30 December 2005

Re-Mix, Re-Package & Re-Purpose

This past week has brought many loose ideas, people and ways together through my on-going close-out-the-year conversations. The one issue that keeps rising to the surface in almost all of those discussions is personal leadership.

My prediction for 2006 is simple:
People will spend more time packaging their talents, skills and connections in new ways to make themselves more relevant for communities and organizations much more aligned with what they believe in and what they want to achieve that delivers human, social, creative and financial value.

That means that the role of coaches and guides will become more important than ever before if organizations are going to get the right talent in the right roles.

I wish you a year filled with joy, adventure and wonder for 2006.

27 December 2005

Looking back on 2005

As I look back on 2005 to take a measurement of what happened, what created new value, and what I said goodbye to, I realize that I rarely look back. I am always so busy with the here and now that I often do not take the time to review and evaluate on a longer term "look back".

I want to review what created "impact" in my life on a new value level. Over the next few days, I am taking the time to really have a look at what has impacted my personal world, my working world, my creative world, my academic world and my inner world.

Just off the top of my head, I can immediately see that my partners in IFCCC have contributed to my growth and enjoyment of work and life. New technology always plays a role, but in 2005 I realized that capturing sets of tools and applying new technology could be a new value path. This also has something to do with realizing that I can repackage much of my content and repurpose it to create value in new environments and for new groups of people.

2005 was a year of letting go of old ways - mostly old family habits - and giving myself permission to make myself the center of my own world and not feel obliged to always do what's expected. So, I surprised people this year and shared myself in a new ways. I think this was connected to a renewed yoga practice because of a very special teacher.

So, I am drawing and mapping out what impacted my life and created value in 2005. With that in hand, I will map out a new vision for moving forward with some solid steps for repackaging many of my "products" and services so that I can use them to help others become more collaborative, more creative and more connected.

Internet has 1 Billion Users!

Just discovered this on Web Pro News, and I'm still trying to get my head around what the read implications of this could be.

One Billion Web Users Need Better Websites
By: Jason Lee Miller

Some time this year, the number of Internet users reached one
billion. Billion with a "b." If you count to one billion at one
number per second, it would take you over 31 years to finish. It has
taken the Internet 36 years to count that high, says web usability
expert and former Sun Microsystems engineer Dr. Jakob Nielsen. The
next 10 years will bring the second billion, growing at an annual
rate of 18 percent, and will include unprecedented numbers from Asia
and senior citizens-and that has huge implications in e-commerce.

Statistically, says Nielsen, the one billionth online user was a
24-year-old woman in Shanghai. Only 23 percent come from North
America, leaving 24 percent in Europe and 36 percent in Asia. By
2015, though accounting for nearly one-third of e-commerce, North
Americans will consist of only 15 percent of Internet users.

"This means that for e-commerce to fulfill its potential to double,
sites must be more systematic at following the e-commerce usability
guidelines. Selling to the 200 million early adopters was easy. The
800 million mainstream users who are now starting to shop need much
smoother sites; the next billion will require even higher usability
levels," writes Nielsen.

22 December 2005

Charles Dickens Festival Amsterdam

Last Sunday, the 18th of December, we filmed and photographed the Charles Dickens Festival on Da Costaplein in Amsterdam. This was a neighborhood event organized by Monique Jansen.

Monique's 91 year old grandmother is my neighbor, so they knew I was busy with filming things because I am always carrying camera equipment around. They asked me in the summer if I would film the event. I actually felt honored because it meant they saw me as part of the community and the neighborhood.
Scrooge voorstelling kids vrouwen.JPG
This was a magical day. In 18 years of living here, I had never experienced such a sense of community, sharing, and enjoyment. There were stands with soup and hot mulled wine or hot chocolate. Kids performed their version of Dickens' The Christmas Story with Tiny Tim and Scrooge. People wandered about in period costumes. A sort of "Barber Shop Quartet" sang old standards - and, of course, there were carolers and dancers, too.

The atmosphere was rich in smells, sounds and colors - like stage set for theater, which it was, for 6 hours. One performance after another, effortlessly, and seemingly integrated with the audience. We even had snow blowing around.
kinderen sneeuw.JPG
Have a look at the photos from the day. I am still busy editing the video, but the cuts look good. Jonathan Marks and Sierd Loman did a great job with the camera work - many thanks to them.

21 December 2005

Hopi Elders Speak

This is for my friend, Kerry Santo, who is struggling right now as she tries to bring an idea movement alive called Modo Fac Central.

This piece was delivered by The Elders, Oraibi, Arizona, Hopi Nation:

"You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.
Now you must go back and tell the people that this is The Hour.
There are things to be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

This could be a good time!

There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore.
They will feel they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.

See who is in there with you and celebrate.

At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves.
For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over.
Gather yourselves!

