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 / Summer 2007 / Issue 47(originally published by Booz & Company)


Chronicling the Future

Then there is the new and interesting genre of venture capital blogs. Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, Brad Feld of Foundry Group, Bill Burnham of Inductive Capital, and Paul Kedrosky of Ventures West are some of the leading practitioners; you can browse them at the FeedBurner Venture Capital network. Mark Cuban, who made a fortune selling his Web 1.0 company,, to Yahoo, and is now a new media investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, is always stirring things up and getting attention on his Blogmaverick. If you want gossip, try Valleywag, the Silicon Valley arm of Nick Denton’s Gawker Media. Denton himself was writing it for a while, which was great, but its future will depend on the skill of his replacement. And for an interesting window into what tech-culture aficionados (and cubicle time killers) find compelling, read BoingBoing. The four people who write it, Mark Frauenfelder, Xeni Jardin, David Pescovitz, and Cory Doctorow, are all clever and knowledgeable, and you’re almost guaranteed to learn something interesting that you didn’t know before.

There’s a lot of good stuff out there in the “old media,” as well. Walter Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal remains the single most powerful arbiter of consumer technology products, with David Pogue of the New York Times not far behind. (Pogue has also pioneered a popular video blog on the subject.) Heather Green of Business Week is very knowledgeable and offers insight both in the magazine and on the Business Week “blogspotting” blog. David Kirkpatrick at Fortune is also a skilled veteran who brings a lot of authority to his work, and John Markoff remains the go-to guy in mainstream media, especially on some of the more technical topics.

The biggest challenge in reading tech news day-to-day, of course, is figuring out what’s really significant and what will be irrelevant a year from now. The plethora of choices makes this harder in some ways: The job of the old-school editor was mainly to tell you what was important. But they were often wrong — predicting the future is a tough business — and now with the proliferation of choices, you can make a lot more editorial judgments for yourself. Let me know in a year or two how that’s working out. 

Reprint No. 07211

Author Profile:

Jonathan Weber ([email protected]) is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a collection of online communities focused on the culture, economy, politics, and environment of the Rocky Mountain West. He was formerly the editor-in-chief of the Industry Standard
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Silicon Valley Resources
Works mentioned in this review.

  1. Tom Wolfe, “The Tinkerings of Robert Noyce,” Esquire, December 1983. Click here.
  2. Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine, Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer (1984; McGraw-Hill, 1999), 488 pages
  3. John Markoff, What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry (Viking, 2005), 336 pages
  4. Douglas Smith and Robert Alexander, Fumbling the Future: How Xerox Invented, then Ignored, the First Personal Computer (W. Morrow, 1988), 274 pages
  5. Michael Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age (HarperBusiness, 2000), 480 pages
  6. David Owen, Copies in Seconds: Chester Carlson and the Birth of the Xerox Machine (Simon and Schuster, 2004), 306 pages
  7. Tracy Kidder, The Soul of a New Machine (Back Bay Books, 1981), 320 pages
  8. Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon, Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet (Simon and Schuster, 1996), 304 pages
  9. Michael Wolff, Burn Rate: How I Survived the Gold Rush Years on the Internet (Simon and Schuster, 1998), 268 pages
  10. Charles H. Ferguson, High Stakes, No Prisoners: A Winner’s Tale of Greed and Glory in the Internet Wars (Time Business, 1999), 400 pages
  11. John Walker, editor, The Autodesk File: Bits of History, Words of Experience (New Riders, 1989), 538 pages
  12. Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger, The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual (Perseus, 2000), 212 pages
  13. Eric S. Raymond, The Cathedral and the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary (O’Reilly Media, 2001), 256 pages
  14. Clayton M. Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail (Harvard Business School Press, 1997), 276 pages
  15. Andrew S. Grove, Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company and Career (Currency Doubleday, 1996), 222 pages
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