Skip to main content

tv   Q A  CSPAN  January 26, 2015 6:00am-7:01am EST

6:00 am
current ceo of uber, the darling of silicon valley, a company worth $40 billion. but he boasted about being sued by record labels for a quarter of a trillion dollars because he had a company called scour which is essentially like napster. so the cult of failure is one of the most irritating aspects of silicon valley. you have the black tim o'reilly a well-known publisher. he makes speeches like "how i failed to come -- "how i failed." but there are people who don't have jobs, people who are unemployed, who are underemployed, people who cannot get to college, they don't go around saying i am a failure. i think this cult of failure is one of the reasons why silicon valley is so profoundly out of
6:01 am
touch with the rest of the world, because it is the one sector in the american economy fortunately that is doing well. it is the one sector driving innovation, driving change. so when you have a cult of failure, it isn't great. >> what was your life like in london? >> my life in london was middle-class, jewish, north london for those of your viewers -- i don't know what the equivalent would be in new york. what is sort of a lower or middle-class neighborhood in new york? brooklyn. my grandfather had come over from poland.
6:02 am
he began in the east end of the docks, the old docks. he sold fashion fabric which was in those days most women made their own clothing. so he would wheel his card from the west end to the east end. eventually, my family did better and they had a store on oxford street, which is a major shopping street. so i was lucky. i had quite a privileged upbringing. >> school, how much? >> enough. i was at school at northland in high school and then i went to the university of london and i went to a place called the school of slavonic studies. i specialized in balkan history. this was before the collapse of the berlin wall so there was a big interest in the history of communism in pre-communism, the history of russia and germany and countries that then existed like he was longer and czechoslovakia which have now fragmented.
6:03 am
after i graduated from the school of slavonic studies in london, i was a british council scholar, which is equivalent to a fulbright scholar. in sarajevo, now bosnia, this was both before the civil war and the olympics, 1982, 1983. then i came to grad school in berkeley. i came as a political scientist. i had the fairly unique achievement of coming as a scholar and then being thrown out as a troublemaker. so i had my moments of failure too. i made fun of stodgy epidemics career academics that have nothing to say for themselves.
6:04 am
as you can tell from my work, i find hard to be not a little brutal. and i like to tell what i see is the truth. and american academia is so mired in tradition, in bureaucracy, it is so reactionary, whether it's from the left or the right -- you have political correctness. in england, you're trained to fend for yourself to my teachers expected me to argue with men -- with them, to think of myself. so when i came to berkeley, it was a cultural shock when you have these professors who expected you to agree with them, who expected you to toe the line, who expected you to read their boring articles and theories and then spew them back to them. so of course, perhaps rather immaturely, i wasn't willing to do that and they were very happy so i was thrown out.
6:05 am
the pinnacle of my career at berkeley if someone can call it the pinnacle, i had a particularly stodgy old hungarian officer. one day, he had some visiting students from harvard. he wanted the graduate students to behave themselves. and this was joined the period of chas esko, and awful dictator in romania. so i gave a rather entertaining presentation comparing him to vlad the and paler -- the impaler. this professor never spoke to me again. that was my kiss of death. sometimes people think i am a defender of the old elite, tradition. i like to think of myself and more rebellious terms. >> where you live now? >> santa rosa, california. are you familiar with the movie "shadow of a doubt"? the great hitchcock movie made in 1943. it is the ultimate film of small-town life in america.
6:06 am
i was a big fan of hitchcock. i like the idea -- the idea of living in innocent america. >> going to run a clip from your text in ted x speech. eventually, we'll show something from "vertigo." before we do this, you gave this speech in 2012. what is ted x and what was it? >> it is the franchise of ted. there are a couple of main ted events which are very exclusive events for the technology elite who like to think they are improving the world and in order to improve the world, they need to spend $7,000 to socialize with each other for a weekend. by now anyone can buy into the ted brand and you can put on a ted x event. some are better than others. but they are a lot less exclusive or elitist than the main ted.
