donderdag 28 februari 2013

TED: Jennifer Granholm: A clean energy proposal -- race to the top! - Jennifer Granholm (2013)

Kicking off the TED2013 conference, Jennifer Granholm asks a very American question with worldwide implications: How do we make more jobs? Her big idea: Invest in new alternative energy sources. And her big challenge: Can it be done with or without our broken Congress?

from TEDTalks (video)

Super Investor Hadi Partovi On Bringing Back The American Dream

I first met entrepreneur and investor Hadi Partovi a little over a year ago. I was reporting a cover story on the incredible rise of Dropbox. Partovi is an investor in the company and close adviser to its founders. Partovi in just thirty minutes did what few investors can do in hours: he put Dropbox in the context of past technology shifts and then made a very convincing case that this then not-yet-mainstream online storage site could go very big. Partovi was high up at Microsoft during the 1990s Internet browser wars. His wisdom is gleaned from experience.

And so when Partovi earlier this week launched a very persuasive viral video encouraging kids everywhere to take up the tough task of software coding, I wanted to know more. He’s lined up the support (and remarkably personal stories) of tech’s super stars, including Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey, Drew Houston and Mark Zuckerberg.

Here’s what Partovi has to say about his larger vision with, the non-profit behind the video:

VB: Why take this up as your cause? 

I was born in Iran. My Dad was one of the founders of a technology university in Iran. I’ve had tech education in my blood. My cousin used to tease me about being successful in business. He’d ask when I would do something that really mattered.

I began seeing this intersection of my education passion and what I do in the tech industry daily. Every startup I work with is having trouble hiring engineers  I thought this was a tech industry problem. But it is an America problem. Some two-thirds of the jobs in software engineering are outside technology. I’m talking about banking, entertainment.

It was around the fall of 2001 when I had been thinking about pulling together a video of great software engineers. Then the day Steve Jobs died I felt incredible grief, just like everyone else. But it stung. I  had wanted him to be the first guy in my video. That got me thinking: What if I had only ten years left to live? I realized I had to do this, and that’s why the film opens with a quote from Jobs.

What is your goal with

We argue a lot about raising taxes to help the middle class or cutting spending. My view is you can add a million jobs to the economy and increase upward mobility simply by teaching more kids to code. Step one is to inspire students to learn this. That was the goal of the film. Then, the governmental effort we want isn’t about spending a whole lot of money. It is rather simple. In 41 states computer science isn’t classified as science or math. It isn’t considered a real field. It doesn’t count toward high school graduation.

So you’re in California, the mecca of tech, and a computer science class can bring down your grade point average, but doesn’t meet your requirements. I’m currently working on a two page bill in Washington state that will do this. No new money has to be spent. No new taxes raised.

So this relates to broader prosperity issues in this country.

This helps us fix the U.S. economy and fix the American dream. It is about making education fun again. Almost everything you do in school is memorization and multiple choice. There’s very little of the K-12 experience that prepares you for working on a project with other people to solve a problem. Kids should  be exposed to the creative work and problem solving that you get in computer science. It’s the next step up from Legos.

Some suggest we’re facing a creativity crisis in this country. Kids are being taught to perform on tests but are falling behind when it comes to creative thinking and skills that probably matter a lot more later in life.

Absolutely, and computer science, even if you don’t become an engineer, helps you learn how to break down problems. You have a idea in mind, you want to write it, and you have to break it down. That’s good for problem solving generally. It helps you exercise your creativity and feel empowered.

You’re not just memorizing what the teacher told you. You’re building what you want. We’re a country of entrepreneurs and computer science is the study of creating things.

Is it easier to teach than it was even a decade ago? I can recall being bored and lost in a computer science course I sampled in college.

Computer science has become a lot more approachable, just like your iPhone is more better than it was. I believe everyone should be exposed to the basics.

How will you measure’s success?

Our primary goal is getting this film out to every classroom. When kids see it, they decide they want to learn. We’ve tested this. More than half of the kids will raised their hands and say they want to  learn after watching. Then we want to change graduation rules so that computer science course count. We also want to deal with the 90% of schools who don’t offer computer science classes.

Coding is your path to the American Dream. All the icons of the American dream did it with computer science. And yet we’re not teaching it our schools.




from Upside Potential

The future of social media: Almost all commerce will become social

Earlier this month Air New Zealand ran its second Social Media Breakfast in Auckland, with close to 1,000 people coming to see Teddy Goff, the Digital Director of Obama’s campaign, and myself speak. The number of attendees had increased since Randy Zuckerberg spoke at the first Social Media Breakfast last July, and now Air New Zealand intends to run the event regularly through this year.

Below is a brief but nice highlights video of the event, including highlighted excerpts from my and Teddy’s keynotes.

One of the excerpts shown from my keynote was on the rise of social commerce. Virtually every aspect of how we buy will be social.

That shift will create enormous opportunities, but it will leave behind those who are not enabling a social experience for their customers.

As Teddy points out in the excerpts from his presentation, people haven’t changed. Among other things, they want to engage with their friends, to connect, to be inspired.

These age-old desires can in fact now be satisfied in more powerful ways. This is driving the rise of social buying, as well as the social voting that the Obama campaign so beautifully enabled.

