Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
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Ben Nadel at Scotch On The Rock (SOTR) 2010 (Brussels) with:

Porn Powers Just About Everything

By Ben Nadel on
Tags: Life

I just grabbed this link off of polyGeek.com. It just goes to show us another example of how Porn is the driving force behind practically every emerging technology of all time. So, next time you are walking down the street and you pass a sign that says "Live Peep Show XXX", instead of feeling contempt, you should feel thankful that that sign helped make CDs, DVDs, VHS, The Web, Poprtable Devices, video cameras, and a ton of other things into something you can take for granted.

Tweet This Fascinating post by @BenNadel - Porn Powers Just About Everything Thanks my man — you rock the party that rocks the body!


Reader Comments

Back in 1995-1996, I was young and dumb and idealistic and I had just dropped out of college to go work for the Gov't. A coworker and I did some contracting work for the local ISP, back when ISP meant banks and banks of 56K modems. The ISP eventually convinced us to just incorporate and make the billing slightly less under-the-table.

This worked for a client or two, but then we found out the real reason why: the ISP was being inundated for web programming requests by Porn sites. (And that was when "web programming" meant Perl or C++, no ASP or CF or even JSP.) Really, they were almost the only companies that wanted web programming at the time. And they were certainly the only companies that were actually making money instead of just breaking even. (And the only companies that were willing to pay in currency instead of trinkets or trade.)

It was pretty common knowledge back then that pr0n drove the Internet. They were the first people doing serious eCommerce and on-the-fly image manipulation and B2B and all of the really neat stuff. It was sort of forgotten for a while during the dotcom days, so it's funny to see that someone is starting to remember it again.

But it did make it awfully hard for at least one teenager to go home and talk about his day at the dinner table.

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Ha ha, yeah, I can image the dinner conversation, "So, honey, how was work?".... and then it pretty much spirals out of control from there :)

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Ben,

I have to take issue with your comment (and similar ones you've made before). Porn does not 'drive' technology, it uses it. How long have cell phones been around? I remember seeing one for the first time in the 80's. Multimedia phones have been around for, what, 5-10 years? Why is the Porn industry just now getting around to using phones as a medium? But the better question is, why have cell phones been so wildly popular when you couldn't get Porn on them?

In a previous post you mentioned that porn drove VCRs. Again, I think you've got the cart before the horse. VCRs /allowed/ the porn industry to thrive, but VCRs did fine on their own without it's help. The only real example that makes any sense is the Internet, where the evidence is clear that Porn came on strong very early, and I'm sure there were a lot of guys that got the Internet just for the porn. But again, would the Internet have exploded without porn? Heck yes! Again, porn was just along for the ride.

I know you're open about your porn habits on your blog, and I'm not looking down on you for that, nor am I attacking the porn industry, I'm just disagreeing with your statements. But I think your perspective on technology could be a bit biased by your own experiences. I for one have /rarely/ seen a porn VCR tape in someone's house (I can only remember one time, and that was a recording of an HBO show). And I live around a LOT of people that are happily using and enjoying various technology, /without/ the porn aspects. My point is, folks like me (who I believe are the majority) will always be around to drive technology, with or without porn and it's users. I'm not saying that the majority of people /don't/ use porn, but rather the majority use technology /mostly/ for non-porn related things, and /that/ is what drives technology.

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Jacob-

I'm not going to come down and defend one side or the other, porn or not porn. In fact, I'm not all that big on porn, as I alluded to in my previous comment. However, no matter how uncomfortable it might make people, the facts remain: I can tell you from personal experience that the cart and the horse were neck-and-neck for pr0n and the Internet.

Back in the early 90's, as I said, porn sites were the innovators that pushed most of the technology that we think of as the WWW today. Do you remember the WWW before porn? There weren't even images in the original HTML implementation. I remember back in '93/'94, you'd do an Archie or Gopher search and all you would get back was lists and lists of porn. We'd have a much more boring Internet today if the porn industry hadn't pushed in the directions they had.

