Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Just had drinks (diet coke) with Kim Polese. She says, "The buzz is back." I agree. People are buzzing in Silicon Valley and you can feel it.


I dont think the "real" buzz ever left, we just stopped listening - as the "fake" (hype/greed) buzz overtook it.

I too am beginning to hear the buzz again, and it feels good. I dont know Kim (hi Kim) but we need her excited again, along with many other techies, and we need to shake the "fake" buzz off.......

Tech needs to be fun again, and it needs to be useful to everyone


The greatest loss of human wealth in history, and an early proclamation of 'the buzz is back'? Forget not that Buzz easily translates into Bubble. Buzz? The Segway didn't change the world, nor did E-Commerce, nor have Blogs ushered in utopiaistic Internet democracy or the proverbial "electronic agora." And forget not all the 'true believer' John Doerr style VC'isms, cough cough, Excite@Home. And the gallons of tech reporter ink wasted covering the whole dot.conned game. Buzz by its very definition is marketingese gloss. I don't want constant humming buzz, I want reality.

Biotech, nanotech, flexible electronics...and the beat goes on. Hope springs eternal in the Valley...

The Segway just started shipping! Give it a chance.

E-Commerce continues to grow and change the way we do business.

Blogs are just beginning. Most people don't even know what they are.

Why dismiss possibility so quickly? Many technologies have changed the world, but most do so slowly over a period of decades.

The bubble was driven by greed. "The buzz" is the sound of people getting exciting about getting back to work. "The buzz" does attract the greedy when it gets too loud, I agree. "The buzz" is also the sound of creativity. Creativity and reality do not have to be mutually exclusive.

"Hope springs eternal in the Valley..." Yes. What's wrong with Hope?

Buzz (in my world..) is very different from HYPE. Hype is when reporters get overly excited about something...Hype is when VC's hire someone to wipe their bottoms, and call that a business plan because it mentions Internet....Hype is when you go to 7-11 and the guy behind the counter is too busy on his computer trading stocks on e-Trade....Hype is when can fill in the rest here.

Innovation, fun, excitement, thrill, bootstrapping, no funding, no business plan other than an idea = Buzz

Segway is a great idea, but not yet ready for the larger population in the world, especially during hard times, but this is just the first version, and of course when a new product comes out who buys it? The bleeding edge techies....

The main problem I think right now in the valley is that not enough people (innovators) have gotten their hands dirty....some dont even know the concept. By dirty I mean, actually build something by themselves, with no funding, because they believe in it. Not because they think they will be bazillionaires, but because they think it will change the world...but this is turning around, even the dotcommers (who came here for one reason only) are even learning this.

Joi is a good example of someone who gets their hands dirty, think of it, he helped build PSInet from his BATHROOM.....can you picture any of your friends nowadays doing something so crazy? most no....

That is what is missing.



Just had drinks (diet coke) with Kim Polese. She says, "The buzz is back."

Are you sure she wasn't simply referring to the Diet Coke? And do you think the buzz will ever again reach Jolt Cola levels?


I'm at SXSW right now, and I can tell you that it's "back" here too. There's a lot of older/sadder/wiser perspective, a welcome note of humility, and even a leavening of loss (Lessig's talk was suffused, if subtly, by the sorrow of his defeat before the Supreme Court on Eldred), but the sense of connections being made and grand visions incrementally becoming real is as present as I've ever felt it.

It's gratifying, and reassuring given everything else that's so very wrong in the world right now.

Segway? Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers fueled the Segway "buzz" (or hype) however you define it. Doerr predicted they would reach $1 billion in sales faster than any company in history, and now they are lucky to crank out 10 a week. Doerr also said it will be bigger than the Internet. Change the world? Give it time? Simply add more time and everything will become reality? Cop out. A Stirling engine was the 'hope', but instead we got battery power. It was (and is) a 'buzzed' (hyped) failure, after all it is just a weighty, over-priced battery-operated scooter.

Blogs? Just a new-namesake meme, for hypertext, laced with all sorts of political utopia 'direct democracy' pie-the-sky neo-hippie dreams.

What's wrong with hope? Plenty, when it is based on false promises and illusions. Corporate scandals and 'hope-fueled' items like Global Crossing and mish-mash Telecomm's, have ruined many. Hope can (and does) distort reality. What's wrong with hope? For one, using 'hope' to sell someone a fake cancer cure. Hope is the con man's tool.

E-Commerce continues to grow? failures are at an all-time-high, the real success stories are from the Brick and Mortar hybrids and the 'non-Venture funded' small companies. And yes there is some value here, but more on the percentage level of Mail Order and Catalog sales. Utopia? No. Good idea, yes.

