To create or curate? That is the Apple question

I’m torn.

I really want to be sitting at Steve Jobs’ feet again on Wednesday as he introduces whatever it is he’s introducing. Largely rumored to be not just a slate of some kind, but a new Apple TV, a new iPhone update, and new iLife suite.

If you’ve been living under a rock or in a coma for the past few months this has thrown the tech press into a tizzy. Right now on Techmeme just an overheard item from Steve Jobs has the top place (who cares if it really is true or not, as long as it has the words “Steve Jobs” and “Apple” in the headline).

Don’t believe me? Look at my list of 500 of the world’s top tech press. In between messages about football this weekend has been tons of speculation about Apple.

But that got me thinking “should I go to Wednesday’s event or not?” I thought I’d put it up for a vote, so here’s the pro’s and the cons. But deeper than that, I wanted to show there’s value in curation, not just in creating content. Let’s talk about that later more.


1. I’ll get to see the new device a few seconds before Engadget will get to upload pictures of it to its live stream.
2. I’ll get elbowed by CNN in a fight to get close to Steve Jobs for an interview that won’t be exclusive anyway.
3. I’ll get a free donut or bagel and some lukewarm coffee from Starbucks.
4. I’ll be able to tell my grandchildren “I was there when Steve Jobs introduced the iSlate.”
5. I’ll be able to argue with Katie Cotton, head of Apple PR, about whether I can use a Google Nexus One to Qik live video out to all of you.
6. I’ll be able to hang out with the God of Gadgets, Ryan Block, who co-runs GDGT along with Peter Rojas, the guy who started Engadget.
7. I’ll be able to beg Walt Mossberg for a ticket to All Things D, the conference he does every year with Kara Swisher.
8. Speaking of Kara, if I’m there she’ll interview me with her Flip cam and ask me a funny question, usually along the lines of “how did you sneak by Katie Cotton?”
9. I’ll be able to race the entire press corp down to the Apple store which has decent wifi and try to upload a video from there, since Apple doesn’t give you good wifi at these events because they want you to see the device first in glorious HD from ABC or CNN, not from some blurry Qik cam. Seriously, at the Apple event I was at you aren’t allowed to use video devices in the first few rows, so there’s no chance to get decent video. And, anyway, unlike at Google, Apple will have a glorious HD version of its own up on its own website within a few hours anyway.
10. After working my behind off trying to get SOMETHING that one of the other press people won’t get (yeah, right Scoble, you’re going to get an exclusive that CNN or BBC or New York Times won’t? HAHAHAHHAH) and giving Apple even more free press than I will anyway they won’t give me one to try for a month, like Google did with the Nexus One. No, I’ll have to wait in line and buy my own. On the other hand, Walt Mossberg and four other hand-picked journalists will get a press demo unit to try a month before anybody else.
11. It’s possible this is Steve Jobs’ last “big product” development at Apple so there may not be another chance to be part of a press event like this again.


1. I’ll be in my pajamas and won’t need to wake up at 5:30 a.m. to make it to San Francisco in time to beat Ryan Block in the door.
2. I’ll have great wifi and four computers with more screens than the average Avatar special effects nerd at Lucas Films has (really, I visited there two weeks ago and they have small screens).
3. I’ll be able to watch 500 of the world’s tech journalists in real time and will be able to pick out the best reports.
4. I’ll be able to write a blog in peace and quiet and put together the best reports.
5. I’ll be able to make it to the Palo Alto Apple store before any of the Press Corp will, and since they are all up in SF I’ll get the best geek story of reaction from Silicon Valley store visitors.
6. I’ll be able to mix Engadget, Crunchgear, Gizmodo, Gearlive, and all the other blog posts together and put together a more complete picture than any of them will give.
7. I’ll be able to talk with my friends in China, who probably know more about this device than anyone except for Steve Jobs anyway. If I’m stuck in the event I won’t be able to make phone calls to do original reporting while the event is going on.
7b. I’ll be able to call — while the event is going on — other execs at other companies like Google and Microsoft to get their take on things and will be able to report that in real time.
8. Unlike most tech journalists, who will only link to their own stuff, I’ll be able to tell you — in real time — who has the best photos and best streaming video or audio from the event. After the event I’ll be able to link you to the best reports. Yes, Techmeme will do the same, but Techmeme has its bias. Just tonight Techmeme linked to a story about YouTube that had been broken by someone else a week ago.
9. I’ll be able to get on audio shows, like those from Leo Laporte or Steve Gillmor or Clayton Morris or Louis Gray and get the first punditry out. I’ll be available in a quiet place to do shows from BBC, Fox, etc that would be very difficult to do from the floor of the event.
10. I’ll be able to hang out with the other hundreds of thousands of geeks who didn’t get invited to the press event and since I won’t be able to get any exclusive news by going anyway they won’t be jealous of me and might invite me over for a beer in the afternoon while griping that they, again, have been locked out of an opportunity to sit at Steve Jobs’ feet and drool on the floor while seeing stuff that will cost us all at least a few hundred bucks and probably thousands over the next few years.

I guess you can see I’ve pretty much made up my decision, but what about you? Would you go? Why?


OK, that was all pretty tongue-in-cheek, but there is something to this curation argument. After all, where is the value in the news chain? Is it taking a photo that 60 other photographers will take? Is it trying to compete for video with CNN, ABC, BBC, etc, all of which have $100,000 HD cameras, not to mention that Apple has its own multi-camera video crew that will shoot video that’s better quality than anything you’ll be able to make anyway?

Is it in writing an article about the specs? Come on, please do be serious. Engadget, GDGT, Crunchgear, Gearlive, and Gizmodo will all do those and have distribution to boot. Plus they will each have teams of people there and, probably, will have the spec sheets in their hands hours before the event anyway. When I was at the Palm event at CES last year I saw several journalists had their entire articles written BEFORE the event and were just waiting for a quote and the embargo to end before posting them. You really think you can add more value there?

How about thinking you’ll get an exclusive by hanging out with Steve Jobs and he’ll whisper in your ear something he isn’t going to repeat to everyone else. Hey, it could happen, right? And I could win the lottery too.

But, look at curation. I know all of the tech journalists and have been studying them for years. Here’s a set of my Twitter lists, which you can watch yourself in real time:
500 of the best tech journalists.
433 tech venture capitalists.
500 company founders.
339 tech company executives.
500 iPhone developers, businesses, and influentials.
493 of the world’s top tech news brands, from CNET to Techcrunch, and have a list of them.

I can watch all of these lists in real time and curate news from any of them. Also, because I’ll be home in front of big screens I’ll be able to see patterns, like the differences between how tech journalists and tech company executives are reacting to the news, and report that to you. That’s something that very few tech journalists have demonstrated they are willing (or able) to do. Look at how few tech news brands have created comprehensive lists like these of the tech industry.

Add to that over on Facebook I have a list of the world’s top executives, including those who run Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, and lots of other companies and I’ll be able to call and do reporting from my seat.

I can watch all of these lists in real time and put patterns and reports together from across the industry. To me that’s more valuable than even just watching the keynote live. Which explains my choice.

