Friday, October 14, 2005

BrainJams: The Draft Mission Statement

First, thanks to everyone who came over to discuss what this idea really is and for the planning of the next one in the Bay Area. I will be adding the notes to the BrainJams Web site along with everyone's names to get some more input from a broader audience. We would really like to get more involvement from the WebZine2005 organizers as well as BarCamp Counselors, so please reach out to us if we have not yet reached out to you.

The simple mission statement we kind of agreed upon is:
"To make emerging social software/media technologies more accessible to the people and organizations who could most benefit from them, connecting the creators of the technology more closely with the people who use the tools. This will create stronger awareness of the situations in which the tools are used and what else might be needed to make it simpler and even more valuable."

So that is the start that I promised Chris Messina the other day. Now the ball is in the court of conversation. We hope to get some more really good feedback from everyone on the Wiki and hope that this idea might come up as part of the discussion at BarCamp Amsterdam and also hope the people at TechCamp in Ireland might throw a few ideas our way too... Which starts in about an hour or so BTW

BrainJams: What's next?

First, I am just so unbelievably happy that this era of the Knowledge Economy is upon us; you might even call me giddy. The manner in which the concept of Knowledge Networking is spreading so quickly around the globe is almost unfathomable. While it certainly is not anything I invented, it is something to which I am proud to contribute and would like to help organize with other people smarter than myself.

As you may have noted on the BrainJams site - it says
"BrainJams is not an event company or a an organi[z]er of events. BrainJams is intended to be a resource for people who want to share best practices in knowledge networking"
(sorry about the typo, no one pointed that out to me and I just missed it in the rush.

Oops - we may kind a sorta be an events sorta thingy-ma-jobby. We are getting together tonight to discuss the idea, as well as when to do the next Bay Area BrainJam.

Essentially we realized that the idea of a Web 2.0/2.1/37.0 (whatever) was not being received by average people. Not to argue about the natural evolution of innovation, the propagation of memes and the simplifying of technology over time to reach the other side of the chasm, because I believe in that. Rather that people coming together across organizational and disciplinary boundaries to discuss current uses of technology as it might be applied to their problems is pretty cool and useful. The premise of a little structure, a little focus and ad-hoc collaboration through conversation really truly works. When focused on issues like Recovery 2, BrainJams can be really powerful tools in connecting the dots and fixing systems to make them work the way we need them to.

We are planning on staying true to our original promise of building an open community of people like you and me to share best practices about knowledge networking, or as we like to call them, BrainJams. Everything from templates, to resources, to technology, to people, to places to hold the events and more - everything you need to know to get the most from doing your own local BrainJams. There are no intentions to collect fees around this, it is just the right thing to do and I think it is important to do and it should be fun.

We are also planning on tackling a big juicy idea to really support the ideals of BrainJams in the best manner we think possible. We want to meet people from all around the country, learn together with them how to do this thing right. Share our experiences and contribute to one another's passions. Every aspect that is core to our ideals is served this way. So we are beginning to plan for a BrainJams Roadtrip up, down and all across the USA. We want to be a big part of the solution and help facilitate the right connections within the system - and golly gee this sounds like a neat-o thing to do.

Details are fuzzy at best, but we are talking to the folks at BarCamp to see if we can team up, perhaps leading with a BrainJam that involves people from all four tribes, focused on encouraging participation through the best uses of technology and/or whatever issue is most important to that community. Hopefully they may also involve some of the themes of Recovery 2, or The Noble Pursuit with a genuine intention of creating inter-personal connections between people beyond boundaries - most specifically between developers in the open source community and the people with needs and ideas - with the purpose of actually making them happen.

We are also talking about teaching more people how to use the tools of 'social media' to be heard - connecting them with the tools via their own language, rather than the geek speak we so often use. Talking about reputation instead of identity, subscriptions instead of RSS and organizing knowledge instead of social bookmarking. Spreading the message of open source values to other aspects of society. Share, be a part of a community and contribute your experience and expertise. Watch as things start to get better. Review what worked, share those Insytes and repeat.

