Get ready for the 10th fall of Scobleizer (What I learned on my summer blogging vacation)

If anyone thinks that technology doesn’t massively change the world I’m going to slap them with a rotting tuna.

A couple weeks back we learned that our son, Milan, is autistic. Instead of coming to my blog and holding court I thought I’d just tweet it. I did that with an audio recording done when I got out of the doctor’s office with the diagnosis. We’ve known for some time that he wasn’t developing normally, after our friend’s kids could speak at two and Milan is having trouble getting a word or two out at three, but we didn’t know what was causing the problem and now that we know we’re getting him the best treatment. Thanks to everyone who has sent tons of feedback and things for us to read. Maryam and I really appreciate that and it shows how world-changing Twitter and Cinch are.

Since starting this blog on December 15th, 2000, I’ve seen countless examples of how technology is changing the world, even from small companies, like Cinchcast is today, and Twitter was back in 2006.

On other Cinches I’ve discovered just how our mobile phones are changing my world.

1. When I was at YCombinator’s demo day I interviewed Message Party’s CEO Amanda Pey about controversy surrounding her launch (people in the press were saying that adding a chat room to each location would basically cause the downfall of society because people wouldn’t, gasp, talk to each other.
2. When Amplify shipped some new features I called its CEO, Eric Goldstein, and recorded the call, which was shared immediately after the call with my Twitter audience. In the call you learn about what Amplify is and what Eric is trying to do with it. (It’s conversation engine for the social web).
3. When Rocky and I visited Microsoft and had a meeting with Frank Shaw, who runs PR, after visiting Microsoft’s Research, I quickly recorded my thoughts of the day. If I had to wait to blog I would have forgotten them. I did that while walking around a parking lot.
4. I was walking through a Safeway grocery store when I read on my iPhone a ReadWriteWeb report that Louis Gray had taken a new job. I immediately called him and got him to talk about the new job, which I learned was working for My6Sense. It is one of the few places you get to hear Louis tell you in his own voice why he took a new job. All done while I walked around a Safeway. World-changing? Well, before these new technologies hit you couldn’t break news from a grocery store easily.
5. On our trip to Boulder, I met a guy who worked for Microsoft in Bing’s labs. He got us a tour, here’s the audio I recorded during a thunderstorm out in the parking lot where they have five petabytes of storage in a shipping containter.
6. An hour after Facebook announced its new Places location service I was hanging out with Whrrl’s CEO in Seattle and turned on my iPhone to get his reaction.

Anyway, back to the day we shared Milan’s autism with the world:

The reaction was quick, and from all over the world. People emailed. Facebook’ed. Tweeted. Chatted. Oh, and lots have come up to me in real life.

To anyone who previously said Twitter was “lame” and “not world changing” I now swing that rotting tuna your way. I remember lots of people in 2006 and 2007 saying Twitter wouldn’t make it and that it was a lame idea.

I hear people say that about EVERY world-changing technology. Look at how people are treating location services now. How many of you are writing off Foursquare or Gowalla?

Anyway, Rocky and I have been doing quite a bit of traveling this summer looking for stuff that is changing our world and we’ve found a bit of it. So much so that I changed my title tag on my blog to “searching for world-changing technology.” I did that because finding it is what makes me happy and the search for it is sublime. Here’s some of the things I’ve found this summer:

1. We met Stanley Hainsworth in Seattle. He was the creative director at Lego, Starbucks, and Nike and now runs his own design shop. He had just completed a redesign of the Gatorade bottle. Think that design doesn’t change the world? Sales are way up. Hear his thoughts on how your brand is telling its story.
2. Scott Cook has been near the top of Intuit for longer than Mark Zuckerberg has been alive. Think about that one for a moment. He’s one of the few people who has gone to bat against Microsoft’s billions and survived to talk about it. Here we talk about the things that he sees changing the world.
3. CouchDB is a new kind of database. One that’s easily replicated and that’s small and scalable, but that is document centric rather than relationship focused. Lots of new things are being built on it. I visited their offices to learn more about it and how it’s changing the world.
4. Since it’s back to school week I wondered what is changing about technology that would help my sons learn better? Livescribe’s founder came to my house to show me the latest iteration of his world-changing pen.
5. I’ve been fortunate to see three great startups this year before almost anyone else. Siri, who was purchased by Apple, Soluto, who won Techcrunch Disrupt, and Flipboard, who is changing the world of the iPad and real-time social publishing. Here you meet the VCs behind Siri and learn why Apple wanted that company so badly. Part I and Part II.
6. Flipboard continues to change my expectations of what a Twitter client should do (they have a new version coming “any day” which I’ve been testing). Here’s my original interview with Mike McCue, founder.
7. Compasslabs is building a new advertising platform that lets Twitter client developers get better advertising that converts better and pays more. Here’s the details behind how, with founder Dilip Venkatachari.
8. The Economist Magazine and other professional publishers are now using SocialFlow to figure out when to tweet to get maximum audience receptivity. The way it does this is pretty ingenious. If you are interested in the future of publishing you should listen to founder Frank Speiser discuss how it works.
9. We’re expecting augmented reality to show up in a big way soon, but how do you map virtual information onto real-world things like storefronts or museum displays? Omniar, in Boulder, CO, showed me how they are able to easily map real-world items using the cameras in their cell phones and their unique technology.
10. You might think that email signatures aren’t something that can be innovated on, right? Are they world changing? Well, for a million users, yes! Here’s the founders talking about how they made signatures better.
11. Search is done, right? Google has won, right? Well, Google has definitely won, the founders of Blekko told me, but search is not done and Blekko has a new way to search that’s very social and power users will love it.
12. I visited with PayPal’s VP of platform, mobile and new ventures, Osama Bedier, to find out where PayPal is going. He told me that and more in a conversation I call “the future of payments.”
13. We wanted to learn how London would use technology to map out the London Olympics, so we went to the folks who did the Beijing Olympics, Waterstone, Inc, in Boulder, CO, and we met their executives who showed us their interesting 3D mapping technology.
14. We’ve needed a way to filter Tweets for quite some time, and in the next few weeks DataSift will ship their new “sifting” technology that brings a new programming language and system that lets you sift the best stuff out of Twitter’s firehose feed. This is so important we spent 40 minutes with founder Nick Halstead to learn more about it.

