Friday, October 07, 2005

Web 2.1: Chris Pirillo and Lockergnome Donate $1,000.00

Holy HorsePigCow!

Chris Pirillo wrote earlier to see if I could jump on his show tonight for a couple of minutes which is just such an honor in and of itself, but I had to politely decline because I really don't want tomorrow getting out of hand (and I was going to Recovery2.0 and the Colors of Web 2.0 Party to get some more feedback on our structure (or lack thereof) for tomorrow's Web2.1 event.

Recovery 2.0 is really an incredible idea that Jeff Jarvis began to organize and I am going to be happily supporting and thinking about. Before the Web 2.0 Colors party, I had a great dinner wtih Will Pate, Chris Messina and this really cool guy who just moved back to SF from the UK named Justin. [correction: my ears were clogged in the noisy restaurant and I dont seem to do well with names until I have met someone twice, his name was not Justin but Dunstan Orchard - thanks Chris]

The party was definitely fun (have you ever been to an open bar party where Chimay was on tap?), but opening my email and seeing a followup from Chris just made my week. The email simply said:
Can Lockergnome sponsor for $1,000?


Having just spoken with Kristie about how little money we were going to have left over for the BrainOff after party and wondering how much we might be able to afford to go into debt to pull this off, you can imagine how ecstatic I was. I guess we have proved that giving of yourself and your knowledge really does bring many unforseen rewards. as Chris said in a subsequent email "One conference supporting another? Oh, the humanity!"

Much deep, heartfelt thanks and love for Chris and the Lockergnome community.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Web 2.1: Crazy, crazy idea

Odd chain of events but I saw a DVD Boxset of Sex in the City today, which somehow reminded me of speed dating, which made me think...

What if we did speed BrainJamming?

OK, so this may not be for tomorrow but could be a very interesting experiment and perhaps it should not be dismissed for the seeming silliness just offhand. Imagine the basic table setup of speed dating bur replace the table with a 'soapbox' where people who have something cool to talk about can introduce themselves and an issue they care about passionately. The other 1 or 2 people then offer suggestions or ideas or just ask clarifying questions to dig deeper and learn more about it. 5 minute rounds with everyone encouraged to share equally. especially those who normally would not speak up in a typical large conference.

Another alternative is where the same principle applies but the topic is pre-set by the participants. Questions like "What is Web 2.0?", What is it missing? and what do we want from Web 2.1?

Hmmmm... see you shortly at Recovery 2.0

Web 2.0: Over crowded. Over hyped?

I have not had time to read what others are writing about on this, but I have talked with several attendees who have told me the rooms are so overcrowded that there is not even standing room available. Very strange thing to be oversold like that... definitely should have picked a larger venue. That said, the Google party last night was rocking when we got there from the Web1.0 Summitt. Scott from Laughing Squid has a great post with some funny photos and so does the kind and gracious MissRogue. Met some darn nice, smart, fun, cool people who we hope to speak more with sometime soon. But the people at Web2.1 are cooler.

Their crowding problem makes me think about how we are handling the crowd size for Web 2.1 tomorrow. At the moment we are expecting about 50 people. That is probably the perfect sized crowd, so while it is difficult to do, I am feeling as if we may need to close registrations at some point. Rather than just announce it like that though, I want to think about it and get your feedback. I know it seems rather anti-open principle, but I am not sure what else to do as switching venues is nearly impossible at the moment and I would rather not. If you have some other ideas on this please let me know. Perhaps it wont be a problem, but if the word spreads too much farther I would rather we did not have to deal with it by turning people away at the door.

Part of the problem is that many people I know have not registered and just have planned on showing up, and several people are just iffy regarding whether or not they will make it. So here is what I think I would like to do:

Unless you have registered via PayPal or we have spoken personally and I have your name down as an attendee on the wiki by midnight tonight, I am sorry to say we wont be able to accomodate you. Totally sucks, but we are running out of space on the hard drive, and nothing else will fit... It is also kind of a security thing that I had not thought about with regards to the studio and all these people coming in. I really want to be respectful to the people at KRON4 since they have really gone out of their way, not only donating the space and the facilities management, but they also came up with $500 to support our after party.

