30 January 2006

Chinese New Year - The Year of the Dog

On the Chinese calendar, 2006 is Lunar Year 4703-4704. On the Western calendar, the start of the New Year falls on January 29, 2006 — The Year of the Dog.

If you were born in 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, or 2006 - you were born under the sign of the dog. For dogs in 2006, realize that you can overcome any recent setbacks or obstacles so look forward to a year where you can shine.

People born in the Year of the Dog possess the best traits of human nature. They have a deep sense of loyalty, are honest, and inspire other people by building confidence. They know how to keep secrets. Dog People can be somewhat selfish, terribly stubborn, and eccentric. Wealth is not that important to them, yet they always seem to have money. Dog People can be emotionally distant and find fault with things - they are known for their sharp tongues. Dog people also make good leaders. They are compatible with those born in the Years of the Horse, Tiger, and Rabbit.

The Legend:
According to Chinese legend, the twelve animals quarreled one day as to who was to head the cycle of years. The gods were asked to decide and they held a contest: whoever was to reach the opposite bank of the river would be first, and the rest of the animals would receive their years according to their finish.

All the twelve animals gathered at the river bank and jumped in. Unknown to the ox, the rat had jumped upon his back. As the ox was about to jump ashore, the rat jumped off the ox's back, and won the race. The pig, who was very lazy, ended up last. That is why the rat is the first year of the animal cycle, the ox second, and the pig last.

25 January 2006

Albert Hofmann - LSD's inventor - Celebrates 100th Birthday

Note: Hofman died 29 April 2008

Dr. Albert Hofmann celebrated his 100th birthday on 11 January 2006 in grand style. The Gaia Media Foundation staged an International Symposium in Basel, Switzerland, on the occasion of his 100th Birthday. They brought 2000 people from all over the world together to discuss LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide), the drug that changed the world.

"Uncle Albert" (from the Beatles tune) discovered the mind-altering affects of the drug LSD in 1943 when a chemist in the old Sandoz lab where they worked had a "vorgefühl", loosely translated that's Swiss German for an insightful feeling that something is about to happen. It was originally used to help the psychoanalysis of patients that would not engage in conversation.

LSD later became the drug of choice during the 60's by anyone looking for a mind-expanding experience. Timothy Leary, a psychology professor at Harvard and an early adopter of LSD, experimented with the drug during the 60's on prisoners and himself to explore it's mind-altering effects in controlled environments. He eventually consumed more than 5000 documented hits of acid during his lifetime. He even testified at Senate hearings about the effects and impact of the drug. Because of this, the USA banned the drug completely, including for therapic use.

Hofmann would like to see that US sanction reversed.

Hofmann called LSD "his problem child". Have a read through his papers on "LSD - My Problem Child".

Happy birthday, "Uncle Albert" - and thank you for a gift that opened may minds to new states of consciousness.

Evo Morales & his Simple Message – Please, Partners not Owners for Bolivia

I'm fascinated with what's going on politically in South America. It's not simply about politics - it's about a cultural movement. Bolivia, the poorest country in South America, has a population with 60% indigenous Indians. Their country doesn't even have en economic strategy because it's trying to cope with more basic human issues. They have just elected Evo Morales, the country's first indigenous leader.

Evo may not be polished, but he appears to be a genuine man on a real mission. Evo Morales, the new President of Bolivia, carries this message – that his country is looking for partners, not owners – to the world. During his campaign for President, he promised his people that he would help them bring their culture into their politics. He's seeking justice and equality for people.

As he carries this message from Bolivia to other South American countries, he’s waking the dead. Those countries, also once idealistic, have succumbed to the separation of political power and real socio-economic growth. All eyes are on Bolivia right now. This young man who has built his campaign and message on a strong value proposition – rather than economic or political greed – is carrying a torch of hope for many who live in uncomfortable circumstances and yet do not want to give up their culture for money.

Dressed in his modest sweater rather than a flashy suit, Evo will head to Europe shortly with hopes of enlisting partners to help pave Bolivia’s path to the future, valuable brick by brick. Much like Lula of Brazil, Evo Morales hopes to bring his people a social and culture wealth supported by sustainable economics without destroying it with the rampant greed in so many other countries. The issues at hand are the commerce and wealth that gets generated through the gas industry, but never reaches the people of Bolivia. I wonder what will transpire on this level - to see if there is an opportunity to evolve politics and commerce into a socio-economic development plan for the country.

Bolivia is a land and a mix of indigenous cultures and communities separated by treacherous and beautiful mountains. The 60% majority of the population is indigenous and only a percentage lives in cities like the capital, La Paz. It is a country that may not have much in the context of technology and media, but it is a country rich in community and creativity.

19 January 2006

What is your Dangerous Idea?

John Brockman, Publisher & Editor at Edge.org asks some of the brightest minds in science and technology to consider one question. This year: What is your dangerous idea?