6:07 am
i don't know which you are talking about. >> this is brussels. >> i have done them in brussels come in budapest, london. they are a lot of fun. have you ever been to them? >> no, i have watched them online. do they pay you to do this? >> they pay expenses. but you get to meet interesting people. the one in brussels, i spoke just before steve wozniak, the cofounder of apple. and he was very funny afterwards. he said my speech made him cry. >> we have more than one clip. let's watch this and then i will ask you more about it. [video clip] >> we are a data or we are emerging as ada. that is what steve wozniak for better or worse put into motion. and as we look at each other in the future, in the latter part of the 21st century, we won't be question marks. we will see data. we will see information.
6:08 am
and one company in silicon valley, google, they are even designing glasses which when you put on you won't see these physical question marks, you will see data. bang bang. that's the murder. >> that was the theme of the show, "bang bang," so i couldn't resist it. >> what do you do in a speech like this and who is the audience? >> the audience at that particular event, which i think is the largest ted x in the world, about 3000 people in the audience and the tickets are relatively affordable. maybe 100, 150 euro. so the audience would be made up
6:09 am
of technologist, journalists students. it's a good audience. i did another one in budapest. you are trying to engage and entertain. everyone at ted x gets 15 minutes to speak. >> is it scripted? >> not at all. >> so when we watch you, it's off the top of your head. >> it's off the top of my head. the ted x people like to get people to prepare and they like practice. but i never do. i never show up to the practice. i think speeches are worthless. i think they have to be spontaneous. i can only be motivated when i am in front of people. my books are always late. my articles are always late. i like this kind of experience because i can't put it off. i can only take something seriously if i have 3000 people because that forces you not to screw up. it is an invigorating experience.
6:10 am
for me, the live experience is excellent. i've been able to prosper in this economy because of that. as a pure writer, i think i would be struggling a lot more. while i don't necessarily celebrate that because i know many very fine writers and very fine thinkers struggle in front of a live audience, the real opportunity now the digital age, ironically, is the physical experience. what the digital has done is commodified the copy, made it worthless. you don't pay for anything online. what that has done ironically enough is made the physical
6:11 am
experience far more worth it. that is why ted is so valuable. it is what people go to events. which means that we are not going to disappear into the digital ethos and there will always be the physical experience. but to do well in this world particularly as an entertainer or a thinker or as a writer, you have to be able to perform. you have to be able to entertain. >> in your talk, set it up if you don't mind, the whole use of the "vertigo" clip. did you use this for a long time? >> for me, i have always had an obsession with hitchcock's "vertigo." i have always been a huge cinema person. it's one of those films that attracts excesses like me. every time you see it, you feel another skin.
6:12 am
for me, it was an opportunity to write about silicon valley because i always thought of technology as the great seduction, the thing you fall in love with. and you fall in love with one thing and you fall in love with something quite different. i'm sure most of your viewers are familiar with the movie. but it's a film about a man who falls in love with a blonde who turns out to be a brunette. he falls in love with what he thinks is a blonde, beautiful san francisco heiress and turns out to be a brunette from kansas who works as a shopgirl. >> well let's watch it and then you can -- it starts with "vertigo [video clip] >> look at it. he is already in love with her and he has not event met her.
6:13 am
that doorway. here she comes. kim novak, a beautiful blonde american heiress from san francisco who drives a green jaguar around town. what does this have to do with information and data? the blonde isn't it really a blonde. she is in fact a brunette shopgirl from kansas. all women in kansas i think work in stores and they are brunette. and he is about to be set up sucked into this vortex of heartbreak and murder. and that is what we are here to talk about today because this is
6:14 am
-- just as jimmy stewart got sold the false blonde, we are as well. >> what is the scam? >> the scam is the ideal of being able to self publish online. the scam is facebook, instagram. the scam is twitter. i'm as easy to seduce as anyone. i'm not claiming not to be. the scam is the idea that these platforms give us the opportunity to realize ourselves, to tell the world what we think and what we see,
6:15 am
to distribute our photography, our music, and our musings text, allows us to become online bloggers and videographers. but the scam is that we are being used. mike morris, the brilliant venture capitalist who invested in google and yahoo! and many of the other big ones, describes this as the data factory economy. in the industrial age, people want to work in factories. they were paid for their labor. they worked 9-to-5 and they went home and did what they wanted with that money. today, we are all working these factories, like google, like facebook, twitter. but we are unpaid labor. we are working 24 hours a day. we are not rewarded. we are not even acknowledged that we are treating the value for them. worse than that, we otherwise who are being packaged up as the product and what these companies are doing is learning more and more about us from our behavior, from what we publish, from our photographs, from our ideas, from what we buy, from what we say, from what we don't say, then learning about his creating expensive [indiscernible] and then they are transforming us. they are repackaging us as the product.