If you are not going to be able to make it, but I have your name on the wiki, please take it off or email me at the joinus account to let me know. It will let me sleep a little tonight perhaps if I dont have the added stress of this being too successfull. Can you imagine the terribleness of such troubles? Thank god no major news source picked up on it yet as that would have actually sucked. I like grassroots stuff... a lot

Web 2.1: KRON4 Studio Walkthrough Complete

I just got back from a walk-through meeting with Brian Shields over at the studio. While the studio space is not made for collaborative meetings with break out sessions, the great team Brian works with over at KRON4 have really all stepped up to make it work for us. Much thanks to all of the great folks that are helping to put this together - especially Dave Johnson - IT, Mark Mano - Production
Craig Porter - Chief Engineer, Kevin Adler - Promotions, Pat Patton - Programming. And the greatest appreciation and respect to Brian for being the first to really get behind the idea and take the actions necessary to garner all the other support he had gotten from KRON4.

A photo of the studio space (forgot my camera again) is online here but it does not show the rest of the space, just the stage, but at least you can see why I thought it was so cool for what we are doing. So the setup as it stands now will look like this:

  • Wifi throughout (but please go easy on it since it is being used by the staff as well - we dont want to cause bandwidth troubles for all the people working there, so no P2P apps or big downloads if you can avoid it)
  • 1 main screen projector with the IRC Channel on it - thanks to Scott from LaughingSquid for setting up the channel
  • 2 separate projectors in 'break through' areas (better term then break out dont you think?) - bring your own laptop and any special connectors you might need (ie Mac video out dongles)
  • We are gong to do a Skype conference line for people to listen in but we need to know more about getting audio into the laptop from the room - anyone have ideas on best practices? anyone have a special microphone that might do the trick?
  • Post-It Easel Sheets (to stick on walls if needed) and easels for people to write on
  • Waters, sodas, snacks (healthy and junky)
  • ..... and lots of Legos for the "What is Web 2.1" sculpture contest (more on that later)

It is really exciting now and I am getting really nervous for some reason - perhaps it is because mentally I keep thinking to myself I need to set an agenda, I need to organize a presentation, I need to do this and do that, but then I remember that those thoughts are so not the point. We are just setting up a space for people to have directed conversations about things that matter to them. I am not coming in with any real plans other than to go with the flow and contribute my experience to what everyone else is doing

So the plan for the day is pay attention, think, contribute, repeat

Web 2.1 on Wikipedia

So the other day when I was gathering clarity about what we want from Web 2.1 and what defines it, I had that breakthrough moment when I was able to get the idea down to a few words. But I thought to myself, wait, why just let a few words do when I can write a whole Wikipedia entry to define Web 2.1 even further - maybe even get some better edits from a smart, wide community of people.

But I guess I was wrong.

Unfortunately, it has been marked for deletion, with one WikiPedia gatekeeper even going so far as to call it a 'subtle hoax'. Actually it seems that they call it original research which is not allowed there. Call me a newbie, but I guess I thought WikiPedia was a place where people went to collaboratively define and document the world around us. I guess I understand the desire to not have people using the Wiki as a competitive discussion board for new ideas and they certainly need to police the frivolous entries on things like , but at what point does an idea cross the threshold of being 'Wikipedia worthy'?

Must new ideas and knowledge be lobbied for against a vangaurd of the self-appointed from within general knowledge communities where some lone ornithologist with a lot of free time can just neg you because they don't get it? I suppose this shows the real need for self-organizing communities of practice/interest to take ownership of a particular domain of knowledge.

But the big problems still remain, how do you find the best resources on a given domain? how do you bring knowledge out of the walled gardens of member associations? who are the subject matter experts? how do we know who to trust? how do we ensure that the practicioners dont get so caught up in their deeply fascinating subjects and talking with each other that they forget about the subject matters interactions within the real world?

Well I suppose these are some of the questions I have been asking for a while and I suppose we will be trying to answer that more with Insytes as we make some progress with getting it built...

I reposted the original entry on Wikipedia to the Web2point1 Wiki where I would really like your input and consideration.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

What are BrainJams?

I have had several people asking me about this and thought it merited further clarification. The Web2.1 event is a type of unConference following some emerging ideas around what I like to call BrainJams. The idea is to put the meme into the commons and create a community of practice where people can share resources, knowledge and experience in regards to this emerging trend in "Knowledge Networking".

