The New York Times reports, Forbes ASAP, Magazine of New Market, Shuts Down

In what has become a familiar story, a magazine formed to cover the rise of the digital economy has been done in by its decline. The Forbes family, which owns Forbes magazine, announced today that it was closing Forbes ASAP, a magazine founded in 1992 to cover the digital economy.

"There is no market for a dedicated new-economy publication," said Monie Begley, spokeswoman for Forbes.

In remarks in August, Steve Forbes, president and editor in chief, said that the company was responding to "a fall-off that hasn't been seen since the '30's."

Drat! Forbes ASAP was one of my favorite magazines. Its special one-topic issues were absolutely wonderful; I read them all cover-to-cover. The issue on Happiness featured articles from P.J. O'Rourke, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, George Plimpton, Noall Bushnell, Lance Armstrong, John Perry Barlow, Jesse Jackson, and Christie Hefner. For me, ASAP's special issues were the timeliness of a magazine combined with the quality of a damned good book.

It's ironic that the final issue deals with feedback, since feedback from the marketplace is what's closing ASAP down.

Cover Package: Feedback
Welcome to Feedback Universe

Michael S. Malone, 10.07.02

Surrender to the self-correcting system.
It is emerging as the defining metaphor of our time. Like other great scientific phenomena discovered over the past two centuries--natural selection, genetics, relativity, nuclear fission, DNA, digital--feedback is about to burst out of the theoretical stage and into everyday life. "Feedback is what has been missing from science since Newton," says British scientist Steve Grand, who is trying to develop artificial life forms. "We thought it was a rare phenomenon--now it's hard to name anything in the universe that isn't feedback. Life itself turns out to be feedback."

We are starting to rethink science in light of feedback. It is at the heart of the most compelling new inventions. And now we are seeing the first signs that it is beginning to reorganize both corporations and national economies.

"We don't even have the words yet to describe this," says Grand. "We don't yet have the names. Before this is over, we're going to need a new mathematics, a new physics, and a new ontology of the world."

Welcome to Feedback Universe.

Any regular user of Amazon.com knows about fast feedback loops. They can be found in those ever-changing lists of "Other Items You Might Enjoy." Every Amazon purchase you make teaches that algorithm a little more about you. Other companies, such as credit card firms, supermarkets, and department stores (Wal-Mart, for example; see "The ASAP Feedback Four," page 25) are following suit, tracking your every purchase to build a profile of your buying habits.

Mix that information in a vast shared database with mountains of data coming in about you from millions of sensors scattered across the landscape in roads, cash registers, and video cameras, and it soon will be possible to construct a virtual image of you--your tastes, interests, patterns, and perhaps even dreams--that will be almost indistinguishable from the real thing. This will be the face of retail--and probably law, education, health care, and entertainment--in the 21st century.

That brings us to the most sensitive--and compelling--feedback system of all: the human brain....

The classic explanation goes like this: You prick your finger, which irritates the nerve endings at the site of the wound. These inflamed nerves fire off electrical signals, which travel up the larger nerve pathways to your brain, where they are decoded as pain. The brain, itself a bundle of nerves, responds by sending a message back down a nerve path to the muscles in the finger, ordering them to contract and pull the finger away.

It appears mechanically straightforward. But the clue that it might not be so direct comes from a simple but shocking fact: In many of those nerve pathways, there are at least as many nerves heading toward the senses as there are heading away from them toward the brain. This suggests a much tighter and faster feedback loop than anyone imagined.

So what's going on? Nobody's quite sure. But one strong possibility is that even as the senses are telling the brain what they are encountering, the brain is telling them what they should be experiencing.

Grand compares this to a virtual reality system. The world is so complex that the human brain cannot deal with it directly. So instead, based on the information flowing in from the senses, the brain constructs, in real time, a simplified and weighted view of the world, one that picks out the important things from this infinite field of data. It is this vision of reality that the brain sends back out to the senses. "Brains are really billions of feedback loops," he says.

Last night I attended a presentation at Silicon Valley World Internet Center that touched on "real-time analytics." This is a buzzword for immediate business feedback. Example: WalMart's systems notice an upswing in sales of flags on September 12, 2001, and automatically begins buying up the inventory of flag suppliers.

Posted by Jay Cross at October 4, 2002 10:34 AM | TrackBack

30 Poppy Lane
Berkeley, California 94708

1.510.528.3105 (office & cell)

Subscribe to this Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe. We vow never to share your information with anyone. No Spam.

Subscribe Unsubscribe

Reference Pages

Building Community
CSS, Semantic Mark-Up, and codes
First Principles
How People Learn
Knowledge Management
Learning Links
Learning Standards
Making It Work (Implementing)
Metrics & ROI
Social Software
String theory
The eLearning Museum
Visual Learning


Our Infrequent Newsletter
Sign up for our sporadic newsletter.

Entries by category...

Customer care
Emergent Learning
Just Jay
Recycled from Blogger
The Industry
Workflow-based eLearning


Internet Time Group

© 2004 Internet Time Group

Click for Berkeley, California Forecast
Berkeley, California

Recent entries

New Blog
Blogger Experience, Housekeeping, Something New
Loosely Coupled
Above all
Demographics is destiny
Are you setting the bar high enough?
Virtual Apps
Aerobic Learning
Work as Video Game
Oracle and Macromedia, Sitting in a Tree
The Blogosphere
ASTD Silicon Valley
Performance Support
Kingsbridge Conference Center
First Post by Email
Inactive Blog
RSS Feed for New Site
Comment Spam
Testing ... testing ... 1...2..3
IT Doesn't Matter - Learning Does.
All blogging is political
Mutlimedia Learning
Damn, damn, double damn
Nonverbal impact?
The New Religion
Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!
Business Process Management (2)
Really Big
Business Process Management Conference
Don't Lose a Common Sense: LISTEN
It's only natural
Go with the flow
Time Out for the Fair
Informal get-together in SF this Wednesday
Repetition, reverb, and echoes
Who Knows?
Cognitive Mapping
Push vs pull
The Big Picture on ROI
Art Break
TDF Finale
New Community of Practice Forming
More TDF04
Training Directors Forum 2004
A Rare One-Liner
PlaNetwork LIVE 2
PlaNetwork LIVE
ASTD 2004 Leftovers
Worker Effectiveness Improvement, not KM
Upcoming Events
eLearning Effectiveness?
Jay's Talk at ASTD
Mintzberg & Cooperider
Lest ye forget
ASTD International Conference & Exposition 2004
Knowledge Tips
What is Workflow Learning?
ASTD msg 1 of n
Look out, it's Outlook
Collaboration at ASTD Next Week
Tell me a story
User indifference
The shortest presentation on metrics you will ever hear
Back to Blogger
Windows fixes
The Alchemy of Growth
Grab bag
Very loosely coupled
E-Learning from Practice to Profit
Robin Good kicks off Competitive Edge
China Bloggers
Sonoma Dreaming
Upcoming Events
Emergent Learning Forum: Simulations
The Best Things in Life Are Free
Metrics and Web Services
OpEd: ROI vs. Metrics
e-Merging e-Learning
Loosely Coupled
Search me