Last week, one of Silicon Valley’s most respected venture capitalists wrote in a blog post for THE NEW YORK TIMES an explanation of why he’s so excited about Bitcoin, the virtual currency. Marc Andreessen is actively seeking startups to fund in this area. The creator of the world’s first computer browser, Netscape, Andreessen makes a strong case for going virtual.
Andreessen’s essay is good reading — as is the ebook, “Conversational Bitcoin,” by Christopher Carfi. Chris makes Bitcoin easy to understand. It’s free to download here.
This week’s coverage of illegal activity by Bitcoin buyers and sellers is making it easy for some to reject the emergence of virtual currency. Yet things like a black market and theft have always stained the human condition. Look at the banking industry’s 2008 doings. Or think about how the island of Manhattan was “purchased” from Native Americans.
Corporate executives, political activists and private citizens are debating the nature of personal wealth in America. It’s a good time to explore anything that might make us all think about our financial reach. And what we can be doing with it. Namely, being open to new means of financial transaction that might enfranchise every human being.
I've written about my days at Andersen Worldwide and my growing appreciation for the exposure I had to leading ideas and the people who share them. One of them, as I've mentioned, was Victor Millar, one of the firm's leaders at that time. First as his presentation producer [got his slides through the audiovisual department] and then as his junior speechwriter, I got exposed to a lot of good stuff. One of the concepts was what I called his ages — the progression he took you through on the way to the Information Age and what it would mean for business. As a result, I have a great interest in looking at what happens around us and the notion of how current events can integrate all our endeavors — not just business.
That's why I'm pleased to blog about Wharton's upcoming Supernova Conference in what its creator and chief brain Kevin Werbach calls the Network Age. For the next couple of months, I'll be commenting, from my perch on the contributor bench, about what we're seeing and hearing on the way to the conference and as it's happening.
In December, around 500 people from all over the place and every type of background will gather at Supernova in San Francisco to listen to some talks and engage with each other about all those technology things that fascinate, aggravate, confuse and challenge us. Until then, we'll also have the opportunity to spend an hour each week listening to interviews with some of the people who are speaking at the conference or whose work has some influence on the conference content.
Today, for example, we listened to Christopher Carfi talk with David Weinberger, a voice of the age who regularly helps both those in technology and those around it — meaning all of us, now — understand not only what is happening but what it all means. A co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto and solo author of Everything Is Miscellaneous, David is a fellow at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Today's topic was whether or not the Web is exceptional and why. They covered a lot of ground and I believe made a good case that it is indeed exceptional now and while we can't predict why it will be in the future, it will. Beyond being networked so closely that many boundaries are slipping away — for good as well as for not so good — we have much to discover about the Web's impact. What's interesting is, we're doing the connecting and influencing ourselves, not just the discovering.
For more information about Supernova, visit http.supernovahub.com.