So I am trying to clarify the definition further and set up the foundations for moving forward so we can capture this ever so brief moment of attention to self organize, furthering our movement away from the information economy towads the knowledge economy - where the bits of data that form a representation of a resource are imbued with the added element of context. Wihtout getting into a PHD level debate about brain science, artificial intellgence and all of those other deep and important areas of study, I believe that context comes from experience. I also believe that the personal, direct sharing of experience from person to person is the most effective form of transmission.

In case you don't know, I am a capitalist through and through. I wanted to go to the Web 2.0 conference to meet those people and learn from their experience and hear what they have to say about my ideas and the company I have been trying to get funded. I wanted to go to share with them the ideas I have for their companies. If the market bears the $2800 price tag, so be it. If I had the money, I would have paid it. But since I didn't have the money I realized this was a perfect opportunity to act instead of just write. A great way to ensure we dont make the same mistake we have made before - to ensure we dont end up talking geek to one another and to develop a community of practice around the 2-3 thingsI really, passionately care about and have been studying for the last decade.

So Web 2.1 is its own thing with the intention of ensuring the conversation around Web 2.0 is about people.

And BrainJams is its own thing which is a type of event that can serve as the basis for other people engaged in their own, altrusitic, Noble Pursuits

It just so happens that we are applying the loose idea/format of a BrainJam to the idea of Web 2.1 and seeing what we as a community of people who care about the same principles can do to make sure it is done right. I can not imagine a better way than cross-boundary collaboration in the commons. It is already happening with people sharing their knowledge at conferences, through seminars and through educational forums. With the experiences I had at all of these conferences this past summer (which just about broke the bank BTW) I just felt it was the right time to do a reorg around some of these principles and see if anyone else out there agrees with me.

Finally, here is the description of BrainJams I put on the Creative Commons License that will govern the site's resources.

BrainJams is a resource community built on easy to use open source tools focused on expanding the practice of open, ad-hoc collaborations with the intent of sharing knowledge, solving problems and having fun. BrainJams is based on the principles of the Open Source technology community, bringing the core ideals of sharing, helping and belonging to the world of business, government and NGO's. This license is intended to apply to all materials that are shared through the community.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Web 2.1: 30 Registrations so far; After Party @ Cafe Royale

Just a quick note to say I have received 30 registrations so far (people actually paying the $2.80 to come via PayPal) and another dozen plus that I am expecting from direct conversations. If we get over 100 or so, we can potentially access a remote room or tie into the conference line feed. Or perhaps it can become its own Jam session focusing on a specific problem we all face - maybe Jam on a plan to create our own version of a "Switch" campaign to switch people from Web 1.0/2.0 to the simple to use Web 2.1 tools. It would be intended to educate people about social media, being a truthteller and recruiting more evangelists by empowering them to teach others the skills they need to have their voices heard. It could be a further extension of the Get FireFox campaign but more focused on education across different tools instead of just one. (is that too far out there for this?)

If we get over 120 people we will need to find another venue fast, so please think about any possible locations like entire floors that are not occupied but still have active infrastructure (conference rooms, power, cat5 net connection etc...) Did I mention that we need someone to donate the space?

Also, Kristie (my girlfriend) worked out a great deal on what I think is a great location in the area. The After Party will be held at Cafe Royale. Since the size of the crowd is unknown we can not reserve the entire space to us, but we should be ok since they dont get going till later supposedly. In fact, at 8pm they have some live French/Indian folk music. I personally may just end up staying a while...

Keep up on the details of the event via the Web 2.1 Wiki You can also suggest some ideas for content there via TheConversation page Finally, please add your name to the wiki or suggest other information if you are attending.

What is Web 2.1?

Amazing how much talk there has been about what Web 2.0 means over the last couple of weeks. I suppose it is only natural given the upcoming Web 2.0 Conference, but I think it is more than that.

Christopher Allen mentioned this idea when registering the other day, he is interested in talking about how a number of "same time, different place" ideas/companies are bubbling up. Honestly, I think this is just the first time we have really been able to prove the actual existence of the "collective consciousness" to which we are all connected. The difference is that now we have real time monitoring tools for us to become aware of the work of other's and the network effect has increased the velocity with which the situations arise in distant places simultaneously. Lastly, and most importantly, is the impact of thousands of free open source components, the nearly free tools and the low cost of deployment that are characteristics of Web 2.0.

