Another Monday, Another Naive Weekly - Curated stories on Technology and Internet Culture.
Two weeks ago I was attending Tech Open Air in Berlin. Hosted next to the Spree river at the old radio center of the DDR, the conference has one of Europe’s most unique venues for bringing people together. The location breathes history, not convention center.
I was there with work as we were hosting a podcast studio together with Samsung NEXT. Since my teammates had everything planned and under control, I for once had the opportunity to be at a conference without facilitating, speaking or organizing. Instead I could sit and observe.
In 2019 there are many ways to connect with people. On a stressed day I’d probably say there are too many ways to connect as I jump between conversations on WhatsApp, Telegram, Messenger, LinkedIn, iMessage, Slack, Email, Hangout, Zoom and Twitter. Just writing this list makes me feel exhausted and overwhelmed.
I worked many years with a film festival. Film festivals grew out of a clear need: films were made on large rolls of print. To create and transport these prints were extremely time consuming and costly. Therefore the film industry started to organize common meeting points where buyers, press, distributors and other industry people could watch more films at the same trip.
With YouTube and Netflix, Wikipedia and Quora, Podcasts and Newsletters, Google Scholar and ResearchGate, that is hardly the case any longer. Knowledge and content is easily available anywhere, anytime. Even proprietary data is usually available with creative googling or visiting the darker sites of the Internet.
Yet the film festivals still exist. Yet technology conferences still exist.
It might have been because I just have had a couple of intense weeks and therefore was low on batteries and extra cynical. But for whatever reason, when I was sitting outside our podcast studio and observing the people passing by I felt that the vast majority was there for the same reason as me: work.
To be clear, there is nothing wrong in attending conferences for work, but there is a fine balance. The room quickly changes atmosphere if there is starting to be more people who attends because it is an excuse to take a day away from the desktop or because it is part of their boss’ marketing plan.
I strongly believe in the power of bringing people together, but it is hard to justify the CO2 and the time if there isn’t a higher goal with the gathering. Not all gatherings have to change the world, but the very least they should be driven by curiosity. Expensed entertainment is more than boring, it is irrelevant.
Six Stories on Technology and Internet Culture
A post about internet subcultures that are semi-public, but don't necessarily want to be found. Absolutely worth your time and make sure to subscribe to Nadia’s newsletter too, the latest edition covered different types of conversations, from brain dumping to scrapbooking.
One of those small tools the Internet used to have millions of but somehow became less frequent. The premise simple: add what you spend your time on and the site will tell you how much free time you have left in your life. Afterwards you can start to consider how to spend it (see also Paul Graham’s evergreen essay ‘Life is Short’).
Continuing the plant theme with this article on raising plants. The highlight was the distinguish between the gardener and the botanist. My plant obsession level has reached a level where I truly believe the Internet would be a better place if it had more botanists.
I think everyone should start a newsletter. After having pushed my friend Aydo for the better part of a year, he last Friday sent me a private newsletter. It made me extremely happy. In a world with quick information that is filtered by popularity and algorithms, newsletters are a way for me to find curators I trust and where I actually get the news I want. When you read the article you’ll notice clever observations by Ann Friedman. She writes one of the best weekly newsletters and last week was hands down the best edition she has written yet - I saved at least 10 links from it.
Speaking of conferences. Last week it was time for the annual Vidcon. For the past many years it has been all about YouTube, but apparently the hottest party this year was Tiktok. It seems we soon have a new social app to spend our time on. This one fuelled by $1 billion advertising dollar.
Last week Antal became the seventh paying subscriber. Antal is a good friend, and possibly an even better developer. Last week Twitter had a 10x moment. It started with an investor tweeting about how to spot a 10x developer. It spiralled into 10x everything, including 10x pets. I find the whole idea of 10x humans rather sick, but if I should pick any 10x people it would all of you reading my weekly nonsense.