Globalization (continued)

I made a friend online today. It happens to me most every day. Tyrone lives in Cape Town South Africa.

The first time I came across Tyrone in the indie while you work room at, he was chatting up a couple Japanese DJs.

Tyrone rubin

I loved that exchange so much that I tumbld it. It speaks to the notion that music is the international language.

I saw Tyrone in the Indie While You Work room again today. We got to talking while taking turns listening and playing music. He said he loves the AVC blog. So I asked him what I should write about today:

Tyrone #2

Tyrone didn't mean "not getting into Tumblr", he actually meant "not getting into" That's because had to turn off international users last weekend due to licensing issues. Tyrone had been chatting about how big of an impact that had on him earlier in our chat.

But Tyrone is right about "the whole geography thing." I wrote a post about this over the weekend and our very own Arnold Waldstein said this:

To me the big change is that socialization is now possible on a global real-time scale. This is not a technological revolution, but a social and behavioral one.

That flattening is a ramp for cultures to meet and communicate over cross cultural, uni-behavioral drives like music or sw development or celebrity obsessions or just passion points like wine or art or even, in my work, marketing. 

The power for communities and businesses is not for cultural niches but for global populated communities around more specific points on the interest graph with huge possible memberships that span the cultural and geographical divide

Whether it is Tyrone chatting up a couple of Japanese DJs or talking to me about what to blog about, "socialization on a global real-time scale" is a big deal.

I follow @masason on Twitter. Here's one of his tweets:

Son san tweet

I don't understand all of this tweet, but I know who he is talking to/about and I can click on the picture and that tells me most of what this tweet is about. I can stay connected to @masason at some level via Twitter even though I don't understand the words in his tweets.

I followed Tyrone's Tumblr this morning. Now every time he tumbls something, it will appear in my dashboard. We stay connected even though we live half way around the world from each other. I hope turntable can get licensed internationally because Tyrone also is a great DJ and I love getting turned onto new music by him. Content licensing issues are certainly one of the few remaining hurdles in our increasingly global, social, and mobile web. I'm optimistic that we'll see these hurdles come down soon because the power of this global network is large and getting larger every day. Content owners should want to tap into it as much as individuals like me, Tyrone, and Masa Son.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Dave W Baldwin

    As mentioned back when, automatic translator taking in all languages will be a game changer.  One where the person can do their own language and it is translated to language of anyone curious over their tweets and then follow.Big job, but once it moves over into the developing nations will make a big difference.Very happy talk has turned to your being able to work with (collaborate) anyone anywhere.  That will be a part of the next shake up in the world of revolutions.

    1. fredwilson

      what do you think of the google translate api?

      1. Marcelo Toledo

        What about a service that you just give your URL, push a button and it indexes everything and outputs all the pages you have in all different languages. Everything will be indexed by search engines and everybody in the world, will be able to take advantage of your content.How much traffic could one increase like this?

      2. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Assuming (dangerous, I know) its mechanics are the same as in Chrome it should be pretty good – helps me a great deal every day, with several languages.

        1. David Semeria

          It’s not too clear what’s happening to the translate API, Carl.First they were going to shut it down, now it looks like they’re going to charge for it.More info here: http://blog.gts-translation…

          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Ah ha – didn’t know that – ta, David!

          2. Dave W Baldwin

            Thanks for that link David! 

      3. Dave W Baldwin

        @twitter-30963:disqus @hymanroth:disqus @marcelotoledo:disqus @fredwilson:disqus Guys, I replied this way more in ‘what if?’… really covered up doing day job and refashioning PPT stuff for some fellows (blah, blah…blah). So going back to my considered more dreamy stuff from 2010:It is a matter of real time… simple.  Remember my stuff regarding creativity related to the music/art business.  If you can have an up and coming doing the gig from wherever and girls at a sleepover can watch it live with option on where to go to get promo material and downloads (keeping with bubblegum), then typing or speaking to your mobile device should be translated to the other party in their language.Remember the end run is the consumer and he/she doesn’t care all the details where the transmission came from, just if they can understand it.From my side, we have enough going on with autonomous AI dealing with English and Chinese.  BUT(!) for the enterprising person who can work with multiple translations would have something to offer.  Leaving the AI alone, imagine a certain Social Graph that translated to anyone anywhere (don’t worry, I won’t put the obvious Who tune).That would bring real time the next revolutions because no matter where they’re happening, those that are updating/observing would be truly heard around the world.That is the next revolution….

      4. Dave W Baldwin

        As mentioned in other response, I’m pretty covered up.  I’ll try to take a look at the google translate api in the next few.

      5. Dave W Baldwin

        @twitter-30963:disqus @hymanroth:disqus @marcelotoledo:disqus @JLM:disqus @1d9f7e403bfd629c13b785421f738c9f:disqus   First, big thanks to David for that link below.Do not be fooled.  If they wanted to take it off market, now raise the price… means one thing… bad architecture… simple.I’ll use the analogy/metaphor most used regarding this and Google Voice using humans to translate, though allegedly translation was done via AI. If we are to say just because Google is so big, this has to be the way to do it leads to the eventual Sweat Shop set up to translate (voice/text and/or foreign languages).  Tech progress suffers because it will never truly get any better… or any advances come at a snail’s pace no matter how many workers in the Sweat Shop.Leaving aside the issue of human vs. limited machine algorithm, the platforms are set up wrong… and that is the reason for my transparency.  You have to endow the machine with the intelligence to match its ability to work rapidly 24/7 performing useful labor that enables enrichment for the user(s).I’ll leave that for now, but post a tune written by an alleged closet Reagan admirer with fitting lyric:… 

  2. David Semeria

    This ties in nicely with Albert Wenger’s post yesterday regarding his transition to Android – and the challenges presented by the soft keyboard.Text is both hard to type on mobile and hard to translate.We need to find new input idioms if we truly want to interact across cultures / geographies.

