Negotiations at the IRL/URL Border | Motherboard

Great article about our relationship with the NET.

“Appropriate online behavior is characterized by Victorian gestures of withholding. Good girl Tweets are moderate, both in number and in subject matter. Speak only of your sex life and your politics in the abstract. Do not cry openly in the feed. Remain aloof and distant from any project of online self-making, preface your links with the affectless, “I wrote a thing.” One may feel “real emotions” over books, over sex, over the Mad Men finale or even video games, but today’s net is willfully dumb and cheap and base.” 

Image: Liz Barr

Read the full piece…

Negotiations at the IRL/URL Border | Motherboard.


It’s not Zen. It’s beyond minimalism. Mizzenialism?

I hereby declare myself a member of the Mizennialism movement!

 March 27

seismic shift of stuff is underway in homes all over America.

Members of the generation that once embraced sex, drugs and rock-and-roll are trying to offload their place settings for 12, family photo albums and leather sectionals.

Their offspring don’t want them. 

As baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, start cleaning out attics and basements, many are discovering that millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, are not so interested in the lifestyle trappings or nostalgic memorabilia they were so lovingly raised with.

hanks, Mom, but I really can’t use that eight-foot dining table or your king-size headboard.

Whether becoming empty nesters, downsizing or just finally embracing the decluttering movement, boomers are taking a good close look at the things they have spent their life collecting. Auction houses, consignment stores and thrift shops are flooded with merchandise, much of it made of brown wood. Downsizing experts and professional organizers are comforting parents whose children appear to have lost any sentimental attachment to their adorable baby shoes and family heirloom quilts.

Full Article At Washington Post

twenty years of blogging by @davewiner

This is a fantastic read with so many good nuggets of wisdom. Had to share it. Mostly I love how Dave talks about how hard life can be when you are smart and speak your mind. To stand up for your values. Enjoy.

20 years of blogging
By Dave Winer

Mike Arrington once said they would erect a statue in my honor in Palo Alto. I said it’ll never happen. A couple of years later the same guy asked me why everyone hates me so much. Or something like that. In both cases I’m paraphrasing. How did one person, me, end up being so loved yet despised at the same time? Or maybe just misunderstood.#

I’ve learned that creating new stuff is a great way to get people to hate you. Or they forget what you did, if they ever knew. To create stuff you have to take a stand. You have to say “This is the way to do it.” That pisses almost everyone off. People who think it should be done the other way hate you. And people who think it should be done the same way hate you too, because it was their idea, not yours.#

It’s funny because when I was growing up, the image in media was the opposite. Invent a new mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door. Not likely. You should create stuff because you enjoy being creative, because you have the creative impulse. Not because you expect to be loved for it.#

Blogging is about people

In 20 years of blogging and developing software for blogging, you meet a lot of people, and some of them do share love with you. To me that was always the wonder of blogging. I remember very clearly, in 1999 or 2000, looking at a blogroll and seeing dozens of names, mostly people I had never heard of, all of whom had blogs. It was at that moment that I realized that it had worked. But I was in for a rude shock when I clicked the links, they were all talking about me, and they didn’t like me! Oy.#

It’s hard to accept, when you’re expecting accolades, to find that the accolades come in the form of rotten tomatoes, hurled at maximum velocity, at your virtual body parts. But there it is. People express love in weird ways. I was once at a workshop in Northern California, experiencing the same thing in realspace. I lamented, but was told later that I was the most loved person in the room. Go figure.#


I’ve written very little about Aaron Swartz, because I felt it would be unseemly to talk in public about him, after he did what he did to himself, when I had no way to understand it. I still don’t. Like everyone, I get depressed at times, and have even contemplated what he did, but I always back off, thinking it might be better tomorrow, and it always is, at least for me. I held on to it until I had a chance to think, and it seems that the 20-year milestone is a good time to honor his memory, a time when it might not seem self-serving.#

