2013 has been kind to one of Silicon Valley’s most iconic characters – the blogger, tech evangelist and writer Robert Scoble. He published a well received new book, Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy, with Shel Israel, that not only has already sold 10,000 copies but has also received corporate sponsorship from ten technology companies including Rackspace and Microsoft.
So how, I asked Scoble, will we look back at the year? What’s been the biggest deal about 2013?
“The maturation of mobile,” Scoble says. We’ll remember 2013 as the year in which “smartphone dominance” and the emergence of portable products like Google Glass and Fitbit reshaped the industry. Which is why Scoble made Tapingo, the e-commerce app, the most interesting new company of 2013. But his Person of 2013 has less to do with mobile. It’s Elon Musk. “Elon is the man”, Scoble says, not only because he is revolutionizing the car industry, but because he is pioneering space travel too.
According to Scoble, however, not everything has been rosy in Silicon Valley in 2013. He’s worried about the new inequality – “Two Californias” he calls it – dividing a small rich tech class from everyone else. And this is “going to get worse”, Scoble warns, as scale enables startups like Snapchat to establish massive user bases with a tiny number of employees.
2014 is just around the corner. So stay tuned in a couple of weeks for Scoble’s preview of 2014 and his take on the technologies, companies and individuals which are going to make it big next year.