Tracing the shift from "command and control" to "champion and channel."

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Recalling The 2000 Election - Bush By A Nose

This animation and site are to the point

posted by Jon  # 3:09 PM

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Blogging - A Millenium Tool For The Workplace

My opinion:

Google and Blogger together provide the capability, for organizations, to do what people at work do by sending each other e-mails - but in an easier, more central, and more useful way and place.

This provides organizations with the ability to develop the cultures many of them say they aspire to - but it would require them to honour openness and sharing, not just pay lip service, and punish points of view or information which is not "politically correct".

Imagine - blogs where employees and customers can have conversations, and inform each other.
posted by Jon  # 8:50 PM

On Blogging As The Agent For Wirearchy

From Tom Matrullo at ImProPrieties, a post that hints at the ongoing evolution of wirearchy - the confluence of tools and human activities:

I knew Jeneane Sessum was smart. Now I believe she's seeing something in the conjunction of Google and Blogger that's both very important, and that appears to be escaping others who have commented on the union. She's writing inspired stuff about it.

You don't think that you and us and them talking and linking and listening have magnitudes of power, and have momentum to power change? If not, why are we here? Or maybe it's just me.

If it is ''just her,'' she'll change that. But it's not just her. Others see it too. Here's Phil Wolff, from an email he sent me, quoted with his permission:

I haven't given much thought to the community services Google could whip up. Great catch!
Dynamic blogrolls, based on my last 5 posts. On my entire blog. On my physical neighborhood. Translate my blog.

Bloggers cluster. Show me other clusters I should watch, so I can be a bridge. Understand that comment systems are also bridge material, associated strongly with the commentor's blog, medium with the subject of the comment, and loosely with the other commenters.

Create a composite page of pictures (and related links) posted by people in my neighborhood. Perhaps a screensaver.

Now imagine this in specific org contexts. Team workgroups. Project launches.

Google's agents have 3-to-4 fewer orders of magnitude less filtering to do. So, better quality, faster response. More tacit knowledge.

Jeneane's already started a blog to explore all of this and more. It's called Stir. Keep an eye or a voice on it.

posted by Jon  # 8:44 PM

There is a rapidly-growing amount of commentary (and "forecasting") about what the tag team of Google and Blogger will make manifest.

If the tinder catches fire, I believe force will be created - a force of transparency, a counter-force to the spin and propaganda of the powers-that-be. Veteran bloggers have been suggesting this, hoping for this, trying to create this since the obvious power of "Push-Button Publishing For The People" came into being.

The means exist for beginning to create something other than the monied, closed-connections dynamics of the ruling hierarchy. Perhaps it's not the Internet that is the new revolution to rival Gutenberg's printing press, perhaps it's the distribution, collection and indexing capabilities offered by:

Googlogger ? Bloogler ?

that will allow tapping into the emergent and self-organizing properties - perhaps this will be "The Experiment" that tests whether or not Emergent Democracy is something that collectively we humans aspire to and/or possess ?
posted by Jon  # 7:10 PM
Straight From The Schoolyard, Via The Roman Empire Instruction Booklet

By way of JOHO - a piece by John Perry Barlow, Sympathy For The Devil, in which he suggests there is a Cheney Master Plan (execution by Bush and Powell) that is intended "nobly" to lay the groundwork for lasting peace - by making every one else scared enough to not challenge the USA. He compares this to the Pax Romanus wrought by the Roman Empire, in much the same way this current initiative may unfold.

I suppose it can and will work - for a time. It's like the 14-year old bully that rules the schoolyard because he's actually built like a 21 year-old who's been lifting weights (and buying steroids with the $$$'s he either steals from Mom or the other kids). His mantra: "this schoolyard is mine - wanna try to take it away from me? And you, over there in the corner - I seen you buyin' some steroids - throw 'em away and prove it, or I'm a gonna come and get you".

However, how long can the rest of the world want to live under the American way, which they (the rest of the world) may not agree is the best way to live? And, is this the best way to fragment and crush terrorism, or is it perhaps the best way to ensure that additional inventiveness and desire - to terrorize the bully - are created ?