    1. fredwilson

      brad feld has a whole investment thesis in that areathis is one of his investments

      1. RichardF

        “Oblong Industries” – sounds like a company name the bad guy in a Bond movie would use as a cover for his “evil doings”

      2. David Semeria

        Yeah, I love the Oblong videos – very inspiring.I was thinking of something much more mundane, but also more pratical.Simple solutions work, especially on web / mobile.

        1. fredwilson

          agreedthings like swype are cool

  3. tyronerubin

    Hiya all I am the Tyrone in the post and told Fred this is so surreal. Still DJing, loving this blog and this has made my day, thank you Fred.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks for the inspiration for the post and all the great music you’ve been supplying of late

      1. Jim Thompson

        This Turntable concept has been done before. It’s viewed as a little “cheeseball” because of the DJ concept.So, this company really needs to move on and develop it out more.The licensing issue will never go away. You have 100’s of countries with different cultures, etc.

      2. Andrew Cross

        Listening to some of Tyrone’s/Indie While You Work’s songs right now via a proxy from Canada.1) Thanks for the tip. Some great songs on here for the workday. Might have to switch over from coding techno permanently.2) The globalization is just astounding. When you think about the fact that people from South Africa, Japan, the US and Canada are in the same “room” to listen to music, it’s mind-blowing.3) I wonder what the percentage of traffic to sites like, hulu, pandora, etc. is through proxies. I was suffering from severe pandora withdrawl when I moved back to Canada from SF a year ago and I can only imagine how many other people have experienced the same thing.

        1. tyronerubin

          Hey saw you in the room. Turntable is just wonderful in that way. So sad we have to sneak in.

        2. ShanaC

          Or should be – I find it so interesting that we have different cultural approaches to media which affects licensing and hence listening.

      3. tyronerubin

        I will do all I can to keep sneaking in, finding great new music, like I know you do too. I am hooked on turntable and its sad, being one of the first users that I have to keep sneaking in. Kept telling everyone I hadn’t felt that way about a product since tumblr.

    2. Dustin

      Tyrone, what room are you hosting? I loved this article. Music sensibility is a defining characteristic if not a good filter.

      1. tyronerubin

        Usually in the busier of the indi rooms under, cheesy yes I know, DJ Tyrone Rubin. I just went by my name but then felt I needed to add a DJ in front of it. There are usually 2 big indi rooms Dustin one is more chilled folky acoustic, the other is a little more mainstream indi, more vibey upbeat. I also go to hip-hop but if you fan me it will show me listed in the room. Looking forward to chatting in

    3. paramendra

      Talk of the devil and he appears! 🙂

  4. RichardF

    I missed that great comment by Arnold (and David’s further down in the comments). Be great if Disqus could somehow incorporate the google translate api.  It’s far from perfect but it might be enough to allow conversations to happen across languages.It’s funny how music can cut across cultures even though in most western music the lyrics are in English.  I wonder if that shows how little attention people pay to lyrics much of the time.  I know I don’t listen to them half the time.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Re: Disqus, et al – good point – one thing I’d really love though is a more temporal and visceral sense of reading/interacting with a dialogue/thread – and one that is not ‘flat’ and one dimensional but more of a style of flying through in a perpendicular way to the one dimensional world of a monitor – hard to express, but akin to when one flies through (eg) Time Machine snapshots – would love to read that way rather than the legacy ergonomics of ‘scrolling down’ – we need to re-think how we consume and interact with new dialogue/chat tools such as Disqus.Anyway…Re: lyrics – I suspect it is often the case that is better one does not listen to in detail/understand the utterly inane lyrics of many/most artists – even the more acclaimed songwriters generally scribe some pretty dire verbiage! 😉

      1. fredwilson

        there is so much more that disqus can do with the content we are creating heresame is true of twitter and tumblr

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Indeed, I can imagine. Very much looking forward to future developments in this area.It’s what frustrated me/us so much re: our baby, ensembli – we ran out of funding before we could do the really swanky UX stuff. The engine was (is) superbly engineered but with hindsight our lack of investment at the time re: the UX precluded the rate of adoption we had planned on.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


        2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


      2. RichardF

        ha ha – you are right about the lyrics CarlI like your thoughts on how we could view comments

        1. Keithrdennis

          I respectfully disagree on the banality of lyrics. Yes, the majority don’t warrant a thought (or a listen) but that just makes it all the more rewarding when you find the gems.”I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes. Then you’d know what a drag it is to see you.” BobYou can’t tell me that isn’t good! 😉

          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Absolutely. There are exceptions, such as the splendid example you cite.My favourite wordsmith – apart from contemporary artists such as Alex Turner – is Bill Nelson (no, not the USA Senator or whatever he is). I refer to the Bill Nelson who created Be Bop Deluxe, Red Noise, etc. He is still busy being creative, just a few miles from me in deepest Yorkshire. Aye, that same Yorkshire that whippersnapper Alex Turner hails from – just a different bit.Enjoy……Must be something in the water around here! 😉

          2. Keithrdennis

            Be Bop Deluxe… bringing back memories, I’ll have to dig them up!

