Clearwire is getting a cautious coverage in the press. Nobody is singing their praises, but nobody
really wants to bet wrong on McCaw either. But whether Craig wins or loses is pretty irrelevant to me. What it does mean is that the era of
ultrafast wireless is starting. Craig is
betting that it is a market already waiting for a solution, but even if he is
early, he’s not early by much. Wireless
broadband is going to be huge.
Whether it’s a big centralized technology like WiMax or a
Wi-Fi type network that is meshed and decentralized, wireless broadband is how
the vast majority of consumers will access the Internet in 15-20 years (maybe
even 10 as Clearwire is probably betting). It’s just cheaper to upgrade the network and keep pace with exponential
growth of the underlying technologies.
And if the primary information devices are going to look
like the iPhone or some derivative, wireless is foundational. I think Clearwire will probably not be a huge
success, but even its failure will attract enough investment that someone will
get it right. Whomever wins in this
market is going to win very big.
I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about the way
in which kids and bloggers are increasingly documenting their entire lives
online. The premise is that narcissism
was on the rise amongst kids and the lines between public and private lives are
evaporating. People are not just
documenting and sharing their digital life, they are documenting everything
from childbirth to closet cleanings to family funerals.
I’ve been making the point for a while that the reason why
people post entries on blogs, create MySpace pages, and generally share
personal information with the world online had very little to do with money and
mostly to do with a desire for fame. This was the reason why I felt that Revver’s business has suffered while
YouTube’s has exploded. My thoughts have
evolved a little recently.
I was at a Stanford conference on Wednesday in which Jay
Adelson from Digg was on a panel and he said something that made me think a
little deeper about my fame belief. I’m
paraphrasing, but basically what he said was that the act of conveying
information to others is in itself a very pleasant experience for most
people. Just the simple act of telling
someone else what I know actually feels good. Sharing gives you a buzz, especially when that sharing is acknowledged
This got me to thinking that fame is a little bit of a
simplification of this. It plays into
the WSJ idea that this is about narcissism. But narcissism is all about excessive self-infatuation and vanity. But I’m not so sure that’s a fair
characterization anymore. Many do these
things for fame and self-aggrandizement, but I think the reason for most share
their lives is that the simple act of sharing information for most humans is a
very pleasant activity.
I think this is an evolutional trait of human beings. We are genetically programmed to enjoy the
process of passing along experience and information to others. The web has just enabled this to become a
much larger part of many people’s lives. It’s magnified the pleasure of sharing because you can share with so
many people at the same time. It’s more
subtle and less sinister than fame, but actually more powerful.
It gives me great hope for the future of our emerging