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Archive for October, 2008

7 abundantly clear things about abundance

MY speech from Pop!Tech last week has just gone up. I talked about a few other things besides competing with pirates, including virtuous circles, a subject I’m getting really interested in. There were so many great speakers there – two others worth watching are Juan Enriquez’s “10 commandments” talk on the state of the economy, and Benjamin Zander, who was sort of talking about virtuous and vicious circles too, and was just incredible.

Press for change



Step 1: Click on the stickers here and save to your desktop.

Step 2: Print onto a sticker sheet.

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Visit The Press For Change Project here. Thanks JT!

Back from Pop!Tech


photo by Kris Krug

Last week I was in Camden, Maine for Pop!Tech. Every year a stellar line-up of speakers and performers gathers here to share seafood, inspiration and challenging ideas. Some of the smartest people in the world attended, showcasing world-changing non-profits, initiatives and technologies. It’s kind of like TED, but with better clam chowder.

I was lucky enough to be speaking alongside Clay Shirky and Chris Anderson, both of whom are working on some really interesting new ideas. Chris’ new book FREE sounds fantastic, as indeed was the sneak preview published by Wired earlier this year. The Pop!Tech videos aren’t up yet, but you can see Chris explain the idea in detail here. If you are competing with pirates, you are indeed competing with free, I can’t wait to see Chris’ take on this in full.

Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody, is one of the smartest people thinking and writing about the changes the internet is ushering in. His new work on cognitive surplus sounds awesome, there’s a new book coming he told me. Following him on stage was not easy.

Other highlights included Malcolm Gladwell (who is a sneaker head! Had a good chat with him about nike iDs), about to drop book number 3, Outliers, which looks incredible, and performances from Imogen Heap, who was amazing. I can’t do any of the people who were there justice, but all the talks should be up on the Pop!tech website soon, many of which I’ll be re-posting here. In the meantime here is Clay on cognitive surplus from earlier this year:

New WIRED Interview


This just went up today in the run up to the Digital Freedoms speech I’m doing at Pop!Tech this Friday alongside Clay Shirky and Chris Anderson. Check it out here.

Pirates on Book TV!

Pirate’s book tv C-Span

Here you can watch the talk I gave at CAA in the summer, introduced by my friend Jesse Alexander. It was really interesting talking to people in Hollywood about piracy. The general consensus from those outside of the business is that piracy is something the movie and TV industries are unhappy about and against, but the reality is piracy is something everyone there is very curious about, and a lot of the execs and studio people I spoke to after the talk are actually quite excited about the new business models germinating because of it. What Jesse and Tim Kring have done with Heroes is a good example of a pirate-proof business model, as he explains at the beginning.

Sanza Hanza

Sanza-Hanza Official Trailer from Greg Passuntino on Vimeo.

My good friends Jamie James Medina, Nadia Hallgren and Matt Salacuse just made a great short film about train surfing in Soweto. Train surfing is the semi-suicidal act of climbing on top of and sometimes underneath moving trains to perform improvised dance moves. In the South African ghetto of Soweto, it has become an underground sport not unlike skateboarding in the 1970s. It’s a fascinating look at how harsh environments breed harsh forms of youth culture. There’s also a great book to accompany the film, and an exhibition opening tomorrow in Montreal.

Above’s Skool of Hard Knocks

Before Above:


Saw this piece over on Wooster Collective from internationally renowned sign maker Above. I like how he turns the erratic chaos of tags into a new order. Seen similar stuff, but this was nicely done.

After Above:

above 2

That was fast

That one

If we are now capable of turning memes into entire product lines in less than 12 hours, maybe we are smart enough to fix the economy. Vote that one!

Radio 4 discussion with Jonas Woost of Last.fm

Last week I spoke with Jonas Woost of Last.fm and Rory Cellan-Jones on BBC Radio 4. You can listen to the the show here:

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Roll up for ICA “Smackdown?!?”


I’m in London later this week, my publishers asked me to do an event Thursday night at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. It was pitched to me as a Q&A with journalist Andrew Orlowski (pictured). I was surprised to see it pitched like this by The Register (where Orlowski is an editor):

Roll up for the freetard smackdown

Reader Offer Next Thursday, 9 October at 7pm, our very own Andrew Orlowski will be tackling the perennial issue of digital piracy – live and dangerous at the highbrow Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London.

He’ll be taking on New Media consultant Matt Mason, author of The Pirate’s Dilemma (How Youth Culture Reinvented Capitalism), which suggests burgeoning freetardism has transformed “underground scenes into burgeoning global industries and movements, ultimately changing life as we know it, unraveling some of our most basic assumptions about business, society and our collective future”.

Should be interesting.

To celebrate we’re offering Reg the chance to witness this cultural car crash first hand, for the low, low price of £6. The ICA’s usual price is £10, £9 concessions and £8 for members, so we can’t say fairer than that really, even if you are a die-hard freetard*

Cultural car crash? Maybe you get paid extra at The Register for alliteration. I’m not sure whoever wrote this really understands the term ‘freetard,’ and if they do it’s pretty safe to say they haven’t actually read my book. A ‘freetard’ is someone who thinks everything should be free, the content industries should all be burnt at the stake and anarchy should rule the world. The book doesn’t make that case, and the hack that put together this post should know better.

Anyone who is expecting this event to be some kind of Fox News style shouting match is probably going to be disappointed, because as far as I can tell Andrew and I are pretty much in agreement on how piracy pushes industries to innovate. He says in the comments on this post:

“Remember that when a new media technology comes along, it’s often used to store/record/play media for which the license has not been granted. These licenses eventually get granted – when some way of monetizing the anarchy has been agreed.“

That sentence could of been a line straight from the book, so I’m not sure what we’ll be smacking each other down over. But fear not, we’ll find something interesting to talk about. To celebrate, I’m offering readers of thepiratesdilemma.com an even better offer than The Register’s. Meet me by the fire exit at the ICA at 6.55pm, and I’ll sneak you in for free.

Update: As predicted, this wasn’t any kind of smack down at all. Andrew and I seemed to agree on almost everything (except for the things he didn’t want to bring up – see Andrew’s take on it here) and there wasn’t a freetard in sight.

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