The Shallow Outlook on the Future by Mashable’s @petecashmore

It’s probably just me. I probably expect too much when I see someone as highly regarded as Mr. Pete Cashmore -of Mashable fame- to enlighten us with his insight into the future of technology.

Do you mean to tell me that things will get thinner in 2012? And I will be able to “touch” my devices? Whoa…my iPad will be so jealous.

If you tell me things will get shinier, I just might tinkle a little in my underwears.

For Pete’s Sake 

What Mr. Cashmore is choosing to ignore is the large, sweeping, undercurrent that is fundamentally changing the innards of our society.

Sure, technology is aiding the change, but technology is but a Roomba. A mindless drone at the hands of those who use it.

The real change that will be shaping 2012 is driven by the people who use the technology. And these people will change EVERYTHING!

The Power Law No More 

The attention (used to) focus at the top.

Name any industry and you will find that top players –often by sheer dumb luck, law of numbers and immaculate timing- receive all of the spoils.

  • For every Tom Cruz there are thousands of starving actors who are just as good looking and just as talented, but only Tom gets $40 million per picture.
  • For every Wallmart, there are millions of small businesses that deliver better products and better service, but only Wallmart gets to reel-in record profits.
  • For every Pete Cashmore, there are millions of other people who are more insightful and better prepared, but only Pete Cashmore gets to be written up on Mashable. I smell a fix up :-p

The technology of 2012, my dear Pete, will change the distribution of power.

Brand Production

Remember when we used to make things?

Nowadays, the largest companies of the world are hallow. They produce nothing. Your Wallmarts, your Hilfigers , your Proctors and Gambles, and the list goes on. There is no substance, only a shiny wrapper we call Branding.

All production has been outsourced to an area where labor-rights are deregulated. I’m looking at you, Martha.

Even our governments are outsourcing core services to contractors. After all, when Blackwater (now re-Branded as Xe Services) does something wrong, it’s not the government’s fault. But we’ll be sure to review the contract and make adjustments.

Talk about limp-dicked way of doing business. No thanks.

The sweeping undercurrents are fed up with this kind of bullshit, and are using technology to organize.

There’s a revolution outside your office window and answering your boss’s email is really not that important right now. And whether you do it by “touch” or by “mind bullets” is really irrelevant, my dear Pete.

Occupy Everywhere

Occupy Wall Street movement is only a recent expression of those who sense there is something fundamentally fucked up.

The 1 percenters -whether corporate, entertainment, or social media- are going to have the attention for a little while longer, but it wont be the kind of attention you want.

The rest of us are starting to pay attention to one another. We’re talking to each other and we’re finding that we’re better off without you.

We are finding out that the 1 percenters are interested in one thing, and one thing only. Staying on top. But more importantly, they care about staying above us, at all cost. Even at the cost of human dignity.

You’ve noticed this as well, Mr. Cashmore. No? You’ve noticed the drop off in traffic that caused you to resort to HTML trickery. (Refresh my page every 20 seconds, why don’t you? Advertisers wont know the difference).

Top Down No. Bottom Up

The “BIG” thing in future-tech are the “news aggregators”??? Do we really need more ways to gather information?

According to Mr. Mashable, yes, we do. But guess who’s “feeding” us this information? Thats right. Mashable is.

What we really need are ways to distribute OUR information. Bottom up, NOT top down. Lateral newsfeed. Not forced-feed from on high. Publisher We the People. Not YOU, the Mashables of the world.

The Law of Many Starts Now

The trend in technology for 2012 is to enable the rest of us to ignore big Brands. Whether of the corporate kind, entertainment kind or Social Media kind. That’s just what happens when revolutionaries learn how to code.

But I get why you’d want to stick your head in the sand and talk about “touching” your tablet instead.

But who knows…maybe your audience was made up of Encino men, in which case, great job bringing them up to speed on what’s been happening for the last 50 years.

Dino Dogan

Global Force for Badassery | Founder of Triberr | Refugee from Bosnia | Writer for Technorati | Speaker | Lousy Martial Artist | Pretty good singer/songwriter | Hi 🙂

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  • Chrisina_Loyd

    haha! I got that. The “Encino men”. hilarious.

