Okay, i’m late with this. The TechCrunch Meetup7 party was last Friday night, and the au courant bloggers have already gone on to the next event. They spent the evening with 500 other people just like themselves, largely men in their 30s, photographing each other and videocapturing each other podcasting to and about each other. It was Web 2.0 at its finest hour — just before the end.
Yes, Silicon Valley’s brightest people were partying like it was 1999. It reminded me of commercial real estate guys in Arizona, each wave just young enough to have missed the last downturn and to think the good times will last forever.
Just the place to understand what’s great about a place like the Bay Area: the resilience of the infrastructure and its ability to keep attracting new groups of talented, smart people just as the last generation is deserting Mecca for the arid countries in which they were born, where it’s still possible to afford a home and get a babysitter.
So it has been the summer of ‘mashups,’ bits and pieces of software combined as services: a social network combined with photo sharing, or a blog joined with video. I�ve learned a lot, for which I am always thankful. But I have the sense that I�ve seen it all before, somehow.
Not the technologies � they are getting better and better. My daughter just bought a cell phone that connects to iTunes. She�s a corporate attorney, and this doesn�t replace her Blackberry; it augments it. Then I went to San Diego, visited a friend of mine in the same demographic, and she had the same phone. Perhaps that�s the phone for the female 30-somethings who want to be hip and trendy. I think all the men had Blackberries.
Myself, I just got the Nike+iPod workout kit: the shoes, the sensor, the transmitter, the Nano, the armband. If you put the sensor in the shoe, connect the Nano to the transmitter, wear the Nano on your arm, and then sync it aftwards to the Nike+iPod site, you can track your workouts and create training programs with their own customized music.
Actually, some friends gave me the kit as a house gift, leaving me to buy the shoes. Kind of like getting the floor mats for a Rolls Royce; these are not cheap shoes. And they�re not good shoes, either. Nike makes much better running shoes than what they sell with iPod compatibility. Not that I wasn�t grateful for the house gift; I�m just tellin� it like it is.
More important, the Nike+iPod is only for running and walking. It�s just an impact sensor. That means all of us who cross-train �swimming, biking, even using the elliptical cross trainer � still can�t track our workout information in one place. I finally figured out that Nike is selling the world�s most expensive pedometer.
Or the world�s first high tech/high touch mashup. Perhaps Nike+iPod 2.0 will have a more complicated sensor, or a different monitoring system.
No, the technologies have really been fun. It�s the (how do I avoid using this overused word?) bubble I worry about. Each of these bubbles, whether they be in tulips, real estate or technology, whipsaws a new generation, causing it to lose faith in the American dream. Back in the day, it was �turn on, tune in, drop out.� That was only a slogan then, but if you watch people in the gym, on the airplane, on the street, with the white earbuds in their ears or the Bluetooth headset dangling from their cheeks, you realize it�s more true now than ever.
Perhaps that has always happened throughout history, and I�m just old enough to see it in a broader perspective. Perhaps a certain amount of reality has to be injected into the worlds of the ValleyWag, TechMeme, TechCrunch set to help them evolve into the creative entrepreneurs they really can be when they get over producing and consuming gossip about each other. Or maybe what I�m not seeing is the next generation of Enquirers and Stars � media with the information people really wish to consume rather than what is served up to them by generations like my own.