For those of us in the business of making technology for the People of the Internet, it’s easy to get jaded by the mainstreaming of technology which we once found new and exciting. Americans in particular seem to be a little guilty of this, particularly if they live near a coast. While Twitter, Facebook and Firefox move further into the homes of our friends and parents, it’s good to see this as an opportunity and not a sign that the end has come.
I’ve had the good fortune of meeting fellow nerds from all over the world, and I’ve noticed the ones who don’t come from Silicon Valley remain enchanted by technology and its promise to make the world better. They’re the ones hacking away on Twitter and Firefox and really pushing the envelope on the future for those products. Many of top Firefox add-on developers come from Europe and Asia, and Brazil’s wholesale adoption of open source and social software is a phenomenon to behold. Korea’s obsession with Starcraft shows no signs of waning eleven years after that game’s release.
While our short attention spans compel us to keep creating and trying new things, does our eagerness to invent prevent us from honing our craft? Does great software evolve through people who lose their otaku sense of wonder? Seesmic relocated to San Francisco in an attempt to secure respect in the startup world, but I wonder if Silicon Valley, with its populace of short-attention-span inhabitants, will continue to be the epicenter of technology moving forward.
I’m not terribly worried about America- I still see that twinkle in the eyes of my friends and colleagues from other parts of the country, but I do think that we should get over ourselves and try to remember that technology that makes the lives of people better is something that we want in the hands of as many folks as possible.