          3. RichardF

            for sure, you are right about finding the gems

      3. Donna Brewington White

        …and then there is Springsteen.

    2. Ro Gupta

      Actually, Richard, you reminded us that @hotforwords:disqus had figured out a nifty way to ensure Google Translate would work on Disqus comments on a given page and graciously shared it with us. We went ahead and put her integration guidelines into our docs section:… (thanks again @hotforwords:twitter!).

      1. RichardF

        nice !

  5. Marcelo Toledo

    I can’t believe you wrote about this, yesterday I gave a talk regarding a company I helped found in Brazil, and I mentioned you and globalization.The story of the company is a hollywood movie, guy have a great idea, try to implement it, almost crash so many times, sell everything, lost everything, persist to the last minute. Receives first investment, company starts growing like mad, then receives two more investments and today, is a extremely successful company with operations in 57 countries.The lesson, and that’s where you come in, I said something like this:”This is the old fashioned entrepreneur, because back in 1998, we didn’t have a 1/10th of the resources we have nowadays, back there, we used much more the gut and feeling, than any methods or best practices, because honestly, they almost didn’t exist.If I was to start this company again, only with feeling, without thinking about Lean Startup, Customer Development, Business Model Canvas and so on, I would never do it. We’re so fortunate to have the possibility to be close with Eric Ries, Steve Blank, Fred Wilson, Mark Suster, Dave McClure, etc, why not take the advantage of it?Today I wake up and read my emails, right after, I open my RSS reader in iPad and read Fred Wilson’s blog, a NY VC. That’s my life EVERYDAY. I am hundreds of miles away, but everytime I read his blog, I am inserted in his vision and life a little bit.If I could give anyone an advice, is: Use all these resources.”

    1. fredwilson

      you don’t know how great it makes me feel that i am helping entrepreneurs all over the world. i love the internet and all that it has spawned

      1. tyronerubin

        you 100% are sir!

      2. Donna Brewington White

        helping entrepreneurs …and future entrepreneurs

      3. Jeff Sepp

        I recently wrote a similar post (albeit more brief and not nearly as well worded) It was really interesting having convos with techies from Australia, Britain, Argentina, and New Zealand about how they use the internet and what is popular in their countries.  Someone also recently told me that SpotOn was a very popular phrase in Britain – I had absolutely no idea but thought that was the coolest thing.btw – love how DJ Tyrone responded with “Oh my word”

    2. JLM

      The constant in all of this is that unique entrepreneurial zeal.True entrepreneurs will find a way, THE way to make it all work.

      1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

        I am 100% behind Fred on this one….Now, if I could just grasp mobile; for some reason I am fighting the technology and refusing to come to terms with it….

    3. Donna Brewington White

      You are so right…and what a great story, too. It’s amazing how we can now CHOOSE our resources without the limitations of geography, social circles, business settings, schools attended, etc.The internet levels the playing field to a great extent.

  6. William Mougayar

    One doesn’t have to go as far as South Africa to see this. Even in Canada, isn’t available. That’s sad.Hats off to @awaldstein:twitter for that money quote on globalization. The more common ground there is, the less the geography factor matters. Technology is a definitely a powerful enabling common denominator for all. 

  7. LIAD

    Don’t agree with Arnold that socialization is a social/behavioural revolution and not a technological one.It’s exactly a technological one. The desire to share, discover and communicate cross-border and cross-culture has always been there – it’s just always been expensive, cumbersome and slow (think snail mail, telegrams, long-distance calls) – the advent of gorgeous juicy technology has torn down these barriers and made things simple, instant and free.It’s about harvesting demand, not creating it.

    1. awaldstein

      Maybe we are quibbling over words Liad.I think of this as behaviors looking for platforms of expression. Certainly Tumblr, Disqus, Twitter, FB are the enablers of change but the revolution, the power, is that we are connecting, are having this conversation in real time, cross geography and culture.That connection, that extended behavior is the change agent that is reconfiguring the world. The technology is cool and empowering. The social connection has changed the world.Re: harvesting/creating demand. I think the entire funnel has broadened and changed at its core.

  8. William Mougayar

    I think there’s a Twitter-translate plugin or feature somewhere I saw it. 

  9. Jan Schultink

    Great post.”The geographical thing” that Tyrone was really talking about is a BIG issue though. In Israel: no iTunes music, no Amazon MP3, no Netlfix, no Hulu, no, no Spotify to people who want to pay for this.

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve learned that working with the boxee dev team in israelthey are building a platform that doesn’t work nearly as well in their home country as it does in other places

    2. ShanaC

      Yes, but because of internet streaming, I get to listen to GalGalatz in new york. I find that as I listen to it, I’m always shocked by how many of the songs are in English. I think a lot of these products will end up in Europe and Israel eventually – it is just a matter of how.  I’m not so sure the standard “same way, same method” is going to happen – but it will happen (otherwise what are these Galgalatz Djs going to do)

      1. Jan Schultink

        Aah, Tel Aviv traffic jam updates in New York!I am actually less optimistic of these services becoming available world-wide. Copy rights are set by country, and if you live one with less than 10m inhabitants, it might not be such a high priority to get it sorted.The one exception is Apple’s app store for Mac. It works and I am freed from paying rip off prices for software in boxes to local distributors.

