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February 2003 Archives

February 1, 2003

Internet Perspective

From Smart Mobs - "The latest issue of the Economist on-line includes a series of articles on the future of the internet. Essays address privacy, always-on connectivity, intellectual property, surveillance, and cyberculture development through social norms.

On privacy the Economist:
"That may be the wrong conclusion. Instead, privacy is likely to become one of the most contentious and troublesome issues in western politics. There will be constant arguments about what trade-offs to make between privacy on the one hand and security, economic efficiency and convenience on the other. Most people are repelled by the idea of near-constant surveillance, but they either find it difficult to believe that it will really happen, or they do not know how to stop it."

Strikes me that the Economist whose home is the most "big brother" watching society of them all is missing some emerging trends. We should fear the dark side in many of these articles. Let's hope they explore new collaborative technologies in more detail in their next survey.

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???

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

Ř 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?

Ř 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!

Ř 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”.

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

Ř 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?

Ř 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?

Ř 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 5, 2003


Another great linking post from Mitch RatcliffeBlog: Business, Technology & Investing Follow the links in his blog.

I, me, mine
Jon Udell has charted the relationships between one's identity, groups and devices in a simple layout that describes many of the challenges of user experience design. Marc Canter adds his riff:
Jon's right. Whether it be by yourself, or with a group of people, conversing, intercting publishing, communicating, listening, watching, playing - EVERYTHING - all activity first and foremost starts with YOURSELF. YOUR Identity.

Not to be shrill, but it is all about individual power. Any corporate-defined system becomes confining, like being shut inside a focus group forever.

This was the post that pushed me to re-register an idea that a colleague and I registered back in 1999. We never worked out quite how to use it then. We dreamt it up one afternoon while damming Amzaon's purchase circles concept at the time. It lapsed. I just renewed it! It's powerful. Remember the childs words.... usually 2 or 3 years old..... where they say "You are not the boss of me!". Well just possibly IOWNME could work a little harder on behalf of your identity. Now maybe that's something to hang a concept or two on!

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.

Spam Fixation

Bob Frankston provides a very thoughtful article :Spam Fixation reinforcing the economics of attention and promoting (in my view) typical "tech views" about consumers who don't think. There is lot's of great thought here. Particularly when I've been writing about a digital post.

"We need to restore the balance. We need to control access to our attention and we must be able to determine our own priorities."

"The problem is not that email is free. It's that we treat our email address like our home address and then act surprised when everyone assumes they have a right drop in unannounced. After all we asked them in by giving them our address. ........."

"We can start to find a balance by giving people tokens that can be used to vie for our attention. Each token is unique and we can use it to prescreen the access. ............".

There is much more to think about here. Bob rejects the idea that people should pay me and provides the telemarketer as the example. I'd beg to differ. In both the direct mail and the telemarketer examples there is a cost of probing for our attention. With spam the cost is an order of magnitude different. Similarly an argument for CRM customer relationship management is inserted. The paradigm proposed remain supply side driven. Maybe the economics of attention identify the problem, perhaps the answer lies in the economics of cooperation?

To use the telemarketer example. Currently x calls y misses and an economic hit rate. We can assume the credit card companies, the mortgage brokers, the magazines etc, would all change this in a minute if it could be done for a lower cost. Your best marketer is the consumer. When the consumer spreads good news you grow. When one consumer spreads a complaint we know what the cost is. At the moment Consumers don't share the good news very effectively. If they did, we may find an invisible collaborative solution that informs other consumer more effectively. Could this replace telemarketiing?

February 7, 2003

Planetwork Exploratorium

Planetwork consortium. Last night I attended their session at the Exploratorium. Was led by Jim Fournier. We had a chance for networking and then speakers made brief presentations. Enough to stimulate more networking afterwards. These are brief notes.

Tom Munnecke of Giving Space. His project is using the ontology of the uplift. used the phrase "The Missing Nothing" like it. They have a small grant and are working towards "A Global Day of Uplift" on September 12.

