Jeff Jarvis spent the first part of his career in print journalism, writing for publications such as the San Francisco Examiner and the New York Daily News. He became an early proponent of the open Internet and still works at the intersection of old and new media.
In this audiobook, Jarvis lends his enthusiastic and professorial voice to his own brief study of technological disruption, Gutenberg the Greek. Jarvis argues that Johannes Gutenberg - famed 15th-century inventor of the printing revolution - was the precursor and de facto role model of modern innovators such as Steve Jobs. < i>Gutenberg the Greek is a lesson in overcoming technological obstacles, recognizing opportunities, and mitigating risk, and listeners can enjoy its entirety on one 30-minute trek to the office.
Johannes Gutenberg was our first geek, the original technology entrepreneur, who had to grapple with all the challenges a Silicon Valley startup faces today. Jeff Jarvis tells Gutenberg's story from an entrepreneurial perspective, examining how he overcame technology hurdles, how he operated with the secrecy of a Steve Jobs, but then shifted to openness, how he raised capital and mitigated risk, and how, in the end, his cash flow and equity structure did him in. This is also the inspiring story of a great disruptor - which is what makes Gutenberg the patron saint of entrepreneurs.
Jeff Jarvis is the author of Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live and What Would Google Do?: Reverse-Engineering the Fastest Growing Company in the History of the World. He directs the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.
©2012 Jeff Jarvis (P)2013 Audible Inc.
This essay is a must reading for any technologist or entrepreneur. Jarvis does a fantastic job of reframing the story of Gutenberg from the modern point of view of Silicon Valley and the analogy not only works but is inspiring. Understanding Gutenberg's trials and tribulations in terms of the technology, the capital he needed, and the deals he cut are fascinating. Perhaps most importantly, Jarvis notes that because of losing his invention to his investor Gutenberg began to teach the world about how to use his invention. The first open source revolution.
It was a pleasure to listen to it.
Sure, if they're interested in the history of the printing press and/or disruptive technologies.
Nope. The proper next step would be to read a more drawn out history of Gutenberg.
Some of the entrepreneurial comparisons to Silicon Valley are tiresome, though that's probably my own personal distaste for the economic and cultural canonization of tech CEOs. At the same time, comparisons made to technologies like the Internet and web search (e.g., Google) make this book (well, essay) worth reading. Most interesting to me is how the printing press not only heralded an unprecedented, widespread circulation of ideas, but also that many of those ideas were seen as unsavory, unscrupulous, or even illegal. Today, we see the similar trends in social networks and easy-access publishing tools that give ideas an immediate global reach (e.g., ISIL propaganda). Decades passed before the effects of the printing press were even partially fathomed by those whose lives it touched. When will the dust of the information age finally settle?
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