He has been called the Internet’s child, and I think that’s fair. I knew him as well as anyone when he was young and seeking attention on the RSS-Dev mail list. It was not a happy place, in my experience, like a lot of households young boys grow up in. I don’t really know what he was trying to do there. But it was often in conflict with what I was trying to do. He was very good at Internet conflict! And intelligent. BTW, intelligent people are always intelligent. Age is not a determinant of intellect, in my experience.#

I did him the honor he asked for, and treated him as a responsible person. One of the great things about the Internet is that our bodies are the same size here, and if you want to play with the adults, there’s nothing stopping a young person from doing so. That was Aaron, for sure. A young person who wanted to be an adult. #

I have no idea what happened. Maybe I’ll find out when it’s my turn to go. Did I ever think I would survive him? Never crossed my mind.#

Blogging for freedom

Blogging is a platform for free people. We’ve seen people distort what blogging means to the point where blogging is a job for some. I never thought of it that way. It’s a way to tell your story, to share what you see, to process it, draw conclusions, and move on. It’s like a fresco painting. Or an interview with a reporter. It’s quick, it’s over, and it’s done with. #

Blogging billionaires

Blogging has created a few billionaires. I hope some of them realize they can give back to the freedom of the platform, and not just use their financial power to make even more money. You can choose to go another way. Honestly, I don’t understand why they don’t. #

No one ever got fired…

Blogging makes you unemployable. I haven’t had a real job since I started blogging. I would love to create a publishing platform for millions of people. I think I know how to do it. I would love to teach young developers how to think, to train their minds to creatively solve problems. But I haven’t gotten a chance, and probably never will. There are always safer people to hire. So I look with envy at Frank Gehry, an 85-year-old architect who has been hired to create a high tech campus. And realize that’s not going to happen for me. #

A friend asked why. I thought about it a bit, and asked if she had ever heard “No one ever got fired for buying IBM.” This was a big idea when I was young. The safe bet was to buy IBM. If the systems crashed or lost data or were impossible to use, everyone would understand you had done the best you could. But if you bought an off-brand, forget it. You’d get fired, as the slogan predicted. So people bought IBM, not the other brand.#

Well I’m the other brand. If you hire me, and I say something on my blog your boss doesn’t like, you’ll be fired along with me. I understand. I want to let people know that writing publicly does not come without costs. You’ll be lonely. There are so many things I want to do that I can’t because of this rule. #

Why I keep going

Every day I try to do some development work on my projects, but I see the end coming, not too far away. I don’t think I’ll be digging any great new holes in the future, but I do want to wrap up all the stuff I’ve started. That’s what the last few years have been about. I want to have great open publishing tools, that don’t require you to give everything you have to a billionaire in the hopes of getting a little attention. #

Maybe it won’t go anywhere. Maybe it’ll all be swept aside, forgotten, along with so many other dreams of so many other people who thought they could make a difference. #

20 years

In one way 20 years doesn’t seem like that much time. But to an individual it is huge. A lot has happened in this time. I’ve accomplished most of what I set out to, and that’s something I’m grateful for. #

I was looking for something to quote in one of the thousands of pieces (I haven’t counted, that’s just how it feels to me) I’ve written, but this morning, Anthony Baker posted a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that does it better than I possibly could. #

To be mature you have to realize what you value most. It is extraordinary to discover that comparatively few people reach this level of maturity. They seem never to have paused to consider what has value for them. They spend great effort and sometimes make great sacrifices for values that, fundamentally, meet no real needs of their own. Perhaps they have imbibed the values of their particular profession or job, of their community or their neighbors, of their parents or family. Not to arrive at a clear understanding of one’s own values is a tragic waste. You have missed the whole point of what life is for.

Death and Social Media

This week I have learned about 6 deaths via social media. Six. 3 of them “personal” – that is one person I knew and 2 parents of friends and the other 3 being “cause celeb” – Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall and a famous gallery owner here in Los Angeles David Weidman.

