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Capital Ideas

The thoughts of Matt Olson, a systems thinker, hacker, and social entrepreneur, on retooling consumer culture

Preparing The Littles For The Internet


When I asked my six-year-old what he hoped Santa would bring him for Christmas, he said “you know… It starts with an F… A phone!” When I informed him that he couldn’t have a phone until he was sixteen, he said “oh, well how about a computer?”

I probably would have said the same thing if I were him, and he made the geek dad in me proud. Both the little mini-me’s are given supervised iPad time as a reward and they’ve grown quite fond of playing Plants vs. Zombies and Temple Run and watching Lego Star Wars stop motion animations or videos on how to be a ninja or how to fold origami on YouTube. If I had that shit when I was six, I would want unrestricted access too.

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Kids Can Hack, Too


I’ve been blessed with two bright, young boys with inquisitive and capable brains. The oldest is reaching an age where he’s asking more questions about my work, and when I use terms like programming, software, algorithms, or languages, his curiosity is piqued, but when I tell him that I can make a computer do anything I want, he really perks up. “Can you make a computer that shoots lasers?” Why yes, yes I can. “Can you make your phone shoot lasers?” Probably, I say, noting the extremely impressed look on my son’s face. (The problem is, now he’s going to want a demonstration.)

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