6:16 am
so we are the ones being sold. not only are we working for free but then we are being sold. so it's the ultimate scam. it is a perfect hitchcock movie. jeremy benson was in early 19th-century utilitarian philosopher. he invented this idea of the penopticon. he believed the idea could be used in schools and hospitals. benson believed that this would create discipline in the new industrial society. the french historian michel foucault has written extensively about it. i love benson more, the idea
6:17 am
of benson, both his corpse and his ideas that play a central idea in the narrative of a digital vertigo. >> people in the united states who have twitter followers, tell us what this means to you when you see it. we will look at the first five. you've got katy perry who has the most followers at 63 million.
6:18 am
justin bieber up there at 59 million. barack obama at number 3, 50 2 million. taylor swift at 50 million. youtube, i don't think youtube is a person, but they have 48 million followers. at the bottom, lady gaga at 43 rihanna at 39, and ellen degeneres at 37. what does that say to you? >> what it says is that the internet has created a world not through cultural democracy. it is not what thomas friedman calls a flat world. it is actually rocky and hilly and as mountainous as the old world. it has created this infrastructure for a winner take all culture, a winner take all economic system in which a tiny group of superstar entertainers are controlling our attention. that is a very brilliant business writer at harvard. she has written an important book called "block esters." -- "blockbusters."
6:19 am
she says we were promised with the internet, we would sweep away the old elites. actually, we've got more of the same. it's even worse now. what we have is a system where a tiny group of people control our attention. and if that isn't that enough, the other thing that is an even worse consequences that this economy is hollowing out the middle. the old entertainment economy -- it wasn't ideal, i'm not to defending the studios and production companies -- but what it did at least guarantee was the infrastructure, the ecosystem of a middle-class economy. gatekeepers of editors, people who would film shows like this of journalists, people who had regular middle-class incomes. what the internet has done is swept away that old class.
6:20 am
none of these people have any role in the digital economy and it has enabled a superstar class of rihanna and lady gaga with 10 to 50 million followers and destroyed the old middle class and we all lose. this is a lose-lose rather than the silicon valley notion of win-win. >> i want to show you a clip -- he did a seven-minute video sometime back, the day before he went to iowa to make a speech about the internet and he did it in the oval office. i don't know if you have seen this. this president is using this kind of media all the time. [video clip] >> one of the things that i am going to make an early announcement about this week is the issue of getting faster broadband. i want to take a look at
6:21 am
something i've got on my ipad. this is internet download speed by city. i can zoom up if you want so you can see the names. so you have seoul, south korea hong kong, tokyo, paris. these cities all have really fast access to the internet because they have made the investment in broadband. here is what is interesting. right next to it, you have cedar falls, iowa. cedar falls isn't a really big place. but the reason they can compete with these other world cities is because citizens got together and made the investments to bring competition in and make sure that internet speeds were just as fast there is anywhere else. >> what is your reaction? >> broadband is a very complex issue.