But who knows, this could all change 33 minutes from now when people start to arrive. Which is a good place for me to break and help Kristie get the house ready, which she has been scrambling to do for the past hour+ as I sat here and wrote away....

(BTW - per Jeff Jarvis' description , the four tribes are Technology, Business, Non-profit and Government)


It is my hope that the real lesson learned from what we did with last week's Web 2.1 BrainJam, is that anyone can do it.

Believe in yourself and give it a try. My hairstylist today reminded me of another important point - how deep some of our fears go back to our childhood. He related to me a story from when he was a new kid at school at age 6, he threw his birthday party and no one came. All of the new friendships, and for whatever reason they each had, they had let him down. He has not thrown another birthday party since -though we will be changing that this year. For me, it was when I was about 5. Ringling Brothers was coming to town and I came down with the chickenpox. I remember it as if it were yesterday - I was 'locked' in the backyard behind the driveway fence when 2 of the neighborhood kids came up and started teasing me about not being able to go. I have always been afraid to miss out on something, often thinking about that other thing I could have been doing. Sometimes I was not even aware of the moment I was living or those around me. So I have learned (am learning more accurately) how to be here now, to not doubt myself and to not give in to a silly little fear that something might not happen as we hoped it would.

A lot of people I know and many more I don't have given in to these thoughts. They have never tried to do that "big thing" or to pursue that big idea. I just want to remind people to stop, breathe and reconsider. No more why - its time for why not? You can do anything you want to do - make a difference. Start something, join something, and take action today. Right now. Check out VolunteerWatch for some ideas. Reach out in your neighborhood - find something you really care about and contribute.

Nike's message speaks equally well to business people, artists, non-profits, government employees and developers as it does to athletes - "Just Do It"

Insytes and The Noble Pursuit

With so many companies emerging that have the same focus as I had intended to do with Insytes, I thought it might be a good time to start sharing my vision of what the opportunity is and how I see things evolving. Especially since I keep telling my friends that it is a bigger economic disruption than the introduction of the personal computer. In terms of its social impact, it is even bigger. These thoughts are not the complete picture (that is going to take a book). Rather it is a first attempt to share some of my personal Insytes on a vision for the future and what we need to do to get there. This is a further extension of the essay I wrote in 2002 called The Noble Pursuit and is cross posted there.

Finally, if I have not disclaimed this enough, it it is only a draft – a starting point for discussion. This piece is being shared as is, incomplete and unedited, with the express intention of requiring further editing and research. It was written in the course of 3 hours of stream of consciousness typing. Your criticism, advice, suggestions and contributions are certainly encouraged. Perhaps this can even go into a Wiki so that it can be edited by everyone and made the better for it.


The Knowledge Economy will be powered by a global, interconnected computer system that provides structure to the information, with contextual connections made by human input. The best functions of the computer are in processing linear connections between bits of data while the human brain excels at recognizing contextual patterns. By merging the best aspects of both the human mind and the CPU, we can achieve the most comprehensive contextual knowledge engine possible. No, we are not talking Cyborgs here - we are looking at a need for all humanity to gather knowledge and information in the pursuit of truth with the goal of establishing trust between all peoples of the planet. This is just one aspect of what is needed to bring about a lasting peace that will lead to shared prosperity for a broader swath of the global population.

We face so many problems today and the limitations of traditional broadcast media have prevented the majority of the population from ascertaining truth. But the nature of the Internet provides us with the mechanisms and means to correct this problem. As more and more people participate in the conversations that interest them and on which they have experience, the closer we will be to the solutions. Personally, I believe that the knowledge exists out there somewhere to solve most of the problems we as a society face. They may be in someone’s basement, in the drawer of a consultant, in someone’s mind, or just waiting for someone to discover it within the culmination of a life’s work. But they surely exist.