But none of that really compares to the real fun we’re going to have on Wednesday: we’re all going to be able to curate this event together in live time thanks to Facebook, FriendFeed, and Twitter.

See, I’ll be also watching my stream from 17,500+ of you. So, if one of you gets some exclusive news (which is more possible than if I went to the Apple event, since some of you probably have relatives building the device, or friends who work at Apple who are giving you a sneak peak, etc) then I’ll be able to see it and retweet it before anyone on the event floor will be able to see it.

Already if you watch my favorite tweet feed, which this weekend passed 13,000 tweets, all hand favorited by me in just the past eight months, you’ll see the best of the Apple news.

To me THAT is what really has changed about news in the past few years. It’s not that any one of us will get an exclusive but that those who are good at sifting through large numbers of tweets, most of which have tons of noise, will be able to curate a story that no one journalistic team will be able to build on their own.

But, either way, it’ll be fun to watch on Wednesday and my curation hat will be on. Which would you rather do? Create or curate?

Oh, by the way, I bet that Steve Jobs shows off a system on Wednesday that will let you BOTH create and curate and that is why Apple will win this week, big time.

UPDATE: On Wednesday I’ll be giving away my Kindle 2.0 (the small one). It’s not heavily used, in perfect condition. After Wednesday I doubt I’ll use it much so might as well give it away. And, if Apple’s tablet is a huge disappointment (yeah, right) I’ll be able to buy the bigger Kindle anyway or try out Barnes and Noble’s Nook. Anyway, to win it just leave the best response in comments below. I’ll announce the winner at the start of the keynote.


  1. Amazingly fatuous post. You must really be in love with yourself. You self-importance surely resides in some sort of inferiority complex from childhood. But, hey, if you've got nothing better to do on Wed., go have fun with the boys!

  2. While I agree with all of your curate posts and equally the create. Perhaps go to the event for the experience. Not to implicitly create. Even as your seasoned tech pundit self, as you said yourself, this may be the last big Jobs product announcement, hell for that it’s worth going. Hey, if I was in your position, I know which I’d be doing, but that’s just me :)

    I hope I get to enjoy your instantaneous tweets from the event Robert ;)

  3. Skip the hype and spend all day watching Cranky Geeks . Will get you in the mood to for next show of TWiT discussing the hype.

  4. Hi Robert. To me create >> converse >> curate.

    Create would be you doing a detailed review of the device or talking about a few developers about how they plan to build new experience for the device once it SDK is available.

    Converse would be you sharing a few of the interesting posts in Friendfeed and other people joining in to have a heated conversation on the plus and minus of the device. Or a Gillmor Gang.

    Curate is seeing you reduce 1000 blog posts/tweets into a list of 30-100 you select in your twitter favorites.

    All 3 forms have value. It is just that 1 and 2 offer more value and are more unique/fun.

  5. I say create!!! You never know what could happen, you might even win the lottery! To see events unfold in person is always more exciting which will show in your later curation.

  6. If you look at it from a purely economic perspective. Curating has much better future cash flow potential. Creation will be much too saturated by others who have greater resources than a single individual. It sounds like you already have figured out how to level the playing field to your advantage. I say Curate in your PJ's

  7. I guess you forgot that at the iPhone launch only a few journalists were even able to touch the thing. Most had to look at it under glass. So, don't expect a detailed review.

  8. Have you considered creating a Friendfeed Room, pipe your favorite tweets and blog posts into it and see what the results turns into? I would be that it would be a more connected experience than a bunch of tweets flying around.

  9. I know there are a lot of compelling reasons to stay home, and you are well over the first time excitement of attending this event. My only question is, years from now do you to say to your kids and grandkids, “I remember when the tablet was launched, I was sitting at home in my pj’s at my computer talking on the phone while twittering.” Or would you rather be able to say “You should have heard the noise in the room or the look on Steve’s face when he FINALLY announced the tablet.”

    Either way it will be quite the day, but if I’m honest I hope you take the seat that millions of us wise we could have. Enjoy the warm coffee and make sure you give an extra elbow to the guys at the NYT for me.


  10. I think staying home lets you get to do both, create AND curate. You want to add to the conversation, right, so you don't want to just do the “best of…” anyway, no? Just by not following the crowd to the city, and instead reporting on the immediate ripples across the social web, the reaction in the PA store, the predictable Apple online store crash when Steve gets off the stage, and the stock market reaction, you get a meta view that the folks in the room don't have. I am borrowing someone else's live feed and enabling myself to actually be more productive by staying home, because I am not traveling to and from and waiting in security lines. After all, we're technologists, and so why not use the amazing technologies our friends invented to create original content from out here in the world at large.

  11. Assuming at least some of the rumors are true and that an iTablet or Mac Canvas or something is showing up, curation will be much more useful. The odds that this is a new product that will be highly disruptive in typical Apple fashion means the bigger picture view is going to be as important as ever. If the announcement were just another refresh of the MacBooks, all that would really matter are the new specs. I would be amazed if the actual reveal is as mundane as that.

    Granted, if nobody went, it wouldn't be much of an event now would it? Still, what will matter is how the new iTabulaRasa fits in to both Apple's own line-up, the general tablet market, as well as the overall content creation/consumption realm.

    Personally, I would rather go to the event in this case, if only for the chance to see a Steve Jobs presentation in person for once. Other than that, curation is the way to go on this one.

  12. Curate. No sense in getting dressed for an overhyped and over-speculated event celebrating the next revision of the iPod nano. Plus, you won't have to deal with those obnoxios “worst keynote ever” whispers.

  13. The noise in the room? Did you realize Apple seeds the audience with employees who actually do almost all of the cheering and clapping? That's one reason I'm not so enamored of going. I've been there and done that.

  14. Well..I am sure Dvorak would make fun of the hype. Might even get him to buy you a drink at the local bar.

  15. Go. Synthesize an environment of both creation and curation by stationing yourself inside long enough to get a feel for the presentation, then leave and kick back near a WiFi connection and watch the reports come rolling in from others.

    Laugh a bit, enjoy your caramel macchiato, then move outside to talk with the journalists after they've hit send on their blog posts, to gather their opinions about the thing. I do believe it would be a lot more fun to find out how the hype plays out, how it grows through the sure electronic watering by Apple Inc. over the course of the day.

    People enjoy your opining, but also like to know that you actually were there, and are not just rehashing the words of others. Find a happy medium, and we can all be happy!

  16. Robert, Curate because by CURATING the content you are CREATING something more valuable. It is like Invent versus innovation. Inventing creates something new, but innovation is where the value is created. Use your skills to curate the best content from hundreds of sources to create something valuable to all of us.

    Besides, I would like to come visit you on Wednesday. We can talk about the transition from Microsoft to Google, and I want to introduce you to Liz Brooks, former VP of marketing at Napster.

    Double bonus, I can pick up the Kindle prize :-)


  17. Create or curate? … it'll be a mix of both no matter what they name it and it will be cool! … so, as an answer to the question, Create or curate?

    To the tune of Louis Armstrong's “Let's Call The Whole Thing Off Lyrics”

    Create, Curate, iTablet, iSlate, Let's call the whole thing cool

  18. Honestly I think you should stay home and collect information. Do you really need to go to the show ..awe and shock of it all? You have the contacts to spread the word in the comfort of your home or office. Just my opinion though. Whatever you decide, looking forward your honest thoughts.

