Robert Stein

What exactly do you do?

Do you see books completely disappearing?

Do you ever see video games getting published on the same scale as books?

Robert Stein came in to give us a talk. Bob is the founder and co-founder of the Institute for the Future of the Book and founder of the Voyager Company. He specializes in the publishing of creative works. Bob spoke to us about how we can “look back to look forward”. For example, he stressed that the truth is complex, and referenced Wikipedia and how one can see the full truth by looking the edits history on the page. He also talked about how we are now in the collaborative age, and how exciting it can be; we now have the internet and it connects people allowing them to work together even if they aren’t physically together. Robert continued to talk about some of the past publication shifts. For example he brought up how he participated in producing the first film commentaries and some of the first e-books. Finally, he discussed the general future of books and how the publishing of expressive works is changing.

I thought that this talk was somewhat interesting. I personally always like to know about the history of certain technologies. I found this talk more practically useful than interesting. I think much of the concepts that Robert covered are very valuable. For example, the idea of finding a complex version of the truth instead of simply accepting a narrow version is a very important practice. I also found his points on the amazing nature and importance of the collaborative age quite relevant to us as a program. Additionally we saw a snip-it of “The Mother of all Demos” and I thought that this gave great insight into the development of publication. This talk will greatly affect the design process for the final publication for this course.