6:22 am
it's not an area that i'm an expert in. i'm more of an analyst of the broader internet economy. i would say there is an exaggerated sense of the poor quality of american broadband. having said that, i do like the korean model. i myself have no problems with public investment in broadband in the same way as i tell the story that "the internet is not the answer." the internet came down as a government project. i am not an opponent of public investment in things like broadband. >> i wanted to ask you also the political question about this, the president using this device the day before a speech. i think he is the first president to ever done this. i also found online there is a holistic people at the white house, like corey shulman, the director of online engagement
6:23 am
for the office of digital strategy, makes $73,000 a year. ashley axios, her title is creative director for the office of digital strategy. jesse lee, director of progressive media and online response. >> what's the difference between progressive media and other media? >> i don't know but it says he makes $95,000 a year to and then we have another, adam garber, a $72,000 a year guy. and he doesn't have -- he is video director for the office of digital strategy. >> he probably did the video. >> there's more. lindsay holtz is the director of digital content for the office of digital strategy.
6:24 am
finally, nathaniel lubin's acting director for the office of digital strategy and he is an $80,000 a year man. i wanted your comment on the idea that all of these kind of folks work at the white house. what is the impact on our country? >> i can't comment on those guys. but it seems to me to be a troubling intimacy between the obama administration and certain internet companies beginning with g. for example, the new cto, megan smith, used to be the vp in charge of business development at this company beginning with g. i'm sure you can think of it. if not, you can look it up online. >> i can google it? >> you may have to google it. that kind of intimacy i find very troubling. >> why? >> because google has an agenda. it is one of the two or three most powerful companies in the world.
6:25 am
if obama surrounded himself for instance, with the u.s. for ford , in transportation. people would have a problem with that. google has an agenda. it has an agenda on network neutrality. they are the owner of youtube. it is not surprising they are hostile to the idea of paying extra because youtube is one of the biggest accusers of broadband on the web. i am a fan of obama. i am not a u.s. citizen so i don't vote and if i did vote, i would have voted for obama. i am politically aggressive -- supportive. but i am troubled by the way in which obama and this company beginning with g and a certain other companies are a little too intimate. after the last election when obama made the announcement to that he was going to pursue this network neutrality legislation he has played into this so versatile five notion that there are these -- this oversimplified
6:26 am
notion that there are these people companies out there. these companies that are trying to destroy the internet. it is a children's story. it is being orchestrated by large companies like perhaps you to coordinate flicks, who have an agenda. the real issue of network neutrality is that it is a fight between large companies about whether or not perhaps you should pay a toll on the internet. it doesn't pertain to small people. it doesn't pertain to ordinary internet users. it isn't going to slow down the network. it is an example of the way in which the internet gets exploited by certain marketing departments and spin doctors to exploit people to get involved in issues. it is so complicated that you can ask five people in washington but net neutrality is and you'll get five different
6:27 am
answers. the most complicated question of the 19th century was the eastern question. what happens to the ottoman empire after it breaks up? i think it was either gladstone or disraeli said there are only three people in the world who understand the easton question. the first is a mad, the second instead, into third is my wife. or something like that. -- the first is mad, the second is dead, and the third is my wife or something like that. it is a similar thing with network neutrality. each is better enough with the easton situation which was used by various governments and led to the catastrophe of the first world war. it is an incredibly consultative issue that is being used by different groups to pursue their own agendas. >> someone you talk about in this book is tim berners-lee. >> we found this from a ted speech.
6:28 am
he is fast-talking. you have to listen very carefully. i want to ask you how he fits into your story. >> people started to put together a magna carta, a bill of rights for the web. how about we do that? how about wendy's side of these in a way becoming fundamental rights. the right to communicate with whom i want. what would be on your list? let's do that. this year. let's use the energy from the anniversary to put together a 20th magna carta for the web. do me a favor. fight for it or me. -- for me. back then is crowd source?
6:29 am
-- >> >> let's me ask you a question, what is crowd source? >> crowd source is getting many thousands of people online to contribute to the creation of something. so wikipedia is a crowd source. >> what role did this man play? >> that man is incredibly important. in 1989, when all of our eyes were on the collapse of the berlin wall, when we were told that the 20th century was finished and we could all agree about everything, that guy was younger then. a recent graduate of oxford, queens college, the same as jeremy benson 200 years earlier, sometimes history works in funny ways. that man was at the cern research center in geneva. the nuclear protocol -- i don't
6:30 am
remember the exact whatever -- he was a young physicist. he invented the world wide web. he did not invent the internet. he invented the world wide web that sat on top of the internet and made the internet accessible for everyone. the achievement of the world wide web was that it took the internet and made it popular. the reason i bring up 1989 is because we all thought that his -- that history came to an end and then. actually it represents the real beginning of the 21st century. i think in 100 years, when we look back -- i'm sure the war was interesting. you have this is symbolic handing over of history from the issue of the cold war to the history of the digital revolution. 19 nine seems to be the year that's marked the difference between the industrial 20th century and the digital 21st century.
