Mindfulness and Innovation

Here, Barry Boyce talks to Zynga co-founder Eric Shiermeyer, following the 2011 Wisdom 2.0 conference.

For some people, interactive gaming truly matters. FarmVille, for example, matters to a lot of people. With some sixty million users, the farm and economy simulation game—which promotes interactions with other “farmers” through social networking—is Facebook’s most popular application, and is also widely used on the iPhone. But Eric Schiermeyer, one of the founders of Zynga, which developed FarmVille and other popular games, told the audience at Wisdom 2.0 in February 2011, “I realized this morning that for all this time I’ve been involved in this world, I don’t really love technology. I love people.”

The comment drew loud laughter, but Chris Sacca, one of the earliest investors in Twitter, immediately countered that the newer forms of technology “have brought the human back in”—for example, disillusioned Egyptians tweeted their grievances to the world in unison, unmediated. The exchange epitomized the dual nature of the Wisdom 2.0 phenomenon. The lords and leaders of high tech aren’t about to dismiss new technology as the beginning of the end of humankind—not only because they don’t want to work against their own economic interests, but because they believe in the innovative, interactive world fostered by new technologies. They believe that it connects…