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March 2003 Archives

March 3, 2003

Ryze Connections

Despite some cynicism out there. You can make great connectons on Ryze. My numbers are increasing rapidly. See b.cognosco: Friday, February 28, 2003

"This week I had two very interesting brainstorming sessions thanks to the Ryze community. First, Gordana Bischoff, a strategic consultant in Cape Town, South Africa spent an hour with me discussing value creation in the SMB community. Today I spent 45 minutes with Stuart Henshall, a strategic consultant in the Bay area, discussing how new collaborative technologies, DigitalID, and social networking tools are inverting."

We did indeed Terry. Thanks for your time.

March 4, 2003

"Class" Online

Blog.org Internet and society weblog from David Brake, a UK-based consultant and journalist provides the link to a thought-provoking piece about digital identity and reputation. He rightly asks, why filter for status when you can filter for quality?


The Curta Calculator circa 1947.


Major components of the machine are: the carriage that can be moved to Six different positions for multiplication and division; the number transmission mechanism; the ten's carry mechanism; and the result and counter dials.

This precision calculator that weighs eight oz performs addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, squaring, cubing, and square root operations. The number set is transferred to the result dial once for each turn of the operating handle while the revolution counter records the number of these turns.

Automatic devices prevent errors from mishandling. For instance, if one turn too many is made, it can be eliminated by a turn of the handle with the axis in the other position (subtracting instead of adding).

Capacity of the machine is 8x6x11 places. Eight place digits can be set for addition or subtraction; six place multipliers can be used; and maximum results of eleven places can be obtained.

Community-Centric Communications

Steven Lundin portrays a world in which online communities are taking over the role once reserved for PR in his article The fall of PR and the rise of Community-Centric Communications.

"But what happens when the community doesn’t get its information from news sources--- which in turn may be receiving information from these selfsame public relations firms? What happens is an immediate disconnect between the company and the customer, who is part of a community. Public relations is taken out of the equation. In this scenario PR professionals are operating with two cans connected by a string, while the community is using satellite phones. The telephone lines haven’t just been broken, they’ve been permanently mothballed. "

He says no major PR firm has yet worked out the methods for community centric communiciations. That is just the point. From blogging to friends lists, communities share information based on trust and openness. If you are in business of shaping public opinion it is time to join in these nacent communities.

Another pointer to communities as infomediaries. Where is your brand today? How are you using community not just for brand development and innovation rather in conjunction with your customers. If you haven't it is time to invite them in. How will you connect, face to face amongst friends?

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 10, 2003

Perils of E-Mail

A recent article in Fortune provides another angle on why we all should be concerned about the "Perils of E-Mail". When electronic information takes on a life of it's own, where context can be debated and records may be incomplete, looks like the lawyers win. Should we wonder why consumers are scared about going online? The press frankly doesn't help. We have "Death by Spam", now "Perils of E-Mail", and that's not even closing in on identity fraud, and credit theft. Should we wonder why consumers adopt different identities, IM names that aren't their own etc.? Why are we looking at national do not call lists?

The Perils of E-Mail
"It was supposed to make life easier. Now e-mail has become a prosecutor's No. 1 weapon and the surest way for companies to get sued. How e-mail became e-vidence mail--and why the solution is often worse than the problem." FORTUNE Monday, February 3, 2003 By Nicholas Varchaver

Separately at AlwaysOn Network "The Social Risks of New Technologies" "I see the increased public attention and the general level of clamoring as the beginning of full-scale social debate on a truly complex set of issues."

Private Blogs

A friend suggested today we create a private blog and I said I'd take a look. We had been talking about Pmachine in comparison to MT. Similarly I'm being encouraged to look at the taxonomies and vocabulary capabilities of Drupal. When I started on MT - Drupal looked to be the other viable alternative, just a little complicated at the time.

On the private blog front I've just managed it setting aside a part of my site as private and enabling MT to post a new blog to that location. So now it can extend to a larger private audience. This seems preferable to a list serve, particularly if a general taxonomy and vocabulary exists for the group. I imagine it wouldn't be that hard to thus enable threaded news feeds and a private/public blog for me of all contributions to various discussions.

I'm thinking this as my current paradigm sees me in more and more groups. The more I join the more scattered I am and the less control and time I have. Not to mention my data is left everywhere.

Be nice if they all came to me. It's a big ask currently! I'm on too many lists, groups, networks etc. I can't e-mail, blog, wiki etc all at the same time. Thus the tacit knowledge created by sharing and creative friction in groups and carried across by me requires extra effort to multiply it's impact.

