30 June 2006

Exposure Quotes

For those who haven't yet downloaded the Exposure PDF (or are too lazy or time-constrained to read the whole thing), here are a few quotes of interest:

(From John Perry Barlow’s chapter, titled “Selling Wine Without Bottles”)

…the rights of invention and authorship adhered to activities in the physical world. One didn’t get paid for ideas but for the ability to deliver them into reality. For all practical purposes, the value was in the conveyance and not the thought conveyed. In other words, the bottle was protected, not the wine.

The best way to protect intellectual property is to act on it.

Our intellectual property protection derives from our being the only real-time source of it.

Point of view is an asset which cannot be stolen or duplicated.

The central economic distinction between information and physical property is the ability of information to be transferred without leaving the possession of the original owner.

[for ideas], familiarity has more value than scarcity… the best thing you can do to raise the demand for your product is to give it away.

Exposure Recap

A group of very smart people got together in 2003. They had a conference, collected transcripts of the talks & papers, and put it all together into a book titled Exposure: From Friction to Freedom.

They printed it as a rather high-end hardcover book. Pricetag: $50. It sold out, and isn't available for purchase anymore.

However, the PDF is available (for free). Turns out, they were charging for the book, not the words. The paper, not the ideas. The Form, not the Function. John Perry Barlow explores this idea with great clarity in the chapter titled Selling Wine Without Bottles.

Now it's 2006. Along comes some guy (me) who wants to help spread the ideas in Exposure (more on those ideas shortly). With the blessing of a former lyricist for the Greatful Dead (who happens to be a brilliant technology writer as well), I uploaded it to Lulu.com and am now selling it for $8 [full disclosure: I make 68 cents on every copy sold].

Yes, you can still download it Now & for Free. You can also get it in hardcopy Next Week for $8. Or you can Wait Forever for the $50 version (which no longer exists).

Options are very good... Power to the people!

29 June 2006

Some More Cool Quotes

"Whatever you think, think the opposite" - Paul Arden (Thanks Cecil Hook)

"Law, Medicine, Engineering, Arcitecture....all have higher, transcedant purposes. Business is no different, they just don't know it yet."
- John Mackey, Whole Foods Market

And from our friend, Tom Peters latest presentation:

“A focus on cost-cutting and efficiency has helped many organizations weather the downturn, but this approach will ultimately render them obsolete. Only the constant pursuit of innovation can ensure long-term success.” —Daniel Muzyka, Dean, Sauder School of Business, Univ of British Columbia (FT/09.17.04)

“You can’t behave in a calm, rational manner. You’ve got to be out there on
the lunatic fringe.”
—Jack Welch

“The role of the Director is to create a space where the actor or actress can become more than they’ve ever been before, more than they’ve dreamed of being.” —Robert Altman, Oscar acceptance


27 June 2006

Learn This Word!

Apophenia: the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data. (ala John Nash in A Beautiful Mind)

Klaus Conrad coined the term and defined it as the "unmotivated seeing of connections" accompanied by a "specific experience of an abnormal meaningfulness".

He originally described it in relation to the distortion of reality present in psychosis, but it has become more widely used to describe this tendency in healthy individuals without necessarily implying the presence of neurological or mental illness.

In statistics, apophenia would be classed as a Type II error (false alarm).
(from the Wikipedia entry for Apophenia)

Here's the reason I think it's an important word / concept / idea / phenomenon: It has been suggested that apophenia is a link between psychosis and creativity.

The other reason this word matters: we are in an age when pattern recognition is more important than ever...

26 June 2006

Blogging In Spurts

I seem to blog in spurts. I don't know why.

I don't think it's good or bad. It's just the rhythm I seem to be in...

Exposure book

I recently came across a fascinating book titled Exposure. It's all about intellectual property issues, and you can download the PDF version for free. I can't recommend it strongly enough, for anyone who is interested in thinking about the role of ideas in the digital age.

It's about creativity, compensation, video games, music, writing, morality and the electronic frontier. John Perry Barlow, former songwriter for the Greatful Dead and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (!) is the latest addition to my list of favorite people. His article about "Selling Wine Without Bottles" is brilliant & tremendously thoughtprovoking.

Sadly, the book is sold out. However, as I said, you can download the PDF. You could then upload it to Lulu.com and (for about $8) print a hardcopy for yourself.

Question: What if I uploaded the PDF to Lulu and made hardcopies available for sale to the public? Would it be morally acceptable for me to make a profit on the sale? Would I be obliged to share those profits with the authors who contributed to the book? What if I had a website that said "Click here to get it for free from the original source... or click here to buy a hardcopy from me..."?

Any thoughts?

Never Let Family "Interfere" With Work

For many years now, I have been absolutely committed to living out my belief that family should never interfere with my work. It is only recently I've put that concept in those terms.

Here's what I mean: I work in order to provide for my family. So, when my family's needs conflict with work, family wins... and I don't call it interference, no matter the impact on my work-related plans for the day.

For example, when I'm about to walk out the door & go to work and my daughter shows up asking for breakfast (awake 30 minutes early!) ... I don't tell her to go away. I put my stuff down, feed her, and gladly accept the fact that I'll be a bit late today.

She is not getting in my way. Not even a little. She is not an inconvenience or an interference. She is three years old and she's hungry. Feeding her and giving her a little cuddle is way more important than getting to work at a particular time.

If I don't understand that, if I don't recognize the value & importance of being there and taking care of her, shame on me.

This isn't about indulging a 3-year-old's every whim (which is a tremendously bad idea, by the way). It's about recognizing what really matters.

When work and family conflict, and something has to give, I don't want it to be the family that suffers. And when work gets moved to the back burner, I don't call it "interference." I call it "a good decision."

From "The Adventurer" by Paul Zweig

"Men, it would seem, are worth talking about only when the pattern of their life is broken."

(The Adventurer, by Paul Zweig - amazing book. Please read it!)

02 June 2006

Interactive Access

For the past few months, I've been watching a very interesting trend emerge. I call it "Interactive Access," and plan to do some serious writing about it shortly.

Here's the thing - thanks to Google, online banking, Amazon.com, etc... access to all the world's data is basically a present reality. Obviously, some types of data are easier to locate than others, but generally speaking we currently have the ability to locate any piece of information we are searching for.

So, I contend that Access is not really a trend. It's already here, and while it will continue to grow & mature, it's basically yesterday's news.

Interactive Access, on the other hand, is all about the ability to manipulate the data we find. Wikipedia is a great example, because it enables users to add, delete, correct, correlate, expand and generally do stuff with the info. Google Map mashups let people aggregate data from a variety of sources and create interesting new information products. Ancient Spaces lets users contribute to & manipulate a 3-D representation of the ancient world. The list goes on.

Finding data is no longer enough. Interacting with that data, correcting it and adding to it, putting it together in new ways... that is a trend with some very cool implications.

More to follow...

Reading List

A quick look at some of the things I'm reading these days:

Quicksilver, by Neal Stephenson - author of SnowCrash - fascinating novelist!
The Apple Way, by Jeffrey Cruikshank - very insightful look at what works/worked / didn't work at Apple
Future Singapore, by Moh Hon Meng (thanks, Kurt!) - If you're not studying Asia these days, you're missing something big.

I also picked up Pattern Recognition, by William Gibson (the guy who coined the word "cyberspace"). Haven't started it yet, but am looking forward to it!

What's on your list?

Imagination & Courage

Imagine for a moment that Imagination and Courage matter for an organization's success.

How would you encourage it? How would you reward it? How would you measure, detect or notice it?