Harvard Club of Silicon Valley: Watching the Alpha Geeks

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My talk for the Harvard Club of Silicon Valley connects the dots between enthusiasts and technology innovation.

My talk for the Harvard Club of Silicon Valley connects the dots between enthusiasts and technology innovation.

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  • Results from 90 million geotagged photos on Flickr: http://code.flickr.com/blog/2008/10/30/the-shape-of-alpha/

  • Each device is recognizable solely from its “energy signature.”


  • 1. Watching the Alpha Geeks Tim O’Reilly Harvard Club of Silicon Valley May 5, 2010
  • 2. I’m best known as a computer book publisher
  • 3. “Martha Stewart for Geeks”
  • 4. Reinventing the Faire Low Tech Meets High Tech
  • 5. “A wondrous thing: the gathering of folks from all walks of life who blend science, technology, craft, and art to make things goofy and grand.” –New York Times
  • 6. What We Really Do At O'Reilly Change the world by spreading the knowledge of innovators
  • 7. O’Reilly Radar Methodology  “The future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.” - William Gibson  We “watch the alpha geeks” and think about the futures they are living in  We then look for trend data that tells us that a particular future is becoming mainstream  I’m going to tell you some seemingly unconnected technology stories from the front lines of innovation. Then we’re going to connect the dots.
  • 8. 11
  • 9. 12
  • 10. Just give the one finger salute and keep going! - Col Joe Kittinger 13
  • 11. 14
  • 12. Closer to home... 15
  • 13. 16
  • 14. “A PC on every desk and in every home” 17
  • 15. “The PC is just a toy.” 18
  • 16. In 1998, search had largely been written off as a business opportunity... 19
  • 17. “Organize all the world’s information” 20
  • 18. Hackers Like Big Challenges 21
  • 19. “I’m an inventor. I became interested in long term trends because an invention has to make sense in the world in which it is finished, not the world in which it is started.” -Ray Kurzweil
  • 20. The Internet as Platform
  • 21. “Ask yourself for a moment, what is the operating system of a Google or Bing search? What is the operating system of a mobile phone call? What is the operating system of maps and directions on your phone? What is the operating system of a tweet?”
  • 22. The smart phone plus local search. Today pizza, tomorrow Pazzia, 337 3rd Street California Pizza Kitchen, 53 3rd Street Blondie’s Pizza. 63 Powell Street
  • 23. An application running on a mobile device whose user interface is driven by sensors: - Touch screen - Motion and proximity sensors - Microphone - GPS or cell tower triangulation
  • 24. An application that depends on cooperating cloud data services: - Speech recognition - Search - Location data
  • 25. Another application that depends on cooperating cloud data services: - Location - Search - Speech recognition - Live Traffic - Imagery
  • 26. The Yelp Monocle  Find cafes nearby.
  • 27. 35
  • 28. AMEE - the world’s energy meter
  • 29. We’re moving to a world in which every device generates useful data, in which every action creates “information shadows” on the net.
  • 30. What’s wrong with Government today
  • 31. Vending Machine Government Vending Machine Gov concept from Donald Kettl: The Next Government of the United States
  • 32. We Need to Do More Than Shake the Vending Machine! http://image06.webshots.com/6/2/57/50/190125750NgQXwu_ph.jpg
  • 33. Manufacturing Transportation Food & Water Renewable Energy Learning There’s a lot we can do ourselves.
  • 34. A Maker Faire For Detroit Foster the engagement of individuals and communities in science and technology innovation, the practices of creative arts and hands-on education for kids of all ages.
  • 35. For More Information • What is Web 2.0? http://www.oreillynet.com/go/web2 • http://tim.oreilly.com • http://radar.oreilly.com • http://www.makezine.com • http://www.oreilly.com 54