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Knowledge Innovation Archives

October 23, 2002

KM Blogs

The following post reflects why I too think there are great possiblities for KM Blogs..

Making group-forming ridiculously easy.

Weblogs have a potential for group-forming like no other medium. However I'm convinced that much of it to this day remains untapped. I'd like to explain an idea that I have been bouncing around for a while. It might well be a reformulation of what others have said previously. I believe that implementing this properly would give a nice boost to the blogosphere's social aggregation capability.

Basically the goal is to push the threshold for group creation to an unprecedented low. I think Reed's Law should be refined to state:

The value of a group-forming network increases exponentially with the number of people in the network, and in inverse proportion to the effort required to start a group.

Here's a sample motivating scenario. Not long ago I wrote an item on professions in the blogosphere. The post caught the interest of other bloggers. A few replies came here and there. If you search diligently enough you'll find them, but it's not easy. Presumably, those who have taken part in the discussion would like to hear about it if the topic comes up again, but currently this will only happen by chance. This kind of situation is very common.

[Charles Nadeau: Knowledge management]

October 24, 2002

My Experiment

This is my second posting to my moveable type weblog. I'm going to cut and past from my Radio Userland site and see what happens with content. Have to get a few pages filling and a few posts to really see what is happening. This post was from yesterday... Just looked at the preview. It is not picking up the url links... http://radio.weblogs.com/0114925/

The following post reflects why I too think there are great possiblities for KM Blogs..

Making group-forming ridiculously easy.

Weblogs have a potential for group-forming like no other medium. However I'm convinced that much of it to this day remains untapped. I'd like to explain an idea that I have been bouncing around for a while. It might well be a reformulation of what others have said previously. I believe that implementing this properly would give a nice boost to the blogosphere's social aggregation capability.

Basically the goal is to push the threshold for group creation to an unprecedented low. I think Reed's Law should be refined to state:

The value of a group-forming network increases exponentially with the number of people in the network, and in inverse proportion to the effort required to start a group.

Here's a sample motivating scenario. Not long ago I wrote an item on professions in the blogosphere. The post caught the interest of other bloggers. A few replies came here and there. If you search diligently enough you'll find them, but it's not easy. Presumably, those who have taken part in the discussion would like to hear about it if the topic comes up again, but currently this will only happen by chance. This kind of situation is very common.

[Charles Nadeau: Knowledge management]

Doug Engelbart

<A href="http://radio.weblogs.com/0110772/2002/10/24.html#a500">Doug Engelbart on improving collective IQ</A>.
<P>I don't think I have read as eloquent an explanation of what collaborative intelligence augmentation is and why it matters as <A href="http://www.bootstrap.org/engelbart/index.jsp">Douglas Engelbart</A>'s World Library Summit keynote speech <A href="http://www.fleabyte.org/eic-11.html">Improving our ability to improve: A call for investment in a new future</A>. Here are just a few quotes - but I think it's well worth attentively reading every word of the text. And taking time to think about it.</P>
<BLOCKQUOTE dir=ltr style="MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px">
<P><FONT color=darkblue>...the investment in C&nbsp;activities is typically pre-competitive.&nbsp; It is investment that can be shared even among competitors in an industry because it is, essentially, investment in creating a better playing field. [...]</FONT></P>
<P><FONT color=darkblue>At the C level we are trying to understand how improvement really happens, so that we can improve our ability to improve.&nbsp; This means having different groups exploring different paths to the same goal.&nbsp; As they explore, they constantly exchange information about what they are learning.&nbsp; The goal is to maximize overall progress by exchanging important information as the different groups proceed.&nbsp; What this means, in practice, is that the dialog between the people working toward pursuit of the goal is often just as important as the end result of the research.&nbsp; Often, it is what the team learns in the course of the exploration that ultimately opens up breakthrough results. [...]

Continue reading "Doug Engelbart" »

November 5, 2002

Are Blogs Really Useful?

"Source ScriptingNews.

Are weblogs legit business tools? Mike Masnick says yes. Mark Hurst says that Mike's company does nothing but blogs, so of course he thinks they're business tools. To Mark I'd say, one day someone said that about phones, and today every company organizes its business on the phone, and using other communication tools such as airplanes, hotels, notepads, whiteboards, email, instant messaging, spreadsheets, conference rooms, etc. Weblogs are a tool, a good one, but that's all they are. We could stop having these debates, imho. [Scripting News]"

A possible problem is weblogs aren't understood yet by those that have the corporate communication roles. The story-telling possibilities just keep expanding for me. Mike good luck with your techdirt venture. I believe a few more marketers need to sit-up and listen.

Does this discussion also reflects that it's still a little too hard? Or are the doubters the same ones that pooh poohed GeoCities? Dave imho, I'd actually advocate more discussion like this. It's a healthy sign and yet I'm still fighting to do what I really want to do with a weblog. I started with Radio (love the news feature) and failed to get enough easy learning to migrate templates and type to my own site. MoveableType's instructions were easier, despite the additional complexity. One day I may work it all out.

November 11, 2002

Collaborative Communities

Participating in online communities is not only growing easier, the results more positive. Kuro5hin is also more than a weblog. It's been around for awhile and yet today I ended up giving it much closer attention as I considered voting on an MLP posting on the Nickel Exchange, was asked for other help with editing, etc.

Various links took me to SCOOP and you learn quickly about the collaborative media application behind Kuro5hin and other communities.

My journey started today looking for methods improve my MT posting and reporting options. I've had in mind the opportunity for a MT based community. Clearly plausible yet not self-organizing. When one compares Smart Mobs with Kuro5hin it becomes clear how obvious this is. I will be looking at Scoop further.

Kuro5hin.org is a community of people who like to think. This is a site for people who want to discuss the world they live in. It's a site for people who are on the ground in the modern world, and who sometimes look around and wonder what they have wrought.

Scoop empowers participants to play a role in the newsmaking. This is not the only application however. My searching located Eric Hanson andShouldExist around ideas;as an idea exchange. Check out their description Eric's list also proved to me how sharing can close and create new links... Some we don't even know. While looking at his "people" section I found myself linked back to Seb's Open Resesearch. who has a great blog going on knowledge sharing, communities and innovation.

Note:"ShouldExist.org is a non-profit website, founded on the belief that individuals are more successful when we work together through open standards, modularity and decentralized control." His project list also includes others. Check it out.

Part of my interest in the first place was driven by the question posed to me. Should the NICKEL EXCHANGE story be posted? I'm going to watch over the next couple of days. We will be revisiting "Nickel Exchange" for I still believe the next frontier is in solving highly decentralised P2P transactions. Frankly... the nickel exchange looks premature, needs consumer friendly content, and a little more to give it legitimacy. I didn't yet try to see if it works.

Then today Movielink launched. This is the site offered by the movie moguls to provide downloadable movies to American broadband connections. Incredibly slow to appear, you would almost think the site is down. Obviously checking out my system for compatibility. I'm waiting for it to be cracked, then Kazaa movies etc might take on a whole new meaning.

Posted by henshall at 09:22 PM

November 13, 2002

Dynamic David's Spaces

Author, programmer, tech analyst and future open source entrepreneur David Duval is worth following.

I think he is playing with more than words when today's blognovel picks up the theme below. Is this about SPACES or is the context just paraphased here?"

"You close your eyes, open them again, and nothing will ever be the same. It might not be obvious at first. It might not even be obvious later. But it's still there, that newfound feeling of uncertainty, of something lost, and something found, only you don't know what it means yet. " PlanB

Maybe I will have to read his serial. There are at least three threads here. David Duval - interesting person, PlanB- his blognovel and lastly the software application Spaces. Take some time and follow the links.

THREAD ONE: David lists his research interests as "self-organizing and wireless networks, complexity theory, dynamical systems, and molecular nanotechnology among others....... Other than that, he's clearly a good bloke who knows where to find an Irish pint!

THREAD TWO: His blognovel runs on the serial concept. StoryTelling opportunities, serial, case studies etc. There are many applications here and some new opportunities. For more proof that there is a bigger debate around blogging opportunties see Slashdot. Enjoy the FAQ
Stories usually have a strong element of time built into them, just like a weblog. A weblog, however, is a story where the beginning changes every day: what we see is the last element that was posted. Follow this link to PlanB's description.

THREAD THREE: DynamicObjects has just lauched an alpha PIM. It is naturally object oriented. I sense the objectives again to create a more collaborative space. Perhaps today we have the answer in the making to yesterday's PLAXO. David writes: "... spaces is qualitatively different. It shares many features with standard email/PIM software like Evolution or Outlook. However, its abstractions over information management are designed to simplify organization and access to information and for collaboration from the ground up. Along with the simplicity of its user interface, these elements will not only make spaces a better PIM, they will also allow it to be an ideal tool for collaboration between individuals and small groups....

......Using self-organizing P2P technologies, there will be no need for servers. Having designed the interface for collaboration from the ground up, there will be no need for five different programs that always do things differently and need a subpoena to talk to each other. The FAQ contains more information on what features are available now and the schedule for additional features.

To this layman... that sounds pretty good.

Then there is the final story of how I got this post. It goes like this. I was again searching MoveableType. Looking for answers. For the first time I noted that MT actually has a list on their home page of recently update MT sites. (I have paid my donation and no I haven't solved my automated ping yet). I clicked on an interested name... Orbitalworks and noted the link to spaces. Captured by Names and a good hour of reading. Hope I've simplified the places to look

November 14, 2002

Storytellers BLOG

I'm convinced, that blogging is reshaping the way we get news. There is plenty on publishing out there. Yet as with so many products it is not until you start using them that the "intangible" start to show through.

Friends, colleagues with e-mail lists, you need to change the way you do business. As marketers, we better start thinking about new collaborative PR. We also have to expect that new "personalities" will emerge. The news is the same but different. My friends in blog world are now in cahoots with me, filtering stories I might be interested in and for which my Radio blog subscribes me. My challenge will be to find the rarified air and new thoughts over time. Potential signals for new directions. At the moment I'm far enough to scan 100's of stories in seconds and post just a few in minutes.

There are more threads in this post. My news clips, more on blog publishing (it's not just individuals that need to rethink how they publish -- where are the companies that are blogging?) an article that led to more sites and an ad slogan generator. It didn't think that much of UNBOUND SPIRAL. So I had to find more crazy quotes on spirals and the creative chaos they suggest.


Stuart's News Clips In less than four weeks I've migrated to MT.and yet continued to use Radios RSS news feeds. It's like having my e-mail subscriptions on steroids. Much faster than trying to scan outlook. I can see I will have to encourage my favorites to start their own new feeds.

As yet Radio... (I haven't worked it out) how can i post my clips in a single one click group and then clear the list. It's also clear that my subscription information like that of my colleagues should be shared. Just like the Napster hot lists we learn faster when we can see the hot lists of other. No doubt this will also lead me to track a random blog a day or more. A random Kuro5hin. Hmm.. does it exist?

I'm pretty sure I will get a news feed directly into my MT however for those of you that want to try out another service try AmphetaDesk and let me know how it goes.

Yet another publish publish... piece Livewire: Publish your heart out with easy-to-use Web tools As usual there are more clips and links to follow. The whole process is bringing back my passion for web learning journeys.

A web learning journey is simply an interactive session, typically uncovering and using illustrative examples to get groups thinking. Yet there are many other ways to do it. Suppliers demos fo online products and GROOVE members are surfing in tandem. Looking for new functionalities and new applications. The blogsphere is ripe for great commentary. The fact is too that most companies and employees don't spend enough time seeking the unknown. The web can often provide an accelerated view.

LiveWire led me to Glenda see agendacide.com/glenda: Wanted: "Creative Maximizer" and the I Can't Believe It's Not The Advertising Slogan Generator!. For a bit of fun try your brand. Not sure it worked for the Unbound Spiral, yet it worked for me. I had a laugh! Suggestions:

Promise Her Anything, But Give Her Unbound Spiral
A Different Kind Of Company. A Different Kind Of Unbound Spiral.
I'd Walk a Mile for an Unbound Spiral.
This Is The Age Of The Unbound Spiral.
We're Serious About Unbound Spiral.
There's Only One Unbound Spiral
No Unbound Spiral, No Comment.


Have a better one?

November 21, 2002

Blogging Serendipity -- the CollectiveSome

More links for joining and exploring the blogging community. WSJ.com - ...Find a Blog Then if you have a blog you my like to tryand find new Recommendations. Then every often we make a convert and hope they will keep it up.

I've been clipping notes sporadically as time permits on things that strike me as "signals" or "markers" to simpify finding them later. I've not yet managed to integrate them into mysite. There are themes. Not sure I will ever get to them today.

Picking up on todays CLIPS what's the theme from clips of the day? What is the strategy? What issues are raised? I have thoughts......

Discovery Capital

collectiveSome Thank's Tom!

"Stuart Henshall (http://www.henshall.com/blog/) deserves credit for this idea. I take credit for retyping it and adding a few minor tweaks (as well as trying to find a market-y sounding name for the service/process.

How can our companies discover opportunities faster than our competitors? How can we be more perceptive about future difficulties? How can our organizations' leaders become better connected, build new relationships and stay on the cutting edge of learning?

Some of the answers come from new directions. In the last few years we've seen organizations tout the value of 'upstream scanning' activities. And we have seen bottom-line (albeit seemingly short-lived) implications of the "Napster-iztion" of customers: a world where communities of customers learn faster than traditional companies.

But other answers are suggested in something terribly old.

As a leader who wants to remain ahead, you know the biggest surprises come from the edges of perception -- rarely from where you're directing your focus. As that old adage goes, it's what you don't know you don't know that help you -- and hurt you -- the most.

DiscoveryCapital is a service that puts you in touch with ideas and questions outside your daily comfort zone and frame of reference. Explore the edges of new ideas with others who embrace the idea of searching out the new, the different. As a subscriber to DiscoveryCapital you will find yourself in an extended focus group with an emergent agenda controlled by the participants.

DiscoveryCaplital is an online networks 1000’s of remarkable people. It beats e-lists, online discussion forums and lethargic participation rates. DiscoveryCapital rewards participants for their postings.

How does it work?

One of the keys to DC is how it randomizes connections between innovative people.

DiscoveryCapital subscribers are assigned to a random e-list of a dozen people. Each exchange list is valid for two weeks. DC members are exposed to 26 different groups each year, with upwards of 300 people tossing ideas into the ring. New participants are sent a DC 'reminder' - with their new random group response in the e-mail header. It simple asks them to respond to their group with something interesting they've seen today, something they've been reflecting on, some thorny problem they've been tackling.

In order to foster a sense of activity - there has to be some enforcement for 'group performance' (as odious as that is -- for all sorts of reasons). The DiscoveryCapital moderators need to toss those who never participate (or, at least, goad them on). These "performance criteria" should be published - numbers participating in which groups, total no of postings, average 'ratings' (a la Ebay rating system), etc. Part of the DC service would be a kind of search capabilities -- DC participant in Company "A" is intrigued by DC-Participants "Brian", "Raul" and "JoAnne". They need to be able to connect. They need to be able to take the ideas and develop them (offering, for example, these 4 participants the tools to run a topic-focused DiscoveryCapital sponsored blog. The most active of the DC-participants will probably find it addictive and appealing -- they can become the people that search out other like-minded DC-participant candidates.

We reckon this could be a big deal in a pretty broad range of companies...

November 26, 2002

Innovative Collaboration

For the longest time I've had the attached scenario matrix as a plaything. (click on it to full size it). This matrix repesents a tension that exists around an innovative collaborative community. The four quadrants reflect different aspects - dimensions of community. Simply, communities require members, networking, navigation and co-creation. A sustainable community will operate in all quadrants. It's meant as reference points to promote a common language to encourage the experimentation and openness necessary for innovation and new ideas.

brandp5_small.gif There are tensions in a great matrix. On the horizontal axis it looks at personalities, reflecting the individuality and the commonalities in all of us. At one end we have the need for divergent experimental thought and ideas; chasing our dreams. At the other end the need for a common language, alignment and reference points; pressure to conform. The vertical axis highlights the structural tension between open source sharing, contrasted with the need for some value creation engine that makes it sustainable. The top half may also be seen to represent where value is created and the bottom half how we capture it. I suspect the processes and methods around this axis are ready for some real innovative ingenuity!

.new_pa1_small.gif
Then there is a complementary matrix which takes into account the knowledge strategies necesary to lead an organization. Rather cryptically labelled, I think the real question is around the Jazz quadrant. As organizations, most of us have our composers, and piano players while the orchestral choir simply hums along. Yet that quadrant represented by the frontline staff (leverage) and the network receives possibly the least attention of all. This is an opportunity quadrant for almost every organization I know. It's a world in which the pace, the collison of ideas, products and services, inspire adaptive responses and insight in both participants and audience. It's the jazz club jamming metaphor and it is crucial to your innovation proposition

December 5, 2002

Building Community News

My interest in news feeds traces to: 1) Finding a better way to "organize clippings" of digital info I make and improve pass on. 2) understanding how RSS feeds can help accelerate community infomation sharing.

So an afternoon experimenting included Ben Brown's RSS Monkey and Ampheta Desk. This follows a continued experiment with Radio Userland which I've been using as a news service - Stuarts Clips. The good news is Ampheta Desk is a lot easier to use, but lacks the functionality of Radio. Soon I will just integrate the clip system of radio with my MT blog. However, if you are not blogging, and want News try it out. Download, one click install and then click on my new ampehta xml logo. Further subscribe instruction are simple.

Similarly, I've been trying to provoke a UCB colleague on blogging to encourage a learning lab style experiment. With a collection of tools I think learning could rapidly accelerate and build a more collaborative student community. Our conversation so far resulted in an unexpected new link for me KartOO a meta search engine which presents its results on a map. The map is pretty neat. Try searching Entovation 100 now! His comments also encouraged me to clip the following.

The Shifted Librarian: Tuesday, December 03, 2002 is one of my favorite news feeds. Jenny made the following post:

Another "Next Level" Type of Step for RSS
An Introduction to RSS for Educational Designers (.doc)
"Quote: "RSS is the first working example of an XML data network. As such, and in this world of learning objects and metadata files, RSS is the first working example of what such a network will look like for educational designers. Just as news resources are indexed and distributed in the RSS network, so also educational resources can be indexed and distributed in a similar learning object network."

Jenny's comment: "Nice article on RSS (Rich Site Summary)...timely as well - currently at RRC, we are trying to create a culture of bloggers...and use aggregators as a means of accelerating the reading process. RSS is already popular in the blogosphere and news sites. Stephen Downes extends the role of RSS from that of news aggregation to learning object network (which he contrasts with current LCMS models)."

Finally, with more than a little hype ... the link to the K-Logs . However, I wish blogs were available when I was SVP Marketing and Sales. Realtime cross-functional cross-regional sharing would go up n'fold. Anyone want to do a little experimenting? Lots of ideas here....

December 9, 2002

Supernova: Introduction

Looking round the room, where's the youth, majority ageing males. Are these the ones that are creating a decentralized future? See at least one guy with a web cam in the audience. Haven't seen any tablet PC's here yet. Couple of Trios visible. No Cyborgs -- disappointed! My guess is 60% are connected wirelessly to the pulver.com network.. Must be at least 10 blogging this event. In the crowd here I recognize many from the P2P conference nearly two years ago. Sense of promise seats for approximately 100. Room is full with a general buzz.

As Kevin warms up to the audience, his conviction in the decentralized future is obvious. It is an ambitious undertaking to start a new Tech conference in Silicon Valley these days. His reasoned commitment is to the developments taking place around decentralization, WIFI, weblogs, web services, changing architectures, --- still a lot happening that is not yet realized. Notes "decentralization" is an ugly word, --- not a hype concept -- for scenarist it just one of the driving forces for the next decade. There are not many centralists in the room I think.

Notes from Kevin's Introduction:

Decentralization is a fundamental issue for the next decade. Not new, eg PC was decentralizing in itself, but in this environment it takes on an even more important role. Business and social aspects. If you base your business model on central control, then decentralization is a threat. However, embracing it opens new opportunities…

1. Only way to scale. Why so important. Trying to manage at the center becomes impossible. Internet --- take it up a level. Take it beyond.

2 People. As people have these tools, want to collaborate, use to communicate across different boundaries, must have a decentralized approach. More decentralized approaches.

3 connected computing is becoming a commodity, Incredible pervasive networks.


Reflecting on the value chains. There is a ongoing tension between structured centralized and unstructured decentralized. I suspect that in the end we need both -- and a pragmatic view.

Increasing complexity. So how do we get there from here? What must we deal with?
Ø Reliability, security, manageability
Ø Reinventing value chains - business models and ways for people to add value.
Ø Balance openness and control

These may be different. The most decentarlzied approach doesn’t always win. Decentralization won’t always triumph but how far must we go?

Supernova: Howard Rheingold

I'm looking forward to Howard's presentation. It may well be a revelation to kick off a technology conference with a focus on social implications. I sure hope it makes the tech heads think. Many in the audience have probably read his book Smart Mobs.

Introducing collective action --- imploring us to take a look at the terrain from 60000 feet. His contention this that---every time power is decentralized there is new opportunity for new collective action. The audience responds to this theme. Howard’s objective is to provide examples of things that may be coming. His purpose to stimulate the understanding and debate - not only about technology, but socially, politically, and for innovation.

An interesting aspect of his presentation was around trust and reputation systems. Clearly a huge area for experimentation. So iImagine a world where connections are mobile in the street and not limited to a room PC. There are quite some hurdles to go to get there.

Notes and words from Howard’s presentation:

Starting with texting messaging, and introducing flocking. Borrowing examples from the book. How do young kids all arrive at a destination to hang out all at the same time? How was Astrada over thown in the Phillipines by thousands arriving within minutes in the square all wearing black. They are all mobilizing by text messaging. Text enables easy forwarding with two thumb strokes they send it on to everyone.

HR sees a threshold being crossed where the obstacles have been lowered and new forms of collective action empoweered as a consequence of these new technologies. HR thinking seeing something that is the beginning of a cycle just like the PC 80, Internet 90. Characteristics that come to mind. Two techs converging.. to make a third technology that is not easily predictable, (Eg PC to telephone --- got the internet.) the critical uncertainty here. The users of the technology shaped the medium that emerged. If it hadn’t been for the teenage enthusiasts, or the millions putting up web pages, where would we be?

Notes: Technology that happened by collective action… 4 billion web pages in 2000 days. Moore’s law etc. hold today in hand 1000 time the power vs 1980, at 1/5 of the price.

Mini internet terminals we are now carrying around. What happens when we have them 1000 times faster than today? P2P methodologies point towards something. Eg Napster 70 million people put their hard disks together. The architecture of the way that it was put together made it certain that it would continue. Eg the Seti at home example.

Science is a form of collective action.

Alphabet was a tool for encoding knowledge. The printing press created the opportunity for literacy to be decentralized. Large groups begin to think they can solve things themselves. Many people taught how to do experiments. Each time new forms of collective action emerge. Doesn’t mean utopia is round the corner. Will be new benfits and pitfalls.

The telephone reaches places that the PC never did. Eg fishermen in gulf of Arabia. In the slums people San Paulo people are using telephones, those that didin’t have it before. Technology is widening the pool of potential contributors. It is also going into every part of the day Changing when and how time is dealt with. Predicts it will have significant impact on cities very quickly!!!

Another element --- whether reputation systems will evolve to find people with similar needs. Markets are a form of collective action! Money is a result of a meta communication and trust system that has evolved over the last five hundred years. If you could ask in your telephone to offer a ride to work, who is someone I would trust, enable ride-sharing, could you run a reputation system that doesn’t require people to fill out forms. Don’t watch what people say watch what they do. Eg Repeat riders, vs non repeat riders. LOTS of room for experimentation. Know from Internet that you can share with people that have common interests. For the most part the connections are made by people alone in rooms. Now take it to the streets, Dates, bicycle to sell, etc, when it becomes possible when you can identify and qualify those people. Is is rally a farfetched specutialiton. These devices do know where we are. Eg Cell phones. The Survelance possibilities. Danger, What do my friend say about it? I’m new etc. Will the associations be open or closed? Eg at 5th and main?

Also possible to information into things over the next few years. RFID tags. Labels are political objects. Will that information become open? Recent Experiment. Laptop and wireless connection, UPC to Google. First object box of prunes. The vendor of the prunes was Sun Diamond First reference… US vs Sun Diamond Cooperative… Bromide barrons, subvert democratic process, largest contributor to methyl bromide. The friend cracked open the closed system… by connecting it to google. Kellogg Crackling… FDA warning, unlabed egg and dariy…

How does information, and things and people with this capability to link in their pocket think? .... How does it change how you go through the world and with whom??? Those are really the questions. There are important political discussions going over all of the structures we are talking about. Whether spectrum labels, etc. All have to do with two things. Closed systems trying to maintain their closure, vs… Who controls innovations. Will this platform again be some thing part oa a platform you can innovate around. The more people understand the more opportunity.

Power and knowledge there is a cycle between d and c what people know and how quickly is a component of power.

How open a system will Google remain? Would a change make it less useful. Is there competition in what you search for? What will be controlled?

Comments: Discussion…
How do we translate these thoughts into sustainable collective action? Are there mistakes we might learn from?

The freedom to innovate.. Need to get the message out. HR when talking about scenarios. Interesting to look at demographics, eg texting. The ones most adept are 15 years old. Not seeing it so much here. But there is a 15-20 years old group now to use and summon social networks. They are tuned to using this technology to to gain control. People are very accustomed to affect things. 10 years form now they will bbe 25 and the tool that they hold will be a lot more powerful. How do you communicate with them. And over the long run how those people see the technologies they have and use. If every idle moment is taken up with communication …. Do we lose something? Opinion on the matter may be dependent on how old you are. These 15 year olds may have very different perspectives.

Supernova Beyond the Web

Nice intro to this session by Jeremy Allaire (Macromedia). Looking at my notes. This was probably the best session of the day. From a consumer perspective the most important. WE NEED AN IDENTITY SYSTEM WAS THE CONCLUSIONS.

Karl Jacob was most impressive. His P2P Spam busting company Cloudmark (brand??) currently has 230k users. However more than anyone all day he put the case for consumers. From the internet forcing us to doing it our way to good examples re Amazon profiles, and the likes of Classmates. A clear evangelist. In a P2P world solutions to questions emerge from the network.

I rather like the opportuntiy for his business. A a spam buster he is involved in real-time trust evaluation. With an emergent community that can eliminate spam he'll have an opportunity to also link the magic mailbox, phone number and e-mail. The community that emerges could well aggregate other powers as a result. Interestingly there was a chaordic comment from the floor. Whether Cloudmark makes it or not. It's worth watching.


Notes - speaker comments:

Jeremy Allaire Macromedia:

Three broad trends
1. Rich clients and the transformation of the user experience particularly on client side
Look at it from x years ago. As a document publishing environment. The container for applications and content haven’t evolved. The fidelity and quality hasn’t evolved The run time model hasn’t really evolved. That model looks decentralized yet is highly centralized. Rich clients break thought this. Support desktop applications. Integrate all forma of media into the runtime itself. Streaming voice, graphics, text, etc integrated into the processing model. They enable are real time P2P arch. Supports a new programming model that leverages a rich capability. Push action out to the edge.

2. Web services and distributed logic
Using XML important to decentralization. Industry too focused on backend and integration of enterprise applications. Really misses what is happening in web content… eg blogger, RSS, early manifestations of the Semantic Web. Grassroots rather than the enterprise groups that are driving it. Second the original vision was software as a service, but a fundamental piece missing was the run-time …. The fullness of software service. Large approached on enterprise integration. Broadband was failing,,, etc.. a few years ago. This perspective is turning around. Across the board broadband is growing. New wave of marketing product development in that area… eg yahoo broadband etc.

3. Significant momentum for broadband technology.
WIFI broadband is growing, hotspot operators, many adding this offer as part of full service bundling. Over 300 cos in the wifi software area today.

When you put these trends together with a new access platform. --- becomes interesting.

Carl Jacob…
Optimistic. A consumer software guy. How do consumers use these services? Cloudmark is a Spam co. P2P system. 230,000 plus users. Before had to go to website to interact. Forced consumer to do it there way. Amazon… end to end controlled by Amazon. Next ten years. Consumers will define how Internet is used., They will have a lot more power. Eg Classmates. Enter all this information. In a P2P world it simply emerges from the network itself. Classmates in a P2P world it becomes a question? It is not just the power of the computers, but the people at the edge of the network, Eg buy in interest.

Mike Helfrich. Groove Networks. P2P collaboration platform. We are dealing with disruptive technologies particularly in the enterprise organizations. Decentralization speaks to some emerging themes. In commercial sector, see activity around Innovation decentralized networks popping up, serendipitous interactions where it is important, while ON the federal side decentralization has a different value proposition. In FG, absolutely require flocking, swarming, rapidly pull together cross coalition threats, responses, end driven user nature of these d architectures is important. Realm in adaptive systems. The end user determining the application to work on the fly. Particularly the federal government must look at the war efforts, to continue collaborating despite elements being brought down. There is resurgence in the notion of person to person types of actions.

Doc Searles…
The idea that something explosive is going on while literally making a new world. Nothing but ends. The middle makers don’t make things. What do we do at the ends of things? Technology trends start with technology. There is a imperative with that --- ask god what the net can do for you ask what you can do for the net… dave winer…??? The idea of place. No one owns it. Everyone can use it. And anyone can improve it. Point made that google … technorati….if you want to look at what your own cosmos is doing. $5.oo.. Arraycom --- cellular broadband? Do it yourself! There is a collection of internet services that we don’t have yet. We need identity services.

Beginning of discussion:
How do we build these things in? Eg RSS… PINGID? RSS? Create infrastructure on which everyone can build? What are the types of policies we put on our vendors? Do we get interoperability so the meta data is published to …. Defense Service Standards. Eg 411 directory.. A rich client

Karl… Is this a change is as significant… this forces so powerful, turn into a community ….. turn into things a lot faster than ever before. This is the way the world is going to be. We may all do it wrong in the first instance. A trust system at keen, rating, review… trust in a P2P network the trust is real-time. Real-time trust evaluation. IT is a force that is very powerful. (Comment (Example temper enthusiasm with the fact the more complex ideas may find it more difficult to spread.)

KW session started with notion beyond the web… do you believe.. etc… ??? The web won because of simplicity openness? Do we need. JA web is very good at displaying content, not good at a high degree of user interaction, too many burdens under html, and not great at immersive media. Eg for Kids, for corps expect in training. Not good for multiple users interacting with page models in real-time. For publishing it is the dominant medium. More sophisticated it breaks down more quickly.

Doc. E- mail not a rich experience. We need identity services, before customers become truly empowered. Consumer is a relic…. Directory and Security … really simple is required.

Round trip HTML mentality is really holding us back. Not time dependent, not designed for media, Rohit Khare…. Knownow is now open sources. Innovation can go on the web???

KJ P2P with ratings, commerce, ….. Amazon cost of goods, is all the hundreds of server to have to scale. If you are eBay what do you do… Can’t use your rating s elsewhere. The hard thing is that what they have created so far but they may find it a noose. Audience ? Is Karl is smoking crack???)

Many of these communities are incredibly self-regulating. Simple rules. “Trust the network” do a great job of thinking in the small! Like nature, in terms .
How do we leverage infrastructure? Infrastructure is just about setting out part of the rules out into the marketplace. Commerce transactions. Centralized some kinds of rating system? Change in the way we establish trust. What is common?

Tom… What can we learn from multi-player games? The original groove intro story. Illuminated how quickly these rich small groups grew up.

Doc… infrastructure… 1 inet itself. History of protocols.. no one owns. Like sub-platform stuff. What happens when the geologies change under it.. The protocols change. Like decentralization,,,,,, need a name for some for this. How does this change. E.g. changes because we add stuff to it. RSS, WIFI..


Feeling some group of companies… that need to take this sense of IDENTITY… whether amazon… chaordics… comments…. Sharing customer information…

How do we create that environment???

Supernova Collaborative Business

This panel includes John Hagel (New Book: Out of the Box), John Parkingson (spent $1b on tech to promote collaboration), Narry Singh (service - architecture market world), and moderated by David Weinberger.

DW: A panel on collaboration ---what do we all mean by collaboration?

JP "No good collaborative software around!" "Corporations have lost control of the user experience! Collaboration is a very personal experience. To much focus on the "and" rather than the "me"."

That really seems to sum it up. The structured versus the unstructed debate. Lovely bloggers floor comment: "We are hacking the sh** out of you guys."

Panel notes:

This panel includes John Hagel (New Book: Out of the Box), John Parkingson (spent $1b on tech to promote collaboration), Narry Singh (service - architecture market world), and moderated by David Weinberger.

A panel on collaboration ---what do we all mean by collaboration? Not a focus on technology. Intend to talk about how human interaction and social effects happen. Adhoc vs structured, collaboration within, or across the enterprise, or between machines. DW good collaborative software around / efficiencies the business --- why isn't it being used all the time?

JP no good collaborative software around... how do you instrument.. we have applied the metrics.... over seven years... 90% of the difference is called e-mail. JH Notion of coordinating activity. Why do we still bundle so many items within an enterprise? Across enterprises too much manual carry - connect, Can we free up people for more creative problem solving. NS Now one process has many companies. The mandate for collaboration is increasing the impact difficult.

Summary Challenges:
* No collaboration software
* Problem with the integration
* Unprecedented demand for collaboration. How make it stick?

NS need to think / include the governance. JH business processes increasing include a broader range of issues around collaboration issues. Think about taking a loosely coupled approach.