Unfortunately, for one reason or another, many of the solutions never saw the light of day, many others were struck down by politics (business and governmental) and many others were attempted but failed due to an untold number of reasons. As Tony Robbins is fond of saying, “Past failures are not indicative of future results.” Another primary reason for prior failures is that the pieces were not connected properly for the particular situation they were trying to address. Perhaps a key element of knowledge, fact, or insight was missing. An equally large piece of the puzzle is in regards to how we as humans treat other humans from within the traditional command and control power structures. Good people have been beat down, taking their brilliant ideas with them. Because most people were never taught how to argue for or against an idea, they instead choose to demean the messenger. This has lasting effects that are often reinforced to the point of instilling a sense of helplessness, such that people simply have given up on being able to make a difference.

Therefore the first step in making the world whole and fixing our problems is to deepen the sense of possibilities, to instill the power of belief in self and to help people connect with their higher purpose. With “mother earth’ conceivably trying to shake us off the planet as a dog might try to get rid of fleas, and the unsustainable power structures failing from cronyism, incestuousness and deceit, I can only hope that now is the time that the silent majority stands up to let their voices be heard. That people around the world begin to get inspired to connect with their passion and find their true calling to give the world the unique gift that lies within each of them. We have suffered through the pains of leaders we can not trust, media conglomerates that color the news rather than report it and with too many of those in control rewriting history to suit their own needs, much as King James did when it was his turn to rewrite the Bible.

I'm mad as hell and I am not going to take it any more.

Repeat after me -

I'm mad as hell and I am not going to take it any more.

It is time for the people of the world to rise up together and be heard. But we are not talking about revolution, at least not here in the US and other democratic systems of government. The revolution we need can totally come from within the system itself as it was designed, if we simply PARTICPATE. By freeing ourselves from the shackles of our own pre-conceived notions of what is and what is not possible, the world can truly be whatever we want it to be. We each play a very important role that is unique to each individual with a few base requirements – share what you know, provide insights from your experiences and contribute in whatever way you can. We can do anything we set our mind’s to, so why not focus on something big and wonderful.

Despite the consultants who often tell you to spend time outside of it, THERE IS NO BOX! The world around you can be whatever you want it to be. You need not be ruled by fear of failure, for as many famous people have said – “Within the realm of our failures lies the seeds to our success.” As Edison did with the 10,000 filaments he tried for his light bulb, each one that did not work did not represent failure, but rather one step closer to finding the right one, and his ultimate success. We need to adopt this thinking on a broader scale in order to sustain our society, lest the fringes get more and more frayed and the very fabric that holds it together eventually becomes unraveled.

I believe we have reached a point where we are truly ready for The Noble Pursuit to become a core principle of our ideals. I don’t have all the answers, and I certainly can not make all the arguments eloquently, but I do know that this just feels right. Being inclusive, having compassion for others, being pragmatic, eliminating fear, flattening the control centric hierarchies and embracing each other because of our differences rather that pushing one another away because of them. We need more tolerance and less anger. We also need to understand the way systems work in our world and how to leverage them to our advantage.

The knowledge we need to solve most of the world's problems exists out there today. Scientists have gathered information on things that are unfathomable to me, and perhaps 90+% of the population. Journalists, and now Bloggers, are gathering and discussing current events. They are writing the history books of the future right before our eyes - a direct accessible archive of all human knowledge and experience. People from all corners of the world are creating the ultimate, fully authoritative encyclopedia and dictionary, expanding it each day as our knowledge grows. New Media organizations are emerging everyday for every conceivable interest someone may have, and we have only begun to scratch the surface.

All of these things bode well for the future of our society, but these efforts still lack an organizing principle - a purpose for other valuable members of society to both contribute and benefit from our advancements. People still cannot trust closed organizations. Having been lied to so often by those they once trusted, many are rightfully jaded - even to the point of not being involved with the 'system'. The way to make change is by understanding the systems that were put in place. In the case of the US specifically, to understand why our country's forefathers designed the system that way. The intentions were pure, despite what many men of power have done to those ideals since. It need not be that way any more and it starts with taking action. Believe you can make a difference and you will. It may not be in exactly the same way you intended, but it will at least give you knowledge of what to do differently next time.

My strength has always been in pattern recognition and crashing disparate ideas together to create innovation. In many ways, my life has been one long BrainJam, talking with people and connecting the dots, sharing what I have learned and offering my Insytes to help people succeed. What I have learned about knowledge is that reading and talking are great, but there is no substitute for an experience – from many researchers, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the strongest method of learning comes from failure. Again, I paraphrase Tony Robbins here “people tend to celebrate their successes, but ponder their failures.”

