Tim O'Reilly studied classics, and had never come in contact with a computer until after college, when a friend asked him to help write a technical manual.
It's quite a turn, then, that he has become a Promethean figure in Silicon Valley. Like the mythical titan who stole fire from the gods and brought it to mankind, O'Reilly's efforts (including a publishing empire, conferences and learning platforms) have both demystified computer languages and presaged tectonic shifts.
He literally wrote the book on the Internet, the Internet User's Guide & Catalog, the first popular tome about the subject. He and his events birthed terms like "open source" and "web 2.0," which have become enduring parts of the tech lexicon. His MAKE magazine arguably launched the broader maker movement of hands-on crafters and tinkerers.
So naturally I wanted to sit down with Tim to talk about his new book, WTF: What's the Future, and Why It's Up to Us. In it, he has strong words for the Internet-driven tech industry he helped to shape, and some insight for workers like us trying to navigate the new digital landscape.