HR people are fixated on the artifacts. Rather than how to use it. A training discussion. Seems no one is trained in the use of e-mail and many apparently are untrainable.

Some interesting floor comments re games. The gaming collaboration -- where is it in business? Yet we see kids doing it now. Others have been trained -- eg military in how to use the headset.... I'm thinking Socom PS2.

JH Levels of collaboration: First level is structuring relationships -- most have failed to fix the structuring across enterprise, 2nd level coordinating the activty levels - info is not flowing, third --- problem solving exceptions and enhancement.

DW Seems less than certain about this gloomy outlook. Mentions Open Source, epinions, ebay, smartmobs, workflow applications, sales mailing lists for salesforces. There is lots of collaboration oing on. Yahoo groups.

This presenter group seems pretty down. It doesn't bode well for the organization. If this is the energy level advising them ---- then let's not be optimistic about traditional organizations making rapid progress in collaboration. Are these guys being too top down? Enterprises are not making the leaps.

JP Corporations have lost control of the user experience! Collaboration is a very personal experience. To much focus on the "and" rather than the "me".

Seems to imply that collaboration will be a very personal issue. Sharing stories with how many other groups are collaborating might accelerate the process. JH in co's very structured collaboration --- granular transfers --- to get things done. Often being driven by non-IT individuals. The IT is often the barrier or resistent point.

Lovely floor comment: We are hacking the sh** out of you guys. Talk about a structured vs unstructured dialogue. Chaos reins in the seats.

Broadband media distribution

How intense is the debate around sharing content online? Are sharers pirates? What types of models might get us out of this mess? TIVO and Listen are doing things that may enable things to work. EFF has a different perspective.

Panel consist of: Cory Doctorow EFF, Sean Ryan Listen, Morgan Guenther TIVO

Great meaty discussion. Unedited notes/ comments of speakers and audience.

CD... Entertainment battles trace right back to 1908 and piano roles. battle continues to this day. Today new fight around fcc DTV they can shut down analog spectrum and then sell it! The broadcast flag, is clear. The broadcasting industry have said unless there is some copyright material they will withhold the release of digital content. They have asked for a broadcast flag. Compliant chip, is a fragile measure, check for response for the bit. Hollywood has asked to restrict everything that come in contact. Anticompetitive practice. Summary reps from all the industries that this was a good idea. The tech co's that agreed had the solutions. So they signed on. Dissenters ---- did see any complaints. Now at the FCC, what do you mean a regulatory regime for commodity hardware. First piece is the broadcast flag. Second is blocking the analog outputs all will have to have a cop mark. Step three is the Darknet whitepaper. The network of computers that continues find ways around all this stuff. The solution is redesign the internet; so every packet is checked for infrin gement. Why is it that technologists coming out against?

Sean Ryan Listen: Started as a directory of common music. They had built a way to find music. "Hard to be a Label apologist!" Laughter!.. Last two years developing a compelling service. Proprietary streams. And adding greater portability, though all systems. 95% of a broadband company. Doesn't offer the unlimited portability. Our crowd doesn't want to burn and get music in their life. Free is better. Access and rediscover and not just the hot stuff you get from target, but the small, lost almost forgotten stuff. Legitimate license service. Music industry is becoming more flexible. Think they can create a compelling service. Excited about digital medial.

Tivo. 36% of audience has TIVO. "TIVO thinks I'm Gay!" Focused on three things. Execution, marketing and financial cash generating, changed etc. have to have. 2) transition from a straight consumer acquisition model, now going to licenses etc that enable it to be pervasive. DVR's will be in 40'-50% of home in 5 years. Third innovation still in core area - system software and at the applications - where we really bring value. Business model focused on consumers 12.95 per month. less that 1% churn 500 k customers. Other applications, file serve TV etc everything on the home network. Advertising, the death of the 60billion dollar industry. Real estate in the living room, secure distribution of content is there.... 7 hours of TV per day. What do you want to do there? With the space? With the living room? Will meet an inflection point. content distribution, sharing, moving content to other devices, withint the home. Taken an industry approach. Knew it was a disruptive technology.

KW... Why doesn't Sean's story ring true? CD -- Music industry spent millions to develop a Princeton Professor, can talk about math. Every DRM vendor will tell you that real pirates can just continue to.. THe DRM solutions are controlling private performance. Restricting the uses in your own home. DVD... region system.

Floor
Can’t rip a piece of a DVD, and put it up for a review. At what point is all of that on a DVD. At what point can I critique it? If you can't do fair use. Then is it wrong?

TIVO as a buffer.....
Two smart guys, riding the buffer, surfing a wave of change between what was and what could be! The focus is thus more portability, more pricing, more availability.

Re TV... Different ways that file-served TV will play out. All about distributed computing, storage on the edge, more scalable, rather than any streaming for high quality TV. The cable cos' will serve up more standards, re IP based delivery. We can deliver content into the box via ip. Also meta data, how find it access it? Over the long run you will see programming, we don't care, all types of content, don't care where it comes from. Requires work with the cable co's.

Comment: Interesting contrast between TV adn PC industry. Tivo was rogue, interesting language, bucket at the end of the pipe and the engine... the mix the distribution model and about the edge.... DO you see downstream other Tivos coming in? Is there a platform you are part of that enables more TIVO's to come in. MG There isn't the bandwidth to handle that type of alternative. TIvo i setting standards in the industry today. It is all about deployment. Have to get it currently though satellite and cable.

Summing Up Supernova Day One

Summary Supernova: Interesting day. The kick- off reconfirming that decentralization is one of the driving forces and aided with an unconventional tech conference start. Howard's pitch taking consumer examples reflecting the potential longer term shift in the power structures. I was never completely sure how many techies were really paying attention. I hope they were listening!

The reality then that for much of the rest of the day, real implications for consumers weren't tested. The Microsoft presentation failed to mention customers, much less consumers and while IBM is clearly more customer centric, their focus remains facilitating integration amongst their enterprise clients.

The Beyond the Web discussion began to fire. Take a look at what Karl Jacob is doing with Cloudmark a P2P spam filtering system. I'll revisit it after the conference. He had probably the most provocative consumer centric comments the whole day. Breaking just before lunch, an active discussion around digital identity, scalability of Amazon etc. emerged.

After lunch despite David Weinberger's best attempt to focus in on collaboration discussion away from technology and back with communites and socialization, --- the enterprize factor seemed to kill ingenious new ideas. This was a group significantly restricted by structure, and current rules of govenance. The decentralized world --- is not being created in these organizations. If you are interested in collaboration, the answer is look outside your organizations --- forget about the "and" and just simply start using - experimenting with tools out there.

The last panel - almost in stealth provided the most useful degree of pragmatism. Nice clash between Cory's -- EFF thoughts, and two realistic emergent businesses in Listen and TIVO. They are perhaps closer together than we think --- and I'm sure they would disagree with that comment.

Final SUMMARY: We need an IDENTITY SYSTEM! Don't expect traditional enterprises to provide any solutions. If you are in business remain pragmatic, and continually negotiate the shift between structured and centralized and unstructured - empowered and decentralised. Consider carefully the risks to the Innovation Commons. Update your organizations IP policies. Make them work cross-platform, cross-industry and for the benefit of your customers customers.

Kevin summing up: What have we learned? Two conferences. One physically as the one in cyberspace by blogs. Interesting to watch the interplay. It is pretty remakable how many concepts were just thrown out 3-4 years ago. It is remarkable how much is still happening. Thought we would be talking about the unanswered issues of the web era. But still haven't worked out some of the implications of the PC. Couple of words... infrastructure... what does it mean and how do you dreaw the line. That is the theme tomorrow. Reinventing infrastructure. What forma of control are acceptable, how do we process?

There is also plenty of other content and perspective recorded. See Doc Searles weblog.

December 10, 2002

Supernova Day Two

Kicking off Day Two, room 80% full and still filling, looks like the majority have returned.

KW: Infrastructure is the starting point for a revolution. Unfortuantely Clay Shirky who is always entertaining isn't here. Dan Gilmour (a reporter) is going to present on Journalism. How is the Business of Journalism Changing?

Dan presented a view for "we media". Journalists are apparently learning the lesson all marketers do. The customer probably knows more and they may well check out the facts.

He sent us on a couple of missions - One story linking to Max Croyden who was quoted as a 15 year old but turns out to be 23. Max blogged from his phone. Quite a fuss made about it. Now just need a good discussion around phone camerad. They will have more impact.

Mitch Radcliffe asked Dan about ethics and an interesting discusion ensued. Apparently bloggers were paid by Microsoft to go to earlier conferences. sure Doc Searles will have the facts.

Notes from Dan's talk.

Dan Gillmor's Journalism 3.1b4

The exponential view of change is not changing. Old view of new media was refreshing the CNN homepage. This convergence then was superceded as "we media" became more clear in the aftermath of September 11th. Weblogs and personal media became vital. In the following days Dave Farbers newslist (get on it) next day we get the e-mail exchanges including international exchanges. Then we have something that bubbles up... Afgan letter, first as an e-mail then blogs, etc... on to national news.

New tools. Anyone can publish. The old for is like a lecture, the new form is more conversational. It's something more perhaps more like a seminar. Journalists of the future - Sherpa Guildes"? The people out there are now part of the discussion --- can now check the facts.

It's true for all journalists. New foundation principle. "My readers know more than I do." "The blog has helped my dead tree journalism."

Look up Max Croyden a 15 years old??? who blogged Supernova via phone yesterday. Apprarently great insights on a music conference. Check also Joi Ito's blog on moblogging. Next time in Tokyo moblogging will send the pictures through before the news feeds can ever get to it. Then journalists may get it!

Dan's paper will be put on line. We shall see.

Interesting audience development in terms of the ethics of disclosure raised by Mitch Radcliffe. What is the role with bloggers, and disclosure? Example exists on web around recent conference

Web Services

From web services to distributed infastructure. Panel consisting of Brent Sleeper a consultant, Anne Thomas Manes (Author) Christian Gheorgh and Dick Hardt (Active State) who is doing interesting stuff (more later I hope).

Opening question for the panel. What does web services mean?

AM terrible name... middleware technologies.. it is application to application technology. XML is required. Protocols etc up to you. Reason you do it is to make things work together.

CG Marketing - When as web services, what is the impact of quality of the experience? Is it working for different touchpoints. What needs to happen in the context of one's interaction? Seems out of place

DH Web services is first a big a dream and the second is the manifestation of what is actually out there. Unfortuantely more limited. All real uses of Web Services are in the Enterprise. Probably not true either.

Less clear now what they all mean than before!

Interesting floor comments around Amazon and Technorati: They are looking at web services for an ongoing service. If any part breaks then there is no back-up. Larger social issue as web services develop when it becomes almost a utility. How do we make sure it is robust. How do we get reliability?

The focus of this session seems to be breaking down. Web services appears to have been a lousy definition for a number of years. Presume but don't know if people other than IT - Tech really want to know how to use these tools in integration environments. Falling into technical definitions. Can't I get an auto plug-in?

Rohit Khare --- In what one way should we believe that this web service will play out. --- Web services plumbing alone is not viable enough to change the software market.

Majors see opportunities around integrations. Thus MS and IBM are creating a position for it. Exciting when personal data get's in the cloud. The Hailstorm example. "stuff in the cloud" is the vision. Yet the room talks about plumbing. Stuff in the clouds is not a vision that consumers can act on. I've noted this speak in Radio. The cloud is not something we look forward too. Funny really, hear clouds.... think rain. Should consumers act on this? Note, check up on WSRP WSIA? Allow people to consume web services dynamically from a browser.

Not a highlight

Weblogging Panel

The following panel should be interesting. With Dave Winer now on stage we should be in for something. Interesting thing is Weblogs are probably getting more than their fair share of attention. Many blogs going here. Clearly there is a need for a Webloggers Conference. The Trott's (Moveable Type) are also in the audience.

The Panel also includes Nick Denton, Meg Hourihan Apologies in advance for my paraphrasing.

KW --- Are the Weblogs the next platform? Are weblogs and web services the same things? (It's a little like asking GOD and diciples if the world will be made in seven days)

DW Weblogs are like the word processor, opening up writing for and to the web for everybody. Need to use tools that are very much like what you use today. He wants to ease the migration. There is a human reason why this needs to be done. (I think Dave hopes everyone will write.)

ND is it possible to publish online media at a much lower cost point. Online media is unfinished business. Weblogs provide one way to produce editorial property to move things out to the fringe.

MH How it can be transparent to the users. Still using it for a browser interface. What happens when we use phones, where ever we are? How does the content and the people come together. What's cooking is the "writable web" it took time... but now need to take to the next level.

KW Why should it go to the next level?

MH because people want to talk to their friends. ND there was a snowstorm in NY - the times ran other stories, but what peoople really wanted was pictures covered in snow. Digital cameras uploaded in an hour... good local coverage, DW adds... send me your pictures request.. like, art.. they flow in. News on west coast too. There were tools that let you build web pages. Weblog is like starting a mazazine. For a people that likes to write it is an advance. It is deceptively simple. Lot of trial n error, to get to where we are now. Continual process of evolution.

KW VC Based Question. Is this relevant? Tend to get two types of answers. One personal kind of martket and two will it expand it beyond?

ND already using at personal level using for outreach, small businessses marketing. Example Amazon affiliate site cool products, 1000 to write it and bringing in 5000-10000 per month. Pretty profitable small media enterprise. (I'd like to know the example).

DW this may be more like word procesors in the 80's. Who know what this industry looks like.... ND Tina Brown Talk magazine for a mag launch... 5 years and millions (50m?) before profitability. You can do a weblog for such a miniscule fraction of that?

KW Dave is this wp or hypercard? DW it is not going to happen. Quite a few products are here. MH Hope the buzz dies down. It is the format that you use on every page that needs the ongoing update. It won't go away. That's the way you format that kind of information.

Bob F: Tools make it possible to do a certain class of things much better.
Speaker as a user not interested how it got posted. Blog as a tone of voice.

MH Weblog is simply a format! Reverse chronological order... trackbacks.... comments etc.

RK If weblogging a platform? Are weblogs a platform? In what way is a drawing or writing tool as a platform.

DW There is some programability. Do bloggers see it as a platform? MT developers see it as a platform. ND Can you build other things on a weblog platform. KW What's missing? ND A great way to define the writer. Personalised news service. Is there a promise for building a personalised news system. Even define online dating service? MH How do you find all this stuff? How do you get to it? Information to people when they want it? GF As we get beyond monolithic, 95% men... there are anecdotal --- what can you find out? Look at livejournal.com (16 year old woman). KnowNExt?? DS, The first blog put up was tim berners lee. Links are something that are important. Blogs do a great job of linking.

KW Will the blogging community become the general population? Will it follow the same demographics Good or Bad?

ND The politics are very interesting. Will this be like talk radio? NICE METAPHOR. MH traffic, many start just to get connected with a small circle of friends. They might get more traffic. Lot of people forget how easy it is to see people out there. The photo blogs may well have a different impact. DW where many need to be informed. Can be very interesting.

KW in 5+ years from now. What % of people will be blogging out there.
ND There may be 10 times the number that are writing public. That is a pretty major change in western society. DW can pick it up on by structure, two by two style of writing... MR more people will be communicating in their own voice. In the future will the net be primarily a consumption mechanism or interaction? Where the edge is important.

KW You are the center of your publishing world. Where does it fit in the nature of 1 to 1 , 1 to many etc, aimed at small communities and a broad network? Not as urgent as an email. Also have a flame retardent built in. Each of these media change the way people behave. How does it differ. DW Weblogs demand respect. You have to listen to the person. If you choose to you can get it done despite MH thought of it as an IM to the world. Comment... doesn't demand response in the same way. MH thinking as sending it out... asynchonously. Different interaction. Has an off the cuff message. PW David you use it in the operation of your businees.. How does it work in collaborative work. We needed interfaces for webcontent management systems. 99, became a thing until itself. The instant outlining stuff... (next generation) in a few years will we have new ways for browings this stuff. Brent Simmonds... Phillip Person this idea that have a tool that can browse based on that assumption.

MH Starting pYra working in a living room wanted to share info, within a week made an internal weblog called stuff. Ten most recent entries. Had a space we worked together, rem day... lisitings to helped to build this corporate culture, so they started running this weblog on the frontpage on the site. Send via a check box. Then it became blogger. CD the thing that makes it interesting, blogging allows people to write that have never written before. Despite demographics. How use for business. Numerous examples who because of the informality (homeless guy in philly that has a blog) so speeds up the feedback loop with the public services. In santa monika found out the showers... were opening too late. At EFF needed vetting by lawyers, it was too late, blog a para at the time, killed the standards setting effort that they had spent 20m on!.... Friend paid to blog. but he emails in the stories to the magazines.

DW it slips in looks like a printer on a budget. Enable people to get the job done!

"Windblogs", pontificating... the mass market doesn't care as much. However there is great potential for tribes, but need semantics for searching.

KW one two or three new tools... What's next? AGAIN ASKING!

MH want push for weblogs. and capability to rank. eg some stuff on a phone. Whole system to my context to me and when I think it is important.
DS wants search on blog. Google misses alot. not enough.
DWeinberger Blog threads... Trackback is helping not there. Topic Server?
ND Wants a news onepage of that item day hour etc. Locate myself within a social network, 1 -2 -3 degrees out recommending things to me.

This last thought is interesting. It reflects that bloggers really are doing it because they want to learn faster! However, I've not heard anyone say... it accelerates learning. Yet I know if I ask Dave, Doc, Dan et all they would agree. Blogging needs more "learning" aspects --- measures etc and more listing capabilities. Blogging Instrumentation needs developing. Similarly and I must return to it. Blogging has no formal market research going on around it.

Supernova - Google

Sergey Brin turned this into a wonderfully frank conversation. It's no wonder they are killing (killed) all the other search engines. Their strategic intent is clear.

KW What is google?

The truth is that it is a search engine coming out of Stanford plus hacks on. Not a lot of strategic reasons. Eg Googles groups. One engineer just got excited and put together. That's the way things happen. There is a search component to almost everything we do.

KW What's your sense of how you got to where you are today? Google is essential. Not the first. What is it?

It's a surprise to me how much people rely on Google. Larry & I use search a lot. We had a frustration, continue to be involved and want great search for ourselves. Bring our user empathy to the fore. Unlike some of our competitors who have moved from their calling. Presume he means Yahoo.

Gooogle API came about -- to make it easier to use in applications. Now there are thousands of applications out ther using it. Now we have registered users for screen scrapers etc?

The web API is no business model. Currently limit the number of queries. Fundamentally want to see what people develop. Example Plagiarism detection. An app submitted and then checks to see if this document already existed. Then there is a spell check plug in. All done with Google.

MC How and if I sort on images.... Will Google associate images with.... the way people write is not the way people read. Can you make the technology better, what is this image really about. Finding pictures because no key words attached to them. In other object structures, ... Usually some text that discusses the image. There will be an easier time to start finding them.

DW... Will Google always be centralized? Google for the desktop? The pricey client currently $25000 and up. Google for Desktop --- want to be able to search from everywhere. It depends on how you do it! Technical challenges...

By taking the Google API can then index the blog etc. Is it recentcy issue. Freshness issue. May be a larger problem. CD too much GOOGLE juice. What about more frequent updates. What would the the adoption be.. Consensus it would be widely adopted. Weblogs... Link.

Suicide searches. Example of the responsibility that must stay with the searchers. Will be sites out there where rankings changes. More important that the right information is there. Sometimes we show tests. Repeat user tests.

We want to index as much as possible. Data behind certain sorts of databases where the info isn't quite available, or simply not online. Want to bring it there.

DI How is Eric Schmidt doing? SG He went to Burning Man! Great cultural fit. Hang out together. More co's should look at the cultural fit and make sure you find someone that really melds there.

CD Does anyone at Google think about how the world is reorganizing / rebuilidng itself around the GOOGLE?

David Isenberg

Nice to reconnect with David here. He's just returned from New Zealand where he was working with Citylink in Wellington a small broadband wireless provider. Yesterday I was asking him about bundling telephone, cable, and broadband access from a consumer perspective. We may have to wait for that answer. So I’m looking forward to his update " Why Stupid is Still Smart". Many moons ago we had a great conversation around his paper "Stupid Networks". My argument then as it would be now.... Can’t we apply this same logic to companies? "Stupid Companies are really Smart".

This turned out to be one of the best talks of the day. Of course I was tuned in before. David had his screensaver playing pictures of NZ as we walked in after lunch. Yet finally we were looking at something tangible. David showed us wire that goes in the ground. It has last mile potential. So small and powerful I can have the equivalent of a city exchange in my house in a few years and they don’t even need to dig up the streets.

But take a look at the VOIP example POCKET PRESSENCE and GLOBAL IP SOUND. I you are like me and already use IM to talk direct internationally, then say goodbye to telecom profits with this one!

DI "Most of the important applications haven't been discovered yet. We are really in the green screen era." Now that's a radical thought about POTS!

KW Stupid Networks remain current. Years after it was first written. David will frame from a network perspective.

Detailed notes -- paraphasing David's comments:

DI. Conduits in the ground are infrastructure. Nice modules etc yet it is not infrastructure. It's POTS is still really important and the future for it really uncertain. Headline TELSTRA in slump as PM stalls sell-off. Telco's all over the world are struggling find themselves in hurt city. Verizon, SBC and Bell South, and Qwest...? Qwest is not an exception. It is the first sign of serious trouble. Customer Calling card from Australia. $10. Called Japan put on hold maybe have a few minutes left. Talked for 45-50 minutes. Still had $7.79 cents left. DISTANCE IS DEAD FOLKS. Except where is being held back by regulation or government intervention. 2.9 cents Aust. to call the US. In Japan the news was standing in subway giving away 12mb adsl modems Yahoo BB has gained one million customers from April 2002 to Sept 2002. First Million. now 1.3m In Japan now there are 5m adsl subscribers. In Japan there are 120k fiber to the home vs 50k in the US. Lots of growth! In Japan this growth is on a steep slope. Cost of customer acquisition makes me cringe. Was an old business model just like with with quest. was good for us folks. The fact regardless of the business model they are snapping them up and using them for $15 per month!

The future has arrived it is not just evenly distributed yet! Small co called Global IP Sound. In Pocket Presence there’s Microsoft pocket PC operating system Vanilla 802.11b all in an internet shrink wrapped telephone application and it sounds better than PSTN. Better than toll quality speech. NO TELCO in this model! When the standard vanilla Internet become more useful than the Telco the cash cow goes away. ? Who then runs the network?

What is SIP? What http did for documents SIP is going to do for phone systems! Picture of the "the intelligent network” the best network today is the stupid network that supplies simply connections but no services, Instead service are created by smart network-enabled products. It becomes the connectivity piece for your application designed for any network application.

New cable fiber options coming for the home. Will be easy to light it at a gigabit! In two or 3 years each of us may be able to have the bandwidth of the company... Benefits of Moore’s law are being held back by the telephone companies. Depreciation for Telco’s are holding us back. 5 years depreciation. Assume the bean counters assuming it will be replaced in 5 years. From bicycle to rocket in a qualitative change. Fourth trajectory required. It doesn't scale to anyone’s law. It becomes a new Engineering effort. This means we have to ride the things that do scale and keep the future network simple and stupid.

The major action is the end-to-end principle. David Read, et all conceived of it earlier. If you can do something at the ends don't do it in the middle. That preserves your options. Internetworking shifts control from the network owner to the end users. The Internet says take the features and put them at the edges. Internet's job says ignore network specific differences. (e.g. call waiting - cool features don't confer advantage to the owner of a network.

Telephony intelligent way wires network - service - vertically integrated. In the end-to-end way it is just a shrink wrapped application in an 802.11 connections. There are now a whole lot of new connections that came along with the network. email ecommerce, audio instant messaging , blogging etc. Most of the important applications haven't been discovered yet. We are really in the green screen era.

Old version new business model. They charged for voice applications. In the Smart Network model the potential for a vibrant marketplace exists around applications, data, voice, and ideal anything. The network layer Internet Protocol is a commons. The big question is what the business operating model in the physical layer designed for anything digital. What do you do with who runs this?? Who is best to run this?

Not the telephone co. Difficult to make the transition from the vertical model to the horizontal model. Sailing to Steam ships. Even though much was shared. The method of propulsion killed all the sailing ship lines. This is a bigger transition.

Will it be the cable co? Maybe in this country. Not elsewhere. They have better options. They unfortunately own the current information paradigm. Not sure them it’s them,

Municipalities? Own fiber netwroks 125 cos.
Utilities?
New kind os cos Stokad??? 3 years to put fiber in Stockholm.
Customers?

There are politics in the decisions. Remember Goliath Lost.

Ross Mayfield. Trading bandwidth as a monopoly. Rights of use agreements. The basic thing is SDNA highest relative to any industry. It is not prepared to operate leanly , as a utility. Will require brand new co's co's coming in. By offering different services. There is a model there. DI only one.

MR Need for identity - framework for decentralized environment. How can we not have servers with directories of information to propagate the system? DI Server is really at the edge of the network. Don’t need to own the wires to own a server. Just an application running at the edge of the network.

Thought provoking and a useful update; the telecoms are in real trouble.

Supernova Day Two - Closing.

The conference is wrapping up. Positive crowd. It's surpassed my usual criteria... one great idea / insight and at least 5 new connections. Those thoughts will wait for some more reflective time.

A great group of people here. The decentralised future remains challenging. Be thankful if you are not working for a large telecom. Embrace Wi-Fi. There are clear government issues and yet this group has not yet built a consumer case, whether for innovation, spectrum or costs. Rules of law, property, digital rights, implications for digital identity need more commentary. Particularly as I believe technology will just run round them.

We require a more reporting on metrics - from David's cable example to blogs hotspots etc. We should open up the social discussion around access and learn from third world structures. Ultimately it's consumers that will flip the communications infrastructure. The presure is coming. Whether from 15 year olds, spam, high communications costs, new products etc. Some consumer research is required. Is there a dynamic segmentation round blogs? Who's really explored IM behavior? More granularity is required. Gamer Segments?

It is big! The methods and means we use to communicate are undergoing the most radical change since the move from morse code to the telephone. The disruption is much larger than the move from the LP to the CD or mainframe to PC. That to me is what is really at issue here. "How we communicate, socialise, connect, interact. Decentralization can take us into a world of business models, structures, networks, plumbing etc. Infrastructure clearly is what makes it what it is....

And that's not what people buy! Or how marketers can market. Enterprise solutions aren't how you talk to them. Vision can take us into a world where reputations, trust, access, exchanges - simply people come alive. Always on mobility will be a given. Let's enrich the experience. Perhaps Sony, Nokia, EA Arts? Like IM there are a whole lot of new products that will move into the workplace. BLOGS is just an example.

That brings me to my final thought for now. I mentioned in the blogging piece that no one mentioned they do it to "accelerate learning". In a decentralized world with so much brain power in the room we need to set aside a portion of the time to rub heads in an "OPEN SPACE" style forum. There are also additional opportunities to connect people in new ways. Some bloggers did. The friction points in the room could have easily prototyped some new solutions. We should ask for ideas and enable them to be prototyped!

KW wrap... conference is a starting point. What haven't we talked about enough here? What might we talk about in the future.

Government and Digital Identity. What we haven't learned.

Mechanisms for connecting in a decentralized world. The schema...

Centralized vs Decentralized theme and understanding the pivot points. Things you never want to centralize. What are they?

What are the economic reasons for decentralising? A way for different people to pay for the whole thing? As a business model?

More resolution on the categories of infrastructure..
Business models, what is it creating the ability to create all this stuff at the edge? Organizational models for decentralised centralised

SIP, Instant Messaging and .....
Grid Computing ... Lack of discussion
INSIDE The firewall ... why is it such a hassle. Grass roots tech in the enterprise...

DRM vs Fair Use.

Consumer Electronics and non PC devices... eg Cameras.

KW We know the internet has changed the world. Our task going forward is to explain it!

December 13, 2002

Ideaflow

Nice post by Renee Hopkins: IdeaFlow - Creativity & Innovation

As she puts it a nice docking maneuver between two metaphors. "Collective Creativity" and "Edge Power". Note the references to Amazon's and Google's recent web services efforts. These will have unintended consequences. Let's hope Amazon really opens up their profiling capability. It would make them much more adaptive longterm.

Elsewhere she notes: But that’s not really the way blog creativity works. The blogosphere is more like a big pool of ideas - we toss new ideas, and re-thought ideas that we've pulled out before with our poles and nets. In other words, collective creativity.

That's incentive enough. Time to throw out some new ideas and explore new avenues.

December 16, 2002

Meshing KM Thoughts

Sharing Knowledge - Respecting Culture I've keep checking up on Tom's blogging experiment. Combine what Peter says below with Tom's thoughts:

We learned how terribly crucial it is to remember that people bring a lot of their behaviour, their assumptions, and their needs to 'new things.' Bringing new technologies to people is easy. The delightful challenge is making sure those technologies mesh with how people really do things, how they interact, how they learn --

Peter Merholz made a nice Supernova observation after John Parkinson referenced burning through $1b in collaborative tools and KM that failed to live up to promises.

His post is similar to David Isenberg's thrusts... Why Stupid is Still Smart" which updated his original paper "Stupid Networks". My argument then as it would be now.... Can’t we apply this same logic to companies? "Stupid Companies are really Smart". A stupid company implies empowerment, connectivity, and filtering at the end points.... not centralised or hierarchical.

The contrast with KM systems is useful. For few KM systems work P2P (Groove does), unless we start including whiteboards, supersized post-its and more.

Stupid Smart Companies don't invest in the KM systems referenced in Peter's review. They do invest in creative friction. It's called rubbing heads together. Asking better questions that accelerate learning.

This contrasts with most KM systems which are repositories for capturing knowledge that has been made explicit. The argument is that explicit knowledge can be multiplied thus trapping it gives it value.

Here's an old story tracing back to an oil company with a large KM investment. They had spent lots of time working out who the experts were and who had the answer. There was a large oil drilling fire. No one knew how to put it out. Their system said "Joe" knows... The screen blinked "Joe" for days... he was on vacation..... Joe couldn't help them put the fire out, and finally they put the fire out themselves.

Clearly linking to the person with the answer didn't help. They needed to link it to what he knows. And that is one of the dilemmas. Individual currency. Codify expertise and then??? Not everyone responds with.... ah that will provide new opportunities... Yet codification has a role too.

Stupid companies have the capability to trap - capture - nuture items at the periphery that traditional smart companies can not touch. Fundamentally highly structured co's can only learn as fast as their core. Whereas our Stupid Company can learn much more rapidly driven from the fringe.

December 19, 2002

Ad-hoc Wireless Communities

Technology Review - December 4, 2002

As Gerd Kortuem, an assistant professor at Lancaster University in England, sees it, the crowds who surround us every day constitute a huge waste of social capital. If you live in a city for instance, there are many who pass within a few yards of you each day who could give you a ride home, buy an item you're trying to sell, or consider you as dating material. Dynamic networking makes it possible to tap those resources through a momentary alliance among transient interest groups. But in a world of wireless wearables, computers embedded in clothing could form networks on the fly, prompting software agents to carry out mutually beneficial transactions

December 20, 2002

Lego Up

Following the Lego post yesterday I'll state that companies don't need "Lego Serious Play". What they need is great strategic facilitation.

M2.JPG 3d modelling is neat, draw out of it real-time stories and that's better still. Lego is a prop - a tool for illiciting the stories. The strategies emerge from the discussion, the search for clarity, common understandings. For my two cents, it's too easy to draw the wrong conclusions from Lego models. Lego is simply too structured. Better to use clay, more mouldable, messy, more suitable to complex ideas, more intuitive, and tactile to boot. So if Lego Serious Play is really encourages us to think with our hands. Then follow it with a more maleable tool kit. Tools don't make strategies --- people do!

This example was facilitated by a friend of mine. Now think Lego. Which will provide more emergent insight?

December 30, 2002

CompleXimple

My thanks to Christian Hauk and compleXimple for the insight. Chris responded to the Group Jazz session and the Discovery Capital pyramid:

"really don´t like the pyramid as a metaphor too much. It seems to me that you are thinking networked, but that you live in a world where others - your clients - need pyramids."

My clients generally need pyramid busters, and busting pyramids probably accelerates learning. So there is no excuse for using a Pyramid around Discovery Capital. It's wrong! Yet even when wrong sharing it created a new insight for me. I may have been thinking building blocks at the time. When thinking spiraling innovation triangular and pyramid metaphors clearly aren't the right ones.

Christian comments:
1. On my office wall, I startet collecting metaphoric models of pyramids in a business environment, with all these nice words in and around. I stopped, thery are all so similar.
2. about half of what is to be said about pyramids is written in Terry Pratchett´s book pyramids
3. about "the pyramid and the net": this link is about biblical studies, but ignoring that, one get´s a really good comparison of the shapes.

January 6, 2003

GPS Direction Sense

Tom blogs today about Geocachingis an entertaining adventure game for gps users with a device and a hunger for adventure. There are caches in 156 countries.

While Euanprovides a link to Geourl a location-to-URL reverse directory. This will allow you to find URLs by their proximity to a given location. Find your neighbor's blog, perhaps, or the web page of the restaurants near you.

Do I need a new sense of direction?

January 21, 2003

Serious Play Network

When is play serious? And when should play remain "just curious"? We know the expression "curiosity killed the cat". Well curiosity certainly captured this one.

