Imagining the Internet Predictions Project
More from Barry Diller

We have access to mind-numbing amounts of data - the trash and the treasure, the ridiculous and the not-so-sublime ... We were promised that all these new options would enrich us. And yet even with this gluttony of choices, our diet is getting thinner. Meanwhile, we're becoming cluttered with all kinds of info-accessories: CD-ROMs, computers, online services, the Internet. And not only is it decreed that we have to try to comprehend the tonnage of stuff we're supposed to read, but it is ordered that we have to understand and use all these new technologies or we will be fossilized. All this information and all these new products were supposed to make life easier, but now we work harder, longer - just to stay in place and keep up. I point all this out not because I'm a cynic about the power of technology - far from it. But I believe the acceleration of daily life, this confusing mad rush to get ahead of the future, the speed of life in and about the media, is eroding our ability to gather the building blocks to do the real and necessary work of creating new products. - 1995
What's the old saying? "A rumor goes around the world in the time it takes Truth to put its boots on." Today, Truth wouldn't bother getting out of bed ... When we become information-savvy in a very superficial way, we get dragged along on the dumb current - scanning for patterns and trying to copy those that work. It gives a false sense of security, a dreamy delusion that success will be found by repeating the pattern again and again ... We are on the brink of a great convergence - where the computer, the television, and the telephone will meet to create truly new communications products. Who knows how they'll get along? Who knows what the result will be? What we do know is that the time for hype has passed. And the time has arrived for us to do the tough conceptual work of coming up with a new discipline, a new vocabulary, a new paradigm for what is emerging. - 1995
Right now, no matter what kind of publication you put out, you're all asking the same questions: Are we still relevant? How do we make sure, when we're riding down that info highway, that we don't get a flat or become roadkill or some other ridiculous cliche? The irony is, you're victims of your own hype … fear of displacement is misguided. When cable TV arrived, people said, 'This is the end of the networks.' No. That's insane. There is no such thing as real displacement. Movies survived television, and radio is hardly extinct. To worry about displacement is futile, and to base plans on it is wasteful. Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't explore new technologies ... We will fall short if we impose our own familiar business models on the coming convergence. Telephones were not just telegraphs with voice. Computers weren't just calculators with keyboards. And in the future, no one will call your product 'magazines with sound and moving pictures.' We have to resist media imperialism - the tendency to colonize, to define new technologies in terms of the old ... Redefine, don't repackage. Redefining the mission of your ventures is slow, brain-bending work. Right now, that message is lost on too many people. There isn't a single gold-paved road to success in this new environment. There is no road map or users manual. It's not something you can research. And there is nothing to be gained by forcing new opportunities into the boxes of past experience. What we need to do is slow down. To relax. - 1995
Successful convergence means having the willingness to subordinate your media expertise instead of imposing it. It means treating a new medium on its terms - not yours. It means having the patience to relax and follow your curiosity instead of hyperventilating and chasing the crowd. We need to be convergence contrarians - willing to challenge conventional wisdom, yet able to explore other possibilities. Now I don't care what software, hardware, firmware, floppyware, infoware, or underware that technology convergence creates for our creative communities. I just care that real editorship is involved in the process, contrarian and contentious all the way, because I trust absolutely that interesting things will follow. - 1995 Today and for the next 20 years, those who are awake, and able and willing, will be playing that same defining role in what is surely going to be a radical transformation of all we hear, see, and know. And what a piece of great, good luck it will be to have been present at the creation. - 1995

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