Enterprise 2.0 - Are we there yet?

November 21, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Andrew McAfee writes Nov 20, 2014: "Facebook’s recent announcement that it’s readying a version of its social software for workplaces got me thinking about Enterprise 2.0, a topic I used to think a great deal about. Five years ago I published a book with that title, arguing that enterprise social software platforms would be valuable tools for businesses...

Why did it take so long? I can think of a few reasons. It’s hard to get the tools right — useful and simple software is viciously hard to make. Old habits die hard, and old managers die (or at least leave the workforce) slowly. The influx of ever-more Millennials has almost certainly helped, since they consider email antediluvian and traditional collaboration software a bad joke.

Whatever the causes, I’m happy to see evidence that appropriate digital technologies are finally appearing to help with the less structured, less formal work of the enterprise. It’s about time.

What do you think? Is Enterprise 2.0 finally here? If so, why now? Leave a comment, please, and let us know."

Andrew – As we’ve discussed in the past, I don’t believe there’s a specific ‘Are we there yet?’ for Enterprise 2.0.

The lessons I learned from your excellent book and research are still relevant today. Enterprise 2.0 technology enables but does not guarantee organizational change. Some organizational change is invented and purposeful, some is serendipitous and emergent.

The effect of new technology on an enterprise is too often like picking up and shaking a sleepy beehive.

We’ve come a long way towards the vision that software and devices used inside a company will become more like software, Web services and mobile devices people use at home. Enterprise software and services need to meet the same expectations for clarity, any time / any where access, and easy of use that people expect at home, which shakes markets as well as assumptions. Tracking the relationship of Apple IBM from Nov 2009 through Nov 2014 (and their market cap) is an instructive example.

As Peter Drucker taught, organizations need to adapt and innovate to make use of these capabilities, which opens the door to new technology, capabilities, and markets for enterprise software and services at every layer of the stack. Which opens the door to new organizational challenges and opportunities…

I’m not surprised that this takes time - and like Bill Buxton’s analysis in his Long Nose of Innovation article from 2008.

I’ll also keep my faith in Peter Drucker and Doug Engelbart as the twin patron Saints of Enterprise 2.0. As I said in Nov 2009, you have your own sub-numinous stake in the game!

cheers,
Greg

Related

Enterprise 2.0, Finally? Andrew McAfee, Nov 20, 2014 (This blog post was originally posted as a comment)

Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization's Toughest Challenges Andrew McAfee, Harvard Business Review Press, Nov 2009

The Long Nose of Innovation Bill Buxton, Bloomberg Business Week, Jan 8, 2008

Enterprise 2.0 Schism Greg Lloyd, Nov 9, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day | Emmy Noether, Mathematician

October 14, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Ada Lovelace Day celebrates the contributions of women in science and technology, follow @FindingAda for news and events. This year I've chosen to write about mathematician Amalie "Emmy" Noether. At the time of her death in April 1935, she was described by Pavel Alexandrov, Albert Einstein, Herman Weyl, Norbert Weiner and others as the most important woman in the history of mathematics. Noether’s First Theorem is a fundamental tool of modern physics and the calculus of variations: every symmetry corresponds to a conservation law. "It was her work in the theory of invariants which led to formulations for several concepts of Einstein's general theory of relativity." [J J O'Connor and E F Robertson, 1997]. Of her later work, Nathan Jacobson said: "The development of abstract algebra, which is one of the most distinctive innovations of twentieth century mathematics, is largely due to her – in published papers, in lectures, and in personal influence on her contemporaries." Einstein wrote Noether's obituary in the New York Times, May 5, 1935:

"Within the past few days a distinguished mathematician, Professor Emmy Noether, formerly connected with the University of Göttingen and for the past two years at Bryn Mawr College, died in her fifty-third year. In the judgment of the most competent living mathematicians, Fräulein Noether was the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began. In the realm of algebra, in which the most gifted mathematicians have been busy for centuries, she discovered methods which have proved of enormous importance in the development of the present-day younger generation of mathematicians. Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas. One seeks the most general ideas of operation which will bring together in simple, logical and unified form the largest possible circle of formal relationships. In this effort toward logical beauty spiritual formulas are discovered necessary for the deeper penetration into the laws of nature.

Born in a Jewish family distinguished for the love of learning, Emmy Noether, who, in spite of the efforts of the great Göttingen mathematician, Hilbert, never reached the academic standing due her in her own country, none the less surrounded herself with a group of students and investigators at Göttingen, who have already become distinguished as teachers and investigators. Her unselfish, significant work over a period of many years was rewarded by the new rulers of Germany with a dismissal, which cost her the means of maintaining her simple life and the opportunity to carry on her mathematical studies. Farsighted friends of science in this country were fortunately able to make such arrangements at Bryn Mawr College and at Princeton that she found in America up to the day of her death not only colleagues who esteemed her friendship but grateful pupils whose enthusiasm made her last years the happiest and perhaps the most fruitful of her entire career."

ALBERT EINSTEIN.
Princeton University, May 1, 1935

In The Most Important Mathematician You've Never Heard Of Dr Dave Goldberg summarized Fräulein Noether’s life, her academic struggles - championed by Göttingen mathematicians David Hilbert and Felix Klein - and contributions to the foundations of modern physics.

"Hilbert and Noether skirted the rules by listing Hilbert as a course instructor and then having Noether as the perennial guest lecturer, though this didn't extend to getting Noether any sort of paycheck. It wasn't until 1922 that the Prussian Minister for Science, Art and Public Education gave her any sort of official title or pay at all, and even then only a pittance. As Hilbert described it in his memorial address for Emmy Noether:

When I was called permanently to Göttingen in 1930, I earnestly tried to obtain from the Ministerium a better position for her, because I was ashamed to occupy such a preferred position beside her whom I knew to be my superior as a mathematician in many respects. I did not succeed. . . . Tradition, prejudice, external considerations, weighted the balance against her scientific merits and scientific greatness, by that time denied by no one.

In all events, bringing her to Göttingen turned out to be an incredibly good idea. Almost immediately upon her arrival, Noether derived what's become known as Noether's 1st Theorem and by 1918 had cleaned it up enough for public consumption. And this is where we pick up the physics part of the story."

Fräulein Noether’s name and contributions to mathematics will live forever, despite the obstacles she had to overcome as a mathematical genius of the first rank - who happened to be a woman.

No woman should require the endorsement of mathematical legends like Hilbert, Klein, Einstein, Weyl, and Weiner to pursue and excel in the mathematical, scientific, or other career they love. We need every Fräulein Noether born in whatever place or circumstance, and need to support and encourage all who are inspired by her work and example.

Update See Marie Curie [ and Emmy Noether ] cartoon by xkcd "You don't become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard that you become great in the process. So don't try to be the next me, Noether, or Meitner. Just remember that if you want to do this stuff, you're not alone." via @ValdisKrebs

More Finding Ada Blog Posts

Ada icon by Sidney Padua From the Thrilling Adventures of Babbage & Lovelace for your iPad (free). Enjoy Babbage and Lovelace adventures, backstory and more on Sydney Padua's 2D Goggles Web page.

Named Data Networking - Boffin Alert

September 8, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

On Sep 4, 2014 the Named Data Networking project announced a new consortium to carry the concepts of Named Data Networking (NDN) forward in the commercial world. If this doesn't sound exciting, try The Register's take: DEATH TO TCP/IP cry Cisco, Intel, US gov and boffins galore. What if you could use the internet to access content securely and efficiently, where anything you want is identified by name rather than by its internet address? The NDN concept is technically sweet, gaining traction, and is wonderfully explained and motivated in a video by its principle inventor and instigator Van Jacobson. Read on for the video, a few quotes, reference links, and a few thoughts on what NDN could mean for the Internet of Things, Apple, Google and work on the Web. Short version: Bring popcorn.

For a short non-technical introduction, see Wade Roush's Sep 2012 piece on Van Jacobson and Content Centric Networking The Next Internet? Inside PARC’s Vision of Content Centric Networking. Background: Jacobson's work on CCN begot the NDN project, where he is now a Principle Investigator. A few quotes from Roush's story:

The fundamental idea behind Content Centric Networking is that to retrieve a piece of data, you should only have to care about what you want, not where it’s stored. Rather than transmitting a request for a specific file on a specific server, a CCN-based browser or device would simply broadcast its interest in that file, and the nearest machine with an authentic copy would respond. File names in a CCN world look superficially similar to URLs (for example, /parc.com/van/can/417.vcf/v3/s0/Ox3fdc96a4…) but the data in a name is used to establish the file’s authenticity and provenance, not to indicate location.

It’s easy to see how much sense this makes compared to the current client-server model. Say I’m using my Apple TV box to browse my Flickr photo collection on my big-screen TV. To get each photo, the Apple TV has to connect to Flickr, which is hosted on some remote data center owned by Yahoo—it could be in Utah or North Carolina, for all I know. The request has to travel from the Apple TV over my Wi-Fi network, into Comcast’s servers, then across the Internet core, and finally to Yahoo. Then the photos, which amount to several megabytes each, have to travel all the way back through the network to my TV.

But the photos on Flickr are just copies of the originals, which are stored on my camera and on my laptop, about 15 feet away from my TV. It would be much smarter and more economical if the Apple TV could simply ask for each photo by name—that is, if it could broadcast its interest in the photo to the network. My laptop could respond, and I could keep browsing without the requests or the data ever leaving my apartment. (In Jacobson’s scheme, file names can include encrypted sections that bar users without the proper keys from retrieving them, meaning that security and rights management are built into the address system from the start.)

“The simplest explanation is that you replace the concept of the IP address as the defining entity in the network with the name of the content,” says Lunt. “Now all the talk in the network is about ‘Have you seen this content?’ and ‘Who needs this content?’ as opposed to ‘What is the routing path to particular terminus in the network?’ It’s a simple idea, but it makes a lot of things possible...

“One of the things that’s intriguing about not having to go to the source is that you could start to think about implementing applications differently,” Lunt says. “You could build apps that don’t have any notion of a server at all. So you could have Twitter without Twitter or Facebook without Facebook—that is, without having to have a major investment in hosting content, because the network is caching it all over the place.

Such architectures might give users more control over privacy and security of their data, and let them share their own data across devices without having to go through proprietary services like Apple’s iCloud, PARC executives say.

“What Apple is trying to do with iCloud is to say: You shouldn’t have to care which device you got an app on, or which device you took a photo on, whether it was your iPad or iPhone or MacBook Air. You just want your content to be on the other devices when you want it,” says Steve Hoover, CEO of PARC. “That validates our vision. But the way they are solving that puts more load on the network than it needs to, and it requires consumer lock-in. So Apple may be a user of this [CCN] technology one day, because it will make it easier. On the other hand, they could also hate it, because it will make it a lot easier for other people to provide that capability of getting the content whenever you want.

