Category: stuff

TED Talk – Jonathan Harris: The Web’s secret stories

"Jonathan Harris wants to make sense of the infinite world on the Web — so he builds dazzling graphic interfaces that help us visualize the data floating around out there. Here he presents "We Feel Fine," a project that scours blogs to collect the planet’s emoti(c)ons, and the "Yahoo! Time Capsule," which preserves images, quotes and thoughts snapped up in 2006. And he premieres "Universe," which presents current events as constellations of words — a tag cloud of our collective consciousness."

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New Laptop

I bought a Mac. (Well technically it’s my second Mac, I owned a Mac Classic II in college).

I was saving for a new computer to replace my Dell desktop and decided that I really wanted to play with OS X and should probably have another laptop instead of custom building a $2,000 desktop that I won’t use to its full power. Since they’re running at 2+ GHz they’re not a bad little machine either – at least I can tell from the 45 min I spend playing with one in the Apple store at Southpoint.

The box is sitting on my kitchen counter.

Its partly an exercise in restraint (I had some work to do tonight [what else is new], and I’m taking next week off, so there is plenty of time to play :-), partly an attempt to get to bed at a reasonable hour (I knew that if I opened it up at 9pm when I got home I’d be up REALLY late and I’m almost certain, based on the 2nd sleep study that I did last week, that I’ve got narcolepsy), and partly an exercise in getting rid of buyers remorse (if I let it sit there for a bit I’ll be confronted with it’s “returnability” and just get over it… I saved the money and can afford it.).

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Enterprise 2.0 – Leveraging community as a competitive weapon

Denise Kalos and Bill Takacs from O’Reilly Media.

"What we know is that people learn first form their peers"

Whats going on in the world:

  • Workforces are distributed
  • There is a huge gap between the baby boomers and Gen-x’ers that will replace them.
  • The attitude toward work-life balance for "Millenials" is different. They will change jobs about 19 times in their career. They are also primarily focused on their personal goals, not their work goals.

Principles most important to the enterprise:

  • "Harnessing collective intelligence"
  • Data is the "next intel inside"
  • Rich user experiences
  • Software above the level of a single device
  • Perpetual beta

[Not sure what they mean here about being "important to the enterprise" – they’re not taking questions until the end] [They cleared it up when I asked. These are points Enterprises need to be aware of when they think about implementing web2.0 technologies]

Gave example of company reaching out to communities for product development. Kettle Chips uses their online presence to get new chip flavors.

"If you build it they MAY come, manage it properly and they will engage, thrive and prosper" (Tools can’t by themselves create community.) [They had some tips here, but skipped past them.]

Community maturity model

Informational > Provisional > Communicative > Proactive > Productive > Leveraged

Its all about people. People need:

  • Exposure to things that capture their interest
  • the right resources at the right time
  • a place to find their voice and hear what others are saying
  • a forum to shine and share success
  • to be actively guided to ensure that their energy and efforts align with strategic objectives.

Attract Members, Build Community, Capture Knowledge

Getting lurkers to be participants – the best way is to create controversy.

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Enterprise 2.0 – Ross Mayfield – SocialText

We do a great job at building software to get in people’s way.

There is a power law for participation (reading is easy, but not very engaging, while collaborating and leading are hard, but highly engaging.) We need to find ways to build low cost of entry points for participation in our tools.

"There is not collaboration without a goal" – Eugene Kim.

Discusses wiki usage at call centers. Makes the differentiation between ‘self service’ and ‘community service’.

Discussed 4 scenarios where wikis are used best. (Didn’t catch them while looking up Eugene Kim)

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Enterprise 2.0 – Wikinomics – Don Tapscott,

Suggested the difference between  "closed hierarchy" and "open networked enterprise" in his 1992 book "Paradigm Shift".

Pulled together a research project that looked at the enterprise and its transformation. Discovered that the enterprise is undergoing a fundamental change.

There are 4 divers for this change.

  • Web 2.0 – the interactive web.
  • The "next generation" – children who take technology for granted. As a panel he asked a 20 year old what she would use email for, and she answered "you know for something formal, like sending a thank you note to someone’s parents".
  • The Social Revolution – Sites that have been providing content are being eclipsed by sites that provide content collaboration (e.g. myspace beating out Self organization has been around throughout history and the web empowers that self organization to happen very quickly.
  • The economic revolution – Nobel prize winning economist asked "why does the firm exist?". His answer was because of the transaction cost. The transaction cost was really the cost of collaboration. Over time we’ve gone from physical and financial  resources be critically constrained to knowledge being the constraining resource, and at the same time value is moving from the traditional hierarchy to the self organizing.