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 14, 2003

DigID Models

Good to see Mitch picking up on Andre Durand's Feb post. I just did a little check. Realize at the time I left only a short link and yet I thought it a major milestone. So if you haven't read Tiers 1-3 and thought already about hijacking the Liberty Alliance protocol you should.

RatcliffeBlog: Business, Technology & Investing

"DigIDers waking up
Andre Durand, who will have a great deal of influence over how we control our personal information in the future is finally coming around to the notion that our identity begins and ends with our control over the information that describes us. Good to see that."

"Andre goes so far as to say people should hijack the Liberty Alliance protocol because it was "designed by corporations for corporate federation of Tier 2 identities." My point all along, despite some back channel comments that I was being too idealistic. In the context of the emergent democracy discussion, this move to individual sovereignty is absolutely essential. It is also gratifying to see my friend Dee Hock jumping into the emergent democracy debate."

"The project Andre outlines needs an economic catalyst. I think I know what that is, and Britt and Stuart have pieces that can make a tremendous impact on giving people an incentive to participate. There is a very simple business model involving store fronts in strip malls, but many folks seem fixated on nothing-but-Net ideas."

March 15, 2003

Overture - Consumer Attention?

I've been thinking about Overture today. They were originally GoTo and set up to auction advertising listings. The neat thing about it is the transparency with which you can see what is being paid. What if we were to apply a model similar to this to Consumer attention?

Overture - Corporate Overview

"Overture is the world's leading provider of Pay-For-Performanceâ„¢ search on the Internet. The company was created in 1997 in response to three fundamental problems it perceived with Internet search, including poor results, random ordering of listings and a weak advertising revenue model.
The company solved these problems by creating a real-time marketplace where businesses can place targeted search listings and bid on keywords relevant to their offerings and Web site content. By bidding to the top of the results, advertisers are seeking to ensure their name will appear on search engine's results pages whenever an Internet user includes those terms in a query. MSN, Yahoo!, Lycos, InfoSpace and AltaVista are examples of companies that feature Overture results."

March 16, 2003


I hope Marc talks to Duncan Work at NetDeva. Owen Davis at IDCommons and a few radicals that may see good n bad. Marc's Voice suggesting OpenIdentity.org:

"Nic Nyholm of Ascio and I have been theorizing as to what it would take to establish an OpenIdentity.org for linking various identity systems together. As of today, I have talked about these ideas to Adrian Scott at Ryze, Doc, Joi, Scoble, Mitch, Paolo, Dave Sifry, Eric/Bryan/Andre (of SourceID), Mark Graham of iVillage, Ross and Pete (of SocialText), Jason, Chris, Karsten, Lisa, Kevin, Jonathan and a bunch of other people too!"

Part of this is really a pretty neat idea. Marc goes on to say:

Wherever your name appears in any identity system listing, little word-icons would appear, surrounding your name - pointing to the OTHER identity systems you were a member of. For existing members of these systems, this serves as a shortcut - while for non-existing members, it serves as a way of introducing them to the capabilities and features of these new systems - they might be familar with. (See his graphic.)

I can hear the technical discussion raging.... However is this not like the wallhanging gallery for a lifetime academic? Really as a simple web surfer do I want to broadcast all my various online profiles. Perhaps to those I trust or where it will indeed broker further introductions. However this need not be visible. A trusted agent could share this for me.

As for profiles as a consumer they all get the bare minimum to participate. The effort currently is too much to share more. I already have so many I can't remember the passwords. Do I really want an Identity System listing that puts me at 50 different places? No I want 50 different places to accept my profile. Dependent on my relationship with them will determine how much I will share.

While Marc's example is consumer friendly do I want to advertise my profile with my bank or my credit card company? I don't think so. Or will they pay me for the association?

I'm yet to hear "consumer economics" or hear the passion that enables everyone on earth to be connected. I've yet to see an "Identity" system that is consumer friendly. If broadscale adoption is required it also must address the economics of attention and reduce consumer costs. Let's start by thinking myidentity, youridentity, our identity, etc. In these concepts we are talking about "circles of trust", directory listings, sharing, communities, collaboration etc. Integrating these in a personal knowledge centric sharing and connectivity system may help me manage my life better. Done right it will also establish higher levels of trust and increased sharing.

March 18, 2003

Xpertweb Collaboration

Xpertweb may one day turn the world upside down.

Flemming's partners are chiming in. Now there should be progress.