There was always this phrase “they happen in 3’s” – which is somewhat morose. But now I feel like they happen in 3’s ALL the time.

I haven’t visited in a while but early on in the days of the web – BS (Before social) – there was a website called celebrity deathwatch. I believe it’s now called “the deathlist” – which is even worse.

I also saw a bit on the news about a man who has introduced legislation around parents and loved ones gaining access to the social media accounts of their dearly departed. A law that will allow you to access your dead son’s page. Really? Is this what it’s come to?

I have been thinking about this for years — how we would start feeling like there were so many deaths…all the time. And yes there are always deaths…war, disease, elderly etc..

But there are two things about death today that are different. the first is we all have these people that we now feel a shared connection to due to the proliferation of media. It’s really only in the past 80 years that people have become “famous” — radio, television, movies, the internet — all devices that didn’t exist and therefore fewer people were well known.  Secondly it is so in your face on social. It’s like you need to be prepared for the worst news when you log on – that the world will be pouring out their sad sad hearts in 140 characters or less. As thought there were some short eulogy contest happening.

Remember when someone would die – BS (before social) – and the TV channels would just play the same footage over and over. Just for a day. And it was rarely 3 and 4 at a time. Just one. And then once that coverage was over – it was over. Gone. With social the mourning and the grieving lasts for days. Forever. And in some morbid way the entire public is participating. When someone used to pass away – it wasn’t as though everyone could go over their house and rifle through boxes of their photos….but that’s precisely what I did this week twice. When I heard the news I went to instagram, to twitter…

In the case of my old friend his family tried to shut down his page. But then were forced to open it back up due to the flood of emails and phone calls they were receiving.

Yesterday my entire feed. The whole thing for about 30 posts – all Robin Williams. I know that he touched the world. I hold so many memories attached to him – he was one of my mom’s faorite performers, I remember her taking me to see Garp – a grown up movie and it was a milestone for me. I owned and wore quite frequently a pair of Rainbow Suspenders.

But it was overwhelming. Maybe it’s just me…as I sit here and blog and try to tell you that I’m a somewhat private person. In fact this is probably the most personal “opinion” post I’ve ever written. There are days where I’m just not strong enough to face the Facebook.  To face the news of death over and over and over. And it’s going to happen more and more….as the people that played parents on all the shows I so loved in the 70s start to pass…or even some of the people that played their kids. There’s been deaths this year of people I have met, sat at a dinner table with, shook hands with, some of my friends that  that were affected were not just fans but actual friends of these performers.

It’s just gotten me thinking a lot this week about how we as a society are changing how people deal with death. It’s like facebook is the largest open casket wake on the planet. But I don’t know if I can take going to a wake 3x a week. Can you?

Intrapreneurs …. the bravest of them all.

I have been an intrapreneur for practically my whole career. Even before it was called Intrapreneur. It’s really hard sometimes. You find yourself being that innovative and fearless voice in the corner of a large organization (whether you work for the co, or for the consulting co or agency they’ve brought in to play the role). And when you are that person – alot of people just plain out hate you. Your mere existence gives threat to an established world order.

Most people don’t like change. They fight it tooth and nail. I never understand it. Discovering new things, trying new ways – it’s so exciting! It’s like the world is a giant puzzle but so many people just can’t do it.

I absolutely loved this article. Especially the part about integrity. So much of corporate life can be filled with a lot of smokescreens. Watching that succeed has always been so frustrating for me…because I do really believe that authentic integrity is hard to come by these days. And I’m proud I have it. Thanks David K Williams for highlighting the importance.

The 4 Essential Traits Of ‘Intrapreneurs’
David K. Williams

Intrapreneurs are the heroes of a business environment

There’s been much discussion of late about the entrepreneurs within an organization—those highly valuable executives and team members who will perhaps never become a company founder, but who have learned to apply the essential principles of entrepreneurship to the roles they fill within a company.

