The TL;DR version: In 2007, Justin.tv began simply with Justin Kan lifecasting himself from his startup’s dorm style living quarters in the Y-scraper. It didn’t take long for Justin’s audience to start directing the show. The founders were able to get the cost to deliver one hour of video down to half a penny, so Justin.tv pivoted to an open, ad-supported live streaming platform. Traffic grew immensely, aided by some users illegally simulcasting blacked out pro sports events from around the world. A boxing promoter and UFC went on the attack, while Michael Seibel, Justin.tv’s CEO, had to answer to Congress. Overall traffic declined as video game streaming traffic increased. Taking this cue, TwitchTV was spun off to create a streaming platform built exclusively for video gamers to broadcast game competitions. With the rise of mobile apps, Socialcam soon became another successful spin-off. Socialcam is a mobile video sharing app that leverages Justin.tv’s infrastructure, now with 44 million users. Not to be outdone, Justin had to go and found yet another startup. Exec is a service that helps match users with personal assistants to get specific tasks done.
This town rawks! I take it for granted some times, but San Francisco really is the center of the universe. Those who don’t live here, just don’t realize it. Friday night, Marc tipped me off to a VIP reception shmoozie thing for Wired magazine’s NextFest event. Jedi mind tricked my way in and immediately was greeted with a martini. Wandered around amongst the futurist tech, taking in the shiny sites and think to myself how this all reminded me of dot-com irrational exuberance. I remember fondly the days of weekly launch parties greased with free flowing alcohol and endless hype. Thanks for the memories, Wired!
The next day, I returned to NextFest to take in most of what I had missed the night before. Unfortunately, the mass of humanity flooding the hall made it next to impossible to get a good look at anything clearly. The demo for ASIMO was impossible as everyone and their kids wanted in to see the humanoid robot walk up and down stairs. I queued up for the robotics panel discussion after, which was moderately interesting despite the obvious shilling for robotic products made by the moderator Colin Angle’s company. Stories of war profiteering by this same moderator by his same company elicited several boos from the audience. The most interesting points were brought up by Rodney Brooks director of MIT’s CS and AI lab and Ken Goldberg, professor and researcher at UC Berkeley. Brooks said that the Jetsonian dream of Rosie the robot is still at least 20-25 years off. Goldberg was the only panelist to give props to robotics as an art form, rather than pure market commodification as others seemed pre-occupied with.
Other highlights of NextFest were this 3D printer which I witnessed creating skulls, the K-bot which is a robotic head that emulates human facial expressions, the Moller Skycar and the directed sound of HyperSonic Sound technology.
Later that night was the Cloud Factory Design Collective’s 6th annual fashion show. Fucking amazing! Ravers can make hella cool threads and show them off in the most creative of ways. More on this once some pix become available. Like I said, this town rawks!
This is one of several amazing beautiful ceramic sculptures created by my good friend Sharon. She’s raising money through the sale of these pieces to fund an arts center in Mozambique. If you’re in San Francisco, check out her show at Ruby’s Clay Studio, 552A Noe Street @ 18th. It runs until March 1st.
This is what San Francisco’s City Hall looks like today. Red for Valentine’s day and I imagine the first anniversary of our mayor’s now world famous action.
UPDATE: I was so wrong. The reason City Hall was really red was the Go Red for Women campaign by the American Heart Association. My bad. Red for Valentine’s just made too much sense.
It’s been just over a year since the runoff mayoral election last year in which Matt Gonzalez almost pulled one off against the machine. I can still recall vividly, the Dems scared at the prospect of losing a major city election to a Green, calling on Bill Clinton AND Al Gore to swoop in and stump for Gavin Newsom. Newsom did win, though mostly due to early absentee voters as Matt rocked the city at the polls on election day. The Progressive Voter Project was born as an answer to the absentee problem.
Two books have been published centering around the Gonzalez campaign. The Political Edge, from City Lights Press, is a collection of essays covering different points of view from volunteers of the campaign, local journalists and long-time activists. I’m interviewed by David Rosen for his piece, “130 Parties in 30 Days:” The Matt Gonzalez Mayoral Campaign & the Restructuring of the Culture Industry. He explores the idea that the culture of the campaign is what brought people together. Matt’s cultural identity is something that resonated with many of us thus driving his unprecedented support manifested in the form of spontaneious house parties, raffles, poetry readings, art auctions, rock shows, and yoga benefits to name a few.
The other book is called Go, Matt, Go edited by Nicole Walter. It’s also a collection of essays, blurbs, poetry, manifestos and interviews from many more volunteers of the campaign. Self published and editorially raw, it’s a good window into feeling of those short couple of months. I have a short essay that describes my experiences and emotions of the campaign. Both books are well worth picking up.
Finally put my photos up from LA. They’re mostly pre and post show as I was otherwise occupied trying not to get fried in the frenzy.
Also, some pix from Tuesday night’s protest of the Shar-Pei skinned Governator‘s plan to privatize pensions for nurses, firefighters, police and teachers. Not your average San Francisco protest. Lots of middle age nurses, firefighters police and teachers turned out. And Frank Chu of course. Coincidentally, Ah-nawld today chose to drop the privatizing idea, at least for the time being.