Dismiss possibility so quickly? I don't have to bother. The market already did that. Not gonna party like it is 1999. Besides "possibility" is worthless without implementation, and you know what they say about good intentions...

So buzz is now the sound of creative people excited about getting back to work? In the midst of slower growth and ever-increasing layoffs? This must be in reference to the lucky few that remain, in the over-priced high-cost-of-living Valley. Getting back to work, eh? Quite a comedown from the 'we all are gonna be millionaires' era. :) And the whole idea of 'creativity' itself is very subjective.

You Said:

Not gonna party like it is 1999

I Say:

I am partying like it was 1989, I have lived through this valley (since 1966 when i was born here) My father started at Fairchild in 1965, he still works at National Semi.

You Said:

Getting back to work, eh? Quite a comedown from the 'we all are gonna be millionaires' era. :)

I Say:

Agreed there were (and still are) a number of people who truly believe they are in this for a quick buck...never going to happen. A lot of people came to the Valley to get into the hype. A lot of us were raised here, and never bought into the hype, ever. Not to say the late 90's were not good for me and my family, but I NEVER took a job where it involved any sort of "dot com" - I know a bunch of people who did, and they are unemployed today, and broke. I also know quite a few people who took jobs in areas that are still working.

Not all of us in the valley are greedy bastards, just some of them.


I am looking forward to when we can get the feeling back of 1989, and a little bit of 1996 mixed in.

I agree with Kim, Joi, the buzz is back, if it ever really left at all. The buzz is simple: Moores and Gilders Law. Despite the fizzle of hype and greed, the empty promises and the insanely stupid business ideas that inflated the valley, the true fundamentals of accelerating change are moving ever forward. So despite any amount of greed or lack of capitilization, or political instability, this trend will continue, and the applications running on and thru it will only get more powerful, more connected, more networked and more cohesive. You can remain cynical about the power of blogging, but we ain't seen nothing yet.

Personally, I'm holding on to the hopes and optimism that filled Wired's pages during the mid-90's. The new economy will change everything, its just going to take longer that we originally thought. And yes, I think we are seeing the beginning of the end for Nation States.


Watch what you wish for. In 1989 we had an earthquake. Of course, for me, in 1989 I talked Woz out of $40,000 for my school's journalism department, which is a major reason why I'm here writing in this weblog today.


The reason the buzz is back? Cause people are creating again -- many for the sheer fun of it.

The valley has had so many innovations because smart people settle here and go into their garages and start tinkering.

The other reason the "buzz" is back? Because the marketers and the sleezeballs largely aren't in the mix right now. Well, OK, I'm here. Heh. But, most of the people I'm seeing in these new network parties are creative types. Programmers. Hardware designers. Etc.

Oh, and the feeling of the valley has changed too. Now instead of wanting to see the venture capital buildings on Sand Hill Road, folks who come into town want to visit our historic shrines like HP's original garage.

The valley has changed. We aren't living off of our exhaust fumes anymore.

Another reason the Buzz is back? Cause the jerks like Scott McNealy and Larry Ellison have had their pulpits kicked out from under them. We no longer respect people who do nothing but say "Microsoft is bad" and we no longer respect people who do nothing but come up with a business plan to take advantage of the bubble. We're very focused on real customers.

We respect people who create things for other people to use.

You can tell Scoble likes Microsoft. ;-)

I guess it all comes down to how exactly one defines ‘buzz’ and what time-span is in reference per ‘is back’. The last 6 years is hardly something to hearld a return to. The Wired mag sheer optimism that some people wish to revive, was an illusion at best and fraud at worst. Technology is merely a toolset, not ‘perfect world’ salvation. Beginning of the end for Nation States? Exactly what sort of candy-coated net-utopia dream-state are you in? That's just loony. And Moore's Law is hardly set in stone, and silicon chips have certain theoretical physical limits, hence Quantum Computing. Likewise Gilder's Law at some point reaches a limit. To say that everything always expands up, is crazy.

And “for the sheer fun of it?” That's called a hobby. If that's the defintion of buzz, then hey, cool. A return to reality. Where most of the country, sans the Valley, has been all along. And I fully agree per Microsoft, real value there, being anti-Captialist whilst a Captialist, just because you don't like the market-power of the leader is quite the irony. Bring thyself up, instead of tearing down; marketplace of ideas, instead of governmental fiat.

I agree with Robert, but reject the ‘technology will save the world’ blather.

Joi: even if I hated Microsoft with all my heart, I wouldn't take the tact that McNealy and Ellison did. They only strengthened Microsoft in the past few years.