        1. ShanaC

          well, I’m also one of those people who think in a 100- 200 years from now we’re going to have a lot fewer countries.  or a lot more in the form of nation states

  10. William Mougayar

    An interesting and related read from today, on this- talks about cultural issues, women entrepreneurs, etc.why entrepreneurs thrive in some countries more than in others…

  11. Guest

    Yep.    RE: “music is the international language.”And, here is to hoping intergalactic as well.

    1. fredwilson


  12. Joseph Zaccardi

    This made me think of Axelrod’s model from Disseminating culture. I read the paper yesterday (http://www-personal.umich.e…, and this post immediately brought my mind back to it. This is definitely a case of geographic boundaries being completely eliminated as an obstruction to the spreading of culture. The only question left is what boundaries will continue to prevent culture from being completely worldwide?

    1. fredwilson

      food, religion, geography, etc

    2. ShanaC

      Culture itself – we like feeling culturally unique and it sometimes is very useful to push back.There is a foucaultian push-pull about culture when it comes to many of these issues – it why the McDonalidization of food happened around the same time as the Slow Food Movement – it is a struggle of staying unique versus oversharing

      1. matthughes

        I have lived abroad for over two years and traveled a fair amount. So I absolutely appreciate the virtues of globalization.Still, there’s something to be said for maintaining a unique identity…Countries that maintain a strong cultural identity (I believe) are at an economic advantage because of the unique and specific products and services that their culture produces (eg, Italian shoes, French wine, Portuguese cork, Chinese manufacturing etc)

        1. ShanaC

          I keep wondering that in a new age of globalization, because commodity goods are so flat, countries will start specializing in the lux part of themselves in order to create identities.

  13. Rishi Mirchandani

    Couldn’t agree more Fred.  As many hurdles as there are to making this a reality, it’s a strategic imperative that it finally happens.  The industry needs to realize the impact that the status quo has on consumers – like this tweet for example: also needs to grasp the potential scale of the opportunity, something I tried to layout here: I know a lot of my fellow colleagues in the industry love – since I keep bumping into them in the rooms – but perhaps we should make sure every senior decision-maker spends some time on the service as well.Music videos still aren’t available on YouTube in Germany: might have 100 million monthly active users if it was global.Who knows what could become if its was global – but I hope we all get to find out.

    1. fredwilson

      me too

  14. Carl J. Mistlebauer

    I stumbled upon a week or so ago…and maybe it was not a “Eureaka” moment but it was definitely an “Aha” second.  I sell plus sized tee shirts, and business is actually overwhelming but while everyone focuses on “clicks” and “likes” and ideas like “consumer centric” the reality is, as a consumer goods manufacturer, you have to find a way to establish a community around something more than your product; you have to give the consumer a reason to connnect, to visit your website, besides just to buy your product; the interaction has to be more than just a consumer buying your shirt.So gives me a way to create a line of screenprinted tees, that are specially geared toward a specific sector of the market and what goes better with art than music?  So by developing this I have one more “hook” to bring people together and then bring them to my site.One of the major differences between the plus sized market and regular sized market is that the plus sized consumer has never had the ability to “impluse” buy; you really don’t look at clothes because you know nothing fits you.  Thus, I have always felt that the biggest benefit the web offered the plus size manufacturer was the ability to develop an impluse among plus sized consumers to impulse buy.  I think gives me at least a way to attract plus sized consumers to a line of screen printed tees and then sell them something….The possibilities, from a retail perspective are endless from my perspective!  People can get on Facebook and “like” something and then forget about it….the reality is that branding on the internet involves an emotion…you have to turn a logical “like” into an emotional “love” before the true benefits of social media can be gained.  Now, people love music…so by tying a tee shirt to art and art to music you created a true community… have given consumers something to join a community for.… 

    1. fredwilson

      are you selling them?

      1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

        Been selling like crazy, I knew the minute the price of cotton started fluctuating that I was in a sweet spot…but sadly, I have more sales than I have capital to finance additional inventory with. The great thing about niches is that the barriers to entry really benefit the small and agile companies.  I can adjust my pricing on a weekly basis while the majors cannot, I can adapt new ideas in a week, and the majors cannot.  I can do 50 million a year in sales and my competition won’t even notice me.  I can offer product and sell out at full price, while they are still waiting for the boat to dock. I even collaborate with my competition; I buy their customer lists and they pay me to advertise their prodcuts (not tee shirts!).   I have spent 25 years in this business and I haven’t had as much fun as I have had in the last year just by rethinking myself as a start up!  I love the internet and all the people who come up with things like, tumblr, twitter, and facebook!  Keep doing what you do and I will keep trying to figure out how to use it to make money….Let the world fight over market share and a few more feet of shelf space at Walmart….I will stick to focussing on margins. 

        1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

          By the way Fred, I think is a great idea and I really think that games that incorporate product and or brands is an area I really would be interested in…..

        2. JLM

          Brilliant, well played.  Margins indeed!

        3. Donna Brewington White

          I love this comment…and especially your words about rethinking yourself as a startup!You are such an entrepreneur!

    2. JLM

      This is a perfect application of “new” technology to an old line company.  This is a hypothesis which will make folks a lot of money if they are clever enough to harness the power of social media and the ‘net to energize and “new school” “old school” businesses.

