The Last Word: Wired’s Steven Levy on How Tech Is Changing Us, and Why There’s No Stopping Innovation

“The way we work is changing us. It’s changing humanity. It really is the big story of our time.”

Steven Levy
Editor at Large 
.…speaking at the closing day of Dallas Startup Week today.

Here's "who said what" in Dallas Innovates Every Day.Levy has been writing about technology for more than 30 years. A founding writer at Wired, he’s widely considered to be the premier tech journalist in the U.S. He’s covered the digital revolution since the early 1980s, reporting every major trend and profiling its key figures.

Today, as a keynote speaker on the closing day of Dallas Startup Week, he took stock of how we got here—and what’s next. 

“When I started, the personal computer industry was just starting to grow,” Levy said. “On top of that, we got the internet. Connectivity is built on top of that.”

“So here’s all the social media buzz that happens. And each movement that happens, you can make a bigger change with a smaller degree of effort, thinking through creativity.”

The iPhone has led to huge changes, Levy said. “It’s got the connectivity, sensors, and mobility GPS, so that builds other things. That makes a company like Uber possible. Now emerging technologies like blockchain and AI are at the forefront of change.”

Opportunities for young companies

Levy sees plenty of opportunity for younger companies, even in the current environment. “The line of technology I talked about keeps going up, up, up, up, up, up, up and up. The stock market goes up, down, up, down, right? But innovation keeps taking advantage of that upward curve.”

Amazing people like the late Steve Jobs understand something, Levy says.

“They got where they are, besides being super smart, because they understood something about that story I’m talking about: that in technology, everything builds on everything else. It makes exponential changes. Not every brain can understand the impact.

People like Jobs have a second trait, Levy adds, “which was to be brave enough to act on that. Even if people said it was crazy.”

“They knew the technology allows you to do things that were impossible before. They are the ones that DO. Like Jeff Bezos says, ‘There’s difference between me and anyone else. I’m willing to be misunderstood.'”

Levy’s parting advice

“Get what you want to do and be unafraid to stand behind it, even if people discourage you. Go for it, no matter where you are. That’s what I saw in people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page.”

For more on what’s new and next in North Texas, check out Every Last Word.

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R E A D   N E X T

  • THE LAST WORD on Dallas Innovates. Find "who said what" in our collection of quotes on Dallas-Fort Worth Innovation.

    Read “who said what” in our roundup of quotes about all things North Texas, including ENO8's Jeff Francis; MyndVR's Chris Brickler and Ted Werth; Axxess' John Olajide; the Urban Land Institute's Ron Pressman; Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson; the Mavs Foundation's Katie Edwards; UT Arlington's Yi Hong;'s Ben Caballero; ParkHub's George Baker Sr.; and more.

  • The extended deadline to apply for Fall 2022 is August 15. NPower Texas is the state arm of a national nonprofit offering free tech training to 18- to 26-year-olds and military veterans and spouses. 80% of the program's graduates find full-time jobs or continue their education—with an average salary boost of 384%. In March, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $15 million to NPower, its largest donation ever.

  • The gender gap in computing is getting worse: In 1995 37% of computer scientists were women, dropping to 24% today. State Farm is taking action with a new STEM summit to engage girls in science, technology, engineering, and math. Registration is open until Sept. 18.

  • North Texas has plenty to see, hear, and watch. Here are our editors' picks. Plus, you'll find more selections to "save the date."

  • Last week, BUiLT International celebrated its one-year anniversary as a non-profit organization working to advance the representation and participation of Black people in tech. Peter Beasley, the founder of the organization, was voted back as Chairman of the Board for another year.