Brad Feld

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The Parallel Universes of The Internet

Feb 13, 2009
Category Education

I spent last Sunday at CU Boulder at the Silicon Flatirons Digital Broadband Migration: Imagining the Internet’s Future conferenceNot surprisingly it was an interesting day where early on, surrounded by lawyers, public policy people, academics, and telco executives, I realized I existed in a parallel universe to them.  For example, when I asked who used twitter, less than five hands went up in a room of 250+ people.

Phil Weiser, the major domo of Silicon Flatirons, has a great post up summarizing the conference.  If you are curious, go take a look at From Imagining The Internet’s Future To Examining The Internet Ecosystem.  

My big insight from the conference was how badly all the telco / broadband providers want everyone – especially the mainstream consumer – to think that they are the Internet.  At some point, I realized that Comcast, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon spend a zillion dollars a year on TV, print, and web ads that have the word “Internet” somewhere near their name.  Maybe we should have all just stuck with “the web”.

Dick Green, the brilliant CEO of CableLabs, came up to me at a break and insightfully said “you may think there are two parallel universes, but they are deeply intertwined.”  I responded “yup, that’s the beauty of parallel universes.”  In my lifetime I expect we’ll actually be able to travel between them.