“We can have our cake and make some more.“ Tom Foremski and I both like rich interactions. I’d walk a couple of miles (or travel much longer) to talk with someone, rather than connect with them on the phone. I went to Paris (after Traveling Geeks) to interview peace activist organizations face-to-face rather than use Skype and webcam. I went to London to meet with tech companies rather than just view their web sites. Tom will drive two hours to get face-time.
Here Tom explains to us about how he loves the richness of media and how it‘s not an either-or world at all.
In the back seat of a London taxi, Howard Rheingold talks with me a bit about how information research centers can form around people who attract talented individuals and then “protect” them so they can innovate.
First he mentions Bob Taylor, who was at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, where Alan Kay and Bob Metcalfe, among others who I know, did some really innovative work.
JP Rangaswami, at BT, is also a “people connector” and extraordinary manager who in a big-company environment, such as a telecom company, is doing some interesting things. BT’s CEO Ian Livingston, the night before, had told us there are 200 competing companies here vying for UK business and that this bodes well for services and low prices.
Kinda spooky idea, but Tom Foremski suggested to me that fault lines and disruptive technology appear in the same regions of the world. Speaking of disruption, we were at Reboot Britain when I recorded this clip and were struggling because hundreds of attendees were sharing a wi-fi connection and it was pretty difficult to find enough bandwidth to squeeze up a podcast or video to the Traveling Geeks web site.
Customer service takes dedication, and Craig Newmark, founder of Craig’s list, takes this to a degree you won’t see many places. Every day, whether he’s at home in San Francisco or on the road in England, he attends to his half-time position as customer service rep for the institution he founded.
Each night, as we’ve been winding up or down the evening activities, Craig has bowed out at a reasonable hour to go online and attend to customer issues as they come up. Being +8 hours from San Francisco’s time zone has helped, but it’s still a remarkable thing to see this kind of dedication.