Sam Hunting, will awe you with his passion for topic map systems and implementations. He wakes every morning knowing that what lasts and endures are things that are beautiful. He works with beautiful data structures, "Topic Maps". "Not everything we can talk about can be loaded into a computer", "people together because they ahve things they want to exchange". Topics are proxies for subjects and GOOGLE just doesn't go there! Apparently 6 approaches in beta, 3 open source.

Next up is a lady whose name I've missed. She's using the phrase "DIGNIFIED" online communities. I think this is a wonderful word and thought. Is a lack of "Dignity" in the online work holding back participation?

Victor Grey is sharing his upcoming upgrade the FriendlyFavors permission engine. Afterwards I learn it's not his fulltime job. Here's yet another developing an identity system without real funding. Seems like something is wrong here.

The Social Capital Network is introduced by David Boyd. He's developing methodologies for accounting that address "Social Value". How do we measure the impact of a grant? Often the accounting systems are almost non-existant. As I listen I can't help wondering whether these are the measures that will enable a more innovative - creative society.

Eugene Kim Blue Oxen had a great line for thinking about what keeps him going all day. "the less dumb metric" --- Everyday... am I less dumb? He's working on research within the open source community trying to research "patterns of collaboration" and spoke about "Science of Collaboratories". One to watch!

That wasn't all, networking continued and I have further leads and correspondence to run down. Well worth going.

Soft on Reputation?

There seems to be a very technical approach to "reputations" that exists. Like the "structured" identity. How would you build "soft" human reputations in cyberspace? Rather than the result of each exchange being favors.. or hit statistics... or harder facts. How do you build reputation with dignity?

Should I draw a parallel? Is current reputation memory technically correct like words? How does this contrast with Sam Hunter's talk last night (previous post) about topic mapping? It seems the current reputation construct is like google and words. Whereas "topics" are what you and I talk about. Computers don't have words for that. So how can they compile the "topics" for reputation?

Separately, behavior takes many forms. I'm betting that a part of RYZE works by being watchful. Potentially your friends are watchful too? From this some trust emerges. Seems to me at Ryze and in building reputations we aren't using the trust of our friends very well.

There is a post today... britt blaser Escapable Logic

"Peer Brother is Watching You
That inevitable future may seem bleak, but perhaps only because we haven't got our head around the effect of decentralized peer-based surveillance. Intermediaries always act contrary to the interests of those for whom they intermediate, so we assume that a video-archived future is through corporate and government surveillance serving the interests of those powerful enough to control the "public" record. That is not what Peer Surveillance will be like."

February 10, 2003


I was mad after reading the NY Sunday Times spam article. It was so thin and shortsighted. So I’ve spent the day writing. Trying to pull threads together. I’ve achieved a first draft. It’s going to need more work and further links adding.

I’m the boss of my in-box! IOWNME --- please don’t forget it.

A few years ago, my two year-old was throwing a tantrum. “You’re not the boss of me!” “You’re not the boss of me!” he screamed with absolute determination on his face. The first dawning of an independent personality, he was exploring the limits, the boundaries. This was a little different to the playful fun he had when he discovered his shadow. His shadow follows him everywhere today, much longer than those many years ago.

Like our children, many of us remain in the physical world, still to discover or even feel the need to declare our independence in the digital world. It was brought home to me again, how untrained most of us are and how confusing the parallels are. The understanding we learn in the physical world as our persona emerges learning by trial and error fails to emerge or automatically transition to the online world. Instead this foreign digital world runs agents, applications, and protocols. When we struggle it’s the technology, or systems management we are told it’s for the best. It’s not friendly or caring, you wouldn’t let your friends treat you like an infant and yet too many online organizations do everyday. How often can one scream online “Your not the boss of me!”? Yet from Microsoft to Double-click, they are all trying to be the boss of you! What’s more they want to keep it that way.