In my option, one of the technically sweetest characteristics of NCN is its relationship to current TCP/IP and networking protocols (quotes from NDN Architecture: Motivation and Details):

Like IP, NDN is a “universal overlay”: NDN can run over anything, including IP, and anything can run over NDN, including IP. IP infrastructure services that have taken decades to evolve, such as DNS naming conventions and namespace administration or inter-domain routing policies and conventions, can be readily used by NDN. Indeed, because NDN’s hierarchically structured names are semantically compatible with IP’s hierarchically structured addresses, the core IP routing protocols, BGP, IS-IS and OSPF, can be used as-is to deploy NDN in parallel with and over IP. Thus NDN’s advantages in content distribution, application-friendly communication, robust security, and mobility support can be realized incrementally and relatively painlessly...

Communication in NDN is driven by the receiving end, i.e., the data consumer. To receive data, a consumer sends out an Interest packet, which carries a name that identifies the desired data (see Figure 2). A router remembers the interface from which the request comes in, and then forwards the Interest packet by looking up the name in its Forwarding Information Base (FIB), which is populated by a name-based routing protocol. Once the Interest reaches a node that has the requested data, a Data packet is sent back, which carries both the name and the content of the data, together with a signature by the producer’s key (Figure 2). This Data packet follows in reverse the path taken by the Interest to get back to the consumer. Note that neither Interest nor Data packets carry any host or interface addresses (such as IP addresses); Interest packets are routed towards data producers based on the names carried in the Interest packets, and Data packets are returned based on the state information set up by the Interests at each router hop (Figure 3).

The router stores in a Pending Interest Table (PIT) all the Interests waiting for returning Data packets. When multiple Interests for the same data are received from downstream, only the first one is sent upstream towards the data source. Each PIT entry contains the name of the Interest and a set of interfaces from which the Interests for the same name have been received. When a Data packet arrives, the router finds the matching PIT entry and forwards the data to all the interfaces listed in the PIT entry. The router then removes the corresponding PIT entry, and caches the Data in the Content Store. Because an NDN Data packet is meaningful independent of where it comes from or where it may be forwarded to, the router can cache it to satisfy future requests. Because one Data satisfies one Interest across each hop, an NDN network achieves hop-by-hop flow balance...

Names

NDN design assumes hierarchically structured names, e.g., a video produced by PARC may have the name/parc/videos/WidgetA.mpg, where ‘/’ indicates a boundary between name components (it is not part of the name). This hierarchical structure is useful for applications to represent relationships between pieces of data. For example, segment 3 of version 1 of the video might be named /parc/videos/WidgetA.mpg/1/3. The hierarchy also enables routing to scale. While it may be theoretically possible to route on flat names (see ROFL), it is the hierarchical structure of IP addresses that enables aggregation, which is essential in scaling today’s routing system. Common structures necessary to allow programs to operate over NDN names can be achieved by conventions agreed between data producers and consumers, e.g., name conventions indicating versioning and segmentation.

Name conventions are specific to applications but opaque to the network, i.e., routers do not know the meaning of a name (although they see the boundaries between components in a name). This allows each application to choose the naming scheme that fits its needs and allows the naming schemes to evolve independently from the network.

I haven't quoted from short sections on Data Centric Security, Routing and Forwarding, Intelligent Data Plane, Caching, or Intellectual Property Approach and open source. You should read NDN Motivation & Details, then much more from named-data.net if either your head exploded, or you are jumping up and down in your seat with questions and objections.

Much of this is QED Marketing - I told you how it works, not what it means for you. Here are a few thoughts:

1) Secure efficient transport of content crossing many boundaries is a hard problem, getting harder as the number of people, things, and places on the Web grow, and as people look for a seamless and trusted way to deal with things they care about at home and at work. For example, how could Apple (or Google) leverage NDN to deliver on an internet of your things? How might players other than the giants leverage NDN to compete?

2) NDN offers the possibility of doing a lot of the hard work at the network level, which is a win if it offers a economic benefit to those who pay for the fabric of the internet, and opportunities to invent and grow scalable businesses more effectively. For example, what could change if Amazon offered NDN as an Amazon Web Service?

3) NDN might offer an appropriate secure, flexible framework for connecting people to content at work. Businesses use siloed applications for for transactional data for good reasons: they are simpler to build, (potentially) more secure, and (potentially) more flexible than old style monolithic business applications if they become sources of content linked together at a higher level of an application stack. NDN might be a great protocol to build flexible, secure, extensible business applications connecting people to the content they want - and are allowed to use.

With respect to the network issues, I'm a fan, not an expert, but the NDN proposal seems to share many of the (relatively) simple, scalable, decentralized characteristics that fueled the growth of the Web and evolution of TCP/IP. NDN seems to be most attractive for big content, particularly where multicast style delivery and caching can delivery big bandwidth and responsiveness improvements, but it looks like a lot of thought has gone into efficient localized delivery. Likewise, management of a very large, frequently changing name space is a challenge, which also seems to have gotten a lot of intelligent attention.

With Cisco and Huawei on board as founding industrial partners of the NDN Consortium, you can bet that a lot of caching routers can be sold, and NDN routing technology will take the fast track if there's economic payback for NDN, which will drive better payback, faster adoption, etc.

The good thing is the program has advanced to the stage where many of these questions can answered by experiment - we shall see.

Will the NDN Consortium take off? Will Google, Apple and Microsoft jump in? Or will NDN join the queue of technically sweet solutions that never really get off the ground? I'm optimistic that NDN has the right technical characteristics and pedigree, with smart experienced people leading the charge. With the Internet of Things and secure content distribution efficiencies as economic drivers, I hope we'll all benefit from NDN's content delivery model as the next stage of the Web's evolution. If you're not in the battle, bring popcorn and watch - it should be a good show.

Related

Named Data Networking Architecture: Motivation & Details The best short technical overview I've found of the objectives and approach of the Named Data Networking project. Read the overview to get quick idea of how content is named, the NDN security and caching model, how NDN works over (or under) TCP, scaling issues, and more.

A New Way to Look at Networking - Van Jacobson's Aug 2006 Google Tech talk on TCP and Content Centric Networking (CCN). CCN is the title of Jacobson's Xerox PARC project, which became "the single biggest internal project at PARC." CCN led to the formation of the Named Data Networking project as a National Science Foundation funded Future Internet Architecture program in Sep 2010. Jacobson is currently a Principle Investigator of the NDN project. See Van Jacobson speaks on Content Centric Networking for a longer (three hour) and slightly earlier version of Jacobson's CCN talk presented as a Future Internet short course, including slides.

Reinventing the Web II (Aug 2014) The Web won vs "better" models by turning permanence into a decentralized economic decision. Why isn't the Web a reliable and useful long term store for the links and content people independently create? What can we do to fix that? Who benefits from creating spaces with stable, permanently addressable content? Who pays? What incentives can make Web scale permanent, stable content with reliable bidirectional links and other goodies as common and useful as Web search over the entire flakey, decentralized and wildly successful Web? NDN is the sweetest and most credible global technical approach I've seen.

Continuity and Intertwingled Work (Jun 2014) A level above an Internet of Things: seamless experience across devices for you, your family, your health and trusted service providers, at home and at work.

Intertwingled Work (Jul 2010) No one Web service or collection of Web servers contain everything people need, but we get along using search and creative services that link content across wildly different sources. The same principal applies when you want to link and work across wildly diverse siloed systems of record and transactional databases.

Thought Vectors - Ted Nelson: Art not Technology (Jul 2014) Ted Nelson should be smiling - but I won't hazard a guess. From what I see, everything in NDN seems compatible if not influenced by the Docuverse, Tumbler, and fine grain content addressable network architecture that Nelson described in detail in his 1987 book Literary Machines. I believe NDN provides secure, scalable, fine grain, and upwards compatible networking that could connect the front end and back end Xanadu architecture that Nelson describes in Literary Machines. I'll follow up on this with a separate Boffin alert.

Linked, Open, Heterogeneous

August 31, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Art, Data, and Business Duane Degler of Design For Context posted slides from his 5 April 2014 Museums and the Web talk, Design Meets Data (Linked, Open, Heterogeneous). Degler addresses what he calls the LAM (Libraries, Archives, Museums) Digital Information Ecosystem. I believe the same principles apply when businesses connect internal teams, external customers, external suppliers, and partners of all sorts as part of their Business Information Ecosystem. Read Degler's summary and slides, below:

"The tide of available information continues to rise. The opportunities that come from open access, linked data, sharing resources with other institutions, and standards-based data are enticing - and perhaps overwhelming?

Emerging design approaches help you find ways to make the most of your opportunities for new types of interactions and engagement with Information Objects. They focus on:

- Exploration, serendipity, use: Rich, relevant design requires an intimate understanding of information and the way people interact with it. It's more than attractive styling - although that's important. It's about people engaging in ways that stimulate the intellect and the experience. People need to find information, use it, relate other information to it, and share it for decades to come.

- Scalability, persistence, authority: Rich, relevant design also takes the long view. Understanding that the integrity of the information matters. This is increasingly important as we move toward more linked, open, and born digital cultural information.

Your institution becomes a gateway to an ecosystem of artistic imagery, scholarly insights, history, perspectives, and related objects. Other people will use your information to create new interpretations and works, which then build on what you hold. Curating information may be perceived as a burden (to be made easier!), yet it is a significant opportunity to reinforce the value and authority of institutions that enhance the information ecosystem."

Related

Dark Matter by Michael Peter Edson 19 May 2014. "The dark matter of the Internet is open, social, peer-to-peer and read/write—and it’s the future of museums" an important essay on the opportunity and mission for museums and cultural institutions: "We’re so accustomed to the scale of attention that we get from visitation to bricks-and-mortar buildings that it’s difficult to understand how big the Internet is—and how much attention, curiosity, and creativity a couple of billion people can have."

Thought Vectors - Vannevar Bush and Dark Matter (2014) Inspired by Michael Edson's essay. Just as Bush suggested in July 1945, I believe there's a need for people to act as explorers, guides, and trail blazers over knowledge they know and love. You can experience that personal knowledge and passion on a tour, at a talk, or in a conversation on a bus, at a party - anywhere you meet someone who loves one of these institutions. I think it's particularly valuable to have trail blazers who are also skilled professionals personally represent and communicate the values, knowledge, and heritage of their museum, just as a great reference librarian becomes a library's ambassador.

Reinventing the Web II (2014) Why isn't the Web a reliable and useful long term store for the links and content people independently create? What can we do to fix that? Who benefits from creating spaces with stable, permanently addressable content? Who pays? What incentives can make Web scale permanent, stable content with reliable bidirectional links and other goodies as common and useful as Web search over the entire flakey, decentralized and wildly successful Web?

Intertwingled Work (2010) No one Web service or collection of Web servers contain everything people need, but we get along using search and creative services that link content across wildly different sources. The same principal applies when you want to link and work across wildly diverse siloed systems of record and transactional databases.

Thought Vectors - Ted Nelson: Art not Technology

July 5, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

The technoid vision, as expressed by various pundits of electronic media, seems to be this: tomorrow's world will be terribly complex, but we won't have to understand it. Fluttering though halestorms of granular information, ignorant like butterflies, we will be guided by smell, or Agents, or leprechauns, to this or that pretty picture, or media object, or factoid. If we have a Question, it will be possible to ask it in English. Little men and bunny rabbits will talk to us from the computer screen, making us feel more comfortable about our delirious ignorance as we flutter through this completely trustworthy technological paradise about which we know less and less.

