Innovation in the Ghetto: Mobile Usage for the US Poor – It’s not about emerging markets overseas


My brother Bernard is a sharp guy.  He occasionally comes to me and says tells me things I should write about.  Usually it's a one word or one sentence thing that I have to decifer.  Last week he asked me to write about the ghetto and the cellphone.  I didn't know what he meant and needed to mull it over.  I think I got now.

If you read tech news all you hear about is mobile this,  mobile that,  there are x millions of people who's first web experience will be mobile, blah blah.  What is never addressed is how many of the US urban poor will have the cellphone be their first internet experience.  (or at least,  their OWN computer)  This is significant.  Mobile and to a broader extent, personal computing power is a great leveler.  Putting personal computers in the hands of every kid on the corners of the US ghettos is already changing our culture. 

One thing I know in my years of observing,  understanding and reading history,  is that it is the poor of the US that bring cultural change to the masses.  Whether it be jazz,  blues,  rock and roll or hip hop – the urban poor have always led our culture.  Sure,  they may not have been given the credit, accolades or gotten rich off their contributions,  but it is their sweat,  soul searching and their need to express their lives that drives culture forward in the US. 

The cellphone and the ghetto kid on the corner will change the world in some way or another.  Having a little computer in their pocket will spur the innovation in their minds to do something amazing.

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