This is an introduction to IOWNME! Why it is timely and why it is different. Like the two year old - IOWNME learns from lessons and exchanges with others. IOWNME is your right to assert your digital persona, to control access to you, to tell your story, not theirs in a distinctly individual way.

I’ve been fired up for a while about Digital Post, Ryze profiles, FOAF, Spam and wireless. Let me share some elements from articles and posts in the last week.

The shortsighted article in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, “Why Spam Can’t Be Stopped” adds little to the picture (I'm not the only one who thinks that way Jon Udell). The author James Gleick does provide some quotable quotes.

“We citizens and consumers have more points of contact with the world than ever before; more points of exposure. Our front doors and mailboxes are one kind of interface; our telephones and fax machines another; our televisions and radios still another. Because networked computers open a pathway wider and faster and more fluid than all these combined, the spam epidemic will prove a need for new kinds of locks and new kinds of rules.”

Further in he notes some of these systems had some sort of economic bargain for our attention. Examples broadcast TV, radio. (Of course this bargain isn’t universal – consider public radio out of the US.) However:

“By contrast , advertising by e-mail is the ultimate free ride. THE COST IS BORN BY THE RECIPIENTS. This is a historical accident; no planners designed the economics of cyberspace to work this way. But the capitalists who laid the world’s fiber optic cable across continents and oceans get no return on their investment from the spammers; the Internet service providers whose computers send and receive these billions of messages get no compensation. Nor of course, do we, the targets of spam…”

The article covers all the other traditional ground, the problem with whitelists, opt-in vs. opt-out lists, and briefest comments on legal rulings and situations. The largest flaw of all here is that the author thinks new rules and more policing is the way to outlaw spam. His final paragraph:

“We need to be able to say no. N0, I’m not looking for a good time. No I don’t want to “e-mail” millions of PayPal members.” No, I don’t want an anatomy-enlargement kit. No, I don’t want my share of the Nigerian $25 million. I just want my in-box. It belongs to me, and I want it back.”

IOWNME! I own my in-box, I own my digital information, I own my sense of me! I’m the boss of my in-box. In the age of instant access (Jeremy Rifkin wrote “The Age of Access yet never envisaged you and me putting economics on our information access, and a price on our attention!) See the COMsumer Manifesto.

Why the solution is not just Digital Post!
Last week Bob Frankston published “Spam Fixation” picked up here last Thursday and since then has provided a follow-up posting "Email Is Still Just a Toy". Some quotes:

“We need to restore the balance. We need to control access to our attention and we must be able to determine our own priorities”. (BF)

Add to this, 24/7/365, in a mobile world with improved encryption. However there is an underlying and important clarification that e-mail is not paper post, that protection is much less than that provided by the traditional paper letter and envelope. The traditional mail system has our trust; increasingly the online one does not. We cannot trust it to share our addresses, we cannot assume it will keep our private correspondence secret, we cannot assume that the addresses we receive are really who they say they are. For genuine business and renewing social contact, it’s increasingly hard to contact electronically those you may have lost contact with. Even more so when the relationship may have been only over e-mail and sporadic over so many years.

“It's only because email is modeled after a crippled version of paper mail that we have such a sharp distinction.” (BF)

“We tend to treat email as if it had the same protection as postal mail except when we have a legal or explicit obligation to be careful. Then we have a problem.” (BF)

We are at a turning point where “all of us” decide how we are going to move our communications – connectivity systems forward. The Spam buster’s metaphor isn’t working. Government intervention is closer to control and surveillance than protecting individual rights. The DMA, is torn between improved efficiencies and knowing consumers need rights. I learned from Bob Frankston that the “Digital Post” metaphor is a retronym (For examples, the retronyms "snail mail" and "paper mail" were coined by those for who "mail" was likely to mean electronic mail.) We understand attention, and yet fail to see that it is “all of us” that needs to take the action. That Digital Post conjures such a strong consumer understanding is a reason for the parallel to be used. What’s key in the Digital Post paradigm is that the sender pays, not the receiver. Nicely summed up by the Economics of Attention. What we want is nothing less than a complete reinvention of post and telecommunications. For today there is no difference. As I understand it they are all still packets!

