[quote style=”boxed”]With much blood, sweat and not a few tears. Being creative is the most frustrating of activities. There’s no foreplay or climax–just a lot of frustration, aggravation and disappointment.[/quote]
Andrew Keen is an Internet entrepreneur who founded Audiocafe.com in 1995 and built it into a popular, first generation Internet company. He is currently the host of “Keen On” show, the popular Techcrunch chat show, a columnist for CNN and a regular commentator for many other newspapers, radio programs and television networks around the world. He is also an acclaimed speaker who regularly addresses the impact of digital technologies on 21st century business, education and society. He is the author of the international hit CULT OF THE AMATEUR: How The Internet Is Killing Our Culture, which has been published in 17 different languages, and DIGITAL VERTIGO: How Today’s Online Social Revolution Is Dividing, Diminishing and Disorienting Us, his controversial critique of contemporary social media.
What are you working on right now?
Nothing. My new book, DIGITAL VERTIGO, has just come out, and I currently don’t have another book in mind. It’s that delicious and frustrating “no man’s land” of a writer’s life. It’s frustrating because I need another big project; it’s delicious because as soon as I’ve got another project, I’ll be deeply nostalgic for my current inaction.
Where did the idea for DIGITAL VERTIGO come from?
It came from my love of Hitchcock’s movie, Vertigo, my interest in the worlds of John Stuart Mill, Michel Foucault and Jeremy Bentham, and my deep antipathy toward Facebook.
What does your typical day look like?
I begin the day in a foreign hotel bed. I catch an early flight to a foreign airport, then give a speech, give a series of interviews and check into another hotel where I go to bed in another foreign bed.
How do you bring ideas to life?
With much blood, sweat and not a few tears. Being creative is the most frustrating of activities. There’s no foreplay or climax–just a lot of frustration, aggravation and disappointment.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
Selling software that doesn’t work. It taught me that sales is for losers (and I didn’t want to be a loser).
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would save money.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Get a partner who complements all your weaknesses, and who isn’t afraid to criticize you.
What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I never overcame any problems as an entrepreneur, which is why I’ve failed in all my start-up ventures.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The big money opportunity on the Internet in the next year is privacy–selling privacy rather than openness.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
Eliminate inequality by barbecuing the rich.
Tell us a secret.
Everything I say on the Internet (including for this interview) is a self-promotional lie.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
NYTimes.com, TheGuardian.com and BBC.co.uk. They are all carefully curated websites defined by their high-quality, professional content.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Vertigo by W.G. Sebald, because it’s beautifully obscure and obscurely mysterious.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
@ajkeen. He’s the only person who interests me on Twitter.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I’ve never laughed out loud. Unfortunately, the world isn’t that funny.
Who is your hero?
Hitchcock and Orwell, who may, in fact, be the same person.
Andrew Keen on Twitter: @ajkeen
Andrew Keen’s email: [email protected]