Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

Month: December 2009 Page 1 of 3

Empathy and Authenticity

My New Years resolution is to be authentic.

Obviously this is easier said than done if it needs to be a “resolution”. As I venture into video blogging, a rush of emotions overtakes me when I watch and hear myself on the computer screen. I cringe at my double chin, my tired aged look, and my tremendous ability to botch the English language.

What else am I supposed to do? That guy has something that he wants to say. That guy spent many years trying to understand a discovery that he made and he feels strongly enough about it to share it with others. That guy is talking about it and who am I to stop him.

I wish I were more eloquent, I wish the camera were more “slimming” and I wish that I were smarter like all the other Social Media celebrities that I read of. I hope all my Face book friends don’t think that I am a babbling idiot. I hope my family does not think that I am reflecting badly on them.

But Social Media is a strange beast – I have so little control over where a communication goes, how it is interpreted, and who gets to read it after I have posted it. I even lost control over my video producer and his creative staff (my two awesome kid brothers). I try to tell them to make the videos serious and dignified but they insist that “Flames” and “Heavy Metal” theme music are much better.

That coupled with an economy on the edge, a divided country, and a long list of “unknowns – and I have no control over anything except the “publish” button. Yes, I still control the publish button – and publish I shall.

One ancient girlfriend calls me a blowhard in the comments, headhunters run for cover, employers won’t hire an old “radical” like me, I tend to attract RNC stalkers, and other friends just shrug their shoulders at the inability to find the right category for me in their logically parsed world view.

But then I get people out of nowhere who just blow me away with their generosity. They call the Ingenesist Project “Pure Genius” and tell me that I articulate the ideas “splendidly”. Obviously they are talking about someone else.

Visionaries come out of the woodwork to adopt my in their own work; some provide material support and others provide me with knowledge on how to navigate the social media environment better. Others provide me with connections to smart and influential people. This is becoming a multiple-daily occurrence – that, again, I have no control over.

As Chris Brogan says in his book Trust Agents, “People have very sophisticated bullshit filters”. This is as true for my stalkers and my supporters as it is for myself. Bullshit is in the eyes of the beholder. So when I review my blog article or I watch my latest video, I need to confront the idea that I could be bullshitting myself. I control the publish button – that is the moment of truth.

The Nativity

Title: The Nativity

by Martin Schongauer (c. 1448 – 2 February 1491)

Oil on panel (37 × 28 cm) — c. 1480; Gemäldegalerie der Staatlichen Museen, Berlin

Martin Schongauer biography This work is linked to Luke 2:16

Joseph, Mary, the ass, the ox and the shepherds all admire the new-born child lying on a bundle of straw covered by a blanket.

The style of this work shows resemblance to that of the Southern Netherlandish master Rogier van der Weyden, whose work Schongauer is believed to have closely studied.

nativity

Father Christmas

Greg Lake’s Christmas song I Believe In Father Christmas has always been one of my favorites. By the Magic of YouTube, I found this video from 1975. This was close to the time that the Vietnam War had ended.

This video really caught me by surprise in it’s reverence, then darkness, and then joy – in 3 minutes. On further research, I had no idea how controversial the song was.  While some called it anti-religous, others called it a stand against materialism. Such diversity of action and reaction is the definition of an Art form.  For this we celebrate.

And to think that each and every one of us has the same power to communicate our vision that rock stars still dreamed of 35 years ago. May we learn how to use it wisely.

Greg Lake stated that it sometimes brings some strange reactions. Some people have said it’s anti-religious… but in reality it’s really about objecting to the commerciality of Christmas and trying to remind people basically ‘the Christmas you get you deserve.’ It’s all about giving; it’s the joy of giving. That was the real intention of the song.

Thank You for Flying Citizen Airlines, LLC

I will be introducing a number of applications of Innovation Economics in Social Media as continue writing part 2 of my book. The objective is to identify new business opportunities by disrupting the old economic paradigm with new ways to organize people around social media. In this case, a troubled industry would team up with communities that are not their direct customers:

Corporate-jet-001I live in Edmonds Washington near Paine Field – home of the sprawling Boeing manufacturing site of the 747, 777, and 787 aircraft. For years, the county executives have been trying to lure major airline service into Paine Field Airport claiming the economic benefits would far outweigh the drawbacks. Paine Field is about 1 hour north of Seattle Tacoma Airport and about 3 hours South of Vancouver, BC.

Many efforts over the years to locate another airport in this gap have hit political and environmental land mines. Paine Field expansion is no different. For years, the county, state, and FAA have been funding “improvements” that look a lot like accommodations for scheduled airline service. The county executive has been courting carriers, lobbying ‘unaffected voters’ and corralling legislators to this grand economic development cause.

