We Live In Public

On Sunday night the Gotham Gal and I went up to the MOMA to see a showing of We Live In Public, a documentary about the life of Josh Harris, "the greatest internet pioneer you never heard of". The Gotham Gal has a great review of the film on her blog.

The film is everything I thought it could be. Ondi Timoner did an incredible job and earned all the accolades the film has received, including Best Documentary at Sundance.

The Internet scene in NYC was a unique time and place and nobody was pushing the envelope harder and faster than Josh Harris. Though I could never get comfortable investing in Josh, for reasons the movie will make adundantly clear, I have tremendous respect for him and everything he accomplished. He is a brilliant person who sees the future as clearly as anyone I have met.

The biggest treat of the night was seeing Josh, who is living in ethiopia, and Ondi together. I got the opportunity to say hi to both of them and watch the two of them talk about the film after the screening.

Josh and ondi

After the screening ended, I noticed Josh standing next to me. So I jumped up and said hi. He asked me "did you like it" And I said "yes, it's awesome". The Gotham Gal said "what do you think Josh?" And Josh said "I haven't seen it". The Gotham Gal said "really, why?". And he said, "if you were me, would you see it?"

Josh has a point there. See the movie and you'll understand.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. loupaglia

    wow. can’t wait to see the film. i remember distinctly when Josh’s “everything is online, nothing is private” efforts were going on but at the time, it seemed so outlandish that I never got engaged enough to follow-it. now, it is clear how close Josh predictions were on how people would move their lives online, all to varying degrees and different comfort levels. you look at Kyte, Blip and particularly Justin.tv, and you realize many are quite comfortable living their lives very much in the public domain.

    1. fredwilson

      That’s part of the reason the film is so powerfulBut there are a bunch of other thingsWatching a person go slightly mad on camera has a powerful emotional impact

  2. Simon Edhouse

    Wow… just watched the trailer. (http://www.weliveinpublicth…) That footage is so NY, but soooo hard-core, and in-your-face, but obviously just full of gritty raw humanity…phew! – I’m really glad someone made this movie. Its one of those pieces that is kind of absolutely museum-worthy (as in its historical importance) in a 21st century kind of way. – thanks for sharing that Fred

  3. trush

    Caught this last night and really enjoyed it. Documentary had great flow to it and I like how it leaves you thinking.At the Q&A with Josh, there were a lot of questions / points about moderation. Sure we can say that today but some of the things he unlocked may be generations away. My kids will probably look back and say “wow, you actually used to have to do something to tell everyone what you were doing”…

  4. Jeff Pester

    That is simply the best teaser I’ve ever read – now to find the movie….. Thanks for the trailer link Simon!

  5. Tim Glenn

    I was fortunate enough to be there Sunday night as well at MOMA in NYC…what an amazing film and very interesting Q&A afterwards. I didn’t realize Josh had never seen the film. When he mentioned he hadn’t see it “before” I thought that meant that he had just watched the film for the first time with the rest of us that night.

    1. fredwilson

      I don’t think he plans to see itI’ve never seen startup.com or the kozmo movieThere are some things that hit too close to home

      1. ninotasca

        I saw it last night as well. Great work by Ondi.Ondi said that she and Josh were scheduled to do the DVD commentary track next week. So, as of now, he’s scheduled to watch it. We’ll see if he actually goes through with it.

  6. Marilyn Byrd

    Saw it last night and left with lots of thoughts and feelings to unravel. BTW, Josh mentioned in the Q&A that he is now living in Jason Calacanis’ poolhouse in Brentwood. He is working on another idea ….. …… Also, he said he still hadn’t seen the film, although he had seen parts of the pod hotel footage several years ago. Ondi said Josh had to watch the documentary before they shoot the DVD extras next week.

    1. fredwilson

      Josh is living with Jason?wow

  7. Mark Schoneveld

    Saw the film at the True/False Documentary Film Fest in Columbia, MO last month and I totally agree – fabulous stuff. Really mind blowing stuff. I hope this gets wider theatrical release because it deserves to be seen!

  8. Morgan Warstler

    I met and knew Josh during Pseudo. We talked then about the value of professionally produced content, and the real fact of the matter is that, while Cuban had the cash and the brains to go out and license MLB, others of us were forced into touting a future of UGC simply because we couldn’t get hold of the good stuff from the content holders. Josh knew if it wasn’t good (professional), it had to be weird. Sadly, weird is never mass market.

  9. mydigitalself

    Given the nature of the movie, wouldn’t it be appropriate if it was available (for free) online rather than going to a theater to watch it?

    1. fredwilson

      Yup, but somehow Ondi needs to recoup the costs of making the film

      1. mydigitalself

        One assumes advertising alone wouldn’t achieve this.What options are available? Perhaps a Radiohead pay-what-you-want donation approach?

        1. fredwilson

          i believe the MOMA may buy the film for their permanent collection. I have no idea what that transaction looks like financially

  10. Todd Zeigler

    If you haven’t already, you should check out her other documentary Dig! It is follows around two nineties bands (dandy warhols and brian jonestown massacre) whose careers take divergent paths. Brilliant movie.

    1. fredwilson

      YupVery good

  11. kskobac

    i went to see “we live in public” the next day, the 8:30 showing through NY Tech Meetup. Not sure how much word got out about the crazed former fan of Psuedo and Josh Harris running onto stage and tackling Josh Harris. There is back and forth discussion as to whether it was actually staged by Harris and his former business partner Robert Galinsky. If it was staged, it seems to discredit the honesty of the documentary (not that the documentarian necessarily had anything to do with it) and the sincerity (if there is any) of Josh Harris. If it wasn’t staged, then it’s a crazy visual resemblance. The film itself was very interesting, challenging, and thought provoking, as well as frightening. Everything put together, it’s hard to imagine that all of this theatrics came from/around the guy who started Jupiter, a very specific data-driven company that I use at work every day.

    1. fredwilson

      I’m pretty sure it was staged which says a lot about josh and nothing about the movie

  12. Fernando Delgado

    I currently live in Switzerland and would love to watch this documentary. Any ideas when it will be available here or on the web?

    1. fredwilson

      I’ll try to find out