We refer to these employees as “intrapreneurs” because they’re not entering into their own, work venture, but they are working within your company, thus the “intra” part.

Our company, Fishbowl is filled with intrapreneurs. They think and behave like owners. Most of them actually are as our organization is employee owned. They are invaluable to the company’s health. But how do organizations recognize and develop intrapreneurs, and, even more importantly, how can you be sure they won’t leave?

As authors Vijay Govindarajan and Jatin Desai have noted in a Harvard Business Review blog post, there are certain characteristics that successful intrapreneurs share. I would like to focus on four of them:

1. Money is not their measurement. Intrapreneurs certainly respect the value and importance of money. They understand the economic drivers that allow the organization to succeed and are able to support this fundamental truth and not fight it. A non-intrapreneur is perpetually looking for non-economic ways to justify their own advancement and payment. An intrapreneur “gets it” and does their work in a way that shows the organization they are someone it can’t afford to lose. The money and advancement finds them.

2. They are “greenhousers.” When you speak about an intriguing idea to an intrapreneur, the idea never leaves them. It germinates within their mind, and they carry with them the desire to figure out how to make it work. When you see them next, they are likely to have grown the seed of an idea into a full-blown plan or they will have created an even better set of alternative plans in its stead.

3. They know how to pivot. Intrapreneurs aren’t afraid to change course, nor do they fear failure. It isn’t outward bravado that drives them but an inner confidence and courage that every step takes them closer to their ultimate goal. In my own training and vernacular I call this phenomenon “failing up.” I celebrate opportunities for growth, even painful ones.

4. They behave authentically and with integrity. Most importantly, intrapreneurs exhibit the traits of confidence and humility—not the maverick behavior of corporate hotshots, Govendarajan and Desai say. I agree fully with this conclusion. Integrity (along with Respect, Belief, and Courage) are key among the traits I call the 7 Non-Negotiables, which have driven my own company to miraculous accomplishments and are at the core of the methodology I describe in my book. A budding businessperson could carry every other characteristic in spades, but without a foundation of integrity, they will fail (and the work landscape is littered with many examples of such failures).

So if these are the traits that describe what an intrapreneur looks like, where will you find these individuals and how can you ensure they will stay?

For starters, a company founded with an entrepreneurial/intrapreneurial emphasis becomes a magnet for more of the same. Employees recommend the company to others who share their values. Like breeds like, which is also to say that a company can’t conduct itself without integrity and still expect to find those traits upheld in its ranks. With time and experience, you will learn to ask the searching questions that will help you determine the true traits of the individuals you consider.

The search will be worth the effort, as tomorrow’s world of work ecosystems will be driven by the increasing ranks of intrapreneurs.

I Love the Luddites

Yes it’s true. I do love the luddite tale. Why? Because there’s a little bit of luddite in all of us.

Think about it. Yes – you may have 3 cell phones, 2 tablets and 2 laptops all connected to you wireless home audio system but there’s something….something…that bespokes a luddite within you.

For me? It’s disposable items. Paper Goods. (Except for the one in the bathroom) Now one could certainly take my avoidance as an effort in being green – which it is. So my refusal to use modern plastic cups and plates and forks etc.. it’s refusing technology. I’m perceived as old fashioned with my glasses and fabric napkins and dishwashing (but you’re wasting water while trying to save the earth from paper goods!)

There is always an opposite.

There is always a luddite.

The second machine age is upon us: time to reconsider the Luddites?

Computers are making many jobs redundant – yet our society has no mechanisms for converting redundancy into leisure

Industrial revolution

Performers depict the industrial revolution during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

At the start of the Industrial Revolution, textile workers in the Midlands and the north of England, mainly weavers, staged a spontaneous revolt, smashing machinery and burning factories. Their complaint was that the newfangled machines were robbing them of their wages and jobs.