“The history of science is replete with discoveries that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally dangerous in their time; the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious. What is your dangerous idea? An idea you think about (not necessarily one you originated) that is dangerous not because it is assumed to be false, but because it might be true?”

John says, "What you will find emerging out of the 119 original essays in the 75,000 word document written in response to the 2006 Edge Question — "What is your dangerous idea?" — are indications of a new natural philosophy, founded on the realization of the import of complexity, of evolution. Very complex systems — whether organisms, brains, the biosphere, or the universe itself — were not constructed by design; all have evolved. There is a new set of metaphors to describe ourselves, our minds, the universe, and all of the things we know in it."

My dangerous idea is:
Put the health, education and welfare of a child as the core strategy for every country in the world. This will shape how we grow value, transform the challenges facing us today, and create an opportunity for a brighter, safer, and healthier way of life.

I've been thinking about this in the context of our struggle here in The Netherlands with so many changes and challenges. Is there an idea that you have that would trigger an evolution in values and culture to embrace a new way of creating value for ourselves that includes diversity and creativity?

18 January 2006

IFFCCC Sunday Seminar Series

We delivered our first seminar in our Sunday Series – a sampling of dialogues about the impact of social media on our lives, our work and how we manage information and create value. Though we’ve all had years of experience through our own businesses, this was our first consolidated effort together as The Institute for Collaboration Creativity & Culture (IFCCC). We were experimenting with a new format and it looks like it works from all the feedback we've received.

We presented a sampling of 3 presentations from the 14 out of our Social Media seminar series. Normally, each seminar would be a 1 or 2 day event because we ask participants to bring issues from their work into the seminar. We then use those issues as context for discussion and action, with much coaching and interactive engagement. This past Sunday, we engaged the participants in a quickie version, moving them quickly from identifying their wishes and contradictions in their work into 3 mini-presentations: Landscape of Social Media, The Business of Social Media, and Building a Personal Information Strategy. After each presentation, participants each took part in one of 3 round tables: one in context of business, another in context of application, and the other in the context of WIIFM (what’s in it for me). They had to deliver the major issue facing them in the context of what they had just learned in the context of business, application or WIIFM. Each participant had a chance to engage in all 3 round table contexts.

During the round up discussion afterward, we worked with how their wishes and contradictions fit into the 9 major issues they identified. What emerged were 3 glaring contradictions:
-- Control vs. sharing
-- Collecting quantity of names in networking vs making “surprising” connections
-- Distracted by information overload vs. knowing how to connect with the information you want to find

I'm now looking forward to taking this into the deeper seminars so that we actually have the time to work with each person and the context of their work.

12 January 2006

Building TagClouds for Presentation

Building TagClouds for my presentation on Sunday on the Business of Social Media. I've already built two...one for Social Media and the other for Findability.

While getting prepared for this, I received an email from someone in Japan. He wanted to use several of my past blogs as part of a presentation on Search. When I went and reviewed them, I realized that most of what I needed was already in my blog. Because I am used to creating everything fresh each time, I hardly ever refer back to my blog. He actually spotlighted the links I needed!
Technorati Mini-Seach

11 January 2006

Building Community

This is a response I wrote about building community on the Amodus platform.

"The most intriguing thing about a community is how the people in that community give shape to it through their contribution and levels of engagement. Community is an emerging proposition. If we are in tune with that, we can probably begin to recognize the true value that gets created on all levels as it emerge and becomes evidence of how we engage and what we share and ultimately what we create together.

As always, with a bit of distance and attention, we will begin to recognize the patterns.

The real beauty is in our story as it evolves - the humanity we share with one another as we reveal parts of ourselves in how we engage and contribute to these discussions. These dialogues are the documentation of this.

Each day as I read through the exchange here, I learn a wee bit more about each one of you."

9 January 2006

Design your own LEGO

Anyone else out there love LEGO? I'm ordering one of these kits. I've designed a whazzo spaceship. Just visit the LEGO.com Factory Design Homepage and download the software. Read the instructions first and then just go for it!

After you order your design, you can share it and check out the other models you can build with the same LEGO pieces.

7 January 2006

The Stuff They Should Have Taught You in Business School

Working on two big projects to fulfill creating some new challenges for myself. One is about about bringing your work into your learning environment and your learning into your work environment. The other is about creating meaningful work.

I am currently building a series of masters courses for executives: The Stuff They Should Have Taught You in Business School

Instead of teaching at the graduate school again, I decided to take the content I teach and repackage it for execs in business. I want to make the content relevant for today's networked economy - and put it into the context of personal performance.

