to account for this power imbalance. In 1994 you could just grab a good domain and slap things together because there was little precedent. That simply would not happen today, we have already reproduced corporate power online and it's a beefy gatekeeper.
We might dissolve these issues with the next big thing (and honestly, I'm rooting for ReadUp)—but it's insincere to think that anything other than working to resolve these tensions is what we should be striving for. That sounds like the long, frustrating, and revolutionary work of a people that want to do better for themselves. Not so much the gleeful tech optimism that characterized Web 1.0 & 2.0 entrepreneurs.
Gleeful tech optimism has also changed since 1994 (I hope), but I very much agree with you. Keep on keeping on. You don’t chose when you get a seat at the table. History happpens, and favors the optimist (and the lucky!).
I really and truly hope so!
That said, if I hear one more awful take on how we can growth hack our way out of deep-seated socio-political problems I'm going to lose it.
Oh I love this. Here's the vision I'm working on:
The year is 2040 and creative writing is one of the most lucrative and abundant jobs on the planet, thanks to Readup. Many people write full time, and they earn a comfortable, happy living wage. Far more people just do a bit of writing here and there, when they feel particularly inspired or when they want to earn some extra cash. More than half the human population reads at least a handful of stories per month. Some people read that much every single day. Universally, everyone strives to "up" their reading game, just as everyone (still!) wants to get a bit more exercise and eat a bit healthier. There's absolutely no shame in reading or writing "easy" stuff. Or reading slowly. In fact, these practices are honored. But, at the same time, there's a whole lot of pride (and competition) in reading longer, more challenging stuff, both fiction and non-fiction.
People of all political persuasions recognize that the only way to address major problems is for everyone to read about them. Thus, not only do writers work to explore solutions to problems, but they also spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the most urgent problems even are.
For those who are willing to put in the time and effort, it's relatively easy to get up and running as a writer. You just need to think up a new idea or tell a good story. No formal education required. (What even is formal education anymore?)
There is a wide distribution and diversity of writing for all readers to choose from. Of course, some stories become global hits (and those writers become not just wealthy, but also powerful) but the sweet spot for most writers is an audience of a few hundred readers per story. And many readers tend to be geographically local, for obvious reasons. People find local writers to be particularly relevant.
Oh, and digital ads are ancient history. Duh.
It's not too late.
It's also not too soon.
I love the inspirational optimism of this piece.
So true. Hindsight is 20:20. It’s very hard to accurately predict what those tools will be or to identify what opportunities we are taking for granted.
I will always love Kevin Kelly’s tech optimism. It is vital to recognize the abundance of opportunities technology presents us with... it just comes down to the execution of our ideas
Bite-size reads like this start off an early morning right.
True story :)