The rebels took their name, and inspiration, from the apocryphal Ned Ludd, supposedly an apprentice weaver who smashed two knitting frames in 1779 in a “fit of passion”. Robert Calvert wrote a ballad about him in 1985: “They said Ned Ludd was an idiot boy/ That all he could do was wreck and destroy,” the song begins. And then: “He turned to his workmates and said: ‘Death to Machines’/They tread on our future and stamp on our dreams.”

The Luddites’ rampage was at its height in 1811-12. An alarmed government sent in more troops to garrison the disturbed areas than were then available to Wellington in the Peninsular War against Napoleon. More than a hundred Luddites were hanged or transported to Australia. These measures restored peace. The machines won: the Luddites are a footnote in the history of the Industrial Revolution.

Historians tell us that the Luddites were victims of a temporary conjuncture of rising prices and falling wages that threatened them with starvation in a society with minimal welfare provision. The Luddites, however, blamed their misfortune on the machines themselves.

The new knitting frames and power looms could weave yarn into cloth much faster than the most skilled artisan weaver working in his own cottage. Caught between fixed costs (the hire and upkeep of their domestic appliances) and falling prices for their products, tens of thousands of families were doomed to become paupers.

Their plight evoked some sympathy (Lord Byron made a brilliant speech in their defence in the House of Lords); their arguments, however, did not. There could be no rejecting progress: the future lay with machine production, not with old-fashioned handicrafts. Trying to regulate trade, Adam Smith taught, was like trying to “regulate the wind”.

Thomas Paine spoke for middle-class radicalism when he said: “We know that every machine for the abridgment of labour is a blessing to the great family of which we are part.” There would, of course, be some temporary unemployment in the technologically advancing sectors; but, in the long run, machine-assisted production, by increasing the real wealth of the community, would enable full employment at higher wages.

That was the initial view of David Ricardo, the most influential economist of the 19th century. But in the third edition of his Principles of Political Economy (1817), he inserted a chapter on machinery that changed tack. He was now “convinced that the substitution of machines for human labour is often very injurious to the class of labourers,” that the “same cause which may increase the net revenue of the country, may at the same time render the population redundant.” As a result, “the opinion entertained by the labouring class, that the employment of machinery is frequently detrimental to their interests, is not founded on prejudice and error, but is conformable to the correct principles of political economy.”

Just consider: machinery “may render the population redundant”! A bleaker prospect is not to be found in economics. Ricardo’s orthodox followers took no notice of it, assuming it to be a rare lapse by the Master. But was it?

The pessimistic argument is as follows: If machines costing $5 an hour can produce the same amount as workers costing $10 an hour, employers have an incentive to substitute machines for labour up to the point that the costs are equal – that is, when the wages of the workers have fallen to $5 an hour. As machines become ever more productive, so wages tend to fall even more, toward zero, and the population becomes redundant.

Now, it did not work out like that. Labour’s share of GDP remained constant throughout the Industrial Age. The pessimistic argument ignored the fact that by lowering the cost of goods, machines increased workers’ real wages – enabling them to buy more – and that the rise in labour productivity enabled employers (often under pressure from trade unions) to pay more per worker. It also assumed that machines and workers were close substitutes, whereas more often than not workers could still do things that machines could not.

However, over the last 30 years, the share of wages in national income has been falling, owing to what MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee call the “second machine age”. Computerised technology has penetrated deeply into the service sector, taking over jobs for which the human factor and “cognitive functions” were hitherto deemed indispensable.

In retail, for example, Walmart and Amazon are prime examples of new technology driving down workers’ wages. Because computer programs and humans are close substitutes for such jobs, and given the predictable improvement in computing power, there seems to be no technical obstacle to the redundancy of workers across much of the service economy.