    • dino_dogan

      Nice 🙂 That was a classic….glad you guys are picking up what Im throwing down 🙂 @Chrisina_Loyd

  • Biebert

    I didn’t even know Pete said something…I guess that proves your point. Love the Encino man line.

    BTW, what did he say? Do you have a link? I’m very curious now.

    • dino_dogan

      Mashable doesnt need a link from me, so I didnt include it. Here it is. #nofollow, in the comments 🙂 @Biebert

    • dino_dogan

      but Im warning you….you’ll be wasting half hour. I barely sat through it. @Biebert

      • Biebert

        @dino_dogan It was a total waste of time. I feel bad for AT&T that they paid money to sponsor such a stupid talk. I knew there was a reason I don’t follow this guy on anything. He must have got lucky with Mashable. Frankly, I get all my social media news from my Triberr community. I haven’t been on Mashable since May.

        Now I know why.

        • dino_dogan

          I can forgive him for a boring, un-informative talk. In fact, if he sabotaged himself on purpose then I respect the dude for stealing money from ATT . But the “frame” for the entire talk was so damn unforgivable. I am ashamed for him. @Biebert

  • TheJackB

    I am partial to Encino. It is a real place and I grew up there. Got limited respect for Occupy Wall Street. Don’t want to hear what you think is bad or wrong because anyone can bitch and moan.

    Tell me what is wrong, why it is and how you want to fix things. Give me a plan of action and then we can talk. Otherwise it is just a waste of time.

    • dino_dogan

      You’re already doing it, Jack.

      The only difference between us and Mashable is the distribution network, but as you’re well aware of, thats changing fast 🙂 @TheJackB

  • wonderoftech

    Great post, Dino. I especially appreciate the Roomba analogy. Engagement is the key and you took Mashable’s message and engaged other readers with it. Way to prove your point. Simply brilliant.

    I hope your 2012 proves even more engaging than your very impressive 2011.

    • dino_dogan

      Thnx Carolyn. I noticed you redesigned your blog….I especially love the T in WT…as you can imagine, I’ve experimented with quite a number of “Ts” for another logo of mine 🙂 @wonderoftech

  • osakasaul

    I’m old enough to remember when U.S.A Today was unloaded, and we felt like this. McNews, denatured for the masses. No private jokes, no soul-to-the-sammich,the thing you’d expect of your Italian Hoagie. Down with top-down mass-feeders.

  • EugeneFarber

    I disagree Dino. I think Encino Man probably picked up on this by now. 🙂

    • dino_dogan

      LMAO. I thought Encino man line was obscure but classics never go out of style I suppose :-). @EugeneFarber

  • Billy_Delaney

    Hello Dino!

    It is refreshing to hear your point of view. It seems that a few years ago several individuals got ‘puffed’ by the establishment with the social scene, grew an income by design or accident; and then forgot that it happened that way. I’m sure they worked hard with this opportunity that came their way, and why not indeed.

    But things have changed.

    I don’t read Mashable, the BBC does a better job than anyone in the world with compressing news across the planet, either in video, audio or text. I don’t intend to read Mashable, I don’t even understand what the hype about it is!

    I find that sites like this can pinpoint the issues, bring an insight that is funny, baudy, refreshing and on target… all the time.

    I like to view your videos more than visit this site, because you certainly bring moments of humour and insight that only video can impart.

    So thanks for this mashing of Mashable, and yes indeed the spread is horizontal, clustered and tribal and I’m all for that…


    • dino_dogan

      I just updated Rockmelt. It’s a browser I use for Social Media related crap. One of its BEST features was ability to bookmark RSS feeds in an easily accessible location. However, since the latest software update, that function is GONE. The only thing I can index now are RSS feeds from sites who are on Rockmelt’s App list. And guess what. Bill Delaney’s RSS is not on that list. And neither is mine. It’s as if certain software developers are purposefully opting for “from on high” news model. I dont get it. @Billy_Delaney

  • cmajaski

    The greatest part of technology is that it enables those of us who would not know otherwise…to know. Great piece, Mr. Dogan. Maybe one of your best.