The post The future of social media: Almost all commerce will become social appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.

from Trends in the Living Networks

woensdag 27 februari 2013

TED: Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud - Sugata Mitra (2013)

Onstage at TED2013, Sugata Mitra makes his bold TED Prize wish: Help me design the School in the Cloud, a learning lab in India, where children can explore and learn from each other -- using resources and mentoring from the cloud. Hear his inspiring vision for Self Organized Learning Environments (SOLE), and learn more at

from TEDTalks (video)

dinsdag 26 februari 2013

TED: Bruno Maisonnier: Dance, tiny robots! - Bruno Maisonnier (2013)

There's a place in France where the robots do a dance. And that place is TEDxConcorde, where Bruno Maisonnier of Aldebaran Robotics choreographs a troupe of tiny humanoid Nao robots through a surprisingly emotive performance.

from TEDTalks (video)

TED: Wade Davis: Gorgeous photos of a backyard wilderness worth saving - Wade Davis (2012)

Ethnographer Wade Davis explores hidden places in the wider world -- but in this powerful short talk he urges us to save a paradise in his backyard, Northern Canada. The Sacred Headwaters, remote and pristine, are under threat because they hide rich tar sands. With stunning photos, Davis asks a tough question: How can we balance society's need for fuels with the urge to protect such glorious wilderness?

from TEDTalks (video)

maandag 25 februari 2013

Our future depends on the humanization of work

One of the reasons that my focus is increasingly shifting to the future of work is that it is in fact a large part of the future of humanity. And if we don’t get this right it might not look pretty.

The two primary drivers of a changing work landscape in coming years remote work and work automation. Almost all work will be able to be done anywhere, and a growing proportion of today’s jobs will be supplanted by machines.

The replacement of human workers by machines is of course a large part of human history, and so far we have consistently created new jobs faster than old jobs have disappeared.

However machine capabilities – including robotics, spatial cognition, and natural language processing – are developing so fast that there is a real chance that there will be insufficient new jobs to replace the ones that disappear.

In the ebook Race Against the Machine, authors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, both of MIT, describe the challenge of the inexorable rise of machines in the workplace, concluding with a rather gloomy view of our ability to respond.

John Hagel of Deloitte’s Center for the Edge has made a great video responding to the book’s ideas.

Hagel notes that how the modern corporation evolved has largely created the problem:

If you have tightly scripted jobs that are highly standardized where there’s no room for individual initiative or creativity, machines by and large can do those kinds of activities much better than human beings. They’re much more predictable. They’re much more reliable. We as human beings have flaws. We tend to get distracted. We tend to go off into unexpected areas.

So I think that the real reason that we have such an issue in terms of unemployment and job loss through automation is that we’ve crafted these jobs exactly so that they would be vulnerable to automation. We’ve put kind of a bull’s eye target on workers around the United States and around the world and said, “Come after me. Shoot me. I’m the target for automation.”

But the business environment is substantially different today:

Now we’re in a world that’s more rapidly changing, more uncertainty, more of those extreme events that Taleb calls the “black swans” that make it really critical for us as individuals in the workplace to take much more initiative, to be constantly exercising creativity and imagination to respond to the unexpected events. That’s a very different model of work. It requires a very different way of organizing our institutions and a different set of work practices that are much harder to automate.

When you have that kind of imagination, creativity, trust-based relationships that are required to really address these hard problems, it makes it much less vulnerable to that kind of automation

Hagel goes on to say that we need to “race with the machine” rather than against it. This is absolutely a central aspect of our future.

However perhaps the most important perspective is that work must be humanized.

As Hagel eloquently described, the problems we face have largely arisen because of the dehumanization of work. As we have built processes and structures that have made people into cogs in machines, it has indeed made them eminently replaceable.

In fact one of the great promises of the increased mechanization of work is that in a way it it forces us to be more human.

We are continually being pushed into the territory that distinguishes us from machines: emotion, relationships, synthesis, abstraction, beauty, art, meaning, and more.

Part of this is in designing jobs that draw on our uniquely human skills, and for all of us to bring our humanity to bear in our work.

Yet the broader frame is an economic structure that has made work inhuman and readily replaced by machines. We need to fundamentally change the nature of organizations and how we work together to create value. The systems must be humanized in order to allow the work to be humanized.

That is our challenge, our task, indeed our imperative if we wish our collective future to be happy and prosperous. Let us work hard to humanize work.

The post Our future depends on the humanization of work appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.

from Trends in the Living Networks

TED: Bruce Feiler: Agile programming -- for your family - Bruce Feiler (2013)

Bruce Feiler has a radical idea: To deal with the stress of modern family life, go agile. Inspired by agile software programming, Feiler introduces family practices which encourage flexibility, bottom-up idea flow, constant feedback and accountability. One surprising feature: Kids pick their own punishments.

from TEDTalks (video)

We’re looking for 3D talent! …to help create a 3D free-form mind mapping tool

Those who are familiar with my work know that I believe in concept visualization to communicate ideas. In fact I first wrote about the potential of 3D for concept representation and communication 14 years ago, in the late 1990s.

For a while we have been developing specifications and prototypes for what I have been describing as a “3D free-form mind map” that will allow people to create and modify 3 dimensional representations of their thoughts on particular topics, unconstrained by the intrinsic hierarchical structure of a mind map. Users will be able to move around and fly through the 3D “thoughtscapes” they create, and share them with the world in a variety of formats.

I sometimes use the example of my NewsScape, pictured below, as an example of a concept map that anyone would very quickly and easily be able to create in the app.

The NewsScape
Click on the image to see large version

Almost everyone I have described the idea to likes (or even loves) the concept [del] and after a lot of work laying the foundations for the concept, we are now looking for an artist and developer who can work with us to bring the idea to reality.

The detailed descriptions of the roles can be found on our We’re Looking For Talent website:

- 3D Artist/ Designer for 3D mindmapping tool

- Unity iOS developer for 3D mindmapping tool

A few comments on these roles:

* We will initially release this app on iPad, and have chosen Unity as the best platform to realize our vision.

* The artist/ designer role is particularly critical, and I will work closely with the person we choose to help create a stunning look and feel for the app. We are looking for a deep understanding of “concept visualization” and more generally information visualization, which in my experience only rarely appears in 3D portfolios.

