Things move so fast in the world of technology that we can sometimes lose sight of just how new some of it still is. And sometimes that very newness can cause problems.
As I was sitting in a Cole Valley café recently, watching Craig Newmark of Craigslist demonstrate how he uses his iPad (on a tiny easel) to handle customer support issues, it struck me that only a year ago this scene never could have happened.
After all, Cupertino-based Apple only introduced the iPad, probably the most super-hyped tech product of all time, in late January 2009.
We’ll have to wait until all the holiday sales are added up to know for sure, but it’s a good guess that digital books accounted for roughly ten percent of all book sales in 2010 --a remarkable figure that will only be going up in the future.
All along the waterfront in modern San Francisco, businesses catering to tourists occupy the wharves where longshoremen used to work.
But down at Pier 17, there also is an industrial enterprise -- a chocolate factory, owned and operated by none other than the team of Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe, the visionaries who launched Wired magazine in SoMa back in 1993.
They are still innovators in technology, though no longer in the publishing industry. Instead they manufacture and sell premium chocolate with their company TCHO, which in its own way may prove to be as disruptive in the global chocolate industry as Wired was in publishing.
If you want to find out who drives innovation at a company like Facebook, it’s best not to look from the top down. Thus, while most of the press focused on 26-year-old CEO Mark Zuckerberg for being chosen as Time’s “Person of the Year,” a virtually unknown intern, Paul Butler, released his data visualization of human relationships globally based on ten million friend pair samples from the site (see image).
Butler, who hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is a math/computer science student at the University of Waterloo, told TechCrunch he came up with the map by doing this:
My friend Carrie* doesn’t like to just sit around when there’s a problem that needs fixing. Thus when a bug eliminated all of her (and many others’) Twitter followers last year, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
Using Google, she located the Twitter office on Folsom Street and set out for a visit, stopping by a local bakery along the way to buy several dozen cookies in the hope that they might her gain entrée to one of the hottest companies on the planet.
When she showed up at the social networking site’s front door, it was locked, but by lucky coincidence, someone just leaving the office held the door open to let her in.
Once inside, she stood in the entryway wondering what to do next.
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