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jerryking : san_francisco   21

What tech hasn’t learnt from science fiction
APRIL 3, 2019 | Financial Times | Elaine Moore.

Never mind the future: where are the books tackling Silicon Valley’s current challenges?

There is a myth that Silicon Valley is stuffed full of nerds who have never picked up a book in their lives. Like a lot of tales about the Valley, it is not true. The tech industry is acutely aware of the value of storytelling.......Whenever a tech founder is asked about their favourite novel it is usually worth paying attention. Uber founder Travis Kalanick’s admires Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.....Jeff Bezos’s is taken by the quiet despair of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day......and Theranos' Elizabeth Holme is attached to Moby-Dick.

It’s true that reading lists on the West Coast tend to skew towards science fiction.......For Silicon Valley, the genre seems to offer both inspiration and validation. .......But the connection between tech companies and sci-fi novels runs deeper. To make their futuristic projects reality, some seek the help of the authors themselves......Less is made of its focus on the downside of humanity interacting with a virtual world (jk: sci fi doesn't pay enough attention to the the downside of humanity interacting with a virtual world). .....The affection tech founders feel for sci-fi often seems to lack this dimension.....If founders are not paying too much attention to cautionary sci-fi themes, at least some people are. Amazon Go shops can feel like a vision of the future as you pick up milk and walk away, without scanning anything. But cities such as San Francisco have begun to wonder whether cashless shops will end up marginalising the country’s poorest citizens, who do not have access to online bank accounts......does any sci-fi novel offers a way to think about Silicon Valley’s present, as well as its future? The singularity and inter-planetary travel are well covered in literature..... are there book out there that address privacy scandals, electric scooters and $100bn IPOs?
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
* Counting Heads' (2005) by David Marusek is a novel set in 2134.
* Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson.
* Idoru" by William Gibson.
* Count Zero" by William Gibson.
* "Black Mirror" TV series Charlie Brooker.
* The Circle by Dave Eggers.
* ‘Minority Report’ Phil K Dick.
* Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
* Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

People who don't read science fiction (SF) are handicapped in today's world really, because usually they form part of the 99% of humans who are unable to look ahead more than a few months or so and see where society is going. ......Or the people that think Elon Musk is a visionary. He is not a visionary! He is just a smart person, which necessarily includes reading SF, and taking things from there. People who do not read SF think that Musk is the only person on the planet thinking about and developing our future society on Mars...  But there are millions - it's just that he is one of a few billionaires working concretely on it. For example, if you read the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, you'd realise that one of the reasons that Elon Musk now has a tunnel boring company is that we will NEED tunnels on Mars... You'd also realise that the TV rights of the trip to Mars will pay for (most of) the cost of the trip... etc. etc. etc.
Amazon_Go  augmented_reality  Ayn_Rand  authors  books  cautionary_tales  Elon_Musk  entrepreneur  fiction  founders  future  futurists  novels  pay_attention  reading_lists  San_Francisco  science_fiction  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  storytelling  virtual_reality  William_Gibson 
april 2019 by jerryking
Where is San Francisco’s Bonfire of the Vanities?
December 21, 2108 | | Financial Times | by Janan Ganesh.

Victor Hugo’s Paris. Tom Wolfe’s New York. Charles Dickens’s London. Whose San Francisco? Even a brief visit confirms its resemblance to these other cities at their most feverishly written-about. It has the same street-level squalor, the same inventive genius, the same jittery, barricaded rich.....Careering down the Bay Bridge in an Uber (founded in San Francisco), I gawp at the superior physical setting. The raw materials for a classic, a Les Misérables of the Tenderloin, are all here. And yet 18 years into a century that it has shaped, and almost 50 since the journalistic coinage of “Silicon Valley”, this place remains near-absent from literature. What fiction there is about modern San Francisco, including the first novel published on Medium, by former Google executive Jessica Powell, tends not to detain the Nobel committee.....The biggest story in American commerce and, when you think of tech’s displacing effects, in American society too, has been left to journalists and the occasional biopic to tell. The result is a story half-told. We have the numbers but not the anthropological nuance. Imagine trying to understand 1980s New York with stock indices and crime data, but without Bonfire of the Vanities. Except, an east-coast powerhouse would never suffer a literary snub. That a western one does suggests more about the writers, perhaps, than about the subject.....Seven of America’s 10 biggest cities are now west of the Mississippi River. .....Where San Francisco blends into the low-rise Anyplace of Santa Clara, you can see their point. But the city itself, with its layers of desperation and opulence, is Dickensian. It just lacks a Dickens, or even a lesser chronicler.....A planet-moulding capital of technology deserves its due, too. The stories are there, if writers can accept the western drift of their nation’s energies.
Bonfire_of_the_Vanities  fiction  Janan_Ganesh  literature  San_Francisco  Silicon_Valley  Tom_Wolfe  writers 
december 2018 by jerryking
Life as We Know It Turns 50 - WSJ
Dec. 2, 2018 | WSJ | By Andy Kessler.

