September, 2007

Sep 07

welcome to the web, NYT

about time for the new york times to open up. welcome to the web. now i can go back to reading some of the stuff i cared about before this dumb times select experiment.

Sep 07

ringtone robber barons

Pogue writes what I’ve been thinking. It takes a fair bit to get consumer-me worked up (like the $200 price drop on the iPhone doesn’t bother me a bit), but I think paying more for songs you already own to be turned into a ringtone is just an incredible ripoff. Bah.

Sep 07


It’s funny the way these things go.

Today was an extraordinary day for me here at the WEF meeting in Dalian. I had a 1-1 half hour conversation with Tom Friedman (we talked about a bunch of stuff, including the fact that we’re all transparent humans now in the public eye, and that we need to learn again how to read — incidentally, watch for his next column, as it will be a bit about Dalian), spent an hour talking with Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia), talked with my friends Isaac Mao and Kaiser Kuo, preeminent bloggers in China, kidded around with the founders of probably a dozen incredibly awesome startups, met Rebecca McKinnon (formerly CNN Correspondent for northeast Asia including North Korea), and spent time with my new friend Chris, whose design firm is involved in this and this and especially this, not to mention probably two dozen other extraordinary people I met for the first time. Oh, right, and I had drinks at the reception with a friggin astronaut who’s now trying to save the earth’s water.

So all in, a good day. An amazing range of experiences and an amazing range of people to spend time with. As I mentioned, I feel very lucky.

But here’s the really amazing thing: as blown away as I am by all these folks, every single one of them knows Mozilla and Firefox and is rooting for us. Not everyone uses Firefox, although most do (1 Maxthon user, 1 Safari user, the rest use Firefox). But every single person I talked with thinks that what the Mozilla community has accomplished is incredible, and wants to see us do better and better.

So the funny bit for me is that sometimes you have to go 5,000 miles (literally & figuratively) to really be reminded how amazing the people around you are, and how lucky you are to get to work with them every single day. [This also applies to my family, of course — I can’t wait to get home to see Kathy & Sam.]

Everyone involved in any way with Mozilla should be proud of the impact we’re having on the world — an awful lot of awfully amazing people are noticing & cheering & helping.

Sep 07

Breaking my brain

In the space of 2 hours this morning at Dalian, my brain is broken. 3 people whom I think very highly of, within 2 hours of each other, have all said that they’re very very worried about the future of democracy.

The first said it in the context of global climate change: “Democracy is going to have a hard time surviving climate change [in 10 years or so].”

The second was Tom Friedman, in response to Martin Wolf, a Financial Times writer — Martin said this: “News is expensive; information wants to be free.” And he’s concerned that to have a functioning, healthy democracy, you need legitimate news (construe that how you will, but he and Tom mean that it has reasonable editorial standards and process).”

But it’s the climate change one that knocked my hat into the creek, as Diego says from time to time. The implication is that effects from climate change have the potential to put tremendous stress on our political systems; market dynamics may not be able to address the problems, and direct democracy may actually make the problem worse, not better. (If you have any doubt, think about Prop 13 in California, (relatively) cheap gasoline in the States, even now, or the person who cut down the last tree on Easter Island.)
Sobering & brain-breaking. Lots to think about.

Sep 07

SeaMonkey at the World Economic Forum

I was one of the discussion leaders in a session yesterday (at the World Economic Forum meeting here in Dalian, China) on what new technology companies are doing to disrupt existing businesses (and a fun/great conversation from a media mogul from the UK who’s very frustrated about valuations of companies he thinks have no real business except for taking margins to 0 — that’s sorta the way we roll in Silicon Valley.)

Anyhoo, the session was led by the most excellent John Gage from Sun Micro, and as he was setting up the ideas for the session, he showed a bunch of web pages from his Mac, using SeaMonkey (which he used because he wanted to edit the pages he was looking at). Was a great, unintentional example of how Mozilla is disrupting — was really awesome when my intro came around and I explained that while John said that SM came from Mozilla, that it really came from a committed group of volunteers around the world — and shows the strength of the model.

So congrats to SeaMonkey — great exposure from John G, at a very high profile event.