I've been checking out all the new online communities from Ryze to Ecademy stopping at Buddynet and Friendster in beta. You know playing... what if I do this. At Ryze early in the piece I checked out tribes - now networks. Guess what, you go one page too far and there is no going back. The title alone "Serious Play" secured some members. Today I had to start defining what it is all about. One day maybe the group will write it properly. I'm hoping this group can bring innovative challenges to the Ryze community.

As a brief comment comparing the various approaches. At the moment IMHO Ryze wins hands down, it's simply more human, more personal, and easier to get started. There are important lessons here for organizations, IM systems, Digital Idenities etc. Think about joining.

Info Trading Momentum

It's hard to keep up with the "connective web" at the moment much less the allconsuming.net. This post illustrates a "revolution in progress. These initiative may soon spill over into Ryze type applications as well. Simply listing a book you are currently reading may introduce you to others.

Here's what Ben had to say via Euan:

"While allconsuming.net can send you book reading recommendations (by email) based on what your friends are reading and commenting about, I thought it might be useful to be able to read any comments that were made on books that you had in your collection. "I’ve got book X. Let me know when someone says something about book X". So I whipped up a little script, booktalk, which indeed uses allconsuming.net’s hooks to build a new service. What booktalk does, crontabbed on an hourly basis, is to grab a user’s currently reading and favourite books lists and then look at the hourly list of latest books mentioned. Any intersections are pushed onto the top of a list of items in an RSS file, which represents a sort of 'commentary alert' feed for that user and his books. It goes without saying that the point of this is so that the user can easily monitor new comments on books in his collection by subscribing to that feed, which, aggregated by Blagg and rendered by Blosxom, would look something like this."

There is more to this story. If you read DJ Adams posting and missed Jon Udells postings on local library searches and "the disruptive web then follow the last links to pick up on them.

More on RSS feeds: From The Shifted Librarian; Jenny's perspective:

"Yeah, what he said! I used to read the Chicago Tribune online, but now I read the Sun-Times in my aggregator because someone is scraping it. I rarely had time to check the NY Times technology section every day, but now I get the headlines as soon as they're posted. Something happening in world events? I see it in my aggregator before I ever make it to my car to hear it on the radio (which I don't listen to anymore anyway) or make it home to catch the news (which I don't watch much of anymore since I get far more in-depth information online). I also don't have to keep flitting back to online news sites. Instead I get all of my news on one web page that updates automatically for me."

So do I!

Emerging Collaborative Filters

How we share and exchange information is accelerating rapidly. From music to digital photos to more recently how we are obtaining and reading our news. Similarly new forms of spam control are emerging. Here's another slant on how we are filtering out the chaff.

Clay Shirky's latest piece:" is on distributed systems and collaborative filtering. In particular, it concerns what sort of system would have to exist to alter the ecosystem of music in the way earlier forms of internet publishing have altered the ecosystem of the written word."

then later in the article:

"This is all part of the Big Flip in publishing generally, where the old notion of "filter, then publish" is giving way to "publish, then filter." There is no need for Slashdot's or Kuro5hin's owners to sort the good posts from the bad in advance, no need for Blogdex or Daypop to pressure people not to post drivel, because lightweight filters applied after the fact work better at large scale than paying editors to enforce minimum quality in advance. A side-effect of the Big Flip is that the division between amateur and professional turns into a spectrum, giving us a world where unpaid writers are discussed side-by-side with New York Times columnists."

February 3, 2003

Rethinking Corporate Directories

Earlier today I had a coffee with Tom Portante. Most of our conversation was round Ryze and again generated many ideas. It’s not a new idea I hear from him and he shares stories about how what is very old fashioned is now being reshaped in distinctly different ways. So, we have both been writing down thoughts. The feeling that some threshold has been crossed. I think it is time to start sharing them. I'm fairly certain many articles and news items will emerge in this topic area. So far not in the main press.

My recent posting on Ryze have probed social capital and human profiles. Today, it is knowledge innovation. It’s is becoming clear that this emerging social exchange could redefine your business boundaries. It goes beyond implications for e-mail use, linking address books, sharing resumes, or updating the HR database and chasing a new position.

I’m not advocating Ryze’s technology infrastructure or governance. I’m suggesting you re-think the phone book, the corporate directory and consider how you empower Ryze bound employees more effectively! You may have to look RYZE to really grasp the implications. See my profile on Ryze. I believe RYZE type functionality is at a Tipping Point, where individuals will enter networks like this regardless. As a company you cannot stop it. The challenge for organizations is to start thinking about how you can use it!

Consider as an employer what might your strategy be???

Ø Should you encourage employees onto RYZE?
Ø Do you recommend a policy for behavior on RYZE?
Ø Are you advising on any dangers? What are they?
Ø What are the implications for PR and corporate communications?
Ø How could it encourage new channels of creativity?
Ø How may it improve the flow of corporate news?
Ø Can it get you better hires and improve orientation?
Ø And many more….

RYZE is changing the boundaries for personal networks.

It’s been written before. When you make a new hire, you often hire their network. You want a task done; perhaps hire someone with the right connections at their fingertips. Increasingly, it the individual and their network you want to hire. Similarly, people learn thought their networks. Weak signals those on the fringes of our networks often stimulate innovation and creative thinking. Similarly current employees also have valuable networks. They are usually hard to see. Some will be more externally centric than others. For example Business Development might be encouraged onto Ryze, while new product activity you might desire to keep silent about. We are already at the Google point for every new employee. What happens next? A Ryze search and search of their friends?

Redefining Corporate Networks:

Now imagine you are a global organization with 10000 plus employees! Many of them are going on RYZE. There are positives and negatives to this list. The Organization and the Employee may well have different views.

Ø What new employee welcome is provided today? How does someone on the other side of the world find out who joined the organization today? Is a picture shared? What might we get to know about them?

Ø What skills might this new person have? What access or connections might they have outside the company? Do they have friends that can help you? Ryze style you could leave a message on their guest book. Welcome!

Ø How do you randomly socialize a large organization? If it is part of the culture to look up even one new colleague a week, what benefits might that provide? Even if it was simply “this is what I am working on”.

Ø Do recognition rewards e.g. “top employee” get posted in guest books?

Ø You join a company you join a team. How do you build cross-functional links? Who’s on the lookout for someone new? How do you search cross-functionally across divisions etc? For knowledge, a supplier contact, sales leads, socializing? Is this also a way for looking for new hires?

Ø Will your suppliers sign individual guest books? Are you able to then search internally and find out who had what experience with whom? Makes for an interesting public/private issue. What’s a company to do with a post currently in RYZE that says…. “we enjoyed working with you on the launch of product x!” When the supplier was hopeless? When it is a headhunter?

Ø Inside the organization the add friends might be add colleagues. Perhaps colleague links are corporate sponsored and hidden (another potential RYZE revenue stream). This might seem threatening to companies. A whole network inside an org being identified as successful and being hired away!

Clearly the employee will have to think this through. It may pay to provide some guidance. I’m not sure how one escapes from Ryze once they have made a number of postings. I can stop, void my main page, and delete many entries but really who knows? What are the employee’s legal rights? Being fired for being on Ryze? Hey I was there. It’s a social experiment in action!

New Boundaries:

As each person’s connections and interests grow we see increasingly permeable boundary between company – business and personal. Corporate policy isn’t going to stop individuals networking in groups like RYZE. Perhaps the question is can they broker an exchange so they increase the value to the organizational network?

The New Corporate Boundary:

There is still a further set of issues. Is the person on RYZE who they say they are? Are they really a current employee of company x or just impersonating it? These of course are issues for Ryze too. Verification just like in the PayPal case becomes important.

Clearly an employee that makes a post about their work on Ryze is stating a personal point of view and sharing what they think is safe rather than a corporate one. I just searched Ryze COMPANY “IBM”. It returns 285 listings not all of which are current employees, some are alumni. At the moment IBM can’t easily link into these profiles, or those that are current employees any easier than I can. Current employees may be using it to network. Some organizations may even be fearful of “out of network” conversations for security - many reasons.

Then there is a section in each RYZE home page that interests me. It’s an html space for each individual. I can effectively bring into my home page more pictures etc. CAN I GET A PLUG-IN from my employer that verifies me and enables my employer to track the profile? Sounds simple. What problems exist with this? I expect many similar items just like XML feed logo’s etc to be added to this space. Surprisingly it’s not being used very innovatively yet or maybe I haven’t seen the right pages.

Most of us will only want to manage one profile! We will also want to be listed with our friends. Thus the phone book analogy. Like Windows, Explorer and eBay only one is going to win. At a later time we can debate Napster vs Kazaa or how. Ryze is proving a demand is here now and access is easy.

Do you have a corporate strategy for Ryze?

February 4, 2003

Building Ryze Personal Networks:

I just returned from MENG's (Marketing Executives Networking Group) San Francisco chapter monthly meeting.

There were the usual meeting components, a quick share round the room, - 15 years, 19 years 26 years and more - experience. These are all senior marketers, who have held top marketing jobs. Truly fantastic experience from consumer products to enterprise software, all looking for ways to network, secure new jobs, find a way to talk to a recruiter etc. Then there is the reality of a tough job market. Some want leads for consulting, some are really hoping for a new permanent position. Some VC interest. Some are beginning, some are jaded.

We hear the common strategies, about networking, getting to recruiters, always a different slant on the resume. Storytelling, elevator pitches. From headhunter to counselor. We know that many jobs are found though connections. Someone that knows someone. Often when and where we aren’t looking.

At the session, I connect with a few. There are some familiar faces. There is no overt exchanging of resumes or anything like it. Each time maybe 50% of the people are new faces. Frankly I find it hard to remember who is who sometimes. I take away little more than cards.

So after the round the room intros today I mentioned RYZE (See the borrowed disclaimer below). Richard Guha a friend of Ryze was there too. A brief conceptual introduction was made around making it easier for us all to share. I made a note to invite the group (now done). I’m really hoping MENG-SF will come on board.

In this group today only two or three raised their hands to “How many of you have a website?” The silence round blogs was more like a question. What are they? It’s not unexpected and yet I believe they may be the most important marketing tools for "Brand You"! Ryze is a good first stipe. It lowers the boundaries to creating a very personal web page and getting a corresponding listing in GOOGLE. It provides a ready set of references and can quickly update anyone on what you are working on, other interests etc. It’s more than a corporate directory and different to the white pages.

So what are my learnings? What's the benefit for getting on Ryze?

When I think about my Ryze experience it generally feels good . I’ve been sharing something new, making new connections, and starting new conversations. On Ryze you can speak to a new person every day if you want. Each little guest book entry a little mystery, a brief thanks and a sense of belonging. The little secret may be interests and business.. I actually know more about some friends on Ryze than I have known about some colleagues I've worked with. This is a more human side to networking. There are pictures of real people here, diverse by location (global) by thinking and in sharing a certain sense of trust is evolving. It’s very new. You can actually influence it. Today we are “the people” on Ryze. If you have the view that everyone is remarkable then I guarantee you will make some interesting connections.


Suggestions for the “Ryze You”.

1. Fill out your profile. Not too cryptically, at first you may just complete all the interests, and company. Perhaps a few lines in the HTML box and see how it goes. Do not forget to put a picture up! It triples hits. It means I’m much more likely to remember you from our meeting etc.

2. Search for a friend or friends. I’m there and so is Richard. Sign our guest books! Look at our friends anyone you know? Or a name perhaps that sounds familiar? Check them out. (Remember that Gold Members will know you have visited their page). You can leave a message or not. It’s up to you.

3. Add one or two Networks. A plug for Serious Play and Blogs and Bloggers. Check them out. Run though some postings. Perhaps visit a few of their pages. If they have blogs of interest Michelle Mees, Andrew Zolli, Sebastian Paquet, etc. Click on their blog links…. Say hi.

4. Now go to new members…. home page and leave a welcome on two or three new people that look interesting to you, whether jobs, interests etc. (You are doing this more to see how it works).

5. Update your membership to GOLD! Now search on your interests, former company etc. Then go to Advanced Preferences and check out who has visited your page. Some you know by now… they left a guest book entry. Other didn’t. Check them out. Remember they were interested enough to come to your page. Can you work out why? Look at their profiles, should you realign yours or use more searchable terminology?

6. Now invite some close colleagues. You have to start adding to your friends. (Clearly there are different strategies for “friends” on Ryze. Inviting is an important strategy. First think what can your message be. If you have been unemployed for six months you might think about reconnecting with all those suppliers that used to do business for you. You are valuable again. You may want to let them know that this is an interesting social experiment that all marketers should be thinking about it. Help them build their friend networks. It will strengthen your own.

7. Invite old colleagues from work. Not all will have the time or see the point yet. Can you connect them with any new conversations etc? Particularly invite the ones that really loved working for you. Encourage them into your guestbook! Invite friendly headhunters. Tell them to explore it. Ryze is also reframing how one can get information from companies potential secure new sources for job information etc.

8. Think about establishing a network. If you can create a forum for exchange then you may well make a lot more friends. As a network moderator, you will get more hits and more introductions.

That should provide a good start. Keep playing! As a matter of perspective I joined Ryze on 1/6/03. I had around 560 hits sometime today.

Now a little warning. This community is growing very rapidly. Access is easy even free. Long term I’m asking governance questions, questions about copyright etc. At the moment I believe it is more important to play and learn than wonder whether all the principles have really been worked out. If Ryze grows like I expect then an emergent community will likely have a big say. I’m not sure it can be otherwise.

Please contact me for further info on blogs and blogging. . I’ll try to help out. I may even write some blogging strategies for unemployed marketers if I get a sense there is demand.

I promised a disclaimer to close. A post from my friend Tom Portante (and on Ryze).

"Full Disclosure: I've been playing around with the service that Ryze offers. I think there's something very important happening. In the next few weeks I want to think about different aspects of what Ryze offers, how it fits into (or rubs against) some of what I know, and where it (or some follow-on Ryze-ish offering) can make a difference.
A personal goal is to come up with a document (an article, a pamphlet, a manifesto) that suggests where there's present and future value."

I concur. Watch this space.

February 6, 2003

What are Friends?

Picked up from <href="http://radio.weblogs.com/0114726/">Ross Mayfield's Weblog</a>. Click though Book Blog for the real flavor.

Digital insecurity and group-forming. Kellan, Snowdeal, deus_x, and raster write about digital insecurity -- the anxiety you feel about asking a colleague to be your "friend" or "contact" on Ryze and similar systems. The reason is that there is no context for asking. The question doesn't correspond to a social form in real life. [<b><a href="http://alevin.com/weblog/archives/000938.html">BookBlog</a></b>]

Yep it's a real issue. I've added <b><a href="http://alevin.com/weblog/">Adina Levin </a></b>to my blogroll.

February 11, 2003

Power Networks

Two posts on Power Laws that have been blogged well elsewhere kept my interest while trying to stay current. Clay Shirky's piece on Power-laws Weblogs and Inequality. Seems not everyone agrees and that's useful. Ross Mayfield was talking about Power Laws prior to the Shirky piece and has an excellent follow-up. "Distribution of Choice".

I can't quite get my head around the tie to three distinct networks political, social and creative, other than it conveniently fits with the Tipping Point inputs. It may be useful to think about the racheting in this way. Still why stop here? My tech network is different from my environmental network that is different to my economic network, my learning network etc.

This reminded me of work done by Karen Stephenson whose methodology has been applied extensively in organizations. Searching for an update, guess what another link to Ross's Blog - Trust Networks.

There is an enormous amount of human context that remains out of these "mappingl" studies. Some years ago we developed a questionnaire "Trust in Networks". It was based round the simple idea that looked at the competences of a team, the amount of trust, and the improvement potential. It calibrated on ones peers. We used log scales to score it effectively. See the "Network Capital Multiplier". I'd have to reconnect the back-end. Not tonight. I'm happy to share the output report on request. May provide a few useful ideas.

February 14, 2003

Visualising Social Interaction

This summary by Juan C. Dürsteler Visualising social interaction is excellent.

"Social interaction provides us with visual patterns that help us to situate ourselves in our environment. In Internet, however, this doesn't happen so easily. Some visualisations are appearing to remedy the problem."

Great mapping visuals and a link to Judith Donat's PHD thesis a small portion of the abstract is clipped below.

"The goal of this work is to develop an approach to the design of on-line social environments. My thesis is that, in order to foster the development of vibrant and viable online communities, the environment - i.e. the technical infrastructure and user interface - must provide the means to communicate social cues and information: the participants must be able to perceive the social patterns of activity and affiliation and the community must be able to evolve a fluid and subtle cultural vocabulary."

If you are looking at power laws and graphs looking here may provide thoughtful new insight. I have some reading to do.

February 20, 2003

Ryze Member Conversion Rates

I'm faced with a negativism post when I prefer optimism. Through my page on Ryze I have made new friends and interesting connections. The potential has kept me intrigued while familiarity makes me increasingly frustrated.

When Ryze first welcomed me I thought this is really cool. People began signing my guestbook within minutes. I realized that some breakthroughs had been made. I extended a number of invites to select friends. I captured this in earlier posts – examples - Rethinking Corporate Directories, and Ryze Personal Networks. and Human Profiles Ryze Up I also kicked off some research efforts with a post “Play with Ryze” in the Serious Play network (you may have to be a member). A volunteer effort was begun. Disclaimer! This is not a report on the groups findings. I know they will be posted to the network as they should be.

I'm not waiting for all the research to come in. I’m drawing conclusions everyday. So blogging is another way to continue conversation. Recent notes, exchanges and findings make me fearful for how Ryze may develop.

Discouragingly (for me), Ryze has an enormous failure rate. Failure on invite conversion. Failure to create productive networkers. Failure to answer the big "What's really in this for me?" and failure to create the "trust" and verification required to know the system won’t be abused. The security, spam , privacy etc concerns that prevail round any online profile remain huge. There are also other lower level functionality issues from private spaces to address book integration required.

Similarly it fails to make use of it's advocates whether by support groups or in securing conversations. I’ve seen too many posting like this one exploring concepts off Ryze. Here are links round friends. The leakage rather than capture of this Intellectual Capital and knowledge sharing is reflective of not engaging the community in a way that accelerates growth. It's also missing many business development revenue opportunities. From "Gold" gift certificates to corporate trials / tests. The corresponding lack of funding and growth in deeply committed Ryzers is currently going nowhere fast. I'm sure there are real stats. I've had to guess back of the envelope style. The result --- the incentive to create additional plug-in functionalities for the HTML space for example clearly isn't there. Think eBay early days… then think things like Paypal, auctionwatch etc. There is even an opportunity for verification.

How can I share my concerns with you? Consider the following comments I’ve paraphrased. Not a sample, but each rings some truth to me. First from a very aware non-participant who I invited with a great reason is typical

“What does it do for you? I don't want to be inundated with white noise of information. I'm also very conservative about giving out personal info, so logging on and describing where I worked went to school and my hobbies seems like a telemarketer's heaven.”

Another “watchful” insecure with little online experience.

I’m not very Internet literate, and am a little scared here. Was intimidating to put all these details on line. So I left at first. Later, I joined a network and made a posting – not much response. I’m not sure who to add as a friend, or when to do it. So I’m not doing it and I’m not inviting anyone as a result. Maybe in a while.

Compares with the highly positive new world of opportunity from a gold member.

" Ryze has opened up a new world to me and is building global connections. It’s been warm, caring and welcoming. I’m building confidence in myself to interact globally, something I couldn’t have done without it. I’ve found the more you share the better it is.

It’s these types of views and comments that really matter. It makes no difference how I alone feel. At both ends of the spectrum there are huge opportunities. lAs an update, I’ve invited at least 60 MENG members (Building Personal Networks) These are top tier unemployed marketers. I think one of them joined. I find it hard to believe. Then there are other debates. Should Ryze be open source? I wish it was. Hey if it was Visa like at least if I didn’t like the privacy policy I could hold my account elsewhere and still connect! One thing is clear, no one really knows who the backers are. Is Adrian Scott really just one person? I feel for him and the pressure can only get worse. I'm sure resources limit much, still eBay got over this hurdle quickly. Can't be long before new iterations emerge. Where are they?

Let’s also hope they don’t tie RYZE to some profiling and research system. I’ll stick with what I see here soft human profiles emerging. Let the community determine a method for access. Eg a plug-in digital post payment box. In the meantime make it a lot easier and more secure. Use the community more. There are ways to further nurture the experience and lower the fear thresholds.

I know consumer stories tell the way forward. Even making just a few more visible to the outside world will reduce some of the participatory fears.

February 24, 2003

Metalayers

Marc Canter made a great post late yesterday ""I've fallen in love with Fotolog"" He too sees magic in connecting up human profiles with human faces and illustrates his points with Ryze, Live Journal, and more. I'm still wondering whether I really understand his paradigm. How far will it go? With all this sharing could e-mail just go away? Will you come to me rather than me "sending to you"? Is our digital sharing about to take on new meaning? See Marc's comments and then refer to Metalayer quoted below.

Marc's Voice If we could imagine a) a way of encrypting and securing profiles so that one could be compatible with something like the Liberty Alliance standard, while at the same time control their own identity profile = that's what PingID is.
And b) if you could imagine all of these identity systems interlocking between each other - enabling Ryze, Fotolog or LiveJournal users - to access and add each other as friends of one another - that's what we're hoping to do with the open People server idea - I floated. Hopefully this is what we'll get Ascio to put into open source.

People At the core of everything are people, their profiles and their lists of friends, family and colleagues who they want to interact with. These lists are known as 'buddy lists' today - but we think that notion will expand, so we call them 'private clouds'.

Similtaneously, with activities here I've been on a Metalayer site. At first it is almost counter intuitive. Here's a short piece from their materials:

"...... eMail, though very powerful, will not be the system we will use in the future to manage our relationships and some years from now, we will understand, that eMail was just an intermediate step in the virtual revolution. Metalayer can see a second revolution in virtual communication happening, a revolution that moves relationship management out of the inboxes into contextualized private and public places on the web. The revolution that will create virtual identities and communities in cyberspace."

February 25, 2003

PKnF Personal Knowledge networking Friends

Can we exist in a world without e-mail? What would happen if the push-pull of cyberspace just became our workspace that we shared from time to time as we connected? What happens when Knowledge Management strategies are no-longer centralized but decentralized? What happens when knowledge sharing capabilities skew P2P centric? I'm not in favor of the term Personal Knowledge Management "PKM"; I'm fairly certain PKnF is about to take on new meaning.

The Entovation 100 is using Metalayer as part of a new innovative knowledge sharing initiative. I was reflecting today on my experiences so far. Metalayer first impressions is like Open Space (Harrison Owen) meets Smart Wiki and Post-it notes. As a group we've been jamming out some "mini reflective conversations". These differ from typical threaded discussions (thankfully)--- tend to be non-linear, and rapid fire. The postscript to each session is the surprising amount of value that is emerging. Links, new connections etc.

While in the space I'm not yet at the point where I can say with pride its "ours" neither can I say this piece is "mine", it doesn't automatically merge with my daily life of e-mail and word. Yet if it did all my exchanges would take on a different slant. I really would be managing my desktop.

Let's think for a moment. Assuming I could work in a single personal knowledge space rather than e-mail on one system IM on another, Word on another etc. I'd have a few opportunities. Let's say I want access some Scenarios from 2000. Currently I know about when I did it. Might be able to track them down. Similarly I might be able to find e-mail exchanges (much more difficult). Then I might slowly re-connect with those I did the work with. Hope their e-mails haven't changed etc. This is in my view the David Gelerntner approach for Lifestreams, which I've also blogged before and was one reason I started blogging. A diary record. I don't think he included FOAF type thinking.

So what is the opportunity for PKM's? It's the capability to access knowledge not only by "lifestream" - date but by friends. If my example was amended to looking up the Scenarios created by Richard, Stuart, Chris, Lynn in 2000 I'd have a much more powerful search. I'd also instantly reconnect with my friends or colleagues. Over the intervening period others may have added notes, perhaps other have entered the dialogue. Our origination may have become a further shared resource. This would be knowledge turns in action via your friends.

So imagine Metalayer as a personal space, tied to a Ryze like profile and fotolog, RSS news in via blogs, my friends FOAF writing on my "chalk board - my open space" coming to me, similarly my broadcasts selectively free to the world. Visitor spaces melding with mine for that portion of the exchanges we share and our spaces duplicating... growing together and coexisting separately. IM integrated, Voice integrated. Effectively our online personas merging at time synchronously, other times asynchronously.

To sum up a personal knowledge paradigm where knowledge accumulates not only by time/date but through connections with friends.

What does this mean? It's my space, I may share a part of it with my organization, with share it with my friends, family, mentors, etc. Interestingly, this PKFN space duplication shared with friends would enable "future memory" spaces. Something new for historians. It also implies permeable boundaries.

This is a world of decentralized KM. The idea of centralizing KM is overturned pushed to the fringe. The purpose becomes accelerating knowledge creation. By embedding my FOAF knowledge my 7/12/150 paradigm is overturned. Using the metalayer to connect and reconnect means new networks are more likely to be formed on the fly. Similarly, Search via BLOOGLE enables me to capture friends and earlier exchanges immediately.

Knowledge sharing is tied back to community groupings and broadcast for securing additional feedback, new input.

The implications for brands and marketing is to act retail and become my knowledge experience shopping companion.

And that is enough speculation for tonight!

February 27, 2003

Truth & Story

This posting on truth and story made my day. I read it on Serious Play this morning shared it this afternoon and then learned -- made friend of a friend connections. Immediately new touchpoints were created amongst three people. Very cool. And I'd add a new FOAF perspective for all of us.

Gory Ressler shared this story from StoryCon 2002 on Serious Play today and I later found it perfect when asked for “our courage stories” today. First the story then some observations:

The Story of Truth and a Story about Truth

At the closing session of the meeting, after the remaining speakers and attendees had cleared the hall of tables and created a giant story circle to discuss and process the last five days, Tim Sheppard, who flew in from England to attend, told this story. He said he did not know who wrote it. He gave permission to pass it on.

Truth walked into a village. The local inhabitants started cursing at him. Spewing epithets, they chased him out of the village.

Truth walked along the road to the next town. They spit at him and cursed and spewed epithets, driving him out of town.

He walked, lonely and sad, down the empty road, until he reached the next town, still hoping to find someone who was happy to see him, who would embrace Truth with open arms.

So he walked into the third town, this time in the middle of the night, hoping that dawn would find the townsfolk, happy to see Truth with dawn's light. But as soon as they townsfolk's eyes lit upon him they ran to their homes and then came back throwing garbage at him.

Truth ran off, out of town, into the woods, and after crying, and cleaning off the garbage, returned to the edge of the woods, when he heard laughter and gaiety, singing and applause. He saw the townsfolk applauding as STORY entered the town. They brought out fresh meats and soups and pies and pastries and offered them all to STORY. Who smiled and lavished in their love and appreciation.

Come twilight, Truth was sulking and sobbing at the edge of the woods. The townsfolk disdainfully ignored him, but STORY came out to see what the story was.

TRUTH told STORY how all the townsfolk mistreated him, how sad and lonely he was, how much he wanted to accepted and appreciated.

STORY replied, "Of course they all reject you, "STORY looked at TRUTH, eyes a bit lowered to the side. "No-one wants to look at the naked truth."

So STORY gave TRUTH brilliant, beautiful clothing to wear. And they walked into the town together, TRUTH with STORY. And the townspeople greeted them with warmth and love and appreciation, for TRUTH wrapped in STORY’s clothing is a beautiful thing and easy to behold.

And ever since then, truth travels with story, and they are always accepted and loved. And that's the way it was and the way it is and the way it will always be.

I found it very powerful. It took a little courage to share it with the group I was with and then I was rewarded with their comments (not completely in context) that I particularly appreciated and are repeated below.

Hmmmm....this may be one of the differences between those who search the truth (i.e., discovery, development and deployment) as opposed to those who learn more from case studies and best practiced.

Too often we use the truth to put people down, rather than as a fulcrum to lift them up. If I connect "story," then I am probably trying to leverage their understanding, and this way TRUTH and STORY belong together

There was some time ago a very interesting series of paradoxes. One was about truth, is it good to 'put it' out there as you see it or 'hold it'? Depends on what it is and who is speaking as well as who is the listener.

These various leads also turned up another short one by David Bohm. I’ll now have to spend a little more time reading.

From time to time, (the) tribe (gathered) in a circle. They just talked and talked and talked, apparently to no purpose. They made no decisions. There was no leader. And everbody could participate.

There may have been wise men or wise women who were listened to a bit more -- the older ones -- but everybody could talk. The meeting went on, until it finally seemed to stop for no reason at all and the group dispersed.

Yet after that, everybody seemed to know what to do, because they understood each other so well.

Then they could get together in smaller groups and do something or decide things

March 4, 2003

Friends Sharing Pictures

I added yet another online location today. This time for Stuart's DigiSight as I join Marc Canter and others on Fotolog .

It's easy to use. I'll try it out and report. I'll be watching its adoption and conversion rates. At first glance it very appealing. I understand it is still quite small. It also provides an interesting contrast with a photoblog which I contemplated starting earlier this year. Ultimately I didn't see the point. Whereas with fotolog I can immediately see some opportunities for sharing. This form of "friends sharing" is more "friends caring". By caring enough to include others in your friends list and using the same systems everytime you add a photo your friends will see it. More to come.

As a final note. This is a prime example of why I need a single identity. All these sites have different profiles systems. (time waste) I need my identity under my control decentralized.

March 5, 2003

Blogs in Business

This is a useful posting by David Pollard BLOGS IN BUSINESS: THE WEBLOG AS FILING CABINET

He says: "Weblogs could be a mechanism to coherently codify and 'publish' in a completely voluntary and personal manner the individual worker's entire filing cabinet, complete with annotations, marginalia, post-its and personal indexing system."

March 6, 2003

Team Brief - Community Brief

This provides a brief contrast between the "Team Brief" and B-Blogs. So far there's been little discussion around blogging and the team brief concept. I suspect there is an opportunity here to combine these concepts and call it the "Community Brief".

A few weeks back Kathleen Goodwin wrote B-Blogs Cause a Stir. and followed it with another "Putting B-Blogs into action" In the second artcle some good points were made although primarily focused around newsletter strategy.

Team Briefing: was developed by the British Industrial Society 30 odd years ago. Team Briefing is a powerful method for cascading informaton up and down the organization. Team Briefings work because they involve a face to face componet and generally result in a short briefing and opportunty for feedback. Typically once a month the information will fit on a double sided standard page. A session typically lasts 30 minutes.

Team Briefs traditionally give management an opportunity to brief down and listen up. They are excellent at focusing direction, creating a culture of clear communication etc. Typically they are organized around Progress, Policy, People and Plans or Points for Action. As it cascades though the organization the core brief is augmented by team leaders. Its easy to measure the result and track the impact on culture and communications over time.

Strikes me the simple categories used in the team briefing process are an excellent way to provide structure when bringing blogs inside the organization. Then going further to reinvent the communication infrastructure. One key element in getting Team Briefs in place. You must have the support of the CEO. It will also be six months before the Org is really effective using the process.

The RSS activation of the blogs would enable then to move up down and across the organization. Tied to a Scoop / Kuro5hin type program the community would bubble up the best. Feedback would then be reversed. Coming from top down rather than bottom up.

I mentioned team brief in an earlier post. I had no idea at the time that the terminology or language isn't in common use in America. In fact when I Googled it today my earlier entry of no consequence was listed second! Thus my post today. A small attempt to provide a better link. While true that many orgs do have briefing processes, part of the discipline in the team brief is getting the feedback. Too few large organizations today have environments open enough to enable the rapid collection of feedback. It time to change that. Whether Community Briefs or C-Blogs, enabling the easy capture of briefs from everybody would be one way to raise the bar.

March 11, 2003

Zaplet Blogging?

Did you ever look at Zaplets? Zaplets turn regular e-mail into a more collaborative work environment. I’m wondering could Zaplets plug into blog postings and make them more collaborative and interactive?

Could a ZAPBLOG provide a more effective format for corporate briefings and suggestion capture? Would this approach enable good blog postings to grow and have more life? Eg my link to a zaplet blog might contain additional live data. I could look back at my blog and see via connections to others which threads linked to still provide the most interest. A sort of reat-time artifact? A living blog post?

Zaplet’s current online focus is very pragmatic and enterprise focused compared to the original fun executions (which failed to catch on). From the WayBack Machine Zaplet circa 2000:

Anyone have any interest – knowledge? Worth pursuing?

Ryze “Front Door”

I’m so used now to clicking round Ryze and entering from an e-mail link that I’ve seldom thought about the front door! Can you remember the color? What’s it like on entry? Where’s the doorbell? How welcoming is it? What’s the hallway like when you step inside? How are you shown to your room?

Perhaps you invited friends to come and try out Ryze? When was the last time you logged out and looked at the front page to our community? That’s www.ryze.com? It’s the page non-registered users see and the one you saw before you enrolled. Every time you invite someone this is the first page that comes up. If they have clicked on your invite (Ryze can track it) but the sign on system doesn’t differ. If the invite is a referral your name will appear as they begin the sign-on process --- nothing more.

IMHO the current public face of RYZE doesn’t help much. Ask yourself is the story compelling enough? (You may have to log off to see what I mean.) What would you suggest? Think about the fears potential members may have and consider what they must overcome to try it out.

From a personal perspective when I invite someone, I’d like him or her to be able to see elements of my Ryze profile. We could build in some friends links too! Instead we get page one with testimonials. Next a money choice. Then a request to fill in name password and e-mail and if you haven’t seen an example you will probably wonder why? Most of us hate giving that e-mail out.