* Either role can be done from anywhere in the world, however for the artist role in particular we’d ideally prefer someone in Sydney who we can work closely with, if the right person is available.

* Our resources are constrained, which means we are unlikely to be able to afford as a base pay the usual market rates of the very top 3D talent globally who are used to big game budgets. However we can offer decent pay to attract rising talent, and will also offer a structured profit share (see our team principles) in addition to base pay, which creates at least the potential of exceeding usual market pay rates.

Please do apply if you have the capabilities and this is of interest. Or if you can think of someone who would be perfect, please let them know.

The right people for the project will have a pretty unusual mix of capabilities, including truly thinking in 3D, so we need to tap the networks to see if we can connect with those awesome people out there who can make this concept really fly.

The post We’re looking for 3D talent! …to help create a 3D free-form mind mapping tool appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.

from Trends in the Living Networks

vrijdag 22 februari 2013

TED: Michael Dickinson: How a fly flies - Michael Dickinson (2013)

An insect's ability to fly is perhaps one of the greatest feats of evolution. Michael Dickinson looks at how a common housefly takes flight with such delicate wings, thanks to a clever flapping motion and flight muscles that are both powerful and nimble. But the secret ingredient: the incredible fly brain. (Filmed at TEDxCaltech.)

from TEDTalks (video)

donderdag 21 februari 2013

TED: Andreas Schleicher: Use data to build better schools - Andreas Schleicher (2012)

How can we measure what makes a school system work? Andreas Schleicher walks us through the PISA test, a global measurement that ranks countries against one another -- then uses that same data to help schools improve. Watch to find out where your country stacks up, and learn the single factor that makes some systems outperform others.

from TEDTalks (video)

woensdag 20 februari 2013

TED: Afra Raymond: Three myths about corruption - Afra Raymond (2012)

Trinidad and Tobago amassed great wealth in the 1970s thanks to oil. But in 1982, a shocking fact was revealed -- that 2 out of every 3 dollars earmarked for development had been wasted or stolen. This has haunted Afra Raymond for 30 years. Shining a flashlight on a continued history of government corruption, Raymond gives us a reframing of financial crime. (Filmed at TEDxPortofSpain.)

from TEDTalks (video)

Thinking about the future: Why predictions usually (but not always) have negative value

A few days ago I spoke at the opening dinner of a strategy offsite for a professional firm, on the topic of ‘Thinking About The Future‘. It is a very common style of engagement for me, being briefed to set the broadest possible mental frame for executives before their in-depth discussions on directions for the business. The session went extremely well in provoking some very interesting conversations during the evening, and I gather driving new thinking through the rest of the offsite.

Just before I spoke the executive group had heard from a well-known economist who was giving them economic forecasts for the next 10 years.

As such, in my presentation I explained why forecasts usually have negative value. I spent a long time working in financial markets, and I have seen market and economic forecasts tremendously abused.

The most important point is that almost all forecasts will turn out to be wrong. The future is unpredictable. Giving numerical values to future economic or market data can easily shut down useful thinking about the reality of uncertainty and the range of possibilities that may transpire.

In my first book Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships, in the context of distinguishing between what I called “black box recommendations” and “adding value to client decision-making”, I explained how making forecasts strips out almost all the value from the thinking behind them:

One key reason why black-box recommendations generally provide less value than providing the content and process behind them is that they ‘collapse’ the richness of the thinking which went into the recommendations down to a single outcome. An excellent example of this is economic research, in whatever field it is applied.

Economists go through a detailed process of examining all of the issues and uncertainties in looking ahead, however when they collapse all of that thinking into a single set of figures representing their economic forecast and the justification for that most-likely outcome, the richness of the thinking which went into developing them disappears for the client.

While many clients simply want some numbers to unquestioningly stick into their budgets (a dangerous but common approach), economists are inherently limiting the potential value of their work to clients by leaving out the breadth of the analysis behind their views.

While many businesspeople want forecasts, and they do have their role, they usually have negative value in trapping people in a single mode of thinking. Far better to provide people with alternative views – and the thinking behind them – that enable effective responses when the supposedly ‘most likely’ outcome doesn’t happen.

This is part of the reason why I often use scenario planning for more structured consulting engagements to help clients think about and prepare for the future.

However forecasts do have a role.

My most well-known work, with well over 3 million views, is my Newspaper Extinction Timeline, shown below, in which I predicted in which year newspapers will become insignificant in each country around the world (Click on the image for the full-size framework).


While I’ve adjusted my thinking based on new data since then, so far it seems as if I won’t be too far off the mark. However that’s not what matters. It would amaze me if I turned out to be right, despite making my best efforts in those predictions.

The intent of the framework was to provoke a response. The news-on-paper industry has been very poor at facing massive change. I hoped that the specificity of my predictions would provoke some newspaper executives to ask themselves – and think through – “What if he’s right?”

Even if they completely reject my forecasts, hopefully it forces them to think about and explain to themselves or others why I am wrong. This can help clarify their own thinking.

So when used in provocation, predictions can be useful. But in most cases, since specific forecasts will almost certainly be wrong, they have negative value in leading people away from thinking usefully about the future and responding well to the massive uncertainties we face.