The citizens of neighboring communities have not stood still. They have commissioned studies of every environment and quality of life factor from home value impact to distracted learning at the local schools. They cite urban blight, social deviance, and under development at other similar expansion projects. Political careers are made and broken over support or opposition to the airport expansion.

So far, the market has not proven large enough to support a major B737 sized scheduled service. Ironically, there have been very few studies of the impact of private aviation service expansions. Little data is discussed related to the noise foot print of small jets versus large jets. Very little data is presented to the community about distributed vs. concentrated air and car traffic flows and the upscale effects of a private aviation presence.

To the community’s advantage, small private carriers can soak up and diffuse the market that would eventually support a major carrier. These battles are raging all over the country against the political mantra of Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Local communities are running out of money, lawyers, and stall tactics to fight them.

With the price of seat on a (full) private Jet about the same as a business class ticket on a major airline, local communities may want to go into the travel agency business. By using community media, website, a booking website, twitter alerts, and tourism agents to identify and match travelers to destinations combined with some proactive social media marketing, Citizen Airlines LLC can stave off an airport expansion by competing with it.

Meanwhile, unemployed citizens are available to manage an on-line Community Branded jet service (operated by a private carrier). Advertising and marketing can be transferred to the community in exchange for reduced rates and shared access to private aviation reports and data which would help them fight airline expansion.

This requires that the private aviation industry empower communities who are not necessarily their direct customers but are stakeholders none the less. Social Capitalism is the act of elevating oneself by elevating the entire community rather than opressing then for capitalist gains. By giving people a voice, the economy gets a bullhorn.

Is it Social Media or Corporate Media?

corporate news

Visionaries Ho!

There are no shortage of intelligent and visionary social media celebrities.  They write great books about markets, social media tools, strategies, and on-line reputation for the benefit of the millions of people stuck on any part of the slippery social media learning curve.  They are infinitely generous with their knowledge and share it freely at countless conferences, blog posts, and syndicated articles.

There is, however, one thing that most of these Guru’s have in common – they consult to and are paid by large corporations. I could be considered part of this crowd for whatever my influence is worth.  So the question about causation is due – will social media develop as a function of corporate interaction with it?

If so, then it is not social media – it is corporate media.

This is no surprise, nor should there be any apparent concern, after all, everyone has to make a living and it is better that the corporations pay people to create content that benefits me.   The practice is conducted quite ethically too -most readily disclose where their financial support comes from and we all benefit from free information that helps us keep the playing field as level as it can be.

But at the end of the day, it’s all about eye-balls and bullhorns.  In order to produce eyeballs and bullhorns, people must be sitting at a computer or, at least, staring at a handset.  The longer you can keep people interacting with the brand instead of interacting with each other, the better off everyone is, right?

Social Media Consumer Advocate

A consumer advocate is someone who helps look after the best interest of the consumer for product safety and false advertising.  Social media is pushing the envelope of the corporate interaction with consumers.  “Advertising” no longer lends itself to the objective review of a billboard, commercial, or public statement.  Social Media Marketing is increasingly sophisticated and manipulative.  The vulnerable people; children and elders are no less vulnerable on social media, and may be more.

Social anomalies?

Some of the emerging research related to social media is surprising with increased instances of what can be considered social anomalies:

Infantilism; adults doing childish things like playing silly games in ‘public’
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; constantly checking for updates and new photos,
Depression and loneliness; preference of social media over real live interaction
Narcissism; The excessive love or admiration of one’s image of their self.

Is it social because it is media or is it media because it is social?

We need to ask ourselves what is the difference between computer enabled reality and computer simulated reality.   If we lose “causation” the entire body of analysis can be called into the question: is social media or is it corporate media?

Predictions for 2010 and Beyond – Nothing is Sacred

transparentIt looks like everyone is buffing up their predictions for another year of astonishing growth by social media. The last several years have brought so many surprises that the next several are promising to yield a bumper crop of “I told you so” fodder from the “pithier than thou” crowd.

My prediction for 2010 is that nothing is sacred, including the onslaught 2010 predictions. Therefore, I’ll will go way out on a limb and make my 2011 predictions in 2009.

In General:

The interest coming due on our national debt will consume increasingly more of the money that institutions need to provide basic services. As these institutions weaken, they will increasingly be replaced by social media enterprise. These structurally weakened institutions will drive social media innovation more than any other factor.

