In Why We're Like a Million Monkeys on Treadmills, Steve Rubel doesn't exactly say why we're like the monkeys, but does talk about something I noticed quite a while ago...

The Web 2.0 construction boom is bigger now than it ever was. Techcrunch, Scobleizer and Mashable leave me all breathless. It's like watching the cranes of Dubai rise. We're a million monkeys running on treadmills, chasing the latest banana. Myself included! The breathing apparatus in the photo above reminds me of my Google Reader stream!

I left a comment on that entry that I'll republish here:

...only if you choose to read them, Steve. The information and sites exist to serve you, not to make you feel overwhelmed. Feel free to use the unsubscribe button now and then. You'll be surprised at the sense of relief if provides.

He went on to say:

These days, I am far more interested in what people do with technology rather than on what the latest new "shiny object" is. My friend Brian Reich calls this "Shiny Object Syndrome." That's why I am writing longer pieces once per day rather than many short posts.

It's funny. Over a year ago I unsubscribed from Steve's blog because he had a habit of writing in breathless fashion about the latest shiny new thing--often several times a day. I made an conscious decision to drop virtually all "news" sources from my subscription list that felt like breathless hype machines that provided little new insight.

My mental state improved quite a bit after that.

It's great to hear that Steve is going back to a slower and more thoughtful pace. Perhaps it's time to re-subscribe. I see too many people I know getting caught up in the breathless hype and forgetting to think about whether the latest shiny new thing really matters in the grand scheme of things.

Sooner or later the treadmill is going to tire you out...

Posted by jzawodn at July 17, 2007 01:25 PM

Reader Comments
# Dave McClure said:

personally, i think you're right about steve's post (kettle, black!). especially for someone in PR, i find his record on hype a bit questionable.

that said, at the moment i would say the hype around at least the Facebook Platform *is* actually justified. in fact, i think we're ready for an explosion of new stuff (mostly crap, some good, and a few great). Kind of similar to when Visual Basic came out... everyone thought it would enable programmers with no talent to produce apps... and they were right. but it also enabled a bunch of cool apps & an ecosystem was born.

well, Facebook just enabled the same thing to happen for the web. welcome to Renaissance 2.0 :)

- dave mcclure

on July 17, 2007 03:38 PM
# Percy said:

I did the unsubscribing thing myself and I can't say I miss the 'latest' news. The news comes to me eventually if it's so important and if I need something I know where to look anyway.

I keep paring my feeds to ensure that I don't spend my waking hours reading feeds but I could be a bit more ruthless I think.

on July 18, 2007 06:54 AM
# Ed Kohler said:

Great points. I take a similar approach by avoiding, for example, gadget sites with previews of phones that won't ship for ages. What do I gain from that content? I couldn't figure it out.

Steve's low point, for me, was his fascination with Second Life. We now seem to be in Second Life blowback phase where businesses are realizing they do business in the real world.

on July 18, 2007 07:39 AM
# Rob Steele said:

Shiny? New? New AND Shiny? Arghhh, let me at it...

on July 18, 2007 08:12 AM
# Garry Conn said:

For me it's a little difficult to keep up with all the different Web 2.0 networks being offered. FaceBook is real cool but what is next. I can invest time into establishing myself in FaceBook and then in the next few months something else is going to surface. And from that point everyone migrates to the new service, everyone joins, uploads their pics, publishes their profiles... to me its all a little mind boggling. About two years ago when I got into blogging, I would run myself ragged trying to keep up. Today, things are different. I have a few communities that I keep my stuff updated but mostly I just write to my blog and people naturally find me. Things are much better this way, for me at least. I do what I enjoy doing and don't spend as much time worring about the Web 2.0 social networking bit. Again, it is great... but it's very hard to keep up with. Especially where there are so many places that try to re-invent the wheel. It all reminds me of when reality TV shows started to surface. We had Big Brother and Survivor. And now today, it seems a new reality show appears on TV once a week. All in all, I am happy doing what I do without worring about joining all the social networks. FaceBook might break that rule though, simply because it is cool. :)

on July 19, 2007 03:03 PM
# Kenneth Hunt said:

I remember the days before everyone was balkanized on to social networks -- oh what an irony. Now it's who's on Facebook, vs Linkedin vs MySpace...

Digital Identity was supposed to solve the balkanization, but in the quest for the almighty buck, the big players ignored interoperability -- refusing to adapt, adopt, or use what was emergent. I heard a podcast last night talking about AOL's OpenID initiative.

Then there was the DIGG post about feeding twitter output through a RSS generator to populate your facebook profile. The technical definition of a 'hack'


on July 20, 2007 09:41 AM
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