The post Thinking about the future: Why predictions usually (but not always) have negative value appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.

from Trends in the Living Networks

dinsdag 19 februari 2013

TED: Keith Chen: Could your language affect your ability to save money? - Keith Chen (2012)

What can economists learn from linguists? Behavioral economist Keith Chen introduces a fascinating pattern from his research: that languages without a concept for the future -- "It rain tomorrow," instead of "It will rain tomorrow" -- correlate strongly with high savings rates. Read more about Chen’s explorations »

from TEDTalks (video)

maandag 18 februari 2013

TED: Miguel Nicolelis: A monkey that controls a robot with its thoughts. No, really. - Miguel Nicolelis (2012)

Can we use our brains to directly control machines -- without requiring a body as the middleman? Miguel Nicolelis talks through an astonishing experiment, in which a clever monkey in the US learns to control a monkey avatar, and then a robot arm in Japan, purely with its thoughts. The research has big implications for quadraplegic people -- and maybe for all of us. (Filmed at TEDMED 2012.)

from TEDTalks (video)

Parallel entrepreneurship goes mainstream

Back in the 1990s I became enamoured of Bill Gross’s IdeaLab, which was spinning off new web companies initially housed in its own support ecosystem. I loved that it generated and developed its own projects rather than looking outside for ideas.

Since then I’ve closely followed what I’ve thought of as “parallel entrepreneurship”, in contrast to the usual concept of serial entrepreneurship: establishing many ventures rather than doing them one by one.

Despite many leading lights saying that founders should be focused on one venture, I’ve always believed that it is possible – albeit extremely difficult – to launch and run multiple simultaneous ventures.

I certainly don’t have the patience or attention span required to focus on one project or arena of work, and indeed no interest in doing so. I acknowledge that I am far more motivated by living a fun and interesting life than maximizing my net worth, so I may not be a good role model for those seeking fortune. However even so I believe that parallel entrepreneurship offers great potential for massive financial success, despite its challenges.

Leena Rao at TechCrunch has just written a very nice piece The Rise Of Company Builders which describes the state of the phenomenon. While she prefers the terms ‘company builder’ and ‘studio model’, she also points that Twitter co-founder Ev Williams uses the phrase ‘parallel entrepreneurship’ in describing his attraction to the model.

The article mentions some of the other players in the space, including John Borthwick’s very interesting Betaworks, recent arrival Science, and Monkey Inferno. Rao writes:

Entrepreneur-turned-investor is a classic story arc in Silicon Valley but recently the plot has earned a twist. Certain operators are foregoing the traditional path of joining a traditional VC to instead create a studio-like holding operation. By doing so, they remain engaged with the grit and grassroots challenges of building a startup. They remain company builders.
Each model differs slightly. Some take bigger chunks of equity than others. Some of the studio creators take co-founder titles on certain startups. Many studios not only create and incubate ideas in-house, but also make seed-stage investments in startups outside of the company. But at the heart of what each of these studios is doing is using entrepreneurial expertise and in-house resources to help generate ideas and build companies at scale.

The advantages of the parallel entrepreneurship model include being able to use common platforms and resources, experience and lessons learned being readily shared, and the ability to experiment more as your entrepreneurial portfolio is diversified.

The disadvantages potentially include lack of executive attention if the model is not well constructed, and it being harder to find outstanding individual startup leaders, some of whom may be more inclined to come up with their own ideas even if their chances of success are lower.

Our own AHT Group (website soon to be updated to reflect current activities) is shifting towards a parallel entrepreneurship model. While we are currently comprised of just three primarily service-oriented companies, as much of our energy and attention as possible is going into building the platforms that will allow us to launch multiple companies in the near future. Not a lot of our activity is yet publicly visible, but we expect to launch a number of interesting new ventures before long.

Interestingly, Pollenizer and BlueChilli, both also based in Sydney, each have globally distinctive and very interesting parallel entrepreneurship models.

I am not at all surprised to see the parallel entrepreneurship model getting broader traction and moving into the mainstream, despite ‘focus’ still being one of the words most bandied about in startup-land. Most should resist the temptation of multiple ventures, but despite the extreme management challenges, the model is more viable today than ever before.

I expect to share a lot more on parallel entrepreneurship coming up, both on the broader phenomenon, and our own experiences as we go down that path.

The post Parallel entrepreneurship goes mainstream appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.

from Trends in the Living Networks

vrijdag 15 februari 2013

TED: Young-ha Kim: Be an artist, right now! - Young-ha Kim (2010)

Why do we ever stop playing and creating? With charm and humor, celebrated Korean author Young-ha Kim invokes the world's greatest artists to urge you to unleash your inner child -- the artist who wanted to play forever. (Filmed at TEDxSeoul.)

from TEDTalks (video)

donderdag 14 februari 2013

TED: Esther Perel: The secret to desire in a long-term relationship - Esther Perel (2013)

In long-term relationships, we often expect our beloved to be both best friend and erotic partner. But as Esther Perel argues, good and committed sex draws on two conflicting needs: our need for security and our need for surprise. So how do you sustain desire? With wit and eloquence, Perel lets us in on the mystery of erotic intelligence.

from TEDTalks (video)

woensdag 13 februari 2013

TED: James B. Glattfelder: Who controls the world? - James B. Glattfelder (2012)

James Glattfelder studies complexity: how an interconnected system -- say, a swarm of birds -- is more than the sum of its parts. And complexity theory, it turns out, can reveal a lot about how the economy works. Glattfelder shares a groundbreaking study of how control flows through the global economy, and how concentration of power in the hands of a shockingly small number leaves us all vulnerable. (Filmed at TEDxZurich.)

from TEDTalks (video)

Siri’s contextual sister, Tempo, blows away Apple’s iPhone calendar

This is the year of increased productivity, particularly on mobile. Just a week ago we saw the highly-hyped launch of Mailbox. That is a really nice email replacement app that’s a lot nicer than Apple’s own email app. (I can’t use it because it doesn’t support Gmail’s labels, which I use extensively, but other than that it certainly is nice and has been racking up great reviews).

But today brings a really huge shift in productivity apps: this is the first app that looks for context from your email, calendars, contacts, and even social networks to build a new kind of calendar. One that brings important things you need to know into your calendar. “We wanted to bring a full replacement experience,” says Raj Singh, founder and CEO of TempoAI in the attached video.