Specifically:

  1. Social vetting will catch everyone by surprise. Google buying Yelp is the game changer that will shake markets to the core. A market can only be as efficient as its vetting mechanism. To control vetting is to control a market – ask any despot. Where the vetting institutions of the old paradigm break down, they will be replaces by social media vetting. Nothing is sacred – the SEC, AMA, Federal Reserve – everything is vulnerable. Google knows this and will usher in an era of social media applications that will completely disrupt the gatekeepers.
  2. Everyone says that social media will monetize. It will, but not like anyone expects. 2011 is the year of the Deep Web; the deep web is the vast universe of unprocessed data that exists like dark matter in the Google-verse. Social media will monetize around data because data is the only thing that corporation, governments, and other people are willing to pay for. Google created economic initiatives for legions of entrepreneurs to create information content. The new Deep Web Search engines will create economic incentives for legions of entrepreneurs to create databases.
  3. The convergence of data will create the “new monetized innovation economy” defined by the way people interact with data. Highly localized data that will reflect the knowledge inventory of a community and will be represented by a virtual currency.
  4. It will become increasingly apparent that many of the functions of a corporation can be duplicated outside a corporation by new vetted social media applications. Networks of people will become “corporations” and trade knowledge assets through the trade of virtual currency contracts.
  5. Corporations will become technology centric rather than industry centric with open source architecture liberated to armies of diverse entrepreneurs. For example, breakthoughs in one industry will shoot across all industries like iphone apps – especially effective in environmental and “community organization” innovations. Nothing is sacred.

So there it is and be assured that 2012 will not disappoint even the hardiest eschatologist!

Sorry for not repeating the “real-time is king” mantra or singing the “people will finally pay for content” tune, or reciting the “every department is the marketing department” manifesto. Something much bigger is about to happen. The evolution away from the current financial system will drive social media more than any other factor.

Is Wall Street Irrelevant to an Innovation Economy?

The most difficult challenge facing the modern creative entrepreneur is the funding of innovation. Likewise, the greatest constraint on an innovation economy is the funding of innovation. Having great new ideas is the easy part; actually building something around those ideas is hard work.

As such, the funding all of that hard work is the constraint on innovation economy. Traditionally, the “corporation” served as the legal entity within which all the hard work would be contained and the accounting system through which it would be financed. But even that arrangement does not work well enough to support a new economic paradigm for an innovation economy.

Is Wall Street Irrelevant to an Innovation Economy?

Our modern and supposedly efficient financial system in fact punishes innovation. If a company announces a new multi-year allocation of a substantial amount of money toward new innovation, stock price of the company is pushed downward since the funding would apparently be taken from today’s profits. The market would prefer to take their money elsewhere until the (now unfunded) innovation is market ready.

The prospect for the individual entrepreneur is worse. The modern and supposedly efficient banking system does not acknowledge an entrepreneur’s good idea and the work that they are willing to do to reach fruition.

So if most innovation (and the hard work of developing it) is self-funded, and all innovation (and the hard work of developing it) is the basis of all wealth creation, why do we need Wall Street? Ironically, the ‘revelation’ of the next economic paradigm is that Wall Street is ‘irrelevant’.

The opportunity for the future is to develop a financial system that does accommodate the fact of innovation and the willingness of entrepreneurs to do the hard work of developing it.

If taken in aggregate – the total wealth creation of all private innovation is obviously some positive number. If better data were accumulated regarding all the private innovation that is happening, then that positive number for overall wealth creation can be predicted within a range. The better the data are, the smaller the range for this estimate of net wealth creation.

If net wealth creation can accommodate the past and predicted into the future, then a cash flow can be assigned to all private innovation. If a cash flow can be predicted, then a bond can be issued backed by this estimated cash flow. This cash flow, while not actually realized can be expressed in terms of an IOU credit. These credits can be traded like money

Now it becomes in the best interest of a market to protect, nurture, and legitimize the innovators who are willing to do the hard work to develop the next innovation industries.

Is Wall Street Irrelevant to an Innovation Economy?

Diversity in Innovation

Most literature on the subject of Innovation cites diversity as an important component of the innovation enterprise. Unfortunately diversity rides a political narrative rather than practical applications. Polarization is the death of diversity and the political narrative that plagues our country also plagues our ability to innovate.

Process Diversity

Not only does the diversity in innovation matter, the diversity of acceptable outcomes of innovation is also important. In addition, the diversity of attempts at innovation is essential, i.e., failure must be culturally acceptable. Preconception, bias, thresholds, and ideology often spell the end of a economic outcome.

Moving Against the Grain

Unfortunately, the forces acting against diversity are deeply ingrained in each of us whether we’ll admit it or not. For example, if you are in charge of producing diverse groups, processes and outcomes. How does one extract their own personal bias? How does one determine how much diversity is needed? Removing oneself produces randomness. Including oneself produces similitude. Polarization returns.

A Diverse Quagmire

Most companies innovate with existing personnel whose behavior can only be a function of their interaction with the company for their career and retirement prospects. Utilizing external sources does not eliminate this bias and may in fact magnify it.

