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John Micklethwait is Documented@Davos Transcript

John Micklethwait is Documented@Davos Transcript

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Published by: DocumentedatDavos on Jan 26, 2012
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John Micklethwait is Documented@Davos TranscriptDocumented@Davos 2012
NICK: Hello, I'm here at documented@DAVOS. I'm Nick Hilton, I'm the technology reporter for The NewYork Times and a columnist on the Bits blog. And I'm here with Trip Adler who is the co-founder andCEO of Scribd. And I'm also here with John Micklethwait who is the editor in chief of The Economist.JOHN: Thank you.NICK: How is your DAVOS going so far, Trip?TRIP: It's great. I just got in last night. I've been having a little bit of trouble navigating with all the snow,but it's been excellent to be here. This is my second year attending, and it's just great to get outside SiliconValley and interact with a lot of people just from different countries and different backgrounds, and just geta broader perspective on what's happening in the world.NICK: And yours, John?JOHN: It's going well. Slightly--NICK: Is this your first?JOHN: No, it's my fifth. I always look on DAVOS as a version of speed dating. You see a lot of peoplevery quickly. But it is very efficient.NICK: Have you met your significant other yet on here?JOHN: Sadly, I'm already married. That's always a possibility.
NICK: So as someone who has been here five times, have you seen a lot of changes as far as the waytechnology has become a part of the discussion here?JOHN: Yes, technology every year gets bigger. And every year you see technology gradually pushing intomore bits. There are cleverer ways, cleverer gizmos to do things. And each time, on the whole, pretty muchevery DAVOS I've been to, the optimism has pretty much always come from Trip's region, it's come fromSilicon Valley. Even when things were awful in 2008, you could go and see Google, and they gave you atleast a slice of optimism.NICK: So, Trip, we were talking earlier about the future of reading and devices and all that fun stuff. Howdo you feel about where technology and reading is today compared to where it was maybe even last year?TRIP: I think it's evolved quite a bit in the last year. We went through a tremendous period of change in thereading space. I mean, just with the new devices coming out, the impact social is having on reading, theway apps are becoming great for reading, better than web browsers. There's been a lot of change takingplace. But at the same time, I think we're still very early in the evolution of reading. You've seen hugetransformations happen in music and in video. But on the reading side of things, I think we're still muchearlier. It's almost kind of like the pre-iTunes era. I think we're going to see just a lot more change in thenext decade or so.NICK: What do you mean by the pre-iTunes era? Are we waiting for an iTunes for reading, or--TRIP: I think we are. Right now reading is very fragmented, right? There's a number of different formatspeople are reading on, there's a number of different devices. People are going to individual publishers andhave completely different experiences. And I think over time, you're going to see these differentexperiences aggregate in a more unified experience. So it will be kind of like an iTunes of reading, or aSpotify or Netflix of reading.NICK: With The Economist, you guys have an iPad app that I believe has been pretty successful, right?JOHN: Yes.NICK: Do you approach your editorial differently when you're writing or creating for the iPad experienceor for the print experience?

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