Bart Decrem is well placed to say a word or two about the internet, open source, the digital divide and probably much else. Here’s why: he created a digital divide program that was hailed by President Clinton as a model for all such programs; he played a key role at the Mozilla Foundation placing Firefox on the map; he founded Flock, the company that built the first social browser; and today he’s CEO and founder of Tapulous, creator of the hugely successful iPhone game Tap Tap Revenge. To crown it all, Fast Company featured him as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. We asked Bart what open source means to him and whether social media is more than hype.
What are your thoughts on open source?
What have you learned about addressing the digital divide? In Belgium the government has tried to intervene in the market by creating subsidised PC + internet packages.
What is your view on social media—is it really such a fundamental trend and how do you see it evolving in the years ahead?
It clearly is a disruptive force. But it’s the interface with mobile that is the really powerful disruptive force. It is quite ironic really. With the rise of the social networks the computer has become a social tool. That itself was an important shift. But now we’re seeing the mobile phone—which already was a social device—become the primary computing device. This is an important trend. The centre of computing is moving away from the objects to the relationships. Look at it this way: in the first decade we had the personal PC; in the second decade the large information repositories; and in the third the connections. The value shifts too. Microsoft was the most valuable company in the first, Google in the second, and now we’re seeing Facebook transform itself into a platform.
About Bart Decrem
Bart Decrem is founder and CEO of Tapulous, a Palo Alto-based startup building fun and social apps for the iPhone, including the wildly successful rhythm game Tap Tap Revenge. Previously, Bart was the founding CEO of Flock, the social web browser company, and a co-founder of Eazel, a company working to make Linux easier to use. Bart also headed marketing and business affairs for the Firefox 1.0 launch. In between, Bart has been an Entrepreneur In Residence at Doll Capital Management and worked on a number of community projects. Bart was born and raised in Belgium, holds a JD from Stanford Law School and was featured as one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business in May of 2009.
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