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The Uncertainty of Life

Steam rises from my little glass teapot. It's the fifth brewing of the Tung Ting Oolong, so it's a little bit weak even though the color is still a clear gold. Employees of the tea shop are in front of me, an older couple across the way, and a single girl behind me. In the other room are more groups. The chatter rises above the music, but I can't understand any of it because it's all in Hungarian.

I'm here by myself. Two friends visited, but one had to go home to London, and the other to a conference in Zürich.

I have a tendency, when traveling alone, to stay holed up in my AirBnb. But after a day of that I wanted to get out. This place is perfect. I can drink my tea, feel like I'm around people, but not be distracted by their conversations.

My favorite game to play by myself is to imagine a kid version of myself could see me now. What would he think? Usually he'd just be surprised, I think. How random is it that I'm sitting in Budapest, by myself, writing? It's not significant in any way, but I wouldn't have guessed it, either.

The "I wonder what the next business craze is" game

On SEBASTIAN MARSHALL

Everyone is going crazy for social stuff online. I think it's really good stuff, and there's lots of room to grow in it, and there'll be more successes and more adoption of current stuff.

However, I think the real winners are building something entirely differently right now. They're building for whatever gets hot after social.

Normally if you read an article like this, they'd make some predictions, most of which would turn out to be wrong. I won't do that. Instead, I'll point you to one of the more interesting industries to look at for this sort of thing - mobile phones.

Phones were interesting for me because I was traveling a lot, and I got to see the sort of phones that were popular in Japan when the Motorola Razr was the hottest phone in the United States.

The Japanese phones were three times larger and much clunkier, but had a lot of features. The Razr was stripped down - it did calls, texts, and that's pretty much it. And it had bad battery life.

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