So what is my Noble Pursuit? While still partially unclear, it feels like it should be to help create the systems necessary for its success and initiate efforts to organize the collective wisdom through driving further participation from across the spectrum of humanity. (lofty stuff, but when there is no perceivable barriers to success other than the mental constraints of others, why not?)

The system itself I had originally envisioned through my first work around The Noble Pursuit back in early 2002, which was more recently manifested through my attempts to turn these ideals into a company called Insytes. As one great leader said to me, you need not own it for it to work for you in the way that suits the world best. To this end, I am risking myself and my reputation by putting these thoughts out here into the commons, with the hope that the people who are putting out similar systems today will truly ‘get it’ beyond the need for making next quarter’s numbers.

In a system such as the one I imagine will power The Noble Pursuit and serve as a foundational element of The Knowledge Economy, the greater the inputs, the greater the relevancy and value. The greater the value, the greater the user base. A virtuous cycle with value being placed into the system and removed from the system - a perpetual motion machine of constant and never ending innovation and enlightenment.

In order for such a system’s success to be both broad and deep, the system must be open to all to take their personas, their stored artifacts, their reputation and their attention stream with them. To change services more easily than one can switch their mobile phone provider. If the system's premise is based on the collaborative efforts of the collective wisdom, then surely the economic systems it applies to its operations must also operate under these principles. It is the fundamental basis of open source - and it works.

This is not the end of the story, it is only the beginning. I know not where it ends, or what my real role will be in it. What I do know is that everyone will play a part, that everyone can make a difference and that people need to stand up and be heard rather than remaining sidelined by the 10% of extremists in our society who currently dominate the national and global discussions on such matters. This is the true power being offered by the emerging technologies being referred to as Web 2.0. It my hope that we are able to dispel the fears many people hold towards technology and that one day soon, they will look at a computer and realize it is only a tool, much like a pencil and paper – but oh what a tool it can be if everyone is empowered to use it and participate in the conversations that matter most to them.

We can make a difference, each and everyone of us. Together we can fix the problems of our world as we band together, each of engaged in The Noble Pursuit.

Change and uncertainty

Was deep in thought earlier while getting a haircut, perhaps my first moment to take a breath really since the events of last week. I generally do a bit more refelction but the ideas are coming so fast now, and the conversation has become so engaging that I sometimes even forget to eat (last time it was like that was 1995 for me and my waistline proves it).

So what comes next for me is going to be a big change, no mattter which opportunity (or opportunities) I pursue. Funny thing is, I am not worrying about it. I am not even worrying about whether BrainJams is going to be something, or if other people think the idea behind Web 2.1 is ephenneral. I am finally getting to just be me. Sure there are other aspects of me that are not on public display at every moment, but generally speaking I am, as Rachel Murray mentioned the other day, a WYSIWYG sort of guy. While that frankness has occasionally gotten me in trouble, occasionally made me misunderstood and occasionally been harmful to myself financially, I can not imagine being any other way.

So as I sit here today, uncertain of what the future may bring, uncertain of which path I will choose over the coming weeks (though one I have already begun to walk - more on that later today) - I know that massive change lies before me and I welcome it with open arms. Change happens every day and we simply adapt - humans are perhaps one of the most (if not the most) adaptive species on the planet. It can feel unsettling of course, and it often affects many areas of your life simultaneously, but the sense of 'change' that is often troubling to people is mostly within our heads. For that reason, it can be something that prevents you from taking action, something that drives you to take action, or as I prefer, something I deal with as each moment comes and goes - attempting to be present in those moments rather than worrying about what may or may not happen.

During the early Internet years, my signature said it all:
    Look forward to dream,
      Look back to learn,
        Look at today and be.

Simple eh? Sometimes you just gotta believe and let go - the unvierse takes care of the rest.