      1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

        I am a big fan of liberal arts education….If you study history you realize that the concept of “survival” even as far back as the caveman days was all about innovation.You either innovate or die.  Success is not the opporsite of failure but rather the result of failure….watch enough little babies struggle trying to get up on their two feet and you realize that they will only eventually walk if they fall and hurt themselves enough times.The “innovation” that Facebook represents actually is nothing more than folks in small groups gossiping…heck, you can watch reruns of Leave It To Beaver and or Andy Griffith to realize that this is nothing….anyone who grew up in the 60’s and or 70’s knows all about getting a bunch of people together in your bedroom to listen to music….Do governments become obsolete…sure do, the history books are full of examples…we tend to forget that the American Revolution was nothing more than the desire for a new “business model” over an existing one that was obsolete and ineffective.I do admire vision and I wish I had some…but I am more of a vulture or a cockroach…I let can’t create or kill anything but I sure can fatten myself on the work of others!  🙂  That is one of the problems with my funding proposal is that everyone wants to see “innovation” and I tell them that all I am doing is “stealing” and “copying” the innovation of others and directing it toward an underserved market….which in a world that seeks either home runs or donuts (angels and VC) it really is an alien concept.I realize that my survival depends on the innovation of others….and no one admires the start up community and the creative class as much as I do.

        1. JLM

          Most of the money in the world gets made by being 80% right and done on time.When one is a quick no 2, then you can be done on time w/ the “new” technology in tow.You are obviously a good thinker.  Keep it up.  Well done.

        2. Dave W Baldwin

          Am enjoying your posts today… glad to see someone writing from the perspective of retail… and you have to have the emotion in the equation.What represents is another step I referred to this morning regarding anything anywhere.  Having yourself set up to be of use as the game turns that way is the way to think.  Basically it is a matter of a group listening to records… or what I referred to as listening to live music with the promo stuff available.  You can have kids in the same room.  Or on the same block, town, country, world….and enjoying it, critiquing it, purchasing from it in real time. On another subject: Sent a descriptive of ‘Plaza In The Clouds’ to a few people who read here a few weeks back.  I had written it back in ’08.  One area is referred to as a SpeakEasy/CoffeeShop based on people getting the juice on a topic.  Subject/Topic is the thing to look at over the next 18 months.

  15. awaldstein

    This power of making true friends online around stuff we love like music or business banter or wine can’t be underestimated.Friendship connections in context is the key to community and I think the accelerator behind what makes things work on the web.Need to give a big nod to Disqus though. I connect through lots of networks around individual items of interest but the dynamic handshake that I get on Disqus threads like this bind deeper and push interest connections broader.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Very true, Arnold.  I like this direction you are moving in as you increasingly articulate these ideas about community and connection online.  I often find myself nodding along with your thoughts.Which leads to something I’d add to this…  some of my online friendships have emerged because I just like the way a person thinks regardless of the actual subject matter and I am drawn to him/her for that reason…Of course most of those have happened here at AVC and so I guess there must be some common thread of interest…

      1. awaldstein

        Thanks Donna. I’m working hard to find the language to express this direction in a way that is useful for start-ups and growth stage companies. Inching forward slowly.Your second point is interesting. I respond as well to people’s passion points within some broad interest footprint. Although certainly is a context in its own right.I think many of us just respond to inspiration. It’s a magnet that attracts and motivates us to drive forward in our own pursuits. I credit Mark Essel with this idea in a discussion a while back I think about my wine blog.

        1. Mark Essel

          Thanks Arnold, may we continue to learn from each other. And then put that understanding into practice!

        2. Donna Brewington White

          Inspiration…I like that!I can see  @VictusFate:disqus highlighting “inspiration” as a magnet.  I agree.Ahh…Mark Essel shows up as VictusFate when using the Disqus auto name feature… will have to ask him about the origins of that handle when we finally meetup!

        3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. awaldstein

            Yes…and no Grimlock.You find connection through what I call the footprint of interests that you call ‘compatible brain’. But you need a process to discover those shared and extended interests. For individuals and businesses.That’s why, no, I think you target shared interests in context and friendships follow.

      2. Mark Essel

        I’m the same way Donna. The subject, style, and process are integral parts of why I appreciate certain perspectives. Btw, commenting via the disqus page. This comes in handy.

  16. leigh

    half of what i spend my time doing is ‘hiding’ the fact that i live in Canada.  IP blockers – itune cards from the US with a borrowed US address.  I lived in Greece for many years and went through immigration, marriage and birth paperwork between two gov’ts and cultures that don’t marry up on a good day (it was ok though we were able to pay pple off in one of those two countries to get through the red tape) By the time i was 25 I knew that Globalization was a crock.  We may want it, but our systems and structures aren’t in place to support it.  

    1. fredwilson

      maybe we need new systems and structures

      1. leigh

        I’m not sure a new system is in the cards (we have issues within countries for content copyright and can’t even figure those out on a good day).the good news is that it’s in the dna of the network to go around obstructions and i for one will continue to do so until things change.  

      2. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Hasn’t the UN recently decreed that Internet access is a basic Human Right?OK, the UN is mostly pretty impotent, but it’s a start…

      3. William Mougayar

        @dtapscott:twitter advocates that in his book Macrowikinomics. 

