Radar: Looking forward to 2013

Hidden economy, industrial Internet, consumer AI, data journalism, and other themes Radar will explore in the coming months.

O'Reilly RadarThe Radar team got together in December to work through our priorities for 2013. This blog is where we narrate our work, but our real goal is to identify and create new products and businesses for O’Reilly. This year we plan to be more intentional with our focus areas, and more transparent as well, with the hope that it will engage you in shaping the topics and where we go next.

In our discussions we worked through about 35 potential themes and narrowed them down to 10 that we are actively working on in the first quarter of 2013. Here’s the list along with the Radar team member who is focused on it.

Hidden/Sharing Economy — Tim O’Reilly

Consumer AI — Edd Dumbill

Data Journalism — Alex Howard

Future of Programming — Edd Dumbill

In-Memory Data Management — Roger Magoulas

Industrial Internet — Jon Bruner

Open Data Economy — Alex Howard

Professional Making — Mike Loukides

Robotics — Mike Loukides

Synthetic Bio / Bio Hacking — Mike Loukides

Each topic will launch here on Radar with “intention casting” posts like this and this so I won’t bother expounding on them here. The idea of being more explicit and transparent up front about our interests is to more actively engage you in the discussion. We know you’ll point us at things we wouldn’t otherwise find.

As the projects unfold we’ll continue to post here on what we are discovering and we’ll noodle on the principles we discover. When we get to the point where we start to feel like we’re getting a handle on it, we’ll host public hangouts to talk about what we are learning and solicit your reaction and input. Again, the idea is to engage more directly with you on each topic.

Each quarter we’ll go through the process again and sometimes we’ll double down on our focus as we push to turn it into a business. In other cases we’ll abandon it or put it on a back burner because we are either too early or there is simply no there there. Unfortunately some themes will be interesting but won’t make sense for us to continue to pursue. We’ll often be thinking to ourselves “this feels like a Homebrew Computer Club moment, but is it going to blow up or just keep simmering?”

As 2013 develops you can also expect to see some changes here with Radar’s design to help bring focus to these themes. Blogs are great but the sequential format makes it tougher than we’d like for you to focus on a theme. We want to make it easier for you to see a holistic view of a theme as it evolves. More on that later.

Here’s to a great 2013.

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  • Robert Lucente

    Given that your “real goal is to identify and create new products and businesses for O’Reilly” the above topics make sense because they are of immediate interest to a wide audience. Would you consider investing some small percentage of resources / time on some high risk / high reward endeavors? For example, go back and looked at some of the supposed solved problems. One specific thing that comes to mind is email overload. Is email overload the issue or is it a sympton? Sounds crazy but search was supposedly solved until Google came along. Or we can look forward and see some of the “stuff” that is going on w/ new materials. What is the new equivalent (not replacement for) transistor / integrated circuit?

    • http://twitter.com/jstogdill Jim Stogdill

      Hey Robert, These are the themes we are actually building projects around, but they aren’t the only things we are looking at, and we’ll comment on a range of things here.

      Wrt your first point, this type of thing is part of the consumer AI topic that Edd is working on. We think it needs a better name as a topic, but it’s the notion that computing should be in service to the user.

      • Robert Lucente

        “but they aren’t the only things we are looking at”
        Oops on my part.