    • dino_dogan

      Why thank you, Miss Christina. Thats mighty kind of you :-p @cmajaski

  • Mark_Harai

    Well stated Dino – bravo!

    • dino_dogan

      thnx Mark. I just dont understand these social media 1 percenters. They have an opportunity here that they’re squandering; all the while they could be doing great things with low friction and low cost, high yield. WTF? @Mark_Harai

  • kathikruse

    Awesome post Dino! I was just listening to a podcast from @mitchjoel (Media Hacks) where they were talking about the death of the middle man and how technology is reducing the amount of “friction” between us consumers and the people who provide products and services. Corporations ARE interested in only one thing and that one thing is not what life’s all about. The Occupy movement has taken hold, it’s a hashtag for everyone who wants to contribute their ideas on how we can fix this f*cked up mess. What the mass marketers don’t get is that Occupy ideals are filtering into every part of our consciousness and YES, “we are better off without you”!!! Ding dong the #witchisdead

    • dino_dogan

      I know Mitch well, his taste in music is atrocious :-p His podcast on the other hand is always great. Plus he hates it when I call him a 1 percenter, or when I say “Mitch Joels of the world” lol.. #GoodTimes @kathikruse @mitchjoel

      • kathikruse

        Lol #GoodTimes indeed. It’s a great time to be here during the revolution. @dino_dogan @mitchjoel

      • mitchjoel

        @dino_dogan@kathikruse lol… awesome response. I have nothing else to add, except that I am going to watch some Dokken videos while trying to figure out how to because a “Dino Dogans of the world.”

        • dino_dogan

          We’re the dream warriors. And I dont want to dream no more lol Actually that sounds kind of appropriate 🙂 @mitchjoel @kathikruse

        • mitchjoel

          @dino_dogan@kathikruse OK, nobody is going to catch that one except for you me… and maybe joesorge

  • tracyschutz


    How you make me smile… this post makes you sound grumpy. Do you need a Snickers bar Betty White? I agree with you on many levels, but~~> this is also coming from YOU. YOU have more “clout” than most of the people who read big trenders or aggregators out there. When looking for information, the small people are like water; they follow the path of least resistance, safety in numbers, and all that other cliche crap. I am a small people, but I like to swim upstream and make waves by nature; therefore I have a brain and use it to make my own decisions. Amazing how some people can’t figure this out though…

    No worries, Pinky and the Brain will try to take over the world again tomorrow. Keep on, keepin on my friend.


    • dino_dogan

      I was seething listening to Pete blather on about how things will get shinier. These guys have a platform and they are squandering it. Grumpy? Maybe 🙂 Motivated? Definitely! And how dare you say I have clout? lol. @tracyschutz

      P.S. Love the Pinky and the Brain reference 🙂

  • StartYourNovel

    More power to us, Dino, more power to us. I too feel that the Pete Cashmores of this world are overrated. And to be honest I feel the same about the Chris Brogans, Darren Rowses and Whatsisnames of this world, too. It seems to me that they are good at something they call “engagement,” but the buck stops there.

    That’s really all they know about. If I want to learn more on, say, yoga for the disabled or crop rotation or jquery, do I really want to turn to a guy who “blogs about tweeting and tweets about blogging”? Hell no. Most of these people are all about surface. Dig deep and all you find is more surface. I can’t read most ‘A-list’ blogs; they’re very popular for… nothing much. Because they engage people? Yeah, they do that. What else do they have to offer? There’s so much *circularity*, such discursive limitation — which, I fear, isn’t entirely intentional.

    Your post reflects that awareness too, when you comment that such and such a brand is “hollow.”

    That’s right. Brands are hollow. Brands aren’t people. Only people have values — brands don’t. And brands don’t want to bet on the kind of future they can’t control. In fact I’d go so far as to say that plenty of brands are actively fighting against the future — what I would call an ‘open future,’ that is — each one trying to outdo the competition by going cheaper, nastier and sleazier. But not necessarily innovating in any meaningful way.