      4. Donna Brewington White

        always, Fred, always…

      5. Todd_Andelin

        We need to be accountable.  



    2. JLM

      This is the classic problem of governments v people.Government have changing and volatile “interests” while people just have friends.I was having a cup of coffee w/ a S African friend of mine and neither of us could remember how we met and yet we met only about 20 years ago. 

      1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

        The reality is that “free markets” and “globalization” will one day make the concept of government based on geograhic borders obsolete.Sadly, government has become a special interest of and by itself and is competing for relevency.One day the geographic divisions of government/nations will fall just like the Berlin Wall….

        1. JLM

          The role of government is one of the few areas in which technological wealth — access to technology as a measure of economic opportunity — has not yet really shaken the foundations.  For the good of its citizens, I mean.There are plenty of examples of how government has worked to the detriment of its people.Consider that you can literally buy anything — anything — on the Internet and yet government continues to struggle with how it delivers services and information.  Not in every instance, but in many.Government is truly a special interest — interested in perpetuating itself in good and bad times.To see the growth of government during this recession is sickening.

          1. ShanaC

            It is very ironic that the government is not dealing with the deal of the “internal state” (as in you live in texas, versus me living in New York, but we both care about food quality and education in both places) compared to the external state (Just the US).  While I am mostly for states rights, it definitely may be easier for say sales tax if the states couldn’t tax whereas the federal government could (it would make some of the Amazon fights Texas is having look puny)

    3. ShanaC

      If you could name 3 different structural parts of the way we live to help encourage healthy globalization, what would they be (it seems you’ve been through a lot on the subject)

      1. leigh

        Biggest issues- copyright  (need standardized policy for payment and fair use)- environment (need global solutions to protect water, air, soil etc.)- skilled labour (need more open competition that allows greater immigration and focus on non-protectionist policies)

  17. David Haber

    Still hoping for the day when the ‘Great Firewall’ gets taken down.  So many internet users cordoned off from the rest of the social web.  Internal copycats still victim to government (Tumblr) (Twitter) (Quora) (Foursquare)

    1. fredwilson


  18. Tom Labus

    This is like a worldwide jail break. But the odd thing is that sometimes the guards aren’t coming after us.I keep thinking about the Bill Gurley post and how much his writing meant to me when I came across him in 1997 (?) before he became a VC.To discover a new world that had unlimited possibilities was so unleashing. Those themes and message are just as strong today and possibly stronger.The economic power of the Net is in its infancy.   

    1. Todd_Andelin

      I like that idea….”jailbreak”I’m going to remember that.

  19. David Noël

    This is more of a side note but can we add roaming to “the few remaining hurdles in our increasingly global, social, and mobile web”?

    1. William Mougayar

      Agreed. Roaming charges are the last Telcos ripoff turf.

    2. fredwilson

      yes we can

  20. Ataub24

    Turntable is not only a great way to discover new music, but it is also a great way to meet new people. Music=friendships in a lot of scenarios. You go to concerts with your friends. I made a friend in the Summer Jams room last week. Great post.

    1. tyronerubin

      yeah great times in for sure

  21. 広瀬隆雄

    Fred, I enjoy reading your blog.Masayoshi Son’s Tweets that you quoted in this post translates roughly as follows; (@masason) Look! I have a halo around my head.(@lions 2011)No. You are bald. That’s all.(@masason)Ha ha ha. By the way, Japanese entrepreneur community is in deep slump these days. A used-to-be Internet Tycoon, Takafumi Horie, who founded Livedoor just went to jail after losing a legal battle. He sported a Mohawk hairstyle in defiance.… In Japan, making money by innovation has become somewhat of a sin, these days.

    1. fredwilson

      that sucks

  22. ErikSchwartz

    Another thing I find fascinating about how friendships have changed in the digital era is that they are much more centered on interests and ideas rather than outward physical appearances. Back in high school (in the late 70s and early 80s (good lord…)) a large part of the clustering of kids was based on physical characteristics; what clothes you wore, how good looking you were, age, where you lived, what school you went to. Now the first grouping are based on what you’re interested in and what you have to say.

    1. ShanaC

      I was talking with someone about this recently – for kids, it is still like that – if you are from a small town and aren’t encourages to go exploring, it is still like that….The fact that I have lovely friendships with people I don’t see (very often, or at all) makes me weird for where I come from.  It is extremely difficult to explain the normalness of these relationships.I think as these relationships become more normalized (kind of the way online dating has become) the idea of friendship being geographically bound will go the way of the dodo bird…and it means a really large cultural shift as “what counts as a friend”

      1. Mark Essel

        Totally agree with your trend spotting.There will always be friendships based on locality, but the norm will be based on interests.

        1. ShanaC

          I think it will meet somewhere in between – much like online dating.  It isn’t weird as much as one component of how to meet someone.

          1. nathan fisher

            It all depends on the person. Soem people choose to close their mind to other cultures, ideas and just new things in general. Others understand that not everyone is the same. You dont always have to date someone that know exactly what you know. Take my parents for example they have nothing in common and been married forever lol.



    2. BradDorchinecz

      Great insight Erik…..and I never liked parachute pants either so I’m glad those guys didn’t let me in their clique!