The thesaurus notes that hackers are great at retronyms. Clearly we are modifying old words to lead us into a new paradigm. We’ve sent messages from the dawn of time. Our language for a new paradigm is thus difficult. Clearly e-mail is not fully evolved. Yet the language we (consumers) use is mail, telephone, fax, e-mail, wireless, mobile, etc. Used less often are profiles, cookies, data lists. Yet we all have address books, generally list in directories and share our contact details. As paradigms I think they may have to do.

We buy stamps; we buy tokens in some places to ride the bus, or even a snack. Most of us fail to understand tokens in virtual technical terms, unless perhaps a link to cookies or headers is made. The consumer opportunity is one that enables all of us to take control, guard our time, protect unwanted invasions, gain additional security, and knowingly improve the chance of sharing with those we want to share with. Similarly we must encourage the joy of getting an update from a long lost friend, getting in touch must be easier not harder as the word become more mobile.

"We are still in the teething stage of email and view it as just a faster version of postal mail. One example I keep pointing out is that email addresses are treated like street addresses or phone numbers rather than what they really are--tokens that can be used to get our attention and manage conversations."(BF)

True. That’s how the everyday man in the street sees it. E-mail is not separate from our directories and address books. It is part of our correspondence. E-mail is like letters…and yet our communications and how we converse now takes a myriad of forms. We can no longer consider just e-mail without thinking IM – instant messaging or SMS texting. Then IM includes chat, profiles, voice – net meeting, cam exchanges, and many other things. In fact when I say IOWNME, I mean I own the time, place, frequency, and availability of my connectivity. I hope I engender trust, and yet just owning me is no guarantee.

In many countries the postal service, the telephone service (directories & calls) are and were all run by the government. Till now we’ve tended to think about the Internet as e-mail and downloading information. The Post, telephone and TV defined the rise industrial age. For so long they have been part of our “experience” that we take them for granted. More recently, DVD’s have show how fast a new technology can transform industries. Each one has redefined the human experience.

To propose solutions upgrade for e-mail without working though the human experience is nuts. I’d prefer conversations that shy away from solutions in terms of e-mail, tokens, or identity. Let’s think more broadly about human experiences, human profiles, and human exchanges, with real values that are inclusive rather than exclusive. Yes it is decentralized, yes I manage it and it must be simple. We cannot not forego serendipity and synchronicity; we need delight, the odd surprise and feedback. Most of all we need to be connected. Like the day and night, time casts different shadows, so does our lifecycle and stage of life. Frankly no child wants a nickname brought back, or a strikeout that cost the game. What we need is a celebrations, the positive reinforcement on which to grow.

When growing up, I read a number of stories where the world ended in a nuclear holocaust. It was the radiation that killed us. The half-life was thousands of years. Almost no-one was spared. We appear to accept new info tech solutions that work to track us, map us, stat us. Witness the rollouts of CRM customer relationship management and more recent approaches to digital identity like PingID. What worries me is the digital shadows these systems are arming to create have large and unfriendly trails. The more compliant we become the more excluded we will be. (Did I read the Power Network Law correctly?) If your half-life becomes digitally active there is nothing that will save you. Are there parallels? You bet! If you have had your identity stolen then you know the time and cost it takes to get it back.

There is leakage in every human profile. It’s what we choose to forget. Just like the words barked at a child close to danger we choose to forget. Some of our current systems forget. Others don’t. Some keep records of IM exchanges. Others don’t. The law generally doesn’t uphold verbal contracts. Similarly, because I shopped at Safeway doesn’t mean I’m committed to it forever.