Well...I'm not saying or thinking anything new - many, many others have already thought and said as much and more. Just adding my voice.

posted by Jon  # 5:46 PM

Monday, February 24, 2003

Bloggers and Brains

They said it. From Corante.com comes the following judgment call:

Paul Andrews explores Google's new foray into weblogging with its purchase
of Pyra Labs, provider of Blogger. "There isn't much money in weblogs,"
writes Andrews. "But there is probably a lot of money in aggregating and
leveraging weblogs in concert with other information sources." He says
blogs "provide a huge public service when you consider the collective
publishing prowess of an estimated half a million to 1 million active
sites," most operated for free. Google's purchase of Pyra gives Google,
continues Andrews, "access to a powerful technology, to the web's cerebral
and to a ready conduit for providing its own blogging service


posted by Jon  # 8:52 AM

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Clueing In and Connecting For Our Future

Britt Blaser's post yesterday at Escapable Logic is thoughtful - for me it brought to mind the powerful hypnotizing effect money has on most of us, and how it (IMO) prevents most of us (or at least a critical mass of "us") from engaging in making real and constructive change.

Rather than remaining the pure mechanism for reflecting exchange of some value, money has become the lifeblood of 21st Century society. And more....it has become "everything" - the means to focus what we do and why we do it (a generalization, I know !!).

Money is also what creates the ruling class today - those who can and are eroding our civil rights (how many of the elected officials in the USA are less-than-upper-middle-class, at worst ?).

The continuing hope that clueing in will someday reach critical mass is (I think) what continues to drive many people who haven't completely capitulated to mindless numb consumerism - and I think the 'Net is that idea and place where building a critical mass is possible. This may not happen super-consciously, as there is so much system and inertia conspiring against it - but it may appear as an emergent and evolutive phenomenom. If not, we're hooped (IMO).

Money has become the instrument for creating hierarchy - either through election to positions of power and control, or through compensation schemes where height in the hierarchy is rewarded in over-proportion to contribution.

Wirearchy will be about the possibilities offered by concerted, purposeful thought and action that is enabled by people being connected to each other - to bring into being together, to co-create - rather than follow what someone up there has said they should or will do.

posted by Jon  # 10:10 AM

Thursday, February 20, 2003

At various blog rinks (areas of the blogosphere frequented by me) there's lots of conversations going on about the Google-Pyra announcement. As one cynic stated, at least the VC's will know learn about blogging to some degree.

It's also likely that many more blogging tools will arise - from Doc Searls, here's an announcement about NewsMonster
posted by Jon  # 8:25 PM

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

At ImProPrities I found a Flash animation engrossing enough to watch to the end at 6.45 a.m., while my partner was

a) getting ready to go to work, and

b) getting ready to go to the Dominican Republic in 11 hours

And here I am watching this Flash animation !!

Check it out - it's called WW 2.5 , and it's about the war we're gonna watch on a screen near you - any day now

posted by Jon  # 7:14 AM

This is very nice - via Michael O'Connor Clarke:

Web chat 911 saves life

"As an antidote to the dreadfully sad story blogged by Jeneane about the live online death of Brandon Vedas, comes this remarkable story of Darlene Laurie, net-savvy grandmother who suffered a minor stroke whilst chatting online and was rescued as a result of people in 10 states of the US working together to track down her address and alert the RCMP.

From today's Globe & Mail:

"Someone in Pennsylvania had a phone number for Ms. Laurie; someone in Connecticut had an address. Someone in Kennewick, Wash., contacted the RCMP in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby.

The police sent a patrol car to Ms. Laurie's home and, after receiving no response, the Mounties forced their way in.

Less than two hours after she lost consciousness, Ms. Laurie, who is housebound with an autoimmune disease that is progressively damaging her eyes, kidney and heart, was under medical care at a local hospital for a minor stroke.

A lot of people dismiss a computer as an impersonal machine, Ms Laurie said yesterday in an interview. "It is not. There are real feelings in there."

That's it. A Small Piece, Loosely Joined - kept alive by the connections.

posted by Jon  # 6:40 AM

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

I wonder if Switching Off will turn into a major movement some day - when WiFi is all around and computers and connectivity are wearable, will we be able to make the bigger switch-off - not interacting with the wired world for any period of time?

Lest we forget.
posted by Jon  # 8:05 PM

Here goes. Chris sent me this when I sent him a strong new piece of work by Joi Ito

"Wow, yeah. Very cool.

I was wondering something…time and so on being what it is, how would you feel about changing our approach to the blog a little so that we didn’t just paste links with a bit of commentary, but instead tried to make some conversation happen there? It might start with a “Chris, have a look at this piece by Joi Ito. What do you make of the section on trust?” To which I might reply that Ito nails it when he talks about trust coming from within rather than through externally imposed codes.

I could add a comments server to the template, so others can put in their two cents worth as well.

This would probably make what we’re doing with the blog a little more interesting, engaging and also helpful in advancing thinking along the lines of the book.