-- series of sessions with lectures, round tables, workshops and coaching
-- supported with online blog, wiki and forum

Performance advantage instead of a diploma

Course List:
- The Roles of Values in Business - How They Drive Behavior and Choices
- Vision! It's Connection to Purpose
- The Difference between the Brand & its Business Model
- Capturing Value in a Network Economy
- What is Socio-Economic Development
- Collaboration - The Secret to Innovation
- The Evolutionary Brand Called M.E. - My Emergence
- Understanding Human Organizational Systems is Key to Capturing Value
- Wiring Up the Brand without the Wires
- How to Build Scenarios
- Creating Meaning at Work"

I am also developing a format for videoblogs: Meaningful Work
-- Series of interviews with people about what creates meaning for them in their work and what they would love to do that they are not doing now.
-- This is about personal empowerment of the true nature of self, freedom to realize what's possible

If you are interested, please let me know.

6 January 2006

Mainstream Media vs Social Media

This follows up on a discussion I've been having with colleagues.

It’s an age-old story … the establishment condescending, critical and busy trying to tear down the young intruders trying to change the old guard. The corporate big guys trying to clear the playing field of anything that gets in the way of their darling little device that builds shareholder value. At that moment in time, they cannot imagine that there is some other value beyond financial capital. But, times are changing. People are worn out from the old way of making money … even the shareholders. We want to create value in a more meaningful way.

OpenSource does not mean no proprietary applications – it means sharing code source so that people can play with it and develop their own applications. What will Microsoft do when people get tired of the struggle and have the power and ease to chose something else?

What’s the impact of this? We’re watching this happen now. We are witnesses to an evolutionary shift in how people, business and brands engage in creating a future of value on many levels.

Some day, Wikipedia will be the mainstream, and perhaps Encyclopedia Britannica might even still exist, standing dusty on the shelves in the old archives building that people will visit to smell the books.

4 January 2006


I've been playing with Wink a new search engine geared toward the tagging world. There's even a plugin for Firefox of Flock browsers.

Whether you want to do a search or just cruise through what people have "recently discovered", it's an interesting way to explore.

Let me know what you think.

3 January 2006

Re-Positioning - Week 1

Re-packaging my talents, skills, abilities and IP requires a new profile. Putting my content into new context means re-positioning myself for others who expect me to still deliver the same stuff…the stuff that I no longer enjoy doing. I still want to do the same stuff but in a new way and in an new environment or context. My purpose gets applied in a whole new and different way, for different people. This means new products!

Gone are the old ways of communication and media – replaced by something much more personal and creative. I’m still doing communication, media – but the formats and channels have changed. This is much more dynamic, more edgy, more close to my nature.
Mr. Picassohead
Collaboration has always come easy to me. Building creative teams and meshing them with account teams and putting them into a international multi-cultural playing field with lots of strangely diverse clients is part of the advertising and media culture. I want that creative buzz back in my life. Running a biz doesn’t do it.

I figured it out finally - the edge of great teams working out what seems like impossible communication concepts that work in any culture around the world and negotiating them through a political minefield and an impossible budget – now that does it. When it’s right, it clicks. (Watch the film, Sea Biscuit, and you’ll be touched by the strength of spirit that comes alive with the right people and in the right context, not just for the human spirit, but horse spirit as well.)

Social media not only changes the playing field, but, in many ways, levels it. Content and context are rolled into one delicious mix. Knowing how to generate content and position it gives me a new edge in this world.

We no longer need the agencies – we can script the scenarios more authentically, capture them on video and deliver them in multiple formats and through multiple channels with an affordable budget. Social media makes it easy to visualize and communicate strategies important to building a brand and opening new ways to connect and grow value at every contact point. This is much more fun and so much less stressy than advertising. Advertising is heavy, complex, expensive and limited in its reach. Social media is personal and touches people in the right way, with the right message coming through the right channel in the right format with the appropriate products and services that support and connect people, their purpose and their community.

Example: I no longer want to play the role of “the boss”. Instead, I want to replace that role with the role of inner guide or leadership coach, helping younger people build personal strategies on how to create value for themselves and others. This doesn’t mean that I will give up coaching CEO’s or leading groups, but it means that I will expand that specific talent into more collaborative environments. Because I understand business models and the impact they have on corporate choices, this gives me a role in helping corporations build dynamic innovation teams. I still get to create something in the end that produces results and opens up new ways, new products, new formats with new value and new revenue streams.

So, have you thought about repackaging your content lately to make it more relevant?

2 January 2006

My Resolutions for 2006

1. Take more time to have fun (looks funny when I see this...but I really mean it)
2. Find a publisher for my book – and a really great title - working title “The Evolutionary Brand Called M.E. – My Emergence” (any suggestions welcome)
3. Develop a way to run a project/course in New Mexico so that I can spend some time with my family and deal with auctioning and distributing the house I've had in storage since 1994 ("about time...")
4. Re-package the academic courses I teach into programs for execs
5. Spend more time on creative projects than management projects (get a more enjoyable balance)

Heart's desires

Bloglines Moves to New Server

Bloglines - the RSS aggregator I use online - had been very slow lately, so I am pleased with the performance of their new server. Looks like they made the transition rather painlessly for us.