And McNealy's attempts to get them broken up was sheer idiocy. Can you imagine the innovation that'd be unleashed if you broke Microsoft into five pieces? (Not to mention that it's very hard to hate five entities the same way you hate one).

Hate is a good motivator. But, it should be used the way a Super Bowl coach uses it to motivate his team: keep it behind closed doors.

Steve Jobs understands this. Ellison and McNealy don't.

Scoble dude, I was just teasing you. ;-)

Microsoft, the company people love to hate.

There is a great blog entry on Frank Boosman's blog where David Smith talks about the similarity of the World's view on the US and the industry's view on MS.

Kevin Werbach has some good thoughts on "the buzz" and the Valley.

Joi, yeah, I know. :-)

I find it amazing how short people`s sense of history has become. Take a broad sweep of the last 50 years and the history of innovation, the growth of so many new industries and the change our home and work style and you will see the reason to be optimistic, the reason for hope, and the reason for buzz. The people who are "fashionably" pessimistic now are the same people who were fashionably "exuberant" during the bubble. The builders create value when these people are talking gloom and doom and they are always happy to sell what they have built to those same people in more "bubbly" times. The people who truly build or the people who know enough to support those people know the difference between buzz and bubble. I know what side I am on.

This whole thead is actually just HYPE about another BUZZ word.

things arent going to change until you people learn, it's about living not tech.

Oh and one more thing...

now that your buggers are on the other side of the starbucks counter...

I'll have a double - latte - granda-mocha vendadi con dottie. Dark and sweet... just like my woman.


"The harder a problem, the greater the reward is to whoever solves it"

"There are lots of problems for Mankind to solve. And they are opportunities"

"Ants have no (or little) problems with food and shelter. Ditto with birds and nearly every other species. Mankind is anxious about food and shelter and this impacts other aspects of human lives. With minds, you would think Man would be thousands of times ahead, not trailing fractions behind ants."

"If there is too much competition in a sector, that is Nature's way of saying 'hey idiots, go solve the under-solved problems'"

In this buzz, does anyone sense these memes gaining ground in Silicon Valley minds?

Bala Pillai
Global Brain/Acumen Networks/Mind Colonies

I stumbled onto this message board whilst reading an article
about "blog" phenomena from that outstanding journal of cutting
edge news reporting, "The Register".

It is a genuine honor and pleasure, to have been a part of the
underground computer community, since I "got into it" back in
oh, 1984 or so. So I remain with a fierce fire of oposition in
my chest, against that horrid company that won The Browser Wars!
In fact, it's even BENEATH ME to mention their name...or at
most, mention them obliquely, as in "M$".

I couldn't hack my way out of a virtual paper bag, but I sure
have been one tremendously delighted lurker taking ONE BIG LONG

How wonderful to see such innovative spirits emerge once trigger the NEXT ROBOT REVOLUTION, which should really
be UltraFantastic. As some of you may know, I am the author of
the world's only fully-ANSI-animated sci-fi tale, "Sally Jones".
Back then, I still lived under my birth name, Gene Catalano. But
in 1996 I legally changed my name to Zeke Krahlin.

If you care to reincorporate me into your community, my website
does a fine job of portraying my present self, and the great
adventures since I was last an active participant in S.F. Bay
Area BBS's...especially K*FOG, and later SFPCUG.

I was also honored by extensive quoting of one of my e-mails to
SFPCUG, regarding use of number-crunching algorithms to identify
virus invasions. That was for MicroCornucopia Magazine, BTW.
Copy of said article is in the "Flotsam" section of my site:

BTW, I once worked under the direct supervision of Andrew
Fleugelman, when he was at PC World Magazine (then located at
555 DeHaro St., Potrero Hill).

Oh, one more thing: I founded Berkeley Unix User Group or BUUG,
in 2001. I let it go for others to run, as my gift to Berkeley,
for taking such good care of me when I was once homeless (1973).

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Kim says, from Too Much News
March 12, 2003 12:02 AM

Joi Ito's Web: "Just had drinks ... with Kim Polese . She says, "The buzz is back." I agree. People are buzzing in Silicon Valley and you can feel it." Read More

I attended Mygdal's openspace gathering (which is an excellent way of organizing meetings!) and beside some really interesting discussions on how we facilitate the energy, work together, share thoughts and Read More

This company called Segway have this great new thing called a Human Transporter that has gyroscopes in it and is Read More

This company called Segway have this great new thing called a Human Transporter that has gyroscopes in it and is Read More

Joi Ito and Kim Polese sat down for lunch yesterday and agreed that the buzz is back in the Valley, although it probably never left. Several responses were quite cynical knowing the Valley's crash. But I had a few words... Read More