During the early Internet days, I was fond of talking about the organic, self-expanding nature of the Internet itself. That the tools let people talk about how to use the tools. That tool users connecting with others who liked to use the tools would naturally lead to more people using more tools and the ever expanding nature of the Internet was built into the core of the system. The philosophy of sharing that came from DARPA was infused into the soul of the system, and the agents that spread the word, also planted the seeds of the values we are finally realizing today in what we call Web 2.0.

Rather than trying to summarize all the great pieces on What Web 2.0 is, or getting in deep trying to explain Web 2.1, I have a very simple definition of Web 2.1 is for the purpose of the Web 2.1 BrainJam on Friday.
Web 2.0 is about the technology. Web 2.1 is about people using the tehchnology.

I went ahead and created an entry on Web 2.1 on Wikipedia where we can all work on this together, but in short I think we need to think of it in terms of the Chasm and positioning Web 2.1 as the entry point for the majority of society. I was speaking with Will Pate over lunch a short while ago when this really hit home. Even at the Blog Business Summitt there were people who did not know what RSS means and many people think Bloggers are a new form of geekdom rather than realizing that they are really TruthTellers who care enough about the world (and often their egos) to invest in writing each day. I even know of a person who thought she could not listen to podcasts because she did not have an iPod. We need to all stop talking tech and start talking to people in terms they understand.

This sort of technology-centric thinking is only natural from the innovators, inventors and tinkerers, but ultimately it is this key aspect of Web 2.0 that must change. Every developer talks about user-centric design and many others even have better processes for incorporating user feedback than ever before, but making that happen in the real world is tough work - especially when it goes against someone's natural way of being. Dont get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this, but it is something that must change for us to move to Web 2.1 and beyond.

Not that marketing-centric thinking is much better. Given an unusually high procilivity for promising technically impossible changes or product features, it is no wonder developers and sales/marketing people have not gotten along well historically. But now, as we stand at this new dawn, we all need to come together to change our perspective and get beyond our own prejudices. We need to understand our own strengths and respect the strengths and weaknesses of others in order to approach our products and problems with a whole mind.

A common mistake I saw in corporations when it came to Web related projects was a desire to pick the technology first rather than understanding the situation and the needs of the people involved. This has been happening quite a bit in the open source community and should continue as it is an invaluable process of discovery that has produced incredible breakthroughs.

What I want to see from Web 2.1 in contrast to this are projects being driven by human needs instead of technical possibilities. Where a situation is considered in detail by a group of whole mind directed thinkers who love each other and what they do, but have a unique contribution of skillsets for the actual work at hand.

Web 2.0 is about technology. Web 2.1 is about people using technology.

It is that simple really, and it is the reason I will be going to Recovery 2.0 on Thursday night instead of doing more work on Web 2.1: A BrainJam for the rest of us.

Apparently Rick Segal agrees - I just saw his post moments after first submitting this one...

Tech Tags:

Web 2.1: Need your help - design a logo, coordinate stuff

Ok, so we still need some help with a lot of important things. If you can help out, please let me know and start moving on things ASAP.

  • First and foremost, we need a logo. If I were an illustrator this would be simple, but since I am not, I only have a couple of concepts that are clever/cute, but not necessarily cool. 1 is Jam jar with a Web 2.0 on the label, with the zero crossed out and a 1 written in red above it. The other idea which I like better is a Rasta sort of character jamming on some brains instead of steel drums. Of course, there is still the matter of whether we do a logo for "Web 2.1", "web2point1" or "Web 2.1 BrainJam". I lean towards the latter, but am willing to look at any of the ideas that you can execute. These will be placed on signage, used as stickers and eventually make it to t-shirts (which most likely wont be ready in time for FRI)

  • I need someone to help manage some technical stuff with regards to the virtual conference - getting the ICQ room setup, tapping into a Skype conference room etc...

  • Also need people to help with signage and other event coordination stuff, like helping people get name badges for themselves (would like to do it WebZine style, but we dont have a laminator) Could use the help of 3-4 people to show up at KRON4 early on Friday (around 1100am) to set up. Lunch will be provided.