Often once we are in a community we take a lot for granted. It’s only when we travel the sign-on path again that we can reconsider the experience. Imagine for a moment that you are entering a wonderful store, with people and stories. In retail the foyer – entry area is often a dead zone… a pause where you get your sense of direction, a story about what happens in this place. This community needs a new storefront!

March 18, 2003

Site List - Social Networking

My continuing review of social networking tools and software has lead me to many sites each with slightly different functionality twists. This collection listed today is in no particular order merely a summary to explore. My key interest is in the functionalities and how they are impacting on consumer experiences and benefits. Too many of these use copycat functionalities and are not addressing consumer issues. For broad use... they must be kept simple.

Community of Practice / CoP collaboration approaches include
Tomoye who was just noted in Fast Company and has a great set of clients.
Communispace has effectively built customer communities and has a model for creating online panels of 300. Caucus like Webcrossing are pretty traditional threaded discussions. Metalayer by contrast is something new offering what I've termed before as a smart wiki concept. Like what I've seen of Tomoye it includes improved profiling tools. None of these provide the claims that Linkify does for working on documentation simultaneously.

However all of the above involve people that know each other or get to know each other through a forum, discussion or business exchange. Depending on the forum and the moderation "trust" will be defined by the users.

By contrast NetDeva has developed an interesting Trust exchange concept While Xpertweb in perhaps a similar stage of development is developing seller based reputation. Both these programsrequire broad adoption if they are to be broadly successful. However they both have great potential amongst professional networks.

Which brings me to these emerging social network / directories. I've written about Ryze extensively, however it is by no means standalone. Many of these evolved out of observations from dating sites (Match, HotorNot, eCrush to name three that have different functionalities). Netplaya is new, created as a Burning Man demo is an effective design-knock-off that explores some new areas. It's relatively easy to navigate and could fit well with a number of corporate applications. Friendster is targeted more at social networks using friends to find your soulmate. Friendster is interesting just after the orginal sign-on process. At that point you have created a page and yet have no friends. Until you get other friends to join, it's impossible to expand your network. This provides a perceived higher level of "trust" and security (say compared to Ryze) and yet limits the thrills of joining and exploring a new community.

Buddynetwork like Ryze and Ecademy they look to be developing a F2F face to face program. There are also entries in the "Adult" area, which have typical traffic incentives for affiliates attached. True Peers is also stuck in beta, lacks either photos and makes a play for "contacts". The simpler sites have been more effective. Fotolog is worth looking at. Too bad it is not an "album" part of Ryze or the equivalent. Still then the majority really would want personal and business networking options.

Fotolog is using Meetup to assist with its events calendar. Meetup is like SMS text messaging without the phone.

Finally none of these programs really integrate with my PIM personal information manager. Two in development are Spaces and Chandler. If either of these manages to integrate with the social networking tools and peer shared directory solutions then the world may become more interesting. I may finally get personal knowledge managment myway. That's a prize worth pursuing.

March 19, 2003

Blog Search -- Friendly Pictures

Via Blogs and Bloggers on Ryze Ton Zijlstra shares Lilia Efimova's comments of new search tool that was made by Micah Alpern. "It lets you search the world (via google), your own blog (via google site search) and, the big bonus, the blogs you read (by searching through all blogs you provide the rss feeds for). This is great for searching your friends writing on a particular topic. I wish it could now do a friends of friends search too using blogrolls! Can anyone do this?

This was just the first posting that made me think again more decentralized more blog centric. The second was a post enhanced by Marc Canter suggesting pictures with blogrolls. Now that's a functionality I wish I had! Add a new person, and get their picture as optional as well. Be even better if the picture traced to their Ryze like profile (whether on the blogsite or not)! This would really help me share my space with my friends and visitors.

When discovering a new blog there is often the potential for further new connections the blogger's blogroll. However, while the post that brought you to the site may have been interesting, surfing their friends blogs may fail to match your interests (or be dated) when you click on the link. So often I'd prefer to learn about the people that are being linked to. By adding pictures and linking back to Ryzeish like profiles a broader sphere of influence and sharing could be created. While semi standardised profiles may not suit everyone, they certainly make it easier to grasp a quick personal overview. It may also accelerate new introductions.

So blogrolling hasn't yet made it as easy as RYZE to check out friends of friends. Similarly a blogroll lacks the friends touch. They may be friends or just representative of places you link to. That could more appropriately be done by sharing your news feeds (then I may want to sort them as well). Perhaps the blogroll could also be integrated with a contact manager and a Linkify type service as well, making it even easier to share files amongst blogger and non-bloggers.

Now if you link to Lilia's post today she provides in "The power of articulation, weblogs and KM" a useful narrative for thinking about PKM - Personal Knowledge Managment. I've added Mathemagenic to my blogroll.

March 24, 2003

Identity Trust Circles

Mitch Ratcliffe and Doc Searls have kicked off another discussion round Infomediaries and Mydentity repectively. It's moving forward. Andre Durand and Eric Norlin thoughts of high-jacking the Liberty Alliance referenced again and the murmuring continues that other moves are afoot.

Mitch writes how we may earn money off my and our identities:

"Companies query the infomediary about making deliveries of vacation solicitations to its clients, and they pay the infomediary to deliver the mail;...."

"There are many other ways to conceive money-making instances. Every piece of junk mail and spam could be accepted only if the sender has paid and it fits criteria suggested by the infomediary, because, if the sender just wants a chance to bother Doc and Doc can get a penny and the infomediary a penny in order for the email to pass through Doc's email server, there is money to be made."

This is the IOWNME - digital post type model written about here earlier. However, there's an important addition. Mitch introduces Xpertweb as the reputation manager for fullfillment. This is an important piece.

Two things strike me about these postings. First "a few of us" are really close to realizing the potential to make this happen. Yet it is disconcerting, the word "TRUST" was not used in either Mitch's or Doc's posts. Second, the myidentity, youridentity, their identity remains confusing from a consumer perspective.

The key to adoption and broadscale use is "TRUST". I know that Xpertweb is designed around trust and reciprocity. So is NetDeva and the Global Trust Exchange. Consumers you and me think about trust not contractually rather they think in CIRCLES. In circles we are safe and secure. For example MyCircle, OurCircle, TheirCircle. "TRUST CIRCLES".

This is important because the my/your/their definition leaves out the aggregation power of "OurCircles". It also forgets the vast number of "CIRCLES" we move in:

1) my circle of friends
2) different social circles (neighborhood, community, friends, etc.)
3) business circles (colleagues, mentors, suppliers, industry, professional, etc.)

This is used in many more ways from "reading circles", to running round n round in circles, and circles round the campfire. Yet CIRCLES is the better metaphor. For what we want are new capabilities that expand consumer's "circles of influence". For once the internet can do what it was designed to do and I might add already does very well for those that use it....

"Expand your Circles". professionally, financially and socially. The disruptive revolution is now in the wings. It's more than matching, it is about creating environments where you can learn and grow from whom you know and the transactions you have completed. Collectively and individually we move in many different CIRCLES and that's where the real value opportunities are to be created when we discover we "collectively" have a lot more to offer, even when we can't possibly know what we can do for each other.

March 25, 2003

Social Software

SocialText is running a wiki for PCForum.

Clay Shirky: Social software is everything from chat to group email to games. Three key things:

It's native to the Internet in ways that other technologies are not. Prior to the Web we had other tools for publication. IM was preceded by phones. Social communication -- how groups gather -- has no analog except the table.

It has an inverse relationship of value to scale. Websites are better with more users. But inviting 10,000,000 to dinner or putting 10,000,000 in your Rolodex sucks. The smaller the pool, the more valuable the relationships. The unit of social software is small groups.

Business historically sucks at this. Businesses buy software that matches management goals: locked down and centralized, but social software is the reverse.

Relationship KM

John McDowall in Fast Takes takes a view that the emerging KM focus will be on the relationships between the creators and consumers of the information.

The key change that structured data/metadata and hence relationship mapping brings to knowledge management is that it makes it easier to connect the loosely coupled relationships between producers and consumers. I believe the value of information (and hence knowledge) has a very direct trust relationship between who produces it and who consumes it. Blogs magnify this trust effect - if a trusted node publishes a piece and it is then picked up by several other blogs and discussed the "knowledge trust metric" is increased. In a recent posting by Jon Udell Degrees of Freedom he quotes Sam Ruby "Its just data" - yes but the relationships the data has enhances its value (either making it more or less true).

Social Capital

It's not what you know it's whom you know.....

In January the Entovation newsletter promoted the WEF's "Year of Trust". I also received the following three quotes recently. I'm reposting them. Their timing perhaps even more appropriate.

“The new currency won’t be intellectual capital. It will be social capital–the collective value of whom we know and what we’ll do for each other. When social connections are strong and numerous, there is more trust, reciprocity, information flow, collective action, happiness, and, by the way, greater wealth. “
James Kouzes, Chairman Emeritus of Tom Peters Company, Business 2.0 September 2000

There is also a business case for social capital – hard evidence that social capital boosts business performance. Individuals who build and use social capital get better jobs, better pay, faster promotions, and are more influential and effective, compared with peers who are unable or unwilling to tap the power of social capital. Organizations with rich social capital enjoy access to venture capital and financing, improved organizational learning, the power of word-of-mouth marketing, the ability to create strategic alliances, and the resources to defend against hostile takeovers. And social capital is a bulwark of democracy.”
Wayne Baker, Achieving Success Through Social Capital, 2000


We all face some common frustrations in this Information Age. If you wanted to know if anyone at your company had personal contacts at a new partnering prospect, what would you do? Send an email to all employees? Make a random guess, and send an email to a few people who might not be too bothered by the request? Most people communicate with a close insular group of coworkers and rarely tap into the gold mine of information and connections that is distributed throughout their company. Broadcasting requests creates more email smog and collectively wastes more time than it saves.”
Steve Jurvetson, “The Expertise Economy” – BusinessModelX.com May 9, 2001

This is one of the great opportunities. To introduce the methodologies that build on our Social Capital “who we know, and what we’ll do to help each other.

Only a fraction of an organizations Social Capital is currently accessible. The connections are mostly hidden from view. At Entovation.net I’ve been amazed and encouraged by the connections I’ve found and the new friends I’ve discovered just by participating in the E-100 intranet. However, the discovery process is still time-consuming and sometimes painful.

Let's look to explore and adopt technology that enables us to demonstrate new methods for creating “circles of trust” in an accelerated and self-organizing fashion. It’s the connections we don’t know we have that can really help us. Our challenge is thus to demonstrate methods that can amplify and accelerate social capital building.

Many tools are available now that can be assembled to provide this functionality. We are on the cusp of seeing massive knowledge innovation around PIM’s personal information mangers (e.g. Outlook, Chandler, Spaces etc. perhaps even Metalayer) there are many emerging social/business networking sites (out of dating…. RYZE, Ecademy etc.) and the blogging community has an enormous potential only now emerging in FOAF friend of a friend, blogrolls, and other linking technologies. Similarly there will be an explosion of photo exchanges, Instant Messaging etc.

By taking an approach that is both individual and community centric we can extend our range of connectivity and influence well beyond the small circles we currently inhabit.

March 26, 2003

Collaborative Solutions

Last week I met with Dave Huffman CEO of Linkify. Linkify is providing collaborative project management solutions for their clients. Their approach facilitates the creation of any team across boundaries enabling the use of project management tools and directories. As a result coordination, resource planning and a bias for execution and action are imbedded in these teams.

What really intrigues me is the way Dave has integrated his ASP business model, aligning it across channels, with an effective interaction model that can only grow. At the core is the solution provided to those that “project manage”. Using underlying approaches that retain e-mail, document handling and project management tools, they create spontaneous Extranets.

Where’s the next opportunity for Linkify? My guess is it will come from the users. And yet there's an opportunity there for the "social exchanges" of information about each other.

There are other sites chasing this meme. I had the benefits of Dave’s enthusiam to understand the potential. While there is clearly a list of competitors they aren’t making it easy for “me” to understand the offer. For example Kaidara and Icoya. I also found Sitescape as an enterprise solution. Of course I’m not the customer for these systems.

Linking together adhoc or permanently must become easier, more effective and at a substantially lower costs. Linkify is providing an effective approach. Watch it.

April 3, 2003

Superficiality

Social Networking Models arrived a couple of days ago. On first pass, superficially I would have agreed with Ross ... It’s a neat chart and it is useful set of descriptors.

(apologies... I can't figure out how to paste it into MT and coding it is creating other issues... the orginal is pretty)

Social Networking Models

Network Type --------------- Connection -------------- Example
Explicit ------------------ Declarative -------------- Ryze
Physical ------------------------ In-person --------------------- Meetup
Conversational -------------- Communication -------------- LiveJournal; Weblogs
Private -------------- Referral -------------- Friendster
© 2003 Ross Mayfield

So why my devil's advocacy? Because these are not the terms that will motivate my mother or my son etc. The descriptors are functional, and not benefit related. Until they are defined in “benefit terms” the tools will stay in the realm of techies and developers.

Example: Ryzedeclarative identity service” On the face of it is. It’s what I want people to see of me. … It’s a little soft, with a business edge. However that’s the format. The story of Ryze is not identity, it is not profiles, rather the connections made by real people. The identity profile a functionality that can be combined with others to create real value.

Example Ryze benefit ladder:
What does Ryze do? Helps me make a web page,
Why important? Have a profile that is really me
Why important? My friends and colleagues can find me
Why important? Helps organize my contacts
Why important? Provides membership to an interesting community
Why important? Because I make new connections
Why important? Meeting people is fun

So my caution in this post is to start thinking about social tools development in pictures. I’ve said it before. Features are facts, benefits tell a story. Consumers can’t draw declarative identity services. If they did they would probably draw “cold calling” scenarios. They can draw meeting people online. These pictures will have human faces!

Here’s a quote from the informal research run round Ryze:

“What's working for ryze today …. is its warmth, is the relative freedom it allows in accessing people you would not have done so easily elsewhere, human connections that may be endearing .. for instance, a top notch IT guy who's so into cats … connects at that level and shares freely with other cat lovers, or a photograph of a top honcho with his little baby in his arms.”

So lets see more words and phrases, “brings me closer”, friendship, socializing, having fun, “everyone at my fingertips”. Etc. It may feel a little uncomfortable…. So can socializing.

That’s almost it for my Soap Box! I can’t help taking it back to recent posts on “circles”. It began with “circles of trust”; without trust there are no circles. While nothing ventured nothing gained. Safe and secure is also relative.

So let’s add that all social networking models are “conversational”. Conversations are the result of the tools and functionalities brought to you by the social networking toolmakers. Fundamentally the dirty secret here is: “It’s not what --- it’s whom!” Google just about has “what” captured. This whole emergent area will disappear if “whom” fails to be personal, human, fun, rewarding, satisfying, friendly, professional, ego boosting, nurturing, etc. AND never forget SAFE n SECURE.

Online social networking will be fueled when “everybody” sees that providing profiles by degrees leads to personal advantage. The perceived advantage will differ from person to person.

Social Tools? Retail?

Adina Levin posts a follow-up on Ross's post.

I find blogs much more interesting to surf than profile databases like Ryze -- you get a much richer picture of a person's interests and personality from their blog.

Actually, this may be a reflection of the profile quality, or it may simply reflect that the first 30 seconds rule applies to blogs and profiles too.

It would be great to be able to navigate from a blog to the person's contact information, add that person to one's list of contacts, and invite them to be your contact (connecting the weblog with Ryze).

Yes! This is really the key starting point. Currently we have "add to my blogroll" or "add to my news subscriptions (RSS)", neither requires a declaration or personal contact. There is also no community spirit. Ryze encourages new members to sign my guestbook. If the blogging community adopted the same type of approach, even if the equivalent of the "rubber stamp" -- read dated.... x. you could always track back to a mini-profile and perhaps for a small fee e-mail them.

She closes with a nice comment "part of the same category". I was forced to think about categories just yesterday. What was once hardware and software are emerging categories for "mobility on the move", "my visual world", "the connected home", the "indulgent techie", and "professional business". Hardware and Software, nothing but nuts and bolts.

So I'm wondering where the Social category fits in. What's it look like? How's it merchandised? Is it worth going back to Miss Manners and reviewing classic social graces, etiquette? How do you shop for it? At the moment it can't be much beyond a flea market.

Are we talking about dressing up for the online exchange? What's the fashion, what are the accessories. Remember when Daytimers became "huge business" or Steven Covey? I'd like to hear from the social toolmakers. What sort of stores are you going to retail it in?

What vs Whom? Knowledge Kitchen.

Having invested yet another couple of hours today in “Attention Economics” and “Live Directories” and the implications for business models the concept discussion returned to the enterprise and KM. Knowledge management has taken the rap for creating information repositories of what is. In Foodie terms; the Freezer model reflects cold and stale prepackaged meals often frozen in time. The proliferation of e-mail and electronic documents has simply added size to the freezer. With disk space vs legal threats, the only other issue is the defrosting policy.

KM has yet to discover the hidden food groups, or get beyond the labeling. If we are lucky we find the authors, while the diet of ingredients the author crossed paths are beyond bibliographies hard to find.

When we what to know something, we search out the person “in the know”. There’s a good chance they’ve learnt something since they last posted. This is the neglected side of knowledge management. Other than the tacit vs. explicit arguments “conversational” KM has never really cut it. Strategic conversations, scenarios, story-telling, are all unofficial ways of creating and transmitting emergent learning. However, they don’t happen unless the right people are there, which seldom happens solely within traditional structures.

So what would a conversational form of knowledge management look like? It won’t follow the freezer model; it’s less interested in what you know, and more interested in whom you are and where to find you. Perhaps “tossed salad”? It a model that’s always looking for people, to broker new trust, to expand networks and create opportunities.

What’s different, you participate not to be “tossed” or frozen. You participate simply as an ingredient. When the enterprise increases access to “ingredients” new recipes will emerge. ----- Now we’re cooking!

April 8, 2003

Conversational Identity

Mathemagenic: learning and KM insights - : writing about identity and knowledge. Her interpretation:

  1. identity is important to provide context for knowledge flows
  2. identity is built in conversations
  3. weblogs do not provide "proper" conversational ground

"I fully agree with 1 and 2  (and I'm interested to hear more arguments about 1). I do not agree with point 3, especially in this context. We can discuss if weblogs are good for a meaningful dialogue [see previous conversations], but their added value for identity building is more visible. Observing someone thinking, reflecting and participating in several conversations gives better understanding of his/her context than even in-depth discussions in one community. This is especially true for community straddlers who stretch between different communities/contexts."

I'd have to agree. Adding to the conversational context with profiles and exchanges of "contact" information would significantly enrich and accelerate early connection amongst unknown bloggers.  Similarly enabling a "rich profile" exchange would expand the linkings and potential for new introductions as trust builds.

Indirect Sharing of Blogs

Can blogging add value to e-mails? Yes! A conversation generated Idea.  Each time I open my newreader I pick-up those 25 word short extractions of what my friends are thinking about.  Could Outlook forward mine on.... a little like the daily quote!.... thinking about today....???

Seamlessly incorporate it automatically in the signature on an e-mail post that typically includes static information company, phone website etc.  So now my e-mail message finishes with a short postscript pulled from my blog.  Or even from a friends blog or some other news service. 

A static blog link is nowhere near as useful as an active one.  Similarly a "feed" from my blog should require no explanation.

It may have other benefits.  Imagine I'm sending a message across the organization.  I've got a team working on this project.  They are all blogging their progress, rather than copying the world with cc e-mails.  My e-mail now includes short snips from my team.   My personal message now includes a focused "direct" info asset and a current indirect synopsis as a team brief which may also add context.  The reader can check at their option, subscribe to the RSS feeds etc. 

From my perspective, it might reframe my blogging slightly.  However, just like including a useful profile, my current blog would add a little more of me to my message at no real cost to me. 

The answer must already be out there.  Newgator (inbound) and possibly Sam Ruby's experiments are in this realm? 

April 9, 2003

Social Capital

Ross Mayfield provides another interesting model.  It's worth contrasting it with the comments made by Ton Zijlstra " in the Role of Blogs and Lilia's thoughts yesterday. 

Is it a large leap to frame this into social capital?  TOM (top of mind) This presents a static view, while our conversations and connectivity are defined by the perceptions of the moment, our levels of trust and whom and what we are interacting / searching for. 

While "me" centric, social capital exists in the connections; for the most part we personally hold "tacit" understandings based on our exchanges. Explicit capture may be seen as usurping or transferring an individuals social capital.  The potential for "individualism" in this view  should be contrast with a more social autopoiesis (tic?) view. Ie I'm worried that individuals "me" are not reducible to black boxes with inputs and outputs.  Rather they are self-referential systems. 

Social Capital remains in a state of flux, it's not static, and "events" outside the control of individuals or collaboratives may rapidly shift social capital, dependent on the premise it was established around and current needs of the individuals.  (eg rules just re-written for SC in Iraq) We should consider how to disturb systems.  Thus the investment that is required is one that helps with the "scanning".  Clearly many systems are developing for "what" is being said.  Not enough is being done to connect people for what they might say to each other. 

If I must make a claim to "me" or my social capital then I must consider "our" social capital.  I sure there are many different strategies.  Some will bridge many circles, others might heavily invest in one.  I don't know who may help me.  You don't know how much help I need.  I'd like to move forward on a project to increase unknown "resonance" to aid the perturbing of social systems.  Profiles, levels of access, and an exchange mechanism are available.  (Broadcast!)

Sending and receiving is a mechanistic view of communication and exchanges.  Like trust, the value in different exchanges emerges over time.  Every so often a message resonates with us.  We know every social system posesses some level of shared understanding (just look at the jargon around "Power Laws") and social practices which define how we operate.  I suspect the "social practice" of sharing rich profiles could be revolutionized if we realized that listening for "whom" would significantly improve our interactions. 

Open Doors

Remember the "open door".  It's both a metaphor and archetype we carry from our earliest childhood.  In business good managers are encouraged to have an "open door" policy.  There is something about corporate closed doors that imply secrets, lack of willingness to communicate, or just insecurity.  Or maybe infer the manager wants to be alone, don't bother them etc. 

Before e-mail, some managers might just phone, while I suspect there was a lot more face to face contact.  In a world in which it takes more time to write an e-mail than call over the cubical why are e-mail volumes growing? Why are so many happy to remain in their office and type?  We know all the nuances of face to face communciation are important.  It more than just words. Still today we have more global teams, more individuals collaborating with less face to face frequency.  How do we help them? How can they connect on more personal levels? Why is it that walking down the hall can be strange territory?

Meanwhile more in and out bound e-mail means the firewalls and boundaries become more difficult to cross and manage.  Appropriate solicitations from a new supplier less likely to make it though.  While customers find logging feedback even more impersonal.   The organization effectively closing doors.  A collection of trends that can make organizations and their communities less open.

For the most part I believe the majority of organizations want the open door with less risk. The problem is how?  Similarly in a world in which "connectivity" determines competitive advantage, constantly expanding and connecting who and whom becomes more and more important. 

The challenge takes place on more than one level.

  • Individual profiles
  • Personal contact lists
  • Corporate contact lists
  • Attention Economics
  • Security
  • Spam / Unwarranted solicitations

What we need is a solution that is at once

  • more open - enhances sharing - more personalised
  • increases enterprize security, and risk management
  • builds and accelerates trusting exchanges within and across the community. 
  • reduces work, adds efficiency and accuracy,
  • qualifies external connections. 

Is that, open doors, expand circles, make new connections, harness  social capital?  From the enterprise point of view empower attention economics while retaining important connectivity and network links even when an employees become alumni. 

What's the business model for the solution?  We should look to boundary costs, the edge of the network. That where new offers take place, that's where new learning and customers are found.  The doors open --- teleportation (or a simple message) just costs a few cents. In some businesses this agency is a referral fee.  Between friends - an introduction.  Both are legitimate approaches, both increasingly frustrated by current solutions. 

Locking up your coporate employee profiles is not the solution.  To do so shrinks your networks and the hidden social capital that exists beyond the boundary of every company. An intangilbe perhaps, goodwill maybe, a lesson already learned by software companies testing beta versions and getting free R&D.  Value your profiles, value your employees and thus add value to their networks and you will be rewarded.  The connections they make will create new value.  

April 15, 2003

Coordination & Social Networks

I just came across a paper Job Matching, Social Network and Word-of-Mouth Communications.  It's an academic piece.  It analyses the matching between unemployed workers and vacant jobs in a social network context. While my eyes glaze there is a hidden value here.  From the abstract:

"Therefore, introducing word-of-mouth communication among network-related individuals reduces co-ordination failures and alleviates the associated search frictions. In particular, when the network size increases, on average, the unemployed workers hear about more vacancies through their social network but, at the same time, it is more likely that multiple vacancies reach the same unemployed worker. Above a certain critical value, this job overcrowding becomes so important that job matches decrease with network size."

I've been wondering how to put this in plain english.  Searchers for jobs use everything from employment boards to newspapers and personal networks including friends and former colleagues. Almost half of all jobs are filled though contacts, whom mediate opportunities and share through "word of mouth".  This job grapevine is often more effective than the more formal methods.  However, as networks grow in size the likelihood that their friends really understand what they are looking for begins to fade.  The super networker may end up with an overabundance of unsuitable jobs (a coordination error). 

Does this have implications for sites like RYZE or Ecademy? Is the simplicity of the search function creating coordination errors?  How can these networking referrals be improved, made to be more accurate and involve the contacts you know in a way in which the hidden connections uncover important word of mouth connections? From the data it appears the greater the network density the more important this becomes. 

April 21, 2003

Conversational Blogging

For a week I've had "Conversational Blogging" as a point I've wanted to make.  Has it really caught on?  Posted. WIP.....

First problem is how we define conversational blogging.  A nice article in the Guardian Secret of their success said:

The best blogs are written with conversation in mind, writes Steve Bowbrick I've noticed that good blogging is a kind of conversation. Not the literal, verbal conversation of a face-to-face encounter, but the give-and-take of an unconditional and open dialogue.

There's certainly a good degree of truth in it.  My question is for myself as well.  If Conversation Blogging is humming why do I see so few comments on mine or other blogs (except for the real noted ones)? What the reason for the reticence?  Why don't we comment more?  Are we reading them all though newsreaders? 

There have been some wonderful postings recently about blogging by Ton Ziljstra, Lilia Efimova.  So far I think I've seen none about the design and layout of the "Professional Blog". 

Have you really thought about the blog format that you are using today?  Most of us started blogging with standard templates.  So we follow the crowd.  Adding search functions, blogrolling, etc.  There is usually a few site links to a profile or contact details.  Most of these blogs also allow comments.  I don't see them getting many.  For the most part it doesn't go much further.  A quick link to the top 100 will give you a sense of the design practices (layouts) that are most common. 

This seems to be the current "professional blogging" paradigm the design or layout emerging from a "personal publishing" paradigm. This seems in start contrast to blogs I've seen in Live Journal or Blurty where comments on a friends postings are numerous.  Similarly with youth their blogging space provides the capability to add additional comment, communication and guestbook features to a site. 

Examples are: 

Guestmap, SignMyGuestbook, Zonkboard (a blabber board). various Sitemeters, geo sites like Geobytes  and more playfully imood:  (keep in touch with others moods).

I'm really thinking we must look at the "professional blog" formats really demonstrated by the Radio / MT professionals that have taken it up versus the 18/24 year old who has a substantially richer feedback environment and are using them not just to "tell the world". They also have friends and profile components.

Similarly when we thing about Knowlege Innovation I think the concept of value and knowlege flows is very relevant, however, are blog-centric views limiting perspective? Blogs are only one item on the personal dashboard and current conversational instrumentation is too limited. If the publishing projects are part of a personal ecosystems repository then capture, feedback, related comments, conversations can be captured by even non-writers.

For example the CEO asks many questions, others blog answers into his blog.... the CEO is then comment centric, more conversational with perhaps only periodic briefings which are more likely to be performance, policy, people, planning related. Effectively making the organization more transparent. Categorizing the CEO blog eg project categories, promotional announcements etc, competitive activity... (not sure this is right!)

Why toy with this idea? Power people and knowledge people may be different. Both need conversational space. Do blogs focus too much on the object - the post and not enough on the broader environment. If it is the latter then "newsreaders" and feedback are actually more important.

April 22, 2003

Blog Ecology

The mass of statistics, rankings, associations, blogback links, GeoURl references is increasing rapidly.  As you will see from the top right I've formally added links to Blogshares, Blogstreet, GeoURl, Technorati and BlogTree

I've just staked my claim on Blogshares, no time to play. There's also an MT-Plugin for it. Not yet installed.  Take a quick look at the the stats.  Blogstreet's visual map is fantastic although it may take some time to load.  For the first time I can see via Blog Street a listing of who's blogrolling me. A finally if anyone hasn't been watching the changes at Blogrolling then it's time to take another look.  It's becoming a real nice convenience package.  You'll see my Blogroll changing shortly to reflect the new functionality.  

There's just enough mass (numbers) now to fuel a like Cambrian Explosion.  We are entering a relatively short time where the new species emerge.  Best be watching, ratcheting up your learning and ready for the knowledge innovation to follow. 

Musings - Rich Profiles

Tom Portante and I have held many conversations over the last few months, testing them, working them forward.  He's posts a collection of examples today. It's a little long in this format. Note this.   

"An unintended consequence of all of these possibilities -- once you establish a system that allows e-mail recipients to charge for their attention (by way of a token 17-cent 'postage' rate or some other fee structures) ...

...spam goes away."
There are three good example of how the knowledge innovation boundaries will be stretched. 

You will see the common themes.

  • Economics of Attention
  • Relationships, trust, circles,
  • Personal Knowledge Management

Look more closely and you will see the emergent knowledge sharing opportunities, the benefits of rich profiles, and database technology that with redefine connectivity.  If you were a corporate you may see that as KM is individualised the relationships become more personal.  As the number of relationships grow the organization has new opportunities.  Real links with the outside world have always been treasured. The difference is every employee will add 150 and probably more like 1000. Each of those links will add to brand value.  The organization can once again become / have a conversation..... 

The last observation for tonight.  Is certainly one I've been experiencing today.  Websites for companies appear aggregated - centralized.  Well I've got news.  The new tools are decentralizing, not top down, no one controls all of them.  If you just look at this blog.  It's personal, it uses MT,and all the ecology items I just added add functionality.  Some come with a cost.  The KM field failed to centralize knowledge.  At the end of the day it's knowing 'who' to call.    

April 23, 2003

Conversational Blogging II

Two interesting comments emerged on a recent "Conversational Blogging" post. Ton (it's here - obviously my new blog pinged (which this one doesn't) - how to fix? Next week) picked up on my design / layout query and Denham's comments below I'm reposting here and in comments to keep the thread.

"My experience is 'blog' dialog is weak by all accounts:

  • the record is fragmented not easy to follow or aggregated.
  • Bloggers tend to retreat to their enclaves and then reply. This is a very different form of reciprocity to dialog within the same 'container'.
  • Strong personal opinions do not encourage extended dialog - good questions are the key.
  • Most posts are message orientated rather than open exploration - this does not encourage 'conversation' and turn-taking

These strike me as all valid.  I've probably fallen at one time or another for all of these traps too.  Yet if I had not blogged I would'nt have had access to this conversation or point of view today. It's no substitute for face to face and finding real ways to collaborate. 

So Denham when I received your message (e-mail notification), I pushed reply and then considered:

  • Where should the reply go?
  • Assumed public?
  • Checked your wiki; should I respond there?
  • Where might further question best be posed?

This is where metalayer solves this conversational issue.  While looking at the wiki I also noted links to Nancy White, Americ Azevedo, and Carol Tucker all whom I know one way or another.  Two met via Ryze. Not sure any have "real" blogs.  Do check out Carol's PKM space.  So easy to get diverted!

Now for me none of these systems work really effectively. I started blogging because I felt it was important to get writing (See Mitch Radciffe Cogitating) and the focus would emerge.  I think it is. I'll add another category today (wasn't using them before effectively) for conversational blogging

From my perspective blogging's been a lot better than stradling many forums while not ever really finding a home. I also prefer newsfeeds to e-mail lists.  It's more efficient - IMHO.

  • Are there a majority of bloggers uncomfortable (perhaps untrained) in threaded discussions / container forums?
  • Are the time issues (blogging vs forums) such that the broader net cast for a blogger provides more perceived value than the "tight knit" group in the forum space? Is this related to networking vs learning or knowledge seeking?
  • While blogs may not "container" info very effectively it appears to me they project and push snippets very effectively. How can we encourage these dialogues / conversations automatically into better forums, so optimising discovery and accelerating learning?
  • Could trackback have helped us? No compatibility yet. 
  • Last for now.  Aren't blogs better than Wiki's for letting you know what is happening in realtime?  Are pages like Ryze better at sharing human profiles?  

Few aspects that have frustrated my blogging. 

  1. Lack of data to analyse. I'm fixing that by moving my server.  I've also been working all those new blogging tools that report on networks, connections etc.  Frankly I want to know who reads, who links, who I helped to ask a better question. 
  2. My layout, and the functionality that is there. I've only started working on it.  Will be asking around for help.  I'm still sorting trackbacks (working on my new server!),  I want a guestbook, will try moving my posts comments to forums. There is some neat Comment Leader boards etc that are beginning to appear.  Zonkboard and IM capabilities too. 
  3. Community.  I'd like to link co-create my blog as part of a small community where there is more reciprocity in it.  Perhaps it just requries the creation of an offering.

Back to quotes:

"I'm struck by low number of blog posts that have replies - and after something is offerred, not many bloggers take the trouble to reply so the emergent thread dies." 