  19. It actually isn't a choice of either/or. To curate in the manner you describe is to create because you are creating the tone and stream of the news that your readers digest. If they were to read from each individual outlet, they would get a different picture than the one you will create by curating.

  20. Robert,

    Curate. Analyze. Provide some context and depth to the conversation. The real time is great; but it's a crowded space. A million places to get the information. No thought, no insight, no added value. When you strip out your expertise all you have is speed, and speed is now a commodity. It's your experience and insight that is the real value.

    The real time web first sped up the reporting cycle, from days to hours to seconds. Now it is speeding up the analysis and commentary portion of the cycle. Where analysis is done faster, opinion levied sooner and insight brought to the public almost instantly. This is curation, and this is what we want from you.

    Access is now a commodity – your insight is still one-of-a-kind.

  21. It seems like the big question is what purpose do these events serve? I understand that the news media, well the main stream media anyway, need an event – a show to report on. Other than having crowd shots what would be the difference from posting a video on the net and handing DVDs (or otherwise handing content over) to the media?
    As you point out the people Apple see as key already have their data and their stories written. No one is getting to talk to Jobs and likely few will get to touch the hardware there and so unless they had an early preview they will be nehind the people who show up at the stores.
    So in the long run will people keep coming? Or more properly, will people who matter in terms of getting the news out keep coming. Sure the fanboys and employees will show up. The people who want some free food will show up. But assuming someone has access to the live feed and all the Internet conversation at home or office why come?
    But these events are expensive so will companies keep on holding them? What is the advantave to the companies?
    Seems like the two reasons to do it are: We;ve always done it this way. and If we don't have a big event no one will cover it – it will not make a splash like we want.
    The first reason is foolish. Only time, and some brave attempt, will tell if the second has merit going forward. The world is changing with candidates announcing races on YouTube and Twitter. Why not business as well?

  22. as a freelancer myself – I say stay home – throw on a nice t-shirt with your PJs and pundit to your heart's content…be sure to let us know on FF! ;-p

    So what's up with iSlate name? this is Apple – right? shouldn't it be iSlice? iSauce? iGrannySmith?

  23. Think about which choice, in the end, will give you the most happiness. Will it be participating in the event, getting to see the various folks you mention, etc? Or will it be playing that role of curator: watching, analyzing, reviewing, re-arranging, and ultimately adding your own insight and commentary to an announcement that desperately needs some cutting through the hype? Choose wisely, Robert.

  24. I don't think the actual choice you make is that important. I think the fact that you have the choice and that either choice can really produce an interesting output is what is cool. A year ago this would have been a much harder choice. (heck 6 months ago it would have been hard), but to your point, the tools at our fingertips have blurred the need to be there in the flesh. In fact, one could argue that being present and accounted for could have real limitations to how one consumes a story like this in real-time. “Reality” is getting blurring. If Apple does Wednesday right, we are in for a ride that might make the iphone revolution seem pretty tame. The rebirth of publishing, the death of TV, a new way to define a website, a complete mashup of video, social, location? We'll see.

    You can keep the Kindle. I have one I don't need either. ;)

  25. +1 Curate. Then I will know where to go to get up to speed after I wake up. (4am Australian time it starts I believe. 10+GMT)

  26. Oh, there's nothing that drives traffic like Apple news, so you can bet that people will still want to come. Especially to Steve Jobs events, which ARE the best produced in the business (I was sitting at the feet of Steve Ballmer too at CES and his events aren't nearly as interesting).

  27. Going to lay it on the line..I think I deserve the Kindle because each year I go to the golf tournament here in Scottsdale. It is a huge party..beautiful women,great weather, and when I pay attention, great golf. Has been called many names in the past 70 years, but the Phoenix Open is now the Waste Management Open. Not a joke. So if you do go to the Apple event, remember I will be at the waste management Phoenix Open. That is pro am day. Might see Courtney Love there :).

  28. But, see, that's the rub. If I were the only one creating it'd be OK (see the Google event, for instance, where I had one of the only video streams) but at Apple I'm going to be competing with the best news crews in the business and, because this is an event that actually matters, every major TV network and local station will be there too. This will be the most over created event in tech industry history, I guarantee it. If I thought I could get even a little angle on this story by going I'd be more interested.

  29. Where would we be without Scoble's curating genius? He adds an entire dimension to real-time conversations. When hordes of digerati like ourselves gather in the virtual chambers of friendfeed and twitter to discuss the latest thing, we should say “We're Scobling the X”. On Wednesday I'll be Scobling the iSlate et al with the rest of you.

  30. I'm not necessarily disagreeing with your choice, but this is part of a slightly bigger debate, no?

    The concept that the media (whatever size) will report everything relevant, and that no individual could do a better job at reporting or uncovering a new insight or angle, is a concept that's been dying in the last few years.

    Maybe you can do more good at your desk, but surely something will be lost.

  31. I'm not necessarily disagreeing with your choice, but this is part of a slightly bigger debate, no?

    The concept that the media (whatever size) will report everything relevant, and that no individual could do a better job at reporting or uncovering a new insight or angle, is a concept that's been dying in the last few years.

    Maybe you can do more good at your desk, but surely something will be lost.

  32. I thought I'd try to win the Kindle. When I got through the first 2 parts, I was set to say, “Obviously you want to stay home and curate, so do it.” Then I read the next part, where you made it clear that you intend to stay home and curate. Now that I have read the whole piece, I have an insight and then a conclusion.

    The question isn't “Create or Curate?”, the question is “Live or Memorex?”.

    You made it very clear that even if you went to the event, and experienced it “live” you wouldn't really be creating anything. You would just be in the room reporting on a stage managed, controlled, fairly predictable show. The only surprises would be the random scoop you might get or if something went awry or if Jobs announced he was selling the whole company to Facebook.

    If you're home in your jammies monitoring newsfeeds and seeing what everyone else produces and pulling it all together and discussing it on Twitter, with people in China, etc., that's the Memorex part. You're kind of taping and collecting and then repackaging what other people put out.

    On one hand, I would argue that the latter – the curation/memorex part – would actually be creating. You would have to synthesize a lot of information, decide what is most interesting and unique and then get it out there with your own spin on it. On the other hand, it still would be mostly just compiling other people's stuff and not witnessing it in person.

    Which brings me to my conclusion. I had thought out almost all of what I just said, and had made my conclusion, and only then did I see the comment from pxlated. I agree with him/her 66.6%.

    Forget Kara Swisher. What if item 11 turns out to be true??? Would you want item 4 to be “I was home copying and pasting stuff off the Internet and reading Twitter feeds and eating Grape Nuts when Steve Jobs announced the iSlate and his retirement.”


    So I say, here's what you do. Think of it as “Curiousation”. Go to the event as if you had never gone to one before. Make believe it's the first Steve Jobs event you have ever seen. Instead of writing about the tech or compiling what everyone else writes about the tech, write about the whole event and what was reported 3 days later. Go in with the curious eyes and mind of someone new to the whole thing – like you're an anthropologist – and write about the tech, the scene, the whole Steve Jobs experience. That will be so much more interesting to the broader world and to people like me that only know a little bit about this stuff.

