Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

Month: September 2010 Page 1 of 2

Of Anxiety and Optimism

Keep it Simple

I’ll keep this simple because it is simple.  Most people know exactly what I am talking about.  Most people feel that a huge change is underway.  Most people feel deep in their hearts that whatever we are doing today will be different tomorrow.  Most people feel a strange combination of anxiety and optimism.

It’s Time to Change

No, it’s not just a political change or an economic change or even a social change.  All of these, in their simplicity, would not do justice to the magnitude of what is really about to happen.  The forces now in play will resolve to the equivalent difference between the hunter gatherer civilization, and the Renaissance.   The next economic paradigm will be as different as the abacus is from the computer itself.  Yet, the process by which this is happening is so simple, that the mind is repelled.

Factors of Production

In the Industrial revolution, a machine would make widgets.  It did not matter whether you or I ran the machine, the same widget would emerge.

Today, the machine is a computer.  Your interaction with the computer is entirely different than my interaction with the computer.  In fact, you could swap out the computers and our individual output would remain unchanged.

A HUGE difference

Factors of production are no longer the land, labor, and financial capital of Classical Economic theory.  The factors of production are social, creative, and intellectual capital of  people and their communities.

Classical economic theory is breaking down.  There is a huge change on the horizon. The new economic paradigm is in the process of siphoning off the old economic paradigm.  We’re approaching mid-span; both tanks are half empty or half full, depending on how you look at it.

Confidence is a mixture of anxiety and optimism

I can say with great confidence that anxiety and optimism are the correct emotions to be experiencing today.  So go ahead and tell the children in your life that everything will be OK.

Outsourcing Fail

Gambling with Jobs

The US Senate recently blocked a measure designed to reduce the outsourcing of US jobs that many corporations pursue in the relentless drive to reduce costs.

Modern Globalization is a system

Globalization must be analyzed like a system. Data, Information, knowledge, Innovation, and wisdom are profoundly related in a system. If you take away one of the components, the others become worthless.  If you destroy one component, the entire structure could fail.

Everyone knows that data, information, knowledge, innovation, and wisdom are related.  If I corrupt the data, then the associated information, knowledge, innovation, and wisdom are also corrupted.  Likewise, if I eliminate any of these elements, the system fails.

Focus on Core competency – what core?

The standard argument for outsourcing is that knowledge workers are better allocated in innovation jobs so “we can better focus on our core – and heck, we can all save a little dough in the process”.  But when we outsource our knowledge economy, the innovation economy is choked off.    The knowledge economy is the source of the Innovation Economy.  The Knowledge economy is also the recipient of the information economy which transforms data and information into useful tools, ideas, and products.

Rate Of Change is Innovation

The rate of change of the innovation economy is directly proportional to the INCREASE not the OUTSOURCING of the knowledge economy.  This is the calculus of outsourcing.  If, on the other hand, it is in you best interest to keep a population poor, weak, and unable to organize into powerful collectives, then yes, outsourcing is an effective method.

The Innovation Banker

Future of Banking

When I use the term “Innovation Bank”, people conjure up the image of a cheery place where anticipation reigns as starry eyed depositors arrange their intellectual property in neat cubby boxes, Patents fly like cash register receipts and companies troll the halls looking for a cure for their bottom line blues.

This is not exactly what we have in mind, nor is it too far off either. An innovation Bank is simply a knowledge inventory that contains knowledge assets that exists in the format of a financial instrument and can be deployed for the purposes of increasing productivity.  In the process, it makes 10X more of itself every time it is deployed.  It mints its own money.

The Innovation Banker

This is not much different than a financial bank. In fact, in the financial bank, everyone assumes the borrower has the knowledge to execute the business plan and the bank lends the money. Oh, by the way, the money makes more of itself  10X over (fractional reserve system) every time it is deployed.

With the innovation bank, everyone assumes the entrepreneur has the money to execute the plan, and the seek to borrow the knowledge. Other than that, they can be considered identical. The key is in the scope, depth, and format in which the knowledge assets live in a community as well as the ability to track and preserve the creation of new knowledge in a community.  An innovation banker is a knowledge banker

A Virtuous Circle

Together with the financial banking, these two system engage in the dance of the virtuous circle of innovation enterprise. Apart, they collapse into the swirling cesspool of eternal debt and infinite interest (pun intended).