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary.

All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we've been waiting for."

Hopi nakwach petroglyph, which means brotherhood

15 December 2005


Joshua Schachter sold Del.icio.us to Yahoo last week! That takes tagging into the mainstream now. I wonder whether Yahoo! is going to try and combine or somehow blend My Web2.0 into Del.icio.us.

It's interesting to watch how Yahoo! is building its innovative strength by buying unique and successful social media brands that have opened up categories - like Flickr (for photo storage, sharing and tagging) and Del.icio.us (for bookmark storage, sharing and tagging). Nice strategy to compete with Google, who innovates by invention.

Makes me wonder who's next? Could be that ex-Yahoolian, Seth Godin, had an instinct when he started Squidoo. Speaking of Squidoo, they are struggling with a wee bit of technical difficulty today. I really do love developing those Squidoo lenses.

14 December 2005

Technorati Kitchen - What's Cooking?

Technorati Kitchen is a place where you can explore the hottest blogs on any topic.

You can post projects that are not ready for the world but need feedback. You can contribute things to do with gadgets or announce great new ones. You can learn about new tools for design or technology or make the connections for venture capital.

The right-hand column lists contributions that are "fully baked" or "half baked".

There's even a feedback form to help Technorati further develop this concept of exploring.

12 December 2005

An Evening Crossing Signals on Innovation

Last Wednesday evening, I attended a knowledge sharing session hosted by Crossing Signals at Kasteel Wittenburg.
Valeri Rudy Matthijs Ton @ Crossing Signals Mtg.jpg
Rudy Hoeboer is championing collaboration at the business level to stimulate innovative thinking and practices between people at work. He and Mathijs van Zutphen opened the evening with a discussion about the philosphy behind collaboration and innovation. They then introduced Valeri Souchkov from ICG Training & Consulting.

Valeri presented us with the background to TRIZ, Systematic Innovation Techniques. We even got to play with a "contradiction". I love using this word instead of problem. If I walked away with anything from that evening, it is using this word "contradiction", perhaps because it's a word with perspective, whereas "problem" has such a judgment attached to its meaning. Valeri asked us to choose a positive and a negative contradiction so that he could demonstrate how TRIZ works.

Ton presented a wonderful set: negative = too many resources and time to bring in business; positive = smaller projects much better aligned with strengths and desires to generate more satisfaction.

Valeri used his matrix to identify which principles we should apply. There are 5 levels of innovation, and most companies remain working at level one. Even the most brilliant and innovative rarely generate new thinking or ideas at a level higher than 3. Level 5 requires changes principles. The one principle that stimulated our thinking the most was "holes" - look for the holes, spaces, gaps, missing pieces.

I am interested in playing around a bit more with Valeri on developing a visual software for clarifying the meaning of concepts that take on different meaning in different cultures. We'll see what happens.

Thanks, Rudy, for the invitation...and apologies for the incredible mispelling of your last name! (I'm still giggling...)

8 December 2005

Parallel DNS System Proposed by Dutch Company

A Dutch company - UnifiedRoot - is introducing a new generation of internet domain names "around the dot". They are offering top level domains (TLD's) with sub-level domains using the name of a person or the company, or actually any name we choose, as the suffix.

This means we can really personalize our domains and clean up the web architecture for our sites. Instead of having to claim several domains - ifccc.org, ifccc.com, ifccc.net, etc. - we could just claim our name as the suffix and then use that to build a more cohesive web domain archtecture. For instance, instead of IFCCC.org, we could use www.wiki.ifccc or www.forum.ifccc or www.projects.ifccc. We could then adapt our email to colby@amsterdam.ifccc or jonathan@london.ifccc. This makes a lot of sense.

This new generation domain system proposed by UnifiedRoot offers us a much more intuitive way to build our Internet addresses and web architecture. This has lots of benefits for users - easy to remember, easy to navigate, less confusion with other companies, branded and personalized.

UnifiedRoot has already established 13 master root servers around the world to handle this domain name system (DNS).

By doing this, UnifiedRoot creates a contradiction for the Internet's principle DNS, run by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), because it establishes a parallel DNS system.

What does this mean for our ISP's? They will need to add these newly established DNS servers from UnifiedRoot in their DNS server directories. European ISP Tiscali has already made the change, along with several local ISPs in Turkey.

We're always looking for examples of real innovation here in The Netherlands - well, this is definitely one!

Unified Root is a B.V. based in Amsterdam, and their managing director is Erik Seeboldt.

6 December 2005

Squidoo is almost ready for release!

Though it is still in beta mode, Seth Godin has once again created a whazzo marketing tool for ideas - Squidoo.

Squidoo is an online social application equipped with RSS, a module formatted template, supported by Google Ads, and has a network of lenses created by individuals about their specialities.

