Thursday, July 31, 2008

open publish presentation - the truth about enterprise 2.0

I was going to put up all the links but Michael Sampson got there first.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

podcast - slow communities with nancy white

Nancy has been writing & talking a lot about "slow community" recently - video, slides & post here & here. Sadly Ed Mitchell couldn't join us as planned (but we'll nab him again in the future).

One thing we didn't tackle in the podcast was the matter of practical tactics: What should community members & coordinators do?

Answers on a postcard please...

Download the mp3

00:00 - Nancy's conversations about slow communities
03:30 - Matt's fast community anecdote
06:00 - When is slow appropriate?
06:30 - The importance of sustainability
07:15 - Fast is good for social media experiments
08:00 - We need to learn & reflect
10:30 - Rhythm, pausing & athletics
12:15 - Organisational seasons & hurricanes
14:00 - More is not necessarily better
15:30 - Community obesity
17:00 - Networks & comununities
18:00 - Admitting that you have a problem
20:00 - Mindfulness & self-awareness as critical skills
22:30 - Nancy applies the brakes with meditation
24:00 - What do we really need?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

podcast - story (2) - tony quinlan, geoff mead & ron donaldson

I joined Tony Quinlan, Geoff Mead (Centre for Narrative Leadership) & Ron Donaldson for a discussion on stories

Download the mp3

00:00 - Tony tells us the one about Joseph Campbell & the IBM manufacturing plant
03:15 - Geoff Mead tells us the one about the conference & the storytellers
05:45 - Ron Donaldson tells us the one about English Nature
07:50 - Stories need space (& time)
09:30 - The simplest story can be the most effective: Geoff & the wet Wednesday in Nottingham
11:45 - Metaphors: Tony with the anthill & the meteor
14:30 - Ron with the twice washing of the sand
19:30 - Tony tells us about the new leader
21:00 - Ron tells us about story circles
22:00 - Geoff tells us about leading as a verb
24:00 - Leadership as contextual and worst practice
25:30 - Stories as triangulation
27:00 - Stories as cultural glue
27:30 - Oxytocin, laughter & bonding
28:45 - Story not necessarily benign
29:00 - Overcoming divisions

podcast - enterprise 2.0 - doug cornelius & stewart mader

Last week I had the pleasure of talking to Doug Cornelius & Stewart Mader about all things Enterprise 2.0 (sadly Stephen Collins had to drop out at the last minute).

Download the mp3

00:00 - Doug visits the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston
02:45 - Many many vendors - they love E2.0!
04:00 - The CIA & Intellipedia
04:30 - Wachovia Bank
06:15 - Stewart goes Web Content 2008, Enterprise 2.0 in Italy & 2008 WikiSym
07:45 - Social Network Analysis of Wikipatterns
08:15 - iPhone location-based social networking service & Stewart's dog's bladder
09:15 - Wikis cease to be a novelty - beyond Wikipedia
10:30 - CIA again
11:45 - My favourite Clay Shirky quote - are we boring yet?
12:30 - Training as a barrier to adoption - wikis are simple
13:20 - Email is not the zenith
14:45 - Wikis get out of the way
15:15 - Wikis as the iPod box
17:00 - What will happen in 2009?
19:00 - The steady curve rather than the tidal wave
21:00 - Wikis as a natural solution for unstructured information
22:10 - Writing the "wikipatterns" book on a wiki
23:30 - It's not about shocking people
24:30 - Awe instead
25:00 - The Bush reference I can't censor
25:15 - Giving & taking
27:45 - Wiki adoption happens at the lunch table
30:45 - The future of traditional blogs inside the enterprise
33:00 - The melting pot of tools
34:00 - The globalisation of everything

podcast preview - salty language

Doug, Stewart & I discuss the finer points of swearing. Not mission critical but a lot of fun and only 2 mins long.

Download the mp3

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

upcoming attractions

I will be at Open Publish next Thursday, telling you the truth about Enterprise 2.0 and then Enterprise 2.0 for Information Professionals a couple of weeks after that.

In the virtual world, there are podcasts on Enterprise 2.0, Story & Slow Communities that will be released very shortly.

And then my alter ego will be in the line-up here this Saturday and here on Monday August 4.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

community in a can: ning vs wordframe vs facebook

Over the past few months, I've got involved in more & more online communities using a range of different tools.

Ning - Getting more & more popular, Ning offers a pretty good entry-level on-line community environment. You can create a personal profile & blog, you can incorporate a forum, video & photo uploading, all that stuff. Obviously Ning has been designed for "fun" communities than "work" communities. There is no native wiki functionality and no real document management capabilities. Boo!!!

Wordframe - As the name suggests, Wordframe is more about words. You get wiki stuff, a document library and the ability to incorporate external blog feeds into the environment. Wordframe is not available for free.

