When I chose Monkeys with Typewriters as the name for my book on social media, I never dreamt that a few months later I’d be sitting in front of 400 people at Next10 debating with Andrew Keen, best-selling author (and monkey-baiter in Chief).

For those who don’t know, Andrew’s concern that “monkeys with typewriters [are] authoring the future” was central to his 2007 classic, The Cult of The Amateur – and the main inspiration behind my book’s title.

Skilled speaker

Although Andrew Keen’s argument has moved on (“the blogging debate’s no longer relevant”), he’s a skilled speaker and debater. I was worried I was going to have to argue in detail about the theories of Schumpeter or Habermas. But strangely Andrew made it easy for me (I don’t know if on purpose or not) by keeping most of his attacks on a personal level (what I was wearing or why I’d read rather than ad-libbed my presentation): I could have got by without saying a thing.

Here’s the video of the full debate.

Tricky discussion

Ola Ahlvarsson did a great job of chairing a tricky discussion, and big thanks for him for letting me have the last word: this is a time of untold opportunity and we need positivity not doom mongering if we’re going to evolve.

(And thanks to Andrew for actually being quite nice to me off stage, even interviewing me for his Harvard Business School blog, and all that.)

Monkeys with Typewriters video interview

Main image: screenshot from the debate (Next Conference)