    Creation vs. Curation may be Live vs. Memorex, but it may also be for you “Same Old vs. Same Old.” I think, honestly, you are saying you need to bring a fresh perspective to it. If you take my advice, I think it will be a lot more interesting to all of us, especially you, and you will have minor “I should have sat on the aisle” regrets, rather than major “I can't believe I missed Jobs last event” regrets.

    Let me know what you decide.

  33. Curation is exactly the right paradigm for you to follow because the law of economic value is to “waste abundance and conserve scarcity” Since there is an over abundance of coverage, that should be “wasted” i.e., dismissed, as in dismissing the chance to attend the event for your own personal satisfaction at the expense of the value you can give to your audience through curation. Why is curation a scarcity? Because computers and automation can't do it. O.K. techmeme is trying hard and coming close, but it still doesn't have, or maybe never will, the human value of the emotional context in which this event and device means something to the audience, who is, after all, the market as well.
    Curation demands the “human” touch, the emotional mixed with the objective, which a machine can't deliver. And reporters, of whom there will be an abundance, must put themselves in “machine” mode in order to report the facts as fast as they are happening, at the speed of life.
    Another reason curation is a “scarcity”? Not many people want to do it. Even the venerable Leo Laporte is bowing out and giving in to the urge to attend, leaving the mothership in the hands of, while certainly worthy co-horts, not he himself, the sort of “Walter Cronkite” of the scene. Curation is not as sexy. But in this context, where there is an over abundance of “creation” or I would call it “coverage” (for the only creation that's being done is by Steve Jobs and Apple, I would argue), the most value that can be added to the stream, is a highly passionate curator, who is able to filter out the noise and add the kind of context that only a human being can deliver. For it is a human audience that he/she is translating, filtering, discerning (emotional as well as factual) the mountain of data, the digital 1s and 0s, into the analog reality in which we experience life, which is best symbolized by, ironically enough one of the main features of this event, the sensation and the emotional response associated with the experience of “touch.” The art of value is exactly that of work of craft mixed with emotion. That is the scarcity in this moment, and the place where you can add the most value.

  34. No worries…although tournament is actually a week from now. Just having fun, and enjoying the topic. If you were giving out a Nexus..might be begging, (tied up with Tmobile and g1), but hand out the Kindle to someone who really wants it. I am fine with what I have.

  35. Create. But don't fight the crowds to create from the Apple event – go to Redmond and create from one of the Microsoft cafeterias so you can capture the despair rippling across campus as dreams of Courier are smashed into oblivion.

    Microsoft tried their best to pull the old “preempt your competition's message” trick from the Word playbook but Apple is not easy to displace. Their announcement has failed to create the buzz HP/Microsoft had wanted and capturing candid reactions on campus would be priceless because you know there will be a few viewing parties in cafeterias on Wednesday.

    Katie just might send you a device for creations like that!

  36. Though its likely to be Steve Jobs last event ( god knows) and you being bored of all these tech events, i second your choice of sitting at home in Pajamas . Might miss out some minute details, but does that really matter? The fun of working in a relaxed environment is something which we wont get when at conferences. As an added advantage you have all these techie friends and local store guys which will bring in more news than from the event itself.I suggest you follow the below mentioned setup and em damn sure you will end up with a really cool post. Good luck.

    SCREEN 1 – Twitter
    SCREEN 2 – Facebook
    SCREEN 3 – Friendfeed
    SCREEN 4- Text Editor

  37. Going with my original thought..stay at home in pj' Cranky Geeks while Leo is reporting, play around with your webcam and skype to see which camera shot is best for the next time you are on TWiT and avoid the hype. Watching Dvorak all day will get you into the cranky mood :)

  38. Yup, that's why there's tradeoffs no matter what I decide. If I go, I won't be able to curate (or curate as well). If I stay home I won't be able to create (or create as well).

  39. Cathleen, if I had never met Steve Jobs and had never been in one of his keynotes, or I didn't have hundreds of other stories to tell my grandchildren about the tech industry (remember, I studied every morning with Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak at West Valley Community College and I worked with Dan'l Lewin who started NeXT with Jobs) then I might be swayed by this argument. But now I'm looking at the world not so much from my own self-centered wants and more from “where can I make the best contribution.” Looks like I'll have a Google exec at my house on Wednesday, so already that's getting more and more interesting.

  40. Speaking for myself though..I live in Phoenix, so kind of Techwastland. Would love to go to an event like what is coming up. Foursquare is not a happening here so far…hope that can be changed. Have the datadoctors though which is kind of refreshing.

  41. Speaking for myself though..I live in Phoenix, so kind of Techwastland. Would love to go to an event like what is coming up. Foursquare is not a happening here so far…hope that can be changed. Have the datadoctors though which is kind of refreshing.

  42. I was going to say that curating is a form of creation but I Don Dodge beat me to the punch.

    Also, with an event like this, for a product launch, there isn't much that 'creating' will differ amongst journalists. The bare-necessities is going to be the spec-sheet and an image of it. You'll have that about just as fast as all of us (who won't be onsite).

    The real type of creation will be in the form of reactions and punditry. That'll be much easier, for the many reasons you already made, from the comfort of your home.

    So, stay home and create and curate. You'll be creating a type of content that is hard to produce: meta-content.

  43. I was going to say that curating is a form of creation but I Don Dodge beat me to the punch.

    Also, with an event like this, for a product launch, there isn't much that 'creating' will differ amongst journalists. The bare-necessities is going to be the spec-sheet and an image of it. You'll have that about just as fast as all of us (who won't be onsite).

    The real type of creation will be in the form of reactions and punditry. That'll be much easier, for the many reasons you already made, from the comfort of your home.

    So, stay home and create and curate. You'll be creating a type of content that is hard to produce: meta-content.

  44. I was going to say that curating is a form of creation but I Don Dodge beat me to the punch.

    Also, with an event like this, for a product launch, there isn't much that 'creating' will differ amongst journalists. The bare-necessities is going to be the spec-sheet and an image of it. You'll have that about just as fast as all of us (who won't be onsite).

    The real type of creation will be in the form of reactions and punditry. That'll be much easier, for the many reasons you already made, from the comfort of your home.

    So, stay home and create and curate. You'll be creating a type of content that is hard to produce: meta-content.

  45. Yes, and when all these can be done with wonderful social media out here, why being at Steve Jobs feet. Do one thing give the VIP pass to me. Shall fly all over from India to SF for that :D

  46. i have a vision of a T3 terminating in HMB, more specifically in your house, with a 802.11-N (or something else more secret that I can't even imagine — akin an I2 setup of sorts) that screams faster than your 27″ iMac can handle…

    am I way off? and, if I am right, how did your kindle not burn out yet when downloading — well anything?


  47. Conversely, you can stay up all night and hack together a Kindle text processing app. Then you can go to the Apple event and create with your Kindle.

    That might just be dumb though…

  48. Well, @comcastcares did upgrade my line to 25 megabits down. Unfortunately in Half Moon Bay can't get faster than that, but that's fast enough to handle Twitter. :-)

  49. This has nothing to do with Apple, this is about reporting. You said clearly you're curating – which is a good thing.