Facebook (again) - As noted earlier, I'm not too keen on Facebook. However given its omnipresence you could do worse for an online community environment. Apart from a forum & a wall, you don't get a whole heap of functionality and precious little customisation. But sometimes it's more about where you are than what you're doing.

This Techcrunch article is pretty good - though might now be out of date...

plaxo vs facebook vs linkedin - social network showdown

Andrew McAfee recently added to the Serena Facebook-As-Intranet case study. Which prompted an SNS review thang in my head.

I still have issues with Facebook. I think it's a bit of a mess and doesn't give enough control to the individual in terms of identity management. 80 million active users (according to Facebook) would disagree. However it is still a trail-blazer in terms of application development (even if most of them are really annoying).

LinkedIn has 24 million members (according to LinkedIn). If anything, LinkedIn is not messy enough. The Q&A functionality is nice. LinkedIn is the kind of social networking tool you could introduce to your mother (after your rebellious phase of wearing a leather jacket and hanging out with MySpace). As I once got a job via LinkedIn, I can't really complain but there is so much missing from here - e.g. some network visualisation stuff would be cool. LinkedIn seem to know this and have added status updates and some feed integration. But no one would make LinkedIn their intranet.

Plaxo is surprising me. After it gained an uneviable reputation as a spam machine a few years back, I went back in there a few weeks ago to be confronted with LinkedIn's cooler cousin. The design is smooth and spare. And the Pulse page pulls together your connections' blogs, Twitter, Flickr,, etc. Again - a bit lacking on the visualisation front.

I think it takes a particular kind of organisation to have Facebook as their intranet. However there are an increasing number of organisations creating SNS applications within the firewall. Over the next 12 months, we're definitely going to see links between these internal applications and the external ones listed above. And that's without mentioning the acquistion of VisiblePath by Hoovers....

the sorting out

I have been pondering the purpose of this blog. And I'm still pondering. But here are some preliminary conclusions:
  • I'm kinda over republishing links to content without adding anything to them. You can see what's floating my boat on
  • There is the other blog - which will be the home of all things to do with the business. In the end, I may merge the two (which means bad news for half of the extensive ghost writing teams I use - come on guys, polish those insights or it's back to road sweeping for you). At the moment, I want Engineers without Fears to be more playful & collaborative. The podcasts will still be coming via this channel.
  • If it's short, it'll be on Twitter - unless it's really, really good. I mean Oscar Wilde good.
  • There may be some more media experimentation. The podcasts are fun but I think this can all be taken further...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

podcast - zombie marketing - sean howard & katie chatfield

Join Sean Howard, Katie Chatfield & myself for a discussion of: Zombie Marketing. I don't know much about marketing by Sean & Katie do.

Download the mp3.

Show Notes:
00:00 - Interesting Moose
01:20 - Zombie Marketing 1: Crazy Rug Sale Marketing
02:40 - Zombie Marketing 2: Late Night Ads In The Early Evening
03:20 - SuperBowl
05:00 - Angelina Jolie's Lips
08:30 - Mobile Advertising
09:00 - Pharmaceutical Mystery Stories
11:00 - Beauty Products & White Coats
12:30 - Science Montage Advertising
13:55 - The Justice League Of Brands
14:20 - Product Placement - Gossip Girl
16:00 - Product Placement - Drugs & Guns
17:00 - Clothing & Branding
20:00 - Anti-Zombie Marketing
21:30 - Not Letting You Love It
23:30 - Showers
26:30 - Phone Spammer Bus Burning Vacation
27:00 - AT&T Outbound Atrocity

Monday, July 14, 2008

hybrid meaning making: human / computer cognition

Basil: Can't we get you on Mastermind, Sybil? Next contestant Sybil Fawlty from Torquay, special subject the bleeding obvious.

Back in April, I posted about the Powerhouse Museum's use of human tagging along with automatic indexing.

A flood of things have triggered some further thoughts on this topic. I finally got round to reading Clay Shirky's stuff on gin, sitcoms & cognitive surplus. Then CapitalD sent out tweet with this video presentation by Luis von Ahn on human cognition. Big Lou is running a game called ESP that generates metadata on photographs under the guise of providing entertainment. Sneaky huh?

Meanwhile on the other side of town...

I am doing some research around photography & images at the moment - and encountered the Second international Photo Metadata Conference held in Malta a month ago. One presentation that caught my eye was by Chris Town on Imense.

Imense is a search engine that uses automated image processing to generate results.

Time for a showdown: Imense vs Google Images.

Round One. Let's start with something simple: a "Syndey sunset". Here is Imense & here is Google. Really not that much in it. Some good stuff and nothing wildly off-beam. A tie.

Round Two. How about "an elderly lady holding a broom"? Here's Google. The image on my list is a palpable hit however number 3 ain't even close. Over to you Imense. Er, Imense? What's that? "Sorry, no results found. Please change the query or search options and try again." Nul point there.

Round Three. Time for something metaphysical - how about "sadness"? Google comes back with these and Imense comes back with these. On the whole, both pretty darn miserable. Another tie. Keep going.

