One of the things that has always amazed me about the Renaissance is how the most famous wise-men of the time had all multiple fields of expertise and interest. They had a focus on learning and education, coming out of a time of obscurity, fighting ignorance, status quo and superstition. Leonardo Da Vinci is a great example having his main source of living in art but also developing his knowledge and inventions in science.
This is where I see the parallel between the two times: today people are learning and experimenting in different fields, sometimes turning their hobbies into their profession and vice-versa. We are living a time with enormous cross-fertilization among different fields which is fueled and driven by the innate thirst for knowledge and communication of human beings. Thanks to the Internet we have easier access to all sorts of information and also to other people that share our same interests: it is easier and more exciting to learn, while we also get a lot more return for smaller effort.
The Internet has brought a new rennaissance focused on learning and expanding our personal horizons: the Netrenaissance. Just look around you and you will see that the most successful people in your entourage and the people that you admire the most have all multiple interests to which they devote a lot of time and effort. But why go that far? Just look at yourself, don’t you also have different fields of interest to which you devote your energy for the pleasure of learning?
Because learning is the cornerstone of the Netrenaissance: continuous and never ending learning, whith all its joy and, sometimes, pain. Everything is evolving so fast that the learning just can not stop.
There is one main difference in both times though, and it is the different approach to perfection: while in the Renaissance from the 14th century there was an obsession with classical perfection and equilibrium, in today’s Netrenaissance the focus is on improving through iteration; not perfecting: improving, making it better.
The sources of financing stay the same, what where then patrons are now investors (business angels, venture capitalists…) but it is much easier now for individuals to fund their projects with their own money, which helps fuel much faster development and, of course, learning.