1968's Joint Computer Conference, where an assembly of geniuses wearing white short-sleeved shirts and pocket protectors convened 50 years ago this week. The event shined a guiding light on the path to personal computing and set the modern world in motion.

On Dec. 9, 1968, Doug Engelbart of the Stanford Research Institute presented what’s now known as “The Mother of All Demos.” Using a homemade modem, a video feed from Menlo Park, and a quirky hand-operated device, Engelbart gave a 90-minute demonstration of hypertext, videoconferencing, teleconferencing and a networked operating system. Oh, and graphical user interface, display editing, multiple windows, shared documents, context-sensitive help and a digital library. Mother of all demos is right. That quirky device later became known as the computer mouse. The audience felt as if it had stepped into Oz, watching the world transform from black-and-white to color. But it was no hallucination.
1968  Andy_Kessler  anniversaries  conferences  GUI  San_Francisco  Stanford 
december 2018 by jerryking
The Summer of Love: A Walking Tour of San Francisco, 50 Years Later
Unfurling from the eastern border of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the Haight served as the epicenter of America’s 1960s counterculture movement. “The Haight-Ashbury was the product of teen rebellion against 1950s’ regimentation and the Vietnam War,” said a guide for the local Flower Power Walking Tour who goes by the name Stannous Flouride. “The anarchic aspect was seen as a threat against the establishment but ultimately had a profound influence on American culture.” Cheap rents, more than anything else, drew the first wave of bohemians in the early 1960s. Legions followed, cresting in 1967 when some 100,000 students, musicians and others flocked to San Francisco for a summer of drug-enhanced communing and revelry that horrified parents. This year, to mark the anniversary, events from concerts to art exhibits are being staged throughout the Bay Area (see summeroflove2017.com for details).

Hit songs of 1967 included the Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” “San Franciscan Nights” (inspired by a night Eric Burdon spent with Janis Joplin) and the blissed-out ballad “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair).”
1967  San_Francisco  psychedelic  summertime  epicenters  neighbourhoods  gentrification  bohemians  things_to_do  anniversaries  counterculture 
may 2017 by jerryking
Top 5 spots to get a real feel for San Francisco - The Globe and Mail
KARAN SMITH
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, May. 05 2014
travel  things_to_do  San_Francisco 
may 2014 by jerryking
What Tech Hasn’t Learned From Urban Planning - NYTimes.com
By ALLISON ARIEFF
Published: December 13, 2013

“Community space” implies something that is open to, well, the community. Subverting of naming conventions to suggest public access and transparency, while providing neither, is troubling and increasingly pervasive. But this turning inward, despite the incessant drumbeat of “community,” is quickly becoming the rule rather than the exception.... In “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” Jane Jacobs wrote, “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” We’re losing that here. The further the tech sector gets from the reality of the problems it’s engaging with, the smaller piece of the problem they’ll end up actually fixing.

The tech sector’s embrace of urbanist lingua franca and its enthusiasm to engage with urban problems is awesome, and much welcomed. But these folks need to become better urbanists.
design  urban_planning  San_Francisco  technology  community  Jane_Jacobs 
december 2013 by jerryking
Max Levchin talks about data, sensors and the plan for his new startup(s) — Tech News and Analysis
Jan. 30, 2013 | GigaOm |By Om Malik.

“The world of real things is very inefficient: slack resources are abundant, so are the companies trying to rationalize their use. Über, AirBnB, Exec, GetAround, PostMates, ZipCar, Cherry, Housefed, Skyara, ToolSpinner, Snapgoods, Vayable, Swifto…it’s an explosion! What enabled this? Why now? It’s not like we suddenly have a larger surplus of black cars than ever before.

Examine the DNA of these businesses: resource availability and demand requests — highly analog, as this is about cars, drivers, and passengers — is captured at the edge, automatically where possible, then transmitted and stored, then processed centrally. Requests are queued at the smart center, and a marketplace/auction is used to allocate them, matches are made and feedback is given in real time.

