My brother-in-law, composer and recent Emmy winner, Ben Decter, is kicking it this week in Sundance while two of his movies Heart of Stone and We Live in Public make the rounds. This summer he and I spoke about We Live in Public and Josh Harris. It took me a few minutes to remember who he was and meeting him more than a few times while he was out raising capital for one of his many projects, Pseudo.com.
Josh started Jupiter Communications which during the mid-90s was the go-to research firm for market growth numbers for every startup business plan. As a VC, you couldn't believe them, but it didn't stop every entrepreneur from using the hockey stick projections in their business plans. Anyway, he went to start Pseudo.com, one of the first production companies for webisodes and streaming media. In an old New York Magazine article from 1999 Josh proclaimed that ""The potential for a company like Pseudo is to start from a Website and replicate the success of ABC, NBC, or CBS -- a long shot but an enormous payoff." He then went on to wire his house with heat sensing cameras so that his and his girlfriend's every move would be streamed live over the Internet." Anyway, Pseudo.com went under in 2000 and Josh subsequently disappeared in isolation for quite awhile.
As the writeup for the movie mentions, Josh "proved how in the not-so-distant future of life online, we will willingly trade our privacy for the connection and recognition we all deeply desire. Through his experiments, including a six-month stint living under 24-hour live surveillance online which led him to mental collapse, he demonstrated the price we will all pay for living in public." While his predictions were dead on in many respects, it is also quite tragic to see the pain that it inflicts on his own life. Who would have thought how quickly our private lives have become public as we leave a digital trail of ourselves, our loaction, our videos and pictures, and our thoughts all over the web, social networks, and Twitter. The question we should all ask is where will all of this connectedness leave us 10 years from now. I hope you enjoy the trailer and more importantly my brother-in-law's music