Web 2.1: Final Accounting

It took a couple of extra days to put this together because of a few returns we made and a few things we had to mail out, but you can download the final accounting Excel Spreadsheet to see for yourself where it all went, or just read the summary below.

We took in a total of $2,593.86, spent $1,191.33, returned $171.63 worth of goods and paid $60.25 in PayPal fees.

This means we are able to donate $1,384.81 to the Internet Archive!

53 people paid for registrations via PayPal for a total of $129.10 which will be donated to the Creative Commons Fundraising Drive. This popped up on my radar after we had committed to make the primary donation to the Internet Archive. Since we really did not know if people were actually going to pay to register, and it was not required, we felt this was a good way to contribute to another good cause and still remain true to our promise.

At the moment we are awaiting a $500 check from KRON-4 due to problems I had with my QuickBooks in generating an invoice. We are also waiting for the funds to be transferred from PayPal into my bank account. Once these items are cleared up we will be writing both checks. Probably within a week or two at most.

A huge shout out to our patrons who made this all possible. My deepest gratitude to my logistics queen Kristie who put together the spreadsheet and left me with the simplest of tasks, telling everyone about it. Many thanks also to all the people who volunteered and those who are helping to organize the next one here in the Bay Area.

Wikipedia: No Go for Web 2.1 Entry

Looks like we got the final word came in on the entry I made for Web 2.1 on Wikipedia and we got negged. My original post about this and a link to the original submission on the site is still accessible though, so perhaps someone can rewrite that and resubmit it more in the style they would like to see.

Not a big loss really, as it will either emerge as something or not. It did provide a personal lesson in regards to such knowledge community issues, the weight of member reputations versus 'outsiders' and the need for something better - so in a sense this is a good thing as it proves many of the points I have been making about the shortcomings of such systems.

Talkin bout a revolution...

Just in case you missed it, now there is also SeattleMindCamp and Ireland TechCamp as well. It makes me so excited to see these experiments cropping up everywhere. I won't be able to make either of these right now, but we have something else in the works which will be announced later today - and hopefully I will be able to get to some of these as they happen elsewhere.

My only hope is that we can have a place for all the organizers and participants to share the knowledge about what works and what doesn't with each other beyond the level of the local events. Whether the location where this information is shared/organized is ubder the BrainJams banner or BarCamp or whatever is next is not the important thing. It is that we come together, globally, to share our passions and contribute to each other's efforts - whether that is with new ideas, with pointers to other resources or with direct effort it can bring nothing but good.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

CNN's Amanapour interviews Syrian President Abbas

From the things that make you go hmmmmmm department:

Kristie and I saw a piece of this interview this morning on CNN while eating breakfast. I can't be sure, but it would seem he might be one of those rulers who uses an iron fist with a velvet glove on it. You can see the interview online and judge for yourself.

Perhaps it is just a coincidence, but a very short while (I think less than an hour) after Amanapour finished grilling Abbas on whether or not Syria had any involvement with the assasination in Lebannon, and what they would do about it if it was proved true, his Interior Minister committed suicide. Then again, the minister had given an interview a few hours earlier where he commented over the radio that this might be his last interview.

Laughter Clubs? HaHa Yoga is spreading...

Thanks to Dan Pink for a pointer to this piece by the San Diego Union Tribune on the emerging trend of Laughter Clubs - no, not Comedy Clubs, but rather groups of people who get together to just plain laugh their asses off in the name of good health.

I guess it makes sense, if several researchers have found through scientific study that laughter is the best medecine, why not?

Squidoo=Variation of Insytes

I was just checking back in on Jeff Jarvis' blog when I saw that 30+ more people commented on his Squidoo piece. I was surprised to see that people were slamming it, apparently not 'getting it' - probably due to the language Seth used which is intended for an audience beyond the developer and tech community. I was even more surprised to see that Seth had posted into the conversation himself (lead by example, lets hope more leaders learn the importance of engagement on a personal level).

Given that Squidoo is very similar to Insytes I kind of went off on a rant to try to explain it better from my perspective. I may have done a good job of it, or perhaps I didn't, but check out the post and my comment on the bottom of the page and let me know what you think. It certainly was not edited or planned (I have a Web site to design for a close friend of mine that is due tonight).

