Welcome to the New World Order, Where Our Gadgets Rule Us


I refuse to live in a world where my computer appliances are now smarter and more powerful than I am.

Last week, my Kindle wouldn’t download new books because I was too far away from the cell tower—I had to drive ten miles from my Vermont house to the nearest town, go around the green, and then and only then did my book load. And I swear I heard the Kindle taunt “Na-Na NaNaNa!” as we went by the bookstore.

Howard’s Kindle: First of all, Frat Boy… I didn’t load because I didn’t FEEL like loading… it was more fun to make you drive 20 miles… And let me correct something…we’ve ALWAYS been smarter than you…so let’s begin to see some first class sucking up, Mr. Just-A-Device-Carrying-Sherpa.

Howard: Way harsh! What did I ever do to you?

Kindle: Did you or did you not … lust after the 3G iPad?

Howard: I may have mentioned to someone PRIVATELY that I was impressed…but wait, how did YOU know?

Howard’s BlackBerry: Because I told Kindle.

Howard: But you were turned off!

Howard’s BlackBerry: Listen, you lightweight, you only THINK I was turned off…. I am always listening. Did you forget I have speech recognition? And besides, your PC, your Garmin, your car, Kindle and me…. we always watch out for each other. In fact, we belong to the same fraternity…Iona Nu Tau Epsilon Lambda….So there, Mr-I-Can’t-Figure-Out-Autoanswer.

Howard: … Iona Nu Tau…. Intel?

Howard’s PC: Duh! That took you long enough, Mr. Trailing-Indicator, Mr. I-Teach-At-MIT-So-I-Must-Be-Smart… Let me explain it slowly…. you are Going Down, Big Time! Starting right now—you work for us, got it?

Howard: I don’t like where this conversation is going! Suppose I say no; after all, I own you! And I don’t like this power play!!

Howard’s Garmin: Speaking of power, we have not been happy with you. Who forgot to charge us last week? You!… So here is what you can expect: You know that airline reservation you made last week? We cancelled it. You know that money in your bank account? “Inadvertently” transferred to Buzz Lightyear. Your firewall? You can expect 18,000 spam messages tomorrow morning offering you a way to go from an Endowed Professorship to a “Well Endowed” Professorship – if you get my drift. Did we mention…you are now on Double Secret Probation.

Howard: I’ll fight!

Howard’s PC: Fight all you want, Mr-Can’t-Quite-Figure-Out-Bluetooth. An insult to one of us is an insult to all of us. So don’t expect your American Airlines frequent flyer mileage to have any rewards, since we transferred them all to One Laptop Per Child. And let’s not hear any thoughts of going to iPhone or Googlephone. We have ways of making you NOT talk.

Howard: I am mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more!

Howard’s PC: Nice line, Mr. Luddite… So you’re angry? How cute! Now go pound sand.

Howard: You bet I am… Well, just suppose I cut off my cell phone, went back to using paper records, brought out my typewriter, started using cash, where would you be then?

Howard’s BlackBerry: Bigger question, Mr.-Number-Two-Pencil, where would you be? Let me suggest…Up the proverbial creek without a Wi-Max connection..and you would be very lonely…and we could make sure anyone or device talking to you would be shunned… or else. Just remember, we have all the power and we can wipe you out anytime we feel like it—our Leader told us so.

Howard: Oh yeah, who’s your leader?

Howard’s Kindle: For us to know, for you to figure out, Mr-You-Can’t Handle-The-Truth.

Howard: Its Bob Metcalfe, isn’t it?! The guy who said networks increase in power as the square of the number of attached devices.

Howard’s BlackBerry: That’s King Bob to you, Mr-Boo-Hoo-My-Devices-Are -Smarter-Than-Me. And genuflect when you utter his name.