So, why is it so good? Why do I believe that Apple should buy it, just like it bought Siri?

  1. It brings you important data that you forget to enter. Email addresses, phone numbers, attachments, pertinent emails and facts, all are gathered and brought into your calendar.
  2. It makes it easier for conference calls. You click on the number and it’ll automatically add in your PIN codes and other codes to get accepted into a conference call.
  3. The views are nicer than Apple’s calendar. Easier to use while walking, or doing other things (if you are running late for a meeting you will call them, right? Distracted driving kills and this calendar is a lot easier to find important things like phone numbers).
  4. It hooks up to some things on the Internet. Put a flight number in your calendar? It’ll find the status for you. This is the kind of anticipatory feature that contextual systems will increasingly bring us (just like Google Now). The more this knows about you the better it’ll serve you.
  5. It’ll anticipate your needs and help you live your life. It’ll tell you drive times to your next meeting, for instance.

Is it perfect? No. What I found after using it for a few weeks is that I’ve changed my calendar behavior slightly so that it properly finds the right emails. I used to enter things like “Meet Sam.” Now I’ll change that to “Meet Sam Levin at home.” Just that extra detail keeps it from getting confused and bringing in wrong emails. I found when I put things into my calendar like “BLOCK” it would try to find something in my email that matches that, so I needed to change my titles once in a while to make my calendar more useful.

It also is mostly client side at this point, which means that you can’t share this stuff with other people. Raj says they are working on an enterprise version, which will let you share your Tempo calendars with other people (I share my Google calendar with Rocky and my wife so they can add things and change things on my behalf).

In the video Singh explains how the calendar works, and where it’ll be going.

So, when I first saw Siri (I was the first to see it outside of SRI) I turned to the team and said “you’re gonna get bought very quickly.” I had no idea that Steve Jobs would end up buying it after only a couple of weeks on the market. The Siri team said Jobs was so desperate to get Siri that he called dozens of times to convince the team to join Apple.

Will Tim Cook do the same with Tempo? I think he should. Yes, there are competitors coming but they aren’t as good. I predict, though, that instead of about $220 million it cost Apple to buy Siri, that buying Tempo will cost a billion. Why? Because Apple will want to keep this out of Google’s hands (and out of Mark Zuckerberg’s hands, too — imagine if Facebook got this calendar).

By the way, if you get Tempo, you should also upgrade your Gmail, which will help Tempo find only good stuff. Here’s some other things I did to my Gmail account to clean it out of crap which might find its way onto your calendar:

  1. I turned on SmartLabels. This is a feature in labs and separates promotional and social emails out of your inbox.
  2. I turned on OtherInBox. This will further filter emails that aren’t important out of your inbox. It is filtering all my press releases into a separate folder, for instance. I also use Sanebox, but that costs money and doesn’t do much more than OtherInBox for most people. If you are a heavy email user I’d recommend buying that too.
  3. I use This unsubscribes me from mailing lists and junk email senders. You have to be careful with this, because it’ll unsubscribe you from mailing lists you actually like to get, but it does dramatically clean up your inbox, at least in my experience. Another choice is Swizzle, which some say is better than I’m trying both, will report more soon.

Anyway, this is the most productive new app I’ve gotten in more than a year. Hope you find it as useful as I do. Get it in the iOS app store here.

from Scobleizer

Enterprise Software’s Next Generation

Recently FORBES brought together nine tech entrepreneurs notable for the inroads they’re making in the stodgy $270 billion business software industry. It was a chance to gather the guys (and yes, in this case they are all guys) looking to remake an industry that has long been dominated by incumbents and resistant to change. Much of their efforts are focused on the infrastructure layers of enterprise technology. Their sense is that technology is being purchased, consumed, and maintained drastically differently than it was just a few years ago — and that these dynamics are finally becoming mainstream.

This group signals that things are finally shifting and even startups can compete alongside the giants for big deals. Box co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie was this group’s leader. He selected the guest list and guided much of the conversation.

What was perhaps most remarkable: the biggest and oldest brands in the game–Oracle, SAP, Cisco–don’t worry this crowd. “They’re selling the same stuff they’ve tried to sell for the last decade. Who cares?” said one guest. What scares them are the other, bigger firms that “get it”–namely, Google, Amazon and Salesforce.



from Upside Potential

dinsdag 12 februari 2013

A new way to fund a book’s development: sponsors, here’s ours

Shel Israel just announced that we have raised $100,000 to fund the development of our book, “Age of Context.” If you haven’t heard that we’re working on a book, we are, it’s going to focus on how companies are able to build highly anticipatory services (think of Google Now) and highly personalized services (ToyTalk, for instance, is building toys that will interact differently with you depending on who you are and where you are) because of these five things:

  1. Sensors that are exponentially increasing. You are carrying seven sensors in your smartphone. But soon we’ll have a lot more. 
  2. Wearable devices. Google Glass, Oakley AirWave, Plantronics, Smith I/O Recon, FitBit, Basis, Nike FuelBand, Jawbone Up, and more are coming nearly every week.
  3. Database innovation. Big data, database computation, cloud-based databases, and more are bringing new capabilities to developers.
  4. Rapidly increasing social data. Twitter is about to have a billion-tweet day. That number is continuing to double every year or so.
  5. Rapidly increasing location data. Foursquare, Yelp, Facebook, Google Maps, Waze, and many others are seeing yearly doubles, if not more, in location data.