There may be a way out of this quandary; we must open our observation to include all possible outcomes as worthwhile. Then we must distribute the results broadly. Where diverse people observe the same event, objectivity is achieved.

A striking resemblance to social media

By observing something derived from unobservable events, we can gain a great deal of information. because Social media is experiencing extraordinary growth we can say that a great amount of innovation is occurring. It is our prerogative to capture the innovation and not to expect the innovation to capture us, our government, or our corporations.

Diversity by Proxy

At the Ingenesist Project, we define innovation as outcomes proportional to the rate of change of knowledge with respect to time. As such, all we need to do is look for high rates of change of knowledge and we know that innovation is taking place. We do not know what the innovation is, where it’s directed, or what the market for the innovation may be. However, when we employ diverse observation, these answers begin to emerge.

Social media provides an interesting backdrop to the innovation process. Social Media does not care what you look like, the clothes you wear, or the church you attend. Social media hold no monopoly of opinion on diversity –

Diverse Incentives

If we take a lesson from economics, we know that people will generally act in their own perceived best interest. Then we can apply a set of incentives that modifies the best interests of the people. These incentives may be rewards, access to more incentives, or reduction of risk. Suppose that diversity were in fact a process of self selection or self removal from an objective? That is, people would have enough information regarding the potential outcomes that they could choose to interact with the process or not. In effect, innovating as an economy.

Photo credit

Should Education be Open Source?

open-courseWe continue to challenge the relevance of the college “degree” as being an insufficient measurement for what “educated” is, or is not, in an innovation economy. With the cost of a college degree spiraling upward and the value of the degree spiraling downward, the market will tip in favor of the alternative education measurements.

It is important to note that we do not challenge the existence of institutes of higher education, only the “degree” as a unit of measurement. The four year Bachelor degree and two year Masters degree are irrelevant as a title (there is no legal title since the age of the guilds) and arbitrary in duration to respond to the diversity, speed, and scope at which new technologies become available for deployment.

Ray Barton writes: The UK House of Commons in its’ report on Re-skilling in January 2009 stated the useful life of a degree is five years. In high tech professions, the useful lifetime of knowledge can be as short as 1.5 years.

This alone disrupts the current paradigm of higher education in several ways.

Conversational Perjury

As brands get social, they enter the new media performing their best interpretation of a conversation. Face it, they are still going for the kill – like a wolf in sheep’s clothing – the dance of the pitch is just getting more sophisticated. Social media is powerful followed closely by the of abuse .

The danger is that the more it resembles buddy talk, the more likely it will be mistaken for buddy talk. The sales pitch is being elevated to an art form. Now social media can be as much as a social cure as a social anomaly.

The 4 Big Lies of Marketing:

The integration lie; Ingratiation efforts are manipulative and calculating but serve as a very subtle way of obtaining increased power over another person. Appearing to be similar to the target the ingratiator appraises the target person’s attitudes, opinions, and interests and modifies his/her statements to match the perceived beliefs of the other conforming to the target’s wishes.

Major Brand: The key principles underlying [company] decisions and actions in social media are: Listening, Learning and Engaging in conversations with our customers where they are…while hiding where we are.

The foot-in the door lie: To increase the likelihood of a prospect saying yes to a moderate request, a person may ask for a smaller request first. By saying yes to the first, small request, the person may agree to the second request to maintain consistency with self perception.

Major brand: we recently launched an on-line quiz with a widget component exclusively through social media and it has been a great success just in terms of the number of people taking the quiz and then word of mouth as a result. This goes back to us showing people can engage with [company name] not yet buying the product.

The ‘Istanbul bazaar’ Lie: The initial request is very large – large enough that no one could be expected to comply with it. It is then followed by a smaller, more reasonable request. This technique relies on the norm of reciprocity. The norm of reciprocity states if a person does something for you, you should do something in return for that person.

From a famous social media marketing evangelist: Extrapolate the potential points of touch between your customers and your organization, by showing them what full engagement looks like but then asking for a smaller subscription, enables participation in some of your processes, in some way.

Even a penny will help Lie: This technique is based on the tendency for people to want to make themselves “look good.” Since everyone has a penny, one would look foolish to say no to the request. The target cannot simply give a penny without looking foolish. The target tends to give whatever is appropriate for the situation.

From a Social Media Marketing Guru: FB Friending, Twitter, and even Linkedin are brilliant in delivering mutual follow mentality to marketing – people want to feel good for having followers and will often put up with constant, yet fleeting marketing messages. Tweet meme is another way for people to feel good about thier self for a tiny investment of a single click.

Inherent in all 4 techniques is the attempt by an influencer to manipulate another by engaging in subtle subterfuge. The only way to undo the lie is with a simple truth: knowledge and understanding that the influencer is always lying.

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