  • Could really use some help with getting stickers made (where, how, how cheaply?) and it would be really helpful if someone has a button making machine they could let us borrow

  • Other items are listed on the web site

There is so much that needs to be done still, and there is less than 3 days left before the event! Thank god we have money for the after party (the most expensive part of this) and a venue that will accomodate the crowd we are expecting, though there could be a surge that would put us over the top causing other logistical issues.

If you can contribute in some way with your time and/or your Insytes, that would be most welcome in any way. This is an event that is owned by the participants, not me, so please lend a hand and make it all that you want it to be. Given the spate of announcements already this week, I am not so worried about the content now as I am about the short time we have to get it all in...

Tech Tags:

Web 2.1: Only possible with great Patrons...

Just a real quick note of thanks for the emotional support and mucho appreciation for the financial support from so many of you in helping to make Web 2.1 a reality. My girlfriend and I honestly thought I might be breaking out a new credit card to cover the costs, but now it seems we can at least use the rest of my limit on a separate one.

  • Michael Arrington and Keith Teare of TechCrunch stepped up to the plate with $100 even though they won't be able to make much of the event since they are attending the other one...

  • Allan Linden of D-BAM came through with a big $500 because he wants to support further development of peer to peer learning systems (more on his perspective to come in a later post).

  • Brian Shields and the team over at KRON4 not only came through with a great, centrally located venue (where they held a blogger meetup recently), they also came up with $500 to make sure everyone has a great time at the after party!

  • Out of the blue, Dave Winer sent along some moral support as well as $98 to support the idea, eventhough he will be attending ConvergeSouth - big thanks to Dave, proving once again he walks the talk each and every day.

  • Just a short while ago, Zoli Erdos from a "pre-funded" startup called SQLFusion came through with $100. I honestly have not heard of them previously, but will be taking a look at their collaborative development tools to see what their unqiue perspective is.

My deepest thanks to everyone who has become a Patron of this event and everyone who has written about it so far. When everything is wrapped up next week, I will be posting the details about finances for this on the Web2point1 Wiki.

We are nearly finished in selecting the after party location. It seems there are positives and negatives to each location we are discussing. Without a firm head count, it is nearly impossible to get them to make a deal or reserve a room, so we will likely be mingling with other happy hour folks. More to be posted on this important aspect of Web 2.1 tonight....

Tech Tags:

Monday, October 03, 2005

Web 2.1: First Patron Steps Forward!

Just a quick note to let you know things are starting to take shape. Not only have we received a few registrations from people I don't even know, but we have our first Patron to support the day's event. My friend Allan Linden is a media and marketing veteran who really gets it. We met at a SVASE event and hit it off right away. He has been extremely busy launching his new company D-BAM which is a Brand Assett Management system for marketing professionals in small to medium sized business as well as large one. Even though they are not ready for a public launch until next month, Allan wanted to lend his support because he believes in the concept of BrainJamming and the importance of sharing knowledge - that people can come together and Jam on some big ideas, sharing their unique experience and contributing to common goals.

At the moment there are approximately 12-15 people confirmed for the event without widespread press coverage - a group of about 40-50 would make me feel like it was a true success - 100 people Jamming would be phenomenal - more than that would be stressful, but welcome. Honestly, I am also ok if it just ends up being a dozen or so people there. You see, I have been thinking about and talking about the rise of the Knowledge Economy for so long now that it just feels great to be doing something with it, trying to make things better. It is just a great feeling to know I am actually contributing to it in some small way and able to demonstrate the power of what the tools can do in the hands of anybody with an idea...

If you have not done so yet, please do go register now for Web 2.1.

Tech Tags:

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Web 2.1: Let's Jam

Really swamped, but the Web 2.1 BrainJam is on. Lots of details still to be ironed out, like finalizing the venue, getting more patrons to pay for the costs and the after party and getting a new Web 2.1 Wiki online. I need help with all of it, so if you can, please volunteer

Am still having some difficulties with the CSS, its been a while since I got my hands dirty with style sheets and I never was that good with them in the first place. So if anyone can let me know where I went wrong, would appreciate it.

Chek out the new new Web site for all the details.

Tech Tags: