Flash Mob Flashback

March 29th, 2006
flash mob retrospective

Nobody asks anymore, but now I can finally tell people who invented flash mobs.

He’s Harper’s magazine editor Bill Wasik, and he revealed his identity to the public in this month’s issue.

In the article Bill credited me with naming flash mobs flash mobs.

Bill, thanks for kicking off the fun. I don’t share all your interpretations of what flash mobs were. I certainly don’t view Stanley Milgram through your eyes. And I think flash mobs turned out less hipster-centric than you expected, at least beyond Manhattan. (How many hipsters can you count in these photos?)

But bravo; this was one the funniest spectacles I’ve taken part in. Core to the fun for me were all the wild interpretations people put forth, how earnest and sure of themselves most commentators seemed, and the vast differences between interpretations. Now the guy who started it all finally chimed in with the most surreal interpretation yet, closing the circle.

Thanks Bill and the rest of the flash mobbers. If nothing else, we slipped a bit of prankster graffiti into the Oxford English Dictionary.

(A minor correction: the article claimed that I named the phenomenon after “Flash Crowd,” a 1973 short story that I’d never heard of until the flash mob fad was in full swing. For the record: Howard Rheingold’s book “Smart Mobs” probably influenced the name, but “Flash Crowd” didn’t.)

[tags]flash mobs, flash mob, memewrangling, culture hacking, situationism, flash crowd[/tags]

Seeking Office Space for Coworking

March 28th, 2006

The Coworking project’s goal is to create a new sort of digitally-augmented office/collaboration space for independent workers in cities around the world.

I’m psyched about this because (1) I don’t have an office and I’d love to set up shop in such a coworking space for at least a day a week, and (2) location-based tech and digitally-augmented urban spaces are things that make my heart go pitter-patter. Coworking spaces can be great incubators and testing grounds for this mojo. This stuff is what PlaceSite is all about, and I’m excited to see how we can adapt PlaceSite to boost collaboration and creative cross-pollination in these spaces.

The San Francisco coworking project is looking for a largish, relatively inexpensive office space or warehouse in town to house our first coworking space. We’re particularly interested in the areas around 20th and Mission, 16th and De Haro, and South Park. We’re open to other places in the city near BART and other transit, and preferably near cafes.

If you know anyone who might lease out such a space, please drop me a line.

To learn more about the Coworking project and to contribute, check out the project wiki.

[tags]coworking, san francisco, sfcoworking, tehspace[/tags]

feral marketing?

March 27th, 2006

Someone mailed me a wonderful mysterious object. It glows and pulsates red, green, blue. Two now-cancelled postage stamps are attached. It’s painted with my name and address, a funky little face and the phrase “SAVE THE WORD.”

“Save the word?” What could that mean?

If this is part of a marketing scheme, bravo. I’ll bite, I’m spreading the word about who knows what. If the sender is reading this: thanks!

In other news: I think it’s time to resuscitate cheesebikini.

[tags]art, marketing[/tags]


March 24th, 2006

Note: From now on I’ll post most of my photos on my Flickr photostream.


March 7th, 2006

Props to Chris Messina for the flyer

PlaceSite at ETech / New Partnerships

March 7th, 2006

I’m presenting PlaceSite this afternoon at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in San Diego. If you’re attending, please come say hi! Also: we’re teaming up with a few other scrappy startups to rent out a bar and host a party Wednesday night starting at 9 pm at the Caskroom, 550 Park Blvd., San Diego. If you’re in town, drop in and say hi!

In other news — today at ETech we’re announcing two new partnerships, with Sputnik and WaveStorm. Both are wi-fi infrastructure companies who help retail establishments and other venues to set up, maintain and manage public wi-fi networks. Sputnik’s an American firm based in San Francisco; WaveStorm is based in Paris and serves customers in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. PlaceSite’s community wi-fi software will be offered to customers of these firms.