What’s Design Mean to You? Interview with Howard Rheingold

On the first day at Reboot 10, rumours started circulating that, although he was nowhere to be seen on the schedule, Howard Rheingold would be delivering a talk. I read his books “Virtual Reality” in uni, and “The Virtual Community” when it came out, and I have to say they both had quite a bit to do with me becoming what I am today. So I screwed up my courage and almost (but hopefully not quite) embarrassed myself with the whole gushing fanboi schtick, and had a chat with him after his lecture. He was of course as friendly and open as you’d expect, and happily agreed to this interview.

At work I jokingly call myself the “Internet Opa” (Opa is “grandpa” in German), simply because I’m older than most of my colleagues and I’ve been online longer than most. Howard’s the real Internet Opa if ever there was one. Summing up Howard Rheingold in a sentence is beyond me, but right now he describes himself as a writer who founded the Social Media Classroom, an online educational tool to help students learn to use social media. He just announced that they’re taking on the first students.

A little bit of Howard’s take on design:

In the broad sense it means thinking about what the function or purpose of things or processes are, and translating that into action.

I asked eleven smart people what design means to them at Reboot10 in Copenhagen, Denmark. There are currently seven videos in the series, with more coming soon. Next up is Cenydd Bowles.