Daily Archives: May 12, 2010

Are YOU from “The Future?”

Here’s a talk I gave a week ago in Tel Aviv, Israel, to the Techonomy conference where I talk about some of the things that’s changing in my world.

But last night I spoke to a bunch of parents at a private school in San Francisco.

The two audiences couldn’t be more different.

One understands Twitter and Facebook and Google Buzz in depth. One is someone afraid of it. One guy stood up last night and asked “do I need to be on Facebook to understand what my kids are doing on it?”

William Gibson wrote “the future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed.”

There have been only a few times in my lifetime where I could see just what Gibson meant and we are living in this time right now.

It’s also interesting that today Microsoft Office came out with a new version. I’ll probably buy it but I’m using Office less and less. Something that I noticed in talking with the entrepreneurs in Israel too. When I fly, though, I see most business people are still using Windows XP with Office 2000 or Office 2003. Mostly PowerPoint or Excel is what I’m seeing on planes. While most of the people I hang out with at TED or other conferences have moved onto using things like Zoho’s spreadsheets, Google Spreadsheets, or Prezi’s or SlideRocket’s presentation tools.

Folks used to make fun of those of us who were from the future as “inside Silicon Valley’s bubble.” But notice that this bubble from the future no longer is tied to a place. Tel Aviv has lots of “future” practitioners, when I visited the best Tel Aviv restaurant there was someone already using an iPad there and they don’t even have an Apple store. Sure, Silicon Valley has more than its fair share, but I’ve met people all over the world who would rather use Prezi than PowerPoint. Would rather have an iPad than a Windows 7 netbook. That would rather have a smartphone than a Series 60 Nokia phone. That would rather use Facebook than email. That would rather write a tweet than do a press release. Etc etc.

Are you from the future? Here’s some ways you might tell you are:

1. Have you copied some Javascript code for your blog? IE, do you know what it’s like to embed YouTube videos into something else, like I did with this post? If you have, you are from the future.
2. Have you written some filters on Gmail to filter your emails? Then you are from the future. (That is the single most productive thing I’ve done this year, by the way, I’ve written hundreds of filters to clean my inbox of noise which has made my email usable again).
3. Have you shared something that used to be private, like your health information, your credit card information, your drunken college photos, your baby’s birth, your sexual orientation, or something else that used to be taboo? Then you are from the future. Extra points if something like that has gotten redistributed in Techcrunch and you kept your job.
4. Have you gotten your cable upgraded or fixed just by Tweeting @comcastcares ? Then you are from the future. Extra points if your company is using tools like UserVoice, Spigit, GetSatisfaction, or Zendesk.
5. Have you started up a new Linux or Windows server from an iPad or iPhone or Android phone using a cloud service on Rackspace Cloud or other cloud hosting provider? Then you are from the future.
6. If a streaming news system like SkyGrid, My6Sense, Genieo, etc to get your news instead of looking at a news brand like the New York Times, then you are from the future.
7. If you have a Sprint 4G modem in your pocket, then you are from the future.
8. If you use a VNC app to call into your home computer from your iPhone or iPad or, even, your old-school Windows 7 netbook (I use LogMeIn on my iPad), then you are from the future.
9. If you watch TV online, then you are from the future. Extra points if you are using Boxee.
10. If you discover music on Spotify or Pandora from your Facebook friends, then you are from the future.
11. If you check in on Yelp, Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, Brightkite, Whrrl, Fiddme, or use Google Latitude with your friends then you are from the future.
12. If you use Salesforce Chatter, SocialText, Jive, SocialCast, Box.net, or Yammer at work with your coworkers, then you are from the future.
13. If you use Skype more than you use standard old cell phone service for your voice calls, then you are from the future.
14. If you no longer are bothered by the penises on Chatroulette, then you are from the future. Extra points if you already have come up with a way to do business on it.
15. If you sign up for conferences but only go for the lunch-time networking (I’m watching the SmashSummit on Ustream right now) then you are from the future.
16. If you read Techcrunch in at least three different places (I read it on Techcruch, TechMeme, Washington Post, Twitter, Facebook, and Google Buzz) then you are from the future.
17. If you know how Techmeme selects news, then you are from the future. Extra points if you can pick founder Gabe Rivera out of a crowd.
18. If you have deleted your Facebook account, then you are from the future. Or, if you, like me, have gotten over Mark Zuckerberg’s throwing privacy under the bus and have just marked all your accounts as totally public because that way you know you’ll never be disappointed by something leaking into public view that you weren’t expecting to, then you are also from the future.
19. If you have hosted a live video stream on Ustream, Qik, or Justin.tv then you are from the future.
20. If you can tell at least three reasons why the New York Times iPad app sucks then you are from the future (or Steve Jobs, and we all know he’s from the future). BTW: it sucks because it’s not streaming, not complete, not easy to share, not easy to participate in.
21. If you share your vehicle’s location on Waze instead of using Google Maps, then you are from the future.
22. If you have more than five Twitter lists then you are from the future. You are even more from the future if you have listed yourself on both Listorious and Tlists.
23. If you have a Google Profile that’s filled out then you are from the future. Extra points if you have more links to more things than my Google Profile has.
24. If you have augmented your Gmail with something like Gist, Rapportive, or eTacts, then you are from the future.
25. If you feel dirty when you save a file to your local file system, then you are from the future. You are even more from the future if you are using a device, like the iPad, that makes it hard to, if not impossible, to save to the local file system. Extra points if you already think DropBox is your file system and JungleDisk is your new hard drive.
26. If you know that the number of followers on @Twitter really doesn’t mean anything, then you are from the future. Extra points if you already have implemented Twitter’s @anywhere feature on your blog.
27. If you know the difference between uploading a photo to Flickr, SmugMug, Picasa, or Facebook, and why you would use one vs. another, then you are from the future. Extra points if you pay for an account on at least two of these services.
28. If you are having discussions with your friends about how Facebook will take away Google’s air supply then you are from the future.
29. If you are already planning to buy Xbox Natal for your Christmas gift to yourself, then you are from the future. Extra points if you are going to stand in line for new Halo Reach coming too. Master Chief is definitely from the future.
30. If you think WordPress is old school and Tumblr or Posterous is the way to blog now, then you are from the future. Extra points if you can articulate what the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com are.
31. If you manage your conference schedule in Plancast, then you are from the future.
32. If you have hooked your Plancast up to Tungle.me which is managing your Google Calendar, then you really are from the future.
33. If someone has gotten mad at you because you take three minutes at the beginning of a meal to Foursquare, Gowalla, Fiddme, Tweet, or do something else on your iPhone or Android phone, then you are from the future.
34. If you know two things that are best on iPhone, RIM, Android, Palm, or Nokia, and two things that suck on each of those systems, then you are from the future. Extra points if you have one of each in your pocket.
35. If you manage multiple Twitter accounts, then you are from the future. Extra points if you can explain the differences between Hootsuite and CoTweet.
36. If you have a monitor that only displays Tweetdeck or Seesmic, then you are from the future. Extra points if you have an iPad that only displays social media apps.
37. If you use iPads to DJ your parties, then you are from the future.
38. If you already have Facebook like buttons on everything you build online, you are from the future. Extra points if you don’t, but can articulate why.

How do you know you are from the future? What are you doing that all your “normal” friends want to smack you upside the head for? If you are already living in a future I’m not, please let us know what apps you’re using.