Kara Swisher

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Kara Visits Offbeat Guides!

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This week, I went on a trek to downtown San Francisco–from ATD HQ, located in the wilds of the Castro–to visit David Sifry, the jovial Web entrepreneur who recently launched Offbeat Guides.

The San Francisco-based start-up makes “personalized, up-to-date travel guides that cover over 30,000 travel destinations, using a combination of search technology and curation by both amateur and professional travel experts.”

In other words, on-demand travel books, with a touch of humanity–an obvious and even innovative trend as custom printing gets cheaper.

But Sifry is also putting the guides on digital devices, like the Kindle from Amazon (AMZN).

Sifry, who also founded the blog search engine Technorati, talked to BoomTown about the business and gave me a quick tour of its HQ near Union Square.

Here’s the video interview:


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work