Desert to Jungle

Steven Johnson at South by Southwest: "The state of Mac news in 1987 was a barren desert. Today, it is a
thriving rain forest. By almost every important standard, the state of
Mac news has vastly improved since 1987: there is more volume,
diversity, timeliness, and depth.

I think that steady
transformation from desert to jungle may be the single most important
trend we should be looking at when we talk about the future of news.
Not the future of the news industry, or the print newspaper business:
the future of news itself."


The 50 Biggest Election-Season Buzz Generators

This chart, published in the March-April issue of Technology Review, is very cool. 

Buzz Map

The image shows the 50 phrases that generated the most buzz during the last three months of the presidential campaign. The vertical axis is number of web items; the horizontal axis is date. 
This came from computer scientists at Cornell, but it seems like a harbinger of the type of text and meme analysis that will become common as the data and processing needed to do such work becomes easier to manage (see the work of Radian6, Crimson Hexagon and others).

A Sign Tom Friedman Has Jumped the Shark

This is his idea of a solution to our current economic crisis:

I wake up every morning hoping to read this story: “President Obama announced today that he had invited the country’s 20 leading bankers, 20 leading industrialists, 20 top market economists and the Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate to join him and his team at Camp David. ‘We will not come down from the mountain until we have forged a common, transparent strategy for getting us out of this banking crisis,’ the president said, as he boarded his helicopter.”

This kind of plutocracy is one of the reasons we've stumbled into such a crisis.

Today, the things that work are done out in the open, not in isolation, at the top of a mountain.

This Spring’s Economic Snow Drops

Snow Drops on Inman St.Last night I met my family for dinner at a popular but unusually empty
Cambridge restaurant. Earlier in the day the
government announced another 651,000 jobs lost, and there was a
lot of dire economic language around the table: "complete collapse,"
"breadlines," "16% unemployment."

It was a bleak conversation,
but I think there are economic snow drops appearing this spring — signs of new, different
growth: — Our president is speaking to us
directly. You don't have to be part of the establishment to get
unfiltered information from the government. Everybody has equal, if not
perfect, information.
Best of all, there's a growing expectation of such transparency. With the White House blogging, we increasingly expect corporations, non-profits and branches of government to do the same.

Twitter — Conversation is public and connected. This
puts everybody on equal footing. You don't have to live in Silicon
Valley to know what the most successful entrepreneurs of our time are
thinking. They tell you publicly. Companies with tons
of money have a harder time selling their bad products, and companies
with far less money can sell good ones.

HubSpot — Marketing budgets are no
longer barriers to entry. It used to be that if you had a promising
new business, you had to spend tons of money to get your message out
and build scale. Now you don't have to do that. Anybody with a quality product or
service can use inbound marketing and a simple set of tools to compete
with the big guys. (Check out this marketing roi page for two studies
that spell this out analytically.)

These stories are all
exciting because they're giving creative individuals power — power that is being use to solve
problems, to remake industries like transportation, apparel, and finance
and, slowly, to rebuild our economy.

Umair Haque on Constructive Capitalism

This is a fantastic video. Well worth the time.

Umair Haque @ Daytona Sessions vol. 2 – Constructive Capitalism from Daytona Sessions on Vimeo.

HubSpot's methodology and concept of inbound marketing are based squarely on the ideals Umair articulates here — particularly equity and democracy.