    I remember seeing movies, ages ago, where investigative reporters with their press cards in their fedoras phoned in bullet points on stories they were reporting, the editors would clean it up and get it to press before deadline. The reporters weren't really creating, they were reporting. The editors were creating – AND curating. An important distinction.

    Any time we aggregate – you do it, I do it – we may not be creating content, but we are creating context. You're not a reporter, Robert, even if you go to the events. Your style is that of an editor, and it's a vital role.

    We can't all get there, but that's ok. Part of the process is certainly getting the primary information – if no one does, we won't have anything to curate. But while doing the reporting has gotten easier, and it's possible to liveblog an event, that stepped-out perspective is also key to ensuring that one point of view doesn't outweigh all the others, either by virtue of writing quality or by exposure.

    To an extent, curation is participation – not from the side of those producing, but from the side of the users. It's meta-participation, because obviously those in place to do this super-scaled curation are set up with the tools, resources and connections to make it a worthwhile contribution, rather than just participating in the hype.

    In the end, content creation, aggregation and curation, are all parts of the same process; the new roadmap for reporting. I'm aware that sounds hokey, but there it is. You can't have content without an avenue for it to get to people; and the avenue is useless without the content to move along it.

  50. You are surrendering? You are not the best? :P

    I do, however, see your point. Remember the Segway announcement? It was going to “change the world” blah blah.

    The thing is if you create you were there. And then you get to curate afterward too. And eval the coverage (and hype level factor) because you were there first hand.

    In general I am for create instead of curate because if we lose the creators of quality digital information then we have garbage to curate. Again part of the create in this particular case is the coverage of the hype first hand. Who wants to miss the next Segway episode lol?

    Another factor is the reality of the economy. I damn sure won't ever buy into a PDA type thing again after all the Palm hype. I'm waiting for wearable computers and flexible panel digital paper computers. When I can have augmented reality displayed out in front of me (HUD) without a physical display (this is not new) and an IR sensor tracks the blind spot in my eye for the “mouse” then we will be talking about serious changes. Till then? Gadgets. Expensive gadgets in a depression when money is tight and priorities are on food. Nothing any tech company can announce in the next year is going to change a thing. Not till the money is back flowing. IMHO anyway.

  51. If you could have all your screens floating around you without any weight or matter, and a high-speed connection, you could do both.

    You used to work at Microsoft, can't you make it happen?

  52. Great post. Agree with you, if you have the set-up, connections and ability; watch from afar and combine all the information coming out. Since I have never been to an event I would go, but only because I have never been. For those that have gone before, they should read this article and think twice…

  53. In this context, curation is creation and the two processes are not completely distinct. However, the home environment certainly affords you a novel set of advantages in this situation I think.

    In the tech arena, information is a valuable thing and has profoundly shorter half life than in many others. If you were interested in the cult of Jobs or the atmosphere, the event might hold some more grand interest for you, but in terms of value – all but a very priviliged few at that event will leave having gained nothing different to anyone else there.

    And in this respect, I think choosing to curate allows you the possibility of relatively immediate, but significantly more considered and higher quality content. Content that's got value longer than the few seconds before everyone stops reading their random friends tweets and goes to engadget or techcrunch to check out someone more authoritative.

    Skip the trivial oohs and ahhs everyone will invariably indulge in, maybe that stuff is fun but it's of very short term worth and you put yourself in a far better position by collecting together the best from a variety of sources and showcasing this to people.

    Also, I typed this in my pyjamas.

  54. dig deep here Robert. Like any good journalist you”ll find the angle. the story here is the story behind the story. the most memorable picture of Princess Di taking her son to school for the first day was the sole photographer who took the one picture of all the other hundred photographers snapping away at Di and son. Everyone has been speculating for weeks and the story is really already over. stay home, day trade the stock, see how Amazon, Google, IBM, plastic logic, and Hollywood react then tell us where the tablet fits in the food chain. much more interesting than the hyped press releases we're about to receive

  55. I think you have to curate.

    I've watched your tweets for a short time.

    You are an Information Addict.

    A maven.

    Someone who filters the noise for the rest of us.

    It seems like a “dog and pony” show does not impress you.

    You are the Captain Kirk of this event.

    “One of the advantages of being a Captain is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it.”– Kirk in 'Dagger of the Mind'

    Stay at the helm, enjoy the additional sleep and ride the Tsunami of responses that come after the announcement.

    We appreciate you and your filtering. Keep up the good work!

  56. You know I just had a thought, although I disagree with your second part (I do think he should stay home) your first part reminded me that a curator is rather like the Producer of an Album, he takes all this mish mash of takes and recordings, which at its best is from the “lyrical” heart of the artist, and edits away, packages into something comprehensible for the audience to digest. At his best the producer is an artist of sorts to, knowing how to get the best performance out of the creator, and also which distinctive traits of the artist he should highlight and accent to best represent the story the creator is trying to tell.

  57. love to win… need to promote grand children to doing more reading. they are starting to develop my love for science, sifi, and tech tings in general, but this would help. you, Leo, cranky geek, and even Arrington, are great to watch. thanks to all!!!

  58. Glad that you have a choice – between going to San Fo to attend the event and sitting comfortably at home and curating the news. :) Wish I had that choice. However, I am more than satisfied – sitting at home, in front of my Macbook Pro, and reading your curated coverage of the event. The back-channel is important — where else can you get opinions whilst the event is being held? Gives you an informed decision of whether to hit that Order button or not, a few seconds AFTER the store goes live. Thanks, Scoble for doing this to mere mortals like us.

    And oh, maybe you can send that Kindle over – will definitely make a good home for it. The 5 kids would surely love it as their home-school tool. :P

  59. What if Steve Jobs announces the islate as a 3D device, how would you be able to judge that from photos ;-) ? You should definitely go there BECAUSE YOU CAN and we can't. You are our trusted source not only for factual info but also for the geek vibe.

  60. Thinking about the way I ‘consume’ media these days:
    I snack off the real-time stuff that comes in over Twitter, etc. I’d follow a video feed, or maybe Engadget’s transcriptions of the event, probably, but there will be plenty of this sort of thing going on. I can see the benefit of getting in first, but, particularly as I’m in the UK, a few minutes here or there won’t make a difference.
    I do go off and read stuff in detail, later on – whether traditional paper media, longer blog posts, analyst opinions. This is the content I really value – opinions, insights, ‘futurology’ – much more detailed. I’d value this ‘curation’ from you much more than I would another real-time stream.

  61. I don't see what is wrong with attending the event and then writing your editorial. You are going to miss out on the buzz and the experience that only a live event can offer. Plus, you can chat it up with @Ryan before the event. I think that first hand reporting is the crown jewel of journalism. Otherwise everyone would just sit at home on their computers and offer analysis all day long. What a sad world that would be.

  62. Curate please. I'm just your average gadget fan and if I could go to the Apple event I would, b/c for me it'd be a once in a lifetime opportunity. But as you said above, that part is old hat to you. With all of your contacts and knowledge, staying home and curating the event and distilling out only the most important and informative info, is what is most helpful to the average gadget fans like me. I and many others trust your opinion and judgements and so therefore the more well rounded a report you can give, the better, and it would seem this could best be accomplished at home, behind your desk, with your multitude of screens and computers.