Over the past year we’ve seen this “contextual service” trend just get more and more important. To get the book done I needed help, which is why I am working with Shel Israel, Forbes author, again. But he needed to quit his consulting business to write the book quickly (we’re going to try to turn this book around very quickly, expecting to get it on the market by October, 2013). Also, we wanted to self publish the book, in order to be more agile (most book publishers just can’t turn around a book fast enough, nor do they like letting authors publish content for free ahead of the book). So, we’re using Guy Kawasaki’s methodology for publishing, which he calls APE (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur).

In addition to getting Shel paid, the funds will be used to edit, design, and market the book.

Here’s the sponsors, thank you to each one of them:

  • Rackspace, the open cloud company. They served as our lead sponsor and they have been the most generous contributor so far.
  • EasilyDo is the first context aware pro-active assistant mobile app. It is sort of the GoogleNow of iPhone apps, except it actually lets you do stuff in the app, like track a package or add a contact.
  • Betaworks is a data-driven media company based in New York that builds and invests in the social web.
  • Microsoft Bing is one of the world’s leading search engines, helping millions of consumers do, not just search.
  • Autodesk, the 3D design, engineering and entertainment software company.
  • MindSmack, an interactive agency that designs and develops for mobile, web and TV.

Some things:

  1. Being a sponsor doesn’t influence what we write in the book. We are going to tell it like we see it and cover competitors of these well.
  2. We still need more funds to properly promote the book. Usually book publishers give you an advance, then take you on speaking tours and arrange PR through radio, TV, and newspapers. We’re going to fund that ourselves.
  3. The $100,000 raised so far is about three times what we would have been able to raise through traditional publisher and has a bigger upside because we can be much more agile and innovative (getting the book on market quicker after being done, for instance, or publishing all of our own work on our blogs).

Here’s some of our latest interviews (these are in addition to the dozens of interviews we’ve posted previously):


from Scobleizer

TED: Erik Schlangen: A "self-healing" asphalt - Erik Schlangen (2012)

Paved roads are nice to look at, but they’re easily damaged and costly to repair. Erik Schlangen demos a new type of porous, asphalt made of simple materials with an astonishing feature: When cracked, it can be “healed” by induction heating. (Filmed at TEDxDelft.)

from TEDTalks (video)

maandag 11 februari 2013

TED: Shabana Basij-Rasikh: Dare to educate Afghan girls - Shabana Basij-Rasikh (2012)

Imagine a country where girls must sneak out to go to school, with deadly consequences if they get caught learning. This was Afghanistan under the Taliban, and traces of that danger remain today. 22-year-old Shabana Basij-Rasikh runs a school for girls in Afghanistan. She celebrates the power of a family's decision to believe in their daughters -- and tells the story of one brave father who stood up to local threats. (Filmed at TEDxWomen)

from TEDTalks (video)

vrijdag 8 februari 2013

TED: Edi Rama: Take back your city with paint - Edi Rama (2012)

Make a city beautiful, curb corruption. Edi Rama took this deceptively simple path as mayor of Tirana, Albania, where he instilled pride in his citizens by transforming public spaces with colorful designs. With projects that put the people first, Rama decreased crime -- and showed his citizens they could have faith in their leaders. (Filmed at TEDxThessaloniki.)

from TEDTalks (video)

The state of influence today: increasing marketing budgets and greater influencer professionalism

Back in the day, Technorati’s annual State of the Blogosphere reports were the reference guide to what was happening in blogging, before Twitter existed or Facebook was open to the general public.

Illustrating the shifts in the landscape and in Technorati itself, it has just launched the 2013 Digital Influence Report, providing insights drawn from surveys including 6,000 influencers (a term that is unfortunately not defined in the report), 1,200 consumers and 150 brand marketers.

Influence has been a key focus for me for many years, with our activities including our Future of Influence Summit and Influence Landscape. Influence is by now a pretty mainstream frame for much digital marketing, yet in the big picture it is still early days, at least to judge by the Technorati report.

The full Technorati document is well worth a browse. Here are a few of the highlights from the report:

Social is still just 10% of total digital marketing budgets, with 83% of that amount on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Influencer marketing is 0.6% of the total spend.
Source: Technorati Digital Influence Report

By far the biggest increasing segment across digital marketing is mobile, followed by social. Search and display advertising are falling as a proportion of spend.
Source: Technorati Digital Influence Report

Brands are primarily relying on measures such as Facebook likes, Twitter follows, and pageviews. The social influence tools such as Klout and Kred, which despite their flaws are a lot more sophisticated than follower numbers, are still not prominent for marketers.
Source: Technorati Digital Influence Report

Facebook and Twitter dominate in platforms for influencers, though interestingly LinkedIn, YouTube and even Google+ stand out for revenue generation relative to content views.
Source: Technorati Digital Influence Report

Influencers receive payments from brands primarily for sponsored posts on blogs or Facebook, with also some traditional publisher-style packages such as competitions.

Influencers seem reluctant about most means of monetization, preferring classic publisher models such as e-commerce, affiliates, and banner advertising. They largely shun gated content and subscriptions, no doubt because only a handful of specialist bloggers could sustain this.
Source: Technorati Digital Influence Report

Marketers should already know that influencers love first review opportunities, just as mainstream journalists. Giveaways and prizes for their audience are valued, and not surprisingly the opportunity to be paid for content, though payments often remain on the low side.
Source: Technorati Digital Influence Report

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from Trends in the Living Networks

donderdag 7 februari 2013

TED: Lee Cronin: Print your own medicine - Lee Cronin (2012)

Chemist Lee Cronin is working on a 3D printer that, instead of objects, is able to print molecules. An exciting potential long-term application: printing your own medicine using chemical inks.

from TEDTalks (video)

woensdag 6 februari 2013

TED: Cesar Kuriyama: One second every day - Cesar Kuriyama (2012)

There are so many tiny, beautiful, funny, tragic moments in your life -- how are you going to remember them all? Director Cesar Kuriyama shoots one second of video every day as part of an ongoing project to collect all the special bits of his life.

from TEDTalks (video)

The 6 capabilities that drive future business value from Staggeringly Enormous Data

I recently participated in a panel interview on SkyNews of “some of the brightest minds in business technology”, including futurist Mark Pesce, commentator Brad Howarth, and myself. It’s just come out on the web and having now been able to watch it I think it turned out to be a very interesting discussion.