6:31 am
in my view he is a hero. he was a publicly spirited scientist, who did this out of love. no one was paying him. he essentially gave it away. he could have owned the world wide web. he could have put all sorts of ip around it. he would have become an incredibly rich man. but he didn't. he was very publicly-spirited. the problem is the internet shifted from publicly spirited guys into aggressive entrepreneurs, and he has become kind of irrelevant. he is a symbol of the old world. i am a great fan of his and a great admirer, but i would say that his romantic vision of the internet as a place that would bring everything together has not been realized. it is the reverse.
6:32 am
when tim berners-lee talks about a bill of rights, i would stand there and say sure that is nice, but we have enough bills of rights. before going to make the internet a habitable place, we need to make it a successful place. if it will really be the answer to our challenges, we need a bill of responsibilities. that is missing from the internet at the moment. a sense of responsibility. it has become the receptacle for our culture of entitlement. everyone thinks it was delivered in the middle of the night. that is why this network neutrality thing is annoying. that it was delivered in the middle of the night as a gift to the people as a reflection of our goodness and virtue. if we're going to make it a good place, if we want to make it a reflection of our best qualities, we need more
6:33 am
responsibilities and less rights. >> and want to bring up-- >> are you trying to audition? >> would it even exist without the internet? isn't it part of creating a community? >> ted used to exist. it used to be a fairly small thing that was run by a guy in southern california. ironically enough, a guy called chris anderson, who had run a big publishing company, which went bust after the first internet boom. he was one of the examples of internet cowboys who tried to make money. one of his investments was in ted. when publishing went bust and he lost his job, he bought ted, and built it into a successful franchise.
6:34 am
i think ted would still exist. it is essentially a salon. it was great for enlightenment. people wanted intelligent conversation. one of the reasons ted does so well is because general media is so bad, there is such an absence of serious thought. people want that kind of thing. in the 21st century, the other thing ted offers is networking. i am ambivalent about networking. i don't like the networking world we are falling into. but the challenge in this postindustrial world is to build our own personal brand. we would not work for ford or kodak the rest of our lives. we have to reinvent ourselves. networking is at the center, the more people you know the more wealthy you will be. value increasingly will be not in our bank account that in who you know. the head of linkedin is a great
6:35 am
visionary. a brilliant man. undergraduate at stanford and philosopher at oxford. i think he was a fulbright or rhodes scholar. he has understood this better than anyone. he essentially invented social media. >> here you are back at that ted speech. back in 2012. >> more ted? >> we are being sold something also. it is a scam. something which is undermining who we are as a species. one of the previous speakers talked about the community. what i call a cult. the idea that community is everything. you come to these events. this is where i want to shoot all of you. all you ever hear is community community, community. community is supposed to be so wonderful. these books too many of them , all about the we. how important it is to work together. all premised on this absurd idea that technology will enable community.
6:36 am
for those of you who have read marxist german question, it is really taken a lot from the idea that technology allows us to realize as being. that we have this network, 2 billion people on it now. all this data, dna. we are all becoming information and we can share that information and become community. but of course, it is nonsense. but worst, it is dangerous nonsense. >> why dangerous? >> is dangerous because it is not true. it is dangerous for two reasons. firstly, as no realized in his great work on liberty, it is the interior that is important. in our own government, is to protect the interior. and the book at the museum in amsterdam, the great artist of the interior. i am a believer in that liberalism.
