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Looking for the future? Watch the "crackpots"

Tim O'Reilly and Charlie Rose discuss the drivers of new technology: enthusiasts.

Tim O'Reilly and Charlie Rose at IAB Mixx 2011Attention in the tech space is generally bestowed upon massive incumbents or hot new startups. The small teams and lone enthusiasts rarely get a mention, let alone major media coverage.

But if you’re looking for what’s next — the envelope-pushing stuff and the tech that will shape our world in years to come — you need to expand your field of vision to include the “crackpots.”

This point was the crux of an energetic discussion between Tim O’Reilly and Charlie Rose at the IAB Mixx Conference & Expo.

“The future often happens with crackpots who are pre-startup,” O’Reilly said. “By the time the venture capitalists and the startups arrive, the technology is in full swing.” [Discussed 21 seconds in.]

The interview touched on a number of related topics, including:

  • The evolution of Maker Faire and the arrival of the VCs. [59 seconds in]
  • Who knows the enthusiasts driving new technology? The other enthusiasts. [1:34]
  • The convergence of “patterns in technology and patterns in people.” [2:00]
  • What qualities do enthusiasts share? Disregard for convention, independent thinkers, passion, and they want to make the future happen. [3:41]
  • Asking who will be the next Mark Zuckerberg is like asking “who will be the next person to win the lottery.” [4:35]

A portion of the interview has been made available in the following video:

You’ll find comments and additional discussion about this interview in this Google+ thread.

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  • Chris Spurgeon

    MAN Charlie Rose sure interrupts a lot.