Sometimes the threads die to the outside world.  Other times they are lost in a phone call.  What struck me was looking at Live Journal and Blurty pages recently.  Many had comments in double digits.  More like Asynchonous IM.  

When you throw a post out there it is nice to get something back.  A big thanks to all recent commenters!

Now I'm still not sure about the correct protocol for answering comments.  In the comments thread?  Somewhere else?  As the "blogging community" is amorphous, there aren't the "cues" that one finds in RYZE or in Live Journal. 

So what "values" would you promote to create a successful small blogging community? Is there an illustration already out there?

I'd also like to know what wiki one should try and why? 

May 4, 2003

Communities and Discovery

I'm wondering if Conversational Blogging will merge into a new thread around the impact of using emerging blogging tools, for accelerating innovation, and trust across communities.  Check out Collective Intelligence and Community Inelligence

George Por blogs on: Knowledge <- Intelligence <- Wisdom writing about complexity and urgency is clearly seeing the tools take a new direction and the shift in values summing it up by closing: "Exploring and embodying together these questions is the highest adventure I can think of for the rest of my life's work."

In a separate posting on a related blog, Erik identifies three ways in a recent posting Value-Creation by Communities of Practice to introduce diversity in innovation communities

  • geographical diversity (e.g. The Asia Office with The European Office)
  • social diversity (e.g. bringing sales people into a business development community)
  • organizational diversity (e.g. bringng customers into the innovation community)

I think there is another that represents little danger for the organization with enormous upside. 

Consider "Remarkable People". They tend to look at the world through different lenses often spanning disciplines.  Sometimes the counter-intuitive question, the fresh perspectives from people not immersed in the culture and beliefs of the organization is often extremely enriching - leading to breakthroughs.

Conversations that develop around around critical uncertainties (certain/important - just do it / uncertain/unimportant - why contemplate it) at the intersection of importance and uncertainty, tend to be more interesting and lead to more new perspectives.  Don't you think?

May 5, 2003

Jazz-Blogging

Abe Burmeister recently comments:  "I think the key is to look at the blog *as a path towards a better designed conversation space*, not as the conversation space itself. I just don't see conversation flourishing to its full potential in the highly owned and branded environment of the blog."

To which I agree! He draws the metaphor of the blog as a home a home for thoughts, invites, the occasional dinner party etc. And yes for the replacement for the personal page. Well I'd sort of like to go out tonight!

Ton Zijlstra writes on the Tipping Point. He also looking for a meme to seed. Let me suggest "Blog Coops" or "Blogops" or perhaps as you will see below "Jazz-Blogging" 

It also reminded me of a  Dave Winer post i saw today contrasting a Barlow point of view with "These are utilitarian things, they simply facilitate a higher level of communication." Maybe but we have to be "collectively involved" and engaged for them to really matter. 

From my perspective most blogging today seems highly personal, the number of public community or cooperative blogs very limited. Of those personal blogs I see two kinds.  First the blog done for primarily for intellectual interest, and second the blog that is part of an economic engine. While I see examples where coding solutions and new memes spread rapidly what clients want when it comes to thought-leaders is a safe place to engage.  So blogs aren't just thinking tools or communicating tools, they are also learning tools.  It just how we apply them and how we create access.  For them to really work some new business models must emerge around them. 

Earlier today I posted on Lifecast.  One of its secrets was the "club", the limited role the safe environment.  So if we want a trusted blogging engine we should assemble a few pieces and test it.    

Here's some quick notes of what I'd like to work towards trying out. 

  • Personal blogs (perhaps a category eg Collective Intelligence).  Each contributor posts two or three times per week. 
  • Fed to a private aggregated community blog I think the max number is about 15.  A subscription - invite only community of approximately 150. 
  • Defined by some key themes.  This extended think tank harnesses the nature of the jazz club.  Clearly the group plays in real-time.
  • Members can comment and become private blogger too if they desire although it won't be necessary.  There's also a message area and capability to share profiles round the group. 
  • It has a profile component too. The social capital exchanged is probably as important as the intellectual stimulation and the technology participation. 
  • Individual blogger still get the benefit of promoting their external self. Blogging externally they can enables new meme and connection to be fed into the blogop (for blog cooperative)

What are the benefits.  Safe access to thought leaders.  Top executives daily news feed, are part of conversation.  The conversation will connect and introduce them to others.  Their views and the views of others stays within the community.  We will meet as a community 3 or 4 times in the year.  There will be a core underlying research program. 

The tools are right there in front of us.  Who has examples of where it is being done already? Always On doesn't cut it as an example. 

Why will they buy?  The same reason the brand manager wants a 24/7 focus group at their fingertip.  Here's the chance to run some ideas, lines of inquiry, test uncertainties, in real-time...... beta testing.  Nothing like having 150 experts at your fingertips.  More importantly the trust and reciprocity that is established means everyone benefits.

Similarly, for key contributors -- their efforts will be sponsored!

Summary: 

"Jazz-Blogging" as a possible meme for colective collaborative intelligent blogging.  What clients want when it comes to thought-leaders is a safe place to engage.  My individual blogs are not safe or maybe too public.  We need to create safe access environments. Probably as part of a collaborative blogging environment. Perhaps then it more like an extended dinner party in the Hamptons.

 

May 8, 2003

Individually Social Software?

A Wonderful article "Smarter, Simpler, Social".  provides a great introduction to social software.

A few perspective sentences that really grabbed me.  

  •  " Enterprise software itself is grounded in out-dated "process thinking".....
  • free online social applications are achieving usage levels and a depth of user engagement that enterprise software purchasers can only dream about....”
  •  the popular model of the value chain is also an engineering concept, derived from expanding the process view to the business as a whole. …
  •   closed networks amplifies predispositions….
  •  Maintain a healthy level of connections between people so that when and where they need to they can connect effectively with others….

The authors also make a nice point about emergent metadata.---- goes beyond syndication toward synchronization.  ….. Manage personal knowledge according to their own individual perspectives.  This all after starting the piece noting busineses face a crisis

It's the individual area I think I'd like to learn more about.  Maybe it is just a suspicion, but smarter, simpler, social seems to miss out an individual element.  Perhaps it is self evident.  Smarter simpler software at the individual level then enables new opportunities to emerge.  Just like mass customization I suspect the individual has a larger role to play. I’d add the individual is also the customer.

Personal knowledge spaces are very real-time. Expanding real-time PKS will enable more innovation though better connectivity.  Some time back I blogged a short piece PKnF – Personal Knowledge networking Friends.  

One paradigm that is missing is the amount of duplication we are all going to be able to have.  The collaborative – collective personal info assets will outweigh the business info assets.  When that’s true, organizations have to compete on their design, sociability, and adaptive capability.  Wealth then is in the creative friction, the touch points between individuals.

A parallel piece --- one that is completely counter-intuitive to most is www.xpertweb.com and what Brit and Flemming are doing.  It’s a new form of knowledge contracting.  It’s time is nearing.  Add to that the capability to hold the library of congress on our key chain, the question may be how we make it much more useful?  

May 9, 2003

Trust requires transparency

To find Jim McGees post on Trust Security and OD after writing on LinkedIn today seemed appropriate particularly as LinkedIn is a closed system. 

"Humans gain trust by interacting and "getting to know" people. Transparent technologies that make it easy to see what people and companies are up to (in a sense the opposite of firewalls) are what help me trust. I like Reagan's saying: "trust, but verify". It implies that trust requires means for openness, not firewalls and secretiveness." SATN.org: David Reed,

Somehow I think bloggers are opening up perhaps just so we can get to know someone and make some new connections.  Having a degree of broken or incomplete connections is probably ok.  That's exploratory.  We also desire collaboration, that's in smaller groups. 

Jim uses a chart reproduced below created by Bob Keidel of whom I'm not familiar and writes:

Typically we tend to think only in terms of the tradeoff between control and autonomy. His, richer, model introduces a third point of cooperation and suggests that organization design problems can be treated as looking for a spot somewhere inside the triangle instead of somewhere along one of its edges. The trend has been northward towards more recognition of cooperation and, hopefully, away from stale debates about control or autonomy

I'd gone off triangles..... and would like to see the tittles changed to reflect the knowledge organization.  Replace Control, Cooperation and Autonomy with Leadership, Learning and Leverage and we may conclude that innovation and communities of practice go together.  They work when there's the context and discipline to ask better questions.  Which for me is a balance and mixing it up between leadership and frontline understanding - leverage!

 

May 23, 2003

France

 Just sharing two pictures from France.  The first a shot of Chateau Fontainebleau - magnificent - grand and simply a little too large for me.  Clearly upkeep is a problem. 

And here's George who lives in walking distance to CF and his desk. May seem like a simple insight for all those graphic designers with multi-screens -- made me just envious.  It was also a useful insight.  Working on multi-documents, conversations etc. Just made me realize how useful an expanded dashboard would be.  Two screens / maybe three.  Now I know some will say screen within a screen, yet that's not good enough.  It's simply too small on the majority of screen. 

Think Screens.  For those thinking about reinventing their business and making a statement about how the tools will be used it's time to up the number of screens on a desk.   There's an old story from years ago about Jan Karlson who headed SAS airlines who put a monitor on his desk to keep track of ontime arrivals.  Unlikely that a new "dashboard" statement have would have quite the same power, yet it may start some new conversations for the CKO's. 

So.  Are two monitor screens better than one? What are the benefits? Most of us never really get the chance. If your an innovator in an organization should you consider two screens?   

June 2, 2003

NexistWiki

Interesting to see Jim McGee postings on Wikis Part 2 after finally starting my own PurpleNumbers based one last week. I'd say they still have a way to go to be a whiteboard in a conference room. However once collaborating on a document goes beyond 1 to 1 then group access and edit capability on a Wiki is just common sense.

His earlier posting covers connecting wiki's to blogs and blogs to wikis. But it's more than that. Jim says "I believe Sunir understands Wiki philosophy better than anyone else I know. His contributions to framing the concept and patterns of soft security that underlie the social architecture of Wikis are what made me an early convert to Meatball.

I think there's a lot there.  Better add NexistWiki to the list.  Jack Park writes

"Historically speaking, the NexistWiki experiment centered around something called Augmented Storytelling. A talk given by me at StoryCon 2002 about Augmented Storytelling can be found here.

NexistWiki exists at the intersection of Weblogs, Wikis, and Douglas Engelbart's call for massive improvements in addressability and evolvability of information resources. Each object presented on a Webpage with NexistWiki is followed by two objects:

  • a # (pound sign or hashmark) which reveals the full URL of the object
  • a tiny blue arrow which is a link to a homepage for that object

NexistWiki, thus, provides two kinds of addressability to every information resource, also known as an addressable information resource or AIR.

From the individual homepage given to each AIR, NexistWiki provides for evolvability: the object can be edited by its original creator, and, it can be annotated and linked with other information resources.
[>]

 

 

 

June 3, 2003

Radical Innovation & COP's

Congratulations George on your paper "Radical Innovation with Communities of Practice" being circulated by the Knowledge Board

"It is that shift in the basis of value creation, what propelled communities of practice (CPs) in the limelight as collective players with largely untapped potential for radical innovation."  

The topic had us chatting in France.  If you've not seen it download and join the conversation. 


June 5, 2003

The One Hour Wiki

I've had wiki's on the mind recently, having installed more than one PurpleWiki based on the UseModWiki.  They are still all work in progress.  However the happening I've just been in is just like a "OneHourWiki on steroids

In the last few weeks Charles Savage has again kicked off some Mini-Dialogues / How-to's on the Entovation net.  They use the Metalayer platform which I've covered in earlier posts.  Sessions are confined to an hour.  Imagine the silent whiteboard with some starting points and a collective free-for-all. 

The topic today was “Knowledge Leadership” and the challenges of creating open collaborative cultures. The tool today was the Hall-Tonna  values approach and a broader discussion to uncover new models, approaches and skills for leadership in the knowledge economy. 

Participation has some side benefits.  While remaining quiet blogging wise for the last few weeks the hours at the PC have been hidden.  One element I've been working around is "trust" which is really a central leadership value (truth - wisdom). So in the back of my mind I was interested in inserting "trust engines" into the conversation.  After being stimulated by the challenge of a new leadership model I finished a comment with:

"....Leaders that can connect "hidden" social capital are likely to spiral learning and innovation. So will the leaders of tomorrow be "Trust Engines"?" 

Until that moment I'd never used the phrase "leaders as trust engines".  What was neat was how this meme took off.  Appears there's a notion in it that resonates with knowledge leaders. 

The discussion was great.  All over in one hour.  No words exchanged - everyone working on the board at the same time.  There's a lot to be learned from a OneHourWiki. If you google it... WikiDom already has it and minute etc.  That should be of no surprise. 

Summary: Can a OneHourWiki be productive?  You bet it can if fueled by metalayer and the right facilitation.  Metalayer won't want be defined this way I'm sure.  Still if you invest an hour and come away with a new sense of wonder, insight or new ideas to implement then it's a pretty good investment.  Get the right colleagues together and ..... bingo "leaders as trust engines". 

June 18, 2003

Collaborative Spaces - Transforming Innovation Capital

How might the growing interest in linking digital identity, blogging wiki's, RSS feeds etc evolve?  How might the emergent functionalities in these tools benefit our evolution and daily experiences. How will they combine and spiral to augment our collective intelligence? How will they reframe the KM knowledge innovation paradigm? For most companies it's happening more rapidly than they think. 

There's a saying "the future is here  - it is just unevenly distributed" (William Gibson). This couldn't be more true when we start to apply it to emerging lightweight knowledge innovation tools and combine it with what we know about mobility, decentralization, hyperconnectivity, online identity etc. 

Yet using the metaphor "standing in the future" we almost inevitably find ourselves reframing the space we compete in today. 

I facilitated the chart below about three weeks ago before going somewhat silent (at least on my blog) when exploring early ideas for transforming a "systems integration business" into an innovation engine.  As the tools paradigm developed we kept spiraling back to the benefits. Each iteration breaking a new frontier, each new technology providing new functionality.   

It's a WIP (work-in-progress) and making the point that all these technologies are already available they are not just effectively connected yet.  For the most part it will be bloggers reading this.  Some have the curiosity to ask:  Is corporate blogging just noise or part of a greater shift.  What about wiki's and the broader aspects of augmented social networks? Etc. 

For my part I've seen no clear model of where corporate blogging is heading.  Yet I firmly believe that blogs are part of the emerging value creation spiral.  The recent wave on posting on wiki's, forums, corporate blogs reaffirm this interest.  Similarly thoughts keep emerging about creativity and innovaton. The underlying thread is a move from systemic innovation to transformative innovation (about which I will define separately).

A few years ago Tom Stewart wrote "Intellectual Capital" and more recently followed it up with "The Wealth of Knowledge".  I'd suggest if we really think about the chart above -- IC /KC merely set us on a pathway.  The (not new) idea of "Collective Intelligence" is just now beginning to reframe how we think about capital and the types of organizations.  We now know that organizations will increasingly compete through their collaborative networks. While it's not just asking better questions -- it's the capability to capture and harness the hidden ones.  More peer driven, more decentralized; almost certainly. 

It's transforming innovation capital (lets not get hung up on definitions of Capital here) simply because what we are now after is hidden.  It is primarily social and these new tools are helping us to uncover the wealth that was always there, always undisclosed, tacit unless tapped, and too infrequently accessed.  Even a small start would include employee who's thoughts or interests you never before knew, to teams doing collaborative manual building, and spontaneous connections enabled through who we know in trusted networks. 

This is nothing less than the beginning for framing tools and an evolutionary path to a  radical shift in the collective intelligence of teams, communities of practice and organizations.

There could be much more to this post.  A little encouragement and a few questions and I might just get back into writing again. 

A little over a week ago I had the pleasure of listening to Doug Engelbart at the Planetworks conference.  Doug's summed up his life's work for the conference: "As much as possible boost mankinds collective capability for coping with complex urgent problems." 

As he developed his view of the world I realized there were similarities to the chart above  -- originally tracing to conversations I'm in with George Por which started and were furthered in France a few weeks ago.  In Doug's chart the frontier (cloud in mine) is constantly changing.  His concepts which I'm still discovering include... The "Hyperscope", "NIC's" - network improvement communities and "DKR's - dynamic knowledge repositories.  They fit easily within the above. 

One word of caution.  This is a somewhat generic chart.  Organizations wanting to explore this space must develop their own pathways augmenting their current competences and enhancing the culture of their organization.  Then having the "foresight" to take this forward begins with a few small bets or prototypes and a few committed individuals.  The key to motivating individuals to participate is creating the clear need for change and building the excitement for what the future might bring. 

Augmented Social Networks

What’s Coming? --- Augmented Social Networks:

“Could the next generation of online communications strengthen civil society by better connecting people to others with whom they share affinities, so they can more effectively exchange information and self-organize? Could such a system help to revitalize democracy in the 21st century? When networked personal computing was first developed, engineers concentrated on extending creativity among individuals and enhancing collaboration between a few. They did not much consider what social interaction among millions of Internet users would actually entail. It was thought that the Net's technical” architecture need not address the issues of "personal identity" and "trust," since those matters tended to take care of themselves.

This is a clip from the Linktank paper posted as part of the Planetwork conference.  Like the Smarter, Simpler, Social paper referred to earlier on this blog here it is worth reading.  For me together they provide a useful entry point into thinking about where we are going.  For me these two papers are further warning indicators that reaffirm my belief that radical innovation is being redefined by those that use ASN related tools, within their organizations, CoP's and simply with their circles (business, professional, social). 

I also just re-read a post from my earlier blogging days on Radical Strategy Innovation. (One that gave me some concern at the time for mouthing off.)  Looking at it today and thinking about the tools I've become more accustomed to using and participating in I believe the key messages still apply.  Five points for Radical Strategy Innovation.

  1. First organize your lines of inquiry to be network and community centric.
  2. Then collaborate to create compelling friction points that give your community "an innovation voice"!
  3. Seek out "hidden" connections - collaborative responsive highly connective networks are important to framing the fullfillment of unarticulated needs.
  4. Build-in collaborative community skills into facilitating markets - value creation. 
  5. (New / revised) Add to the collective and spiritual values -- without them you will have a system rather than a transformation.

Summary:

In a world of increasing hyperconnectivity, how will augmented social networks impact on innovation? Is your current dogma for Radical Innovation collaborative and spiritual enough to make a meaningful transformation?  How will your communities best be served -- strategically and through what architecture to facilitate the change?

 

June 19, 2003

Why CI?

Yesterday I said too little about George Por's role and Collective Intelligence in my post "Collaborative Spaces - Transforming Innovation Capital. He's influenced my thinking lately.  So when this post was picked up it was neat, but it also signals the need for a broader conversation and exploration of the CI community and their work.   

So this post is a little about sharing George.  He's an expert in CI and long time evangelist.  We have different and I believe complementary takes on the diagram and how to use it; sensing there is a new kind of operating system emerging.  I wouldn't have labelled it CI2.0 without a push from him.  I've been keen to understand the emerging tools and the corresponding benefits and provide a synthesis and premise for accelerating innovation and strategy development. I do think CI2.0 frames it.  I'm also a believer that part of very premise (of CI) - is to share and learn together.  So posting / blogging is like testing.. / prototyping. I'm hoping George that you and others will join in and take it to the next level. 

From George's Blog of Collective Intelligence: Cognitive relations, relations of knowledge production  "The main infrastructure concern of today's enterprise is still how to best use technologies for managing data, information, and knowledge, not for augmenting human intelligence, individual and collective. ..."

Separately, this links to George's workshop "Collective Intelligence 2.0" which may provide another line of inquiry and suggest other ways of exploring the path forward.

Weblog Specs

Dave Pollard writes in How to Save the World about business weblogs and five software tools needed for social networking enablement. He makes great points about making it simpler and more transparent and describes the need for the user to determine how and to whom it should be published with each post. I think underlying this is a very decentralized structure that docks with the enterprise while the lifestream is maintained with the user.  There are some very Net Deva like implications to this model.  Similarly the learning from Ryze, and Linkedin etc apply. What am I saying?  I like where this is going, just so far my experience has been that we have to deal with the trust / reciprocity and identity issues.    

I'd like to see Dave's next post around categories.  How are the taxonomy issues resolved?  While a few categories are permanent, we need to structure emergent taxonomy systems.  When fellow workers find they are working on similar questions then they become connected.  I continue to believe that this is topic map related. 

Get these things right and weblogs will be part of the innovation and trust engines that enable social networks. 

June 20, 2003

Building Better Communities

All communities need a purpose.  I just liked this as one quick way to think about your knowledge innovation practice.  It's the type of chart one can whiteboard as part of a group discussion.  It's contained in a presentation by Cynthia Typados's for Planetwork Using her 12 principles.  Here is the link to the presentation.  You will have to scroll down to "Social Networking Sites vs. The 12 Principles"....  (Can't reproduce it here or provide a direct link.  Shame really - it is locked in frames). 

Note the importance of idenity and reputation after purpose. Also mentioned was the article "It's not what you know, It's who you know" published in 2000 on FirstMonday." I found it well worth going back and reading. 

We chose the term intensional to reflect the effort and deliberateness with which people construct and manage personal networks. The spelling of the term is intended to suggest a kind of tension and stress in the network. We found that workers experience stresses such as remembering who is in the network, knowing what people in the network are currently doing and where they are located, making careful choices from among many media to communicate effectively with people, and being mindful to "keep in touch" with contacts who may prove useful in the near or distant future. At the same time, "intensional" also suggests a "tensile strength" in network activity; we found our informants endlessly resourceful and energetic in their everyday collaborative activities within their networks.

 

June 24, 2003

More Corporate Blogging

Allan Karl The Digital Tavern  picks up on corporate blogging following the weekend's weak NY Times article.   I hear an underlying cry for retaining  personality in posts through the synthesis rather than cumbersome  staging of the message.  His O'Reilly example reinforces why highly structured corporate blogging is going to destroy creativity and leave posts "flat". 

... corporations need to embrace weblog technologies, methodologies and find a way to create a synergistic relationship with PR, advertising, marketing and internal communications in an effort to leverage and extend the corporate brand while refining and enhancing the voice of the company. Even more, when these blogs can open up the dialog between company and customers, employees and suppliers/partners, then we'll start to see corporate blogs take off.

Let's look to decentralizing the experience.  I'm not sure thinking communications silos will work for corporate blogging.  Rather providing every employee with an RSS feed and enable Kuro5hin type reviews.  Then corporate bloggers build reputation (individually and collectively).  Both are important and reinforce the need for collaboration.  Important posts must not only be projected into the ether (without a corporate rating they are of no consequence) but accelerated around the organization.  Blogs work at the fringe and at the center. 

While the desire is there to take corporate blogging and doing it publically, building brands... I believe in focussing on small team internal blogs first behind firewalls.  Please keep it simple.  Corporates need to crawl first, and the independent blogging by the few will not define "Collective Blogging" or the organization.  Only then will corporate blogging really begin to evolve and embrace "Living the Brand". 

The perceived model for large organization is very different from a smaller private company with 25 to 125 employees.  (Large org  perceptionsmakes the reality harder.) Small operations will "Corporate Blog" first and their speed and stories will build brand equity far faster than the big guys can.  The key difference -- the little entrepreneurs can think dynamic brand communities.  They tell stories and easily adopt a conversational tone. 

June 26, 2003

BlogPaste Wisdom

I had to have a little fun with the title. Allan gets his wisdom teeth pulled for the sake of clarity - The Digital Tavern and then allows me to draw new parallels that suggest "see Corporate Blogging 3" is like pulling teeth. So I've finished on a more serious and practical note. 

 

Actually rather than thinking extraction alone we should think orthodontistry, more art for a smile than techniques to cure infection and disease.  Then there's the odd piece of bridgework required, perhaps a few implants and bingo even corporates will blog with pearly whites.  Then P&G or Colgate will produce some new fangled brightener while OralB puts some bent bristle brushes into action. That could confuse things unless the correct blogging technique is maintained.

 

Still most corporates will be required to lose their "wisdom" teeth. It's affecting their bite and they're leaving no room for growth.  The sooner blogging becomes daily the more rapidly plaque and gum disease will come under control --- not to mention the dreaded halitosis.  There's a stench when corporate communications fail to be transparent. They are not compelling when they lose their smile and character.  Yep we need engineering.  Full plates are not in vogue.  Toothy tattoos may be in.  Possibly every org needs new blogging hygienists and dental technicians.  Yet it's not only hygiene that blogpaste is working on.

 

Like the emerging PictureRolls, with faces, we want real smiles and real people when we dock with an organization. Blogging, like FaceRolls is more transparent.  Organizations that learn to blog well will do more good than evil.  Blogs will also engender more competition, and cooperation.  Those employees that fail to visit the bloggist when their colleagues begin their daily routine will find they get more than their teeth pulled long term. 

 

Really seriously Allan isn’t into dentistry and may be a little concerned about his remaining wisdoms.  I do sense something new in the making.  There’s an opportunity for an agency developing Collaborative Live Brand Communities. There’s a lot from Brand Marketing, Advertising, PR etc that could be merged.

 

From my days leading sales and marketing teams, “good news”, was part of improving both the batting average and raising the team bar.  Start with core groups from brand marketing, key accounts sales and customer service.  A blog a day could really keep the doctor away. 

 

It may be too late to add a serious angle to this post.  Yet I feel I’m challenging myself too.  I know if I was again running a sales marketing organization we would be blogging.  I’d start with some core categories.  These are top of mind. I'm sure in a group discussion and appropriate context we would come up with something better.  

  1. Daily Update (Everyone! How did you build the business today?). A minimum amount of structure. Give those sales guys camera phones and micro keypads. Make it real basic. They have done daily reports for years… this is a minor change. Help them bring their customers and channels into the business.  Marketers, help me build categories, stories elevator pitches.  If there isn’t a business building action /insight per day then the business is in trouble.  Etc.   (Improve the bite!)
  2. Team Brief (a weekly hierarchy driven piece to begin). I’ve written on Team Briefs before.  In the beginning they are top down. I do believe in the end they will be bottom up. If we aren’t encouraging / doing enough appreciating each other in 1 above then start here! Similarly over time weekly summaries will become easy. (Encourage the Smile)
  3. Key Projects (These have corporate wide impact – no more than 4). When they make corporate news daily something happens.  We are back to the boss only has to read it. I’d be looking for good posts, real action, and quality of thinking.  These are win-win blogs.  Their beauty also has to be more than skin deep.  (Enhance Visibility)
  4. Measures / Expectations:  Enable everyone to blog on “our blogging performance”.  I’d start this with names optional. (Routinize - Develop Blogpaste)
  5. Dashboard:  Enable all these pieces to be brought together.  And quickly sorted. Comments and trackbacks need to be very visible.   (Mouth the Results)

The ad agency, the PR co etc are involved from the beginning.  Get them writing some summaries.  Providing some points of view.  Give them access.  Let them comment on competitors, great campaigns, idea, etc.  Get them involved in the design discussion, the dashboard and messaging. At the moment this is all private – behind the firewall. They will begin pressing early on for going public.  Resist this temptation, it’s not worth it and bloggers don’t go public they emerge.  Similarly the agency will try to speak with one voice.  Don't allow it.  You need them from creative to media planner.... visibly impacting involved and sharing on your business.  Get their commitment to your blogging --- make it part of their contract. Blogging should not increase their charges to you! Still I'm yet to see the agency that says "blogging with you is synonomous with our business model.  Yet we are close.

 

If your agency won't go this way they will never take you Corporate Blogging!  So make the decision now.  Get a new agency!  Or hedge your bets short-term... find an agency thatwill take you blogging. I may just know the one.    

 

Frankly this is all much easier than pulling teeth!  

 

 

 

June 30, 2003

Social Software and CI?

Is the current Social Software meme really just part of something much larger? Will the ideas behind Collective Intelligence shape the future development and direction? Sometimes I look at something and intuitively know there's something relevant but perhaps not ready for transmission or simple to translate into plain english.  I have a suspicion tonight that Britt Blaser, Flemming Funch and Xpertweb may just be an illustration - an early indicator of this style of model. 

From the University of Ottawa and the emerging Collective Intelligence Lab.  The top half of the chart represents our collective Intellectual Capital in the virtual world.  Contrast this with the lower quadrant which more closely represents the collection of structural capital, social capital and process capital found in the physical world. 

I find this model interesting for two reasons. 

  • First there is no real mention of financial or customer capital.  This is a real departure and a major shift re "collective". If delight exists... then it is in the top half...and experienced on a higher plain.  
  • The second, is more an observation.  The debate around social software continues to focus too often on the physical manifestations rather than the virtual - spriitual elements that enable - augment and benefit real collective intelligence.  

Note the following charts can both be found via the link above. 

This second chart suggests for each pole a two way relationships.  While this looks incredibly complex I believe it could be simplified into a short questionnaire and then provided in a radar format as a development tool.   

One item is certain.  Unless they all interplay together --- spiraling value creation is a pipedream.  There is also an underlying thread in these postings.  Pierre Levy talks about informational capitalism which includes; Cooperative competition Competitive advantage to the inventors of the most cooperative games. Well Xpertweb is a cooperative game.  While contrasting this with conscious consumption controlled by a transparent cybermarkets could bring with it unexpected communism.

This is worth following for: Knowledge Innovation, Strategic Foresight, human tools development and the evolution of our desires.

July 8, 2003

Team Blogging

From the New York Times another article on blogging (signs of improvement?) on Blogs in the Workplace.  The real impact will be on creating smarter teams. Some snips:

"People are going to the blogs every day as a source for news," Mr. Jarvis said. But, he added, "I am disappointed in the tool," because the hoped-for exchange of ideas among departments has not spontaneously developed. "You need specific goals," Mr. Jarvis said. Typically, though, such experiments are not expensive to mount. 

Indeed it is not the tools it is how you learn to use them. Establishing the correct learning agenda and context is key.  I remember bringing in Laptops to the salesforce many years ago.  Each one at the time was worth 20% of the salespersons annual salary (very high tax country) and the economic justification was hard.  From my perspective the real payout came in intangibles.  My salesforce learning new tools, image - leading the pack, new interest in presenting data and crunching numbers, and answering my queries at night.  Was still hard to put a value on P-Spend savings or better shelf management and thus share gains.  Still in those days they learnt to use the tools on their time, and longer hours began. Now too many of them are slaves to the system.   

So this time the upgrade expense is not in the equipment and software, the expense will be in finding the right individuals to help facilitate the change. Like Mr. Tang below.... people want to work smarter not longer.  He gets it!

When I want to know something I check the Web log," Mr. Tang said. "It saves me the trouble of e-mailing people or yelling across the room to get a status update." 

Mr Tang is in an IM centric company, hardly typical yet apparently using blogs to get control of his time. 

Corporate Blogging is only just the beginning, the companies that understand the power of a "continuous team briefing process" and enable the grass roots to fuel the exchange will be the organizations that begin learning faster.  It's time to RSSify your org.  The result will be moving work off e-mails and back into community work. My bet is intelligent solutions will quickly emerge just as other examples in the article are showing. 

Of note these new tools are being brought in from the fringe. What makes this really exciting is the potential to create entirely new operating systems.  We already know the hardware is a commodity and the software is cheap or open source.  Corporate Blogging is just the edge of a revolution that will harness the collective intelligence of organizations in new ways. It's time to start thinking about the right people to have on board. 

Hmmm.... check you buddy list.....start your web cam, will your next employee be a blogger?  How long must they have blogged to be considered?  That reminds me of another post I never made on S-Blogs... search-blogs.  Blogs set up by individuals in the job search process.  Perhaps it is time to pull that one out too. 

 

July 17, 2003

KM Stretch

Another brilliant post in the SEVEN SURVIVAL TIPS FOR KNOWLEDGE MANAGERS Kept me up tonight for a few last thoughts.  I really liked it.  levers.gif

Dave describes three new, looser methods to standardize how things get done, shown on the chart. 

I'd like to add a fourth.  Stretch and Learning: Every organization today must be able to to stretch to new futures, and perceive alternate environments in which their decisions may play out.  This requires the capability to embrace uncertainty, complexity, and an element of chaos.  So doing creates the intuition, the creative space where new solutions are found. 

Dave then adds "What does this mean for the struggling, once-hyped discipline of 'knowledge management'? Here's a 7-point strategy for knowledge managers ...."

  1. Focus knowledge and learning systems on 'know-who', not 'know-how'
  2. Introduce new social network enablement software and weblogs to capture the 'know-who'. 
  3. Keep only selected, highly-filtered knowledge in your central repositories. 
  4. Don't overlook the value of plain-old 'data'
  5. The bibliography may be more valuable than the document itself.
  6. Don't wait for people to look for it, send it out, using 'killer' channels.
  7. Create an internal market for your offerings by giving valuable stuff away.

For my final two cents of the night.  My favorites are numbers one and two and five.  In this area more attention must be placed on helping to design personal dashboards.  When connectivity is embedded at the fingertips or at the click of a mouse then richer conversations will evolve.  When we have great dialogues we have great organizations.  Lets not forget the soft skills the CKO needs as organizations seek personalized knowledge in a way that also creates real deep community brands.  When we can all live this way... then we will have organizations that compell people to operate around stategy number 7.  I think it's called the common good!

Putting Execs on Blogging Steroids

There is an old joke about how many people it takes to change a light bulb. So.... How many bloggers do you need to change a company? How many newreaders (subscribers in a co) do you need to change information habits?

How do you seed the change? How many should you start training. Who goes in that initial learning to blog team after the blogging briefing... where you said... "Hey that's a great idea!" lets train some bloggers.  How do we start?