6:37 am
the millian idea of protecting the individual to think for themselves. the social tense to lend itself to community -- conformity. i'm not against being social, i don't think it is a bad thing. i'm not in favor of going back to the cave and separating myself from my fellow man. but the other problem is social media in the digital age is not social. it is an extension of the self.
6:38 am
it is an extension of the culture of narcissism that is increasingly pervading the internet. when you go on facebook, you are not really networking. you are not really being social. some people are. but more people, on instagram or twitter, you are using it to broadcast yourself. to show off your self. ironically, it is more and more alienating. as i show, in "the internet is not the answer", the more people use facebook, the more lonely they are. it is alienating. it is atomizing. you see that in political terms. we were told that social media would create these great movements, the arab spring occupy. but look what happened to occupy. it was simply an explosion of individual voices. there was never any successful molding of those voices, it was a quilt of individuals. that quilt never formed into a political organization. in the middle east, we know the catastrophe that followed the arab spring. >> you mentioned karl marx in this last clip. where do you put him in a importance and how much of a follower are you of him?
6:39 am
>> i am not a follower of marx. in this book, "the internet is not the answer", i write about my great uncle who was a follower. he was the bagman of the english communist party who recycled soviet money through england. i have a history of that in my family. like 70 jews, -- like so many jews, our families are made of either merchants or idealists. i'm not a follower of marx. i think he was wrong. but i also think he was wrong in a fascinating way. in a brilliant way. the german ideology for example, he writes about the postcapitalist age when technology will free us from work. he says, famously, you can fish in the morning, and farm in the afternoon, and write poetry in the evening. there were so many other things. technology will free us from the banality of work. free us from having to rely on the factory.
6:40 am
but of course, the catastrophe of our current wave of technology, is it is not freeing us. what it is doing is actually destroying jobs. it is doing away with labor. this means we will not have the cash to be farmers or fishermen or poets. >> you mention you run a salon. is it televised? >> i hope you guys televise it. it is called future cast. it is at the at&t foundry in palo alto. i wear your hat, symbolically. i am the guy who sits with someone interesting. we talk about the impact of
6:41 am
technology. in contrast with this, it is not broadcast. we have an invitation-only group of about 50. it's kind of like ted. it is supported by at&t and the big swedish telecommunications company. it is held about six times per year. we have taken it on the road. we do some in san francisco, atlanta and dallas. it gives me a opportunity to ask hard questions. >> your interview series. is it still on techcrunch? >> now, it has shifted to techonomy, a rival. here is an excerpt of about three of them.
6:42 am
back at you have been watching me on google. anything you do not know about me? back yes. let's watch. >> technology continues to dramatically change the world. so dramatically that even politicians, current politicians, are realizing that digital technology can change dramatically and revolutionize government. the first to realize this was gavin newsom. lieutenant governor of california. the number two guy. is that fair in california? he is famous, almost legendary for his insights into technology and particularly into search. stephen wolfram. he is the founder and ceo of woe from research. he has come out with a new book. it is a book that is very good. welcome to techcrunch tv. >> thank you for having me here.
6:43 am
it is hard to be both optimism. >> you are nostalgic for the future. >> this is another example of something the internet provides you an opportunity to do. is an expensive thing to put together? >> i don't pay for it. techcrunch paid for it. x doesn't work for them? -- >> >> does it work for them? >> i don't know if it works for them. it works for me. if i admit something here will everyone know about it? >> everybody. >> you do certain things and this is why this is challenging. i do this techcrunch interview--i did that, now i do the other. it allows me to meet really interesting people. secondly, it gets my name out there. thirdly, it is a great way to research. in the acknowledgments of my talk, i think everyone who was on my show.
6:44 am
it was my way of doing research. it pays something but not a great deal. techcrunch's main business model is advertising. and events. but videos do not get the kind of page views that tech does. i do not think techcrunch tv was particularly profitable. but i love the opportunity to ask questions. there is nothing more fun than being able to sit with someone and ask them anything. even if you ask personal stuff. >> techonomy--how much of a competitor are they? >> they are slightly above techcrunch. it was mostly young people who thought they would be the next mark zuckerberg. not very interested in this kind of conversation. techonomy is run by someone who is one of the most smartest and interesting economists. -- journalists.