For example Google searches on words, not on topics. (See Sam Hunter and topic maps.) Part of the human experience is forgiving, forgetting, and other positive part is reaching out, touching, meeting new friends. Some call this networking. Business Networking, social networks, etc. Till recently it was pretty much all done in person, or very slowly and laboriously by mail, phone and slow exchanges. The further away one was the more expensive it was to network. Few of us can afford to travel the world all the time. The telecommunications and IT industry have a different view of networking. Not surprisingly it is based round traffic, grids and power. Statistics are king in a realm where people connect and exchange their lives. It may capture words, sounds, and looks, so far it fails to really understand touch and taste. The context memory is simply not there. It remains with you and me. And we share it with others. Invites to join a group, further meetings and exchanges etc.

Similarly these technology networks want lock in. Hey there is a winner take all mentality. Look at Word, Outlook, Windows. IOWNME too is about lock-in. Lock-in with other consumers. Lock-in with a POWER to the PEOPLE concept. Done right it’s a movement. It only works if everyone owns his or her own profiles. Collaboration beginning with one to one exchanges and expanding more broadly begins with the capability to exchange ever more complex and invisible profiles between consumers.

My earlier posts of on Ryze (xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ) have spoken about the human profiles that are emerging and the social capital that is being created. Ryze has lowered the barrier to creating a personal home page and is much simpler and less demanding than the current blogging phenomena. Ryze does a good job of bringing you back to the site when you are reasonably active. Neglect it and your visitor count will fall. My Ryze contacts and my Outlook Address book are not synchronized, It provides more protection for my e-mail while depriving me of possible commercial messages appropriate to my profile. It’s objective was networking.

It may provides a starting point for what a future directory might be. It achieves a degree of transparency not apparent in Yahoo profiles for instance and yet it still doesn’t go far enough. Ryze remains a centralized solution closer to Napster than Kazaa. It may remain very successful despite still having a poor conversion rate for converting invites to active members (At least among older members I know.)

Some functionality on Ryze compares to eBay’s early developments promoting auctions. On Ryze you post your own profiles. No one other than you vets it. There is some structure, and an open opportunity via the HTML to more openly advertise and promote yourself. Not much has been done with this HTML section so far. Like eBay, we can envisage additional functionality and business being created to provide counters statistics, verifiers, spam, donations, guilds or professional associations, as simple items. Similarly it would work well for students.

More dramatic are the corporate implications. For example if I worked for IBM and am posting on Ryze, IBM may want to start verifying who currently is an employee. The “who owns me” permeable boundary already crossed by my independence. Similarly IBM may want to link IBM colleagues behind a hidden curtain rather than enable broad public linking and that might be understandable. Who would want to lose a whole research department? So consider an HTML space button that links back to IBM. It glows blue as long as I’m employed. Similarly, educational institutions or professional societies could do the same. This is both a business opportunity for Ryze and an example of consumers actively creating additional value for their organizations. Before long current contractors could be verified in this manner. The benefit. The IC instantly part of the organizations “human community” with all the welcomes etc. Ryze must become much bigger before really interesting applications become popular.

A further illustration broadening the need. As we mix and match our roles in public and private space, the activities of our lives today mean we flip in and out of them more frequently. So the need for connected directories goes much further. You become a coach of your child’s sports-team. There may only be 8 kids. It’s a busy world and it is hard to connect with the other parents or even identify who they are. Ryze type directory applications can make that simple. They can also “permission” child or family details. Similarly our school provides “class-lists”. It aids the functioning of the classroom, volunteerism etc. This may make many of us more transparent, it’s also a safer route to sharing. In RYZE when I call up my address book, it’s updated already with the information others are prepared to share with me. That saves me time and effort. Tied with my events calendar my e-groups etc. we could go even further.

