Sterling SXSW Rant 2007

In honor of the South-by-Southwest, aka SXSW, “Panel Picker” going live today (for those who are registered for the Interactive conference, please remember to cast a vote for my panel “Controlling Robots Through the Web!”), I dug up some raw notes from my trusty Dell laptop that I jotted down at SXSW 2007, as I recall, on my similarly trusty Palm Treo.
Anyone who has read my blog posts knows that I have admired the self-styled rants of Bruce Sterling over the years. In addition to catching his standing-room-only talk that Spring, I had the pleasure and good sport of hosting a panel with Bruce and Lux Research’s Matthew Nordan in the Fall of 2007 at the first annual Clean Energy Venture Summit. You can read more about that experience at my “Freshtech Friday” (formerly “Cleantech Friday”) guest blog on

Anyhow, I make no apologies for the outline form of the following, because it’s been more than two years since that session. But, just browsing them gives you a little insight to the unique, crazy quilt outline from which Mssr. Sterling delivers his rant. 

  • Henry Jenkins like das capital-enamored w/fandom (
  • Lev Manovich-cultural, legal – soft or creole media (
  • yogi ba/enkler-wiki?
  • Richard Stallman (
  • drm and broadband eats everything
  • no convergence
  • rfid-sxsw tag on all
  • first world is global-market
  • 2nd world is govts
  • 3rd world is common space peer prod
  • 4th world is disorder-tearing up world and abandoning the map
  • social networks-fragile or resilient
  • businesses stop being a business
  • global proletariat
  • laptop gypsies-very vulnerable
  • novelty mash-ups – not novel
  • “when you have a laser, everything looks laser-able” [<=SG comment: I love sound bites like this one!]
  • deviant art, not great-too easy, digital folk culture-don’t valorize
  • blog-gone by 2017, usefulness is as a platform for something-what?
  • turn on internet and leave the room- semiotic pollution…90 percent is spam and robbery
  • Reed Hundt-evil medium that debases impoverished (
  • broadcast is powerful-security services get broadband via channel
  • frontline…
  • trust construction
  • things that were formerly professionals are falling apart-lots of hungry polar bears
  • underworld news at digg,,
  • hw is radically unstable
  • al qaeda-they are the best at commons based peer production, military, religious, existence proof
  • well behaved appliance – not creative
  • Eastern European… gift-serenity

It’s sort of like reading the data stream from your REM sleep period, isn’t it? Anyhow, whether I am speaking at the SXSW Interactive festival or not, I find that the annual Sterling rant is just about worth the price of admission, on its own.

Hope to see you there in 2010!

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