Do you know about AAC?

OK, so this is beyond my normal purview and way out of my line of expertise, but it is so important I thought everyone should really learn about it. There is lots of talk about sustainable business practices, particularly in regards to construction and manufacturing. I really have yet to see many cool, practical implementations that made me sit up and take notice, until one day last week when I caught a DiscoveryHD episode on The Home of the Future.

As a gadget guy who even tried to start a company in the space (InfoApps if you are wondering what company) I was really intrigued to learn more. Some of the cool gadgety things were a refrigerator that suggested recipes based on what you had inside of it and a stove that was also a refrigerator so you could leave your dinner in the fridge/oven and it automatically turns on at a pre-determined time to have dinner ready when you get home (running late, call the stove and slow down the cooking - thats cool!) But they also showed some incredible new building materials.

The most interested of which to me was Autocalve Aerated Concrete (AAC). As strong as regular concrete, but 1/5th the weight, it is also heat resistant, you can SAW it like wood and it actually floats! Read more about it from the Partnership in Accelerating Technology in Housing (PATH) Web site

There was a bunch of other cool stuff they were shoed, but after 15 minutes of searching the Discovery site, I can not locate the program. The reason for this post is in regards to thinking about the Recovery 2 efforts. Right now AAC is a bit more expensive in the U.S. (they have used it for decades in Europe) but it is cheaper to work with (pre-fab blocks can be 4x as big and still weigh less). I am hoping that some of the smart things they are doing are considered appropriately in the rebuilding efforts.

If I had a lot of cash I would build one of these AAC plants - in fact I would build a dozen all around the country and try to educate more people on the benefits - but I build web sites and software, not buildings, so my only hope is to get people to spread the word about such great innovations.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Apple just plain 'gets it'

Not that I am partisan or anything like that, but I am just now catching up on Apple's earlier announcements, and once again they have proven themselves worthy of the adulation. Just look at the remote for the new iMac in comparison to the remotes for the Windows Media Center PC. They really are a tremendous example of a 2.1 mentality - they know how to really provide functionality and an interface that real people can understand and use. Their motto should be:
Simplify it, and they will come.
Then again, I was hoping they would announce a deal with Tivo to directly sync the Tivo to the iPod. So while I am generally ecstatic about the products, the ramifications of the system they are deploying for media as property just sucks. (Give to the Creative Commons fundraising campaign if you have not done so yet) The fact that they will be charging $1.99 per episode may be good for shareholders but is terrible for us working folks. As with my earlier post on Digital Photos though, it is pretty difficult and expensive to make the whole situation simple. In fact, I still have not gotten my Tivo synched with my Mac for taking shows with me, so perhaps it might be worth $1.99 if I missed an episode, but I will avoid doing so as long as I can.

Is this the beginning of the real revolution in Video Journalism though? Only time will tell, but if I were to place a bet today, my guess is that the general public will clamour for this next generation - shipped in time for the holidays even - wow. Its so damn sexy I would run out and by one now if I was not living on a budget. My iMac is not even 7 week old and its already obsolete though - this never ending cycle of whetting and satiating our technolust is starting to wear on me....

But I still want a new iPod - besides, it costs the same as the 5 GB model I bought on the first day it was introduced.

Chris Insytes on digital photos

I was just going to write about wanting to do a VisionQuest 2.0 in preparation for what lies ahead (though there is not time unfortunately, so I will spend some time 'going within' instead). Naturally, I figured I would link to some photos of the Rites of Passage VisionQuest I did at the end of 2001. At the time, Yahoo was really the only easy to use choice for photo sharing that I knew about, so I put them there along with some others. So when I went to grab the URL for the VisionQuest Photos I rediscoverd all of these other photo sets I had there from days gone by. So now my photos are everywhere - on Flickr, on Yahoo photos, on my own PHPGallery site and even on Shutterfly.