Yes, there will still be activities that require human skills, and these skills can be improved. But it is broadly true that the more computers can do, the less humans need to do. The prospect of the “abridgment of labour” should fill us with hope rather than foreboding. But, in our kind of society, there are no mechanisms for converting redundancy into leisure.

That brings me back to the Luddites. They claimed that because machines were cheaper than labour, their introduction would depress wages. They argued the case for skill against cheapness. The most thoughtful of them understood that consumption depends on real income, and that depressing real income destroys businesses. Above all, they understood that the solution to the problems created by machines would not be found in laissez-faire nostrums.

The Luddites were wrong on many points; but perhaps they deserve more than a footnote.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2014.

Families turn to technology to aid communication, research shows

families using social media

Families are turning to tech to communicate, study says

By Louise Ridley,, Thursday, 10 October 2013 08:00AM Be the first to comment

One in three families regularly use smartphones or tablets to talk to each other when they are in the same house, research from Microsoft Advertising has found.

Thirty per cent of families surveyed said they use the devices to let each other know when dinner is ready or ask for help with homework.

Nineteen per cent often use social networks to communicate with family members when they are at home, while 17 per cent use text or instant messaging and 9 per cent opt to use video calls instead of talking face-to-face.

The Families study, which was carried out by the research agency Sparkler on behalf of Microsoft Advertising, questioned 1,517 families on how they use internet-enabled devices at home.

A conversation between siblings is more likely to take place through a device than communication between parents and children.

More than half (53 per cent) of siblings said they often use instant messaging or text messages to communicate with brothers and sisters, while 31 per cent use social networks.

Video chats are also more popular among siblings than for intergenerational communication: 16 per cent of siblings use the medium.

Tim Lumb, a research manager at Microsoft Advertising, said the study gave advertisers \”plenty to think about\”.

\”Just a few years ago, texts, Facebook posts and video calls were reserved for making contact with people who couldn’t be reached through traditional communication,\” he said. \”Parents are embracing new technologies as a way of bringing added convenience to day-to-day tasks.

\”We also found that the use of multiple devices are bringing families together, with the living room once again acting as a central hub.\”

The average UK family home contains ten devices, according to the research, with six of these connected to the internet. The most common devices are laptops, smartphones and games consoles. Fifty-two per cent of families own a tablet.

This article was first published on

via Families turn to technology to aid communication, research shows.

Clicked to Distraction or Edutainment?

The Rabbit Hole. It happens to us all. I was recently working on a strategy project at GOODCORPS and I overheard one of the people say “I’m taking some learning time.” to her colleague. I thought that was a great way to describe the Rabbit Hole. Learning time.

I was on Linked In looking up an old colleague, saw a post from Shane Atchison, the CEO of POSSIBLE – an agency that does amaaaaaaazing work and then boom. It happened. Down the Rabbit Hole. For almost an hour. In the middle of the work day with deadlines looming and people to meet – there I went. Down, down, down. The video that took me there is below. I felt guilty for a moment. “Damn…I hate when I do that. It felt like 10 minutes not 40.”

But then I realized it was Learning Time. I learned so much from the video on Collectives and then clicking through to the various communities featured in the video. (I stopped myself as I clicked into the 4th story on and realized that it led to the 9th level of distraction.)

But what did I learn that was useful? What problems did I solve? I had no fewer than 5 solid ideas for the project that I WASN’T working on while in the Rabbit Hole, realized that there is a community online for almost everything it would seem and the one I’m working on can be broken down into smaller and smaller communities, and I learned as I watched the part on the birdwatching community that I really only have one topic that I am truly devoted to and that is learning. About anything. And that Edutainment as a movement is enormous right now thanks to the net. With all this information presented in such beautiful ways how can we possibly expect kids to learn sitting at a desk with a boring non moving book page. Blech.

So no more Rabbit Hole. No more wasted time. It is now officially called “Learning Time” – and I encourage anyone who feels guilty for surfing the net at the office to view it as such. Sometime you have to get out of your head to get back into it.