    Thanks for always being on top of the tech news and for making reading about it that much more entertaining.

  63. There are loads out there who would sit at Jobs feet just to watch him open an envelope – but this really is exciting. You should stay at your tricked out Command Central and let someone who is really thrilled at the opportunity get in that room – I'll go!

  64. Curate Scoble. Everyone at the event is curating, except Jobs and his development team. Who else has the experience and the network to curate like you do?

  65. Isn't curate just a fancy name for aggregate, or are you saying that you will provide more value then aggregation by performing analysis on an aggregation of sources? Or, since it is Apple, do you mean the other definition of curate: person authorized to conduct religious worship? Scoble, the curate of Apple! Nice twang to it.

  66. Robert.
    Being in the Uk, I have no choice but to stay here, watch twitter, your lists and the gadget blogs, as well as's coverage. And hopefully, someone will sneak a live audio stream out.

    This issue of curating or creating content is not just limited to the Apple event on Wednesday.

    We think of the terrible events in Haiti. the fact that just about every aid organisation is on twitter or facebook (or both), the fact that the US Navy, its commands, and its individual ships are all on twitter or facebook means that we get better content here on the other end of an internet connection. We can pick and choose the best tweets and articles as they arrive from those on the ground doing the hard work.

    And you can bet that alot of that coverage does not make the local news.

    Only now, with the gaggle of press tweeters that are on the ground, do we get the professional content creators giving us news. And even then, by curating the news, piecing together tweets, its gives you a much fuller picture.

    This applies to anything. Take Jim Long in the White House as the NBC cameraman. Its so much nicer to sit here and piece together his tweets with those of all the other journo's at the WH. Its suprising how much you learn just by doing that.

    I've spoken to Rory Cellan-Jones (who interviewed you last week) about he BBC's use of twitter versus that of others such as CNN. Why? Because we can't curate the news, we just get it given to us in a polished news article.

    I'd much rather stay here and curate and retweet those notable posts and tweets and pics that leak out during the event on wednesday – we'll get a much fuller picture that way.

  67. “Create or curate” is really not the issue: you are actually asking little more than “attend in person or not.” Your plans include equal original content creation whether or not you attend in person.

    In my view, attendance buys you the opportunity to mingle in-person with others. Aside from that, there will be no meaningful difference whether you attend or not, since all the information will be on the Web within minutes anyway.

    My advice: stay home, focus on the event, and write (or record) great content without all the elbow-jostling of the live venue.

  68. What I do is WAY beyond aggregation. First of all, I've spent 30 years building a network of people I've met, studied, know, had dinner with, etc. Second of all, I add my own experiences and point of view. Third of all, I can do my own original reporting (and I'll have a couple of people from Google over my house to get their take in real time too). If aggregation was enough all you'd need to do is watch the Twitter lists I made for you. That's aggregation, even if it's curated aggregation.

  69. My original comment was tongue in cheek…wasn't expecting it to be transferable, but can't bear to think that there will be an empty seat in the house.

  70. Looking at this as a journalist, what you're really asking is, should I cover this as a reporter or as an editor? As a reporter – the “create” option, you'd be there getting the first-hand information you need to put together a story. Pretty standard stuff, and probably no different from what umpteen other tech writers who are there will be doing. So why not be the editor instead: run the desk and curate all of those first-hand reports, mix them with the best commentary from other tech industry big thinkers who'll likely be weighing in on this, apply a healthy dose of community reaction, add your own top-level insights and post it all to that FriendFeed page someone else suggested. You'll have created a news product unlike anything else that's out there, something that's unique to you and therefore more valuable to readers (and sponsors).

  71. nothing can beat the comfort of sitting in front of your imac or macbook (pro, for me please), watching the world go by. Comfortably. In your pajamas. Stay in, stay tuned (ituned?).

  72. Here's my thought process (if at all I were in your position)…

    If you take your argument a step further, the fundamental issue underlying this debate is “value creation for whom?”

    By going to the event, you will probably create more value for yourself – meet up with a few tech colleagues, get the first hand feel, chance to hear SJ again, blah blah. Will it help the thousands of folks looking up to you – probably not. You probably will not be able to add much to what Engadgets or the CNNs will have.

    If, on the other hand, you decide to go the other way, you can really add value to your thousands of followers who are looking for quality inputs while the event is hot. Admittedly, you could go to the event and then come back and choose to do the second thing, but will it have the same influence. People would already have heard about those things and many other sites will have multiple posts by the time you are up with it.

    So, for the thousands of folks looking up to you to help them decipher the implications of the Apple's latest gizmo – stay back!!

    p.s. would really love to have the Kindle. As a student, this would an ideal thing for me – so please please!!

  73. Very funny post Robert. And as for the subject of create or curate, I believe that curation is a form of creation. Not only that, a person that can effectively curate is far more valuable than just a creator. If you're listening to a speech and you're just writing a summary, you're just providing news and there are tons of people that can regurgitate what someone else says.

    A curator can put things in context. Someone like yourself who has years of industry experience can hear what Jobs says about the tablet and then put it in context with the history of other tablet computers, relate it to the Kindle and other e-reader releases, and know what to search for as people are chatting about it in real time.

    For example, with the release of the Google Nexus One Phone, the real story was the phone store that Google was creating. Sure the phone was cool, but it wasn't game changing. Conversely, Google's online phone store is an industry disruptor. In this case, someone who knows the history of the mobile industry can see where the real story lies and let it bubble to the top with editorial curation.

    I truly believe that curated real-time content will be both a compatible and competitive media channel to TV, radio, print, and online. I've written about it extensively in my analyst report, “Real-Time Search and Discovery of the Social Web.” (20-page PDF, free).

    So for yourself and the other curators what will be the real story behind the iPad/Apple Tablet/whatever? Will it just be a story about the device (probably not)? Or will it be a story about how this device will change how we consume media, do business, and interract? (possibly)

  74. Thanks for your response. I didn't know your earlier history, so I responded as a newer member of your audience/fan base. I made my recommendation less on your self-centered wants, but more based on what your self-centered wants seemed to be telling us, which is that you sounded bored with the whole thing either way. I meant that I thought you could make the best contribution by going but also by looking at it from a new angle. I was advocating a – forgive me Tony Blair and Starbucks – “Third Way”. I hope when it comes to Kindle reward time my effort, thoughtfulness, and creative, paradigm-shifting recommendation – even if you disagree – account for something. : )

  75. You're right, I hadn't thought of the Producer angle. It's funny, I've been thinking about that word a lot today as it relates to my own career. Maybe I should worry about me and whether I'm a creator or a curator.

  76. Hi Robert. You're on a roll with stellar posts the past couple of days.

    First, Saturday's item on social media incentives rocks with a masterful blend of savvy analysis, personal experience and useful suggestions.