6:45 am
he is the author of "the facebook affect." i did a show with walter isaacson and it was really fun. >> your book, you mentioned this, is in memory of the farber and sons. your uncle? >> victor farber was my great grandfather. he dragged his son, my grandfather, to the west end. they eventually ended up buying a store in london. cell phone. -- london's soho, the barracks
6:46 am
district. i use them in the book, not just for nostalgic reasons or the opportunity to talk about myself, but because they represent an example of the way technological change affects business. i write about them as people who first rode the wave of technology innovation, with the invention of the industrial sewing machine. it allowed trade in fabric to sell stuff to women who it take it home and make their own dresses. then you have another technological revolution which made their business redundant. cheap, off-the-shelf dresses. it made women's lives change they can work. they do not have the time or interest in making their own stuff. suddenly their business became redundant. ironically enough, it is coming back now with 3-d printing. now everyone can be a dress designer. as a say in the book, there are challenges with business models, because if everyone has access to the same software, and these 3-d printers which are essentially factories, it is not clear what their business model is. the traditional fashion industry will get swept away.
6:47 am
>> you talk about a nine-year-old boy that you had in a video i watched. we had it in the strand bookstore in 2007. would that make him 16 now? >> 16 or 17. >> how many kids you have? >> two. they are embarrassed. my son is an avid internet user. he is typical of his generation. they are smart. but he is much more glued to his little device than he is to books. i think he is an example of someone with all the strength and weaknesses of this new digital age. he is someone who doesn't read enough books. my son is typical of a generation that speeds across the surface. he's very quick with making connections.
6:48 am
he is very quick with getting things, but on the other hand, he struggles to get beneath the surface. my 13-year-old is at a waldorf school. i do not know if you're are familiar with waldorf education. it is where the screen is outlawed. you sign an agreement as a parent that will discourage kids from using devices like screens, ipads, devices. she has a more traditional education. ironically, this education came from a 19th century austrian educationalist. she has a different experience and still reads a lot of hooks. -- books. eventually when she gets to 15 or 16, she will get her hands on these devices and will become more like my son. >> where did you meet your wife? >> my ex-wife. we were both graduate students. she was a student of history. chinese history. i was a student of political science. soon-to-be to be thrown out.
6:49 am
then she went to the harvard law school and became an environmental lawyer now she is a waldorf teacher. she has an interesting arc too. we are still very friendly. >> did you actually get thrown out of uc berkeley? what happened? >> i became unemployed, or rather, unemployable. which i remain. actually, i think i became lucky because i didn't have a career. when i turned up in silicon which meant that valley in 1995 because my ex-wife moved from cambridge to san francisco, i didn't have much. i was a part-time music journalist. part-time this or that. in reality i was doing very little. i was trying to be a writer, a journalist, trying to do different things. i was lucky to turn up in san francisco in 1995. i had the eclectic skills, the
6:50 am
ability to talk and sell and write. this allowed me to be the first wave of internet entrepreneurs. it was a great time to be in san francisco. there were other people like me, sort of lay about people without clear skills who tried their hand. some of them succeeded. i am still very proud of that failure. i should not idealize failure. >> what was the dotcom name? >> audio cafe. >> what did it do? >> that was a good question. we went from eight to eight, from b2b, from sea to sea. i really don't know. we went from this to that to the selling of digital hardware. i think it was a great time to just try something. it is different now. you can't do it. silicon valley is crawling with wannabe entrepreneurs. everywhere you go, you shake a tree and they fall down. but where i was going, no one
6:51 am
really do about it. i went from being someone with very little ceo skills to being the head of intel's asian operation as the president of my board. i had other distinguished people in my board. it was a really exciting time. there was a funny story. i will tell you the funny story about audio cafe. we were destroyed by amazon. not the first or the last. the original focus was to sell audio equipment, hardware. this was in about 21995 or 1996. that is why we got the investment of a company. and in-commerce platform. we were getting a launch. we raised money and it was very exciting. than three months before we launched, amazon, which at that point was an online bookstore, launched electronic store.
