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It started with punk. Hip-hop, rave, graffiti, and gaming took it to another level, and now modern technology has made the ideas and innovations of youth culture increasingly intimate and increasingly global at the same time.

In The Pirate's Dilemma, VICE magazine's Matt Mason -- poised to become the Malcolm Gladwell of the iPod Generation -- brings the exuberance of a passionate music fan and the technological savvy of an IT wizard to the task of sorting through the changes brought about by the interface of pop culture and innovation. He charts the rise of various youth movements -- from pirate radio to remix culture -- and tracks their ripple effect throughout larger society. Mason brings a passion and a breadth of intelligence to questions such as the following: How did a male model who messed with disco records in the 1970s influence the way Boeing designs airplanes? Who was the nun who invented dance music, and how is her influence undermining capitalism as we know it? Did three high school kids who remixed Nazis into Smurfs in the 1980s change the future of the video game industry? Can hip-hop really bring about world peace? Each chapter crystallizes the idea behind one of these fringe movements and shows how it combined with technology to subvert old hierarchies and empower the individual.

With great wit and insight -- and a cast of characters that includes such icons as the Ramones, Andy Warhol, Madonna, Russell Simmons, and 50 Cent -- Mason uncovers the trends that have transformed countercultural scenes into burgeoning global industries and movements, ultimately changing our way of life.
Published: Free Press on Jan 8, 2008
ISBN: 9781416554011
List price: $13.99
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This is a history, really, of inventions and ideas by the youth culture since Steve Job invented the Apple computer and forward. At first it seems to be the history of hip hop music and illegal downloading of music from the Internet, but it really is a history of all kinds of entrepreneurs who developed ways of making a living by starting with a music idea, forming a band maybe, then selling shoes and the rest of a wardrobe type products. The point the author makes is he supports the youth culture because it is inventive. He thinks that copying from someone is not such a bad thing because this leads to creatiing something new. The history is wonderful...what I did not know about hip hop, raves, rock and the like! Terrible writing however, as bad as mine. But it is worth struggling through for the content.read more
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Matt Mason traces the current web 2.0 movement back to the 1970’s punk rock culture. He starts with focus on a quote from punk fanzine Sniffin’ Glue with a diagram showing three finger positions on the neck of a guitar with the caption: “Here’s one chord, here’s two more, now form your own band.” In a 2.0 world, doing-it-yourself does not seem that radical anymore. Anyone can be published author on the web. You can jump onto Blogger and in a few minutes have a powerful web publishing platform up and running in a few minutes.Mason looks to some early punk bands who played for themselves and your buddies. Then maybe a few friends come along. If other people come then great, but it does not matter that much because you are doing for yourself and few people close to you.Mason focuses mostly on music, but in the background I was thinking more about blogging. It does not make much sense to put together and a print a book that only a few hundred people will read. That is a big deployment of capital with an improbable return on investment. With web 2.0 the capital for distribution and publishing is minimal. A blog with only a few hundred readers is successful.Mason labels the new business as “punk capitalism.” The businesses often are not in it for the money. They would like to cover their costs and have few dollars of profit. But they are not in it for the money.Seth Godin in Unleashing the Ideavirus: “It took 40 years for radio to have 10 million users. . . 15 years for TV to have 10 million users, and it took Hotmail and Napster less than year. . . The time it takes for an idea to circulate is approaching zero.”Web 2.0 movement is allowing a bigger audience of creators, a more rapid efficient distribution of information at less cost. It seems a little strange to be reading these concepts in a book.Thanks to the delightful Connie Crosby of Crosby Group Consulting for giving me the book.read more
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Something I think I should read more than something I want to read ...read more
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This is a history, really, of inventions and ideas by the youth culture since Steve Job invented the Apple computer and forward. At first it seems to be the history of hip hop music and illegal downloading of music from the Internet, but it really is a history of all kinds of entrepreneurs who developed ways of making a living by starting with a music idea, forming a band maybe, then selling shoes and the rest of a wardrobe type products. The point the author makes is he supports the youth culture because it is inventive. He thinks that copying from someone is not such a bad thing because this leads to creatiing something new. The history is wonderful...what I did not know about hip hop, raves, rock and the like! Terrible writing however, as bad as mine. But it is worth struggling through for the content.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Matt Mason traces the current web 2.0 movement back to the 1970’s punk rock culture. He starts with focus on a quote from punk fanzine Sniffin’ Glue with a diagram showing three finger positions on the neck of a guitar with the caption: “Here’s one chord, here’s two more, now form your own band.” In a 2.0 world, doing-it-yourself does not seem that radical anymore. Anyone can be published author on the web. You can jump onto Blogger and in a few minutes have a powerful web publishing platform up and running in a few minutes.Mason looks to some early punk bands who played for themselves and your buddies. Then maybe a few friends come along. If other people come then great, but it does not matter that much because you are doing for yourself and few people close to you.Mason focuses mostly on music, but in the background I was thinking more about blogging. It does not make much sense to put together and a print a book that only a few hundred people will read. That is a big deployment of capital with an improbable return on investment. With web 2.0 the capital for distribution and publishing is minimal. A blog with only a few hundred readers is successful.Mason labels the new business as “punk capitalism.” The businesses often are not in it for the money. They would like to cover their costs and have few dollars of profit. But they are not in it for the money.Seth Godin in Unleashing the Ideavirus: “It took 40 years for radio to have 10 million users. . . 15 years for TV to have 10 million users, and it took Hotmail and Napster less than year. . . The time it takes for an idea to circulate is approaching zero.”Web 2.0 movement is allowing a bigger audience of creators, a more rapid efficient distribution of information at less cost. It seems a little strange to be reading these concepts in a book.Thanks to the delightful Connie Crosby of Crosby Group Consulting for giving me the book.
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Something I think I should read more than something I want to read ...
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Eh. The book focuses on "pirates" who've succeeded like folks from the Punk movement or the Grafitti movement. I found the translations to action essentially useless and even the background somewhat fuzzy. All in all, the book didn't wow me.
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I found this book more and more obnoxious the more I read, mostly because of the writing style and continual use of 'hip lingo'. I also find the argument that 'punk capitalism' will save the world to be fairly unexciting. The case studies do make for interesting reading, however.
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The Long Tail, Wikinomics and The Tipping Point are coming together in a great reading. One point of criticism is I think that even though the examples are lively and strong, this book won't convince the critics. Simply because they can't relate to the examples being given.Finally, suggestion to Matt Mason: Why not add a section of your blog on your book, to the examples you use. You could make a list of websites and youtube movies. Ofcourse, anyone could find them using google but it could also lead readers normally less inclined to use these media to have a go.
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