David Weinberger's "Everything is Miscellaneous" book talk at Google

May 18, 2007

Just watched this talk.

I like Weinberger – not only because he writes great stuff and is one of the authors of “Cluetrain”, but also because I happened to bump into him once and share a ride in Paris metro. And he still owns me a beer for that ;) I made a point to read his latest book and also some of his earlier work that should be arriving shortly.

His latest book deals with a topic that I’m interested in, and that is the organization of things and information in the world. I like small, simple, approachable interpretations of complex subjects, and that’s exactly what this is. Some reviews have said that it’s a great book that doesn’t say much new, but simply organizes known things in a great novel way. And sometimes that’s much more valuable than obtaining profoundly new knowledge.

The “2.0” sphere keeps exploding and people keep making up all sorts of things about semantic web, tagging, search, folksonomies, and build all sorts of products on top of that. “Everything is miscellanous” provides a healthy frame of reference to these things and explains what all of this is really about and why it matters. It also aligns well with values of liberalism, democracy and citizen media – you no longer have these authoritative people making categorization and editorial decisions for you – instead, everyone can make up their own taxonomies about everything if they want to.

The video is a summary of his basic ideas powering the book – or so I think, I haven’t read it yet, but I will. I very rarely watch such talk videos but this one I watched in one sitting and you should too, because not only is the subject matter interesting and relevant if you’re trying to work in the “information economy”, but Weinberger is also simply a great and entertaining speaker.