6:52 am
we were kind of automatically dead. later i was making a speech, and afterward i was in the men's bathroom, and i turned around and there was this very loud noise. a booming voice. it kept saying, cult of the amateur. and then this deep laughter. he had been in the audience, and of course it was jeff bezos. we had a funny conversation where i told him the story audio cafe and how he killed my first business. which of course, -- had a happy ending because i became a writer. he is one example of a brilliant internet entrepreneur. he is very very articulate and at the same time, his practices, i explained, are questionable. >> we only have a couple of minutes. >> wow, this has been quick. >> i have to ask about two
6:53 am
people you write about. franz kafka, and hannah. what are the mentioned in your book? -- i knew they mentioned in your book to mark -- why were they mentioned in your book? >> kafka describes the way we are. i make it clear that he was a student of a different kind of central european totalitarianism. that is not what is happening today, but there is something kafka-esque about what is happening now. even he couldn't have come up with anything quite as outrageous as what is existing.
6:54 am
to add a third to that list, the argentine short story writer. in many ways, he imagined this much more accurately. also is the theory of totalitarianism as a person who argues,origins of totalitarianism lie in the institutions that lie between individual and the state. that is what i feel is happening between the internet. the internet has destroyed so many institutions. what arent was so brilliant at was observing the anger. the malice and evil of fascism. we could imagine ourselves in a
6:55 am
similar type of catastrophic situation. >> we have seen you speaking. we have seen you interviewing. and we have talked about your book writing. and you alluded to this earlier. how do you make your money? >> that's a secret. >> a secret? >> i make my money in a lot of different ways. i make my money as a writer but writing is not lucrative enough to pay for my kids school and mortgage. i am paid as a speaker. i do some consulting and investments. iam paid as the executive producer of future cast. i am paid as a senior fellow at a company. i am paid in many different ways. a friend of mine, her son who was one of the original internet capitalists, he was on my original board. he grew up in detroit in a poor family. grew up in the ghetto.
6:56 am
he only said to me that when he was growing up, when he was in a room he always had to have more than one place to escape. the way i make my living, i don't want to rely on one thing. if the book doesn't work out there is speaking. if speaking doesn't work out there is production. if the production does not work out, there is the consultancy. i think my career is a kind of model for this new world. because we have to be entrepreneurial. the idea being a pure writer and sitting in a room and churning out books, that doesn't work. even tough guy could not make a living. he had to work in an insurance company. -- even kafka. you need to play a lot of the boards and a lot of the tables
6:57 am
simultaneously because you should never rely on a single thing or a single company or a single idea. not a single enterprise. >> our guest has been andrew keen. the title his book is "the internet is not the answer". and we thank you very much. >> thank you. for free transcripts or to give usher comments about this ground visit us at see engagements -- candid transcripts are also available as c-span podcasts. on 10 years of's candidate's are available online. if you enjoy the days, here are some more you might enjoy. mark cuban and christopher
6:58 am
hitchens. it is our interview with jim morris, cofounder of wikipedia. you can watch on of them at next live. your calls and comments on washington journal. at noon today, the u.s. house government is in. tonight, on the communicators fcc because of violent drug and as a utility and other key issues facing the communications in 2015. x iphone one, punitive -- >> >>
6:59 am
it was chairman of both the parties, who recognized that to light touch regulation was the best way to incentivize broadband is learned. i stand with those on capitol hill that recognize that white house is the way to go. wayne outstanding best to consider title to work on carrier regulation. in my view that heavy-handed type developed a decade ago the wrong american consumer. x tonight, on the communicators. and at 7:35 a.m. michele flournoy talks about u.s. national security.
7:00 am
and budget cuts have his problems s customer service. as always, but it will take your calls and host: at the white house, and unidentified device that could be a drone was found on the grounds in -- and there is no threat the white house personnel. the president is not around town this morning. he is in india for a visit and over the capital, it is unclear how much this storm this blizzard, could affect travel plans back to washington to take art in a busy week on capitol hill. the


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on