The value of a social network is defined not only by who's on it, but by who's excluded.

— Paul Saffo

The most unexpected Paul Saffo quotes that are simple and will have a huge impact on you

Before the iPhone, cyberspace was something you went to your desk to visit.

Now cyberspace is something you carry in your pocket.

42

I can't imagine how you can find the discipline to be emotionally detached reporting on a revolution, the winds of which are blowing right down the hallways of the publication you work for. That's like an orthopedic surgeon trying to perform arthroscopic surgery on their own knee. It's possible, but it's hard to see through all the pain.

14

Never mistake a clear view for a short distance.

12

"Point of view" is that quintessentially human solution to information overload, an intuitive process of reducing things to an essential relevant and manageable minimum... In a world of hyperabundant content, point of view will become the scarcest of resources...

12

I think it is just a matter of time before we have literal ghosts in the machine so you can create an alter ego of yourself that learns from your social experiences and extends a life even if you're no longer in the game or you are no longer alive.

8

Microsoft is a big intellectual roach motel. All the big minds go in, and they don't come out.

8

Each time you toss out a 'singing' greeting card, you are disposing of more computing power than existed in the entire world before 1950.

6

Every day huge amounts of information break off like icebergs and melt away.

What worries me is that much information in electronic form is never reduced to paper. Some people have described this as being on the edge of a digital Dark Age and fear we may commit a massive act of amnesia.

5

The future belongs to neither the conduit or content players, but those who control the filtering, searching and sense-making tools we will rely on to navigate through the expanses of cyberspace.

4

It turns out it takes 30 years for a new idea to seep into the culture.

Technology does not drive change. It is our collective response to the options and opportunities presented by technology that drives change.

4

I worry about a society that can remember everything.

3

Graphic designers are idea embalmers, loving undertakers preserving bits of data like to many butterflies pinned to felt in a jewel box.

3

About Paul Saffo

Quotes 58 sayings
Profession Professor
Birthday 1954

Every new thing upsets people. We all know someone that has a teenage kid who sits in the room and the television is on, their iPod is on, they have the computer on and at least three other electronic devices going while they're doing their homework. It drives the dad nuts, but he can't complain because the kid's a 4.1 (GPA) student.

2

We tend to use a new technology to do an old task more efficiently. We pave the cow paths.

2

Sometimes I think we're on this world for three reasons: to be useful, to tell each other stories and to collect stuff. It's the only explanation for eBay. We love to collect stuff, and at least if we're collecting stuff in cyberspace we're not deforesting the Sierra Nevada.

1

My advice is don't use technology primarily to lower costs.

Use technology to create new, effective ways of touching the market and creating new businesses and if you do that right, the cost savings will come.

0

As Stewart Brand (co-founder of Emeryville's Global Business Network) likes to say, "Information lasts forever. Digital information lasts forever or for five years, whichever comes first." There are examples everywhere. The tapes from the original Viking landers that went to Mars are at (NASA's) Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but there is no machine that can read the tapes.

0

I think it was Samuel Johnson who said, "There are two kinds of information in this world: that what you know and that what you know where to get." The tools help the latter, and that's what keeps us from going nuts. The sense of overload comes from the gap between that sudden jump in volume (of information) and the tools we have to make sense of it.

0

I think companies over the last 10 years have done a very bad job of explaining to their employees what the intrinsic risks are. All I know is, if you wait until you let the employee go to deal with the issue of how do you communicate to the employee about being let go, it's too late to do anything.

0

The arrival of television established a mass-media order that dominated the last 50 years. This is a personal media revolution. The distinction between the old order and the new order is very important. Television delivered the world to our living room. In the old media, all we could do was press our noses against the glass and watch.

0

We invent our technologies and then we turn around and use our technologies to reinvent ourselves as individuals, communities and cultures.

0

Stock prices turn people's heads. When prices are high, we treat a company like gods, and if they drop, we treat them as fools.

0

The difference between our collective generation and your generation (differentiating the reporters from the students) is that we poured our souls out on paper that got easily yellowed and lost. The danger is that many of your friends (nodding at the students) are putting intimate ideas in cyberspace journals. So when today's 15-year-old is 40, some friend is going to drag out all of that idiotic stuff at their class reunion.