And if we titled each entry with one of a set of agreed upon subject headings (say chapter heading from the outline) then we could eventually aggregate a lot of the writing under the various subject headings and have something like a draft.

I love the conversations we have, and miss the way that my thinking gets sparked when we’re not in the same space together. We’re preaching wirearchy, how about we try practicing it there too? Whatcha think?


To which I reply that I think blogging will become a new social construct for exchanging e-mails, ideas, images etc.in which we write, sing, paint our personalities and relationships. And so yeah we should and will practice.

Come to think of it - if there weren't so much fear and politics inside organizations, and between them and their customers, blogs are the natural evolution for the clustering, clumping and cross-semination of information and process in organizations.

posted by Jon  # 4:22 PM

The PowerLaw and Blogging

From the Guardian Online, a piece that cuts across a strict statistical interpretation of "the power law" -

It argues that blogging can and does build relationships, ties - and the interaction between strong ties and weak ties can lead to something more than a statistical (and rigid) hierarchy of connectedness and distribution.
posted by Jon  # 3:55 PM

I agree that this seems like the best reason for Google buying Pyra Labs
posted by Jon  # 9:25 AM

Of the essence, via Ming

Joi Ito on Emergent Democracy

In an age of transparency, what can be the alternative(s) to some form of direct democracy. The medium forces the issue.
posted by Jon  # 9:11 AM

Google eats Blogger.

Glooger ? Bloogle ? Blooger ?
posted by Jon  # 9:07 AM

Saturday, February 15, 2003

These two posts, by Brit Blaser about Personal Flight Recorders (PFR's) and an Age of Transparency, and Ming about how people get together on purpose - are for me important elements of how wirearchy will function and what it will mean to us.
posted by Jon  # 5:57 PM
Postmodernism is Dead: Now What? Distributed culture and the rise of the network age by Samuel R. Smith

Nice context piece on the shift from metanarratives to network stories.

posted by Unknown  # 4:04 PM

Friday, February 14, 2003

I think this is just great, very interesting - Britt Blaser is a smart guy, I think (there' s some context at his blog that is useful):

The Top 10 Characteristics of the Productive Few

They put their head around the entire problem.
They find it easier to do something than to describe it.
They master many skills.
They're not interested in the periphery of productivity—reports, regulations, politics.
They resent superficial thinking—the denial that God is in the details.
They think that results matter, so they admit and fix mistakes.
They're not usually impressive to others nor do they try to impress.
They're a little mystified by the pecking order and most people's dedication to it.
They want a quiet place with good tools to do their work.
They usually work for, and enrich, people who are precise opposites of these traits.
There's more, but ten's my limit. What's amazing is that the Productive Few are here at all.

Through most human history, we've not had the means to even remember what preceded us, beyond myth and propaganda. The dominant male, the type that has none of those 10 characteristics, directed all activity but in a vague way, and no one considered alternative actions, cause and effect, etc. With the Atomic Age, TV and, of course, the Internet, we believe that mistakes can be both deadly and avoided, and we see the results of our deliberations in the newly shared archive. This has triggered a more fundamental instinct than most: the fear of embarrassment. Being "found out" may be our most basic fear, because it can lower you on the pecking order, so it's now vital to not only be in charge of your organization, but to have it do the right things.

posted by Jon  # 5:52 PM

Blix and El Baradei have just delivered reports to the Un suggesting substantial cooperation and progress regarding the Iraq inspections.

At least it will be blatantly obvious (as if it wasn't already), when the US attacks, that this is a Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Powell initiative and that they are ignoring what the rest of the world wants.
posted by Jon  # 8:33 AM

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Via Joi Ito

Bush has a new song.... he composed it himself.... Must be sung to the tune of "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands":

If you cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq.
If the markets are a drama, bomb Iraq.
If the terrorists are frisky,
Pakistan is looking shifty,
North Korea is too risky,
Bomb Iraq.

If we have no allies with us, bomb Iraq.
If we think someone has dissed us, bomb Iraq.
So to hell with the inspections,
Let's look tough for the elections,
Close your mind and take directions,
Bomb Iraq.

It's "pre-emptive non-aggression", bomb Iraq.
Let's prevent this mass destruction, bomb Iraq.
They've got weapons we can't see,
And that's good enough for me
'Cos it'all the proof I need
Bomb Iraq.

If you never were elected, bomb Iraq.
If your mood is quite dejected, bomb Iraq.
If you think Saddam's gone mad,
With the weapons that he had,
(And he once p*ssed off your dad),
Bomb Iraq.

