The End of Imagination… Enter the world of Reality…

The Internet is something that will never end… It’s the complete and beautiful reality of our imagination.  The Romans built great forums and marvels to host the greatest of sporting events… The Greeks developed ideas of free speech and  a unity of human existence in the olympic competitions… The great cultures of Asia found enlightenment and a grander concept wisdom… And now all those things have been out done.  We don’t just have the greatest sporting events in the world… We even have fantasy football to raise them to new heights… Facebook and Twitter are miracles compared to the great forums of the Greeks and Romans… While the olympic games are great, today’s gaming communities on XBOX and PS3 take the idea of a grand multicultural games to a unbelievable level.  

There are great conquests that human kind has overcome.  We first conquered the beasts that lived among us… Then we conquered the land with irrigation and farming… Each conquest opening a new world to humanity.  Next we found culture and community, building cities and belonging beyond the family unit… And with this came civilization and the written word… Building a record that could allow each generation to learn and grow beyond what it’s prior had.  Then came government and concepts that collections of communities could build a stronger and better supported existence…. Now with that stability behind them humanity found arts and sciences… Laying the groundwork for everything needed to tackle a new frontier, not a physical conquest like all the others, but rather the conquest of the imagination.

The idea is reality of imagination… The Internet and human society are at a turning point, right now…  We have conquered much of the physical world, and now we are entering a virtual world… The net has evolved just as art has, first we drew what we saw, then we drew what we wanted to see, then we drew our imagination.  The world is connected, the collections of communities that used to be the drivers of patriotism in government, are now developing the governments of the web.  Are you going to be a Mac or a PC… Are you going to belong to XBOX Live or PS3… Are you going to be a leader of the conversation in your twitter feed or will you listen… Will you be one of the first to realize that anything that can be conceived can be built, can exist, can become real… We stand at the end of the Internet we knew as a network of communication or even expression… We have evolved to something new as humans… There is no such thing as impossible anymore… There is no such thing as imagination anymore… It is the beginning of the era of reality.  Everything can be real… We have entered a new state of being, we can now create our world in the image we want.  

The Internet is a very scary thing to a lot of people… But as I watch the world of technology, art, and society collide in a grand virtual mix of creation, there is no doubt in my mind that we have evolved to have the skills of the aliens we conceived in the 1960s and the Gods we worshiped in ancient times.  So with that I implore you to learn and to accept our next great evolution into something quite special.  I promise it will be a lot of fun doing the impossible.

Parallels of the Industrial and Internet Revolutions

The two greatest tech booms in recent history have been the Industrial and Internet Revolutions.  While both are amazing stories in their own right, I’d like to focus on a few individuals that have and are defining these periods with almost the same strategies.

Industrial Revolution:  Andrew Carnegie created an empire in Steel.  He started with very little… but over time came to own his own steel company.  While his technology innovations in steel creation helped make his company successful, it was his business sense that made his company into an empire.  As Carnegie’s company became a leader in steel, he began to purchase the mines where his steel company purchased its iron-oar.  Then as he saw another year of record profits he purchased the major railroads that his company used to send its finished steel product around the country.  What Carnegie did was called Vertical Integration, where a company buys out its supply chain to cut its cost and maximize the profits.

Internet Revolution:  Steve Jobs created and empire of access.  Apple under the leadership of Steve Jobs is a perfect example of modern vertical integration.  Apple created the iPod to allow you to listen to all of your music, any where.  Then they created iTunes a place to manage all of your music.  Next came the iTunes Music Store where you could buy all of your music.  This then developed into a larger library of content coupled with bigger and better products such as the iPhone.  All of these offering have evolved into the Apple we know today… a company that has both “vertically and horizontally integrated” the personal electronics experience.  You buy your content through Apple, you buy the product that you consume that content on through Apple, and then to top it off you’re content is part of a “cloud” that rewards you for having multiple products from Apple.

Industrial Revolution:  John D. Rockefeller’s strategy with Standard Oil wasn’t too complicated.  He realized that there was one limited resource that would drive his revolution… OIL.  He grabbed as much of it as he could, creating a position of power in the total revolution.

Internet Revolution:  Mark Zuckerberg had a very simple idea that evolved into Facebook.  (That is all him)  What he realized along the way was something that Rockefeller learned.  Zuckerberg controls by far the most of the one limited resource that drives the internet revolution… TIME.  Mark has a very strong grip on the vast majority of time spent on-line.  As anyone in the internet business can tell you… if you have eye balls on your website you are king.  (also “Time is Money”)

There are more connections than the one’s above… but what I’m most interested in is the aftermath of these periods… what’s next?

Thanks for Listening,

Zach West