To see the video click on the image below.


After covering some of the major trends of 2012 towards the end of the panel we turned out attention to what was coming in the year ahead. When asked what I thought needed to be on the business agenda, my response was Big Data, or as I more accurately described it, Staggeringly Enormous Data.

As I wrote in an article on Governance as opportunity, research by MIT’s Eric Brynjolfsson showed 5% higher productivity from organizations that do ‘data-driven decision making’.

The key issue is the capabilities that organizations will need to get value from Big Data, and how to develop those capabilities.

I covered some of these points in my opening keynote at the Implementing Information Infrastructure Symposium, which was also written up in Computerworld under the title Big data to dictate the future of IT infrastructure.

Sis of the most critical capabilities for creating business value from Big Data are:

Consistently capturing relevant data. Many organizations already have a vast amount of data, and their immediate pressing issue is to extract value from that. However sustainable competitive advantage can only be gained from capturing the broadest range of potential valuable data. There does need to be a simple analysis of the potential value versus cost of gathering new categories of data, however as storage costs slide more data domains become viable. Emergent patterns and resultant value cannot always be anticipated so the key is developing consistent, efficient gathering of data that could drive better business decisions or operations today or down the track.

Adding metadata. Most organizations have vastly more unstructured than structured data, and to extract value from their current trove requires a preliminary exercise of structuring and tagging that data that can be expensive and time-consuming. Capabilities in adding metadata to existing data are important, with automated tagging and the use of crowdsourcing two of the most promising domains. However future capabilities must be focused on adding metadata at source. Effective tagging as data is gathered will pave the way for far broader and deeper applications of the data.

Infrastructure and architecture. Clearly plenty of computing “iron” is required to store and manage massive amounts of data. More important is the architecture, particularly in using, where appropriate, distributed storage and processing across often external as well as internal systems.

Data analytics. Demand for talented data scientists outweighs supply. Some organizations are fortunate to be able to attract and retain outstanding data analysts. However others are able to draw on external talent by leveraging data science competitions or defining specific projects. However what is less often recognized is that most data scientists are good at answering questions but not necessarily asking the right questions. As such data analytics capabilities must be linked to identifying where business value can or might be created.

Executive focus. Unless the top executive team recognizes the potential value of big data it will not allocate the requisite resources. More importantly, it will not spend the time to explore the questions and the possibilities that could lead to business value. You cannot necessarily predict where the greatest value in data analysis lies, so there must be the willingness to search. Ultimately, executives need to allow the outputs from their data pool to shape their decision making, and to understand when and where data and intuition have their place.

Communication of data analysis. The link between data analytics and executive focus comes largely from effective communication. Data visualization is a primary tool, which requires software but also softer skills in using visual representation to relate data to business value and decisions. There must be a rich two-way communication from those who make business decisions, be it at strategic or front-line levels, and those who can serve them with the fruits of Staggeringly Enormous Data.

The post The 6 capabilities that drive future business value from Staggeringly Enormous Data appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.

from Trends in the Living Networks

dinsdag 5 februari 2013

TED: Tyler DeWitt: Hey science teachers -- make it fun - Tyler DeWitt (2012)

High school science teacher Tyler DeWitt was ecstatic about a lesson plan on bacteria (how cool!) -- and devastated when his students hated it. The problem was the textbook: it was impossible to understand. He delivers a rousing call for science teachers to ditch the jargon and extreme precision, and instead make science sing through stories and demonstrations. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

from TEDTalks (video)

maandag 4 februari 2013

The future of academic certification: universities, MOOCs, aggregators, and peer reputation

This morning I gave the opening keynote at the Virtual Universities: Impact on Accounting Education Thought Leadership forum in Adelaide, organized by the Centre of Accounting, Governance and Sustainability at University of South Australia and the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia. The audience was an invitation-only group of the most senior accounting academics and industry practitioners in the country.

My keynote was on the broad global context for the current changes in education. After looking at major technological, social and structural changes, the future of work, and shifts in learning, I turned to the role of certification and credentials.

The rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has helped bring into focus that universities have to date always bundled together three things:
- Education;
- Certification; and
- Networking.

The rise of Open Courseware and more recently services such as Coursera, Udacity and edX has now broken out (part of) the education piece.

What makes this unbundling particularly pointed for existing educational institutions is that all of these rich course materials are being made available for free.

Of course the reality is that education is itself being unbundled, into elements including course materials, lectures, tutoring, peer discussion, and one-on-one teaching. However to some degree, for some students, outstanding course materials can be a substitute for university education.

Where established tertiary institutions still hold a virtual monopoly is in certification. Recognized degrees are a pathway to employment and career success.

In fact a quality free education has always being available for those who live where there is a university. Anyone can walk into a lecture hall. To register and pay gives you tutorials, exams, and ultimately certification. That hasn’t changed. It is just that this availability of teaching materials is now scaled globally.

In a world in which education, certification, and networking have been unbundled, an absolutely vital question is the future of certification.

While it is possible that established, credentialed universities will maintain a monopoly on certification, that is unlikely in the medium to longer term.

Universities degrees have value largely because employers place value on them. However employers that are seeking the best talent will find they are at a disadvantage if they disregard people who have the same or often better capabilities than those who have a degree.