A key revolutionary insight here is not that the market-based distribution of resources is a great idea — it is the digitalization of analog data, and its management in a centralized queue to create amazing new efficiencies.”
massive_data_sets  data  Max_Levchin  radical_ideas  sensors  start_ups  incubators  San_Francisco  sharing_economy  analog  efficiencies  meat_space  data_coordination  match-making  platforms  Om_Malik  resource_management  underutilization  resource_allocation  auctions  SMAC_stack  algorithms  digitalization 
february 2013 by jerryking
The Weekend Interview with Travis Kalanick: The Transportation Trustbuster - WSJ.com
January 25, 2013 | WSJ | By ANDY KESSLER.
Travis Kalanick: The Transportation Trustbuster
Travis Kalanick, co-founder of Uber, talks about how he's bringing limo service to the urban masses—and how he learned to beat the taxi cartel and city hall.... is a hot San Francisco startup that already has 25 outposts around the world for its simple, seductive service: on-demand transportation. With an iPhone or Android app, you call up the Uber map, spot an available town car or taxi, and summon it with a click. The fare and tip for a town car, or limo, is maybe 50% higher than for a regular taxi ride and paid for through the service.
transportation  disruption  San_Francisco  Andy_Kessler  urban  Uber  mobile_applications  on-demand  start_ups  sharing_economy 
january 2013 by jerryking
Local Grocer Cultivates a Following - WSJ.com
June 6, 2012,| WSJ | By IAN SHERR.

Local Grocer Cultivates a Following, Looks to Grow
grocery  San_Francisco  growth 
june 2012 by jerryking
Sysco, America's Biggest Restaurant Supplier, Goes Locavore
Oct. 24 2011 | - San Francisco Restaurants and Dining - SFoodie| By Jonathan Kauffman .
Sysco  locavore  restaurants  supply_chains  San_Francisco 
march 2012 by jerryking
Lunch Catered by Internet Middlemen - NYTimes.com
By DAMON DARLIN
September 24, 2011

San Francisco-based Cater2.me, delivers food from carts and small
restaurants to businesses that aren’t big enough to afford their own
chefs. The Web was supposedly eliminating the need for the layers of
brokers, agents, wholesalers & even retailers that separate the
consumer from the producer.

That has happened in some instances, e.g. drastically reducing the role
of travel agents. But consumers still need help and the Web has provided
the tools & the environment for companies like cater2.me to
flourish. It has made it easier for middlemen to reach consumers and
made it remarkably easy and inexpensive for these middlemen to create
companies to do just that.

While there has been a lot of talk about how the technology industry
does not create jobs on the scale of traditional manufacturing — a
shrunken GM still employs more people than a thriving Google — the
Internet has made it a lot easier to create a broad array of new small
businesses.
intermediaries  San_Francisco  disintermediation  5BO  delivery  food_trucks  middlemen  small_business  travel_agents  new_businesses  inexpensive 
september 2011 by jerryking
The Future of Manufacturing is Local - NYTimes.com
March 27, 2011 | | By ALLISON ARIEFF. Mark Dwight, CEO of
Rickshaw Bagworks, initially started SFMade with the intention of
creating a brand identity for the products produced within San Francisco
city limits, something he calls “geographic ingredient branding.” More
easily understood as something akin to terroir, geographic ingredient
branding emphasizes “pride of place,” which runs deep in cities like San
Francisco and New York. “I saw this as a way to ‘brand’ the history,
culture, personality and natural beauty of our city as a means to
uniquely differentiate our local manufacturers,” says Dwight. “I coined
the term ‘geographic ingredient branding’ as an emulation of successful
technology ingredient branding campaigns such as ‘Intel Inside.’”
manufacturers  local  future  economy  hyperlocal  San_Francisco  branding  cities  geography  pride  geographic_ingredient_branding  brand_identity 
march 2011 by jerryking
Going Glossy in the Housing Bust -
August 5, 2010 | BusinessWeek | By Alexandra Wolfe. When
Joseph Diaz saw the bubble, he sold his real estate company—and launched
a travel magazine. "After returning from India, Diaz read a dozen
how-to books on the publishing business and then flew to New York to
meet James B. Kobak, a veteran adviser to magazines such as Playboy.
Kobak suggested they put together three sample issues. Diaz and Sullivan
went a step further. With $15 million of their own money and
investments from family members, they started an operation in San
Francisco and hired a small staff of editors and salespeople. In August
2009 they launched the glossy, photo-laden Afar. "
travel  magazines  entrepreneur  bubbles  San_Francisco  howto 
august 2010 by jerryking
Who Wants Prosciutto Ice Cream?
June 29, 2010 | NYTimes.com | By ELIZABETH WEIL. Marilyn Powell, author of “Ice Cream: The Delicious History.”
ice_cream  San_Francisco  travel  flavours 
july 2010 by jerryking

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