I have always loved books. As a small child I was driven to learn to read and had, midway through Year 2, read everything available in my school library. From there I moved onto more advanced topics – history, exploration and geography. I read it all like a great unfolding story – and it expanded my world.
When I took my first post-university role as an editor at a legal publisher, it wasn’t the law that interested me – it was the publishing. During orientation it was clear that I was becoming part of a tradition stretching back centuries. I met people who had had the mythical “job for life” – starting as apprentice typesetters at 16 and working their way through the printing and publishing business with the same employer through to their retirement. But that was another age.
You see, things were shifting.
I was fascinated in the connectedness of things. History and study had shown me how ideas attract and connections form. And already the opportunities to connect data with knowledge appeared as a huge opportunity.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and we are finally seeing the realisation of these early promises. Web publishing was an enormous first step – but favoured the technically literate. Blogging was its democratisation. And I have no doubt that the social overlay that followed in its wake will take another 20 years to manifest.
But what MIGHT it look like? Courtesy of Armando Alves, here are some thoughts from design firm IDEO (who look like they are moving into the hardware business).