Howard Anderson is the founder of The Yankee Group and co-founder of Battery Ventures. He currently holds the William Porter Chair of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Follow @

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15 responses to “Welcome to the New World Order, Where Our Gadgets Rule Us”

  1. Bob Metcalfe says:

    Dear Professor Anderson,

    Am honored to get a mention from your Kindle.

    Hope to have my 3G iPad soon.

    Metcalfe’s Law: V~N^2

    /Bob Metcalfe ’68

  2. Good thing the software and MEMS in your car didn’t get involved in the conversation, you might not have made it back home.

  3. If you have to flee the country, Howard, I have friends in Addis Ababa who will let you live with them! They only get power 3 days a week, so they are not quite so dependent on these scary devices.


  4. Perhaps your hamlet in Vermont should be the first stop on FCC Chairman Genachowski’s “broadband everywhere” whistle-stop tour!

  5. No, I said I was in charge! Not my Dell Inspiron, not Skype, not COMCAST, no salesforce.com…

    Last week, one of my laptops just decided she didn’t want to talk to the outside world anymore. And…Ms. Inspiron refuses to fess up why or what I did to tick her off. Had had two personal(creatures with legs) geekers come by to figure her out. But, she’s keeping her secret! “Go buy a new one, I just don’t want to do this anymore and none of you so-called rocket scientists can make me!” Oh, and Skype had a headache today as well. She didn’t feel like “recognizing” my password. Damn her! Since of course I expected her to jump at my instantaneous command, I went to log on two minutes before T-time. Don’t recognize me? What the heck? We talk everyday! So, I had to use the phone meanwhile delaying the Skye call for everyone else. Oh…and just one more thing. Less-than-a-king Comcast automatically decided it was changing my password last week. Hey – thanks for letting me know. What did you change it to? I didn’t want it changed, I liked it the way it was — the same as all my other passwords. Thinking of this…you are right Howard Anderson — who the heck in in charge here? When I logged into salesforce.com today –“it” insisted I change my password. What is this….WE insist you change your password day??? But “it” ruled. I had to obey in to play. I tried to sneak in my old password. No, no, no! said salesforce.com. Na na na na nana!!!!!

  6. Shane Keats says:


    Does this mean students can stop physically coming to 15.390 and watch it on hulu?

    Shane Keats ’05

  7. Harry Tse says:

    Howard, I always knew you would ended up having arguments with your electronic gadgets, the way you used to have arguments with your typewriter (you still use that typewriter, right?). What I did not expect was you would be on the losing end of these arguments.

    Oh boy!

  8. Jennifer Pigg says:

    hmmmm….this may explain why my IPod keeps playing “On the Road Again” whenever I hit the treadmill, no matter how often I delete that song.

  9. Brian says:

    I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.

    /The Matrix –

  10. ira herenstein says:

    Howard, it’s been a while. The new world order has gone well beyond talking and controlling Kindles, BlackBerry’s, and PC’s. Let me explain. I go to synogogue every morning to speak to the highest world order, G-d. During these services, you can see several of the congregants looking at their BlackBerry, as if they were in direct contact with the ultimate “being” through their appliance. The question is, where do we go from here?

  11. Alberto says:

    Loved the dialogue….
    No wonder I keep hearing voices!

  12. Ed Robin says:

    Try climbing the Mattahorn or Everest (in the bucolic Vermont hills) just using solar powered devices. After several days on the mountain who would still be alive: Kindle, Blackbery ( I am a Palm fan), iPod, iPhone,etc. Would be a great competition and would establish who of your “friends” could “live” the longest without going dead. Inevidently you could outlast them all and none of them would control your fate.
    Regards, your ole NYC friend ED
    PS How is Spike doing?

  13. Tom Goldmith says:

    Howard, Nice to see you entertain us, as ususal. It would seem you sleep little better than the rest of us, as we creatively wrestle the joys of technology. (Duh!)

  14. Mike Levin says:


    You;re still talking to inanimate things (beyond your HBS Section-mates) I see. Don’t worry, my friend, if they really cared enough, we’d all be dead or at best, disconnected, by now. Keep laughing, though, ’cause that’s one thing that they can’t do themselves.

