It was a long year for the technology industry, filled with smartphone-mania, IPOs that disappointed, and continuing conflicts over online privacy and cybercrime. And, as always, there were plenty of people to talk about all of it. Here are some of the more quotable highlights from 2012:
“Technology breaks. It ain’t good.” – Thomas Joyce, CEO of Knight Capital Group after trading errors launched by a software bug cost his firm $440 million.
“It feels like we’re playing by bridge rules when everyone else is in a bar fight.” – Stephen Dolezalek, Vantage Point Capital Partners, at the Going Green 2012 conference bemoaning the lack of a greentech policy in the U.S.
“The wonder of Ampex is that it survived inept management as long as it did.” – Richard Elkus, former Ampex executive, from his book on U.S. competitiveness vs. the rest of the world.
“Cybercrime isn’t a ticking time bomb anymore. The bomb has gone off.” – A.J. Fardella, cyber forensics expert, appearing in a new series running on Lifetime TV that profiles an international terrorist who cyberstalked a female singer.
“People value you more by how much money you raise. That’s (expletive).” – Gina Bianchini, co-founder of startups Ning & MightyBell, at FailCon in San Francisco this year.
“Every time you start a company you have an opportunity to screw up in whole new ways.” – Evan Williams, Twitter co-founder, at the 2012 DEMO conference.
“I may be the only person who ever pinged a U.S. nuclear submarine.” – Bill Cheswick, security expert and father of the Internet mapping project, the most complete picture to-date of the global web.
“God. Country. Mission. Team.” – Chet Uber, Director of Project Vigilant, who opens every staff meeting of the reclusive group with this mantra.
“And I thought that Big Data was a rapper from Atlanta.” – Andy Dolich, former San Francisco 49ers executive, speaking at an IBM forum on new trends in managing online information.
“Facebook is a reminder that you can love a company and hate the stock.” – Paul Deninger, Senior Managing Director of Evercore Partners, speaking at the AlwaysOn Innovation Summit.
“You might argue that men’s room advertising above urinals has more value.” – Bill Cleary, founder of Cleary & Partners, discussing reports that Facebook’s advertising results are falling short of expectations.
“Believe it or not, there are lawyers quitting their jobs at law firms just to go make games.” – Niccolo de Masi, CEO of Glu Mobile, at the Mobile Venture Summit.
“We spent a great deal of other people’s money in a very short period of time.” – Sanjay Uppal, President of OnMobile, fondly recalling his days at Webvan – one of the most spectacular failures in the dotcom boom of the late 1990s.
“Governments used to keep a lid on their people. That lid’s been blown off by social media.” – Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of Great Britain, speaking in April at the RSA Conference.
“When we had a baby, my wife was the first to know, I was the second, and Google was the third.” – Hugh Thompson of People Security, talking about the ads for diapers and infant wear that started showing up on his web browser within hours of the child’s birth.
“Anonymous is a handful of geniuses surrounded by a legion of idiots.” – Security expert Cole Stryker, talking about the prominent “hacktivist” group.
“Y’all innovate faster than we can regulate.” – Congressman John Shimkus at a panel discussion during CES 2012, talking to a high tech audience about the difficulties for Congress in keeping pace with technological change.
“I’m not a big fan of the device, but it’s interesting to see how few Americans can spell.” – Sam Smith of NBA.com, commenting about Twitter.
“Well, a little vodka never hurt.” – Betty White, well-known TV and movie actress, who was asked at the 2012 NAB Show how she kept such high energy at the age of 90.
Happy New Year.