Wired Magazine has been a pleasure to read for more than ten years (published in San Francisco, California since March 1993). Each issue that arrives becomes part of the "read" file for the next airplane ride. I find the magazine provocative and insightful. Increasingly over recent years it has become movie and game oriented and although I am not a gamer or video fan, it is good to stay on top of where things are going with the younger generation. (Note: I am told the average gamer is now more than 30 years old).
The current issue of Wired includes an interview (sponsored by Lexus) by Charlie Rose with Eric Schmidt (CEO at Google), Ivan Seidenberg (CEO at Verizon), Michael Eisner (CEO at Disney), and film director George Clooney. The piece was obviously an advertorial and contained a lot of self-serving comments, but nevertheless, I found it very interesting and prescient.
It was surprising that Clooney, Eisner, and Seidenberg mentioned the Internet more than Eric Schmidt did. It was not that long ago that Hollywood and Telco were in denial about the Net. Eisner talked about billions of people downloading movies in minutes and said that the industry would see a lot of "bubbles breaking" but that in 5-10 years the music, movie, and television industry would be "unbelievably strong". Clooney said he thinks people will still go to theatres because they are an "event" but the content will be 100% digital with movies instantly downloaded into 300 theaters across the country.
Eric Schmidt was very consistent with the Google vision to organize the world’s information. He said that all their best ideas come from the "spend 20% of your time to work on whatever you want to" employment policy. He also said that only 1-2% of the U.S. half-trillion dollar advertising spending was on the Internet — obviously leaving a lot of upside for Google. Seidenberg wants to wire the country with fiber optic cable to every home and offer tens of megabits for multiple HDTV’s, telephony, and Internet service.
The good news for the rest of us, as long as the lobbyists don’t get in the way, is that there is going to be a lot of competition in every aspect of what the interviewees discussed. The result should be faster speeds and lower prices. The bad news is that we may have to put up with old-fashioned shotgun style advertising for a while and meanwhile there are a lot of startup companies investing heavily in new advertising techniques to identify us, target us, and blast advertising to every form of communication that we engage. Fortunately, there are also companies working on methods to preserve our privacy and protect us from being harassed.