Fireside chat: Tim O’Reilly with Jason Calacanis

Loose notes from SXSW 2011 session: Fireside chat with Tim O’Reilly with Jason Calacanis

Jason Calacanis, Founder, Mahalo.com
Tim O’Reilly, Founder/CEO, O’Reilly Media Inc

Wonderful way to open a week of stimulating sessions that challenge preconceived notions of technology, politics, and journalism in unexpected ways. O’Reilly was an intellectual silver bullet, as always, but really nice to catch him in an unscripted conversation rather than in one of his more “formal” talks.

Hardware became commoditized, its value left. Software became valuable in its place. Then open source made software a commodity. What has value now is the database. Data mining, extracting meaning. This is what both hardware and software are there to support. This was actually the original idea behind “Web 2.0.”

Sensor-driven applications now drive the evolution of collective intelligence.

“I’m bad at caring about money and good at caring about ideas (and people with big ideas).”

Cisco once tried to acquire O’Reilly. Why did they want a book publisher? “Because you guys have been first more times than anyone else, but you’ve failed to exploit it.”

chicagocrime.org, fixmystreet.com, lot of attempts to build out databases for civic responsibility.

We think of our govt. as a vending machine into which we put in taxes and get out services. This is a really flawed model. Participating in govt. shouldn’t mean looking for better ways to shake the vending machine. Need to find ways to transform govt.

The thing that’s most broken about government is politics.

What if the “great winnowing” is that we use up all the cheap energy and future civs just can’t past the Victorian age because there is no cheap energy?

Eisenhower’s Highway Bill was 26 pages. The healthcare bill was 2300 pages. We need drastic simplification.

Kids today don’t wake up saying “I want to sequester carbon” the way kids used to want to go to the moon. Where’s that inspiration?

Google lost its way by caring too much about their business (rather than users). It’s a tough balancing act. But this is a pivot time for Google.

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