Enterprise 2.0 – New business models

Goldcorp – a 50 year old mining company peers, opens and shares his proprietary geological data and opens it up to an online community to find gold. He spent $0.5M in prize money and found $3B in gold. He was successful because he:

  • Peered
  • Was transparent
  • Shared his proprietary data.

7 New business models

  1. Peer Pioneers – Peer services – lending, open source software delivery.
  2. Ideagoras – Idea markets – places to exchange ideas and reward outside of the enterprise.
  3. Prosumers – turning customers into producers.
  4. The next Alexandrians
  5. Open platforms
  6. The global plant floor – (e.g. a peer produced airplane – Boeing collaborates from the ground up to build the 787 with its suppliers.
  7. The wiki workplace – push more and more to collaborative wikis instead of having the direction come top down.

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Enterprise 2.0 – Boston – Day 1

Enterprise 2.0 started Monday with a day 0 of tutorials. That was a travel day for me, so not much to say there 🙂

Day 1 was filled with keynotes and talks, followed by a cocktail reception in the demo pavilion.

The morning kicked off with David Weinberger (author Everything is Miscellaneous) who gave a great talk about data, meta data, and how not imposing physical world limitations on organizing data is a key to making it as accessible as it can be. There is a great synopsis of the book (or at least the talk) in one of the reviews at – a snippet:

David Weinberger, internet visionary, has again synthesized an intellectual romp through another important topic – Information. We, humans, are obsessed with defining, categorizing and organizing information as our way of bringing some order to the chaotic world we live in.
Weinberger explores our obsession with information from Plato and Aristotle to our modern-day digital explosion of information.
He frames this exploration by defining 3 orders of organizing information:

1) 1st Order organization is of the physical world, manipulating physical objects and organizing them,
2) 2nd Order of organization is the use of metadata to organize and categorize physical objects i.e. library card catalogs. This is still limited by physical constraints.
3) 3rd Order of organization is the world we live in today, as we move from the physical to the digital, organizing information becomes freed from physical constraints allows us to simultaneously define, categorize and organize information into a million different taxonomies.

The next talk was from Andrew McAfee of Havard Business School. He gave a "report card on the state of the enterprise 2.0 meme." One of my big take away’s from his talk was the lack of (real) evidence supporting the value of web 2.0 technologies for business. At least beyond the few examples he said that he uses over and over again. This is also a point that I’ve been making in presentation I’ve been giving inside of IBM. He called for a repository to be build that we could all use to store (and borrow) success stories.

Then came the corporate talks. The room took a bit of turn. These talks were really more product pitches than anything else. Clearly there was some sponsorship precedence here, and companies have to get their messages out. The chunking seemed really discongruous and really seemed to "harsh the buzz" of the room. We heard from IBM, Microsoft, SAP and Cisco.

Between two of the talks Jessica Lipack and Jeffrey Stamps of NetAge gave a talk about their long history in social networking and online communications network. One memorable story about how they used snail mail years before the Internet to reach out to their immediate network (and higher order degrees) find people interested in creating an international communications network. I believe their initial request went out to 9 people and they ended up with 50,000 people at one point.

Unfortunately I missed a couple of great sessions after lunch due to customer / partner commitments. Hopefully I’ll get to some today…

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Facebook Platform – The Challenges Ahead for Developers

Social Degree » Facebook Platform – The Challenges Ahead For…

“There is no question that the new Facebook platform is going to have a massive impact on the market. A FB app and integration is going to become an essential part to any social site and startup, just like the rage of widgets was middle of last year. With only days under its belt, weÂ’ve already seen one massive success with iLikeÂ’s music service. Despite all of this I do think that there will be challenges for developers and entrepreneurs ahead:”

Liveblogging WES 2007 – Malcolm Galdwell’s Keynote

Over here at RIM’s Wireless Enterprise Symposium showing off some work that I’ve been doing with RIM around Lotus Connections. Today’s keynote speaker is Malcolm Gladwell…

High stakes decisions under conditions of informational uncertainty.

"I want to tell you a story about a statue…" A ‘Kouros’ – a type of Greek statue, typically of young men, that are exceedingly rare. A dealer came upon one and brought it to the Getty museum to see if they wanted it. The Museum spent 14 months doing all manner of verification testing, including comparing marble samples to pieces of the same time.