This week we’ll be at Google, Seesmic, and a variety of other companies looking for more world-changing technologies.

Got any? Email me at scobleizer@gmail.com.

Comments

  1. Cinch is a fantastic tool. I am glad you have adopted it. There are going to be many other great products that come across your blog and all other streams. The catch is not in identifying them and being first to try, but to sniff out what ones have staying power. I commit to trying many things, doing the right thing and not holding them to a litmus test and crying out failure to early. Above all, never forget to have fun. Do what you like and enjoy your great family – Milan included.

  2. Milan is a lot of fun. The stuff he does cracks me up regularly. Yeah, this is one reason I read so much Twitter — to see which things I missed that have staying power.

  3. you got it all wrong though… Twitter and Cinch and Foursquare and Gowalla (etc.) are still as lame as they always were

  4. Thanks for sharing the news on Milan and what you learned on your summer vacation. I appreciate your willingness to be open about such personal matters. I also enjoy your tech tips and am now checking out Cinch. Wishing you and your family all the best.

  5. Multi-faceted post with a lot of insights.
    The nature of entrepreneurship…
    The web is understood at some level by many people, yet it is still to be harnessed
    better. Exciting times.
    Love the mission which is change, social change, entrepreneurial ability to reach out
    to a flat democratized world. Not purely Social Entrepreneurship.
    Challenges can be solved through the social media.
    Scott Cook spoke on the human level, looking at the world with great insights.

  6. Reminds me a lot of video commenting. I’m not sold this is a mainstream tool. For bloggers and publicity seekers — maybe but if you go to the Cinch site there are a few really odd characters there.

    Am I going to be now following people’s audio updates? Doubtful.

    Also what’s the unique business model? Do they have a patent on audio?

  7. For Milan, I can recommend you a great blog about a mother and his autistic son. She explains everything very well, and can give you some pointers. Unfortunately, she blogs in spanish, but perhaps some translation software can help you there… it’s educandoamihijo.com

  8. We recently learned my nephew is autistic. Absolutely, the speed at which we can can get info and support on the Net is extraordinary and wold-changing.

    In a maybe similar vein, my wife started a new job and another of the new hires is a deaf CPA. He was one of the first deaf people to become a CPA. He speaks fluently and if he can see your lips, can understand you fine. If you saw him ordering food in a restaurant, you would have no clue. I guess someone forget to tell him he is handicapped.

  9. One of our nephews is autistic. Absolutely, the net, Twitter, etc. can provide huge amounts of info and support.

    In a maybe related vein, at my wife’s new job, one of the new hires is a deaf CPA. He reads lips well and can speak. If you didn’t know, you might not even realize he’s deaf. Apparently someone forget to tell him he is handicapped.

  10. Does Twitter have a patent on 140-character text updates on the web? Hey, lots of people use radio to make money, CinchCast could make money the same old way. Yeah, getting adoption and getting good content is a problem for all startups.

  11. Amazing when you think about the past few months, how much incredible new tech creative folks are putting together on shoe string budgets. Looks like a wild ride trying to keep pace (and remembering who did what when).

    If only our attention could scale.

    I’m at the point now where I’m saturated on my input channel as long as I have the responsibility to produce tangible stuff on my outbound. I found that happy medium between too much new stuff, and getting things done.

  12. Robert,

    Thanks for your post and your comments about Cinch.

    No one can ever doubt the ease, utility and simplicity of Twitter, however, describing Milan’s autism in 140 characters could never be as powerful or meaningful as hearing your voice describe the events as they were unfolding. Same holds true for a recent Cinch by @percival who captured his new born baby’s first cry directly from the delivery room – http://www.cinchcast.com/percival/82110. Again, you simply can’t tweet this emotion.

    Regarding the business plan for Cinch, there are so many ways to monetize this platform. As we have seen with BlogTalkRadio, the big opportunity lies not with the media platform itself, but with the technology platform which can be leveraged by others platforms. We are witnessing a revolution in terms of social media adoption by companies large and small. Facebook fan pages, blogs, Twitter profiles, etc need content to engage their audiences. It’s tool’s like these that enable content to be created, consumed and shared. We are in inning one of this game.

    Alan
    CEO
    http://www.cinchcast.com

  13. Robert,

    Thanks for your post and comments about Cinch. As powerful and effective as Twitter is, there is no way you could have captured your thoughts and emotions regarding Milan’s autism in 140 characters. Your words, spoken on the way home from the doctors office touched so many people. In a similar fashion @percival recently recorded a Cinch of his new born baby’s first cry. Again, you simply cant tweet this emotion. http://www.cinchcast.com/percival/82110

    The business model for Cinch does not necessarily reside in the public facing platform. Can organizations or businesses use a platform like Cinch to broadcast alerts, notifications, etc? As an example, during the month of September, the LAFD is using Cinch to record a daily fire safety tip. http://lafd.blogspot.com/2010/09/in-disaster-is-school-in-our-out.html

    With technology platforms such as Cinch and Blogtalkradio, many times the business model resides in the technology and it’s application in different settings both in front of and behind a firewall. Most importantly, the application needs to add value and be useful and we will continue to insure that this be the case.

    Alan
    CEO
    http://www.cinchcast.com

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