From You Only Have to Be Right Once:
Wedged into a corner, Sean Parker sported the removed look of someone at a crowded party who doesn’t know many people. Which, at a media soiree at New York’s clubby Monkey Bar on October 4, 2011, happened to be the case. Given that two weeks prior, Parker became the first person to adorn the cover of Forbes since I returned as the editor, it seemed right to introduce myself.
It’s not that the Forbes cover had been a valentine: it revealed the polymath who had helped shape Napster, Facebook and Spotify for all his quirks and faults. But until that story, the world equated him with the villainous character portrayed by Justin Timberlake in David Fincher’s movie The Social Network. Now Parker stood before me as a brash actor in a story that has only a little to do with Facebook and feels a hundred times bigger: how a handful of young digital swashbucklers shrugged off the Great Recession to transform how industries operate and fortunes get made.
The day after my conversation with Parker, Steve Jobs passed away. Jobs had epitomized the old new guard, one of a trinity of tech entrepreneurs – with Bill Gates and Michael Dell – who two generations earlier, while themselves in their twenties, proved the disruptive power of technology. This narrative isn’t new.
In this round, however, the underlying drivers have accelerated exponentially. This new model of Young Turk isn’t merely comfortable with technology—he can’t remember a world without the Internet. Accordingly, he’s no longer content merely conquering the technology space–every industry is now the technology space, whether hotels or music or transportation. And thus ripe for the pillaging.