Off the top of my head, some of the technologies that came around because of porn's presence on the WWW:
Streaming Video (YouTube wouldn't exist without it)
Streaming Audio
Online Credit Card Processing (there wasn't much else to buy at the time, Amazon certainly wasn't around)
Web-Based Chat (IRC was around long before the WWW, but it was the porn industry that put it in a web browser)
Most forms of user authentication that you can think of (age checks, email-verified logins, quiz-based, etc)
WebCams (um, duh)
Photo Sharing (Flickr is a collaborative porn site without porn)

And as for VCRs ... I have to disagree on that one, too. The first people buying VHS and BetaMax players were not families, they were middle-aged white men getting their swerve on. Ask anyone who has been in the industry that long which came first: the family video store or the porn video store with the blacked-out windows.

Yeah, either industry might have eventually grown up on its own, but the fact is that the heavy investment by the porn people drove the initial push that really put both on the map. We don't have to be proud of it, but revisionist history isn't going to help anyone.

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Jacob,

I appreciate your comments. I have not looked too deeply into these issues. I have only made blanket statements based on a few articles that I have read here and there and the textbook from my Human Sexuality that I had in college. So, if I made statements that are wrong, its part ignorance, part misinformation.

However, I have to disagree with your comment regarding my porn usage. Firstly, only a very small number of posts on my site have mentioned anything porn related. And secondly, I have never talked about it in regards to how / what I do with it. Please do no confuse my talking about porn as an industry with my own personal habits (which I will not touch upon in public).

And yes, things can be created and thrive with out pornography... however, porn is like the golden touch; once the porn industry sees a way to leverage something, it just seems like they do everything they can to take that technology to the next level and beyond.

Having nothing to do with anything really, I bet the porn industry is going to be the first place that we have full-body-experience virtual reality (on any wide spread level). Just a guess though.

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Ben,

Sorry if I misjudged you, but I based my comments on the name of your site, the logo (a woman with legs spread wide), and all of the Skin Spider posts you make. Again, I'm not looking down on you, you can do whatever you want in your free time and I won't care. I'm just taking aim at some of your assertions.

Rick,

Apparently you came to the Internet scene before me, but I think my arguments are still valid. Sure, some of the Internet's technologies might have been advanced by porn, but not all of them, and porn was very late to the scene. The Internet was invented and became wide spread because of the need to easily share information (started in the 60's). Did porn help add multimedia to the scene? Sure, but that would have happened eventually anyway. Could the Internet exist and function as it does today, /without/ all the multimedia? For the most part yes, but it would be pretty boring. :)

I'll admit that I come from a somewhat sheltered environment, but I think there are just as many examples of porn /not/ being at the forefront of a technology industry. Look at cell phones and video games for examples. Yes, I know porn exists in those realms, but it came late to the game (pardon the pun), and it did /nothing/ to advance things.

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Jacob,

Totally valid point re: my logo and site name. Mostly, what it comes down to is that I just try to keep things interesting (having nothing to do with this blog post). If you look through my code examples you will see that I use a lot of girl names. That has begun to bore me, so now, I am using more movie names. I just try to keep it fun and different.

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All to say... I freakin' love ColdFusion, and anything I choose to use on my site is basically just a vehicle for the use of ColdFusion :)

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Fair enough. :)

Porn debate aside, I think you do a LOT of good work with your blog. I find most of your posts interesting, and I think it's obvious that you aren't spending all of your time surfing porn. In fact, looking at your posts, I'd say you spend an inordinate amount of time on ColdFusion, either with projects or just playing around. :)

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Yeah, I devote a good amount of time to this stuff. I love trying to wrap my head around it and solve problems.

Don't think I have forgotten about your "More" suggestion in my posts. I just haven't had a chance to implement.... One day my friend, one day.

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OK, we know you aren't into porn. But your porn-fiend "friends" can save paper and plastic by feeding their fetishes via this neat, new doohickey called the Interweb. (The rest of us can get our PG-rated magazines, movies, and music online.)

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