    3. awaldstein

      Interesting insight.There’s a core change that is happening. With information ubiquitous and at our fingertips, we’ve all become ‘geeks’ around our interests in some respects. Hyper-informed around our blips of interests and connecting around these passion points with like minded individuals.As you state, sharing at a contextual level is becoming a more truer core to friendship than appearance or association. This is a good thing.I can’t attest to this from a teenager’s point of view but certainly from my own 😉

    4. fredwilson

      so true. i hated high school. the four worst years of my life. i blossomed when i got to MIT and found my people.

      1. obscurelyfamous

        which high school stereotype did you belong to?

        1. kecikbeso




  23. howardlindzon

    Exactly and as Sam Adams has done for beer, bringing the BILLION to microbreweries, so too will micro networks on the social web in 10 years methinks.  For stocktwits, tickers and currency pairs are our songs and each has a social graph that people can relate to.Great post.  

  24. Peter Sullivan

    Global is exactly what were are trying to do. Geographic boundaries have been broken thanks to the internet, and international travel has become a part of life and business rather than a distant fantasy. Establishing those global connections is something that can lead to powerful opportunities. The advance of English as a mandatory secondary language for most cultures has also pushed this phenomenon. Not only do I love meeting international people, but I am proud of those contacts and love to share them with my existing friends who might not have the chance to travel and be active in globalization as much. Thats where the heart of our project lies. Looking at social graphs in a geographical perspective. The interesting part is most people know someone in nearly every popular destination on earth through friendships and social graphs. Gamifying those interactions is where it gets really fun.

    1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

      I totally agree with the concept of “gamifying” I think the potential of games is totally underappreciated. If you look at sports, particularly soccer and or the Olympics, these are nothing more than games, but they are games that create excitment and interaction.  If you look at the Olympics for example, it really balances the arbitrary aspect of nationhood with the reality of globalization really well.  You might start off cheering for your country but at some point you find yourself cheering on another country…

      1. JLM

        Hold on there friend, some things like Longhorn football and Tarheel basketball are a ……………………………………………………religion.In Texas as it is in Heaven!I am even now counting down to the TX v OU football game.

        1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

          As a graduate assistant I taught American Government for a year at OU….I remember the weekends of the TX v OU games!  Religion as a cult it sure was!Then to balance that hysteria…if you are in Thailand during a soccer match, and its makes absolutely no difference who is playing, or I swear, even if the game is three years old, the Thais will stop everything just to watch.In the Phillippines everyone loves basketball, but not one of them is over 6 feet tall!  But in the 1980’s you could go anywhere in the Phillippines and be popular by playing a pick up game of Basketball….

          1. JLM

            Holy smokes, Shana, are you trying to rekindle the Civil War (War of Northern Aggression)? The Federal Gov’t needs to go on a starvation diet and become small, lean and essential (e.g. defense).The States need to run their own local economies and search for excellence as Texas has done in creating over 35% of all the new jobs in America in the last 3 years.The FF had it right, weak Federal gov’t and strong States.Hell, they even named the joint — the United STATES of America not the Federal Republic of America.  Big, big difference.OBVIOUSLY THIS POST GOT PUT IN THE WRONG PLACE. SORRY.

          2. ErikSchwartz

            Rick Perry needs to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.He closed most of TX’s 2009 budget deficit with federal stimulus money.

          3. ShanaC

            Agreed – but so do states.  And I am not so sure that we need to weaken the federal government as much as strengthen it.  With people much more mobile now, I have less alliance to NY than I have to the US than say, I would have 20 years ago (if I were the same age).Edit: I do think we should strengthen hyper-local governments in exchange for states. I’m extremely loyal to say NYC than I am to NY state.

          4. JLM

            @ErikSchwartz:disqus Of course that was OUR money to start with.Where does the Fed Gov’t get ITS money in the first place?Fair play!

          5. JLM

            OU, more Rhodes Scholars of any university in the US.

          6. Todd_Andelin

            The Philippines.  Very Interesting place for sure!

        2. Guest

          Oh sure, you quickly head out east for the basketball reference Mr. Texas :-)Where is the Free State Jayhawk love? Just had to get that in there. I was in Austin last year when the Longhorns incurred their loss to Iowa State (I believe it was). It was like zombies took over the town. Luckily the Texans had a win that same weekend so not all was lost … otherwise I would have had to call [insert favorite action movie star here] to come and get me out of Austin.Update (grammar correction & addition): I recognize Texans are not in the Austin area immdiately but their win did provide some salve for the Longhorns loss I think.

  25. Steve Hallock

    This is the defining characteristic of my current business.  We are a team of 9, based in Switzerland, making an extremely niche product, and yet have a major (albeit niche) following throughout the world.  At the end of the day, it is a hobbyist/collector product and therefore particularly well suited for this type of communication.  I have hundreds of friends from all over the world, centered around our mutual love of watches – some I have met over the years, some I probably never will.At the end of the day, the product itself hardly matters, and it is these relationships that have enriched my life more than anything except my family and closest friends.

  26. Mark Essel

    Arnold’s blog been on fire lately. He’s both analyzing and working through the mega trends in emergent global community formation. I look forward to each post in his series.

    1. fredwilson

      yes he has

    2. awaldstein

      Thnx Mark!. 

  27. Alex Murphy

    It would be cool if Twitter enabled translation so that when you read tweets it can be in your language …

  28. Ari Bencuya

    I live out of the country as well and am bummed sbout it being closed off to non-us residents.That said one taking this idea one step further, while DJing a room there was a small Japanese group hanging out. I don’t speak a lick of Japanese but with a quick trip to Google Translate I was able to understand not only understand but participate in the conversation in Japanese!It was an eye opening experience!

