News from Le Web: The Internet of Things Must Be Cute, bank your time and buy 1/58th of a dream.

In London, the Le Web conference is on, and the startups are duking it out.
What’s interesting? Anthropomorphizing the Internet of Things with a cartoony lamp that talks to your mom stationed overseas, TimeRepublik, which lets you trade time, and the Bowie-esque “co-dreaming” site

Clipped from

TimeRepublik is Mechanical Turk>Burning Man>TaskRabbit>”In Time”. Which is a great idea. But there’s a big grammatical error on the home page, and a creepy Randian reference to “merit”, plus we don’t trust anyone who uses the word “Republic”, especially with an ironic K. crowdfunds/sells shares in dreams like owning a tropical island or racehorse. “Co-dreaming”. Which sounds amazing, but their site totally isn’t working yet. Also, if they don’t give explicit credit to Bowie and Eno for the name, they suck.

The anthropomorphized telepresence object, The Good Night Lamp, is the strong contender of these three standouts. It’s gotten a simply ridiculous amount of press for something that does so little, from Apartment Therapy to Russell Davies’ hilariously named post, “The Internet of Middle-Class Things“. We know the secret to selling new technology is to dumb it down, make it friendly, divorce it from its implications. This lamp is so sleekly designed, you forget its essential stalkeryness.

This year’s London Le Web says it’s where the “leaders of the sharing economy are converging”, and yet highlights presenters from Airbnb, Zipcar, and Etsy- all for-profit businesses.

We will explore the economics of the sharing economy movement and why it might mean the end of consumerism, as we know it.

Etsy is certainly doing a lot to end my consumerism- by taking ALL MY MONEEZ! Well, whatever, there’s no doubt that some “movement represents a major economic, social and cultural shift” and something “is redefining the ways goods and services are exchanged, valued and created.”

Calling it the sharing economy and putting ad-supported reputation economy businesses like Yelp in the same wheelhouse as regulatory-evasion businesses like Airbnb and Uber is confusing, though. Also, Larry Harvey is presenting at Le Web, and that’s just funny. He’s part of the “Digital Hippies” track, along with John Perry Barlow.

Follow the news with Memeburn’s Storify thread – some great images, and tweets from Pets.Com Sock Puppet, which may be the best Twitter handle ever.

Here’s Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson’s talk – we’ll have more thoughts on Le Web next week, when the dust has settled a bit.

this post originally appeared on the T324 blog.

This entry was posted in Tech news of the weird on by .

About Suzanne Forbes

Suzanne Forbes is a traditionally trained figurative artist who makes documentary art of queer culture and Berlin life. She also works in mixed media. She is a former New Yorker who immigrated to Berlin with her third husband and their two cats. Her work is crowdfunded by the support of her Patrons on Patreon; you could help! In previous lives Suzanne was a graffiti artist in downtown NY, a courtroom artist for CBS and CNN, a penciller for DC Comics on Star Trek, and a live-drawing chronicler of Bay Area alternative culture.

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