Here are the transcript and slides of my 8-minute DLD talk, titled "Internet Services and Mobile Devices: What the Future Holds." Three startups presented in the session: Socialite, Area/Code, and Plazes. A video is available for download on the DLD site.

Note: I’m kind of at a loss when it comes to posting presentations online. Is this slide+transcript a good format? Most photos are ripped from Google image search and some of them are probably copyrighted (UPDATE: I dropped one slide that contained a copyrighted photo of Bob Dylan).


Although this talk is about the future, I’m going to start with a dead person. He’s kind of a hero of mine.


His name is Pierre Bourdieu. He was a French philosopher and sociologist. When he was still alive some said he was the ‘grand old’ French sociologist.


Like many French sociologists, Pierre Bourdieu didn’t exactly suffer from a lack of things to say. Indeed he said a great many things and wrote many books. And there is one thing in particular that he said that I think is relevant to this panel today.


Bourdieu said that human life is essentially about a sense of individuality. Distinguishing ourselves from other people.


That as a person, I am unique…


…and stand out from the masses. But, Bourdieu noted, the search for distinction is paradoxical. It’s self-contradictory.


For even as we strive to differ from one group of people, we search for acceptance by associating with others who are the same as us.


The cycle of distinction and association never stops. It’s a yin-yan kind of movement. And this movement, Bourdieu thought, drives social life as a whole.

Now, we’re starting to approach where all this leads: People as such aren’t enough, because the cycle of distinction works through objects.


The object can be a band (as on MySpace and, for instance)…


Or a celebrity / fashion item, as on Paperdoll Heaven


Or a place where people hang out (as on 43Places, Plazes, and Socialite)…


It can be a book we read (as on Allconsuming and Amazon)…


It could also be the cuisine we prepare or consume (as on food-related Flickr groups)…


Or a movie (as on Filmtipset, the Swedish movie recommendation service)…


Or indeed an event we go to (as on Upcoming)…


These emerging new online services are so powerful because they super-charge some of the oldest processes of object-centered social distinction, like
– demonstrating your taste by showing your favorite objects;
– forming groups around objects; and
– teaching taste to others by making recommendations about good and bad objects.


When we use these services, we participate in a giant global swarm.


But if we think truly global…


I’m afraid the laptop computer simply won’t do. Something more natural is needed. Something that fits into our hand, and doesn’t require the level of literacy and technical skills that are needed to operate a PC.


I know what you think I’m thinking: the mobile phone, right? Well, I want to challenge that. The ecosystem of mobile telephony is structurally so centralized that it simply doesn’t allow the kind of distributed innovation that is taking place on the internet.

(Dylan slide)

I believe that things are finally changing. Like in the Dylan song, only for mobile tech. There are signs that change is afoot.


The reason I’m excited is that for the first time, two critical enabling factors are falling in place, that didn’t exist before: 1) an open-source, hackable operating system; and 2) wireless networks that don’t require a license, meaning anybody – a company, a municipality, or a private individual – can set up an access point, and choose to charge a fee for the connection, or offer it for free.

I hope we’ll remember last year 2005 as the year when it all started, because last year the first handsets that are based on these open architectures started shipping. They’re still pretty geeky and not for the mass market, but when you look under the hood, there is fairly good reason to be excited.

The reason is that we can finally develop our services for mobile handhelds freely, just like we do on the internet today.  In the long run, this could result in a richer, more globally accessible online conversation that we’ve yet dared to imagine. And I hope that if he was still alive, old man Pierre Bourdeu would be nodding his head in agreement.


Feed   Trackback Address
January 30th, 2006 at 11:21 pm (#)

your presentation was great in style and just awesome in message :) good to have it on video.

January 31st, 2006 at 12:58 am (#)

Design under substandard working conditions

Imagine he situation when Felix from plazes asked me to help him with his speech at …

January 31st, 2006 at 9:12 am (#)

Five hours before the session I had no transcript and no slides prepared. I guess I’m just trying to connect the things that I think are important right now (object-centered sociality, the digital divide, and the disruption in mobile technology). Emphasis on the word “trying”. Anyway, it’s a start.

Olle Jonsson
January 31st, 2006 at 10:19 am (#)

Jyri, this presentational repurposing for the web was the best I have seen yet.
I heard you speak at the Reboot 7 conference, and your highly condensed style of talking to slides suits the creative images very well. I can almost hear your voice.

January 31st, 2006 at 6:14 pm (#)

Hi, Jyri. Very nice. This form of some slides and elegant texts is reader-friendly. It would seem to me that it is better suited for blogs. I have found some blogs and slides written in only texts. They created an image of intellectuality and logicality, but they did not create an enjoyable environment at least for ME to read.
More recently, I wrote up my graduation thesis in Japanese. However, to be honest with you, it bound me rigid. That is NOT to say that I want to peruse every bit of writings with desperately serious or academic eyes year in and year out.
Your presentation is artistic and significant!! It is by far the richest in content than my lengthy treatise… heheheh. It strikes me that certain a Japanese novelist said “novels can be expressed in a single sentence in fact”. Well… Fine ideas can be expressed slides and texts.

February 3rd, 2006 at 7:27 am (#)

Lessig posted an interesting how-to on how he post-produces his talks.
I would need a Flickr-like tool that makes it really really easy to share presentations.

February 4th, 2006 at 3:49 pm (#)

That link is fascinating. Thank you for sharing that with me!

Confluence: portableVideo
February 6th, 2006 at 5:54 pm (#)

2006-02-06 Backchannel Log

6 Feb 12:05:20 justinallynhall: hello Dan Lange joined the chat (6 Feb 12:05:47) Tara Waugh joined the chat (6 Feb 12:05:56) Todd Richmond joined the chat (6 Feb 12:06:20) 6 Feb 12:07:19 tarawow: hello, checking in Tara Waugh left the chat….

Tuhat sanaa
March 6th, 2006 at 7:05 am (#)

Verkko kehrää tietoa palveluista ja tuotteista

Kauppalehti Presson juttu “Kun kuluttajasta tuli kuningas” on vakuuttanut ainakin Matin ja Pirkan.
Jutun ydinpointti:
“Tutkija Petteri Repo Kuluttajatutkimuskeskuksesta — [sanoo, että] Perinteisesti kauppa on omistanut kuluttajan tiedot, mutta netiss

March 30th, 2006 at 9:05 am (#)

Jyri, how dramatic and mind-opening presentation. I truly wish I would have been there to see you in live, even this material I can imagine. Just about enough words for get the message and have the final point so nicely. You have that talent !
Congrats about the Nokia stuff as well !

Basti Hirsch
April 8th, 2007 at 5:23 pm (#)

As for being a fan of Bourdieu, have you heard of the dvd on his life, sociology as a fighting sport / martial arts?

Leave a Comment