Geo Geller is a million things. He is a filmmaker. He is an art revolutionary. He is a supporter of terrifying causes. He is forever in the business of causing counterpoint, and he is also an insultant for hire. What’s the difference between a consultant and an insultant? A consultant tells you what you want to hear. An insultant tells you what you need to hear. I’ve known Geo since 2006, when I joined the traveling circus that Jeff Pulver gathers around him. He is the wild mind that sometimes squirts kerosene on Jeff’s already-fiery passions, and he is a dervish to other projects like Andy Dixon’s YouthTurns, an organization that hopes to help kids out before they get into bigger trouble. (Click the hell out of all those links above. Every one of them will open your head in new ways.)
Also in 2006, I had the strange pleasure of meeting Josh Harris. It was at a little private dinner held by Jason Calacanis in L.A. with all the leading videobloggers of the time (I was there kind of by accident, truth be told, because I was just a burgeoning typist). Josh told me in really short order that he was recovering from a serious burnout, but that he’d been one of the leading dot com guys a few times over. He then mentioned his projects (Jupiter and Pseudo), which didn’t click in my head much, though I nodded politely and pretended that I knew what they were. He then went on to describe his new idea, which was huge and revolutionary, and frankly, felt a hair crazy. That ended up falling backwards from a grand vision into Operator11, a video chat platform not unlike 12seconds.tv (soon to shutter), Seesmic (back when it was a video platform), and several more.
Flash forward to a few days ago. Kat and I watched We Live in Public (amazon affiliate link to a digital rental) and saw all the projects that Josh had been working on in his career. This documentary is mindblowing. I’ll tell you this right now: forget The Social Network (currently playing in theaters) and watch this instead. What Harris has predicted since way back in the old days of the 90s has come eerily true (albeit in different manifestations) over and over and over. ( There’s a good review of the movie here, though it might be a bit of a spoiler for the larger story.)
One thing stuck out in the film, and I wrote Jason Calacanis to tell him the same thing: I was very impressed with how Jason really stayed loyal to Josh’s wild ideas. That didn’t mean that Jason participated in everything Josh did, and I’m sure there were lots of spots where their opinions varied, but Jason knew (knows) that Josh Harris had (has) his fingers on the pulse of the Internet mind, and he studied (studies) Josh to glean some potential ideas off it.
The Geo Gellers and Josh Harrises and all the wild minds need to be heeded, to be heard, to be raised up and appreciated, to be studied and cross-referenced. Their ideas don’t fit into spreadsheets and business plans quite often, but the extrapolations are things of beauty and wildness, all at once. It’s like watching nature try to express itself in a whole new way, watching how their thoughts manifest. Sometimes nature is ugly. Sometimes it’s not efficient. Sometimes it’s not useful in its entirety, but there’s a lot to appreciate here.
Watch We Live in Public. Connect with Geo Geller. Pay attention to the wild minds. I think there’s a lot of “there” there, as Jeff Pulver used to tell me, only in ways we can’t immediately put to good use.