  29. paramendra

    I myself am more interested in the Twitter/Tumblr social graphs than the Facebook social graph. People I know I already know. The web should help me know people I don’t know and might never meet. So much so that Facebook banned my first Facebook account because I was using it all “wrong,” saying hello to all sorts of strangers. 

  30. paramendra

    Fred, thanks for introducing me to It is awesome. 

  31. jim

    THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE MONETIZED.Per today’s WSJ:2005: Myspace acquired for $580mm.2011: Myspace acquired for $35mm.Or how ’bout this one:2003: Google offers to acquire Friendster for $30mm2009: Friendster acquired for $26.4 mm.Facebook, Twitter, etc etc etc are next .

    1. Alex Murphy

      Revolutions are bloody, people die on both sides and even if you are sitting out. There will be winners, there will be losers.  MySpace’s founders were winners.  The acquirer, a loser.  Friendster’s founders could have been winners, they turned out to be losers.  FB has 600 MM users, they are winning, time will tell if they are a winner or loser.To say that the revolution will have a binary outcome is simply not accepting reality as it is.  For some it will not be monetized at all, for others it will exceed their hopes and dreams.

      1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

        I never understood why News Corp bought Myspace in the first place; I can only assume that they had a plan.  I didn’t think it made sense in 2005; I didn’t think it would work because the users of Myspace would see News Corp as a threat to their freewheeling, counter culture ways and they would all leave.Now Myspace and a match up would have been an interesting match….I think the term is “synergy”Facebook has got the formula right, it does not get in your face; it stays in the background of its core purpose. In the context of revolutions, Facebook resembles the American Revolution and Myspace resembled the French Revolution….    

        1. fredwilson

          they bought myspace because rupert had one of his occasional “we need to figure out this internet thing” moments. but they have never figured out the internet. they’ve lost so much on it over the years

          1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            Someone in Ruperts organization should have bought him a copy of “The Internet For Dummies”  it would have cost 19.95!

      2. jim

        i agree. mark zuckerberg will retain a fortune even as facebook is inevitably  replaced by the new new thing two years hence.  but the spoils of war ending up in the hands of the concentrated few sounds much more like business as usual than revolution.

        1. Alex Murphy

          I think that the revolution here is the Globalization, thus this blog post. The US is the greatest country ever to exist.  A lot of people say this from a “we are smarter” “we are better” “we are [insert your word of choice]” persepective, but this is not what I am referring to.  The US has enabled so much more for other countries than any other country ever.  We took over half the world in WWII and gave the land back.  We give away our IP and have created a truly global movement of innovation.  Ben Horowitz wrote wonderfully about his late colleague and friend from Netscape and where would the Internet be without him and his team.  I think about where would the world be if people from the beginning of the US to now didn’t do what they have done.  They give and give and give.  Don’t look down on how our global society works, embrace it, ride the wave, enjoy the ride, because in the end we all end up in the same place, money or no money.

      3. fredwilson


    2. fredwilson

      i beg to disagree, in fact i do disagree

    3. Todd_Andelin

      I like what you point out.  Everything is transient.  I treat most entities on this infant web the same way you look at a tv show.  Great for a while til something better (and more entertaining) comes along.  Do you have any books/blogs/authors you look to for “futurist” predicitons?

  32. Guest

    My first time using… about a dozen people… two of us live 7 BLOCKS from each other in Pasadena CA.  So fun. 

  33. term papers

    Oh no it’s true! How can it be so soon iam not ready need more time!

  34. Nathan Fisher

    The beauty of globalization is you can really come together and create innovative ideas with such different backgrounds. Americans are programmed to think a certain way and we may not be capable of seeing things until someone from outside the box shows us. I met my business partner on He lives in Bangledash, the silicon valley of India and I live in Sacramento California. We chatted frequently brainstorming together for a couple of years and after coming up with really great content we decided to go into business together. Since the markets are so different between India and the US I felt safe sharing my research with him as I know that what will be a hit in the US wont necessarily work in India.  My partner is a great programmer and I have great marketing and entrepreneural skills so we both bring something great and unique to the table. STASH CITY or, an online ecommerce store will be launched this year. Keep your eyes open!!Thanks for this post Fred,Nathan FIsher

  35. Jill

    This is a great post, I haven’t read the comments yet so forgive me if I am off topic or redundant.  It’s truly amazing how the internet is connecting people globally.  It boggles my mind and I see opportunity for any American able to tap into all these other countries. I am hearing more global business stories from small companies now than ever before.

  36. Mwiya Musokotwane

    The world is flat by Thomas Friedman elaborates on this very well. He spends some time talking about how tech influences globalization in the manner you’re describing. Great book!

  37. Cheap android tablet

    Yes. The power of globalization is very huge. No one can stop it. With the networks, we can communicate with the people living on the other hemisphere. 

  38. BuyGiftsItems

    The wise student would periodically seek professional advice: assistance to set a new goal, insight into difficulties encountered, choice between possible methodsa deal a day


    Fred, you and your blog have done a lot to change my opinion and understanding of VC.  I’m a career long bootstrapper, but maybe that’ll change my next time around.  You are a genuine and kind person and a good writer.  Thanks for sharing.Ben