    Now, here’s a question that’s been on my mind lately. The Internet is bringing back a tribal feel, showing us all how much we really have in common no matter what continent we live in, or what our native language happens to be. Does this mean that a return to the tribal mindset is a return to tribal values, and that this return will be hijacked by brands who want to foster a not-so-new type of ‘brand loyalty’, now driven by a new ease in communicating across the globe?

    Or, will corporations find it harder and harder to capture the hearts and minds of active, conscientious citizens driven by moral principles?

    • dino_dogan

      Dude…awesome question. And the answer is a resounding YES! Brands ARE hijacking trends. In fact, I have a post in the works about exactly that. Chipotle has hijacked the “organic”, “return to nature” trend for their corporate brand. WTF is organic or natural about Chipotle? They are the McDonalds of sudo-Mexican food. But yup..they sure are Branding themselves as such. Look for that post in January 🙂 @StartYourNovel

  • BruceSallan

    Love your optimism DD…I still say the world is going to end when the Aztecs predicted it…when is that? Or, when was that?

    • dino_dogan

      The world might end in 2012. A certain kind of world, that is. And I hope that happens. @BruceSallan

  • hensel

    I agree. I think Mashable has transformed in 2011 from serving the freshest news in social media to rewriting hot blog posts and putting the Mashable sauce over it, and frankly that sauce is pretty boring. In 2010 I loved reading Mashable, in 2011 I am ignoring it. The news, the ideas are pretty much old news, older strategies, and boring perspectives. Triberr has revived me to find social media news that is hot, from numerous numerous perspectives that drive discussion.

    Mashable might still be able to get the page views, because of the mass of content they have created over the years. It’s not where you want to go as a professional in the industry to get fed, to get inspired and to connect with professionals.

    • dino_dogan

      Their readership dropped off along the same timeline as you mention. Which is why they employ HTML trickery to compensate. You dont want to lose that sweet ad money. It’s sad really. To be in such a advantageous position and squander the opportunity to do something meaningful. @hensel

      • hensel

        @dino_dogan Where did we hear that story before… People don’t want the product, and run away and site owners upping the tricks to improve the numbers…. Welcome to Spam Land.

        • dino_dogan

          Familiar story indeed, but it sounds like you have a specific case in mind? @hensel

    • tonygreene113

      @hensel the “mashable sauce” has grown rather bland for the past couple of years..

      • dino_dogan

        @tonygreene113 @hensel Assuming it existed in the first place, yes, I agree.

        And the blandness is reflected in their traffic as well. There was a HUGE drop off before they implemented the “refresh” function. Now the numbers are high again, but it doesnt count since the numbers are cooked. However, I dont think advertisers know this.

  • PaulFlanigan

    A little late to this game, but I thought I would add my 1%.

    The Cashmores and Brogans of the world do two things very well: Sell their knowledge, and sell themselves. That’s what they do. You won’t hear Cashmore tell you that the best place find news is Google, or current online cultural events on Reddit. He’s not going to sell you something (or someone) else. And the insane amount of technological evolution has made everyone a dreamer, but not many are going to put their money on their dreams; they would be obsolete by March.

    I think most people are just seeing through the ruse. The “knowledge” most people have IS aggregated from other sources into a neat package for the speaker to sell.

    No conspiracy theory here. Heck I do it to sometimes. But the often disingenuous pitch just rings hollow.

  • FranciscoRosales

    Great post Dino, I specially like your points on technology and this quote from Clay Shirky comes to mind:

    “A revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new tools. It happens when society adopts new behaviors.”

    • dino_dogan

      Love that quote by cshirky Nice find…I think I’ll use it in a post 🙂 socialmouths @FranciscoRosales

      • FranciscoRosales

        @dino_dogancshirkysocialmouths I wrote it down somewhere to use later on a post and forgot about it but it immediately came to mind half way your post.

    • dino_dogan

      Love that quote by cshirky Nice find…I think I’ll use it in a post 🙂 socialmouths @FranciscoRosales

  • Payton_vege

    Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!