“If you want to be at the heart of the intellectual universe, come to Stanford,” said Stanford Law School Dean, Larry Kramer, introducing Jonathan Zittrain to a pumped-up pro-Stanford audience at the Ritz Carlton, San Francisco. This book-signing event was organized by Dean Kramer and Stanford Law School in an effort to recruit the Oxford professor and internationally-known cyberlaw scholar to the Farm. View PHOTOS from Zittrain’s event HERE.
“There is no place like Stanford Law School,” Zittrain agreed and began his talk centering on his latest book, The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It. Flanked by giant digital images from the book, Zittrain described the magic of the early Internet with a series of resounding “No’s.”
- “No Main menu.
- No investment in content.
- No partnerships.
- No CEO.
- No business plan.
- No subscribers.”
The absence of those things, he claimed, is what made the early Internet so successful and gave it the winning edge over centralized proprietary networks like Prodigy.
In Zen something is valued not only in terms of its presence but also more importantly in terms of its absence. By ensuring the absence of these elements, the early Framers of the Internet unleashed its true potential into the world.
The current threat to today’s Internet comes from the opposite of the early Internet’s principles and the reassertion of:
- Structured environments.
- Proprietary content.
- Negotiated partnerships.
- People with MBAs.
- Profit making.
- Privacy violations by business and government.
- Malevolent software.
CRAIG — CUSTOMER SERVICE SUPERHERO
Fortunately, people like Craig Newmark are holding the banner of the early Internet high. “Then there’s this guy Craig,” Zittrain said, “and he comes up with his List.” The audience erupted in applause.
ValleyZen spoke with Craig before Zittrain’s presentation. To attend the event Craig had flown all night from New York where he had just walked the red carpet under paparazzi glare for the Time 100’s Most Influential People gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Sporting an Obama pin, he told Drue, “I talked with John McCain and Tina Fey.”
“I saw some bad customer service the other day and I thought of you, Craig,” said Drue. “Where is Craig to fly out of the sky and land with a cape–obliterating bad customer service?”
“That would be a good summer movie,” said Craig.
VALLEYZEN VIDEO INTERVIEW with ZITTRAIN
ValleyZen was the only media filming the event. Bill Fenwick and Drue Kataoka did an exclusive interview with Jonathan Zittrain after the event. Stay tuned as we will post his interview this coming week.
Bill Fenwick & Drue Kataoka