Techdirt Podcast Episode 46: Things We Got Wrong

from the oops dept

Over the past 15+ years, Techdirt and its team has made plenty of predictions and prognoses about various aspects of the world of tech — which means we've made plenty of mistakes. This week, our podcast is dedicated to discussing some of those poor predictions and figuring out what we can learn from them.

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Filed Under: mistakes, podcast, predictions


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2015 @ 1:08pm

    This one weird trick makes sure you are right all the time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2015 @ 1:43pm

    Things you got wrong? Must be a REALLY long podcast.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 13 Oct 2015 @ 2:16pm

    Google: That's kind of surprising. When I first saw them, right from the very beginning, I recall thinking that they were going to completely disrupt and take over search and run Lycos, AltaVista, etc out of the market. Sure, I didn't expect them to branch out and become as huge as they have since, but I never thought they wouldn't be successful!

    "Have you used Lycos lately? It's pretty good!" Wow. That made me laugh. That was specifically the reason I knew Google was going to take over: it was the first search engine ever that did not utterly suck. (And, as far as I've seen, the last as well. Unfortunate, but true.)

    Bitcoin started out pretty sketchy... and has stayed there ever since. The huge run-up in its prices was due to out-and-out fraud at Mt. Gox, and now it's crashed. The ecosystem that remains is full of criminals and hackers. If you're smart, you'll avoid it altogether.

    "There was a rap song about MySpace." Amusingly, in country star Brad Paisley's humorous hit "Online," (about an uber-nerd who pretends online to be so much cooler than he is IRL,) the song mentions his MySpace account. I saw him in concert last year, and he changed the relevant lyrics to mention "my Facebook page" instead.

    "Perfect speech recognition": You've never written code in your life, have you? :P I shudder to think of trying to write something like values = myList.Where({item | item.SomeValue >= threshold})[1:] with speech recognition! (Yes, that's a realistic line of code in a modern programming language.)

    "Nobody goes to Groupon anymore, how did that happen?" Because vendors realized that participating, more often than not, was harming them more than it was helping them, and so they withdrew quite a bit. And when they lose the content that makes them valuable, why would users want to go there anymore?

    "Why would anyone want to buy a pair of shoes that wasn't custom-designed by me?" Because "me" is not a specialist with knowledge of shoe design. (Or shampoo design, for that matter.) That's how civilization's progress has worked for the past few centuries. You want to see some truly awesome shoes, look at SAS. (Shameless plug!) I've been wearing them for about 15 years now. They're expensive, but they tend to last for at least 4 years each pair unless you abuse them horribly, they're amazingly high quality, and they're about the most comfortable thing you'll ever wear on your feet that isn't house slippers. I'd trust them more than myself to create a good pair of shoes for me any day.

    "What happened to Dell?" At work I have a Dell box with two Dell monitors, a Dell keyboard and a Dell mouse. So do pretty much all my coworkers. Our server room is full of racks of Dell servers. At home I have an Alienware laptop. (Guess who owns Alienware?) Dell's still around and doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

The Last Word

Google: That's kind of surprising. When I first saw them, right from the very beginning, I recall thinking that they were going to completely disrupt and take over search and run Lycos, AltaVista, etc out of the market. Sure, I didn't expect them to branch out and become as huge as they have since, but I never thought they wouldn't be successful!

"Have you used Lycos lately? It's pretty good!" Wow. That made me laugh. That was specifically the reason I knew Google was going to take over: it was the first search engine ever that did not utterly suck. (And, as far as I've seen, the last as well. Unfortunate, but true.)

Bitcoin started out pretty sketchy... and has stayed there ever since. The huge run-up in its prices was due to out-and-out fraud at Mt. Gox, and now it's crashed. The ecosystem that remains is full of criminals and hackers. If you're smart, you'll avoid it altogether.

"There was a rap song about MySpace." Amusingly, in country star Brad Paisley's humorous hit "Online," (about an uber-nerd who pretends online to be so much cooler than he is IRL,) the song mentions his MySpace account. I saw him in concert last year, and he changed the relevant lyrics to mention "my Facebook page" instead.

"Perfect speech recognition": You've never written code in your life, have you? :P I shudder to think of trying to write something like values = myList.Where({item | item.SomeValue >= threshold})[1:] with speech recognition! (Yes, that's a realistic line of code in a modern programming language.)

"Nobody goes to Groupon anymore, how did that happen?" Because vendors realized that participating, more often than not, was harming them more than it was helping them, and so they withdrew quite a bit. And when they lose the content that makes them valuable, why would users want to go there anymore?

"Why would anyone want to buy a pair of shoes that wasn't custom-designed by me?" Because "me" is not a specialist with knowledge of shoe design. (Or shampoo design, for that matter.) That's how civilization's progress has worked for the past few centuries. You want to see some truly awesome shoes, look at SAS. (Shameless plug!) I've been wearing them for about 15 years now. They're expensive, but they tend to last for at least 4 years each pair unless you abuse them horribly, they're amazingly high quality, and they're about the most comfortable thing you'll ever wear on your feet that isn't house slippers. I'd trust them more than myself to create a good pair of shoes for me any day.

"What happened to Dell?" At work I have a Dell box with two Dell monitors, a Dell keyboard and a Dell mouse. So do pretty much all my coworkers. Our server room is full of racks of Dell servers. At home I have an Alienware laptop. (Guess who owns Alienware?) Dell's still around and doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
—Mason Wheeler

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