To give up on human understanding is to give up hope, what we call in English "a counsel of despair." I think there is hope for much better and more powerful software designs that will give ordinary people the power over computers that they have always wanted - power with complete understanding. But that requires inspired software design, which I believe is art and not technology.

I believe the technoid vision does not comprehend what is humanly desired, humanly needed, and humanly possible. Especially the need and possiblity of human understanding. So excuse me from the butterfly crowd; I hope you will come with me to where understanding may be found.

Ted Nelson
The Future of Information
ASCII Corporation, Japan 1997
Image courtesy of Computer History Museum

This quote from Ted Nelson's 1997 book makes a point similar to Nelson's closing point in his July 2014 interview with Gardner Campbell as well as statements in his 2011 Possiplex autobiography, and 1975 Computer Lib / Dream Machines. Nelson sees computer technology as a medium for creative expression, not an end in itself, or a cheap replacement for human creativity. He cites film directors among his primary inspirations and heros, noting that his personal ephipany came in the early 1960's when he learned that it was possible to connect computers to screens. Nelson invented the terms hypertext and hypermedia to describe the new capabilities that he envisioned. During his 2014 interview Nelson cited the example of Orson Wells. For Ted Nelson, what you see on a computer screen and interact with should be the result of human creative intelligence applied through the use of new engines of expression over an endlessly evolving intertwingled corpus of literature. Using Nelson's cinema analogy, history put him in a position where he would have to invent the motion picture camera to achive his goals, but I believe his motivation was to become the seminal director and intellectual father of the new media which are his earliest and most influential inventions.

More

"Thoughtvectors in Concept Space badge" by @iamTalkyTina my posts | thoughtvectors.net

Related

Living The Dreams: A Conversation With Ted Nelson Published on Jul 5, 2014. Dr. Ted Nelson speaks with Dr. Gardner Campbell about research, fantics, computer liberation, and the ongoing struggle between schooling and learning. A conversation undertaken in support of "Living The Dreams: Digital Investigation and Unfettered Minds," a digital engagement pilot of Virginia Commonwealth University's UNIV 200, Inquiry and the Craft of Argument.

Ted Nelson talk - Possiplex book launch From Welcome to Possiplex : An Autobiography of Ted Nelson party at the Internet Archive on Oct 8, 2010.

Possiplex: Movies, Intellect, Creative Control, My Computer Life and the Fight for Civilization, an autobiography of Ted Nelson, Mindful Press, Feb 2011.

Triangulation 164 - Conversation with Ted Nelson Leo Laporte's July 2014 conversation with Ted Nelson, broadcast Aug 18, 2014 on TWiT.tv. On hypertext, Xanadu - and being a media guy. "To me, all media are alike. You think about what are the effects you want - and you think about what are the technicalities it will take to give you those effects. So when I took a computer course in graduate school, I thought 'Holy smoke, you can put interactive screens on them'... Interactive screens were instantly obvious to me."

Computer Lib / Dream Machines A brief description of Ted Nelson's 1974 book. Ordering information for an authorized 2014 replica reprint, which I highly recommend.

Ladies and gentlemen, the age of prestidigitative presentation and publishing is about to begin. Palpitating presentations, screen-scribbled, will dance to your desire, making manifest the many mysteries of winding wisdom. But if we are to rehumanize an increasingly brutal and disagreeable world, we must step up our efforts. And we must hurry. Hurry. Step right up.

Theodor H. Nelson, “Barnum-Tronics.
Swarthmore College Alumni Bulletin, Dec 1970, 12-15
Quoted from Dream Machines, 1975
See New Media Reader Computer Lib / Dream Machines excerpt

Video Archive MIT / Brown Vannevar Bush Symposium: A Celebration of Vannevar Bush's 1945 Vision, An Examination of What Has Been Accomplished, and What Remains to Be Done. Oct 12-13 1995, MIT. Talks and panel discussion with Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, Andy van Dam, Tim Berners-Lee, Alan Kay and others. See also ACM Interactions summary (free access), transcript of day 1 and day 2 panels.

Meet Takashi Okutsu: Director, Traction Software Japanese Business Office

July 2, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Takashi has been a TeamPage wizard since 2007, and now directs Traction Software's Japanese Business Office. Takashi provides exceptional sales, consulting, and support to TeamPage customers in Japan. He is a valued member of the Traction Software global team, and a frequent contributor to the TeamPage Customer Support Forum including development and discussion of TeamPage SDK plug-ins and examples. We invite Japanese visitors to explore TractionSoftware.jp for TeamPage information and a free trial. You are also welcome to join the TeamPage Japan Customer Support Forum to talk with Takashi and Japanese TeamPage customers.

Please follow Takashi on Twitter as TSIJPBO for Japanese TeamPage news from トラクション ソフトウェア (Traction Software Branch Office), Yokohama, Japan.

You can also follow Takashi's Buna Tree Melopan Twitter account to learn about walking in the Tanzawa mountain area of Kanagawa Prefecture, computer topics, and Japanese cooking, including camping meals Takashi has made with his Traction Software Swiss Army knife.

Thought Vectors - What Motivated Doug Engelbart

June 23, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

By "augmenting human intellect" we mean increasing the capability of a man to approach a complex problem situation, to gain comprehension to suit his particular needs, and to derive solutions to problems. Increased capability in this respect is taken to mean a mixture of the following: more-rapid comprehension, better comprehension, the possibility of gaining a useful degree of comprehension in a situation that previously was too complex, speedier solutions, better solutions, and the possibility of finding solutions to problems that before seemed insoluble. And by "complex situations" we include the professional problems of diplomats, executives, social scientists, life scientists, physical scientists, attorneys, designers--whether the problem situation exists for twenty minutes or twenty years. We do not speak of isolated clever tricks that help in particular situations. We refer to a way of life in an integrated domain where hunches, cut-and-try, intangibles, and the human "feel for a situation" usefully co-exist with powerful concepts, streamlined terminology and notation, sophisticated methods, and high-powered electronic aids. 1a1

Man's population and gross product are increasing at a considerable rate, but the complexity of his problems grows still faster, and the urgency with which solutions must be found becomes steadily greater in response to the increased rate of activity and the increasingly global nature of that activity. Augmenting man's intellect, in the sense defined above, would warrant full pursuit by an enlightened society if there could be shown a reasonable approach and some plausible benefits. 1a2

Doug Engelbart Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework. SRI Summary Report AFOSR-3223, October 1962

This week's Thought Vectors in Concept Space assignment is a blog post based on a nugget from the works of Doug Engelbart. I like this quote because Doug talks clearly about what motivates his research; what motivated his life's work.

To me, it's interesting to note that Doug wrote his report in 1962 just as NASA was launching Project Apollo, and not long after President John F. Kennedy announced his challenge to land on the Moon. Project Apollo was arguably the most challenging engineering project of the 20th century, designing and testing families of new engineering systems as well as new classes of hardware. But Project Apollo was more than an engineering project; it was a grand challenge that motivated NASA to do its best and engaged most of the world as spectators in a high stakes, highly visible race to the Moon.

Doug's vision was also an engineering vision, designing and testing new human/computer systems as well as new classes of software. The paragraphs, links, paragraph-grain addresses, relationships, viewspecs and visualizations of Augment/NLS made Doug's thought vectors as real as they could possibly be, recording, linking and animating thoughts in a way that could never be done with paper plans and records. But like Project Apollo, Doug's vision was more than an engineering project; it was and is a grand challenge, to find better ways to enable people to solve critical problems, part of a trail on augmentation started by Vannevar Bush that will never end.

More

"Thoughtvectors in Concept Space badge" by @iamTalkyTina my posts | thoughtvectors.net

Related

Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010 - Blog post celebrating Doug Engelbart's 85th birthday, includes quotes and links to resources. One of the quotes from Engelbart's talk at the Brown/MIT Vannevar Bush Symposium became the tag line for this VCU course.

DougEngelbart.org: The Doug Engelbart Institute was was conceived by Doug Engelbart to further his lifelong career goal of boosting our ability to better address complex, urgent problems. It contains an excellent history, archive of papers, photos and other published resources as well as links to Doug's current projects.

Video Archive MIT / Brown Vannevar Bush Symposium: A Celebration of Vannevar Bush's 1945 Vision, An Examination of What Has Been Accomplished, and What Remains to Be Done. Oct 12-13 1995, MIT. Talks and panel discussion with Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, Andy van Dam, Tim Berners-Lee, Alan Kay and others. See also ACM Interactions summary (free access), transcript of day 1 and day 2 panels.

Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework. by Douglas C. Engelbart, October 1962 (SRI AUGMENT, 3906) A work Doug referred to as the bible of his research agenda, it also outlines the motive for his work: enabling groups of people to respond to the increasingly complex and urgent problems of humanity. If you want to read Doug's original works, start here.

Reinventing the Web II

June 16, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Updated 23 Aug 2014 Why isn't the Web a reliable and useful long term store for the links and content people independently create? What can we do to fix that? Who benefits from creating spaces with stable, permanently addressable content? Who pays? What incentives can make Web scale permanent, stable content with reliable bidirectional links and other goodies as common and useful as Web search over the entire flakey, decentralized and wildly successful Web? A Twitter conversation.

I jumped in with

See Reinventing The Web II - A Twitter Conversation for the original 14 Jun 2014 Twitter conversation.
Reinventing the Web III - A 13 Jul 2013 followup Twitter conversation with @zeynep, @jeffsonstein, @kevinmarks, and @roundtrip (me).

How the Web was Won

I believe Tim Berners-Lee's original HTTP and HTML protocols succeeded beyond his original vision of a globally scalable, loosely coupled network of Web pages that anyone could edit. The fact that his original protocols were simple, decentralized, and free for anyone to use were essential to success in a world of competing proprietary Internet publishing and commerce "standards" from Microsoft and others. But in my opinion, the Web won by turning permanence and stability into a decentralized economic decision.

Berners-Lee's original W3C protocols appeared at the right time to open clear field opportunities for distributed publishing, marketing, sales and advertising that fueled the Web's growth and evolution. Recapping the argument from my older Reinventing the Web:

The idea that any sensible person would rely on a global hypertext system where links on one computer pointed at locations on another computer which would break whenever the remote computer was unilaterally moved, renamed, taken off line or abandoned seemed absurd.

The idea that you would have no way to know what incoming links would break when editing or refactoring content seemed just as bad.

The Word Wide Web protocols looked like they would work for relatively small cooperative groups like CERN who could keep things from breaking by having shared goals, and using peer pressure plus out of band communication to keep distributed content alive.

Actually that intuition was pretty good, because the World Wide Web took off in a direction based on other incentives compatible with those assumptions - and grew like crazy because unlike alternatives, it was was simple, massively scalable, cheap and eliminated the need for centralized control.

1) The Web became a distributed publishing medium, not the fabric for distributed editing and collaboration that Tim Berners-Lee and others envisioned. People and Web publishing engines like Amazon created content and kept it online while it had economic value, historical value (funded by organizations), or personal value. Content hosting became cheap enough for individuals or tiny groups. Advertising supported content became "free".

2) Search engines spanned the simple Web. Keeping content addressable now gained value since incoming links not only allowed people to bookmark and search engines to index what you had to publish (or sell), but the incoming links gained economic value through page rank. This provided even greater motivation to edit without breaking links, and to keep content online while it retained some economic, organizational or personal value.

3) People and organizations learned how to converse and collaborate over the Web by making it easy to create addressable content others could link to. The simple blog model let people just add content and have it automatically organized by time. The Wiki model required more thought and work to name, organize and garden content, but also creates stable, addressable islands of pages based on principals that reward cooperative behavior.

4) Search engines, syndication and notification engines built over the Web's simple, scalable protocols connected the Web in ways that I don't think anyone really anticipated - and work as independent and competing distributed systems, making rapid innovation possible.

Tim Berners-Lee made an inspired set of tradeoffs. Almost every concept of value on the Web: search engines, browsers, notification is built over his simple, open, highly scalable architecture.

I believe it's possible to provide what TBL calls "reasonable boundaries" for sharing sensitive personal or organizational data without breaking basic W3C addressable content protocols that makes linking and Web scale search valuable. That should be the goal for social and business software, not siloed gardens with Web proof walls.

Building a better Web over the Web we have

Telephone companies used to call their simplest and cheapest legacy service POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service). I believe it's possible to build a richer and more stable Web over POWS (Plain Old Web Services) without necessarily starting from scratch.

One answer to "who benefits?" and "who pays?" are the businesses who benefit from a richer and more stable Web connecting the systems they use to get work done. Stable fine-grain links and bi-directional relationships connecting systems of record and systems of engagement open the door to business systems that are more flexible, effective, simple to develop, and pleasant to use - more like the public Web than traditional line of business systems.

Museums, libraries, and archives such as Brewster Kahle's Internet Archive, the Library of Congress and others have a mission to collect and curate our cultural heritage and knowledge. The Internet Archive shows how little it costs to collect and index an archive of the content of the visible Web.

Commercial publisher monetize their archive, but have weaker economic incentives to maintain stable links to content outside their own domain.

Commerce sites and providers of consumer-focused Web services may have the greatest economic incentive for deep linking with stable references and relationships spanning devices you own, your home, your health and healthcare providers, your car, your family - and your work, see Continuity and Intertwingled Work.

If I'm right, there are economic incentives for Web content creators to make their work more linkable, visible and useable using straightforward, decentralized, and non-proprietary upwards compatible extensions of Plain Old Web Services.

I believe that indices spanning permalinked locations as well as incoming and outgoing permalink references to content in "stable islands in the storm tossed sea" can be created and maintained in near real time at Web scale, preserving the integrity of links to archival content distributed across the Web.

For example, any domain could publish an index to its permalinked content. Other domains implementing the same protocol could make incoming references to that content by permalink. This is a simple decentralized protocol, no more magical than the published external references that a link editor or dynamic linking system uses to resolve references connecting independently compiled modules of code.

Domains that agree to implement the same protocol, and use permalink (URI) references for content in other compatible domains then have a more stable, decentralized model for permanent links. If domains also publish their own permalink outgoing references (external as well as internal), a Web level service could build and maintain reliable inverted indices of bi-directional internal and domain spanning links. The federation of such domains could be spidered by any number of independently developed services, creating a more stable and useful Web as a decentralized service without breaking the simple Web protocols that every browser and other Web service relies on.

I don't know who has suggested this before; it seems obvious, and is a straw man not a solution. I'm using it to argue that we can and should invent ways to improve the capabilities of the Web using the same simple, decentralized philosophy that made the Web wildly successful versus "better" hypertext systems.

See Michael Peter Edson's Dark Matter essay, my Dark Matter response and two blog posts on "stable islands in the storm tossed sea" and my view why the Web won decisively versus "better" models by turning permanence into a decentralized economic decision.

Related

Reinventing the Web (2009) Ted Nelson, Tim Berners-Lee and the evolution of the Web. Ted Nelson wants two-way links, stable transclusion, micropayments. Tim Berners-Lee wants a new Web with open, linked data. I believe that most of what they want can be delivered using the current flakey, decentralized and wildly successful Web as the delivery medium for richer, more stable, more permanent internal models, as stable federations of islands in a storm-tossed sea.

The Internet's Original Sin by Ethan Zuckerman, The Atlantic, Aug 14, 2014. Ethan confesses his role - invention of the pop-up Ad - stating "It’s obvious now that what we did was a fiasco, so let me remind you that what we wanted to do was something brave and noble." He makes a convincing case that the apple in the Web's garden is Investor storytime "... when someone pays you to tell them how rich they’ll get when you finally put ads on your site." A darkly comic but heartfelt essay on the past and future economy of the Web: "It's not too late to ditch the ad-based business model and build a better web"

Intertwingled Work (2010) No one Web service or collection of Web servers contain everything people need, but we get along using search and creative services that link content across wildly different sources. The same principal applies when you want to link and work across wildly diverse siloed systems of record and transactional databases.

Dark Matter The dark matter of the Internet is open, social, peer-to-peer and read/write—and it’s the future of museums by Michael Peter Edson on May 19, 2014.

Continuity and Intertwingled Work (2014) A level above an Internet of Things: seamless experience across devices for you, your family, your health and trusted service providers, at home and at work.

Update 13 Jul 2014 Added How the Web was Won and Building a better Web over the Web we have section headings, added the inline recap and economic benefit examples, and a link to a new Storified Twitter conversation on the same topic.

Update 23 Aug 2014 Added link and brief note on Ethan Zuckerman's fine essay on advertising as the Internet's Original Sin.

Thought Vectors - Vannevar Bush and Dark Matter

June 13, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

On Jun 9 2014 Virginia Commonwealth University launched a new course, UNIV 200: Inquiry and the Craft of Argument with the tagline Thought Vectors in Concept Space. The eight week course includes readings from Vannevar Bush, J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, Alan Kay, and Adele Goldberg. Assignments include blog posts and an invitation to participate on Twitter using the #thoughtvectors hashtag. The course has six sections taught at VCU, and an open section for the rest of the internet, which happily includes me! This week's assignment is a blog post based on a nugget that participants select from Vannevar Bush's 1945 essay As We May Think. Here's mine:

Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified. The lawyer has at his touch the associated opinions and decisions of his whole experience, and of the experience of friends and authorities. The patent attorney has on call the millions of issued patents, with familiar trails to every point of his client’s interest. The physician, puzzled by a patient’s reactions, strikes the trail established in studying an earlier similar case, and runs rapidly through analogous case histories, with side references to the classics for the pertinent anatomy and histology. The chemist, struggling with the synthesis of an organic compound, has all the chemical literature before him in his laboratory, with trails following the analogies of compounds, and side trails to their physical and chemical behavior.

The historian, with a vast chronological account of a people, parallels it with a skip trail which stops only on the salient items, and can follow at any time contemporary trails which lead him all over civilization at a particular epoch. There is a new profession of trail blazers, those who find delight in the task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the common record. The inheritance from the master becomes, not only his additions to the world's record, but for his disciples the entire scaffolding by which they were erected.

This quote is part of a longer section in Bush's essay describing his concept of the Memex, a desktop machine imagined as an extension of 1940's microfilm and vacuum tube technology.

This quote stuck me while reading Michael Peter Edson's essay Dark Matter published on Medium.com in May 2014.

Edson's essay begins "The dark matter of the Internet is open, social, peer-to-peer and read/write—and it’s the future of museums" explaining:

I am talking about museums, libraries, and archives—heritage, culture, knowledge, and memory institutions—and there is really nothing like them on the face of the earth. And whether we’ve realized it or not, my colleagues and I who work with technology in these institutions have been participating in an extraordinary project — the building of a planetary scale knowledge sharing network for the benefit of everyone on earth.

He writes:

Despite the best efforts of some of our most visionary and talented colleagues, we’ve been building, investing, and focusing on only a small part of what the Internet can do to help us accomplish our missions.

90% of the universe is made of dark matter—hard to see, but so forceful that it seems to move every star, planet, and galaxy in the cosmos.

And 90% of the Internet is made up of dark matter too—hard for institutions to see, but so forceful that it seems to move humanity itself.

And it’s not necessarily that the glass of museum, library, and archive technology projects is half empty, as opposed to half full; it’s the fact that the glass of the Internet and the dark matter of open, social, read/write cultural engagement is so much bigger than museums, libraries, and archives are accustomed to seeing and thinking about. And the glass keeps growing at exponential speed, whether we fill it with good work or wait in committee meetings for the water to pour itself…

Edson concludes that museums, libraries, and archives "can play a huge role in the story of how Earth’s 7 billion citizens will lead their lives, make and participate in their culture, learn, share, invent, create, cry, laugh, and do in the future" by going back to Tim Berners-Lee's original vision of the Web, where every person can be a writer as well as a reader.

Cultural Web sites, blogs, Google, Facebook, Twitter and are part of the solution, but Edison's challenge goes beyond that.

I believe there are three parts to his challenge:

The role of trail blazer: Just as Bush suggested in July 1945, I believe there's a need for people to act as explorers, guides, and trail blazers over knowledge they know and love. You can experience that personal knowledge and passion on a tour, at a talk, or in a conversation on a bus, at a party - anywhere you meet someone who loves one of these institutions. I think it's particularly valuable to have trail blazers who are also skilled professionals personally represent and communicate the values, knowledge, and heritage of their museum, just as a great reference librarian becomes a library's ambassador.

The medium: Museums have long had lectures, journals, and newsletters. Most cultural institutions now have web sites, blogs, and Twitter or Facebook accounts, which can be really interesting depending on who does the writing and response. In Dark Matter Edson goes well beyond the comfort zone of most museums into the world of video blogging, Reddit, Pinterest, Tumbler and more. Of the video blogging brothers who created 1,000 plus videos on the YouTube Vlogbrothers channel, Edson writes:

It is evident from watching 30 seconds of any of their videos that they are nerds, and they proudly describe themselves as such. If you announced to your museum director or boss that you intended to hire Hank and John Green to make a series of charming and nerdy videos about literature, art, global warming, politics, travel, music, or any of the other things that Hank and John make videos about you would be thrown out of whatever office you were sitting in and probably be asked to find another job.

The mission: A little less than a year before the end of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote a letter to Vannevar Bush, asking Bush how to turn the "unique experiment of team-work and cooperation in coordinating scientific research and in applying existing scientific knowledge" during WWII to the peaceful pursuit of scientific knowledge after the end of the war. President Roosevelt concluded: "New frontiers of the mind are before us, and if they are pioneered with the same vision, boldness, and drive with which we have waged this war we can create a fuller and more fruitful employment and a fuller and more fruitful life." Bush responded to then President Harry S. Truman in July 1945, the same month As We May Think was published in The Atlantic Monthly. Bush's report, titled Science the Endless Frontier, lead to the creation of the National Science Foundation.

The Dark Matter mission is different, but it calls on museums and other cultural institutions to rethink how they bring together the heritage they preserve and the broader society they serve. I believe that the skills and passion of trail blazers can help connect the people and the common record of their culture by creating trails that can be seen and built upon now and by future generations. Anyone can now create a trail, and museums should become the richest and most welcoming sources for trail creation. Museums can help by opening up access as well as by creating and curating trails - across all media - as part of their core mission, a unique experiment in team-work and cooperation.

See Dark Matter and Trailblazers - @mpedson and Vannevar Bush for more quotes from Michael Peter Edson's essay, quotes from As We May Think, and President Roosevelt's wartime letter to Vannevar Bush.

Update Oct 30, 2014 See Michael Peter Edson's Internet Librarian International 14 keynote slides, Dark Matter 

Update Jan 21, 2015: See The Museum of the Future Is Here by Robinson Myer, The Atlantic, Jan 20, 2015. A thoughtful redesign of the Smithsonian's Cooper Hewett museum adds a stable URL for every object in its collection, as well as an API for accessing related content.

What the API means, for someone who will never visit the museum, is that every object , every designer , every nation , every era , even every color has a stable URL on the Internet. No other museum does this with the same seriousness as the Cooper Hewitt. If you want to talk about Van Gogh’s Starry Night online, you have to link to the Wikipedia page . Wikipedia is the best permanent identifier of Starry Night-ness on the web. But if you want to talk about an Eames Chair, you can link to the Cooper Hewitt’s page for it ...

“When we re-open, the building will be the single largest consumer of the API,” said Chan.

In other words, the museum made a piece of infrastructure for the public. But the museum will benefit in the long term, because the infrastructure will permit them to plan for the near future.

And the museum will also be, of course, the single largest beneficiary of outsider improvements to the API. It already talks to other APIs on the web. Ray Eames’s page , for instance, encourages users to tag their Instagrams and Flickr photos with a certain code. When they do, Cooper Hewitt’s API will automatically sniff it out and link that image back to its own person file for Eames. Thus, the Cooper Hewitt’s online presence grows even richer.

More

"Thoughtvectors in Concept Space badge" by @iamTalkyTina my posts | thoughtvectors.net

Related

As We May Think - Vannevar Bush, Atlantic Monthly, July 1, 1945

Reinventing the Web - Blog post on the creation and evolution of the Web and thoughts on making the Web a more writerly medium based on Berners-Lee's original intent and the vision of Ted Nelson.

Doug Engelbart's copy of As We May Think - with Doug's 1962 notes scribbled in the margins - Blog post also includes links to the Oct 1995 Brown/MIT Vannevar Bush Symposium on the 50th anniversary of As We May Think, with videos of talks and panel sessions.

Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010 - Blog post celebrating Doug Engelbart's 85th birthday, includes quotes and links to resources. One of the quotes from Engelbart's talk at the Brown/MIT Vannevar Bush Symposium became the tag line for this VCU course:

Doug Engelbart: ... So, moving your way around those thought vectors in concept space - I'd forgotten about that

Alan Kay: You said that, right?

Doug Engelbart: I must have, its so good. [laughter] Its to externalize your thoughts in the concept structures that are meaningful outside and moving around flexibly and manipulating them and viewing them. Its a new way to operate on a new kind of externalized medium. So, to keep doing it in a model of the old media is just a hangup that someplace we're going to break that perspective and shift and then the idea of high performance and the idea of high performance teams who've learned to coordinate, to get that ball down the field together in all kinds of operations.

Continuity and Intertwingled Work

June 12, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

At Apple's WWDC 2014 on 2 Jun 2014, Apple demonstrated how to build a great user experience spanning a your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple calls this OS level capability Continuity. It basically enables you to continue what you're doing across devices and applications by securely encapsulating your identity and the context of your action. From picking up a draft email message started on an iPhone and continuing work with that draft on your Mac, to answering and incoming iPhone call on your Mac, I believe this opens the door for a level of seamless experience that everyone will want for personal use, their family, and at work.

Here’s why. I believe Apple aims to connect:

  • Your actions, across the devices you use
  • Your family (Family Sharing);
  • Your home (HomeKit);
  • Your health and healthcare providers (HealthKit);
  • Your car (CarPlay) See what Apple is offering via auto OEMs;
  • Your work (by extension I'll call this WorkKit) If Apple wanted to play in the enterprise software space. [Apple does want to play, see IBM/Apple Update below - grl]

Regardless of Apple’s intention as a platform for business applications, if Apple succeeds in the personal space, I believe this vision of continuity sets a benchmark for user experience at work, and will kick off a new level of competition to win the attention of enterprise developers and IT departments, working top down rather than bottom up.

1) Apple is using SDK extensions to bridge access to other Apps and OS services. My understanding of the SDK architecture introduced at WWDC 2014 is that personal information and context flows across Apps and iOS services based on extension of the App sandboxing that has kept iOS relatively malware free and consistent. This is critical if you believe that Apple’s strategic goal is to become the trusted, secure hub for personally identifiable information for you, your family, your health information, home, and car. It's what I believe is needed to make a personal Internet of Things work.

2) Google, Yahoo and others gather correlate, analyze and use personal identity metadata including your location, search history, browsing history to monetize for their own purposes or to sell to others. I believe Apple is trying to build a counter story on security using identity and services encapsulated in devices you own. [Confirmed. See 17 Sep 2014 A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy and links below - grl] In addition to continuity, examples include OS8 MAC address randomization for WiFi localization privacy and hardware partitioned storage of iOS fingerprint data.

3) Folk who dislike the Apple’s walled garden and curated applications sometimes fail to acknowledge that many people value a safer, more consistent, curated, and delightfully designed user experience to a toolkit.

4) I want my personal information and keys to access heath, home, car, family information stored in a walled garden in a device I own, with gated access looking in for Apps I authorize, and freedom to search, link and use anything looking out. Apple appears to be developing its stack top down, starting from a vision of a seamless user experience that just works, giving developers the extensions they need to innovate and prosper.

5) I believe Apple’s principles of continuity and identity are also what businesses need for a safe, secure, consistent, delightful, and productive user experience for people at work, see Intertwingled Work.

Update 12 Aug 2014

IBM's 15 July 2014 partnership announcement with Apple caught many analysts by surprise. To me, it makes perfect sense as a path to broaden Apple's market. Over the past several years Apple's iOS security, provisioning, and deployment investments removed barriers and eliminated friction for Enterprise customers bowing to Apple as the inevitable Bring Your Own Device of choice. IBM's position as a trusted supplier and developer for Enterprise customers complements Apple's position and focus as your lifestyle hub - for healthcare, home, family, car, and work - and the Internet of Things. I see Google as Apple's only potential competitor. Look for interesting times.

Tbits: Putting IBM MobileFirst in (Apple’s Enterprise) Context Andrew Laurence writes: "Since the iPhone, Apple has developed a subtle enterprise strategy, so subtle that many pundits miss it. Instead of pursuing business sales directly, Apple has quietly worked to remove barriers that might impede usage of its products, including in enterprises. This approach enables Apple to pursue design and user experience while also making its devices more useful to business and fitting enterprise concerns better..."

"Although commonly known as a “computer company,” IBM is really a software and services company, focused on developing and supporting applications for customers. And not only applications, but whole solutions, which requires combining development, hardware, software, management, and more. When a company hires IBM, they also sign on to purchase software licenses; for IBM to supply, manage, and service hardware through its lifecycle; and to purchase support for it all through the life of the contract. The service contract includes not only development of the application if necessary, but also ongoing support and management services: provisioning and deployment, as well as integration of the application and hardware into a cohesive whole to provide a coherent solution..."

For IBM’s customers, the MobileFirst endeavor represents just such an opportunity. Their applications can be developed and deployed on Apple’s popular iOS platform, drawing on IBM’s deep well of enterprise development experience and letting IBM bask in Apple’s reflected glory. I imagine that IBM will get special pricing for Apple products sold through MobileFirst; I also suspect these devices will be provisioned through Apple’s Streamlined Enrollment and tightly managed (via mobile device management policies) through IBM’s Endpoint Manager and MaaS360 products, with software procurement managed through Apple’s Volume Purchase Program."

How IBM could help Apple win one of the biggest markets of all Ryan Faas writes in CITEworld: "Apple's partnership with IBM may deliver more value to Apple than just expanding the iPad's penetration in the business world. Although the partnership will certainly focus on creating business apps, the focus on creating industry-specific apps may boost Apple's fortunes in one of the fields that it is actively seeking to disrupt -- health care."

Update 23 Aug 2014

Apple HealthKit and VRM. A thoughtful essay by Doc Searles. Doc methodically examines Apple's HealthKit from the perspective of Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) principles, goals, and tool requirements - all relating to customers ability to define and manage their own relationship with vendors, rather than vice versa. He finds that HealthKit's principles appear to be an encouraging match, quoting this blog post on "security using identity and services encapsulated in devices you own".

On points 3) and 4) of this blog post, Doc says:

"As a guy who favors free software and open source, I agree to the extent that I think the best we can get at this stage is a company with the heft of an Apple stepping and doing some Right Things. If we’re lucky, we’ll get what Brian Behlendorf calls “minimum viable centralization.” And maximum personal empowerment. Eventually."

Doc see one big unanswered question:

In all cases the unanswered question is whether or not your health data is locked inside Apple’s Health app. Apple says no: “With HealthKit, developers can make their apps even more useful by allowing them to access your health data, too. And you choose what you want shared. For example, you can allow the data from your blood pressure app to be automatically shared with your doctor. Or allow your nutrition app to tell your fitness apps how many calories you consume each day. When your health and fitness apps work together, they become more powerful. And you might, too.

Update 18 Sep 2014

We're Building Privacy Into Everything You Use Every Day Apple on privacy. The moment you begin using an Apple product or service, strong privacy measures are already at work protecting your information. We build extensive safeguards into our apps and the operating systems they run on. Apple examples include: iCloud; Safari; Maps, Siri and Dictation; Mail; Apps and the App Store; Pay; Health; HomeKit; Spotlight Suggestions; Randomized Wi-Fi Addresses; Security by Design]

A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy Quotes:

At Apple, your trust means everything to us. That’s why we respect your privacy and protect it with strong encryption, plus strict policies that govern how all data is handled...

Security and privacy are fundamental to the design of all our hardware, software, and services, including iCloud and new services like Apple Pay. And we continue to make improvements. Two-step verification, which we encourage all our customers to use, in addition to protecting your Apple ID account information, now also protects all of the data you store and keep up to date with iCloud...

A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.

Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.

One very small part of our business does serve advertisers, and that’s iAd. We built an advertising network because some app developers depend on that business model, and we want to support them as well as a free iTunes Radio service. iAd sticks to the same privacy policy that applies to every other Apple product. It doesn’t get data from Health and HomeKit, Maps, Siri, iMessage, your call history, or any iCloud service like Contacts or Mail, and you can always just opt out altogether.

Related

Apple's WWDC 2014 Continuity Demo: Identity, Security, User Experience - Storified clipping of the Twitter conversation with @dhinchcliffe @DylanTWilliam and @haydn1701 that motivated this post.