I realize I can merge my Flickr and Yahoo accounts, but that will screw up other services I have since I use a Mac - and it will likely mean that I would have to use my Yahoo login instead of my Flickr login. But then again, it always seems that my iPhoto Flickr Export just drags on and on forever so I have a challenge using it as it is - is there some trick to this to optimize the performance? Even if iPhoto Flickr export worked for me properly, I have another problem - before my wonderful girlfriend Kristie (who just launched her own Blog after getting inspired last week) bought me an iMac G5 for my birthday, I lost a lot of my photos when I upgraded my iBook to Tiger and the backup copy I made onto an external hard drive was corrupted (Maxtor firewire problem it seems)

So now my photo collection is just a complete mess - almost as bad as my MP3 collection - with multiple copies everywhere, recent favorites missing etc... I won't even get into all of the photos I have stored in the garage that I would like to get scanned (literally thousands, all the way back to my grandparents baby photos)

As I see it, iPhoto to Flickr is really the best option for managing and sharing photos - but this alone is not enough. You still need a good backup plan running on a regular schedule and you need to consider each photo for its tags and then assemble your albums. Simply put, there is only so much automation you can have - and even less of it for free since this is a complex problem.

I could see where one day we could just have the photo go from the camera to the site wirelessly with a date tag, the GPS in the camera identifies the location, which correlates it to any known events, Ojos automatically tags the photos with the names of the people in it and all you need to do is decide who gets to see it and if there are any witty things you want to say about it. (this just reminded me of seeing a speech by Phillipe Kahn at Interent Everywhere back in 2000 where he talked about his ideas for LightSurf)

So we need a beter way to import photos to Flickr now from all these other places (I heard a rumor that one might be coming for PHPGallery to Flickr) - hopefully more open source developers will find a way to have conversations with average users like me to understand what they could be building that would be really, really useful. We also need for Flickr (or someone) to enable the entire value chain around the digital photography space.

Using "The Communications Strategy" framework on this problem would produce a service that looks like this:
  • Educational materials on "so you want to take digtital photos" - a primer for those who want to know what the fuss is about and then a getting started guide
  • Links to camera review sites, tied together with user opinions on the reviews and their own views on the cameras being reviewed
  • Enable the camera purcahse transaction
  • Educate people in how to use the camera model
  • Educate people in how to use a camera (manual vs point and shoot)
  • Explain the scenarios and usage of photo sharing better
  • Import photos from everywhere possible
  • Photo scanning (do it or enable the economy around it)
  • More user stories of how the power of tagging and ad-hoc groups can be used in cool ways to create communities
  • Provide stronger group functionality (my grandfather need not see those photos of our trip to Couples Resort in Jamaica)
  • Tips for photo editing / design for advanced users
  • Printing
  • Guaranteed backups
  • Licensing of photos via stock agency so that photographs uploaded into the system can be sold - this includes a Creative Commons license that would let designers search for Royalty-free photographs
  • More local user groups for people to get together
  • Community systems for knowledge sharing and passion sharing (ie interests) - perhaps rather than build these, stronger interfaces for integrating with existing communities can be built. Most people dont understand the concept of a Flickr Badge yet
  • A place where the "I Hate Flickr" people can rant so that an understanding can be built of the most commonly experienced problems, which can then be corrected
  • Don't become an evil monopoly - maintain open standards, enable a solutions economy to flourish that provides opportunity to innovators and other service providers - essentially, don't do everything, but facilitate everything and become the trusted source

So, this is totally not what I was supposed to be working on, but since I did, now you can get a sense of what I have been thinking about the last few years with regards to The Communications Strategy (aka The Customer Strategy, Customer Knowledge Management, Customer Experience Lifecycle and too many other silly names over the years to count). As Patricia Seybold said in Business 2.0:
If manufacturers want to own the customers’ branded experience with their products, they need to take responsibility for disseminating all of the product-related information the customer needs to buy and enjoy the product…”
Final Note on a separate rant: I was going to link to Business 2.0's article from which I pulled this quote many years ago, but besides being an impossibly slow site and hard to find with basic text search, I had to join to see the full length article in order to see if it was the right one, so no link to Business 2.0 (or any other media that puts up such barriers to our conversations).

Is everyone sick?