    Then, you follow up a day later with a thoughtful discussion about content curation, which is becoming increasingly important because we no longer have the time (or patience sometimes) to keep up with the non-stop, daily deluge of news and information. Apple's alleged tablet introduction is sure to create an avalanche of extra content that could easily overwhelm readers only looking for essential specs and where-to-buy information. A content curator can dramatically improve things for readers by filtering wire service reports, company press releases, blog posts, tweets, YouTube videos, forum discussions, etc., into a well organized, easily digestible package that answers readers' essential questions and gives them context to sound intelligent and even a little bit hip chatting about the tablet around the watercooler at work, with other moms at their kid's playgroup, or with classmates on campus.

    Robert, I have no doubt that you can curate the heck out of Wednesday's Apple event. You have the experience, the network and the passion to not only aggregate the key need-to-know information but also to craft it into a package that is more relevant, more useful and possibly more fun than any single post or video you could produce by reporting from the event live. You would be creating a unique product that enriches commodity facts with your thoughtful perspectives, your sharp eye for spotting trends and your tell-it-like-it-is, yet conversational, style that always makes your writing a pleasure to read. As someone pointed out earlier, curation is content creation 2.0, and you would be helping to define its evolution by curating the event from home instead of covering it live.

    Hopefully, we can agree that this isn't a choice between creation and curation. But an important question remains about whether you should cover the event live. Robert, you're not only a tech maven; you're also a recognized Internet brand. Your readers and followers might have an expectation that you should cover such a historic product introduction – and perhaps date in Apple's company history – in person from ground zero. They might be disappointed that you're not streaming one of your signature videos in the minutes before Steve Jobs takes the stage. And they might expect to see you corralling reactions from key analysts and developers after the event on the virtual red carpet you and your camera automatically create.

    Ultimately, there's only one question you need to ask. What's going to serve your audience best? Covering the event live from the venue? Or creating a deep, context-rich curation that might be more useful overall? As journalists, we need to do our damnedest to give readers the most timely, accurate and authoritative reports possible from any breaking news event. Thanks largely to same technology that's created so much information overload, I believe that you probably can curate the event from home while still bringing readers the news accurately and in near real-time. I'm always a proponent of experimenting with new solutions, so I say you should take a stab at curation. Some of your audience might be disappointed to find out that their inside man wasn't actually inside the venue when Apple unveiled its tablet creation, but you can change their disappointment and confusion into praise and brand equity by nailing the impact of Apple's announcement, adding top-notch analysis, spinning the story forward, answering questions from the crowd and bringing context to their rants on Twitter.

    Separating distinctive content from a larger pool of mediocre dreck, then prioritizing it, adding context, and packaging it intelligently – all on deadline – probably will require at least as much – if not more – time and energy than covering the Apple announcement live, especially if you're striving to craft a first-rate curation that sets the standard for others to follow. If anyone's up to the task, it's you Robert, so go forth and curate. I can't wait to see what you come up with. Cheers!

    (About the Kindle. I have my own, but I'd happily hand it over to any relief group in Haiti that could use it or sell it on Craigslist and donate the cash to the Red Cross.)

  77. Create or Curate – I am disappointed you have missed the Third choice – collaborate. This is the world of social media – multiple interaction and involvement – Go there, but get one (or more) people to filter and feed to you…)

  78. Sounds like your place is going to be hopping! Are you going to send out a video stream while this is all going on? It would be interesting to see it all happening. People watching you watching people…and everybody learning something new.

  79. Hi, Robert, it's been fun reading the comments and chuckling at your pro/con list. :-)

    As Cathleen notes, the either-or question is not create or curate. And it's really not Live or Memorex — because you'll be able to consume real-time information (ideally a live video stream). The either-or is experience (one thing, in the flesh) or observe (many things, virtually). Until we can teleport in a flash, only you can decide which path provides the best cost-benefit ratio, which provides the best value for you (however you define that).

    But ask yourself: what is the experiential value of being first in line to buy an iPhone versus being at the keynote when Jobs made the iPhone announcement? Because, in effect, that's the choice you will have made if you stay home on Wednesday (which it sounds like you are going to do). If this product is anything like the hype that precedes it, then your only opportunity for an experience-related memory will be hanging out in line. Again. :-)

    As far as “creation versus curation” — there is no either-or. Curation is an act of creation. Curation, in this case, means identifying and organizing facts/data/opinion in order to further knowledge. Good curation, as I see it, benefits greatly from context, and context is usually not found in reports (news stories) from live events. Good curation requires time, subject matter expertise and, I believe, passion. Thus, you were correct in your observation that being present at the live event would limit your ability to curate well.

    In an era where the currency of scarcity is time and attention, good curation will be valued over “I was there” reporting. Yes, someone needs to be “there” but so long as we have, in effect, “pool coverage” then the important work, the “value add” work, can be done remotely. One warning I have for this observe-from-a-distance model is the very real loss of any real-time serendipity coming into play. (On the other hand, there could very well be virtual serendipity in the curation model.)

    There you have it. I wish I were in SFO and had one of those Stargate SG1 devices or Harry Potter potions that let you assume someone else's appearance. Because I love Apple (own stock) and haven't been to a keynote, I'd impersonate you!

  80. Yeah, it makes me think too. If I were giving advice, I wouldn't worry about it so much, just follow your interests. At times that may lead you into creating, at other times it may lead you into curating, but as long as your interested in what you are doing, having fun, it'll provide value either way.

  81. After hearing Robert speak about this 'real-time web' and the value of curation. I am convinced that he not only gets it and can convey it but he's also the exception that proves the rule 'those who can't do, teach' – especially prevalent in social media! It does come down to original content. We all have a saturation point beyond which we get information overload, have type a limited number of words per minute that we can type (and even less on the iPhone!). There will be better flip-cam operators out there, and those who get an edge getting past the PR blocks (although Robert's undoubtedly a pro there!). Compare it to the financial markets; a trader at home watches a single stock ticker flash, and seeing a price movement that has already happened feels 'sure' they can beat the hedge fund connected with sub-millisecond connectivity to an entire quant-driven computation plant next door to the exchange. It's nigh impossible. News get a taste of this today in the real-time web. We get many many data sources, many feeds of similar value at the high end. We can all be looking at the same 'almost perfect' data, it's up to us to develop methods of cleaning it. Curation = Creation – you no longer have to choose between being a curationist or a creationist. That said… there is one thing that would sway me to create. A series of astounding favors fall into place and Robert is able to convince the *other* Steve (Ballmer) along. Have him do a iSlate signing, fumble it like he did Guy Kawasaki's MacBook Air @ MIX, threaten to take it out the back to compare it with his 'tosh'. Mention to the reporters that it's not for business 'because it doesn't have a keyboard'. Robert leaves his iPhone with Michael Arrington so he can express his view, from his twitter account to himself. All return to Half Moon bay for light refreshments with Don Dodge and a Google exec. We can dream can't we? Curate it is then!

  82. If I was…

    An Inactive: I’d be been living under a rock or in a coma.

    A Speculator: I’d be talking about Google’s folding g-Tablet.

    A Joiner: I’d be waking up at 5:30 a.m. to make it to San Francisco in time to beat Ryan Block in the door. Or better yet, driving to Scoble’s place for fresh croissants and cappuccino (instead of donut or bagel and some lukewarm coffee from Starbucks at YBCA).