Working though newreader solutions was just one thing I wanted to speed up. I can see I'm still getting good input on that score. I wanted better content examples and the capability to answer the "corporate" question. How do we seed the movement? Alternatively, if you are already a blogger in a business how do you determine the tipping point is near? How do you decide that blogging may really be ready to rock your corporate world?

These questions started by following Sharpreader, Feedster, (which provides smart methods to search blogs for information) and Technorati that replenished my memory on particular posts tracing back to posts in late June found again by exploring Marc's post on AOL Journals. Frankly I don't see the direct connection in the article to what I'm writing about here. Still I'm sure AOL will integrate news with both e-mail and IM options (Already begun!). Still something connected and fired some neurons from the above questions to link it to the rules below.

John Patrick reports he's met with "quite a few" senior executives of major corporations in the past week or two "but not one had even heard of blogging. One said, 'blobbing?'..."[Corante: aa Corante on Blogging]

While writing a blog is a whole different area and much is being written about it, i will focus here on how we might get more executives to start reading blogs.  The 'why' is obvious to bloggers - the RSS feed is an amazing tool for aggregating news from sources of your selection and promises to get only better in its width, depth and "user-friendliness".  The benefit - in allowing the reader to stay on the cutting edge of thought and development in his or her area of specialization and interest, due to the real-time online reporting and discussions.  This becomes a more dynamic source, as a result.   The 'how' is the greater challenge, as the 'why' may not be perceived unless experienced first-hand.  [Conversations with Dina]

This reminds me of a rule... 1-9-90 which was recently shared with me, and one other. What I'd call the square root rule. I'd like to know how well these will stand up? Lets set the context and then test them.

RULE ONE 1-9-90. From gaming a variation on the 80/20 type rule. 1% really make it happen in a community being responsible for most of the postings and activity. Group 2 the next 9% are on the active fringe, doing a little more than lurking with infrequent posts and forays. While the final 90% are simply lurkers... along for the ride and information. So the theory goes... that for every person that a Group 1 can convert from Group 2 the expanded community grows by one hundred.

RULE TWO Square Root Rule. To change a company requires the square root of the number of employees involved. So 10 employees can change a company of one hundred, and 32 to change a company of 1000. Clearly it helps to have certain people involved from top to bottom. Still it provides a starting point. In the company of 100 they may not all have to work full time. In the company of 1000 some may have to work full time on the project.

So what might these type of rules mean to blogging and newreaders?

Starting with RULE TWO. In a company of 100 we train 10 people to start blogging. In the larger 1000 person organization we might start by creating a blogging program for some 30 people. In each case these will be enough to change the way information begins flowing. The bloggers will also need some self-help forums and will likely expand this support dimension further. In the 1000 person company that is 3% of the workforce! 

Then applying RULE ONE, we require each blogger to recruit ten subscribers to set them up with a list of internal and external subscriptions to begin.  I'd guess at least 50% internal feeds to begin. The bloggers having done the first training course and begun blogging will now facilitate some simple NewsReader training sessions. No doubt some employees will recruit the same subscribers and others may even resort to some external subscribers. The bloggers will set up an obligation with the subscribers to provide comments to their blogs and they will run some " personal feedback" sessions with their subscribers to build their understanding of what works and what doesn't.

The newsreading subscribers can personalize and add to their feeds at will. They will also have access to the aggregated corporate feed. From an early audit... and discussion some key blogging categories will have been set up and standardized. Now Executives wanting to find out about project X can search their news reader if there is not a direct category for it. A senior exec asking the questions... "What do we know about product X or company y?" (will get not only internal feeds but insights into external feeds that are being watched by employees. Knowing who is tracking what will quickly become more visible from the blog posts.

I'd predict that early subscribers are likely to become bloggers, and the thus it's the exponential impact of the newsreader that will change how information is shared. Those are just the early light bulb moments.

However let's take it one step further.  What happens when rule one is applied to an organization where everyone blogs?  We get the innovative solutions found in beta software from the 9 factor (comments and referrals), and we get the brand commitment factor found in the organizational lurkers.  To put that in context... Every employee is worth 100 advocates for the brand.  Can't think of any businesses that have that sort of reach currently.  Now is that a stretch?

September 4, 2003

Intelligence in the Fields

Seb's Kuro5hin observations are picked up by Marc and others below. This is exactly the problem that corporates are having to deal with. As corporations explore these new tools they are forced to rethink how they interact. So the closed garden is a wonderful metaphor for understanding the present and the opportunities that are presenting themselves.

Too often we focus on the tools that may help to make these changes rather than the leadership challenge. Knowledge leaders inspire the behaviors and culture that connects and weaves together ideas from which we draw growth and value.

I believe Seb's example is wonderful for highlighting what happens when strategic dialogues take place behind closed walls or highly structured environments. At Kuro5hin.. perhaps ( I don't know) they have lost the capability to dialogue through the tough questions. Organizations that nurture the garden... encourage new life, take time to listen, to heed the calls of nature. Better to go wild rather than let it die.

Escape from Kuro5hin?.

This one strikes a chord with me, being a Kuro5hin expat. Here's a discussion among k5 users who have come to see the community as a walled garden and realize how the centralized architecture of the site limits the use they can make of it.

"Right now, we're all constrained by K5 mechanisms and K5 borders. K5 is the AOL of the blogging world."

As I wrote a while ago, "rigidity and tight coupling is going to be a hindrance to the growth of communities like k5 in the long term. Intelligence and freedom need to be at the ends, not at the center."

[Corante: Social Software]

I totally agree.  That's why we're building a social network based upon FOAF - called the PeopleAggregator.com.  It's up - but just barely right now.  Lots of interesting notions built into it - which I'll be covering - soon.  In the mean time, we can literally watch the erosion of these centralized services - in front of our eyes.

[Marc's Voice]

Blogs for Innovation Panels?

There's a marketer in me wanting to seed blogs thoughout the organization.  I've eluded to potential Sales/Marketing synergies before and rather than raving about the whole organization my thoughts generally remain internally focused, around teams and groups that can begin with reasonable hurdles.

So today I caught Renee's post:Creativity & Innovation: New ideas, products, concepts, ideation. IdeaFlow - Corante. which turned me to thinking about "Consumer Insights" and opens:

"Do you have an opinion about the role of consumers in innovation? My company has a consumer panel (screened for creativity and further trained in creativity techniques), which we use for ideation projects. It had not occurred to me to analyze the use of this consumer panel via social network theory,"

There's a lot more there.  It keyed me into thinking about how blogs can aid in panels. I'm familiar with Communispace and the Hallmark story.  Still that's never utilized a diary aspect.  It's more focused on threaded discussions, provides profile information and the opportunity to run quick questionnaires etc.  What captures the imagination -- is the idea of giving product managers a 24/7 focus group on steriods. Some of us might say that bloggers already get this.   Renee again:

"In a social network sense, our consumer panelists can serve as connectors between small worlds, with those of us who work with the panel serving as facilitators that make the actual bridge (at least, if we do our part right). We had not really thought of our panelists as lead users…but in a sense, that’s exactly what they are.

Another approach is to mix our consumers with a company’s lead-user customers and/or internal R&D people, so that the product knowledge of the one group plays off the creativity skills of the other."

I think blogs are a good fit.  Here's another example of where a semi-structured community - of panelists will create substantially more valuable information when their thoughts, lives and exchanges get the opportunity to flow.  Panels in a modified Live Journal?  Panelist that can reach out... to RSS feeds and insert new ideas... the ones that are shaping their perspectives easily today.  Now that might make leading edge panels even more fashionable. 

So is anyone out their using blogs in consumer panels?  Anyone willing to experiment?

It is also easy to integrate the blog component with a hub with questionnaires – online profiles chat etc.  Sharing diaries… would also enable a “learning experience” for panelist… better diaries and thus insights may emerge.

September 9, 2003

Blog Panels +

Appreciate the good feedback and links on the Innovation Panels. See Ideaflow, Conversations and Halivais

Two other thoughts crossed my mind today. First via Phil Wolff "Weblogs Finding a Home in the Nation's Workplace. includes an advertising agency example. Seeing as I've been talking to a market research co recently about blogging it just reinforced the value being created for client projects augmented with blogged notes. Similarly, some incentives should be placed for focus group members to share some reflections via a group blog after the event. A few categories would be useful... Eg... on what was said, post event observations, new ideas.... The best bloggers are recuited into blogging panels. For the researchers running focus groups.. this is an ideal way to augment their relationships.

Second is the ongoing need to reduce research costs - or at least get more bang for your buck. A few years ago that meant exploring and implementing programs around MarketTools, Zoomerang or similar. More recently, we find public examples like Communispace being able to create effective panels that also enable some quick and dirty statistical sampling. Not only reducing research costs... these companies are moving faster "taking the pulse". Blogs can add an additional searchable element and repository over time.


Social Networks & Brands

Emerging Social Networking sites need to think more carefully about their brands. Too much time is spent "engineering" and not enough being conversational telling real stories. Strategic brand positioning is becoming ever more important in this realm. I continue to miss compelling stories on the new sites.

Today I was pushed by a colleague back to take another look at LinkedIn. I've not been growing my network there. My profile lacks detailed documentation. So I found myself playing around there and on Tribes getting a feel for yet another emerging social network. There's also SixDegrees (in beta), and if you are enterprise ready with money you can look at Spoke and Visible Path. also locked in beta. There are others too. Mostly clones.

Ross Mayfield ("The Network is the Market") also provides an excellent technical positioning overview of Tribe and demonstrates the innovative thought going in these offerings. Matt comments here and I'm sure there are others as a vacation means I'm late to the party.

At each one I try and ask myself: "How do we all feel here?" What's the tone? What is the brand trying to convey. Seeing as none of these are yet growing exponentially --- all have failed to get into the millions I suspect core issues remain around branding, functionality and "viral" growth strategies.

For my two cents Tribe is being too structured and planned in its layout and branding. While it is crisp and organized - when I think about my networks I do with feelings, sensations, connections perhaps even trepedations. I also think directory, business cards, phone numbers. If I'm thinking about trading things (something Tribe encourages) then my online experience is dictated by eBay. There's lots of personality in the listings on eBay. That's missing from Tribe. Similarly the book reviews on Amazon are another way of adding color. Ryze does it by using GuestBooks. While guest books aren't endorsements --- they are an informal method of understanding the conversations around people. As such they are useful and can rapidly broker new exchanges.

While I'm on these things... I have a generaly gripe about many of the registration processes. They don't quickly show me while I'm filling things in what others are putting in their boxes. A new registrant is going to be uncomfortable. What are you interests? Many... No be specific..... Human stories - and examples... please!

Then for participation they must be friendly, fun and inviting. If you don't enjoy it --- it won't get done. Tribe might take on Craigslist or take people away from Friendster. I know it still in beta and I bet there are many new functionalities to come. However from what I've seen so far... play, chaos, individuality, is in my view too restrictive.

So I'm going out on a limb.... just before Ryze - rumoured to be readying a relaunch shows its new stripes I'll reinforce that from a brand point of view - Ryze's inelegance is part of it's brand strength. Ryze was clearly created by human hands, the journey of a special person. Its useablity inelegant. Still at Ryze I feel like I own my own page. Ryze's pages often have a chaotic appeal that Tribe in it's current format will never achieve. At Tribe I'm part of a database - the tight pages.. no scrolling. It's an important distinction. Ryze could learn some lessons from Tribe, while Tribe still has to learn some Ryze lessons. Yep they are ostensibly focused at different markets. Still if I was Ryze I'd add their listings functionality.

So... make these brands about people.

Some functional desires in support:

  • a great directory which I don't need to update; including phone numbers etc.
  • to make those new connections and leverage my relationship capital.
  • integrated with my IM systems
  • with levels of disclosure
  • with keys to kill all my spam
  • to not only enable trade... but cooperative buying
  • to arrange meetings
  • accept my newsfeeds
  • be part of an indentity federation
  • integrate with my mail system
  • create consumer power

    Gee I want all these things. Is there a business model in here? That's also a question being asked next week. Get to Vlab and attend Social Networking: Is there Really a Business Model?

  • September 13, 2003

    Skypdicted - Skypers - Evolve Quickly

    Ah emerging words and phrases. I see 12349 Skype users online now and just took up TDavid on his Call Me invite. He's put into practice what John Robb said you could do yesterday. Now I understand just how simple this is to do!

    I may just find the Skype logo and put it on my main blog page later. For now you can "Click n Call" Me on Skype


    Several searches to this blog for Skype information, not to mention when I first looked at Skype this morning I saw 11,000+ users online which was the most I've seen online to date. And as of the time I'm writing this there are 11,507...."
    skypers (pronunciation: sky-purse) - people who call you the moment before you get out of your chair to do something else. A skype equivalent of eBay snipers. [TDavid]

    We also exchanged info round post #456 from Russell Beattie's Notebook.

    Someone needs to wire this up with my mobile phone. I mean *now* not some day in the future. Here's how I see it. First a native Symbian app on the phone accesses the Bluetooth connection to a PC and streams voice each way. At 1650 bytes/sec for GSM-encoded voice, Bluetooth has more than enough bandwidth to handle it. This would allow your Symbian device to act, believe it or not, as a phone. On the PC side, a Bluetooth server sits and acts as a gateway between the serial port and the P2P voice app.

    Now - I don't want the client to just be a dumb headset with a mike. I want to be able to start the app up, get access to my normal address book, choose someone I know has the same setup, and to attempt to make the call via BT. Now if the call doesn't go through, I want it to swap to a normal GSM connection and then dial that one.


    David also runs a weekly live broadcast for his Scripting School. By next week Skype will have enhanced his service for his international followers. Also had it confirmed that you can't go in and hack the ring file. Customized ring tones will be a pro option!...

    October 8, 2003

    Skype and Glance

    How do you Skype in a teaching or mentoring mode and enhance the experience? I had just that experience today when introduced to Glance a simple service for instantly showing a live view of your PC screen to anyone you choose.

    I began by introducing Skype functions from sending contacts to sharing further links though text IM. Then Charles began sharing with me exactly what he was seeing on his screen after we both logged into Glance. All of a sudden I could see exactly what he was looking at on his computer. If I had been the instructor it would have been perfect for sharing a presentation or opening a document and pointing to specific points while we talked. I know you can synch what you are looking at in Groove. However, here I didn't have to install anything extra. I just keyed in the simple URL and I was looking at what he was sharing. (I then moved it to my second screen, thus retaining the flexibility to continue the chat and other searches that I was doing.)

    Had I had a Glance account then there is no reason we couldn't have had instant two-way sharing.

    Unfortunately Glance only offers a one day trial. That's not really long enough for me to work out how to commit to $20 to $40 per month. I could easily run one-on-one blog training etc with it. A two way application would be preferred. I'd see a neat opportunity to match this with TDavid's talkback broadcast approach. I'd keep it in mind if I was running an online class. If I got 25-40 to sign up tomorrow for a one hour class on Newsreaders at even $10 per head it could be an interesting proposition. It makes a conference Skype even more interesting.

    Is it too expensive? Depends on your criteria. I'd think this is the type of additional functionality that could be enabled with either a plug-in to Skype or some enterprise version. Surfing together while speaking opens many new doors. Browser to browser is better than text box, hyperlink, open, is he looking???

    October 13, 2003

    Book Writing Using Blogs

    I've had a request from a friend who is interested in developing his next book using a blog as a platform. Can anyone direct me to specific examples? I imagine some of the books on blogging have emerged in this way. This is more likely to be a "leadership" text. I can think of books that emerged from e-mail exchanges. I'm not familiar with one bookieblog production now.

    Separately, any thoughts on the following approach for using the blog to fill the book outline.

  • Set the blog up with the home page focused on the Book title and introduction. Invite some guest bloggers to comment. Index to book on left. summaries on the balance. Post oriented to be topic related rather than date oriented.
  • Open categories for each chapter. Create sub-categories that include dialogue, research, and references. Enable comments and idea submissions.
  • Use the right column (three column) to list the latest additions.
  • Set up a References index that aggretates all references and links to blog page etc.
  • Similarly create archive by chapter rather than month etc.
  • Enable core themes to emerge in additional categories.
  • Creating interest might be done by sending "snips" to an RSS feed. Rewriting chapters may become difficult. The book may also not be written in chronological order.

    So maybe what I'm looking for is a wiki-blog solution. Any recommendations? Thanks.

    November 9, 2003

    Wallup / Huminity

    Is Wallup another mix on IM and Huminity? Huminity was a discussion item on the Well reported here back in January Maybe Wallup will solve the "revelation" hierarchy.

    Wired News: Will Microsoft Wallop Friendster?

    Wallop, however, would be open to anyone with Microsoft Instant Messenger. Cheng says building an online network starting with your buddy list makes the networking process more natural. And instead of becoming immersed in a network the size of a city, Wallop would maintain its intimacy by automatically moving friends to the forefront and background of your network based on how often you interact with them.

    Feedster - Don't Blog Without it!

    For those of us that can't afford John Peterson's LISA solution then implement this! For your own name, for the name of your blog, for all the things you search for each day.


    The FuzzyBlog

    If you have some topic you follow--if you want your newsreader to keep "pumping" it right to your desk--just do one search for it at Feedster.com. Then, get the rss url of the search itself to transfer into your own newsreader. Awesome. Feedster search rss urls are indicated with these icons:
    -- Gives you the full post
    -- Gives you the summary and headlines
    You don't have to run that search ever again--because your aggregator will do it for you, automatically, and for free.

    November 17, 2003

    RSS and Employment

    Here's a wonderful illustration from Phil Wolff of how RSS will change the job market. Look up RSSJobs. It's another example on top of Feedster search and subscribe functionalities that demonstrates how RSS applications are being leveraged. If you dig a little deeper you find the same emerging in the other likely places. eBay RSS feeds anyone?

    I've been following two things very closely for many years: content syndication and labor markets. Last week RSSJobs was announced, bringing the two together. Here's my interview with Steve Rose who built RSSJobs. a klog apart
    In a similar vein.... a recent solution for eBay. How well do they work? That may need some trial and error. They are one step closer to a personal newspaper. Be nice to have a drag and drop functionality connecting my RSS feeder to a news sheet? Then I'd have have the option for various timed sessions. Set it as my home page. Might even generate some interesting sections. Feed owners may even help me with the listings.
    A few days ago, I completed the development of an eBay2RSS Generator tool. ..... Which made me think about all the sites web surfers visit repeatedly everyday to check on news updates, item status, prices, new announcements, press releases, tracking numbers, flight status, and so on. Then I thought if we can (Syndicate) such information, by converting it to RSS feeds, that will save web surfers a sizable amount of time. RSS.TechBlogger {tb - eBay RSS Feeds

    It's also possible to find RSS feed links at the bottom of Craigslist search pages. See this example and the corresponding RSS feed. Only problem is when you want a more discrete search there is no RSS feed.

    While I'm about it. I've been creating all these wonderful Google News Searches. They all pour into my e-mail. Don't always read them all. Still why can't I get them as RSS feeds? Seems some have done it. However I think Google terms state that scraping their site is illegal.

    November 21, 2003

    Waffle on Feedster

    Interview provides more insights into Feedster. If you are a Feedster fan read it.
    Under the Iron is a series of interviews with web designers, yahoos and people. A new interview is published every once in a while.


    Ok. I'm a high tech entrepreneur and software engineer. Hate that pretentious “entre…” word.

    I am also a professional search engine geek and most of my career (16 years) has been spent working with search.

    My current project is Feedster, a search engine for RSS feeds (i.e. blogs, newsfeeds, structured data).

    How does Feedster work, and is it popular?

    Popular. Yes. We've only been around since March 2003 and we've seen a rapidly growing and enthusiastic user base. I've heard people refer to us as infrastructure for blogging and there is definitely some truth to that.

    waffle: under the iron - #9 Scott Johnson

    Blog or E-mail "Status Reports"

    Is e-mail and managing-up the missing links in activating the corporate blog? It's nice to see excitement in posts. Weblogs as Status Reports 2.0 hits a chord. I've advocated Team Briefs for some time, using language that perhaps was too attuned to "down under" (NZ / Australia) and so "Status Reports" just hit a note with me and both Roland and Jim. Blogs are also not easy to introduce. Their comments only briefly linked here are better read on their blogs. They also stimulated another line of inquiry.


    Weblogs as status reports - It can work but the barrier is cultural not technological. (SOURCE:Rands In Repose: Status Reports 2.0 via McGee's Musings)- We've tried over the last 2 years to replace status reports with blogs at a e-commerce company I do consulting for. Success has been mixed. Even though most of the people are engineering staff (i.e. technical people who should have no problem with the 'geekiness' of today's blogging tools), getting them to document in real time what they do has been more difficult than I anticipated. Roland Tanglao


    Jim adds:

    Status reporting should become more about discovering and understanding the implications in those variations. [McGee's Musings]


    There's a hurdle to getting to Roland's more transparent state and solving Jim's creative incentive to write stuff down. Taking the organization forward needs a dedicated blogger to begin with. That blogger must understand categories and the capabilities it creates to repurpose information. So when the new corporate blogger becomes all excited and tries to encourage others to blog he starts showing them the technology. Then the potential co- bloggers go to a new web page (they write almost everything in e-mail now) and are asked to make a post. All of a sudden it becomes hard, they know it is the web, it becomes more transparent (gee everyone will see this) and they feel more vunerable. In addition we probably start asking for html etc. This is a big step. At this point they don't want to learn a new tool. However being pointed to a new "information look-up point" - blog - is much easier to handle.

    I'm sure many bloggers have multiple methods to post to their blogs. I certainly do. So why the tendency to introduce potential new bloggers to weblogs via the blogging tool interface? Let's be realistic. If the format is set up, they are an author on a team or project blog then why introduce them before they are ready. As the manager you need content. You need to make the capture simple, it has to repurpose work that is already done. It also has to be understood that this "blog" is internal vs external.

    How might this solution track?
    Consider introducing your co-bloggers to blogging via e-mail. Give them the remote@typepad.com or equivalent address. Redirect all status reports or what you are trying to capture to the blog e-mail. What's missing here is any capability to add categories. However now a project manager can do that easily converting the posts from drafts to publish status. The new participant can see the updates in the "blog" via the url. In fact confirmations could be posted back to them. Dependent on the blog... either subscribe your new bloggers or alternatively add NewsGator so their RSS feeds become active. It won't be until you are swamped with posts or editing issues that the team needs to become more active and responsible.

    Now we get multiple participants with the blogging manager / owner assigning categories and coaching on posts. In this process there is never anything to stop the new blogger from going direct to the authoring tool. In fact now's the time to start the second blog in parallel that reports on the implementation, enables questions and answers. This is simply a place for learning about blogging. As it is an internal blog, combine it with other easy to navigate features and enable a quick log-in from the home page.

    What's different in this strategy? These initial blogs are more likely to be informative rather than linking blogs. Blogs involved in research and for gathering ideas and spreading memes are more likely to come later or be specific to a particular department. I'd not advocate the above for a research department, however using e-mail to move my reps from e-mail to blogs might well make sense. Similarly with marketing and HR.

    My rule remains that you need the square root of the number of people in the company to really change the culture. Once those up the chain find it is easier, quicker and smarter to access the blog for information you've won. So this brings me back to the old set of questions around you as a manager. As a manager what is your first responsibility? No.... it is not... Your first responsibility is to manage yourself. Now you have that straight, what is your next responsibility? No... it is not!. Now you must manage your peers! So you are being a pretty good manager, your time is controlled, your peers are happy..... Now what must you do? Manage your boss!!! For those that operate in this way will find their reports are already managing them.

    So for my two cents. One of the things we are missing in internal BLOG implementations, is the idea of managing up! We talk about it and see it as a grass roots phenomena. It's why you will really need so few to change the work pattern. When a blog helps you personally manage better, flows more effective information from your department into buckets (categories) that are consistent with what your peers want then you are on the way to winning the blog vs e-mail challenge.

    Using e-mail to initiate blogs starts with tools that people are already comfortable with. Appointing a manager (or two or three) that manage the initial flow helps to build categories and the "managing up" dashboards that blogging pages easily adapt to. Adding subscriptions and RSS keeps people in the loop and yet begins the recategorization process. You copy the blog not CC the world.

    To close I've mentioned before that I'd like to be able to post more easily from Outlook to my MT blog. Even better if it was supported with a plug-in that would enable choice of which blog and the category. When asked today about an upcoming virtual conference, I thought it would be nice to enable all registered attendees to immediately be able to post session comments via e-mail to the blog. Perhaps not so simple. However did wonder if anyone is doing this?

    December 1, 2003

    KM in Pharma R&D Conference

    I'm participating in my first Metalayer online conference this week Dec 1-5. The platform shows lots of promise for this type of application. The topic is Knowledge Managment in Pharma R&D. I'll be speaking on blogs and social networks. Barry Hardy has also launched his new blog "The Ferryman" concurrently with the launch. I hope his posts become a river!

    Starting 1st December 2003
    Knowledge Management (KM) in Pharma R&D is an international conference to be held on the Internet which brings together researchers to discuss the applications of Knowledge Management methods to Pharma R&D. The program covers:

    * analysing investment issues in KM projects in the pharmaceutical industry, new ROI measures analysed including EVA,
    * remote team management and co-ordination
    * social sciences: how do you understand how people behave? How do you change or react most effectively to that behaviour?
    * understanding management and how implementation of KM can practically enhance productivity
    * community management and monitoring
    * intelligent search agents and expertise location
    * establishing and supporting networks of scientists
    * enabling effective clinical feedback to early-stage R&D teams
    * intellectual capital approaches and business agility
    * use of electronic notebooks and management of R&D data
    * enhancing communication via blogging and augmented social networks

    In addition to talks from BMS, Pfizer, Aventis, UNIC, 3rd Millennium, Rescentris, CambridgeSoft, Partners HealthCare and Leif Edvinsson, we will be interactively exploring blogging and wikis with Stuart Henshall, conducting a workshop on investment analysis with Kevin Cookman and trying out new social software including metalayer's collaboration tools. [The Ferryman]

    Reference Links - Blogging and Social Software

    I began updating a list of references on Blogging and Social Networks last week. As I prepared to post this I begin to realize what I've left out. It started as a list supporting "Jazz in the Blogosphere". It was also meant to provide a range... from introductory to more topical posts. From newspapers and magazines to personal blogs. Additional references would be welcome!

    Time stopped me adding further to the list, and where does a list start and stop. However it makes me realize the need to invest time in developing appropriate "posting categories". Similarly some posts are more worthy of retrieval than others. As I looked back on some of these posts, it also is a shame that trackback is not enabled for so many of them. I'm not going to suggest that a list will bring them back to "current" however trackbacks on older posts are just another way of communicating their continued value and validity.

    Marcia Stepanek. “John Patrick on Weblogs” CIO Insight November 25, 2003 Leading visionary talks about the future. http://www.eweek.com/print_article/0,3048,a=113189,00.asp

    David Duval "An Introduction to Weblogs” Personal Blog October 31, 2003 Provides useful definitions and history on weblogs. http://www.dynamicobjects.com/d2r/archives/002399.html

    George Siemens. "The Art of Blogging – Part 2" December 6, 2002. http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/blogging_part_2.htm See also Part One: Overview, Definitions, Uses, and Implications December 1, 2002.

    John Foley. “Are You Blogging Yet?” July 22, 2002 InfoWorld. Discusses the value of using weblogs in the enterprise. http://www.informationweek.com/story/IWK20020719S0001/1

    Katherine Goodwin “B-Blogs Cause a Stir” Febuary 5, 2003 ClickZ. Captures growing interest in B-Blogs or business blogs and K-logs. http://www.clickz.com/em_mkt/enl_strat/article.php/1579091

    Dave Pollard. Blogs in Business: “The Weblog as as Filing Cabinet” Personal Blog March 3, 2003 http://blogs.salon.com/0002007/2003/03/03.html#a101

    Michael Angeles. “Making Sense of Weblogs in the Intranet” Lucent September 26 2003. A presentation trying to make sense of why people are using them and their use in Knowledge Management http://studioid.com/pg/blogging_in_corporate_america.php

    Meg Hourihan. “Using Blogs in Business” John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition August 8, 2002 This link to chapter 8. http://www.blogroots.com/chapters.blog/id/4

    Neil McIntosh. “Why Blogs Could Be Bad For Business” Guardian September 29,2003 Using weblogs in a business setting.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/comment/story/0,12449,1052072,00.html

    Jim McGee. “If the only tool you have is a hammer….” Personal Blog. June 16, 2003 Blogs will be the predominant KMW = application. http://www.mcgeesmusings.net/2003/06/16.html#a3376

    David Duval An “Introduction to Weblogs, Part Two: Syndication” Personal Blog November 2, 2003 Detailed introduction to Syndication, RSS and the complementary aspect newsreaders play to blogs. http://www.dynamicobjects.com/d2r/archives/002400.html


    David Weinberger. “The 99cent KM solution”. KM World. September 2002 http://www.kmworld.com/publications/magazine/index.cfm?action=readarticle&Article_ID=1337&Publication_ID=76

    Sandra Guy. “Weblog has Served Business Function for Chicago Firm” July 16, 2003 How one company is using weblogs as a business tool. http://www.suntimes.com/output/zinescene/cst-fin-ecol16.html

    Rick Bruner. “Business Weblogs – The Big List” Marketeing Wonk July 18,2003 A list but only a list of business weblogs. They take all forms. http://www.marketingwonk.com/archives/2003/07/18/business_weblogs_the_big_list/

    John Baggaley “Blogging as a Course Management Tool” July 2003 Benefits of Weblogging for education. http://ts.mivu.org/default.asp?show=article&id=2011

    Mary Harrsch. RSS: The Next Killer App For Education July 2003 Applications of RSS for Educators. Realizing the potential of RSS and blogging. http://ts.mivu.org/default.asp?show=article&id=2010

    Groove Networks “Employee Guideline for Personal Website and Weblogs” Groove’s answer to the corporate – personal trade-off. http://www.groove.net/weblogpolicy/

    Dennis Mahoney. “How to Write a Better Weblog” Personal Blog February 22, 2002 http://www.alistapart.com/articles/writebetter/

    Robin Athey. “Collaborative Knowledge Networks: Driving Workforce Performance Through Web-enabled Communities” Deloitte

    Steve Lundin. The fall of PR and the rise of Community Centric Communications: http://images.exacttarget.com/members/2101/The%20Death%20of%20PR%20-%20final.doc

    Stuart Henshall “Blog or E-Mail “Status Reports” Personal Blog November 21, 2003 Click through to “ Status Report” and Team Brief. (Had to put at least one link in!) http://www.henshall.com/blog/archives/000609.html

    Tom Coates “ Discussion and Citation in the Blogosphere” Personal Blog May 25, 2003 Can weblogs garner better discussion than discussion boards? http://www.plasticbag.org/archives/2003/05/discussion_and_citation_in_the_blogosphere.shtml

    Lee Bryant. “Smarter Simpler Social” Headshift April 18, 2003 An introduction to online social software methodology. http://www.headshift.com/moments/archive/social%20software%20v1.1%20draft.pdf

    Jan Hauser+ . The Augmented Social Network” LinkTank May 15, 2003 http://collaboratory.planetwork.net/linktank_whitepaper/

    Clay Shirky. Social Software and the Next Big Phase of the Internet GBN Print February 2003 It’s time to tune in to the Internet again! http://www.gbn.org/ArticleDisplayServlet.srv?aid=2800

    Stowe Boyd “Are You Ready for Social Software?” Darwin May 2003 Social software supports the desire of individuals to be pulled into groups to achieve goals. And it's coming your way. http://www.darwinmag.com/read/050103/social.html

    Leslie Walker. “Social Network Websites Growing Rapidly, But Where Is The Money?” Wahington Post, November 17, 2003 Will the emerging social networking sites like Friendster ever make money. New Business Networking sites too. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/11/17/BUGS9332301.DTL&type=printable

    Ross Mayfield. “Social Software Reader” Personal Blog Novemeber 24, 2003 Some links from above and others on Social Software and Social Networking. http://ross.typepad.com/blog/2003/11/social_software.html

    Denham Grey. "About Wiki" Personal Wiki. Are there dates for wiki's? http://www.voght.com/cgi-bin/pywiki?AboutWiki

    I'm sure there are many more.

    December 3, 2003

    Actionable Sense

    There is a little trepidation when a troupe starts exploring whether it can really collaborate and how it can make money. I was serious about both conversational blogging and jazz communities. I reread and reread new posts from overnight, spent time Skyping with Ton and Dina and then resorting to the phone with Ross Mayfield. In the meantime I've sent out yet more messages spoke to Gary this morning and it continues.

    Ross Mayfield made the emerging Actionable Sense Troupe a very generous offer yesterday to aid in community building by offering a SocialText workspace get things started. Having read many thoughtful posts I'm going to start inviting those in that have said they want to participate later today. We will be starting with a blank sheet and that will presents some challenges. I think we all understand the difficulty and the desire not to waste effort. Time is money..

