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140 Characters Who Helped Shape the Tech World

140 Characters Who Helped Shape the Tech World

It was Peter Thiel who said, “We were promised flying cars. Instead we got 140 characters.” It looks like flying cars may be slowly rolling out, with Singapore’s flying taxi trial set to begin in the second half of 2019, but who the hell are those 140 characters to whom Theil might have been referring? As a co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp and Quora, he certainly knows what sorts of characters tech can breed.

We’ve been involved in the tech world since the nascent days of Web 1.0 in New York City – with monthly trips to Silicon Valley at the time, as well – and over the years, have encountered many of those characters, upfront and personal, for better or for worse. Of course we have stories to tell, but that’s for a later date and a much longer opus.

Some were true innovators who created platforms and software and devices that forged an entirely new industry. You may not be familiar with their names, but their contributions should never be forgotten. Some forgot their original drivers, whether it was to not be evil or to connect the world, tracked the world’s population in ways and to an extent to which it had never been tracked before, storing it and parsing out that information to the highest and/or any and all bidders, and paying no heed to the concept that we might have the right to be forgotten. Read More...

Flying Cars Are Coming. The Next Installment of Those 140 Characters Is Here…

Flying Cars Are Coming. The Next Installment of Those 140 Characters Is Here…

weasley’s flying car | Ashley Wheat | Flickr

As you know, we’ve been wondering about who those 140 characters are who Peter Thiel may well have been referring to when he said, “We were promised flying cars. Instead we got 140 characters.”

Since we’ve personally been in the industry since the early days of Web 1.0 in New York and spent a considerable amount of time in Silicon Valley as well, we’ve decided to take it upon ourselves to attempt to identify some of those characters, many of whom we’ve met and/or have gotten to know. Over the years, we’ve seen people and companies come and go. Some were bad timing. Many were simply bad ideas. Some were acquired for unbelievable amounts of money, only to disappear forever, leaving the then suddenly wealthy founders looking like geniuses. Tech is a constantly shifting landscape and people and companies come and go and fortunes made and lost at Internet speed.

Here are our picks for the next 40 of the 140, with some anecdotes and insights on the developing industry and its rising stars and investors, in no particular order. Without further ado, we’re letting this baby fly. Onward and forward. Read More...

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