From RatcliffeBlog: Business, Technology & Investing Mitch reports:

"I've been working with Britt Blaser and Flemming Funch on the design of the Xpertweb and it has got me thinking about a number of questions raised in recent years about the role of the buyer, the employee and the citizen, who always seem to come out on the short end of the deal when there is some pre-existing power arrayed against them. The promise of progress is of improvement, and not just for the few, if you look at the history of the world."

Britt Blaser reports in Escapable Logic"The True MINGing of Xpertweb.
Flemming Funch, AKA Ming the Mechanic, has posted an overview of Xpertweb's precepts and processes, emphasizing that everything's public and everything's decentralized and there's no central greedpoint. Ming's description carries more weight than others, since he's the guy who's putting it into practice. His approach to building this web app is to make it as simple as possible”

Follow the links...

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

Blog Update Required

I've just added the search function linked to yesterday by Micah. I searched my friends for Digital Identity. Pretty cool. It does take a while to crank though the list. must check the code and see if I can get it to list the last 3 posts per friend... most recent first. It's referencing my Radio subscriptions file which is similar to my current blog role. In using this search tool I have no idea what information value is collected, while it operates from Micah's site. Seems like a neat function. Why aren't these things just incorporated into MT?

I have a feeling it's time to change the look of this blog. Fix the things that don't work. Try some other templates etc. Perhaps soon. Having just checked the new Plug-ins Directory there is plenty more I could busy myself with.

While I've delayed playing with this one, I have changed my radio news clips blog and it's now ftp-ing to henshall.com/radio

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.

March 27, 2003

Identity Dilemma

I found myself searching for clarity this week. Somedays I wonder why a strategic marketer would spend so much time thinking about myidentity. It's certainly not vanity, indeed trying to nurture a "profile" solution is at least one step removed from additional income. So it's nice to know it's not simple and it is clear what's required.

Britt Blaser's latest on Identity. I'm still trying to get my head round the Xpertweb Mentor Agreement. His comments:

"...the only way to really own your ID is to host it as your own web service on a server only you control. And that's the model for Xpertweb ID services. Each user's id, xpwid.xml, is one of the three core Xpertweb datasets, along with Productname.xml and taskname.xml.Your ID file provides the usual datatypes plus any optional datatypes you like, so subsets of your data can be selectively exposed on any basis you like. Or not. Your info, your server, your rules."

".......we still haven't solved the real dilemma: this model isn't what we want. We don't want separate IDs everywhere, whether singly or in arbitrary affinity groupings. We want a single sign-on, preferably encrypted in our browser, Java ring or biometrics, that works everywhere. But we don't want our data centralized, which would leave us hostage to an identity czar."

Read the piece.

Identity Circles

I’m sharing this emergent - thought piece today. I can’t vouch for the approach or the technology. In a nutshell it ’s a speculative identity solution, using a nice metaphor “Circles”, P2P (peer-to-peer) underpinnings and posing an ownership approach that looks like a cooperative. Is it off the wall? Perhaps it can't be done. Objections? Thoughts? Abandon?

IDENTITY CIRCLES CIRCLES enrich and enhance life’s many connections. Whom you know has never been so important. Professional, Business, Community, Friends, creating circles of trust that you control. Now you can be more connected and share what and when you want. In CIRCLES you can discover a whole new range of connections, intersections where you connect for fun, influence, advice, learning. Today’s world is connected. Sometimes for fleeting moments or maybe for a lifetime. We move, we change addresses, our contacts change from year to year. Yet serendipity still strikes.

We meet friends in unexpected places, and find old work or college colleagues when we least expect them. CIRCLES let’s you grow and learn from whom you know. So together we travel many different circles and through many different roles. Collectively we learn we have a lot more to offer, when we don’t always know what we can do for each other. Cooperatively we learn together, individuals can create more value from their profiles that they can individually seeding them at many different destinations. There are valid reasons for public and commerical interests. Under Circles you control access.

So what’s different? Safe and secure in your circle, you are part of a many circles environment that makes up “many trusted circles”. CIRCLES guarantees your privacy and the privacy of your friends. Under Circles there is no more spam. The information is yours alone to share and trade as you wish. Circles is merely a commerical and public broker of information. Tomorrow's Post Office. How is it done? see the extended entry....

You begin by building your profile with your own circle of trust. This P2P based component puts your profile on your PC or personal mobile device (on or off whenever you like). When you open your account you will be required to find three friends to secure your profile and join the network. The friends provide backup (secure keyed) in case your encrypted data is lost. They can’t see your data, however their systems can broadcast for you should you be offline for any reason. (We see something similar in music with Kazaa).