    We need to articulate a process, but it has to be a process that scratches some itch sufficiently that someone will give us their itch to scratch, and thus I think we should begin our sweep-out radar project pitch by identifying who it is we need to ask who might have such an itch and back that offer with a budget and a deadline, Gary

    My own thinking on this at the moment is that the money will come from the consulting work that is generated by the community, not from access to the community itself. John

    The business model is the direct concern, and as Gary says needs to be underpinned by an identifiable need and itch to make it stick. Ton

    Currently I think very much along the lines John, does where hiring one independent actually means hiring the community and thus money will flow from the individual consulting jobs to the community. In recent e-mail conversations with Lilia Efimova and Martin Roell I formulated it that it would be like having part-time colleagues, i.e. on certain topics with certain clients, the community gelling around specific themes and points in time. Ton

    We all make decisions (often subconsciously) about what to blog and what not to blog. For many people (myself included) the most potent area of such decisions is around our relationship to our employer (or clients for the self-employed) Julian

    Where to begin?
    Let's take this discussion into the SocialText workspace. Let's build our thoughts together rather than independently. I jotted down the following based on the comments above. However, realize it is better all stared in the Workspace.

  • The first is formalizing the reference points in a little more detail. These are the strong and weaker ties we carry within the blogosphere. (We have others, however I'm limiting my definition for now to other bloggers I know personally - have ties to etc.). My reference begins with "MAKING ACTIONABLE SENSE OF BLOGGING". It provides a useful preliminary context from my perspective. Independently we can sell leveraging our bloggiing networks however independents seldom manage to achieve the same dollars that the "structured organization" manages for providing less.

  • The second opportunity is to go beyond the listing stage and actually collaborate on resources that enable the collaborators to increase dollars. For Example, separately I'd bet many in this group have both selling materials and presentation components for a "One Day Course on Blogging". Similarly presentations to industry groups etc. Together collaboratively we can create better materials and save time. That provides an edge that many of us currently don't have. The customer pays for results. Large investments in development are hard to recoup individually. Each individual will customize with their own stories and with those of the collective.

  • Taking it to the next level would move us beyond a best practices collaboratory to creating a networked brand. The brand would help us achieve a price premium for the collective capability and reduce risk for others engaging us on a large collective project. An example would be a more complex multi-client that is facilitated by a core group and had commitments from both industry leaders and topic experts. I can imagine a couple of examples in the blogging social software space that would combine research, best practices and planning for the "future". We have to think through our target companies. We might be surprised by what we turn up when the proposition is ready to sell. This might also form a "collective intelligence" at your fingertips type capability. (And that was where my membership type model suggestion was coming from). Such a service might be a GLOBAL "tec chair" type approach which demonstrates a successful business model in this regard.

    Actually to get anywhere we have to start with an exploratory form of one above making some specific commitments in terms of both time, expected rewards and what we are each prepared to commit to. We also need those quick ideas on "ITCH" and "TARGETS". The key consumable is "time". Forming, storming and norming still have to take place.

    I'm taking Ross up on his suggestion and activating the "Actionable Sense" Network (working name for now). If you haven't already and are interested e-mail me. It will prove to be a more effective environment for developing this thread further.


  • December 5, 2003

    Nova Spivack's Metaweb

    Nice summary foretelling what we know. RSS will become the primary transport mechanism for the web. There's more read it.

    "Within 5 years, if RSS grows as I expect, we will see it supplant e-mail as the primary alerting and marketing channel for "B2C" communications. To put it simply, businesses and their customers both benefit from interacting via RSS instead of e-mail for "1-way" interactions such as content publishing, notifications, etc. Based on that, I predict that every medium to large corporate Web site and every major publication and wire service, as well as an increasing number of enterprise applications and services will publish and subscribe to numerous RSS channels.


    ....-- that is still 50 million to 100 million feeds online within 5 years. And that's a growth curve that looks a lot like the first wave of the Web. Just as everyone "had to have" an e-mail account and a Web page, they will also soon need and want to have an RSS reader and their own RSS channel. That's a big opportunity."

    Minding the Planet: The Birth of "The Metaweb" -- The Next Big Thing -- What We are All Really Building

    Get the Keys - Open the Club

    Yesterday I found myself holding the keys to a new "Actionable" jazz club. Thing is I wasn't sure I knew what I'd find in the room. If you have been handed the role of facilitator for an event at the last moment where the room was booked months ago you will know this trepidation. In such a situations in the past I've turned up and found posts in the middle of the room, the room like a corridor with plans to have everyone facing each other like knights at a long table.

    So what? Well all these little things can affect the dynamics. You can plan round them, you can have successful session etc. But for that reason I always like to get there a little before. Just long enough to absorb a sense of how the room is going to feel, how might the stage be set. In those fixed events and workshops there is usually a fixed time and the context is very clear for closure. We know our deliverable, we just have to get everyone there.

    So I'm holding the keys to a "Actionable Sense" on SocialText. Oh I saw some scaffolding and walked the space long before anything got to this stage. Yesterday the walls were up and yet everywhere was bare. So what does one do when presented with a virtual "workspace" for the first time?

    Well I'm trying to share what I did. I had a ready list of individuals who had expressed interest. There is a loose understanding of context between us all and a deeper belief that blogging has brought us to the brink of the next wave.

    On reflection I found myself concerned about four things:

  • Building the Agenda
  • Stimulating Input
  • Hygiene Factors
  • Enough or too much?

    First the beauty of a new club is the people are going to make it beautiful. Heck in the real jazz clubs they turn down the lights and up the smoke. It the music that matters, clatter around in the bar too much and the music stops. So I made some noise before inviting the first wave who are also bringing in and suggesting more contacts. For the agenda idea I fell back on Open Space Technology. The difference here is not everyone is present. So I'm hoping we spend this first period to build the agenda. At the moment the posts / pages can be like post-its. The key agenda categories should emerge. We will have to do some sorting and yet that's exactly what we do we do when brainstorming with post-its.

    So brainstorming is something i wanted to seed. It is really the opening stages, a time to open discussion up and capture the suggestions for what we should be working on and what's important about them. Little examples help as they go up. So, I started the "Brainstorming Blog" hoping to start this quick post-it mentality why the early energy and interest is just forming. Brainstorming is also good to get things started. It's not judgemental There are no wrong posts. New items get recognition and can be mulled over and organized later. So in support I also set up a few categories from business idea to hygiene factors. Go for it group!

    And that was the nub of it. Hygiene. I really spent the majority of the time thinking about encouraging participation. The "workspace" on it own helps to accelerate this particularly when participants start posting from e-mail. We got a few going on that yesterday. makes things happen! Still there is a learning curve. Accelerating contributions in that early stage feel important to me. We also started a ChatRap --- quick e-mail posts to capture sidebar and IM exchanges out of the wiki workspace. Another experiment.

    At the end of the day that just leaves one with the questions... enough or too much? Sometimes you just have to assume it is the right amount. I sense that in this wiki. Like the Open Space calling; those that will come come... etc. Something about this group spells "emergent". This morning things started happening and have done thoughout the course of the day.


  • December 8, 2003

    Wrinkles for Skype Hype

    Thoughts on Skype, Skype Problems, Skype Limitations, Skype Hype, Skype Product Development and Viral Marketing. A few things pushed me towards this post.

  • Continuing comments re the proprietary nature and performance
  • My son's Skype usage
  • Impact of potential Skype conferencing features
  • Continued "phone" perspective.

    Continuing Comments:
    Useful perspective was added by David Beckemeyer advocates taking a broader perspective. This market is changing quickly. There's a lot more in play than just POTS and calling granny. I'll take him up on his challenge to take a look at Free IP Call. So far I've not had much success with these types of services. I've not had the trouble that Robin writes about. I'm happy to try new things. The biggest pain is getting functional buddy lists. In organizations that can be forced. As an independent that just means run them all.


    I want to encourage you to think about employing a SIP-based solution, if not now, please keep it in the back of your mind.

    The advantage of SIP for all of us is that it is an interoperable standard, being embraced and adopted by many vendors. SIP is like the 802.11b of VoIP. It means we can (soon) buy phones at Bestbuy and like email, if we have a SIP address with one provider, we can still make calls to people on other providers.

    Skype, on the other hand, is like Compuserv. It is a proprietary closed system. It might even be that Skype today offers a better overall product experience in practice, so I can understand why people use it. SIP-based products and services have to compete........ (read it)
    Unbound Spiral Comment:


    There is no reason not to SIP. Just the functionality that most SIP phones are giving me are less that what I'm seeing over the horizon on my desktop. Instead concentrate for a moment on what my 15 year old son does.

    Gaming:
    He's recently become addicted to playing America's Army. This is not about whether it is good or not it is about the impact that it has. He's found that double teaming with his buddy using Skype increases their chances of success. So he's running the full game sound and listening to his buddy while in the action. I know now that they can't wait until Skype offers a conference capability. The pack mentality of young men on Skype is a scary thought. This won't just apply to America's Army. He plays "Warcraft" etc. The difference is he will be able to choose who is on his team. He's never managed to do that with Socom a PS2 Game.

    In a post on why "Skype Growth is Slowing" I noted that the always on number had slowed while downloads continue apace. Today some 3.5 million downloads.

    Imagine a little scenario for a moment. Skype announces a conferencing capability (see CNET) and provides the first 5 hours free. My son patches in his friends. They win games together. When his five free hours are up his buddy starts the hosting process. Ultimately they will either buy it themselves... or get Mum and Dad to buy it. If as expected this is less than the price of a new game for a year... they will be into it.

    In the theoretical world above, our kids become the first "visible society" members. By staying visible they get called into a game, added to the team. Having persistent identities easily shared within their circles closes the gap between individual PC pursuits and group online action. There is much more Skype could do with games if they would just open up their API. 3-D sound, player positioning etc. That's being promoted by Diamondware who has just won an award for this type of technology. I'm sure they understand player velocities and location. The release confirms tested by the military.

    Conferencing:
    This little scenario also illustrates the opportunity that exists in the business world. Many of us have adopted headsets for interviewing, and typing away at the PC. Using the Skype interface the conference addition could include conferences that your buddies are in and their topic when not private. There are some neat refinements possible to that solution which really impact on the virtual office. In the physical world I'm used to walking down the hall and we have some peripheral sense of where people are. That's not true in todays virtual world. The Diamondware publication above confirms this belief and opportunity. When conferences become visible then collaboration and project management is almost sure to be accelerated. Note this is different from chatrooms for it is difficult to monitor more than one at once. And the one you are monitoring you are participating in, idle or mute.

    Yesterday's post on Accidental Communities begins to illustrate the power of this peripheral vision in another way. To date it was only in the hands of the smartest site managers and network analysts. No more. Those connections can be pushed to personal desktops and become part of PKM - Personal Knowledge Management. This will enable the smart caller id systems and other RSS transport of content and connection information.

    Phone Thinking:
    On the phone we make "connections". With the exception of a few individuals no-one is really experienced in the multi-connect impact of conference calls that can be done on a whim. The phone paradigm and the IM paradigm is built round 1 to 1 and not many to many. Microsoft can offer an option tomorrow for their IM system. Select "text based" or "phone based", similarly so can the others. However, why add to the central server system to handle conference calling. Advantage Skype and P2P telephony, until MS and AOL adopt a similar approach. Could Passport become the Skype cloud?

    I should be able to do other things too. Like drag and drop invite buddies into conversations. See that other meeting rooms are occupied and see the topic. So I can text in... "when you talk about customer x" pull me in. I'm afraid that the telephone discussion only serves to make the course of action that Skype or its followers take even more disruptive. Let's make it a practical example. I'm using Spoke to ease my way into making a new business contact. Spoke locates my best connection and then waits until the "connector" has approved that they will do a voice introduction. Then when all of us are online together and available... the system initiates a call. This has major benefits. No e-mail requests. No connection, message waiting, an easy "yes lets extend this conversation. This can be extend further when an additional caller comes on line while 3-D sound helps the memory by placing them in a location. That is something I've never had on a phone call and am yet to see. This will make for a nice pictorial circle.

    Communicator Connect:
    Skype may not be the answer for this. However, get their conferencing capability running and enable the "ID Exchange" companies to plug in and they will create a new demand where there was none before. Before you know it social networking software may really have value. Ask yourself. Can Skype plug in Friendster, Tribe, Ryze, Spoke etc? See Skype Social Networks / Yellow Pages. Maybe a deal with Match?

    Viral Pricing:
    I'd like to close with an observation. Many may urge me to make a second post at this point. I won't. I want to suggest a viral aspect for the potential conference calling premium package. I found myself testing Glance the other day. They have a one day trial offer. In fact for me the first trial didn't go all that well. It was too slow. However I wrote them and suggested I was just the type of guy to test this product out. They generously extended the trial and I have had some better experiences with it since. However, I don't really have a regular use for it. So how should you charge to enable the viral aspect to take hold? You simply create a scale. A user that uses it infrequently, maybe two or three times a month remains free, unless the sessions are talking hours. Each time they use it they have the potential to infect others. I'm assuming the real target is "sales presentations, training etc". A new user that become a heavy user quickly will find themselves paying for the service. Make 20 presentation in two days and on the third you will be paying... Make 6 in the first month and then the 10th in the second month... and you start paying.

    What is the learning? Provide conferencing free for limited periods. Those that use it irregularly will infect others and get an even bigger feel good factor. It will make them even less likely to turn it off. Turn conferencing off or make them pay immediately and they simply won't. They have to become comfortable using it first. Watch out WebEx.

  • The Ferryman

    My thanks to Barry Hardy for adding to an interesting Blogging discussion. If you have not seen his blog The Ferryman yet --- check it out. Barry is full-on over two weeks creating a new pulpit for KM in Pharma R&D. I'll be watching to gain more online conference learnings

    Blogs to augmented social software is best thought about by combining two metaphors. Jazz and the jukebox....combine a weblog and RSS feeds and you get more than just the capability to publish frequent updates to a website and similarly aggregate information from other sites. While building context over time you instantly become part of a web of data exchange, one connecting many people who are cross-linking and sharing information. ...It's also important to recognize that a good jazz community isn't only comprised of musicians.....

    Such a Jazz community requires the "innovation Spices" I discussed earlier in the week with Leif Edvinsson. Are blogging tools one of the important Spices to enable a successful community to actually engage in conversation, to really make an online Knowledge Cafe work, to empower the Knowledge Cultivators inside and outside the firm? It appears they hold promise, but will require adaptation for the business world.

    We were joined by Markus Heggi, CEO metalayer, for an interesting discussion that stretched our conversation into the business application of blogging. metalayer itself has many aspects already of a collaborative blogging environment or wiki, in that community and working group members may dynamically and continuously publish to each other within the ongoing context of shared posts, documents and online meetings.

    Together we discussed developments in blogging from the business perspective. I asked how could blogging be adapted to a corporate culture that follows the "need to know" principle. And if we introduce moderation and access levels how is the blogging phenomena affected? How does such a resulting blogosphere turn out and how will companies embrace it?

    [The Ferryman]

    December 12, 2003

    Yes WOMII

    Great post from Patrick Dunn. WOMII --- "What of ME is It?


    So we're ending up at the opposite end of the spectrum from WIIFM. We're now encouraging learners to ask "what of me is in it?" or WOMII. We're also at the other end of the spectrum from the simplistic, stimulus-and-response, behaviourist origins of WIIFM, however nicely it's dressed up in constructivist clothing. We're thoroughly in the situated learning camp. I'd suggest the shift of focus moves through four, thoroughly overlapping stages:

       1. What's in it for me? WIIFM motivation; individualistic learning
       2. What's in it for us? Teamworking; project and goal focussed
       3. What of us is it it? Collaborative learning and production
       4. What of me is it it? WOMII motivation; community and process focussed

    It almost goes without saying that a WOMII philosophy strongly supports the learner's metacognitive processes. The learner is going beyond the goal-orientation characteristic of WIIFM, to asking what of themselves is currently present in the thing they are learning about. What have they contributed? What is the process they are following, and where are they in it?
    Viral-learning.net


    December 17, 2003

    Faster than you think

    From a recent Meta-Group report, in less than two years look for a dramatic increase in PC telephone applications, new solutions for web-conferencing, and dual-screens in the workplace. This combination will directly impact on collaboration and advanced knowledge practices. Underlying this is a further shift to personal centric KM and productivity enhancement.

    "Although we are skeptical that most users will actually end up combining their trusty telephones with their PCs, there are definite areas for synergy ? particularly in the access to complex voice mail and conferencing features," said Steve Kleynhans, vice president with META Group's Technology Research Services. "We expect PC access to dialing -- as well as integration of voice mail -- and e-mail inboxes to become commonplace by 2006."

    "Web conferencing is an example where multiple monitors could be immediately beneficial to a large number of users," said Kleynhans. "A user often has a presentation displayed on one screen, while taking notes or chatting with participants on another screen. Arranging multiple windows on a single monitor is awkward and limiting, whereas having dual monitors would make it much easier. By 2006, we expect 40% of new information worker environments to include dual monitors."

    "Organizations must begin to take a more holistic view that puts an increased emphasis on the items that surround the PC," said Kleynhans. "They need to look beyond traditional desktop configurations and embrace new options to enable a rich information worker platform." META Group Says Renewed Interest In PC And Telephone Integration

    Link via Robin Good.

    January 22, 2004

    Collaboration Spaces

    Robin Good is fired up after a visit to the US on next generation collaboration software. It's a real contrast with how I feel about subjecting myself to Web-crossing which despite upgrades hasn't changed much in years. It's this quote from Robin that got me going today.


    Allow me to extend my desktop to yours. My voice to your ear. My word document to your skilled editing hand. Extend what I already have, know and like. The name of the game is "hide" yourself. Be inobtrusive. Easy. Do not intrude. Be quite, gentle, on the side. Let me call you and fire up the colaboration facilities I need without needing to dress up for a ceremony when only neighbours are coming (meaning, stay-away from elaborate setups that offer you everything and more, like classical conferencing tools do trying to make available every and each possible function desired).

    Carry over from real life what works so well for us, and make it secure, reliable, robust...and fun.
    Robin Good

    I like the personal nature of his words and emphasis on letting me share. I too don't want programs that are invasive rather they must be natural. Be an extension, let us easily dock, and live a set of events together. Don't force me to turn off the music, rather share that connection as well. Let them know my phone is ringing via our always on connection, help me pace that collaboration like the open space in an office. Encourage my use of dual monitors so we can share while we work visible and invisible at the same time. Enable brains to work together, don't allow lapses or formalise the structure so formality dumbs down sponteneity. Make it more than one to one.

    So back to my current participation in an online Muckabout. I like what is happening there. The early signs are encouraging. I just think today that "forums" like this should be obsolete. Many never adopted them, and only a few have thrived in them. I've simply never grown to love them. I've had some good experiences in them, and also learned some lessons. I presume that Forums and Online Communities sort of go together at least the practice thereof. I'm not certain that will be true in five years time.

    Today my forum format gripes are a little different. I'm much more blog - wiki centric than I was a year ago. I need new information in my aggregator. I expect better profiles etc. I'm used to back-channel chat and even having "working-on" Skype conversations. So signing up for a conference with an online forum feels a little backward for gathering introductions and getting topics going.

    I know I shouldn't expect blog centric enthusiam, or IM adoption. A part of my gripe traces to remembering the new url (and having to sign in each time) using web-crossing again, and dealing with forums that are nowhere near as easy as a newsreader to read. Forget about the fun new introductions that could be made. There are no guest books, no Ryze like pages to quickly make aquaintances. No social network that says who already knows who etc. I may be able to sort the posts by author however that function isn't traceable to the list of members. It doesn't dock with linked in or any other program I've made an investment in. So, for the most part why invest time in building a profile there? I predict most won't. They reside elsewhere and it will be over in a matter of weeks. Yes there are a few phone numbers now listed but who wants to be called? I thought about adding Skype and other IM connections yet I know there will be resistance. There is no way currently for this new "conference" circle of connections to gain special access to me for a few weeks without effort despite the fact that is part of what I signed up for. (Others may not want that of course!)

    Robin's quote doubled my frustration as I've been editing scenario documents and it is easy to get problems with version control. We are not using Groove, while Wiki's and blogs are foreign. We aren't connected by IM (for the most part this team doesn't use it) and so I'm using the phone and can't even point to parts of the document I'm suggesting needs changes. I could use Glance maybe next time. This group is important to me and yet pushing forward in one area may require lagging in others. I'm already pushing the boundaries so I am just understanding their work practices and product first. Then the opportunity for a broader conversation may arise.

    I should really draw a conclusion. Another day for I think the Muck may just begin to address the future of collaboration technologies.

    March 11, 2004

    Dual Screens Better Work Practice

    I've been advocating a two-screen world from the day I hooked up a second screen to my laptop. Since then lots of things have gone well. Is that that 15% difference Robert mentions?

    One thing they did learn, though: the average human is about 15% more productive if they have two screens to work at. Scobleizer

    Image(44).jpg
    There's another angle that needs reinforcing. The dual screen is a statement about change. It is a cue and demonstration that we are working and using new tools. So get the HR or Marketing director to adopts it issue a statement about changing work practices. Interest will go up too.

    Anecdotally, the second screen is the "communication center" (IM / email / newreaders etc.) As a result consumer perceptions may be that this new "retail space" ie screen space is not owned by Microsoft. Most of the products I put and use there aren't. Most are products like Skype, Sharpreader, Trillian, and iTunes.

    See also my comments with Robin Good last year.

    March 16, 2004

    Social Networking is Broken

    This slightly facetious statement: "My social networks are broken... at least I think they are." reflects my conclusion that the social networks I've been playing in are for the most part associative networks. While they have a social element the socializing for the most part takes place by blogs, forums, IM / e-mail, phone and in face to face visits.

    After 18 months of experimenting with formalizing relationship structures through Ryze, Orkut Linkedin etc they are really no more useful to me now than before I found them. Oh Orkut is a wonderful place for assembling connections but recently they really suck. Here I am with all these friends and they expect me to recategorize them. Would you try demoting your friends? Try it - see how they like it.

    So how broken are they? Well which one should I turn to if I want to contact someone through one of them? If they are on more than one, which messaging system should I use? The newest? The one I contacted them on last time?

    So now I have these planetary social networks each with their own orbits spread across the heavens. So while I've visited all these places I can't remember the name of the ship that offloaded me last. That's about as damming conclusion as any user (dare I say consumer) of the SN product can draw. However, lets face facts. For the most part none of these social networks are on my desktop, unless I happen to have their page open. And then with the exceptions of Ecademy, Tribe and Flickr they don't let me know whether any of my friends are online or not. As most of the people I really work with either don't use them or are as sporadic as me I still little chance of finding spontaneity within. They all fail for none of them provide the things I really need.

    I saw a post from Stowe Boyd today, planning a review of enterprise social networking services. It made me curious. The dating ones are excluded. For that matter so is MSN, Yahoo, AIM etc from the list. Skype too isn't included. Some little "scream" at the back of my mind tells me that the bundle of failing social networking services listed in Stowe's may not get to the heart of solving the enterprise problem. He wrote up Xfire just days ago. I made an association with Skype on it yesterday. No it is not enterprise ready. But others have the conferencing linking capability. I also tried to get my 15 year old son using Xfire. He discarded it in seconds, "I can do this stuff already" --- not as neatly I respond, "does it have voice?" --- nope, basically end of discussion. Maybe it is only about associating people. However I hope these services will offer something more. For if that is all they are there will be an upcoming backlash.

    For the life of me... When is IM not a social networking device? (Have you ever seen a 12 year old girl reconnect her buddies after taking a new name?) That looks like social networking to me. When are introductions by e-mail not social networking. Or a speakerphone call? It's time to put a stop to categorizing these "things" as social networks. Call them "Associative Networking Tools" or "Structured Association Tools" or something similar. Then you can create a bucket for them. The reason there is no real business model is they are just part of / or component towards building our capabilities to enhance "presence" and connectivity. Most of the friends I network with in this realm also have IM. But step outside and look at the real world and usage is sporadic at best. If we can't get our friends to adopt one of three messaging systems how can we hope to get them to adopt one of one hundred social networking services? Via Dina this comment from Jenny Levine sums it up.

    It's time to refocus the debate and bring in new functionalities and capabilities. For me that integrates with mobility. There's a program which I don't expect to take off any time soon for Nokia 3650' called Pmatch. pMatch allows 3650 owners to learn of others with similar interests or information, without revealing their own personal, private data. In a similar vein Trepia or AirCQ are using proximity and presence to enhance connections. I know not everyone can make the list. Judith had a list of 100. A readable report can't cover them all.

    What have we learned.

  • We don't socialize rather only associate through the Orkuts while we socialize using messaging, telephone and face to face visits.
  • The opportunity to connecting through friends is much greater than generally understoood. Some successes have been achieved.
  • Virtual connections mean managing ones connections and presence has never been more important.
  • Structured services are creating problems where there were none before. From categories to access. And designating "artificial" forced levels of buddies or friendship.
  • Fragmenting association systems does not enable better connections.
  • Integration on to my desktop (address book / IM systems) at minimum and preferably into my cellphone is required for there are few you can synch with and while one can upload addresses you can seldom download.
  • The sites themselves are seldom responsible for the association, the connective knowledge is broader than the networking sites. eg blogs, blogrolls, online forums etc.

    Judith Meskill has been encouraging me to dive into her posts on autonomic networks. This wonderful post has some great questions, and left me with the question at the beginning of the post.


    If you utilize one or more of the current entrants in this swell of online SNS offerings [such as LinkedIn, Friendster, Orkut, Ryze, and/or Tribe] - what value, if any, do you derive from them? And, harkening back to the citation with which I started this post, has one [or more] of these services assisted in helping you to successfully reduce the 'traffic congestion' at the 'intersections' in your life? And, in closing, any insights, comments, or ponderings on the recent and future blurring of lines between 'wetware,' 'software,' and 'hardware' in an infinitely connected wireless world?
    Judith Meskill

    I see this morning that Heath Row is reporting on a discussion of "The Asthetics of Social Networking" at SXSW. Read Molly Steenson's comments. They may just jell with the above.

  • March 17, 2004

    P2P and SPAM in the Internet

    A friendly Skyper researching the P2P space sent me this link to a detailed paper form Fall 2003 on Peer to Peer and SPAM in the Internet today. In this paper on page 29 there begins a specific segment "Peer to Peer Communication Services in the Internet" by Markus Isomaki of the Nokia Research Center on VoIP and Skype.

    April 8, 2004

    Gold Medal Feedster

    I got a gold medal today from Feedster for "catch-Up Ball" (see below). Now I want another! Few probably know how much Feedster has changed the way I read blogs. When I started blogging like many I quickly learned about blogrolling and started to add to my blogroll. For awhile I read key blogs by clicking the blogroll off my main blog page. Some of those early blogs remain favorites. However my list expanded and I migrated the majority of my reading to various newsreaders.

    I became hooked on Sharpreader (I also have Newsgator) for the majority of my feeds, now near 200. Sharpreader provided my introduction to Feedster. Sharpreader's search function links to Feedster and so any search results can immediately become a RSS subscription. I've reported my use of "Skype" and "Social Software" Feedster searches before.

    Now I have almost 20 feedster searches, and a similar number of Google searches. Some are as vain as my own name --- who's blogging me??? and then then the names of my favorite bloggers. A favorite name ususally picks up their posts and others that are blogging them. This is more valuable than the bloggers RSS feed alone. It's fodder for conversation, and increases my understanding of links without having to spend time studying Technorati or BlogStreet etc.

    So my Feedster catch of the day came in for the topic "Nokia 3560". Not my normal reading from a blog I would normally never see. The result.... Feedster highlighted for me a little Symbian application that means my Bluetooth cellphone now acts as a music remote for my laptop. This is the post. The program is Bemused It installed and worked first time. I've found two or three tips a week for the last month for using my smart phone in ways that are at time unexpected with this search. I've found other product type searchs to be equally useful.

    If you find yourself playing catch-up ball on some topic--maybe because you took a vacation, maybe because you just discovered an interest--just start with a Feedster search on your topic of interest. Then fine-tune the results to get more focused information. Some examples:

    Search for: skype [RSS feed for search term]

    Based on your first results, search for a hot subtopic: pocketskype [RSS feed for search term]

    Check out results that matter most to you: Go to Feedster's advanced search form, give your search term (skype). You can search just one blog by giving its RSS feed--or search just your blogroll if it's in an OPML file. (For many blogs, we have more than a year's worth of posts in our database.)

    April 19, 2004

    VOIP - - Emerging Experience Model - for Business

    Crashing around in my blog tonight wondering where to start. Commitments got the better of me last week and sometime a brief pause for reflection is useful. So this posts begins with a few of the things I'd like to see myself blogging on particularly as my thinking tonight is very much how to break traditional "industry" business model thinking and counter with strategies that are "experience" model driven.

    Starting Points:

  • How Presence is redefining KM and knowledge innovation.
  • Why Skype type experience space and dialogue functionality will redefine telecoms and more importantly the relationships between consumers and companies.
  • Why this emerging co-creation space and ready capability to conference will generate bot driven demand buddies that will negotiate on behalf of consumercommercial groups.
  • Why Skype's model is ultimately the eBay of communications. Will Skype facilitate consumer choice on interconnects? Are they a market manager or solution provider?
  • What new "experiences" will further revolutionize the "tele-space"?

    These questions consider how to build future strategic capital in the telecommunications space and thus remain competitive in a networked interconnected world.

    Skype is a demonstration of intelligence residing in the software and not in the hardware or a physical device. This investment in IP is distinctly different to hardware solutions. Concurrently Skype users are no longer passive. A Skype users doesn't wait for a central exchange to execute a ring. They broadcast their presence and status to their buddies. This involvement is enabling them to co-create additional value within the communications system.

    Strategically what is being missed is the new opportunities that this "always-on" co-creation space creates:.

    Here is a blogged Skype story after being bugged by a caller from Poland. Clearly people are prepared to chase down information. Perhaps a bot / search service could become part of your buddy list.

    Take if further.... Why not just add a travel service buddy to my Skype list. The bot acts like Priceline or Hotwire and simply gets the best price for me. This just illustrates that at the moment we think about Skype in the context of IM and only in a limited way. In fact this type of interface could radically change the way we interact with commercial enterprises. Consider what happens when consumers run commercial profiles and incorporate them as buddies providing some levels of controlled access.

    So far Skype has not sold Expedia the opportunity that enables me to integrate Expedia into my buddy list. What would happen if Expedia or Priceline could actually handle multiple connections, connect the key data with text messaging type searches and links to actual locations and say local hotel proprietors in New Zealand who can sell personally what I am buying? If this is Priceline with their guarantee they potentially have just increased and improved their services. The call connection cost was zero. The experience was enhanced and potentially more revenue is collected.

    The goal of strategy today is to discover new sources of value. What irks me on the Skype thinking front are too many Porterish approaches to competition and value creation. For the most part there isn't enough thinking on what enhancements are likely to come to the UI to improve the experience. I'm sure there are millions working in telecoms worldwide. The type of question that is not being asked is.... What happens when millions (of consumers) learn to use a system (interconnect /networking product) in which telephony is merely a byproduct and thus set to creating new forms of value together through that interconnectivity. Should Skype enable millions of users to determine how best to monetize value then they may learn that these consumers may just be willing to pay the facilitator a fraction of the transaction cost. On eBay it is done everyday.

    The above was only partially stimulated when I read Rafe's Always's On Skype Economics post today. He doesn't think it will play despite the accolades he gives it for voice quality.

    However, I really don't see how Skype, as wonderful as it is, can maintain a financial advantage over what is sure to be a brutal fight of pure economics, especially if it connects to other systems. I think the real opportunity in VoIP is in the back ends the interconnection of different VoIP systems and the connection of them to the ordinary telephone network. Skype Economics :: AO

    I think the real opportunity is not the interconnection of different VoIP systems but the interconnection of commerce combined with presence. So far we have only seen an emergence of interest in social networking tools with no real connection to real-time voice solutions. Concurrently regulations, spam, privacy, security and encryption are a smokescreen around the telecoms battle to redefine their relevance. Let's all spend a little more time thinking though the experiences hyperconnectivity is going to allow us.


  • May 1, 2004

    Many Bloggers Make a Better Blog

    Jenny Daley launched the new look Cheskin blog complete with a photoblog this week. It's been a fun project and you can see today how the Cheskin personality and style is emerging in their public blogging. I can't think of many companies that are sharing their stories and integrating their blogs quite like this. This may be an illustration of where writing together creates something much larger.

    Two elements really stand out 1) authors visibility (easy navigation), and 2) a moblog in parallel. Within the cleanly styled company corporate blog there are also individual authors. Each author also has a subscription feed. It's all done using MT. The Topics (categories) are also clearly labeled.

    Over the last couple of months particpation has increased with each new author sharing their stories. This is more than an insight into Cheskin culture, it demonstrates their daily work ethic, passion for what they are doing and how they approach it. It's clear their business is about stories and insights and Cheskin is seeing new ones everyday. Were I looking for services this blog tells me much more than the main website. It's more personal, and more involving. It's also up to date and current.

    There is an old saying "many hands make light work" and after not blogging for a week I could do with some hands. Cheskin solves this by handing out the work and creating something more powerful as a result. Some organizations wouldn't have the trust for this. My belief is extend the trust and not only do you get many hands you get a better product.

    These clips from some recent posts.