Ingenesist.com

Music by Phil Felicia

Calculus for Dummies and Capitalists

Mathematics Dysfunction Disorder

I am continuously astonished at the reactions I get from people every time I make a reference to mathematics, especially Calculus. Most people politely glaze their eyes over and stare at an inanimate object somewhere behind my head. Others launch into a diatribe of how the linear thinkers destroyed the world in the first place. Others will simply say, “I have [insert Deficit Dysfunction Disorder here]”

Puzzled by Limits?  Perplexed by derivatives?

The truth of the matter is that everyone already knows Calculus, they solve differential equations all day long – they just don’t know that they already know what I’m talking about.  If you take away all the strange terms, squiggly lines, and alphabet soup notation,….

Calculus is astonishingly simple


  • The Banker does not care about money, he cares about the rate of change of money.
  • The Stock Market does not care about risk, it cares about the rate of change of risk
  • The Politician does not care about votes, they care about the rate of change in votes
  • The Meteorologist does not care about weather, she cares about the rate of change in weather
  • The Pilot does not care about lift, they care about the rate of change of lift
  • The Gymnast does not care about motion, she cares about the rate of change of motion
  • The Artist does not care about color, he cares about the rate of change of color
  • The Doctor does not care about your health, she cares about the rate of change in your health
  • The Baker does not care about dough, they care about the rate of change of dough
  • The Farmer does not care about crops, he cares about the rate of change of crops
  • The Scientists does not care about data, they care about the rate of change of data
  • Google does not care about information, it cares about the rate of change of information
  • Entrepreneurs do not care about knowledge, they care about the rate of change of knowledge
  • Markets do not care about innovation, they care about the rate of change of innovation
  • Our children do not care about our wisdom, they care about our rate of change of wisdom

When people can learn how to understand what they are really doing in instead of what they think they are doing, then and only then, will we be able to see, and subsequently, build the next economic paradigm.  That is why I use mathematics and that is when Social Media Becomes a Science

The Capitalist does not care about value, they care about the rate of change of value

Death By Résumé

Résumé: A French word for separating the body from the brain

We are entering a renewal in the work force. The global imperative is for the United States to become an innovation economy now. This is an entirely different animal than the Industrial revolution; I have long argued that the résumé system is by far the most archaic knowledge management “currency” of trade in use today.

The entire premise of the résumé is destitute, if not destructive, in the modern world. Words on a computer screen are a very low level ‘media form’ being used to describe a very high ‘media form’; social, creative, and intellectual capital. It’s like using crayons to design an aircraft.

If the key words are so important, why have any other words?

A manager always hires people that remind them of themselves. They estimate the future success of a candidate based on their own limited, and often static, past experiences. The world is moving so fast and has become so complex that no manager can possibly know enough to capitalize the future based on a viable statistical sample of past experiences – we’re all holding on for dear life in a hurricane of change. The problems and opportunities of the future are so huge, so important, and happening so amazingly fast yet the allocation of human resources is worse than random for a candidate pool.

Here are a few comments that I’ve picked off some recent Human Resources Community Blogs:

***

1. And our future goes with it:

“Most recruiting systems I’ve seen screen out innovators. Any résumé that is unique, different or convention-defying gets surreptitiously put in the junk pile.”

2. Start by looking in the junk pile:

“The Innovation Economy requires that the talent that creates the most value for an organization must rise to the top. Innovators are playing an increasing role in creating shareholder value – one might argue that they create the most shareholder value these days – and figuring out how to find and attract this very different breed of talent is one of the most critical initiatives you can launch within your organization.”

3. What part of “share holder value” are we having difficulty with?

“The most innovative people I have ever met don’t follow conventions in their experience or in their résumé. Or, they get bored very quickly when they can’t innovate or are forced to focus on operations, and efficiency. Most might look like (and even be) job hoppers”

4. Here is my favorite comment – I wish I could hug this person:

“I think it takes more than a résumé to screen an Innovator in or out. As blogs, blog posts, social networking, more powerful search tools, personal websites, the emergence of video on the web, talent platforms that offer CRM, etc. etc. etc. continue to become additional tools for an employer to consider in making a hiring decision, is the résumé still a currency for a candidate?”

***

We have an inventory and CAD model of every nut, rivet, and panel that goes on an airplane – why would we try to build anything without one?

So Please, let’s evolve out of the revolutionary times and develop a real community knowledge inventory. It must be computer enabled and based on a taxonomy that everyone knows and understands. It must be read, analyzed, sorted and vetted by social networks and communities of practice. It must integrate with knowledge assets from anywhere in the world.

How Knowledge Assets Live In Community

Our culture organizes itself around winners and losers. Corporations reflect this competitive nature to the core of their Capitalist doctrine. Sports analogies abound across the enterprise straight through to the HR department always on the lookout for the most amount of superstar for the least amount of money.