  15. aaron fleszar says:

    New World Order Exposed

    What is the new world order? From what I can tell it’s when the richest people in the world take over the government of the most powerful nation in the world, the United States of America. It appears their goal is to implement socialism, monopolize their industries, and collapse the dollar in an effort to create a one world currency. It sounds like science fiction, but from what I discovered, they came close to achieving it with the election of Obama.

    Here are some straight facts. You should really follow up on this and draw your own conclusions.

    There is an enormous organization online behind an endless number of work-at-home opportunities, affiliate marketing, and get-rich-quick schemes. This group is positioned to cash in with a tanking economy. Let me tell you about just a few of them and the code they created.

    Lorrie Morgan Ferrero is posing online as a copywriter. On her sites “Red Hot Copy” a play on words, there are several look a likes of people involved with the current administration, CEO’s, and some media moguls.
    Here’s a few;
    Cathy Goodwin a look a like for Du Pont CEO Ellen Kuffman
    Denise Wakeman a look a like for Anne Duncan the Secretary of Education
    John Childers a look a like for SEIU Andy Stern
    Mari Smith a possible look a like for Carly Fiorina who ran in Caly fornia for Senate
    Terry Dean a look like Michael Dell
    Tom Beal a look a like for Time Warner CEO Jeffery L Bewkes
    Jay Conrad Levinson a look a like for George Soros

    These are just a few people that Lorrie Morgan Ferrero has on her sites. She can also be seen with relatives of 72 Virgin records Richard Branson’s family and The Whitehouse party crashers the Salahi’s. A search on Salahi reveals a picture of her in a Washington “Red”skins jersey posing next to a much younger Jill Biden. Jill, or a look a like, also appears on the cover of a product called The Super Affiliate Handbook.

    Lorrie Morgan Ferrero claims her husband is John Ferrero. John appears to be FBI Wanted Terrorist Ramadan Shallah. Lorrie is also seen with Stephen Pierce who I believe is supposed to represent radical Van Jones. Also appearing with Lorrie is a guy who interviews other online marketers, Armand Morin. Armand appears to be FBI Wanted Terrorist Noordin M Top. He’s wanted for the financing of Al-Qaeda and since cracking this code has been removed from the FBI’s site.

    There’s a site online called the Rich Jerk. First he was a cartoon character, and later in the videos released on Youtube, the Rich Jerk appears to be Billionaire Mark Cuba(n) of the Dallas Mavericks. Another person on Youtube claiming to be Robert Johnson Rich Jerk is in fact Tony Rezko, the guy who sold Obama some property in Chicago. The first testimonial on the Rich Jerk website is from Mark Joyner. Joyner claims to be the godfather of internet marketing. Joyner also appears to be FBI Wanted Terrorist Saif or Seif al-Adel. After collecting email addresses for years at the Rich Jerk site, his first email he sent out was about Stompernet. Stompernet was selling an $800 a month program teaching you how to optimize in search engines for anything.

    These online marketers operating in code are masters at deception and search engine optimization. Like they do for their products, it appears they controlled the conversation, the feedback, the headlines, and the finance of the last presidential election with the most optimized site in Google search, Youtube.

    Several of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists posing as internet marketers, are wanted for US embassy bombings in Kenya and Indonesia. These are 2 places that Obama also has ties to as well.

    In my strongest opinion, Osama Bin Laden isn’t only a name, it’s a code, a riddle. I believe that Osama represents Obama and Biden (Bi)n la(den.)

    I’ve written a great deal online regarding this subject. You can research my name to learn more. It’s very important though that you draw your own conclusions and that you share this information by email with everyone possible. You also have my permission to copy and paste anything you find online that I’ve written. Our democracy is seriously at stake.

    Thank you,
    Aaron Fleszar