Expert Thoughts

If You Build It They Won’t Come: What’s Wrong With Tech’s Magical Thinking

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There’s a lot in this world we don’t know. You could get hit by a flaming toilet seat from outer space tomorrow and die. You don’t know. The future is one of those things we don’t know. So if you and I can agree that we don’t know what the future holds, why do so many of us in the world of tech believe the myth of, “If you build it, they will come” and not Walt Disney’s far superior, “If you dream it, you can do it”?

Fact: You could have the best idea ever and nobody may ever know. And that lack of awareness has nothing to do with competition. That’s just an excuse. And there are a million excuses. You know what the biggest product produced by tech companies is? Excuses.  Blame the developers. Blame the PR firm. Blame the intern. Read More

shorty awards 2014

Social Media Stars Interact IRL at the Shorty Awards

Ms. Leggero in the beginning of the show. (Photo: Shorty Awards)

Social media fame is strange. Twitter, Instagram, Vine and YouTube celebrities are kind of like reality TV stars, but with even more of an everyman feel. They’ve got low budgets and lower inhibitions, and they play characters online who are an extension of their own identities. Reading tweet after tweet, we begin to feel like we know them.

But we don’t. And meeting them in real life can be awkward. They’re not professional socializers, after all, or even traditional entertainers. They’re just people who, from the privacy of their homes, consistently craft tiny bits of entertainment for our consumption. They’ve mastered the art of connecting with people bit by bit, every day — but only when separated by the distance between two given iPhones. Read More

Social Media

Mad Genius Creates Ello, the Elegant Anti-Facebook

Paul Budnitz — exhibiting photographer and filmmaker, artist, designer toy maker, bicycle enthusiast. Add: social media magnate?

For tech entrepreneurs and investors, a social network is the great white whale of startups. Successful ones scale hard and fast, generating mountains of precious user data for advertising clients.

Paul Budnitz, an artist and designer toy maker, thinks that kind of marketer exploitation is downright evil, and has organized a supergroup of artists, programmers, and designers to build a safe haven. It’s called Ello, and it’s a social network with a manifesto. Read More

ATwitter

Twitter’s #FF Was Born From a Bet — 5 Years Later, It’s Still Going Strong

Micah Baldwin (Twitter)

In honor of it being the end of the week, we did an interview with the guy who gave rise to the Fridays we’ve all come to know and (maybe?) love: Micah Baldwin, the creator of Follow Fridays, or #FF.

Mr. Baldwin is a startup guy living in San Mateo, Ca., ten minutes south of San Francisco. He’s the owner of Graphic.ly, a company that works with publishers to help them navigate the digital world and distribute ebooks.

He’s pretty sure it all started in January 2009, when two of his friends were competing to see who’d be the first to reach 1,000 followers on Twitter. The loser had to take the winner out to dinner. Read More

The Facebookers Will Inherit the Earth

“I Will Not Work With Facebook”: Minecraft Creator Disavows Oculus Rift Post-Acquisition

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While many are scratching their heads over Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of virtual reality company “Oculus Rift,” one developer has some strong words for the company.

When Markus “Notch” Persson, the creator of the enormously popular sandbox game Minecraft, heard the news, he immediately withdrew his support from Oculus Rift: Read More