After the 14 months the museum spent $10M on the statue (1981). Evelyn Harrison, one of the worlds great experts on Greek art visited the museum and got a preview. She said, right away, that it was a fake. They asked another expert from NYC who also said that it was a fake.

They decided to debut this statue in Greece where the preview audience also spotted it as a fake.

Represented here are two different ways at making a decision. One way is exhaustive, with a great deal of research, the other is based off a gut instinct by people who just blurt out their opinions.

Typically we make decisions the way the Getty did and we can even be chastised for making decisions too quickly.

"I think this is very relevant to all of the people in this audience…" No matter what we do day to day, judgment is at the core of what we do every day. Its why we’re hired, promoted, etc. This kind of decision making skill is central to what it means to be an expert. There are plenty of scenarios where the precise exhaustive analytical style is the right way to go. There are, however, scenarios where flash judgment is the only way to make the decision – judging the authenticity of art is one of those.

In authenticating a piece of art you need to pull from years of experience in study of the field of art and experience in working with art. It becomes and instantaneous pattern matching exercise.

There is the notion of ‘cudoil’ (French for ‘at-a-glance’) that separates great generals from those who are not. This also exists in experts in any field.

There is a hard realty about his type of skill in that it is very difficult (or impossible) for someone to give a precise reason for why they’re able to make the decisions they do. Unfortunately we’re often challenged to defend our decisions by backing up the reasons. This is counter to the nature of how these experts make these flash decisions.

Example of tennis players. One of the worlds greatest tennis coaches can predict with almost 100% accuracy if a player will double fault. He’s seen near 500,000 serves and built up patterns that he can call on to make the judgment, but has no idea "how" he does it.

He interviewed a bunch of famous tennis players asking how to hit a topspin forehand. They all agreed on their answer. When taped, however, they did not actually do it as they said. They spend all day doing this, but don’t know how they do it in a way that they can describe it.

(ASIDE) How useful is it to gather people for a focus group if experts can’t determine how to describe how they do something that they do thousands of times.

Respect the mystery of this kind of wisdom – it can’t be explained to most’s satisfaction.

This kind of wisdom is fragile and easily disrupted. For example, the person responsible for getting this art at the Getty was tainted since the Getty endowment prohibits purchases of art from before 1900. She wanted it to be true.

Cops are all about making high stakes decisions in the face of limited information / uncertainty. Police error is highly correlated with the presence of a second officer. Many precincts have instituted single officer squad cars to combat this. (Young men tend to act rashly when in the presence of others).

High speed chases are also illustrative. Officers tend to make really bad decisions after being involved in a situation as tense as a high speed chase.

Judgment is frugal – it thrives under conditions of informational gap. We greatly over value the importance of a piece of marginal information.

A study suggested that taking away information from doctors and just leaving them with 4 (specific) pieces of information they will diagnose chest pain with a much higher accuracy than if they has much much more information.

In the military the problem is often that we "knew too much". Not that we did not have enough information. Pearl Harbor is an example. We had piles and piles of mail that analysts poured though, but in the end it was journalists that had the best judgment and wisdom – they were deprived of enough information and able to make the best judgment.

"The great decision makers have the courage to walk away from the marginal piece of information."

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Jordan Mitchell – Distributed Social Networking And A New Metaphor For Search

I’m not sure I get exactly where he is going (sounds a bit like delicious and had a baby) and what he has concretely, but here is some propaganda from his othersonline site:

It’s this easy …

  1. Create a profile. Include a picture, links to your Web site(s) and keywords/tags (interests, memes, hobbies, etc.)
  2. We promote you to others, when you’re relevant to their Web browsing and interests. You get more traffic.
  3. Use our toolbar to manage your profile, increase your rank/visibility, and see people relevant to YOUR Web browsing.
  4. Publish our widget to your blog, using whatever tags you wish. It helps.
  5. Smile and spread the love!

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Shelly Farnham – Why Social Tagging Really Matters To Me

At Ignite Seattle Shelly Farnham talks about placing a "semantic layer over your social network"

"There has been a lot of work in the realm of social networks on line… but its extremely overwhelming, especially to the average user, and how it integrates into face-to-face is a big problem. What you need is more abstraction – how do you take this giant crowd and abstract it to what’s meaningful to me…"

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