    From Fresh Perspectives:

    Soundtrack of Life
    I've just purchased Dell's Digital Jukebox, and I'm a happy camper. Right now I'm sitting on a long plane flight listening to Cassandra Wilson, who has taken me to an alternative reality that I much prefer to the drudgery of a cross country flight
    Lee Shupp

    Toxic Missionaries
    On my way to work this morning, I encountered three men handing out flyers. As I approached them, they stuck their mechanical arms out in front of me hoping to block my passage and be heard. They came within inches of my mid-section and then retracted at the last second
    Lisa Leckie

    Social Networking Buzz
    Every so often, people in the valley start to talk about a new buzzword. Lately, social networking has been the buzzword. The growth and prevalence of social networking sites, such as Friendster and Linkedin, Orkut, and Tribe is generating serious curiosity from many folks in the business community. But are we all talking about the same things? And where does the newness lay?
    Maria Flores Letelier

    Teen Tastes
    I have two daughters born in April (15 years and 3 days apart from each other). Each year, as their birthdays arrive, I begin a frantic search for whatever is new and hip for their age group. With my oldest daughter, I've pretty much given up. She gets money or something she's picked out herself. But the little one is still easy. Want to know what's near and dear to the hearts of pre-teen girls right this second?
    Christopher Ireland

    Concurrenly Cheskin are moblogging in parallel. I've made my enthusiasm for moblogging known in earlier posts and wonderful to see this being taken on. Dina and I recently set up a Project blog for an ethnography project. It just began to demonstrate the value that blogs and moblogs have to the research process. I'm hoping that the infectious success of blogging externally for Cheskin now creates some great new opportunities to revolutionize projects studying life.

    There are some other blogs in the Experience Design space that I look at from time to time. Challis Hodge is one of the best. Similarly Andrew Zoli's blog while infrequent captures interesting insights. Josh Rubin similarly provides a cool blog which really leverages pictures.

    May 4, 2004

    Blogs Going Forward

    Smart innovative decision-makers will get blog pilot up and running. I really liked the title of this article. "Social Computing: Getting Ahead of the Blog"
    Originally published on 29 March I don't know how I missed it until now. It inculdes this useful set of questions, many of which I have wrestled with recently case by case.

    Understanding the different categories enables strategists and decision makers to illustrate multiple solution scenarios. As part of that process, several critical issues need to be examined, including:

  • How do blogs add or detract from the overall business model?
  • How will blogs be positioned versus other communication, collaboration, and information channels?
  • Will users respond to a pull (subscription-based) model?
  • Will a browser model for reading blogs suffice, or will an e-mail client be preferred by users?
  • Will blog proliferation lead to just another source of information overload?
  • To what degree is editorial control and release management required?
  • How will the time devoted to blog-related activities by employees be valued?
  • What leadership, communication plans, and reward/incentive programs are necessary to encourage blog adoption and use?
  • What risk factors do blogs present (e.g., court-ordered discovery, regulatory compliance)?
  • What rights management situations might arise (e.g., copyright)?
  • Will blogs become as credible a resource as other sources of company information?
  • How will blogs be used within business processes as opposed to personal networks?
  • What are the alignment aspects of blogs (e.g., portals, content, learning, and collaboration tools)?
  • How do blogs “fit” into existing infrastructure (directory, security, operational management)?
  • What metrics (e.g., subscription data, page sessions) should be gathered and reported?
  • Are blogs a premium service for certain external activities (e.g., commerce aspects)?
  • Are vendors already on-standard and poised to deliver blog tools, or can they deliver the same benefits within existing technology?
  • What options do emerging vendors, hosted services, or open-source alternatives offer?
  • What are the archival and records management aspects of blogs?
  • What storage implications (e.g., backup/restore) will occur, and what limitations around storage allocation per worker (similar to e-mail inboxes) might have to be established?
  • What content security aspects should be required to protect liability, confidentiality, and intellectual property?
  • How does all this fit into a social computing strategy?
    Social Computing

  • May 18, 2004

    Web Conferencing Opportunities

    This little clip out of this weeks Economist highlights the changing nature of conferencing. My feeling is the figures are low, tracing to corporate behaviors and traditional market definitions. The number of new products emerging in this space suggest many more see opportunities.

    Then the number of informal and impromptu conferences I'm now finding myself in has increased dramatically and that traces almost entirely to free services (like Skype) that make it easier than the paid services to run small sessions of 3 to 4 people even on a whim.

    Conferences.gif

    Growing fastest is web conferencing, which usually combines a phone-based audio conference with a visual display (such as a slide presentation or software demonstration) delivered via a web browser. It grew by 40% last year, and hybrid web-audio conferences are now starting to displace audio-only conference calls. There is no need for fancy equipment, since most people already have a phone and a PC on their desks.

    Economist.com | Virtual meetings

    May 24, 2004

    Kolabora - Future of Collaboration

    I'm looking forward to participating in Robin Good's upcoming Kolabora Live along with Eugene Eric Kim. Hope you can join us this Thursday at 12:00 New York Time - 9:00 AM PST . Robin thank you for your invite and being so generous with your praise.

    The Future Of Online Collaboration This Week At The Competitive Edge

    The Competitive Edge is back for its second live event, bringing together two visionary scholars and researchers of online collaboration as it is effectively applied to real world situations inside and outside small and large organizations.

    Stuart Henshall and Eugene Eric Kim are the expert thought-leaders that will be engaging our elite audience of industry experts, marketing VPs and industry CEOs in a live audio/video exchange this upcoming Thursday at 12 noon NY time.

    The Future Of Online Collaboration This Week At The Competitive Edge - Online Collaboration and Web Conferencing Breaking News - Kolabora.com

    For those of you that don't know Robin and have an interest in knowledge innovation, collaboration and conferencing tools subscribe to his latest news feeds. You will find a wealth of useful postings and references there. He's also developing with Kolabora an online network of expert leaders and thinkers across the collaboration space.

    June 8, 2004

    Passionate Bloggers Corporate Asset or Liability

    I'm getting inquires and questions. Stuart have you stopped blogging? Why no posts recently? The answer is complicated. This is a story about a blogger who found a new niche in an emerging industry with a new job through blogging. It also contain my thoughts and recommendations for companies that find themselves with a passionate blogger on the outside. For those that are blogging and looking for the "next thing" it may provide some lessons.

    Almost nine months ago I started blogging Skype. In the first few weeks after it was launched I blogged it incessantly. At the time this blog was focused on emerging social networking sites, digital identity, collaboration. For the most part within the context of knowledge innovation. When Skype launched a few things clicked for me. Skype was an early indicator of things to come. As a strategist with scenarios as part of my tool kit, Skype confirmed for me that Stupid Networks were going to go beyond music sharing. Concurrrently my blog learnings just proved that these tools are operating as early warning radar, an accelerated learning environment, and a place to find new friends with similar interests. To explore the future we need models and examples that work as great test beds. I decided to pick up on Skype and just blog about it. I've never been affiliated with Skype in anyway, and I've tried to keep a balanced point of view. Still I managed to pick up the Stuart "SkypeMe" Henshall tag somewhere.

    My Skype blogging experience leads me to recommend to other bloggers who find something new that it may be worth helping to put it on the map. It may not get you a job or even an approach from that company. I'd actually trace all the work that I've generated in the last six months to my blog. Plus my blog has played a key role in brokering new introductions. So there is little chance that this blog is going to fade away.

    What I do find curious is companies don't have clear strategies for approaching bloggers. I'm not the only one to get a new job via my blog, for exampe Ton Zijlstra did. However, I'm not sure I know of any bloggers that have attached themselves to an emerging company and still found 9 months later that they really don't have a dialogue with it. Let it be known. I blogged Skype for I wanted a broader conversation around it. I may not have done it very well, I may have made myself unapproachable. However that is not what I believe. I do credit myself with at least some of the direction that Skype has taken. Although I will never know.

    If you are a company with a blogger outside:

    Understand the Asset: I'd recommend you actually contact them. If they are making real visibilty for you and adding value to what you are building you should contact them with a representative at the highest level. You need to know, what drives them, why they are doing it, and where they are hoping their actions may lead. Some may want independence, others may be looking for something new. Depending on the blogger this might be a single post, or a multiplicity of posts. Cautious about writing, then call them up. Start-ups are in a particularly difficult place. One bad review may kill them.
    Intellectual Capital: Blogging is research as well as connections. Even those that may not have originated in an industry may well take new strategic postions and bring new insights. These blogger potentially represent the largest risk. If you can identify the bloggers in and around your industry with these types of capabilities then you should consider how they may look if working for a potential competitor.
    Open a channel; Whether official or unofficial You better have a feedster link for your company and be prepared to follow-up with them. Similarly even some low cost options may enable you to connect more effectively. Don't think that the blogger may be too expensive. Even if there are very limited resources there are ways to generate face to face meetings. You may be surprised at what the blogger is willing to do. Moral is... If you don't ask them don't be surprised later.
    VC's and Investments: If you are a VC and making an investment then you would be well-advised to search blogs. If that Passionate Blogger turns up in your search then you may learn something by talking to them. I had a call just yesterday from a Skype VC (my first one, I think wondering why I hadn't blogged much on SkyeOut or SkypePlus yet) Perhaps they miss me? The problem is it has all changed for me and that happened a few weeks ago.

    Blogger Goes to Potential Competitor.
    Yep it has happened. I'm now the VP of Marketing for DiamondWare and we have the technology, engineering and vision to launch enterprise mobility solutions that combines VoIP, Presence, and Collaboration. I'm going to talk more about DiamondWare in a separate post. This is more a post about me, this blog and what happens when a passionate blogger makes a new commitment. If you know me well you will know I haven't sold myself short and I'm simply delighted to be working on "our" products and solutions. The single biggest issue I have had in the last 12-15 months was knowing that I wanted to either start my own firm or be part of creating a world-class company. While I've been encouraged to extend my consulting practice I've known for a long time that that is not my preferred space. My chosen interests have been technology and Internet related. I didn't have the money to fund a team. However as my passion and focus emerged I've let it guide me in terms of who to meet, what to do, and where to commit. So a new journey has begun.

    Ethics Personal Blog and Corporate Blog:
    I've pretty much blogged whatever I wanted for a long time. Now I shall have to post one of those disclaimers; that this blog is not necessarily the view of my employer etc. What you as a reader should know is I've seldom shared details on consulting projects and I am well aware of the new balance I need to find between blogging at DiamondWare and blogging here. This is the place I'm planning to stay playing with ideas, watching my blogging buddies and following my interests. Don't be surprised if you find me blogging about VoIP or even Skype here too. How can I do that? I believe I can only do it if I'm always blogging in the context of the industry.

    Years ago in when in the grocery business we used to talk about growing the category. We (eg the coffee manufacturer) may have wanted more shelf space and a better position. We were after share. I always wanted to beat the competition. However the retailers controlled the shelf-space and the only way to improve your position was to grow their overall share of business. The brands/products that contributed to growth were rewarded with better shelf position etc. Well.... I may not be retailing softphones or even distributing my solutions in a grocery store in the near future although one never knows. What I will try to insure whenever I write about potential competitive products here is that I state the facts clearly, that I maintain the highest standards of "growing the category". I'm also well aware of "claims" and comparisons on performace. Should I make any comparisons they will be either "personal experience" or link to some independentt lab or research. Softphones are a growth category. So not talking about softphones would be foolish when one is in the VoIP business. Similarly, IM clients, social networking services etc. These are all converging. Plus it would be foolish for anyone to think that I am not trying out "other" products. Like the retailer I once was. Try them out. Take them home. Use them. Record your impressions. Learn.


    Online Presence Spiral Two

    "It is said that the present is pregnant with the future." ~ Voltaire Or similarly.... "the future is all around us we just don't know it yet!" --- a line delivered by many. If you read my last post you know I'm actively pursuing my future and it is all around me. One task I wanted to take care of before sending friends and colleagues to my second blog, and new company affiliation was to have something to send you to. It's a little selfish I know. Keep people in the dark, don't blog for a few weeks and then pour out the details. Then part of my job is to create traffic and interest in DiamondWare. So forgive me for being self-serving. You can help me. Come and visit, subscribe to our syndicated blog.

    This post aims to do a couple of things. Help kick off a new corporate blog and achieve some visibility with enough intrigue for what you may find there. DiamondWare's roots are high performance audio software. The DiamondWare story is here. We are moving from developing the engine (audio media stack) to building the vehicles / applications for next generation communication. The website is a work in progress. For me this is a first iteration. Release and update may present the best way to get feedback and accelerate message development. So blog friends are beta readers for a current marketing department of one. So, now you know and I'll be very receptive to new ideas and honest input. I hope that over time a successful blogging component will outweigh all the static pages created to date. If I'm working towards real-time communication then a blog componet is a key to the way forward.

    Why DiamondWare?
    Beyond the great group of people are core elements for the next generation of VoIP solutions. That was key to attracting me to join the team. Plus the desire to create new answers and leap forward with an "always-on mobile presence communicator". For me this opportunity emerges at the intersection of where new audio processing capabilities, VoIP networks and collboration tools converge. This Online Presence Spiral also includes solutions for social networking, privacy, security and digital identity.

    While this diagram may look static imagine it spinning like a turbine creating an always-on environment that emerges as a conversation accelerator.

    First, leveraging communications is driven by presence that nurtures events. That happens at the front line so to speak on your desktop, with your handset. Presence becomes really interesting when combined with mobility.

    Second, the communications velocity is enhanced when we become better listeners. Telephony today is not for listening it's for telling, contacting, reporting etc. Few calls are made just to listen. Listening is a learning characteristic. The traditional telephone is somewhat restrictive in this regard. It's been hard to do multi-party conference calls. While compared with IM many complain that the telephone is invasive

    Leaders facilitate conversations. We will only spiral the velocity and flow of conversations if we find ways to make encounters more appealing and integrate with the ways that people want to use them. Lets say that the online conversation broker needs an upgrade.

    "Online Presence Spiral Generator"

    The Always-on Presence Communicator



    In the organization it's often the water cooler conversation that is instrumental, or the unexpected connection that create new value. Just one reason open plan offices are effective. Put every one in virtual offices and we need a communication system that more closely mimics the open plan. So far that has been difficult. In fact, asynchonous is a frequent label for online collaboration. By contrast creating more transparency by running multiple conversations concurrently is similar to what many kids (and some of us) do with IM. It's just not integrated with voice. An illustration of what I'm talking about would be a multi-channel Audio IRC. A multi-modal intercom on steroids.

    It seems a lot to ask. I'm sure many will look at the preceeding paragraphs and say I don't want to work in a world like that. However there are some that already do. Traders run multi-lines. Call centers need the capability to bridge and share calls quickly. There's are more thoughts on always-on conferencing here. There we said "A communications format is required that enables enhanced listening and positioning of voices while engaged in the call." Which brings me back to intercoms and audio processing capabilities. Only DiamondWare is in the field with a 3D Hi-Fidelity VoIP solution. This enables the positioning and the mulit-level listening along with other capabilities.

    So in a nutshell technology is enabling an online presence spiral and I am now directly involved in next generation communication solutions. These are brief reasons for my excitement. From the DiamondWare site:


    1. Sound Quality: Hear an audible difference as telephony moves to higher quality audio. There will be a clear perception and audible improvement over the sound of traditional telephones.

    2. Spatial Positioning: Since Stereo first introduced the sound stage, we have increasingly brought the surround sound experience into our lives. Telephony has not kept up. Stereo VoIP technology closes the gap between the online conference and the physical meeting room.

    3. Presence: Online presence reduces the number of failed connections and repetitive messages, and it improves understanding of availability. Presence is only now becoming multi-modal and being integrated from the desktop into other devices.

    4. Communications Centric: IM systems have traditionally been text centric with poor support for voice. Communications-Centric presence platforms are redefining how calls and texting work in tandem as the first step in enhanced collaborative communication.

    5. Always-On: As call costs trend to zero, closing a call (hanging up at the end) resulting in termination may no longer make sense. In an open plan office chatter goes on all the time. In an always-on world of telephony, you may participate in multiple concurrent conferences.

    6. Push to Talk: Push to talk and intercoms may seem like a very old idea. However sometimes a short voice message is appropriate. Look at a money trader example, or any other fast-moving information environment.

    7. Mobility: As devices combine PDA's, mobile phones, tablet PC's and Wi-Fi, solutions are enabling new forms of connectivity and decision-making. We are preparing for a day when every mobile device has the capabilities of today's PBX. Engineering reflects small devices and efficient solutions.

    That is all I will tell you right now.

    June 9, 2004

    Social Tools + Mobility

    Stowe Boyd has a nice post in DarwinMag this month on "The State of Social Tools". I like the tone and was great to learn that Stowe is now at Corante. Congratulations Stowe! There is a nice clear structure and set of points in the article. Let me share a couple of lines before adding my two cents.

    The big story is that the global computer network is an enormous chat room, enabling us to collaborate in unexpected, complex and novel ways. We are experimenting with new social systems, systems that to an unprecedented degree involve software and hardware.

    The State of Social Tools - Darwin Magazine

    My issue is where is the thinking about mobility and conversation velocity. I infer from the article that this convergence will take place on laptops and desktops although I think the real impact will be felt in mobility devices. Current demos show capability and potential for the social revolution to come. How those handheld / wearable devices work with everything will be key.

    The element that bothers me more and more is that the focus in these discussions on social tools without stepping back and looking at the environment in which we work. The State of Social Tools contains a reference to “voice” yet reads text and desktop centric. The most socialized tool in the workspace after the pen and paper is the telephone. Somehow it isn’t mentioned. Then neither is the cellphone. Are we assuming too much or not looking at where the real revolution must start?


    June 24, 2004

    Triple Monitor Play

    This puts my dual monitor strategy and advocacy to shame. Good links in this post for going to three monitors. Take a look!


    three_lcds.jpg
    Multiple Monitors and Productivity
    I found an interesting blog post about a small, informal multiple monitor productivity study. A number of developers, with some nudging from me, have gravitated to multiple monitor setups over the last year. Based on that experience, I wholeheartedly agree with the study survey results:
    On average, people would much rather have 2 smaller monitors than 1 larger monitor. Nobody answered that they preferred 1 monitor over 2 even a little bit.
    Multiple monitors were most useful when the application had palettes or when 2 or 3 windows needed to be open, such as for programming/debugging.
    The biggest complaint was desk space, since all of our monitors were CRTs (no LCDs).

    Coding Horror: Multiple Monitors and Productivity

    July 2, 2004

    Facetop

    This is neat.


    I'm sure that many of you have had poor experiences when participating to phone or video conferences. Now, a new video conferencing interface, named Facetop, improves the level of collaboration by blending transparent images of the user filmed by a video camera on the computer display. This results in a 'ghost' image of the user on the screen. When he points at something, "his video reflection appears to touch objects on the screen."

    The computer scientists also developed a two-user version in which the 'ghost' images of the two users appear side by side. Both can alternatively take control of the desktop, again allowing a better collaboration. You can expect a Mac version within months and a Windows version in two years. You'll find more details and pictures in this overview.

    [Smart Mobs]

    August 18, 2004

    Visiphone Design Insights?

    In a little item on Smart Mobs there is a post that is much more intriguing. Visiphoneuses visual aids to help you and me improve our awareness of each other. It enables a new form of visual communication to support audio and enhance the communication experience. I particularly identified with the graphics below as a monitor for individual or group exchanges.

    Using an audio-only speaker phone to provide a continuous, long-term connection has several drawbacks: in a noisy environment, it is difficult to know whether one's voice has carried or to know to pay attention to new voices emerging from the phone; long periods of silence make it easy to forget the device, which then takes on the unwanted quality of unobtrusive surveillance.

    VisiPhone displays two parallel visualizations, one derived from the local sound reaching the device (input audio) and the other from the sound emanating from it (output audio). We are experimenting with several designs for the visualizations. For example, one basic design depicts filtered frequency with hue, creating bursts of color when someone is speaking. With this display, one is able to see at a glance if someone is speaking at the other end and can tell if one's own voice has carried over the ambient noise to audibly reach the listeners at the other end.

    Representing Speaker A & Speaker B
    visiphone1.gif

    Representing both Speakers
    visiphone2.gif

    December 7, 2004

    StumbleUpon

    I had a wonderful conversation with TDavid of MakeYouGoHmmyesterday. For once I found myself being swamped with new links one of which was StumbleUpon. (see also TDavid.Stumble) . Everyone on Stumble has an RSS feed for the links they are clipping so while investigating what Stumble actually is I added his RSS feed to my aggregator and then scanned the last few clips. Some interesting examples emerged. It was enough to prompt me to install it and try it myself.

    StumbleUpon is a new way to surf the web. It lets you channel-surf pages recommended by friends and peers - great sites you can't find using search engines.

    We are a community-based, word-of-mouth approach to websurfing - pages you "stumble upon" come from like-minded people who share your interests. Add the Toolbar, choose some topics and click Stumble! You'll meet people who like your favorite sites as you discover the best of the web.
    StumbleUpon Toolbar

    What I found was it very quickly provided some neat and fun links. Not the stuff I'd normally find just by searching. I'm going to play with it some more. Where it will become even more useful is when someone sends me a link and I want to remember it quickly. Unlike favorites it saves them in a blog format. That makes it easy to go back to later. Adding the thumbs up to sites no yet in the community is a postiive too. Capture my own RSS feed and I have all those recent pages of interest that I should be blogging ready and available.

    The final twist in this post is better late than never. I'd captured Stumble in my link blog via Judith Meskill way back in the beginnning of the year. And low and behold TDavid blogged it back in January. So apparently I've just joined another social network despite thinking they are effectively dead and almost a year late. At least this one looks like I may learn from what others are clipping. Click Click Click....

    December 15, 2004

    People Want Services

    Nice summary via Emergic and Feedster on Services.

    Servers are the core of the new "computing"” architecture in tomorrow’s world. It is the services which create value for the rest of the ecosystem of devices and the networks. As Atanu wrote on his blog recently: “Stand-alone computing a la PCs delivering ‘services’ is fine for those who can afford that luxury, but is definitely a show-stopper for those who have very little disposable income and yet can make use of those services that PCs deliver. I remind myself repeatedly that people do not want a PC -- what they actually want are the services that a PC delivers. As long as we focus on the fact that it is services -- and not the hardware nor the software -- that matter to people, we will not end up putting the cart before the horse. So if a firm were to deliver those set of services at an affordable price, it is immaterial to the consumer whether the consumer (of those services) uses a PC or some other device.”

    The first service that is important is that of computing and storage. The grid needs to deliver the user’s desktop – a dashboard from where the user can manage and interact with other services. As part of the desktop, users would be provided email clients, a productivity suite (word processor and spreadsheet), a web browser, and Instant Messaging clients. The browser makes possible access to the Web. This desktop needs to also be available via the cellphone – because it is highly likely that the user will have access to both. The computer can be used to manage the desktop, while the cellphone can be used for alerts, short messages, among other things. So, the grid needs to be able to deliver an appropriately formatted virtual desktop to both network computers and cellphones, allowing users anywhere access to their data.

    The second service is that of specific software applications and content relevant to the user’s interests. Thus, businesses could have a menu of industry-specific applications to chose from. Students would have access to a library of educational content available to them. For entertainment, there would be online games. To make this a reality, there needs to a platform on which third-party application developers and content providers can make their offerings available. Microsoft’s Windows API made this possible for software developers, while the open formats of the Web made it possible on the Internet.

    The third service is around communications. As IP networks proliferate, voice itself will become an application over the next-generation networks. We are already seeing this happen with Skype. Communications is a fundamental need – so far, voice has been for the most part a service available primarily through the telcom networks. As computing and communications converge on a common network, telephony will be a critical application on the grid.

    The fourth service is built around user-generated content. We are seeing this happen through blogs. Given an easy platform to create and disseminate content, users can bring forth their creativity and experiences to create a rich interchange of ideas, words and images. This is the shift that will happen in the world of media in the coming years – instead of there being only the big broadcast websites, there will be a very large number of niche sites, each catering to its own audience. This is what Chris Andersen referred to as the “long tail” in a recent article in Wired.

    Finally, we will also see broadband content move to this platform – but in an on-demand variant. TiVo has already shown what is possible by giving users the ability to time-shift television. Increasingly, that will be the way we will consume all entertainment – at a time and place of our chosing. There is also an opportunity to create non-films and non-music-based content. Imagine for example if instead of just reading the recipes, they came alive with video attachments showing the actual cooking process.

    Thus, tomorrow’s world will see various services become digital and converge on to a common delivery platform. The network computer will be the portal to a world not just of computing, but also telephony and television. It will be an on-demand world – available to us on a screen which is part of a cellphone or a computer.

    Tomorrow: Payments [Skype]

    December 21, 2004

    Recording Laws and Solutions.

    Skype is heralding in a new world for potential recording solutions. For everyone that goes Skypecasting will want some protection. Who wants to be recorded and never get a copy? Should you get a review before it goes out. What sort of legal release is really necessary? What happens when the tape has mysterious blanks or is edited. Is there an original digital signature registry? How tamper proof will the records be. Get this right and Skype will have a role in the legal profession as well. Just imagine lawyers threatening lawyers with an IM contract confirmation and digital copies executed as the session closes. Things might move faster. Of course in Skype that requires authentication that the name really belongs to someone. Then these are things that the Skype API development team should be working on.

    Think twice before you Podcast the conversational Skypecast mp3 you just created. Take a look at the tape recording law and you know we need a solution. There are many cases where recording is legitimate and it is certainly used in every call center (ostensible for training). See Tape-recording laws at a glance

    While we are on the what's legal and not, I'm hoping a few legal eyes out there will take a look at the recording devices that are coming out. For as these devices capture your audio, with the Skype API they may also capture your buddylist, report on number of calls, time on the phone all sorts of things. Without due care you may find your PC transmitting info in the future that you were or aren't really willing to share.

    January 3, 2005

    Changing Blogging's Context

    Wow what a response to giving up on "traditional blogging". I'm forced to declare my hand early. For the last couple of months I've been working with Jerry Michalski, and Dina Mehta on creating a new kind of collaborative work space and collective business. We call it Yi-Tan and our blog is "Conversations About Change. One may never be ready for the day when you start that new blog. We're still getting the bugs out and the platform is still being changed. Yet all of us believe in prototyping to the future. I'm personally learning and creating new features as we use it.

    On Yi-Tan today you will see something that looks a lot like a traditional blog. Yet if you look under the hood you will see that it is not a blog, in fact it started as an editable page. Note at this point I am trying to eliminate the work "wiki"! It's superfluous, we are talking pages, posts and collections. Yi-Tan is a collaborative platform for accelerating change. There's some bits we're not showing today, there also remain some ugly URL's soon to disappear. The log-in functions are being worked now. Still we have a working prototype and a current RSS feed. I've written quite enough on the Yi-Tan site today. Much more here would be redundant.

    We encourage you to experiment, comment and add new pages to Yi-Tan. Please don't add them to our Yi-Tan Collection "Conversations About Change" unless invited to. You may create your own collection and we have a "Blog Sandbox" there. You will be surprised at how open our "editor" is. Don't forget that like many wiki's we have a full history.

    Yi-Tan is developing on a collaborative platform that allows us to move into a world of dynamic blogging, new forms of "tagging" collections and new ways of thinking about using RSS. This page discusses what happens when a wiki is fused with a blog context. What is different? How does it make a better product? What are the metaphors that should be used in developing a language for this emergent product?

    The posts that begin here at Yi-Tan have the potential to be very open, dynamic and more conversational. More importantly this approach is more applicable to the way we work in living sytems. When all of us own the blog, we write differently. What's more even after this page is elevated to a post it may be updated during the time someone sends you the link (by someone I don't know) before you access the post. read more... Conversations About Change (Stuart quoting Stuart :-)

    Notes from trackbacks:
    I think collections are better than "topics" although searching may uncover the depth of new topics or early warning signals that can quickly make a collection that can be built on, until too large to manage. "Author" provides some interesting aspects. Multi-Authored will become a norm.

    I see 5 major dimensions that can characterise information sharing: individuals, topics, opinions, things and time.The end of bloggin? Already? | noirExtreme

    Yes we have been experimenting with "presence" information via Skype on Yi-Tan pages. Will make it easy to work and collaborate with other authors or people that are interested. Pages can even been asigned problem solvers... and act like mini-call direction centers for free.

    I also want a way to get more of a dialogue (a la David Bohm). This blog, like many others, easily slides into conversations which are talking or reloading. It's harder to get that spirit of thinking together. Stuart is a big fan of Skype and talks a lot about presence which has much to do with what makes dialogue work. Johnnie Moore's Weblog: Blogs: connection or just "loneliness lite"

    Come and try out Yi-Tan. You don't need a permit for a test drive!. Just help us and add some value!
    So, after reading Johhnie More and then being sent to Stuart Henshall, I started to search for an ASP based implementation of a Wiki that I could start to work with.The only one I could find was JotSpot - I have requested a BETA but they are not automated sieze the day: JOTSPOT - Have you seen this?

    My motivation is less about the positive things that blogs are good at. Well listed here, rather I'm more concerned about the future of how work is shaped. I see simple tools, the cost of which is so disruptive when combined with presence and learning effectiveness, that content management systems are as endangered as telecom.
    I foresee three kinds of blogs forming. There will be the traditional online diaries. Slice of life, something made popular thanks to the Puritans pushing the biography as a form of literature. We just love to read about one another's lives. There will be the News/opinion blogs..... View from the Isle by Larix Consulting :: End of "traditional" blogging?

    I'm not planning on giving up writing. Where I'd like to contrast the difference is that 18 months ago you could create a list of say important blog papers and it would go out and you would get lots of hits. Assembling information individually provided and generated useful dialogue. Today, check Wikipedia for "Podcasting" or "Tsunami", more powerful collections and completed more quickly than I ever could. I'd like to bring that power to what we ultimately do. It's what Guilds were also made of. Concurrently enabling anyone to create a custom RSS feed out of Yi-Tan with their own collection will perturb new systems in new ways. This post is a testament to that.
    I've found when a reader reminds me that some bloggers provide valuable services of information that betters certain parts of our techno world. Eric Rice :: What is traditional blogging?

    Ton's thoughts are a must read. He put the thoughtfulness into something that I orginally dashed of. Thank you Ton.
    One direction is to enhance value on a personal level, creating loads of more context. Not by only being an outlet channel for thoughts, but the on-line hub of my life. This could mean (more) integration with my other personal information tools (think private and public wiki, yasns), providing not only personal intellectual context (books I read etc.), but especially more social context. Ton's Interdependent Thoughts: Blogs as Personal Presence Portal Revisited

    Euan asks whether we can create better friendships. I know I've made a commitment to my colleagues. From my perspective our collective blog has to be better than anything I could write myself. And then I can also run my own blog within the collective environment. I can even run a FlamePool if I want. Our collective blog is both a commitment and the desire to create something more valuable. More value will come too when the posting frequency is closer to 3+ posts per day. Euan, I hope you will come and join us.
    Could I replicate this high level of closeness of intimate friendship online? Could I discuss the stuff that really matters in an environment where passing it on would be as easy as copy and paste? The Obvious?: Blogging as therapy

    If you got this far well done! The prediction for this year is that simple collaborative workspaces will finally catch on. The wiki with difficult editing is doomed. The wiki without an effective structured RSS is doomed. And finally I'm looking for the Google Button like Google desktop for me on Yi-Tan.

    January 20, 2005

    Taking Action

    I simply had to post this link to Howard's comments on Smartmobbing Disaster Relief. I heard similar stories first hand from Dina who I'm sure just wants to be part of what is a very successful effort. What is too easy to miss in this activity is "none" of the founders / originators / instigators were super techies. At least as far as I can tell. They simply grabbed what was available and learned an incredible amount in a very short time. Their activities had an impact on WikiNews and Blogger. The tools weren't necessarily the best, they did get a lot done and self organized in ways that got real results.

    It's exciting. It's also a concern. I may have missed it, I don't think I've seen anything from major relief agencies talking about revised strategies for future disaster relief. The efforts around TsunamiHelp and others should force all these organizations to revisit how they are organized, and funded. Strategically, the "communications" portion of their operations are no longer tuned or effective in an instantaneous response world. Even mobilizing resources are reinvented by what has happened in the last few weeks. The real risk now is these major organizations try and organize for it, employ consultants to evaluate it and fail to focus on what enabled such beautfiul contributions to swarm.

    Dina told me, "A few hours after the tsunamis struck, I started by posting at the blog ... then as more folk started contributing with posts, I looked into setting up and coordinating efforts around the wiki, as I felt resources were getting lost in blog posts -- so I got the domain and bandwidth and we built the wiki pages and got volunteers to build the collections. The other activity was coordinating efforts of this group of over 150 volunteers and contributors -- which was done by a few people, including me. We have now gathered a tremendous resource on aid, relief, donations and volunteers for the disaster. That works to bridge those who are suffering with those that can help." Smartmobbing Disaster Relief

    May 9, 2007

    SharedCopy - The Next Post-it?

    What happens when you cross a Post-it note with Delicious or Furl? Perhaps a smarter form of bookmarking?

    I got a ping from James Seng last night. I always love knowing what he is working on. SharedCopy seems to be his new thing. I'm impressed. It provides a new form of sharing with notations. A few of the commenter's on his post thought "ThirdVoice" too. I'll add a public shared copy to this post after I post it. I'll need to experiment with this to really get it.

    What is SharedCopy? It is an web application that allows you to annotate & markup any website, made a permanent copy of that page and then share it with your friends. Above all, we do it without any external program or browser plugins, just pure AJAX. :) Check out this link to see how it works. SharedCopy of SharedCopy




    What I like about this is how you can just put a note on a page and send the two together. It's quick and I can see this will create a neat repository. It is somewhere between Furling a page and being a little more active. I'd like to see it with a tags option and tied to an OpenID.I may have to learn a little more on how I can customize it. Example How can I add in contact me or SkypeMe details? I'm sure I could pass that in the same way.

    Where a little user work is required is just a simple visual on how to drag the links to your bookmarks to set it up and get started. It's not yet a very intuitive or obvious instruction. It 's really nice to see something a little different! I can see ways to use it. I'd love to be in on more user stories as they evolve.


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    This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Unbound Spiral in the Knowledge Innovation category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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