Our future in the cloud

Two somewhat-related articles that caught my eye recently:

Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures spoke about how he’s moved all his data to the cloud, and is much relieved for it:

In thinking back to the way I’ve worked over the past twenty years, I am not going to miss taking my laptop back and forth to work. I’m not going to miss trying to sync files across multiple devices. I’m not going to miss upgrading software all the time. I’m not going to miss being anal retentive about backing up all my files. I’m not going to miss windows and windows networking. I’m not going to miss outlook, exchange, and blackberry exchange server. All of that was overhead that got in the way of being productive, mobile, and free and I’m so happy to be done with it.

And in this piece in The Atlantic, Adam Silver, a design strategist at Frog, writes about new ways of crafting individual identities as a result of moving data to the cloud. He says services like the newly-revamped Foursquare are getting it right, but there is a lot of work to be done in terms of designing services that make use of individuals’ data stored in the cloud to create personal brands, which is what everyone ultimately wants.

But that will happen only if the services available to us attempt to replicate some of the richness of physical environments by reflecting us in virtual environments. The challenge for designers is to consider how we can use personal data to humanize the products we make and sell in order to provide the shot of personality that so many cloud-based services are sorely lacking. As usual, the technology is interesting, but the people who use it will be what transforms a potentially flat and generic virtual existence into something worthwhile.

I’ve heard more than one person talk about how they’re slowly moving their stuff into the cloud, and most of my own stuff is now in the cloud too. As Fred Wilson said recently, it is a megatrend to watch.

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