0

Take cyberspace as an example. We had this wonderful utopian vision of a new home for the mind. What we've reaped isn't cyberspace. It's cyberbia. It's this vast, bland wasteland of vulgar people and trivial ideas and pictures of half-naked starlets. But despite all the uncertainty, has there ever been a more fascinating moment to be alive?

0

I don't think information overload is a function of the volume of information.

It's a derivative of the volume of information plus the sense-making tools you have.

0

It's interesting to see the lament of each generation overwhelmed by the next new tool. I can show you passages from scholars of Germany in the 1480s lamenting the fact that they are overloaded with all this stuff to read because of the printing press.

0

The best way to let people go is to let them know when they're hired that it's an uncertain environment and that their job is always at risk and even if you let them go, it's not that you don't love them.

0

We do need to rethink privacy. I think we need to fall back on (former Supreme Court Justice) Felix Frankfurter's definition of privacy which is, "Privacy is the right to be left alone."

0

The goal of forecasting is not to predict the future but to tell you what you need to know to take meaningful action in the present

0

Never mistake a clearer view for a short distance just because the technology looks like it's about to arrive in the very near future. Chances are there will be some surprises and in the long run even the most expected of futures tends to arrive late and in completely unexpected ways.

0

When everybody else is in a down market is focusing on what they're doing wrong, instead focus on what you should be doing differently, it may be that what you did in the past was perfectly right. It is possible to do all the right things in business and still have a business crisis because of what's happening in the external environment. And if you start focusing on mistakes only, you're going to miss opportunities.

0

The thing I see happening is that there's a real compression between generations. There used to be about 20 years difference (in technology use). Now you talk to 15-year-old kids and their 9-year-old brother or sister is using stuff that they don't understand.

0

When I lived in Japan in the 1980s, I once was mistaken for Paul Newman, and I didn't have much more hair than I do now. My first reaction was that staying in Japan might be good for my social life.

0

The Web is a compelling new medium being put to all kinds of uses, by everyone from banks to Cub Scouts to flying saucer cults. That said, it can also be a powerful folly amplifier.

0

I've actually tried not to call myself a futurist for the last 25 years.

I prefer "forecaster," but people call me a futurist, and it doesn't really bother me.

0

This new world of personal media - the Web, the Internet and et cetera - not only delivers the world to your living rooms, but everywhere. And we get to answer back. And we're expected to answer back.

0

Using technology merely to lower operational costs amounts to standing on a whale fishing for minnows. It just allows you to do the old thing more efficiently, where in this moment of deep transformation, it is much more likely that you should be doing something entirely new in an entirely different way.

0

You don't want to rely on an expert to tell you what lies ahead.

0

Hipness is the only asset that matters.

0

I'm not sure the notion of employee or job is going to survive the transition over the next couple of decades. The very notion of a fulltime job will seem as quaint in 20 years as the notion of someone getting a gold watch at their retirement in the 1950s.

0

Google was the right set of people at the right time, and they ended up doing the right set of things. It's worth looking at how they are managed. They are network-oriented and allow a lot of flexibility and creativity.

0

More information and more communications foster world peace and understanding.

But connecting extremist nut cases together on the Web - whatever flavor extremism they are - is a really bad thing. More information may not be a good thing, either.

0

It will take a decade or two, but fundamentalism is going to burn itself.

0

Digital technology is the solvent leaching the glue out of all of our traditional institutions.

0

We've become more and more interrupt-driven.

If you have six tasks to do in an hour, you can't just take 60 minutes and divide and have 10 minutes per task. You have 10 minutes per task minus the time required for context-shifting. That will be the next big challenge: figuring out how to fight the distraction-driven mode we're in and stay focused on one thing long enough to get it done.

0

Think about reading: Today, parents would love it if their kids read books more because the parents understand the books. Just over 100 years ago, parents were upset because their kids were reading dime-store novels. Parents would say, "I don't want you inside reading anymore. Get outside and play." I guarantee you, in 50 years or so, parents are going to say, "You're not going outside to play until you finish that video game."

0

There is reason to be scared. Look at what has happened with fundamentalism - this is a reaction against modernity. It happens to be cloaked in religion, but these are people saying enough is enough. It's happened again and again through history. The good news is that modernism has always won.

0

My driving style is alert. As a forecaster, I can't help but think about who else is on the road and how little attention they are paying to their driving.

0

Responding to climate change will become the obsession of the next decade in much the same way terrorism was this decade's obsession.

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