Valley Brats in Rolling Stone’s Tech Issue: trends in journalism (weekend off)

rollingwiredrossAnd now for something completely different! Sometimes life is just simply life for me without any extension. This is Life.exe. So at the weekends during the largely dead webtimes, I’ll blog about other things than stem cells, regenerative medicine, maximum life extension and biotech. This week offstory is a report, which shows the transformation of the now mainstream, once countercultural Rolling Stone magazine into a Wired-type Zeitgeist patterned techweb conglomerate. I bought the 16th November issue because it seemed like a Wired magazine by cover and content too: (inversely, look at the december Wired cover: it is Rolling Stone-like):

– coverboys and story are not the usual nice bodymaniac popceleb men&women but Colbert&Stewart

– blogs of musicians,

– long report on a radical idea by a planetary engineer to stop global warming,

– a big article with the title: The Baby Billionaires of Silicon Valley.

That is about the Valley Brats, the hidden power clique of under 30 übergeeks in the Bay Area, like Firefox main creator Blake Ross, social site Facebook‘s Zuckerberg, Seth Sternberg of all instant-messaging app Meebo, who all exhibited an early DIY passion and a healthy disdain for the status quo.” Their fraternity handshake is “removing the batteries from their cell phones and slamming them on the table” when they meet. Many guys (and where are the girls?) ouf of them left Ivy Leagues schools, like their organizer, superFedex same day delivery system LicketyShip’s Pazornik, to go to the Valley, growing big and funded by hungry venture capitalists. “There’s too much money chasing too few deals”– says Sequoia Capital’s Roelof Botha, so chance is of vaporware, never materialized hype in geek-speak. “Every VC has dollar sings in their eyes again” – as Ross put it – and “is looking for another enormous home run in the time frame You Tube did it.”

wiredrollingJournalist David Kushner’s trick is that he introduces these iconic young guns as everyday college students while exploring their enormous ambitions and loser fears. I think this will be an ever-growing trend in traditional journalism, that mainstream magazines and daily newspapers of every sort are trying to concentrate more and more on webhappenings (scan through recent Forbes’ and Fortunes, check New York Times) while original web centered magazines like Business 2.0 are focusing on Real Estate. This strategy is dictated by real time circumstances and could be the survival bet of offline journals. And inversely in a world, where everybody is prone to consider him/herself a geek, it is hard to manage a restricted geek journal further with the old niche audience.

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2 thoughts on “Valley Brats in Rolling Stone’s Tech Issue: trends in journalism (weekend off)

  1. Back when I was working at Rolling Stone, around ’94 or ’95, we inaugurated a Technology page. We also started doing yearley Tech issues with big sections about technology in music and out. I bought the original Palm Pilot that we shot for publication. It was a good attempt to stay relevant to younger types even as they were putting Bonnie Raitt and Tom Petty on the cover.

  2. Wow, a little piece of American journalism history. Thanks. For old shool Wired journalists Rolling Stone’s type of storytelling was a compulsory effect, which helped them to popularize tech people and products in a stonean way. Now we see the other direction of the idea traffic between the 2 magazines.

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