Archive for July, 2009

Recent Research: June 2009

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Research is good. Free highlights from expensive research reports are great. Here are some recent headlines:

Observations: Uncategorized – July 2, 2009

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Standard disclaimer: don’t take from my selections, ordering, headlines, etc. any indications of the interests or plans of my employer (if you do, you’ll undoubtedly be disappointed when they don’t play out.)

Happy Birthday to the Walkman!

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

An early proof point of the Law of Mobility turns 30 years old today. Happy Birthday Walkman!


On July 1, the Sony Walkman will be 30 years old. It’s hard to imagine what urban life was before the Walkman. Sony first introduced portable transistor radios in 1957 and these proliferated rapidly. With an earphone (like this), it was possible to carry music around on the go, but both sources and quality were limited. Portable cassette players and boomboxes flourished in the 1970s and if the latter served as means of building impromptu communities, they were also consciously thought of as sonic assault devices, marking out territory and creating tension in urban spaces. The Walkman was a counter against this, turning music inward toward a solitary experience (although not entirely: as Scott points out, Walkmen often had two jacks, making them less solitary than iPods). If the boombox represents the last moment of urban decay and street violence, the Walkman represents its re-colonization.