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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...

We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters. So who are these characters???

We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters. So who are these characters???

Peter Thiel, Photo: Wikipedia

It was Peter Thiel who said it, as we all know, and now it seems that at long last, we may well be on the verge of seeing flying cars. Or at least driverless hover-taxis will be taking off next year in Singapore. That could be a start. When we saw this article, we were reminded of Thiel’s quote and since we’re approaching the year’s end, when people and publications typically do their wrap-up “Best ofs,” “Worst ofs,” or “Top Ten Something or Others” lists, we decided that instead, it’s about time that someone attempted to identify those 140 characters that we’ve heard mentioned all this time.

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 do just that. 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. It was the Wild West, all right, and for the most part, a matter of too much money being thrown at too much youth and inexperience in those heady days of Web 1.0.

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. Read More...

Simple is Elegant

Simple is Elegant

When Albert Einstein met Charlie Chaplin, Einstein said, “What I most admire about your art, is your universality. You don’t say a word, yet the world understands you!”

“It’s true,” Chaplin replied. “But your glory is even greater! The whole world admires you, even though they don’t understand a word of what you say.” Read More...

Post-Steve Jobs: Wash, Rinse, Repeat – Apple Hits $1T

Post-Steve Jobs: Wash, Rinse, Repeat – Apple Hits $1T

Here's to the crazy ones

“Don’t teach people how to fish, but teach them to build fishing schools.” Esther Dyson’s long term thinking on healthcare in a short attention span world.

“Don’t teach people how to fish, but teach them to build fishing schools.” Esther Dyson’s long term thinking on healthcare in a short attention span world.

Esther Dyson spoke at a CapGemini event recently. If the name is unfamiliar, her LinkedIn profile is a start, but it’s not the half of it. Dyson was an early tech guru, impresario of the highly influential PC Forum conference  and the Release 1.0 newsletter, and friendly with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates – and Yours Truly.

Esther is a long-term thinker in a short attention span world. Her current focus: Wellville, where she has gone into five communities to disrupt healthcare by stopping health problems before they become problems, through education. As she put it, not to teach people how to fish, but how to build fishing schools. Will her program, which she calls not a startup but rather, the beginnings of a restaurant chain, make a difference? Time will tell: she’s four years into a 10-year project. As for the difference between long and short term thinking: her team is educating people about healthy food and food preparation, rather than delivering meal kits or take-out with the results (potentially) being making a difference on long-term health, rather than achieving a quick billion-dollar valuation. And bringing down insurance payouts and by extension, health care costs. A potentially multi-billion dollar savings. Read More...

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