Last week Marc Canter’s had a post that included a segment on how RYZE might help conference attendees. It’s a perfect example of some form of plug-in that would exist just for the Supernova members. Certainly would have been nice. A Supernova connection doesn’t need to be on the front page of my RYZE profile. In fact to the contrary it is really only useful to those that were there. And that is where we begin to understand there is a fine balance. The battle to credential one’s self is not necessarily a benefit to the smooth running and stimulation of a vibrant diverse community exchange system. In fact it may be exactly the opposite. Too many details and a barrier to entry is created.

Similarly, cutting access to individual stories (what they post in the html) reduces the richness, and the potential for relationship outreach. Not everyone finds it easy to tell his or her story. When we tell it we wonder and experiment all the while feeling a degree of insecurity. Some will always be more gregarious than others. Many will say actions speak louder than word. Somewhere in this exchange, a level of dignity is required. Perhaps that is the challenge. So far Ryze is the most dignified of all consumer profile exchanges. It’s not dating and certainly not sleazy. The majority is there attracted by the possibility of networking. It’s a fun place with many interesting people if you have the curiosity, time and willingness to seek them out.

I’m sure Adrian Scott never thought about Ryze scaling to everyone on earth when he started it. I’m skeptical it could even if we wanted it too. Ryze has introduced an online way for looking for new friends and colleagues. It’s put some protection on my e-mail and created a new social context while doing it. More importantly I feel I own my Ryze page. I believe others are proud to be on Ryze too. That’s quite a feat.

There is also a limit to such exchange systems. There are people that may have populated my address book, which I barely know. My trust varies with events. Not everyone can have the keys to my car, and yet many a friend may be able to ride with me. I’ll happily give away some information. This brings us back, closer to our inbox and integrating our address book so it works with increased functionality.

A couple of recent Whitelist start-ups have used Outlook address books to secure further sign-ups. They have been roundly dammed. For many of us our address books are a mess we amend them when we find a problem, or rebuild when lost. Similarly, many of us have multiple addresses for our friends. Usually we know the preferred destination even when the PC might not. Why bring in this now? It seems we are not using our friends effectively.

When the dating / matching online solutions first emerged eCRUSH provided an easy, safe way to answer the question "Would that person go out with me?"

“eCRUSH® is an "icebreaker", not a personals site. The "eCRUSH®" service (patents pending) only works between people who already know each other; there is no way to match up with a stranger. Users log onto eCRUSH® and, in complete confidentiality, enter the names (and preferably the email addresses) of their romantic interests. An anonymous email goes out to these people informing them that someone has an "eCRUSH®" on them and encouraging them to enter their own eCRUSHes to see if the feeling is mutual. If two people eCRUSH® each other, we break the ice between them.

This viral process means that everyone who sends a "eCrush" message recruits other people to register. This is a prime example of how a modified RYZE type application could use my friends more successfully to go beyond the traditional 150. Were they to use my address book, when 5 or 10 members also have them in their address books then it’s simple…. Hi Stuart… You already have 5 friends on Ryze. Come in and find them! Of course at the moment, there is a privacy issue, there is an ownership issue and I’m not sure I’m ready to give Ryze my whole address book. Still a stronger confirmation of “we are feeling safe in here” to another friend I cannot imagine.

I started this piece with an inbox statement and spam. The whitelist and blacklist approaches we know. They either eliminate too many or simply fail to get them all. So what are we to do?

Consider Possible IOWNME Principles:

IOWME would be a decentralized peer-to-peer based application that controls all digital communication to the individual. I assume with VOIP, all voice communication can be encrypted just like exchanges of IM and e-mail. FreeNet provides a sense of this without the desire to create a more powerful connected world for the people. Cloudmark and for that matter Kazaa provides P2P style infrastructure examples.

Using TDMA or a similar whitelist applications would enable a verification process that requires legitimate addresses, friends / colleagues access would be free. Ultimately, this profile belongs to this person. Commercial access for my attention will require a different set of economics. While a simple ping back will cure most spammers it’s more attractive to create a real-time connectivity system that can go mobile. (Imagine ads delivered to geourls.)