    A Collector: I’d keep my Kindle (which I don’t yet have, but so hope so to win and to keep forever).

    A Critic: I’d be curating the event from Googleplex with Sergey, Larry & Eric.

    A Creator: I’d be Steve Jobs, presenting my last big project.

  83. In this particular instance there is no doubt your curation of the event would be more valuable to readers like me than if you where there live. But I can see other contexts where you can become a larger part of the event and more will be gained from your attendance. So I think you will still have to make individual decisions on most of these.

    Are you just hanging on Twitter tomorrow or will you start a Friendfeed room to involve us?

  84. If you follow Steve's suggestion, may I riff on it? Mentally take notes during whatever portion you attend (or on your Mac), and then publish a post called, “Why I Walked Out On Steve Jobs” or “Why I Walked Out on the Apple Table,” etc. Then when you go to Starbucks for scalding hot coffee and WiFi, do your curation.

  85. Robert,

    I'm going to disagree with the horde here.

    Curation is not creation.

    Curators in galleries show us the beautiful and tell us the value and then sell us the artwork. That's very different from being an artist.

    I don't agree with the producer comparison StephenPickering made. What I think you're talking about is not what a producer does — working closely with specific artists and producing a cohesive whole.

    From following you for years, I think the question isn't curation vs. creation, but being a pianist vs. being a rapper.

    The pianist hopes good music is put in front of him, and plays, and leaves at the end. The rapper mashes it all up, old, new, borrowed and blue.

    I think it would be fun if you didn't just curate everyone else's material with your ranking and commentary as you've done in the past, but do that and give us new content that's live, but not at the event.

    For instance, maybe time-released posts on the major points of the presentation. I'm guessing they all have a beginning, middle and end, plus a turn-around “one more thing” moment. Would also be cool if you stepped before the lights with your guests and discussed a few key parts of the presentation — sort of like major, non-geek media events like the Macy's Day Parade or New Year's Eve or the Golden Globes or Mystery Science Theatre.

    I'm harping on the idea of mixing it up because at 30+ years in tech, there will be more and more events where you've Been There, Done That™ and a mix-up, mash-up special would be so much more interesting to me than a more pure curation race.

    That said, just for the irony of it all, I wish you or someone else would live stream whatever they could from a Nexus One while Twittering at the same time.

    I'm sorry you've pre-given up on Kindle, and I'm guessing, all non-backlit displays. But if you must… I'd love to have yours!

  86. As someone who enjoys the never-ending stories curation offers, and who also knows none of them would be possible without creators, I'll say that in the tug-of-war tomorrow between “create” and “curate” that I'll try “consume.” I'll be in a client meeting during the presentation, so will miss out drinking from your fire hose of commentary. Instead, in the afternoon, I'll sit back, open my browser, go to, and enjoy what's been prepared for me.

    Once in a while, I believe, it's okay to enjoy something with a beginning, a middle, and an end simply as it is. A Kindle appears to offer that experience nicely.

  87. You put this very well in perspective. Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, blogs, comments, reactions can be piped in around a focused topic or event, giving you (or anyone) a 360 view of the information, news, analysis, as if you were there. And you won't miss being on the floor, because there'll be tweets coming from there, relaying the essence of what mattered.
    The same analogy can be said about the World Economic Forum for example, another event that one can follow via social media, aggregators, Twitter, etc. almost on a minute by minute basis.
    The only trick required is to have that “system” of sensors, lists, filters, accounts & aggregation mechanisms that allow you to efficiently consume these fast & furious streams.
    In the case of the WEF, that's where the power of a comprehensive/custom aggregator like Eqentia enables someone to “follow” the many facets of the event, without tinkering with feeds & speeds. Same for the “Scoble” aggregator we put together about you, where a “lazy” consumer can just look over our shoulder from one place.

  88. Curate. As much as everyone loves Apple's “events” and their products (I truly do enjoy my iPhone. My Macbook Pro… slightly less. It's a computer, at the end of the day. Not really an “experience”.), the reality distortion field on this event is getting to be a bit out of hand. And let's be honest, everyone there will be sucked into it regardless of how immune they claim to be against the “Jobs Halo Effect”. The separation will be good for you, Robert, as I think you are somewhat susceptible to suggestion. I remember when we were both at Microsoft and you were as gung ho about that as you have been of anything else since. My $0.02, which is hopefully enough currency to purchase your Kindle. ;-)

  89. The announcement is about 2 things. Diversification and changing the user experience. This is what Apple does best. They let someone else invent the platform, then raise the bar so high that they become the standard. They did this with Music Players, Music web sites and now ebooks. It's already been asked if Apple is a music company who makes computers, or a computer company that sells music. The bottom line is that it is not about the hardware. It's the user experience.

  90. Hi, Gib — curating digital content is not the same thing as curating an art exhibit.

    For the artworks analogy to work, the curator would need to snip bits of each painting and paste them together to form something new. And we don’t want to see the entirety of each artifact: each article, Tweet, video and op-ed. In this space, “curation” is a form of synthesis.

    More here:

  91. Well put William, but the lazy viewers are really just time strapped, and they exchange their attention for content aggregation. It's a fair bargain, certainly when it saves the user time overall.

  92. Robert, The hype is noise to me. I respect it's fading glory but am happy to see it on the way out. Just wrote about it a little this morning. Marketing isn't news to me. It's paid advertising.

  93. Speaking as the “poster boy” of social media aggregation: I vote for curation because my personal experience, especially since the Iran election protests: & , demonstrates that curators add considerable value in dealing with the torrent of user-generated content which we now face. Not only have I been able to “be” at so many events via social media, but I have made it possible for so many others to join me as we are NOW grappling with the tragedy of the Haiti earthquake: where not only can we not go ourselves, but we'd only get in the way if we did!

    Especially in my teaching, I am “pushing the edge of the envelope” not only via social media aggregation, but also as I experiment with curation of Twitter lists: & to assess learning and to try to create a virtual study abroad experience for my students in:

    I could go on and on: but I think you get the idea!

    By the way, you ought to give me the Kindle so I can give it to my 14-year old daughter because I doubt I'll be able to “afford” to give her an iSlate as I contemplate retiring from academia in order to devote myself to harnessing social media for learning, non-profits, and other redeeming causes as my personal experience has persuaded me I no longer need my academic affiliation to provide either the information technology infrastructure nor the “brand” on which I had been trying to depend to help me to get the word out!

  94. I think being at the event is more of a blessing, because social media in some form, misses the message or the feeling that Steve will try to get across about his new device. Steve will give his message of his vision for the device for all of us. I more interested in how this will impact upon us, so I know how to create,and distribute the content to this new device. Hopefully you get to ask a few questions. Post a video on your take of things from the event. I also heard that we in OZ may not get the device for the first 12 mths like the first iphone. So please me for the Kindle, as I can use this to prototype, how to create and style the content to the new device. Also UPS do deliver to my doorstep. Do I need to pay for the UPS delivery fee. We can only get in oz one type of Kindle device, via a carrier, and apparently we get the content delivered via our expensive 3g service. So much for trying to buy books upon the OZ kindle. Plus the geek factor of having Kindle in OZ is like OOHHHHHHH WOOOOOOOW

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