If your corporate fraud is growin', bomb Iraq.
If your ties to it are showin', bomb Iraq.
If your politics are sleazy,
And hiding that ain't easy,
And your senates getting queasy,
Bomb Iraq.

Fall in line and follow orders, bomb Iraq.
For our might knows not our borders, bomb Iraq.
Disagree? We'll call it treason,
Let's make war not love this season,
Even if we have no reason,
Bomb Iraq.

posted by Jon  # 11:07 PM

Very interesting stuff from Clay Shirky - about the dynamics of attention and power in the Blogosphere. Not yet digested all of it:

posted by Jon  # 11:02 PM


How About This?

Why don’t we settle this in the good, old-fashioned way? Let’s put George II and Saddam in a grassy field surrounded by cheering spectators. No weapons—just bare knuckles (or gloves, I suppose). If Saddam knocks George out, the US leaves the Gulf and we let the inspectors do the work that the UN has commissioned them to do, without browbeating the UN to start a war that only the US wants to start. If George wins, Saddam steps down and the UN oversees a peaceful transition to a new, hypothetically-democratic regime. No more than two people get injured this way (unless they start rioting in Oakland), and it makes about as much sense as a war. George looks to me as though he’s in better shape.

posted by Jon  # 10:53 PM

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

I learned today that an acquaintance from my neighbourhood, Duncan MacDonnell, committed suicide several days ago.

I met Duncan about 6 or 7 years ago, as we were both going to meetings of various interested people, trying to find place where we could connect. Connecting is often a tough thing for people who are a bit different. If you're smart, well-read, extend different-than-mainstream ideas or challenge people to think differently, it can be very difficult to find a way to hold a job, make a living, or find somewhere (such as connection and acceptance within a social circle) that feels like your place in the world.

Duncan was clearly very smart and aware. He was a university grad in Communications from a well-known college in Nova Scotia. He was obviously from an upper-middle-class Canadian family, one of those quintessentially Canadian families that values education, citizenship, social democracy. He was also polite, well-informed, curious, eager to be helpful and socially extroverted - just not ever very sure of himself - so, just like 98% of the rest of us.

I tried a number of times over the years to extend a hand, get to know him better, ask questions that might be useful for him to chew on - it was not easy.

I felt a sense of having something in common with Duncan several times when I talked with him - both of us had fathers were very well-educated highly opinionated men (Duncan's father was a Supreme Court judge in Nova Scotia). I often felt I recognized, in Duncan's struggles to find himself and fit in, my own feelings of discomfort in attempting to find a voice for myself - and a platform (such as a job), and I believe we shared a sense that such struggles come from our deeply-embedded belief that we must find a way to please and/or prove ourselves to our father.

As part of his journey, in the last couple of years Duncan became very interested in Celtic mythology and ritual - no doubt because of his heritage, and no doubt in an attempt to find something with which he could become deeply involved and use as a way to make meaning for himself.

He also went to Yoga classes, and from checking in with him every once in a while, I know that he explored self-development through therapy, personal development courses and writing (poetry and articles).

Namaste, Duncan

posted by Jon  # 7:16 PM

Here's a report, via the Guardian on the Politics of Code conference at which Larry Lessig and others explored the evoution of what William Gibson called our "consensual hallucination".

Dozens of speakers confirmed our worst fear. Not only is the old-fashioned nation state alive and well but the virtual nation we call the net is increasingly under attack from the real world.

If the Internet was ever a nation unto itself, then the borders are being torn down now. The message from the conference was that, far from being an offshore utopia, floating off from the real world and not subject to its laws, the net is going to be subject to greater control and more stringent regulation than we ever imagined.

The culprit is "code", the zeros and ones from which everything in the networked world is necessarily made. Code - the rules embodied in software - will provide governments and corporations with the tools they need to lock down the net, eliminating important real world concepts such as "fair use" of copyright material and imperilling the fragile public domain itself.

posted by Jon  # 5:06 PM

Britt Blaser on some of the macro effects of wiredness on the nature of work and orgnizations, and the type of socio-cultural impacts that are emerging:

An interesting point of view.

posted by Jon  # 12:56 PM

Monday, February 10, 2003

From a knowledgeable and respected source - James Gleick (I wonder how this eventually work out - or if it will)

James Gleick delves into the monster that is spam, a "bane" with "no promise of a happy ending." The president of a large ISP: "Spam has become the organized crime of the Internet... more and more it's becoming a systems and engineering and networking problem... It's more depressing than you think. Spammers are gaining control of the Internet."