IOWNME would enable a blind directory exchange. Without telling me IOWNME would let me know how many friends in common we are likely to have. The address books are not exchanged. We may enable peer-to-peer blind matching from time to time… My guess is circles of friends in common would enable significantly more contacts to be made. It would also encourage individuals to add to their address book. A date register of last contact could be useful. This may provide useful for friends of friends searching.

Establishing profile connectivity, the information grows as the community grows. The interests and company lists on Ryze demonstrate the emergent and changing nature of profiles. So if you bought a washing machine yesterday, you are probably out of the market today. Similarly whether eCrush, Match, lavalife etc. many sophisticated profiles are currently being shared. So far they are fragmented. Most of us can’t afford the time to run more than one profile. Running Ryze, Outlook, web pages and a blog is simply too much. If we are really to make business more interesting then methods for aggregating this consumer information must be simplified. Let’s be practical.

Example from a scenario:

….. just look at the number of consumers who think this is a good idea right now. The market’s not going to stay this way for very long. We’ve almost reached a critical mass. We just need to persuade a few more people and then we’ll reach the tipping point.

Frankly I’m just too busy to spend attention on issues I don’t care about. My clients have so many different kinds of information to barter. Genomic assets, cybercredits, some of them even still own old copyrights. I’m simudealing with 3 other clients while I’m talking to you. Baby, I’m busy! And any attention resources I’ve got left, I want to spend with you, not on consumer mobilization.

Dupont’s research on smart fabrics is already out there being shared. All the chemicals companies are poised to go into production, they’re just waiting for the market to turn. If CyberGap can be convinced to stock SmartKahkis, that’ll be enough!

Look I…

Aw no…now look! You see. We waited too long. The market segments dissolving

Let’s make it easier for each of us to visit with each other on the web. At the same time we must make it less productive for anyone to make assumptions about what they read on the web. There was a desire by the founders of the web to keep it open and free. The trick will now be making the economics of our attention more transparent. Our access more true to what we really want. For the common good, we must insure that the system is strengthened when everyone is online. The next iteration of the net needs to use the commercial interests in our lives in a way that enables more people to connect. While I think charges may emerge, perhaps the other method is to let incentives for sharing more of your information evolve. In principle create a market to facilitate information exchange amongst consumer more efficiently than it can be done by business. It looks like dealing with spam is the first step in changing information asymmetries and giving more power to the people!

IOWNME. The rights to my digital profile; my digital right to self-expression, in a human and sometimes fallible way. It will never gel with all the details the companies or financial institutions have, but may just meld with the nuances of my life. Frankly that’s a lot more important to me and those that want to meet me or do business with me, than a million transactional calculations. The “data” collected on me would never have predicted that I would write a paper like this five years ago. It can’t predict what I might do tomorrow either. Still after today looking at my blog, you have a right to think I may do some things differently.

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 12, 2003

SPAM Polls

I just read in the SF Chronicle this morning more research on SPAM. The research is all flawed. It assumes that the government or organizations or both should take some form of action. The questions are all asked that way. Simply because no-one understands that perhaps you and me and others together can do something about it. How can you change paradigms when the research is constantly promoting a dialogue round the current impasse?

More government regulation particularly of the opt-out kind will only make the problem worse. While almost certainly (I presume) giving the government more power to track, and even tax exchanges.

ID Idealism

I just logged in to Mitch's blog and am pleased to see he's taken up the charge again with "The Digital ID Pledge". I liked this statement:

"The individual ID idealism is the nut of a new way of interacting and federated ID systems are the perpetuation of what came before -- what do you want, something new or the same-old same old?"

Which led me to JOHO and the "You First Pledge". With all respect we are looking for systems that help create a lifetime of value and exchange. "You First" is so first contact and corporate centric as to be meaningless for ongoing trusting relationships.

