Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Kara Visits Cambridge University

It’s been a successful and very interesting few days at Cambridge University, where a group of entrepreneurs, academics, execs and venture capitalists from Silicon Valley have been mingling with Cambridge students, academics and entrepreneurs.


Here’s a video about the visit to Cambridge, including interviews with three cool locally based start-ups–one mobile content play called Bango; Cambridge Temperature Concepts, a fertility company; and Grapeshot, a search algorithm technology business.

All are typical of the “Cambridge phenomenon”–that is, start-ups growing up around the area due to the proximity to the university, which is also known as the Cambridge Cluster or Silicon Fen:

Of course, badly losing the debate at the Cambridge Union Society about where the future home of billion-dollar companies would be was harsh, but there were benefits too.

One of the great things about the discussions at the Judge Business School here–which have been organized by Ellen Levy of Silicon Valley Connect and UK-based tech entrepreneur Sherry Coutu, in partnership with the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts–was the chance to pick your ostrich head up out of the insular hole that is Silicon Valley.

The two days of talks and dinners were useful too to see how much other tech cultures want to learn from Silicon Valley, and also how much tech leaders in California can learn in turn.

(There was also a feast.)

One of the most important things a number of Europeans pointed out, for example, was our obsession with the ultra-trendy (this year, that would be Facebook), at the expense of the much more important paradigm shift (a significant shift toward a more mobile Web experience).

Today, we are all in London at the Royal Society–the U.K.’s top science academy–for another series of talks with students and Web company execs here about the landscape of the Internet.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik