• Recommended Reading… new book from Yochai Benkler

    On: September 25, 2011
    In: economics, marketing, people
    Views: 1730
     Like

    I’m a huge fan of Yochai Benkler’s work… his previous book, The Wealth of Networks, greatly informed a lot of my preparatory thinking for The Communis Manifesto, and now I’ve just started his new book, The Penguin and the Leviathan


    Already the first few chapters make me think it’s a vital companion piece to Cognitive Surplus, plus it’s much easier going than Wealth of Networks too (which was probably more geared to an economics audience).

    Anyway, here’s a link to the book (through the Amazon Associates program, a splendid example of cooperation in action):

    The Penguin and the Leviathan: How Cooperation Triumphs over Self-Interest

     

    Read More
  • The Art of Gently Blogging

    On: September 22, 2011
    In: culture, economics, marketing, people
    Views: 2833
     Like

    I’ve always tried to approach blogging with as little pre-formed intent as possible… stumble across something interesting, expand, refine, hit publish and see what happens.

    But after Laptops and Looms, I couldn’t quite contain all of the stuff I wanted to expand on in my head, never mind one blog post.

    (If you want to fall down the Laptops & Looms rabbit-hole, Adrian’s post is not a bad place to start).

    Anyway, what helped me organise things a little more was using the artefact cards (details here, signup here) just to write out and link things together…


    There’s stuff about the division of craft and human creativity from manufacturing, where that energy went, how digital let’s people put that energy BACK in in different ways, how some sectors (often alcohol manufacturers like Real Ale or Scotch Whisky) are very good at telling the story of that, how governments incentivise small-scale production in those sectors which they fail to do, where The Labour Theory of Value fits in to this, how it changes the purpose and point of the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, NOT Indis Pale Ale in this case), and the changing forces of knowledge work around storytelling, disrupting established agency models, then into unpicking the ‘social’ makeup of brands and companies from an anthropologically inspired breakdown of archaeology, linguistics, cultural and societal…

    I could go on.

    But just looking at this lot made me realise that, whilst I could just crack on and whittle the odd post here and there on the bits that interest me periodically, I thought I’d try something new, which I’m referring to as Gently Blogging.

    NOT because of it’s a very passive, relaxing way to do it, but because of course of Dirk Gently, the Douglas Adams Character…. from the Wikipedia entry:

    Dirk bills himself as a “holistic detective” who makes use of “the fundamental interconnectedness of all things” to solve the whole crime, and find the whole person.  This involves running up large expense accounts and then claiming that every item (such as needing to go to a tropical beach in the Bahamas for three weeks) was, due to this “interconnectedness,” actually a vital part of the investigation. Challenged on this point in the first novel, he claims that he cannot be considered to have ripped anybody off, because none of his clients have paid him yet. 

    Gently has an odd facility for accurate assumptions, as every wild guess he makes turns out to be true. As a student he attempted to acquire money by selling exam papers for the upcoming tests. His fellow undergraduates were convinced that he had produced the papers under hypnosis, whereas in reality he had simply studied previous papers and determined potential patterns in questions. However, while innocent, he was arrested and sent to prison when his papers turned out to be exactly the same as the real ones, to the very comma.
    You get the point, I think.

    It’s about the interconnectedness of all the things I have on these cards, how small changes in one area can influence, and hopefully improve, things in another.

    Exactly what form Gently Blogging takes will be interesting, but I think it’s make something like the physics diagram you saw when you were thirteen… rather than expanding ideas in series, it’s about expanding them in parallel…

    I also haven’t decided whether to do it live from scratch, and advance each piece in the open, rewriting as comments and debates happen, or to get each piece to a suitable minimum standard, then do that.  TBC, I guess.

    Anyway, I guess that’s the art of Gently Blogging.  I’m off to Vegas now to judging the innovation section for the LIA Awards.  This is entirely connected to current investigations.

    Follow some random Elvis side project shenanigans here, if you like.

    Read More