Social media has every industry trying to understand the concept of community.  Nature and our environment continues to demonstrate to humanity that there is far more cooperation going on than competition. There is tragedy looming at both ends of our political spectrum and some people are realizing that we are all in this together.

Twitter shows us that everyone is an expert at something and nobody is an expert at everything.  Corporations must understand that someone not performing adequately cannot be treated as flotsam subject to jettison at the next layoff or outsourcing opportunity.  They soon see that their customers disappear as well – because they are the same.  Communities, people, social networks, and their integrated knowledge assets are the mis-allocated asset being squandered by losing management teams, not land, labor or capital.

Like most valuable assets, there is a perfectly legitimate market for everyone in a community – nobody need be excluded, marginalized or laid off. Social Media is turning the tables on the hierarchy.  Old winners who don’t play by the new rules quickly become the new losers. Maybe we ought to run our economy like a community instead of losing so badly at trying to decimate our competition; each other.

How Obama Will Save The World

Do the math – Interest on National Debt can go all the way up to infinity while Austerity measures can only go down to zero.   There is tragedy looming at both ends of the political spectrum and the Golden Goose can’t fly much longer.  Captain Obama is in a tough spot.

Someone will eventually need to gently lay the economy down in a nice soft spot with a just a few critical social programs intact. A task comparable to US Airways Pilot  Capt. Sullenberger who successfully landed his stalled airliner on the freezing Husdon without ripping off the wings, catching on fire, splitting the hull, or sinking the ship with all the passengers inside.

Here is how the endgame is shaping up:

Through some secret signal, all of the World’s money barons will come together and agree to simultaneously lop off three zeros (000) from all financial balance sheets.  This will effectively reboot the world economy.  A $50 trillion debt obligation now becomes a quaint and manageable $50 billion debt.  Unfortunately, a $500,000 dollar pension becomes worth about $500 bucks.   The game will reset with champaign toasts and business-as-usual in a race to conjure new debt into existence.  The recovery is on … for some.

Those who have exactly as much debt as they have tangible assets will enjoy a net zero impact.   Those caught at the extreme ends with too little debt or too much cash will lose spectacularly.

A stoic and sober Capt. Obama is at the controls, should we be worried?

Well, maybe. Just to give you an idea of what’s happening in the cockpit: Capt. Obama will project his glide path into the visible horizon.  If he can’t make it out to Hillary’s term, he will probably try to set it down right after he is re-elected and can still blame the GOP.  The GOP will try everything they can to wrestle it down before 2012 – split hull or not – so that they can claim the presidency.  If they win 2012 without the landing, they’ll land it soon after 2012 and blame it on Obama.  Note that none of this has anything to do with aerodynamics.

Why should this inspire anyone’s confidence?

There are a few people in the back seats working really hard to build a parachute that will hedge their fall.  None of the people near the cockpit, boardrooms, or stock exchanges have any idea what these passengers are doing – they don’t seem to care – instead, they are too busy topping off their debt to equity ratios for optimum survivability upon impact.

But, the hedge instrument is playing out in Social Media, slowly siphoning the factors of production into a new economic system. Some passengers are only inches away from jump-starting an alternate economy using a social currency backed by real productivity, not debt, in a new form of capitalism.  All they need is an instrument that is only a little better than what’s flying now.  Then, all the money in the world will convert to the hedge currency.

Now THAT’s monetization.

The guys near the cockpit will never see it coming – they’ll only see it leaving.  That’s how Obama will save the World. Let’s hope he can swim.

Social Vetting Makes Knowledge Tangible

The term “Vetting” comes from the sport of horse racing where the animal is “vetted” by a veterinarian to determine if the animal is in suitable condition to race.  Today, there are many vetting mechanisms acting in society and communities.  Think of it as the referee that keeps the game fair.  This is important because if the game is not fair, people will stop playing.

Where the vetting mechanism fails, the system fails. This has happened in countless instances from the current financial crisis to nearly every product, market, environmental calamity, or political failure in recorded history – the referees who were supposed to keep their eye on the ball, did not. Likewise, where a vetting mechanism is effective, the system is efficient.

Today, we find severe problems in finance and government and people are investing their knowledge assets in social media as the place to “store and exchange” their present and future productivity – instead of deploying money or debt. As such, social vetting is taking many different forms to validate, qualify, and quantify knowledge assets in communities.