Lets face it. The more customized I want my product or service the more information or data access I must share. A company with my profile (if I'm profitable) may well want to find others with a similar profile. Consumers or their agents can share that information. They can also control access to their attention.

Individual ID idealism is IOWNME. Let me cast a shadow I am comfortable with. Let me learn without fear, please acknowledge that the needs, and desires I hold for tomorrow might not be the same as yesterday. You can never know everything there is to know about me, so please don't try, for I don't like being misconstrued. Data alone without context is often flawed. Please accept that my friends and I are human! I want to share, and do. I also know my information has value. If you share it with me I can combine it with what others know. My info agents can then help you without bothering me. And yes that means there might just be a price on my information. You can add it to the cost associated with creating offers I may need for which I am not yet aware. For that I will manage access --- never be totally closed to new input. I too must learn and then along with my peers will learn from your actions. We will behave accordingly.

I couldn't help myself. I had to post a comment lifted from my post a couple of days ago on JOHO.

We want a simple solution. Let's make it one that gives "all of us" more power not less.

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 18, 2003

Posting Overload

Brain overload. So many connections over last couple of days with many links and no time to blog them. They are out there in blogsphere somewhere. The context for much remains in the mind and between the links. These threads are thus placesetters.

Andre Durand on Intersecting Identity. "do so in such a way that only 'certified' individuals (people who have been added to your Personal Area Network or Roster) can actually send you email (thereby eliminating spam) -- now we might have something both unique, new and interesting."

Few posts around Tony Perkins new venture AlwaysOn uses Salesforce.com as the customer database. Good to see others found the model both intriguing and scary.

There have been recent CNET postings and comments by Jonathon Patterson on ENUM a clever way to bring phone numbers to web addressess. More leads may add to the confusion. This reminds me slightly of .geo (SRI initiative) where url was a geograpic mapped location. I'm not sure what value phone numbers have in a mobile voip world. Can someone tell me how a phone number adds to my sense of identity? Yahoo IM doesn't need a phone number. We choose our own!

Then Flemming Funch on me” and networks and takes it further today with his post "Give me personalized collaborative ranking" Sounds very familiar. Perhaps blogging will really connect us all up.

Ross Mayfield discussion and Power laws continues to adds more twists.

Participating in Joi Ito’s Emergent Democracy happening has provided a number of thoughtful challenges..

Then noting Microsoft’s Three Degrees beta announcement today and Googles purchase over the weekend of Blogger. Generally well coverd.

Then there is some research going on around Ryze. More later. It's interesting. I've also added additional friends. Michael Dunham is the latest trying out Ryze.

"The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen." FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

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

Turning to One Another

This post is from Meg Wheatley's book Turning to One Another. Seemed very appropriate, as I find myslef networking across too many online communities today, and realizing how much we fail to carry from one to another because tools require repetitive entry or access that will never be synchonised except through association with me. From postings on Entovation to Visiting Group Partners, and Serious Play on Ryze. Not to mention personal messaging that in some cases could easily be blogs. Wheatley Turning to One Another

Turning to One Another

There is no power greater
than a community discovering
what it cares about.

Ask 'What's possible?' not 'What's wrong?' Keep asking.

Notice what you care about.
Assume that many others share your dreams.

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.

Talk to people you know.
Talk to people you don't know.
Talk to people you never talk to.

Be intrigued by the differences you hear.
Expect to be surprised.
Treasure curiosity more than certainty.

Invite in everybody who cares to work on what's possible.
Acknowledge that everyone is an expert about something.

Know that creative solutions come from new connections.

Remember, you don't fear people whose story you know.
Real listening always brings us closer together.

Trust that meaningful conversations can change your world.

Rely on human goodness. Stay together


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

About February 2003

This page contains all entries posted to Unbound Spiral in February 2003. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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