Many of us have been developing lenses, playing with how to put them together, and feeding back through a dynamic Squidoo team. Why have we been doing this? First, it's FUN! But, more importantly, Squidoo is a tool for showcasing ideas, topics, business practices. It's easy-to-read-and-find format creates a "lens" or filter through which viewers can find, learn and access the information about that subject matter.

Because we tag our lenses and keep them "live" through RSS feeds and updated links, they are perfect formats for Google Ads. Once Squidoo is out of beta, each lens will become a revenue stream for the developer of the lens - as well as a window into their expertise or knowledge or connections to a certain topic.

Anyway, I've had fun building some lenses and sharing my feedback. Here's a preview into one of the lenses I built: Squidoo Lens: How to Connect Using SocialMedia

Here's the list of the TOP 100 Squidoo Lenses.

Once Squidoo is out of beta, you should build lenses too and connect them to your site or blog or use them to market yourself.

5 December 2005

Google Calendar Expected Tomorrow

Just in from Inside Google blog Google Calendar Expected Tomorrow Read whole story there.

"Rumor is that Google will unveil the long-ago rumored Google Calendar at Tuesday’s When 2.0 conference at Stanford. Will Google Calendar use some company’s calendar format, a brand-new incompatible format , offer converters from but not to other formats , or will Google do the smart and diplomatic thing? Will Google Calendar steal some of Microsoft’s thunder and support RSS SSE?"
via Inside Google and Findory

Sinterklaas 5 December

This evening, most Dutch families will celebrate Sinterklaas with presents, poems and candies. It is a very intimate family tradition.

Sinterklaas arrives in each Dutch town on a big white horse and has a big red book with the names of all children and how they have behaved over the past year. If a child has been good, they get a present and a chocolate letter of the initial from their first name with traditional candies and cookies. If a child has been naughty, he expects to get "lashed" with the branches from "Black Pete", one of Sinterklaas' assistants - and then get stuffed into Sinterklaas' bag and taken to Spain for the year to learn how to behave.

Every child knows this will never happen, but parents use the threat anyway because it is part of their tradition.

Grown-ups give each other a "review" of the past year in rhyme, which gives them a chance to say what they've wanted to say all year long about each other.

St. Nickolas was originally a bishop in the town of Mira in southern Turkey hundreds of years ago. He was left an orphan with a large inheritance, which he unselfishly spent on all the people and, particularly, children in need.

Black Pete is actually a bit of a politically incorrect character in these days with his painted black face.

I can't wait to share the poems tonight!

1 December 2005

The Future of Software Architecture

Yesterday evening, I attended a "speaker & discussion event" - The Future of Software Architecture - put together by The Club of Amsterdam. It was held in the offices of Syntens.

The discussion after the speakers covered a wide scope of views. The heart of the discussion wasn't really about software architecture, but more along the lines of people's and society's relationship with business. The core issue about the future of software architecture seemed to lie somewhere between:
.....having enough time to invest in developing real solutions rather than holding the solution hostage by business politics
.....and educational standards that leave children without the knowledge to contribute at a level higher than business tasking.

What I also heard - from those not involved in the field of computer sciences - was a voice for the human factor and the human value system. Is the role of software keeping our children from learning - or is it helping our children learn differently? Should computers reflect our human capacity for emotion? This raised the conversation to another level until one young man tried to turn the discussion into an instrumental talk about learning about software architecture. Thankfully, the group did not want to let go of the more philosophical discussion about the "future of...".

These discourses stimulated by the Club of Amsterdam help to build our knowledge and give us a venue to share our thinking on topical issues. We meet interesting minds, help address the issues in our society, and grow relationships.

In the beginning of the evening, I though "Uh-oh.." when the host started to literally read from a PowerPoint presentation about her company, Syntens. Rather than share why syntens had hosted the evening and what role they play in the context of the subject, she opted for reading a sales pitch. Lost opportunity to engage themselves in the evening.

Thankfully, that ended quickly and Maarten Boasson, a professor at the University of Amsterdam shared his views on the issues of developing software architecture in today's world. Though Maarten didn't hold out many hopes for the future of software architecture, he did address the stumbling blocks to success. Big issue: clients with their own agenda opting for software development based on an already chosen, politically motivated solution, rather than letting the architect develop a solution based on identified parameters guided by the real problem. Another big issue: the academic standards that leave us with a pool of talent that do not have the abilities needed to think about solutions for addressing the real problems.

The second speaker was Maarten Visser, an young and enthusiastic entrepreneurial evangelist for social software and the value it creates for business, people and society. He visually demonstrated the integration of the different layers of technology their construction into web applications and interfaces.

The third speaker, Niek Jetten, presented the issues facing business right now with integrating new systems with legacy systems.

This gave us three completely different perspectives of approach and interest - as well as age.