By Gary Griffiths, CEO
A Connected World
Whether you’re a poet or a technologist, CubeFree and iPass make sure you stay connected to the people and things that matter most.
I suspect that a “connected world” conjures a few different images. The frequent traveler thinks of airports and planes and trains and increasingly of Uber – physical manifestations of moving bodies to endless points on the planet – familiar and exotic. Less grand – and perhaps self-centered – is the view that “I’m connected;” I know who matters – I’m important, and “if you don’t know that yet, don’t go far, ‘cuz you know I’m gonna tell ‘ya.” But of course for most of us we see the common notion of being digitally connected – connected to the internet with access to all of the wonders of text and video and music and good and evil in this vast ocean of stuff fed by continuous streams of content and mighty rivers of creativity and sewers of, well, you get it. This connected world is a wonderfully brash and lawless place, the Wild West of the collective intelligence of mankind framed variously as the new Renaissance or Armageddon-in-waiting. But let’s just hope that meddling regulators don’t change this beautifully anarchic frontier.
So by trade I’m a technologist, yet I’m fascinated by former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins’ image of connectivity. Poetry, he argues:
“…is the only history we have of human emotions. Most history books…are stories of battles and treaties, negotiations and beheadings and coronations. But poetry is the only reminder of this very essential part of being human, which is one’s emotional life and all the dimensions it entails.”
Provocative, isn’t it – that we are connected – emotionally – to a millennia of human thought, reason, and emotion through the poetry that conveys not the facts of the moment, but the passion or angst or delight felt as these events are observed or encountered? Validated by Churchill, who wisely observed, “history is written by the victors.” In the hard-tech world of email and text and Twitter and WhatsApp, I take comfort in the notion that I can be connected to eons of human spirit through the ephemeral wisps of poetry.
And then there is the venerable Steve Jobs, who links creativity and connectivity:
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”
As Sir Isaac Newton’s famously observed in 1676: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” As the number of “things” with which to connect increases – or the giants get taller – the better the chances for creativity. If you believe Newton or Jobs, that is.
So bear with me – one more thought on the connected world before pulling this all together with what I hope is a point. Robert Metcalfe is an engineer, the inventor of Ethernet, but likely best remembered for the law of connectivity that carries his name. Metcalfe’s law states that the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system. Paradoxically, the cold science of Metcalfe’s rigid mathematics dovetails snuggly with a poet’s view of tracking the history of human emotion, and the technologist’s straightforward view of creativity. All three depend on connectivity, whether it is Job’s connections of “things” or Collins’ connections of generations through the written word. And we don’t need a mathematical formula to make the leap that the larger the networks – networks of poems or networks of the “things” – the greater the value one can derive from it.
CubeFree certainly understands the merits and the power of a connected world. In finding the perfect place to “plug-in” and get some work done, with a database of hundreds-of-thousands of cafes, libraries, and co-working spaces across the globe, CubeFree is an indispensible tool for the road warrior. By using CubeFree, that mobile worker knows before settling in with their tablet the availability and quality of the Wi-Fi, the noise level, and the power outlets. And as more subscribers download the app, providing their own feedback and recommendations, the network of course grows – an ever-expanding web of the best place to connect and work when on the road. Brilliant in its simplicity, practicality, and ability to scale – organically.
So it is only natural that CubeFree and iPass, with a shared vision of the power of a connected world, would form a partnership. iPass, whose nearly 20M hotspots make up the world’s largest commercial Wi-Fi network, helps to make sure that CubeFree users can always be connected to that Excel spreadsheet, a YouTube video, or a Billy Collins poem. For when you’re on the road, it’s all about always being able to connect to the people and things that matter most.