Just got another email last night from a friend who was in town for the Web 2.0 Conference who says he has the flu. That makes 7 people I know (plus myself) who came down with something after the week's activities. Anyone go to the doctor yet? Is it just a cold or is flu season fast upon us?

Since my lunch meeting was cancelled today due to one of those illnesses, I am hoping to get down some of those lessons learned from last week to share with everyone. I also have about 120 tabs open in 8 windows that I want to share/talk about - along with a dozen other longer pieces on items of import. Thankfully for me, I am not totally out of commission, but am certainly not feeling 100%

Finally, last night after some serious soul searching, I have mentally and emotionally commited myself to what's next... expect an announcement at the end of the week. In fact, if you are interested in seeing what we did last week continue and want to be a part, be sure you reach out to me to let me know (seems I dont have the full attendee email list). We are planning a little get together to discuss and would love your input...

Monday, October 10, 2005

Web 2.1: Site stats

A friend asked me how much traffic I was getting on the site and I had not even thought to look until today. It is really interesting to see it go from zero to a thousand plus from site launch on Monday 10/3/05 at around 1am to the day before the event. Also of note, about 20% of tracked referrer links (over 350) came from Chris Pirillo's post on the event - not only is he a nice guy with some great parents and a great partner in Ponzi, but apparently he is pretty widely read too ;)

One of the things we were going to do at the event, but did not have time for since it was not core to the reason for being there, was to have people show how they heard about the event through a pen and paper built social map in the form of a MindMap. Am trying to figure out an easy way to get this done virtually, but don't know of any free tools to do so easily - perhaps an OPML list could do it though, so if someone can take a stab at it and let me know, that would be very cool.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Web 2.1 Wrap Up & The Future

I may have been a principal organizer of the Web 2.1 BrainJam, but it truly was, "Of, by and for the people". It was not about expensive versus inexpensive, though that was a part of the inspiration - it was about enabling real conversation between people with different backgrounds to expand our understanding of one another and the world around us. It was about bringing smart people together for ad-hoc collaboration, fertilizing the conversation with positive intentions, setting a little direction and watching the magic happen. It was about trying some new things in the realm of the unconference and so much more.

While calling it Web 2.1 was a bit of marketing finesse, the intentions were true - we, the creators of technology, should learn to speak the language of the 'average man/woman' and remember it is not about the things people use insomuch as it is about the people who use them. The ideals of what we happily called Web 2.0 earlier this year have been overtaken by the buzz. Web 2.1 was about re-fortifying those core values and bringing some attention back on the people rather than the technology and the hype. Web 2.1 was about bringing creators, users and facilitators together in conversation - to this end, I feel comfortable calling it a success.

Enric posted some very insightful video in addition to the piece that Brian Shields produced for KRON4, Scott from Laughing Squid had a nice post and many photos are available on Flickr. I will be pointing to more articles over the next few days as I get to read them all.

With this email, I wanted to once again thank all of our Patrons for supporting this experiment and putting their faith in our ability to pull it off. I also want to thank my girlfriend Kristie, without whose help I could never have done this. Given the feedback of participants thus far, it would seem we will be doing more of these in the near future - though the what, how, why, who and where questions are still up in the air.

Lessons learned will be gleaned over the next few days along with a discussion centering on what is next. As of now, one thing is for sure, we will be building a community around BrainJams to help others do these types of events, and we hope to collaborate with the BarCamp folks to work towards common goals. If we are remotely successful at getting non-developer business professionals to share more of their knowledge and experience through BrainJams, we will have taken giant strides in making the world a better place. I am deeply thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this in whatever role I end up playing.

The final accounting will be finished in a couple of days after we return a few items to the store we did not use and take care of some other minor administrative stuff. But I wanted to share the good news now - we expect to donate nearly $1,000 to the Internet Archive once the final checks are in. We have also decided that we will donate all the money from registration fees, about $140, to the Creative Commons fundraising drive.

In the end, my best hope in regards to how this event is perceived, is that anyone else can do what we did by understanding how the systems work, how to use Web 2.0/2.1 tools and believing in themselves enough to take that all important leap of faith.

Empower to the people.

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