Round Four. OK - I like the work of Powell & Pressburger so how about something from The Red Shoes. So in goes "red shoes movie" and out comes? Well Google's first link is for this but by image number 4 it gets there. And Imense? Not even close.

It's 2-4 to Google. This is may simply be down to the number of images that Imense is dealing with - a larger pool with give better results. But it seems that while Imense may work with obvious stuff ("I need a picture with 3 people being chased down a beach by a dog"), it doesn't seem to handle the non-obvious stuff better.

How could Big Lou's approach dovetail with Chris's?

My suspicion is that our attempts to deal with the vast amounts of stuff (words, pictures, sounds) that we are producing will require a human/computer hybrid approach. This will make two groups unhappy - those that believe that raw computing power can solve any problem and those that believe that machines have no role to play in human meaning making.

For the rest of us, it's all very promising.

apple: technology that chicks like

There is an old, old diss in electronic dance music: "It's OK I guess. Yeah, I can really see gurlz liking that".

Because blokes like nerdy detail - fiddling about with basslines & noises & gadgets & suchlike. Design as an autistic journey up your own fundament. Whereas chicks tend to prefer music that makes sense as more than pure experiment - as something social & sociable, as something useful & desirable. Of course, the irony was: whenever chicks left a scene (be it jungle, UK garage, etc), the originality of the output would nosedive. The tension in dance music is between giving people what they want and then showing them what they never knew they wanted. Between experiment & familiarity.

Anyway, I was mildly surprised by the level of excitement shown by various women in my life about the new iPhone. These aren't just gadgets - these are designer objects (like a Marc Jacobs or Prada creation). And all designer objects are ultimately social objects of one sort or another.

I am not sure what the links between the iPhone &, say, Funky House are. But I suspect they could get me into very hot water. What do you think?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

search as point of sale

Google has become an advertising powerhouse because it catches people at that special moment: When they know they need something and are trying to find it. They may not be willing to spend money then & there but they are more willing to hand over the cash than when they are engaged in some non-related activity such as brushing their teeth or walking the dog.

Intranet or internal search within an organisation should be prized by those offering internal services - such as HR, Training, Facilities, etc. It offers you that opportunity to reach people when they need you - esp. in large organisations where actually finding the people responsible for these is often tricky.

Yet based on the lack of effort put into search engine effectiveness, these groups do not seem to get this. Why is that?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Sunday, July 06, 2008

podcast - viv mcwaters & geoff brown on facilitation

More podcast goodness with Viv McWaters & Geoff Brown (who have their own podcast channel called Winkipod).

Download the mp3.

Show Notes:
00:00 - Introduction - Sick kids, adrenalin junkies & improvisation.
05:00 - Geoff's camping holidays: Being Prepared vs. Having A Plan.
09:30 - Matt bounces up and down on the unscripted trampoline.
11:30 - Facilitation begins long before the event.
16:30 - Facilitation as transformation.
18:20 - What happens "beyond the event horizon"? What are the transitions?
20:00 - "Random Acts of Traction" - Before, During & After.
25:50 - The offer of support.
29:00 - Facilitators as Collective Memory.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

the new gig

So Innotecture now exists as a formal company. With an ACN, ABN, TFN 'n' everything. Which is all very well but what it really requires is some clients with needs & cash...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

enterprise 2.0 lunch in sydney - tuesday 8 july

Next Tuesday there'll be an informal lunch for Enterprise 2.0 enthusiasts @ 1 pm Tues 8 July @ Sussex Centre Food Court, Level 1, 401 Sussex St, Haymarket, NSW 2000. I will have some kind of sign.

Pass it on.

*"social software inside the enterprise" to give it an ever so slightly less annoying title.

podcast - madelyn blair & shawn callahan on storywork

I had the pleasure of discussing storywork with Madelyn Blair & Shawn Callahan this morning. Madelyn & Shawn set up the Ning Worldwide Story Work group and Madelyn is also involved with the Golden Fleece group. Enjoy!

Download the mp3.

Show Notes:
00:00 - Introductions: Madelyn & Shawn's first introduction to storywork.
04:00 - Stories that stick in your mind: Madelyn's story of the Swedish ambassador, the mosque & the stone.
06:00 - Shawn distinguishes between storylistening & storytelling.
08:30 - "Storytelling" as a bit overwhelming vs things that you do everyday.
11:15 - The use of objects in storytelling - Madelyn applies this to mission statements.
13:00 - The importance of context & duckus duckus.
16:00 - Getting different groups to talk.
18:10 - Scientific papers as mystery stories.

sun writing (1): the first photo

Do you know where the first photo is?

Not who took it (it was Joseph Nicéphore Niépce).

Not where it was taken (Chalon-sur-Saône, France).

But where it is now.

It's in Austin, Texas.

Niépce called his new technology heliography - or sun writing.