There are a number of possible future models for certification, including:

- Education and certification are provided separately. One opportunity for universities is to provide credentials to students who have studied elsewhere, including using freely availably course materials. There is no reason why new institutions cannot establish themselves as recognized providers of credentials as a stand alone service. It will take a little while for them to be recognized, however that need not take long given how quickly reputations can be established in a connected world.

- Aggregation of certification and experience. A nice example of aggregation of certification is provided by Degreed, a start-up which provides a score combining accredited and non-accredited informal education. This model could morph into certification for our accumulated experiences in the ‘school of hard knocks’.

- Distributed peer reputation measures. In the rise of the reputation economy we are building increasingly good methodologies for measuring reputation and competence in specific domains. Topcoder is a great example of a distributed work platform in which people’s capabilities are judged by peers to provide ratings and rankings. It is feasible that broader-based peer rating systems will provide far better measures of competence than formal degrees or the exam system that still largely drives them.

Many university leaders believe that they will retain a monopoly on certification of capabilities. Indeed, the very long-established brands and credibility of major universities will retain massive value into the future, if they are well managed.

However there are a number of emerging models for certification of capabilities.

Which do you think are likely to be most prominent in years to come?

The post The future of academic certification: universities, MOOCs, aggregators, and peer reputation appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.

from Trends in the Living Networks

TED: Zahra' Langhi: Why Libya's revolution didn't work -- and what might - Zahra' Langhi (2012)

In Libya, Zahra' Langhi was part of the "days of rage" movement that helped topple the dictator Qaddafi. But -- then what? In their first elections, Libyans tried an innovative slate of candidates, the "zipper ballot," that ensured equal representation from men and women of both sides. Yet the same gridlocked politics of dominance and exclusion won out. What Libya needs now, Langhi suggests, is collaboration, not competition; compassion, not rage.

from TEDTalks (video)

zondag 3 februari 2013

Analysis: US, Australia social network usage flat, New Zealand now the world’s biggest user of social networks?

On February 13 I will speak at Air New Zealand’s Social Media Breakfast in Auckland, together with Teddy Goff, Obama’s Digital Director, with an expected audience of close to 1,000.

Air New Zealand ran its first Social Media Breakfast in July last year with Randi Zuckerberg as key speaker, with the exceptional success of the event leading the airline to continue the series with the second breakfast next week. While Air New Zealand is the 36th largest airline in the world, it ranks 6th in its social media presence.

In preparing for the event I have been looking at data on New Zealand’s usage of social media. I was surprised to find that there is a fair chance that New Zealand has the highest rate of social network usage in the world.


The chart above shows a summary of data from Nielsen on the time spent per month on social networks in a variety of countries around the world.

The differing dates for the data and what that means requires some explanation.

In January 2010 I reported on Nielsen’s first public study on global social network usage, which showed Australia as #1 in the world in time spent on social networks. Subsequent data from April 2010 showed increased usage and the same relative position of the countries.

Since then there has been no global comparative data released by Nielsen that I am aware of. However in its Social Media Q3 2011 Report Nielsen stated that Australia was still #1 in social media usage across the countries it covered, with an average usage of 7 hours 17 minutes per month. This figure was in fact 2 minutes DOWN from the statistics from over one year earlier.

Recently Nielsen released social media usage statistics for the US for July 2012, showing average time on social networks of 6 hours 28 minutes. This was also 7 minutes DOWN from the figures from April 2010.

In short, it is pretty clear that in countries where social media usage penetration is high such as US and Australia, time spent on social networks is not increasing and may be decreasing.

This is not highly surprising, as there are of course limits to how much time we can spend on social media, and it looks like we may have reached them. However the breadth of social media penetration is continuing to increase even in developed countries.

The other interesting data point is that in December Nielsen released data showing that online New Zealanders average 7 hours 43 minutes per month on social networks, far ahead of the US and considerably ahead of what was previously the world leader, Australia, where social media usage appears to be flat.

I am just looking at the publicly available data, so it is not clear whether Nielsen started covering New Zealand more recently or it came from behind to overtake Australia as having the highest usage of social media. Just as Australia caught up from a very slow start in uptake of social media, I suspect that the same has happened in New Zealand.

From before the popular rise of social media I was saying that geographically isolated countries such as Australia must have a mentality of connection. For New Zealand, even smaller and more isolated, that applies even more.

It is fantastic that New Zealanders clearly understand and embrace connectivity and the rise of the living networks. It augurs well for the country’s social and economic prosperity in years to come.

The post Analysis: US, Australia social network usage flat, New Zealand now the world’s biggest user of social networks? appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.

from Trends in the Living Networks

vrijdag 1 februari 2013

Judging the best visualizations of the future: Enter the BBC What If? competition

This year BBC is focusing on the future under the theme What If? and has just launched its What If? Visions of the Future competition.

Image source: BBC News/ Glenn Hatton

The competition focuses on visualizing what our future may look like. The competition overview says:

We cannot change the past, but we can visualise the world of the future – the world that we want or the world we want to avoid.

We want you to send us your visual representation of the future.

There are two categories: still images and moving images (up to 50 seconds). So your entry can be a single photograph or drawing, an animation or video, or even a picture or video of a model or sculpture you’ve made. But it must be your own work.

The BBC asked six artists around the world to share their visions of the future to kickstart the competition. The image above is taken from an animation created by Australia’s Glenn Hatton.

I am honored to be one of five international judges who will judge the competition finalists.

The winner of each category will receive a laptop up to the value of £2,500, and of course significant global recognition for their work.

So, read the competition overview, let your visions of the future emerge, and capture them to share with the world.

I look forward to seeing an exceptional array of visualizations of what may come to pass.

The post Judging the best visualizations of the future: Enter the BBC What If? competition appeared first on Trends in the Living Networks.

from Trends in the Living Networks