Explaining The URL

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It was nineteen ninety-seven/eight (or around there). I was stinting (aka working, aka job jump #4) at a large ad-agency in D’dorf, Germany. I was hired as a consultant to help the business side of advertising learn something new. That new was called the information superhighway. It was also called the world-wide-web. Some even called it the internet. Most business people at the time were very weary about the internet. They knew of the rising popularity of things like email, Netscape and websites but they were clueless about how it would all fit into business/place. Although I wasn’t much of a programmer–all I knew was a bit of HTML back then–I had a knack for explaining it because at a previous jobs (job jump #3 and #2) I was something akin to being a specialist in information gathering and information sourcing. As soon as the internet got started I was using it to access information sources via usenet, gopher and FTP as far back as …. It’s been so long I can’t remember. Anyway. Even though I had interviewed at the agency for a completely different job, the masters that be, the execs, offered me a trial position as a technology application consultant, or the like. For a while it was kinda fun. I worked with the ad people trying to acquire new business or up-sell old business. I was the one that helped them formulate and integrate all this new technology krapp into their presentations. I explained things like URLs and how website addresses would soon appear on corporate letter-head. I also explained that companies would need to prepare for having an online presence, which meant they should do things like secure domain names. Etc. All the while there were those people who were laughing or claiming to know-better. “It’s just a fad,” they would say. “Why would anybody want to publish their brochure in a web… in a spider web page that they have to have a computer to read,” others would say. In fact, the negativity was so grand that I only worked that job for about a year (yeah, I was a job jumper). But get this. I worked on a new business presentation that presented to Microsoft, at their headquarters in Munich, Germany–fucking Microsoft!–that they should be putting a URL on the business cards of their employees. Seriously. Oh well. Nomatter. §Even though I haven’t had much success on the career front–the job jumping (and age) did catch up to me and I was no longer corporate employable in Eurowasteland (Germany) on account males over forty who don’t have an established “career” are dead-meat–I did learn a lot from the experience. One thing I learned: I get it. I get what technology is about. Even though the powers-that-be don’t get it–because they have nipped it in the bud as best they could post Dotcom bonanza–I’m still an avid believer in the power of openness, decentralisation, connectedness, disintermediation, etc. With that in mind, every once-a-once something in this world of technology stands out and deserves praise other than the introduction of wearables and or i-devices. §Say what you want about downloads. Napster changed the fucking world. Say what you want about search. Google is the rockstar it deserves to be. Say what you want about Podcasts. Podcasts rule! And not only do podcasts rule, but Marc Maron seems to have written his name in the stone that will be read in a thousand years with one of his recent podcasts. I mean, come on. This guy, a two-bit entertainer working out of his garage in LA, managed to nail an interview with the president of the united mistakes of #americant. And it was f’n beautiful. From the moment the podcast began all I could think about in the back of my mind was how technology got to be where it is and how a few people have stuck with it–even though they must have faced a huge amount of resistance and negativity. Don’t get me wrong. I’m an on-off listener to Marc Maron. But I am an avid podcast listener. In fact, I don’t even watch TV anymore. TV sucks. Especially here in Germany where dialogue on most TV shows sounds like it was written by a robot. But I do download shows from iTunes and other sources. But I’m off subject. Where was I? Nomatter. §What Marc Maron has done is shown that disintermediation is now the norm, technology has withstood the all-out attack on its personalisation, and the two-bits might actually have a chance to make a difference. Basic, in your garage, personal technology is now mainstream and it’s viable and there is no turning back. The Internet is not only everywhere, it is NOT wholly owned by the powers-that-be–at least not while there are Marc Marons. I was so awestruck by Maron’s interview that I listened to it one night with “loop” on and woke up the next morning as tired and sleepy as ever and started my day with yet another long, dark Germanic beer. And I thought: This is such a great thing that I have as much respect for Maron as I do for his interviewee (that’s how good the content of the interview was). And so. From an even lower two-bit that bows down to those who show/pave the way: Thank you for this podcast, thank you for keeping the faith, thank you for proving that I was right way, way back: Companies will have to put URLs everywhere and so will we. Keep up the great work. Rant on. -Tommi


WFT with Marc Maron | Podcast

How Mass Media Was Infiltrated By Internet Mavericks | ZDnet