Internet of Everything - Four Questions (with Tweets) - Ron Miller moderated a 20 Jun 2014 Twitter conversation on The Internet of Everything. Ron defined IoE: "For context think of the Internet of Everything as the Internet of Things plus people, process and data." A few Tweets from me specifically related to the topic of this post:

"When I walk into a room, every device and system should know who I am, what I'm interested in, what I can do."

"Not just "May I refill your coffee?" from the coffee pot, but "whoops looks like widget supplier will be late" on ERP wall."

“Device/owner delegates authority to trusted service to securely collect data and act on things on behalf of owner” vs

"Assumes HQ is safe and challenges device in field to prove to what level it and its owner can be trusted"

Software design is taught in the wrong department. Interactive software is a branch of cinema - Ted Nelson, April 2001

Intertwingled Work (2010) No one Web service or collection of Web servers contain everything people need, but we get along using search and creative services that link content across wildly different sources. The same principal applies when you want to link and work across wildly diverse siloed systems of record and transactional databases.

The Work Graph Model: TeamPage style ... the units of work (tasks, ideas, clients, goals, agenda items); information about that work (relevant conversations, files, status, metadata); how it all fits together; and then the people involved with the work (who’s responsible for what? which people need to be kept in the loop?)

A new TeamPage logo, and a new look at Traction Software.com

June 9, 2014 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

You'll be seeing the new TeamPage logo here, on Twitter, Facebook, across the Web, and next to TeamPage sites shown in your browser's tabs; I hope you like the it! I also hope you like the the new look at TractionSoftware.com. Our customers believe TeamPage is ideal for work that combines collaboration and action tracking, including quality management, human resources, project work, intelligence analysis, knowledge management, and compliance. We want TractionSoftware.com to tell this story simply and clearly, and we'll continue to improve this site just as we continually improve TeamPage. Please contact us for insights into how customers use TeamPage to get work done, along with a free trial.

An Infinite Number of Cats on Keyboards: Ted Nelson & Computer Lib at Homebrew Computer Club Reunion

November 16, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Order a perfect reprint of the original version of Computer Lib / Dream Machines directly from Ted Nelson, autographed if you wish. Highly recommended.

Ted Nelson's original 1974 edition of Computer Lib / Dream Machines was tour de force on hypertext, personal computers, and more. It was printed tabloid size, with Ted's hand drawn diagrams, neatly scribbled annotations, pasteup text and graphics in a style that has to be seen to be appreciated: think Whole Earth Catalog for computer geeks, film buffs, authors, philosophers, cartoonists, carnival barkers, and children of all ages.

In 1987 Microsoft Press did a good deed by reprinting the book, but chose a standard trade paperback layout which lost much of the charm.

The 1974 edition printed by Hugo's Book Service in Chicago has two front covers (one for Computer Lib and one for Dream Machines). Both books share the same binding, and you flip to read in either order. An original edition sells for over $250 when you can find a copy.

Read a fine essay and authorized sample from Computer Lib / Dream Machines as well as other classics at New Media Reader Excerpts, by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort (Editors), MIT Press 2003.

In Nov 2013 Ted announced that you can order a perfect reprint directly from him for $100 including US postage ($108 for California residents).

See Mark Graybill's blog post on meeting Ted at the Homebrew Computer Club Reunion, 11 Nov 2013.

Here's the back of the Computer Lib flyer including payment address, terms, and email ordering address:


Ted Nelson speaks at the HomeBrew Computer Club Reunion, 11 Nov 2013

Update: On April 24, 2014 Chapman University hosted "INTERTWINGLED: The Work and Influence of Ted Nelson” The conference will examine and honor the work and influence of this computer visionary and re-imagine its meaning for the future. Speakers include: Belinda Barnet, Dame Wendy Hall, Alan Kay, Ken Knowlton, Jaron Lanier, and Noah Wardrip-Fruin. Concluding remarks by Ted Nelson. See conference session videos.

Ada Lovelace Day | Marissa Ann Mayer, Software Engineer, Product Manager, and Executive

October 15, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Ada Lovelace Day celebrates the contributions of women in science and technology, follow @FindingAda for news and events. This year I've chosen to write about Marissa Ann Mayer Software Engineer, Product Manager, and Executive, currently President and CEO of Yahoo! Over her career Ms Mayer earned exceptional recognition for Computer Science teaching (while working for her Stanford degrees), software engineering, design, product management, and her executive skills. Ms Mayer joined Google as employee number twenty in 2009 and played an instrumental role leading Google Search for over 10 years.

In 2013 Ms Mayer ranked 31 in the Forbes Magazine list of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women, and the first woman listed as number one on the Fortune Magazine's annual list of the top 40 business stars under 40 years old.

Quoting from her Yahoo! biography: "During her 13 years at Google, Marissa held numerous positions, including engineer, designer, product manager, and executive, and launched more than 100 well-known features and products. She played an instrumental role in Google search, leading the product management effort for more than 10 years, a period during which Google Search grew from a few hundred thousand to well over a billion searches per day. Marissa led the development of some of Google's most successful services including image, book and product search, toolbar, and iGoogle, and defined such pivotal products as Google News and Gmail. She is listed as an inventor on several patents in artificial intelligence and interface design.

Prior to joining Google, Marissa worked at the UBS research lab in Zurich, Switzerland and at SRI International in Menlo Park, California. She graduated with honors from Stanford University with a B.S. in Symbolic Systems and a M.S. in Computer Science. For both degrees, she specialized in artificial intelligence. While at Stanford, she taught computer programming to more than 3000 students and received the Centennial Teaching and Forsythe Awards for her contributions to undergraduate education. In 2008, the Illinois Institute of Technology awarded her an honorary doctorate of engineering."

"Companies with the best talent win." Marissa Mayer, CEO Yahoo!

Ada icon by Sidney Padua Download the Thrilling Adventures of Babbage & Lovelace for your iPad (free). Enjoy their adventures, backstory and more on author Sydney Padua's 2D Goggles Web page.

Previous years

Ada Lovelace Day | Sunita Williams, Astronaut and Captain U.S. Navy 2012

Ada Lovelace Day | Betts Wald, US Naval Research Lab 2011

Ada Lovelace Day | Fran Allen, IBM Fellow and A.M. Turing Award Winner 2010

Ada Lovelace Day | Professor Lee S. Sproull, Stern School, NYU 2009

The Work Graph Model: TeamPage style

October 11, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Justin Rosenstein wrote an excellent option piece for Wired, The Way We Work Is Soul-Sucking, But Social Networks Are Not the Fix. Justin begins: "With Twitter’s recent IPO filing, the most popular graph dominating conversation is the “interest graph.” Before that, it was the “social graph,” courtesy of Facebook. But we’re now seeing the emergence of a third important graph: the work graph." The work graph term is new - and useful - but I believe the model dates back to Lotus Notes and even Doug Engelbart. In this blog post I'll review Justin's definition and use it to describe Traction TeamPage's work graph model. I'll also show how TeamPage leverages its work graph model to meet challenges of information overload, work with external as well as internal teams, and work that needs to span siloed systems of record.

Work graph defined

"...A work graph consists of the units of work (tasks, ideas, clients, goals, agenda items); information about that work (relevant conversations, files, status, metadata); how it all fits together; and then the people involved with the work (who’s responsible for what? which people need to be kept in the loop?).

The upshot of the latter data structure is having all the information we need when we need it. Where the enterprise social graph requires blasting a whole team with messages like “Hey, has anyone started working on this yet?”, we can just query the work graph and efficiently find out exactly who’s working on that task and how much progress they’ve made. Where the enterprise social graph model depends on serendipity, the work graph model routes information with purpose: towards driving projects to conclusions." Justin Rosenstein, Wired 9 Oct 2013

Just so!

TeamPage's work graph

TeamPage watches what you do, and automatically maintains two-way links and relationships as you edit, keeping an accurate version history of everything so you can easily see what changed, when, and who did what.

TeamPage's work graph automatically connects articles, comments, status messages, tasks, milestones, projects, links, shared references, and relationships stored in TeamPage to the TeamPage profile of the person who created, edited or tagged the work, along with a time stamp for the action.

This concept of a work graph is helpful in describing what TeamPage automatically creates and maintains as you work.

But what counts is how TeamPage uses its work graph model to cut clutter, make it much easier to work with people anywhere inside or outside your organization, and make files and records already in IT systems easily accessible to get work done.

The same work graph information is organized and presented two different ways: by person, or by unit of work. This enables TeamPage to show activity feeds, dashboards and calendars of people, linked to the work they created or edited, as well as activity feeds, dashboards, and calendars for specific tasks, projects, and spaces where many people work together.

Dealing with information overload - use the work graph to add context to de-clutter activity streams, navigation and search

You can start by creating a new task directly attached to any paragraph in a TeamPage article. TeamPage links the task and paragraph to make it simple to see what the task is about, in the context of the original meeting notes, spec, or question that kicked off the followup action. You don't need to explain much to define the task, because the task has a direct link to the original source - in context - making it much easier for anyone to come up to speed. Or just click the New Task button to create an independent task.

No more fumbling through your own email, hoping that the person you're working with can find their own copy of the right email or file, or wasting time sending copies to people who just realized they don't have the right stuff. Send a link to any TeamPage task or other item by email or your favorite messaging system when you want to talk about a complicated item during a phone call or video chat.

You can collect a set of tasks to manage as a named Project, and use name Milestone to specify common Start or End dates for related tasks.

You can focus on any specific project or collaboration space and see its dashboard and activity stream without irrelevant noise and clutter. You can also zoom out to a birds eye view which shows a dashboard, activity stream, or calendar view spanning everything you have permission to read. Or click any person's profile to see a dashboard, activity stream, or calendar view focused their work units and actions (clipped to what you're allowed to read).

You can shift your focus whenever you want. You can also watch any article, task, project, or other unit of work and get an automatic email or inline notification when it changes or is commented on. Click on the link in the message to zoom back to that context, or simply reply to the email notification to add a comment in the right place. Or subscribe to TeamPage's email digest for an automatically generated daily summary of activity with links you can click through to read more or reply.

Working with external and internal teams - use permission rules to clip what the work graph lets you see

TeamPage's work graph model includes permissioned access that automatically clips content to show just those work items, relationships, and search results each person is allowed to read.

This makes it simple to use TeamPage for work that can cross boundaries, linking customers, suppliers, partners and internal teams with different permissions to different business activities on the same TeamPage server.

TeamPages' work graph model allows you to put a private comment (or task) in a more private space where it's only visible to a smaller group. For example, an internal team discussion on a customer's question.

Typically each external client has a private space (like separate clients of a law firm), and internal team members have a birds eye view across all clients and most or all internal spaces. TeamPage makes it simple to set up granular access rules for spaces based on individual names, Active Directory, LDAP, or TeamPage group membership.

There's one TeamPage work graph connecting all internal, external, public and private content. Permission based filtering of TeamPage's work graph happens automatically and efficiently at a very deep level whenever activity stream, dashboard, comment thread, or search results are shown to any person. This technology is covered by Traction Software's US Patent 7,593,954.

With TeamPage you don't have to stand up multiple systems and juggle posts, conversations, and tasks across multiple social software silos to work with customers, clients, partners or internal teams working on different activities with different permissions.

Extending the work graph to content on the public Web, Intranet pages, and siloed systems of record.

