The Internet is not for porn, but rather connecting

Airbnb, Twitter, Etsy. At their core (besides making money), these services connect people to other interested parties that they couldn’t before reach.

Airbnb, which serves as an intermediary between those looking for lived-in, homey alternatives to hotels and those looking to rent out their homes for substantial side incomes. Airbnb raised $112 M back in 2011, is valued at $10B, and has aspirations to evolve into their own hospitality brand.

Twitter, giving voice to revolutionaries in Syria; Twitter, that broke the Bin Laden raid; Twitter, that is now banned in Turkey, along with “legitimate” news sources. The Twitter Hashtag is now securely in our lexicon (see below). Careers rise and fall on Twitter.

Etsy, a service that connects small-time, nighttime garage tinkerers with people who want to buy a one-run, kick-ass guitar hero scarf. Previously, these sellers had no platform, no market, and now the most successful have the opportunity to go into mass production. That’s <u>amazing</u>.

Here’s my version of the History of the Internet™:

  1. Universities connect to share knowledge and pool resources
  2. Segmentation: ISPs carve of sections of the Internet
  3. Consumption: the Internet is for porn. It’s for cat memes. It’s for wasting countless hours
  4. Where we are now ——> Glorious Age of Enlightenment: the Internet is once again for connecting. It links you to people who can not only appreciate your project, but CONTRIBUTE to it

Here are some examples of the Golden Age:

  • 16-year old Mongolia-native Battushig Myanganbayar completed (and aced—one of 340 out of 150,000 to do so) MIT’s sophomore-level electrical engineering class in his home village in Mongolia, over a horrendously slow internet connection, and in a second language. At the professors’ suggestion, he applied to and matriculated from the school, where he still aces courses, only now in person
  • Internet.org, a joint venture between Facebook, Ericsson, Opera, Samsung, and more, aims to bring Internet services to the 2/3 of the planet that don’t have Internet, or as they say, “The Next Billion”
  • Google Loon, to boil down to three words: Internet Delivering Balloons. Another effort to bring Internet to underserved regions of the world

So the Internet has a lot of porn. It has a lot of cats. It has a lot of areas where you can waste time, money, and brainpower. But there is a growing capability—and with it, a growing desire—for connection, for collaboration, and for creation.

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