Archive for June, 2007

Chasing the will-o’-the-wisp

Keith June 26th, 2007

So, is the iPhone going to be a winner?  Many analysts seem to have their knives out for it.  Reading between the lines, it appears that the heat of the controversy is caused by colliding world views.  Traditionally, devices are made by hardware designers.  However, Apple has carved out its market niche by taking a different design approach, particularly seen in the iPod.

The touch-screen interface and the user experience of the iPhone (quick scrolling and navigation with a range of hand movements) are much more software-driven than any other mobile phone.  Even though its mobile phone features are apparently not particularly revolutionary, it is the design and operation of the iPhone that could reshape an industry.  We may soon see similar touch-screen interfaces not only in mobile phones, but in many other devices.

Technological shifts are often a matter of clever marketing, but can also have a lot to do with timing.  Many inventions and ideas never quite “make it” at the time of their conception, often due to shortcomings in available technology or manufacturing.  Years later, new developments pave the way, and the original idea is finally born.  By this time, the original creator often receives no credit or glory.

One of my favourite stories on this topic is the story of Delilah and the Mobile Phone.

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Working the Network

Keith June 21st, 2007

Patrick Lambe posted some great insights into the power of social networking on actKM yesterday.

He mentioned that the role of much social software – blogs, podcasting, wikis, etc – is to use “… social relationships to help you filter information and ideas meaningfully – ie, make sense of all the “stuff” that’s out there.”

We tend to find our favourite blogs and follow them.  These may be blogs written by people with similar world views to us, or may be blogs that challenge us, but they will tend to be blogs that cover common areas of interest.  By sharing content and views across these loose networks, we help each other to filter out the “stuff” and find interesting new ideas.  This then leads to a wider network, more new ideas.

Patrick tells this story:

“… the other day I noticed a new subscriber to the KM videos I had posted at YouTube.  When I followed his profile link, I found he has his own KM blog, is a fellow Irishman, living 20 miles from my parents’ house in Ireland (where I go to do my writing), working in a bank and doing an MSc in KM.  We’re now having a discussion about dissertation topics, and will likely continue to trade things of interest to each other either via our blogs – and maybe meet for a drink next time I’m over there.”

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Be careful what you wish for…

Keith June 18th, 2007

… because one day, your wishes may be granted.

(Paraphrased.  Various attributions - possibly first to “Anonymous” by W. W. Jacobs, in “The Monkey’s Paw”, Harpers Monthly, 1902.) 

How the Gift Economy pays off

Keith June 15th, 2007

Sick of chasing your tail working more to earn more money to pay other people to do more things for you – then have less time to do what you want to do? I just read an interesting post on Allan Jenkins’ site about the Gift Economy.  Need to go back and read some more later…

KM Quotes

Keith June 15th, 2007

See a great list of quotes about KM at Viktor Markowski’s site at Conosco.

Flame Warriors

Keith June 13th, 2007

Every met any interesting characters online?

Thanks to Patrick Lambe for sending me the link to this site…

Challenging how knowledge is created

Keith June 12th, 2007

I went to a seminar about wikis organised by a while ago (27 April), where Jimmy Wales, the “father” of Wikipedia, presented.  Another key speaker was Mark Pesce.  It was a great learning experience. 

We heard a lot about Wikipedia (a non-profit organisation), and Jimmy’s other organisation, Wikia, which provides wiki platforms on a for-profit basis.

One important learning from Jimmy’s experience is that it is possible to set up a sustainable wiki with as few as 5 to 10 dedicated people.  There is even one case of a successful wiki started by a single (very) dedicated person.  Jimmy referred to Wiki as a “return to folk culture”.  It is all about a group of individuals each doing their own bit.

It’s all about accountability, not gate-keeping.  Anybody can edit – the default position is to trust people.  This has also been my experience with our iStore here at Telstra over the last seven years – trust people to share their knowledge openly and easily, and in the vast majority of cases, your trust will be honoured.  The more you “lock up” your knowledge sharing with controls, the less likely it is that people will share.

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Get used to the 21st century!

Keith June 8th, 2007

They crowd your email inbox all the time – the jokes, funny pictures or links to YouTube videos.  You also get the hoaxes – the fake virus warnings, Nigerian scams, edited pictures and phoney videos.

If something looks real, but turns out to be fake, is it any less funny?  A video that did the rounds late last year raised another question – when is a fake not a fake?

It looks like a TV news item.  Bart Sweeney, a journalist with an American accent, introduces us to “This edition of Spotlight on the World” from Copenhagen.  He refers to the Danes’ “tolerant and casual attitude toward just about everything”.  However, Bart tells us, they are becoming less tolerant of speeding motorists. 

He then shows us an innovative solution being taken to address this issue: “speed control bikini bandits”.  These young women do “whatever it takes so that motorists pay more attention to the speed limit.” 

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15 seconds of fame

Keith June 7th, 2007

So, in case you ever wondered, I did actually appear on “1 vs 100”.  I spent a total of four days in the studio in January and February, and actually had a total of three turns in the “mob”.  The closest I came to winning a significant amount of money was during the game where Jennifer Collingwood was out the front.  This final part of this game went to air on 23 April.  You may well have seen me on screen a few times in this episode (if you were watching TV in Australia) – I was in podium 85, near the front, a little to the left.

(Speaking about the context of humour – the host, Eddie McGuire, is also the President of the Collingwood Australian Rules Football Club – a connection that he made a point of several times…)

Jennifer got down to 1 vs 7, with a prize pool of $149,000.  (This was the closest any competitor in the Australian version of the game had got to the million dollars so far.)  Up to this point, she was quite aggressive in her approach, and seemed determined to win the million dollar prize.  When ten or less remain in the mob, the contestants are allowed a three-second “sneak peek” of the question.  This one was:

Leaving out the water, what does a standard beer recipe use most of?

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Translating humour

Keith June 6th, 2007

A funny thing happened on the way to the office…

I was in Sydney two weeks ago, conducting job interviews at our Pitt St office.  As I walked in on the Friday morning, I couldn’t help noticing the woman just ahead of me.  Calf-length black boots, tight jeans, tight black top, long, straight black hair.    She was walking toward the same lift bank that I was heading for, and two other guys were going the same way.

A lift opened, and the four of us walked in.  So far as I could tell, we were all mutual strangers.  The lift started up on its express run to level 22.

One of the other guys turned to the woman and asked cheekily, “Where can I get a pair of boots like that?”

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