TeamPage's Social Enterprise Web option enables you to share, tag, task or comment on any page your browser can see on the public Web or on your private intranet. Just install TeamPage's Web browser plug-in extension for modern browsers including Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

The Social Enterprise Web option also lets you add a TeamPage share button (like Facebook or Google+ share buttons) or comment box (like Disqus) to any public or intranet Web page your organization controls. Comments are stored in TeamPage , and link back to the external Web page, which is treated as part of the TeamPage work graph.

As a bonus, the content of a page linked to TeamPage with the browser plug-in, share button, or comment box is automatically indexed for TeamPage search and drill down navigation.

The Social Enterprise Web option makes pages on the public Web or your organization's intranet simple to see, share, find and connect to TeamPage tasks. A task or question on an internal purchase order page can tracked and used part of TeamPage's work graph without complicated or expensive custom integration.

For example, add a TeamPage comment box to an Purchase order page in a Web based ERP system by adding a JavaScript snippet, and see something like this:

TeamPage's Attivio Plus option enables you to extend the TeamPage work graph to content stored in your organization's SharePoint, Documentum, File server or SQL Database applications.

You can then search, share, task, tag or comment on any work item in these external systems, making live external transactions part of your TeamPage work graph, including integrated TeamPage and external content analysis, search and navigation.

The Attivio Plus option scales to handle very large external content stores using Attivio's world-class AIE technology along with a simple deployment model and licensing that's both flexible and affordable.

Contextual Computing At Work:

"In the world of work, I believe it's incredibly valuable to capture and connect the natural objects of your attention and interest, including tasks, projects, work product, relevant discussion, related references even if you're standing in for Siri or Google Now.

When Mr. Dithers shouts: "Bumstead! Where are we on the Acme Account?", the most timely, frequently discussed and contextually relevant version of Dagwood's Acme tasks, projects and work should pop up near the top of the result list, along with the cloud of tags and people who have touched or talked about tasks, projects and other related to the Acme account and its associated activity streams.

The important requirement is making tasks, projects, pages, discussions and other work products first class sharable, named objects that can be connected to each other and what you're working on, discussed, tagged, tasked, and navigated as well as found using search. Being able to talk about tasks and projects relating to Acme captures one important part of your interest and behavior graph (activity stream), and links these items to the names and behavior of other people working with or discussing the same objects.

The objects and connections made in the context of work are more reliable than connections that need to be inferred from your behavior - and they're available now, including the ability to connect tasks, projects, pages and discussion in TeamPage and files, discussion, email and SQL databases in your external systems of record. They record valuable context for Siri and Google Now when used at work - but there's no reason to wait to get started."

TeamPage examples

How to make your ISO Auditor Smile; And Make Your Professional Life Much Easier Use TeamPage to create, edit, view work instructions from concept to shop floor, tracking every part qualification and compliance issue and notifying everyone when a significant change has occurred so they can read about and adopt the new procedure on their own. Result: a happy and productive team, and a smiling ISO auditor.

Zoom in to focus, zoom out for awareness, bubble up items in the flow of work TeamPage shows dashboard, activity stream, and calendar views of any project, task, milestone when you want to focus on a specific action, or zoom out to get a dashboard that shows a birds eye view of all business activity (based on what each person has permission to read). You can also click to any person's TeamPage profile and see a dashboard, activity stream, or calendar view of all of that person's actions (based on what each person has permission to read).

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz When you watch a skilled team in action, it's like watching a great jazz group - there are themes, there is structure, and there are limits, but a team shines in individual excellence combined with coordination, improvisation, innovation, handling exceptions, and seemingly effortless awareness of where others are and where they're headed. The TeamPage action tracking model focuses on making it simple for individuals and teams to plan and coordinate the daily, weekly and monthly activities that drive effective teamwork, with task that can be pinned directly to any paragraph of a TeamPage article or comment.

Extending the fabric of work, or How to Be Emergent A question found in a customer email stored in Exchange, an issue with a new drug application filed in Documentum, a fact in a legacy document stored in SharePoint or a File server S: drive, a record in an SQL database can all be discovered, discussed, tagged, and tasked for follow-up action in TeamPage without converting or importing data from its original source. Systems of record look and act like they are part of the same permission-aware TeamPage fabric used for collaboration, communication, and action tracking in the flow of daily work.

Three primary knowledge domains: intelligence, dialog records, and knowledge products Want to talk about work graphs? Here's how Doug Engelbart dreamed up and build the first hypertext system to link work units and people with the NLS/Augment software, starting in 1968 (no typo). See Remembering Doug Engelbart, 30 January 1925 - 2 July 2013

Related

December 2014 | TeamPage @ Mentions - Bring an article, comment, status post or other object to someones attention by typing their name.

July 2014 | TeamPage Notifications - Inline and email notifications. Watch what interests you, reply inline or by email.

How to make your ISO Auditor Smile; And Make Your Professional Life Much Easier

August 27, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Jordan had a conversation with a TeamPage customer in Sweden who agreed to document and publish a TeamPage case study, but the ISO auditor story is too good to wait. The customer is small precision machined products manufacturer. They initially supplied prototypes to the Swedish defense industry, but now focus on precision products for heavy vehicle manufacturers.

The company is ISO/TS 16 949 certified for Quality Management, ISO 14 001 certified for Environmental Management, and rightly proud of their reputation for producing high quality products and close cooperation with their customers. They use TeamPage for their Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) process and Product Part Approval Process (PPAP). When the conversation took place, they had moved 90% of their procedures and shop floor work instructions from Microsoft Word to TeamPage. This gave everyone in the company live access to TeamPage procedures, for quick reading, search, moderated editing, ECO, and issue tracking from concept to shop floor.

Then the ISO auditor paid a visit:

"We had an audit last week and because we have incorporated about 90% of our procedures in TeamPage and also having the output from them in TeamPage our auditor was freakin' ecstatic. I demoed the 'Add' button for sections and a template article and I see his jaw drop. Pretty funny to see, these guys are very seldom impressed.

We also use TeamPage for work instructions read/used mainly by 40 machine operators. We also post news about new work instructions and change information on updated ones.

Earlier the same day the auditor came to see us we received a customer complaint. That is serious stuff in our line of business. I wrote an 'Quality Alert' in TeamPage (based on a template) and in this particular Quality Alert there were a few things that the operator needed to do and inspect so that we are again able to supply parts within customer specifications.

The auditor picked-up on this immediately when he arrived. I showed him the procedure written in TeamPage, the Quality Alert in TeamPage and the updated work instructions in TeamPage. He said “Good, but have you talked to the operators?” and I said “No, I don't need to. I would have but I have been to busy preparing for this audit”. He walked directly to the machining area and started interrogating operators. I was grinning, he looked surprised. It was amazing. All operators knew exactly what they were supposed to be doing, the information distribution and the Quality Alert simply worked. It always works.

Thank you Traction Software for making my professional life so much easier."

You're very welcome!

The quotes are from our Quality Manager contact (used with permission), writing in that company's space on Traction Software's TeamPage server. A company space is used to work with Traction Software folk privately, versus posts made to one of the Forum spaces shared by all TeamPage customers, friends, and Traction Software employees.

See TeamPage Solutions: Quality Management

Related

Decagon Devices: Plans, Products, Projects, Procedures and ISO 9001 Quality Management

Athens Group - Traction TeamPage for Quality Management, Training and Knowledge Base

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz

Enterprise 2.0 Schism

Remembering Doug Engelbart, 30 January 1925 - 2 July 2013

July 4, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

I was very sad to learn that Doug Engelbart died quietly at home on 2 July 2013. Doug had a long life as a true visionary engineer, inventor, and pioneer of technology we use every day, and technology where we're just starting to catch up to Doug and his SRI team in 1968. Unlike many pioneers, Doug had a quiet, friendly, and unassuming nature combined with deep knowledge, iron will, and a determination to pursue his vision. His vision was to aid humanity in solving complex, difficult and supremely important problems; Doug's goals were noble and selfless. The sense of dealing with an Old Testament prophet - a kindly Moses - is perhaps the greatest loss I and countless others who have met and been inspired by Doug feel today. I've written frequently about Doug in the past, and I'll continue to do so. Here are a few remembrances and resources that seem appropriate. I'll update this list over the next several days. Farewell Doug and my sincere condolences to his family and many friends.

“Someone once called me ‘just a dreamer’. That offended me, the ‘just’ part; being a real dreamer is hard work. It really gets hard when you start believing in your dreams.” — Doug Engelbart, Dreaming of the Future, Byte, September 1995.

Press and public valediction

DOUGLAS C. ENGELBART, 1925-2013 Computer Visionary Who Invented the Mouse John Markoff, New York Times, 3 July 2013. "It was his great insight that progress in science and engineering could be greatly accelerated if researchers, working in small groups, shared computing power. He called the approach “bootstrapping” and believed it would raise what he called their “collective I.Q.”"

In Memoriam: Douglas Engelbart, Maestro of the Mouse and So Much More Harry McCracken, Time, 3 July 2013. "Engelbart was able to see things that most people couldn’t, and make them real. But he was also a passionate believer in what he called Collective IQ — the ability of teams to do things that lone guns cannot.

Computing pioneer and GUI inventor Doug Engelbart dies at 88 Dylan Tweeny, VentureBeat.com, 3 July 2013. "Although Engelbart is often referred to as the inventor of the mouse, that’s a bit like saying Henry Ford was the inventor of the steering wheel. The mouse was a clever invention, but it was merely one component of a larger vision of how computers could increase human intelligence, or what Engelbart called our collective IQ."

Doug Engelbart, visionary Robert X. Cringley, I Cringley, 3 July 2013. "To most people who recognize his name Doug Engelbart was the inventor of the computer mouse but he was much, much more than that. In addition to the mouse and the accompanying chord keyboard, Doug invented computer time sharing, network computing, graphical computing, the graphical user interface and (with apologies to Ted Nelson) hypertext links. And he invented all these things — if by inventing we mean envisioning how they would work and work together to create the computing environments we know today — while driving to work one day in 1950."

Chris Nuzum's fine valediction for Doug: "RIP Doug Engelbart, and thank you. For taking the time to walk a few miles after dinner in 1995 with a young admirer, for your urgent encouragement to do something about my ideas, for your generosity with your time in providing feedback and encouragement, and for the lifetime of work your poured yourself into with boundless enthusiasm and determination. Your inspiration lives on." See photo

Douglas Engelbart's Unfinished Revolution Howard Rheingold, MIT Technology Review 23 July 2013. "To Engelbart, computers, interfaces, and networks were means to a more important end—amplifying human intelligence to help us survive in the world we’ve created. He listed the end results of boosting what he called “collective IQ” in a 1962 paper, Augmenting Human Intellect. They included “more-rapid comprehension … better solutions, and the possibility of finding solutions to problems that before seemed insoluble.” If you want to understand where today’s information technologies came from, and where they might go, the paper still makes good reading."

Engelbart's First, Second and Third Order Problems. Jonathan Stray's 4 July 2013 Twitter valediction, a Storify collection with some links expanded. "First order is doing. Second is improving the doing. Third is improving the improving."