While the progression may not be noticeable, there will be a tipping point where the medium has built enough trust that it can support a currency. This new currency needs to be only a little bit more “trustworthy” than the currency it will replace. This is the point where knowledge becomes tangible.

Why Two Gurus are Better Than Four


Marketers need to recognize the order and permanence of human evolution. Once our species started to walk upright on two legs, we never permanently returned to walking on all fours.   Such is also the case between the lower social order of communication called “Information” and the higher social order of communication called “Knowledge”.  I will explain the difference now.

Social Value written or spoken to a medium is defined as Information.

Social Value which exists only between human ears is defined as Knowledge.

Likewise,

Social Value is created by transforming Information into Knowledge.

Social Value is reduced by transforming Knowledge into Information.

Once humans learn to create, store, exchange, and trade knowledge among each other, they will never return to the utterly primitive practice of mining and exploiting information.

If you agree with me then I congratulate you for your advanced state of evolution.  If you do not agree with me, then I apologize for the inconvenience.

Living in the Past

Advertisers have an especially hard time with this because it is their core competence to devolve human knowledge into information through data mining, social media espionage, and machine gun marketing – all without necessarily elevating anyone to a higher state of social order.   This is, by definition, a reduction of social value.

Consumers now walk on two feet in forming a strategic networks of knowledge assets in social media. Meanwhile advertisers still slither around on all fours pimping info biscuits.  Consumers can easily see when Value is being stolen from them so they simply ignore the screeches and clamoring of the devolved creature.  Or worse, a counter attack is a very simple – and often quite entertaining – using an evolved tool set.

Holy shit, I need a Guru:

So, the advertisers go off and hire a Social Media Guru to make the old evolutionary order all better again.  The Social Media Guru does all sorts of things that look civilized to a four-legged creature, but appear increasingly ridiculous to the evolved being.

Lo and behold, the advertiser is hugely successful in attracting lots of other four-leggers and believes this to be progress!! This makes the Guru into a Celebrity.  But still, the advertiser simply cannot get any attention from the two-leggers, who now control all the Value.  So, the advertiser goes back to the Social Media Guru who responds by joining forces with yet another Social Media Guru….

Surely two gurus are better than one, especially to those who still believe that four legs are better than two.

9/11 and the Convergence Economy

Today, I have been reading a lot of posts related to 9/11 and the terrible events of that day.  The conversation lives.  It is propagated in every direction and expressed in so many different ways once unimaginable from editorialized news.

My memory of 9/11 was quite personal; I was the customer engineering account manager at Boeing – my customer was United Airlines.  I was fortunate to have worked with many UAL Pilots and Flight Attendants and their Unions; UAL lost 16 employees that day – I lost 16 friends.

I remember the anxiety in the aircraft business as the unspeakable was spoken, the impossible became possible, and the unreal became real.   My own identity was defined by commercial air travel and the safety and comfort of people and families.  The relationship between Boeing and UAL has always been profound; but the strain caused inside the industry was foreboding.

The fact that data could shift so rapidly called everything into question.   Relationships diverged, people no longer knew how to process the information that was available.  This gargantuan ‘outlier’ stained every single probability chart in existence – like a crater in a barren landscape.  The only clarity could be found in shorter time segments, before 9/11, after 9/11… but not 9/11.

“Google News” was one of the first information aggregation devices and was developed in response to one news junky’s need to know, as soon as possible, what is happening in the world of such micro-timing. As the subsequent political and economic swings overshot every rational stabilizing mechanism such as ‘checks and balances’, or ‘market arbitrage’ forces, the rest of us sought quicker and better ways to stay in touch with the events of the world.  This meant, quicker ways to stay in touch with each other.

Today, as 9 years of  “new time”  has been added to the risk equations, we can see the effects of radical cultural shifts; social priorities are gaining momentum over Wall Street priorities. While governments still wrestle with the old world order, a new one is forming in it’s place.  This new world has the power to perform many of the functions of corporations and government.  Can twitter catch terrorists?  Can Facebook entries trigger community awareness?  Can instant messaging deliver instant response?  How many lives are saved by Social Media?  I am not certain, but it is an important question to ask that age old question: Will good triumph over evil? or in economic terms; Is humanity self-correcting?

The convergence continues.  The next paradigm of economic development will continue on the micro-time scale as FB communities hit neighborhoods, Linkedin communities hit local communities of practice, and Twitter news armies grow.  Cooperation Capitalism will replace competitive Capitalism and social vetting will replace institutional surveillance.  Finally, a productivity backed currency will replace debt backed currency. Bring it on.

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