The article: "The cost is now widely estimated at billions of dollars a year. The social costs are immeasurable: people fear participating in the collective life of the Internet, they withdraw or they learn to conceal their e-mail addresses... The signal-to-noise ratio nears zero, and trust is destroyed.
" Depressing.

posted by Jon  # 1:45 PM

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Several colleagues - Carol MacKinnon, Ken Milloy - and myself "played" with colloaborative decision-making software a fair bit in 1995 and 1996.

We set up an immensely successful "Electronic Lounge" at the 1995 Canadian Human Resources National Conference (CCA), and I trid to introduce the capabilities of Grouputer to the tiny market here in Vancouver.

Grouputer is from Australia - it was (maybe still is ?) way cool - you could have up to 48 or so people (less, of course) in groups of 4 around one of 12 keyboards. On the screens/monitors were the application interface - the top hals was one space, and the bottom half was up to 12 individual spaces (depending upon how many keyboards were being used).

In response to issues/questions, you could see the various responses as they occurred in the individual work spaces. Then, a facilitator would work with the group to develop the responses into consensus (or other uses, if desired).

This tool was great for "levelling the playing field", in terms of peoples' inclinations to either speak up or hold back - lots more rich input, much less domination by ego. AND, it was different han using e-mail. The combination of electronic input with face-to-face interaction was always very positive and constructive.

I don't know why it wasn't used more often - personally, I think it was because "back then" it made it too obvious that there was a power shift just lurking - if we always did things this way, wouldn't it be quite different ?! in the remembered words of one participant.

In yesterday's Toronto Globe and Mail, the "e-Insider" brings us up to date on the increasing use of a technology that has been around for at least 7 years. It looks like it's getting mainstream.

Is that the social equivalent of Moore's Law - that innovation takes at least 7 years to begin to be widely adopted, when it has direct impact on engrained social habits and structures ?

Here's the article.
posted by Jon  # 9:11 AM

A new blog, by Sarah Lai Stirland, at Corante.com, on things wirearchical,

An early post offers a manifesto of sorts.
posted by Jon  # 6:44 AM

Sunday, February 02, 2003

The Global Brain: neurons by Wirearchy
posted by Unknown  # 5:05 PM
CNN.com - Bishops seek saint for Internet - Feb. 1, 2003

Fed up with hackers, a flood of spam and lousy connections, Italian Roman Catholics have launched a search for a patron saint of the Internet. And they hope their online poll will yield a holy Web protector by Easter.

Will it be Archangel Gabriel, whom the Bible credits with bringing Mary the news that she'd give birth to Jesus? Or Saint Isadore of Seville, who wrote the world's first encyclopedia? Or perhaps Saint Clare of Assisi, a nun believed to have seen visions on a wall?

So far, about 5,000 visitors are casting their votes daily on www.santiebeati.it, something that delights Monsignor James P. Moroney, an expert on prayer and worship for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"Everyone needs patrons in the Kingdom of Heaven, and perhaps the Internet as a very young child needs the interventions of a saint all the more," he said...

Whether the Vatican will heed the results of the Web poll is not clear. Their press office had no official comment on the matter.

"We know that names have been discussed here and there, but as far as we know there's nothing official going on," a press officer said.

How could the Catholic Church NOT heed the results of the Web poll for crying out loud?

posted by Unknown  # 12:40 AM

Saturday, February 01, 2003

How computer code dictates learning loads at Simon Fraser University. Some dark side stuff. Wirearchy morphing out of good intentions...
posted by Unknown  # 9:55 PM

A practical application of wirearchy. John Snyder. a recording industry executive, waxes eloquent on Salon, about why sharing is inevitable...and good for business:

People want what they want and they have made their choices. They will still buy CDs, but they want to download music. The failure of the music business to provide a comparable alternative to peer-to-peer networks is the most logical explanation for the "illegal" downloading of music. And rather than address the problem by examining their own behavior, the music companies declare the consumer to be their enemy, support intrusive, overreaching legislation, and act precisely against their best interests. This remains true even in the face of the recent truce the RIAA agreed to with several technology groups. Rather than realize the profit potential of that about which they complain, they try to kill it, then they try to control it. Now they're trying to control the consumer. As O'Reilly points out in his final paragraph:

"And that's the ultimate lesson. 'Give the wookie what he wants!' as Han Solo said so memorably in the first 'Star Wars' movie. Give it to him in as many ways as you can find, at a fair price, and let him choose which works best for him."

posted by Jon  # 7:26 PM


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