This provides a built in redundancy and back-up using your friends, so you can store all your data safely. Effectively you have a duplicate safe deposit boxes for your key personal information. Your information profile is secured on your PC and controlled – served- only by you. Similarly accounts for family members may be stored there. (Freenet)

Within the P2P network that makes up Circles (think close friends) you can connect with friends of friends (buddylists/Friendster/Ryze Friends). You can look up friends knowing a phone number address or name and request that they add you to your contacts list. As a consequence you will never have to update your address book again. Some connections will also be temporary (eg Child’s sports team parent list). Circles makes these easy.

Within Circles, the Jabber IM solution (?) automatically lets you chat and talk to friends. You can send messages, share files or simply VOIP, while also enabling new conversations and searches to connect with friends of friends. Circles helps those important introductions. Similarly, Circles will keep you private if you don’t want unwelcome intrusions. You control the access to your profile. This becomes even more important as your profile becomes increasingly mobile with you.

We expect many of your current relationship providers will want to expand your profile. For example, a corporate profile (that depending on the company and policies may want to keep public or private) and similarly a health record. As Circles is an Open Source project we expect these profiles to be standardized over time.

While Circles enable you to enhance and grow your network we are also working to create commercial opportunities you profit from while putting an economic value on your attention.

Who Controls Circles, who’s in charge?

Circles approach is to create a cooperative connectivity system. Imagine the post, phone fax and e-mail service owned by you and me. First and foremost you serve your own information. Circles simply provides the enabling and verification service for public and commercial access, those not in your friends list, and all commercial contacts. To activate this opportunity you create a verified contact account at the Circles Common. Correspondingly your employer may open and verify an employee account.

When you activate your CIRCLES account you join our cooperative and are paid for your attention dependent on the commercial and pubic content consumed. (Paypal Account). It’s simple really. Imagine a world without mailboxes at your front door, and yet someone wants to send you a letter or a video or a voice message. Where do they send it? It’s easy if they have your address. It’s hard if you don’t! Economically you can make it cheaper for direct mailers, your key bill providers and others to reach you. When you reduce their costs, you can make money. That way Circles earns it’s transaction fee (Visa) on each delivery. That is the economics of attention. The sender pays, not the receiver.

You participate already, each time you see an add on TV it costs you thirty seconds. With Circles activated it is on your terms and timetable. Alternatively it can be set by your employer for certain hours as part of your “attention contract”. Remember not all offers are bad, and as others learn your interests you are more likely to get information that is useful to you. This goes for the organization as well, (however the organization will be paid for those interruptions).

Similarly, small commercial transactions (eg the plumber, lawnmower, acccountant etc) may request to sign and leave a commercial greeting card. (Think Ryze guest book) Your rating and reference will then be available for other friends etc in the neighborhood. (Xpertweb??)

To fund Circles growth and the market for the information assets you are prepared to share …..

1. Circles Members receive a monthly attention payment dependent on the collective rate schedule as determined from time to time. The rate schedule for personal accounts will be set to recover the costs of your broadband connection over the course of the year based on average participation levels. Thus as a cooperative our aim is to make digital connectivity available and free for all.

2. Each Circles member becomes a shareholder, vesting overtime based on participation. Each member will be deemed fully vested at 60 years of age and must have participated for a minimum of 5 years. Circles will buyback your shares at that time based on the value of the collective income pool adjusted for current vesting levels.

3. Your shares in the coop will represent a “life time” information asset, which after 50% vesting you may sell at any time. This reflects the collective value you have created for the community overtime valued at the point you sell it.

4. We aim to grow the market for your information assets. Our success is dependent on your participation. Once we have basic accounts up and running we will enable opt-in opportunities. We all know one consumer interested in buying a car won’t save much. However, 10000 consumers wanting to buy a similar car could save a lot. Information brokers chosen and acceptable to you can act on your behalf in ways that are not dissimilar to priceline and accompany (now defunct).


  • Only you control access to your information.
  • Circles brokers introductions and eases personal, social, business and professional exchanges.
  • Circles creates a valuable economic asset, that grows with the collective value of shared information assets in the community.
  • Circles aims to “connect” everyone on earth digitally, just like the original post and telephone, but this time for free.

Continue reading "Identity Circles" »

Identity Cooperative?

Why an Identity Cooperative?

Consumer cooperation means members working together in organized fashion for the purpose of creating economics and other added values for everyone.

The aim of consumer cooperation is to enable members to contribute by means of their consumption towards a society which is characterized by economic development, ecological sustainability, mutual reliance and cooperation.

Today consumption is characterized by “information assets”. Collectively they are worth more than individually. Collectively an Identity Cooperative changes information asymmetries in favor of consumers.

About March 2003

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

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