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International Borderless Young Thing

I’m going to date myself here, but when the Berlin Wall came down I was lucky enough to go over to Berlin and trade smokes through holes with the East German guards on the other side. I have a piece of the wall, a chunk of cement with paint on it, somewhere. CNN was disruptive new media, mobile phones cost $1400 and you could talk on them for $1/minute. The Internet was a curiosity for academic and government use; many mail servers were run as open relays and a good dialup modem would get you 14,000 bps. Networks were simpler too, for the most part you were either inside the building and on the network or you were not on the network. Work was both a place and a verb.

The British pop band Jesus Jones captured perfectly the zeitgeist of those days with the song “International Bright Young Thing” which I first heard in a friend’s apartment in Kyoto. The refrain “Right here, right now, there’s no other place I would rather be,” seemed so perfect, so right.

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