At O'Reilly, a big part of our business is paying attention to what's new and interesting in the world of technology. We have a pretty good record at having anticipated some of the big technology developments in recent history. For instance, we launched the first commercial Web site, GNN, in 1993; we organized the meeting at which the term "open source" was first adopted; we were early investors in Blogger, which helped launch the blogging revolution; and more recently, our Web 2.0 conference launched a world-wide meme. We call this predictive sense the "O'Reilly Radar." And while we're certainly not always right, we are, at least, good at making interesting guesses.
Our methodology is simple: we draw from the wisdom of the alpha geeks in our midst, paying attention to what's interesting to them, amplifying these weak signals, and seeing where they fit into the innovation ecology. Add to that the original research conducted by our Research team, and you start to get a good picture of what the technology world is thinking about. What books are people just now starting to buy, and which are falling off in interest? Which tech-related Google AdWords are rising or falling in price? What can we learn from predictive markets tracking tech trends? What do help-wanted ads tell us about technology adoption?