If you truly want to understand NLS, you have to forget today. Brett Victor wrote A few words on Doug Engelbart 3 July 2013 in honor of Doug Engelbart life and passing. A few very well chosen words. A Storify collection with a few links expanded and quoted.

"The least important question you can ask about Engelbart is, "What did he build?" By asking that question, you put yourself in a position to admire him, to stand in awe of his achievements, to worship him as a hero.

But worship isn't useful to anyone. Not you, not him. The most important question you can ask about Engelbart is, "What world was he trying to create?" By asking that question, you put yourself in a position to create that world yourself."

Resources

DougEngelbart.org: The Doug Engelbart Institute was was conceived by Doug Engelbart to further his lifelong career goal of boosting our ability to better address complex, urgent problems. It contains an excellent history, archive of papers, photos and other published resources as well as links to Doug's current projects.

Douglas Engelbart Interviewed by John Markoff of the New York Times Outracing the Fire: 50 Years and Counting of Technology and Change Computer History Museum oral history interview, March 26, 2002.

Doug Engelbart Video Archive: 1968 Demo - FJCC Conference Presentation Reel Dec 9, 1968 Internet Archive, the so called Mother of All Demos. See also From Pranksters to PCs chapter about Engelbart's 1968 FJCC demo from John Markoff's book What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry, authorized excerpt.

Video Archive MIT / Brown Vannevar Bush Symposium: A Celebration of Vannevar Bush's 1945 Vision, An Examination of What Has Been Accomplished, and What Remains to Be Done. Oct 12-13 1995, MIT. Talks and panel discussion with Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, Andy van Dam, Tim Berners-Lee, Alan Kay and others. See also ACM Interactions summary (free access), transcript of day 1 and day 2 panels.

Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework. by Douglas C. Engelbart, October 1962 (SRI AUGMENT, 3906) A work Doug referred to as the bible of his research agenda, it also outlines the motive for his work: enabling groups of people to respond to the increasingly complex and urgent problems of humanity. If you want to read Doug's original works, start here:

By "augmenting human intellect" we mean increasing the capability of a man to approach a complex problem situation, to gain comprehension to suit his particular needs, and to derive solutions to problems. Increased capability in this respect is taken to mean a mixture of the following: more-rapid comprehension, better comprehension, the possibility of gaining a useful degree of comprehension in a situation that previously was too complex, speedier solutions, better solutions, and the possibility of finding solutions to problems that before seemed insoluble. And by "complex situations" we include the professional problems of diplomats, executives, social scientists, life scientists, physical scientists, attorneys, designers--whether the problem situation exists for twenty minutes or twenty years. We do not speak of isolated clever tricks that help in particular situations. We refer to a way of life in an integrated domain where hunches, cut-and-try, intangibles, and the human "feel for a situation" usefully co-exist with powerful concepts, streamlined terminology and notation, sophisticated methods, and high-powered electronic aids. 1a1

Man's population and gross product are increasing at a considerable rate, but the complexity of his problems grows still faster, and the urgency with which solutions must be found becomes steadily greater in response to the increased rate of activity and the increasingly global nature of that activity. Augmenting man's intellect, in the sense defined above, would warrant full pursuit by an enlightened society if there could be shown a reasonable approach and some plausible benefits. 1a2

Traction Software Blog posts

Tricycles vs. Training Wheels Jon Udell writes: "Easy-to-use computer systems, as we conventionally understand them, are not what Engelbart had in mind. You might be surprised to learn that he regards today’s one-size-fits-all GUI as a tragic outcome. That paradigm, he said in a talk at Accelerating Change 2004, has crippled our effort to augment human capability." Doug's discussion with Alan Kay at the 50th Anniversary of As We May Think (including links).

Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart Elements of Doug's work that directly inspired Traction TeamPage, what we do, and how we work. A personal rememberance.

Flip Test 1971 | Email versus Journal Doug Engelbart's Journal versus email - an alternate history.

And here's what Enterprise 2.0 looked like in 1968 | Dealing lightning with both hands... The 1968 Mother of All Demos and John Markoff's What the Dormouse Said

Enterprise 2.0 Schism Doug Engelbart and Peter Drucker are the two patron saints of Enterprise 2.0. And why.

Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010 Doug Engelbart's mission, goals and accomplishments, including a dialog with Alan Kay at the 50th Anniversary of As We May Think symposium.

Doug Engelbart's copy of As We May Think - with Doug's 1962 notes scribbled in the margins From the Doug Engelbart digital archive (see links). Original donated to the Computer History Museum.

Happy Birthday Doug Engelbart! Video highlights from Doug's talk and panels at the 50th Anniversary of As We May Think symposium, Oct 1995. Videos of Doug's talks including his famous Dec 1968 Mother of All Demos are now part of the Doug Engelbart Digital Archive maintained and managed by The Internet Archive

Working Across Boundaries

June 16, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

In his Jun 2, 2013 blog post, Chess Media analyst and author Jacob Morgan asks: How Open is Too Open? He asks "Would you be comfortable working in an all glass building where people can see everything you do and every move you make?" Jacob outlines the benefits of transparency: "Keep everyone on the same page; Build trust and fostering better relationships; Allow employees (and customers) to contribute ideas and value when they see the opportunity to do so." Jacob recognizes that a balance needs to be struck, but not being transparent enough may do more harm than good. He ask: "How open is too open?" I agree with the benefits Jacob outlines, and believe the answer to Jacob's question depends on the answer to a critical question: "Transparency for what purpose?" I'll start the ball rolling in with this post, including some real-life customer examples.

For example, if you work for a consulting (or law) firm, your clients have a strong, natural expectation that their work with the firm will be kept private from other clients, even if client work is more broadly shared internally among members of the firm. Some work within the firm may be more closely held for good reason - ranging from employee health records to Board meeting minutes. I believe it's a mistake to limit collaboration to work that must be visible by all members of the firm. I also believe it's extremely valuable to work with external clients, suppliers, and partners as well internal teams, within and across necessary and natural boundaries. The question I'd like to discuss is: "How do you balance transparency, boundaries, and the need to work across boundaries?"

Jacob recognizes that a balance needs to be struck, and uses an analogy that compares a glass building vesus "a regular building that just doesn't have locked doors."

"I do believe that organizations need to be much more open and transparent but there’s a balance that needs to be struck here. There’s a big difference between showing everything to everyone vs making things open to people should they want to see it. To use an analogy it’s the difference between constructing a glass building vs constructing a regular building that just doesn’t have locked doors." - How Open is Too Open?

I'd say "very few locked doors, where needed to get work done, particularly with external stakeholders."

In an early Three Places for People blog post, I use a similar analogy:

"Great architects of physical places know that people bring expectations and norms about the kind of behavior that's appropriate and enjoyable to any physical space. Architects are skillful in designing spaces to match their clients desires and expectations by providing cues that are easy to perceive and appropriate for the intended purpose, but a lot of the norms of the same physical space become clear only from social context.

If you walk into a conference room with a group of people you don't know talking quietly around a table - and someone closes the door behind you - you'll likely speak and act differently than if you walk into the same room with people you know laughing, eating and drinking. If you walk into a theater you'll probably seat yourself quietly in the audience rather than striding onto the stage (see the Re-Placing Space reference).

What fascinates me about social software is how we're learning to create places with perceived affordances - features and user models - that seem natural for different purposes and intentions. I use Facebook, Traction Software's TeamPage server, and Twitter as three separate places: my neighborhood, my workplace, and the public commons I like to use." - Three Places for People

One Traction TeamPage customer matches the consulting firm / client example precisely. The firm is near the top of the list of 100 global firms in their market. They use separate TeamPage spaces for each client, but allow members of the consulting firm to work across all client spaces. Members of the firm use TeamPage's project, task, milestone or client space dashboards to focus, and can also step back to a bird's eye view across all activity that they are permitted to see, organized by Space or by Person (with activity stream, project, task and milestone tabs on each individual's Profile). See Action Tracking, Project and Case Management in TeamPage

Another Traction TeamPage customer provides services to customers worldwide, with over 5,000 employees operating in over 150 locations and 75 countries. The firm uses TeamPage to get new clients onboard; author and share client and location specific procedures; track and communicate status including response to weather conditions and other forces that require changes to planned procedures. Shared access to procedures, notifications, and changes build strong business relationships that are a competitive advantage for the firm. Tens of thousands of complicated procedures need to be constantly changed and reviewed in near real time by both the firm and clients. The shared procedures are the core operating plan for the firm and the basis for everything the client values and pays for. TeamPage dashboards, notification, action tracking and search provide simple, reliable and secure access for each client, while allowing members of the firm to maintain global awareness, diving into any project, task, or space to quickly resolve an issue or come up to speed, see Deep Search.

In summary, I believe there's no reason to settle for a collaboration and action tracking solution that only handles internal collaboration, or assumes that everything happens in a building with glass walls and no doors. Real business value and sustainable competitive advantage often depends on working easily within and across boundaries that need to be in place to do business.

Related

The Work Graph Model: TeamPage style - Working with internal and external teams

Borders, Spaces, and Places - Walks through specific examples of boundaries and boundary crossing activity

Explaining Twitter - One of Three Places for People - About the social architecture of three places: 1) a public commons (like Twitter); 2) a place for friends and family (like Facebook); 3) a place where you work (for me, Traction Software's TeamPage server).

Intertwingled Work - Working across siloed systems and boundaries set up to meet business purposes - like the consulting firm client example.

A Circle is not a Space - How Google+ circles make it possible to share individual conversations with a list of circles each individual controls (later extended to groups) versus sharing work within one or more spaces. Some distinctions are important to understand when you want to handle collaboration for a business or other purpose over an extended period of time.

Contextual Computing At Work

May 28, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

In Co.Design May 24, 2013 Peter Morrison of Jump Associates writes The Future of Technology isn't Mobile, it's Contextual. He says that the way we respond to the world around is based on situational awareness. "The way we respond to the world around us is so seamless that it’s almost unconscious. Our senses pull in a multitude of information, contrast it to past experience and personality traits, and present us with a set of options for how to act or react. Then, it selects and acts upon the preferred path. This process--our fundamental ability to interpret and act on the situations in which we find ourselves--has barely evolved since we were sublingual primates living on the Veldt.

Here’s the rub: Our senses aren’t attuned to modern life. A lot of the data needed to make good decisions are unreliable or nonexistent. And that’s a problem.

In the coming years, there will be a shift toward what is now known as contextual computing, defined in large part by Georgia Tech researchers Anind Dey and Gregory Abowd about a decade ago. Always-present computers, able to sense the objective and subjective aspects of a given situation, will augment our ability to perceive and act in the moment based on where we are, who we’re with, and our past experiences. These are our sixth, seventh, and eighth senses."

Peter argues that we need four graphs to make contextual computing work:

  • The Social Graph - how you connect to other people and how they are connected to one another, including the nature and emotional relevance of those connections.
  • Your personal graph contains (gulp) all of your beliefs - data relating to a your deepest held beliefs, core values, and personality.
  • The Interest graph - what you like - is about curiosity
  • Your behavior graph - sensors that record what you actually do versus what you claim you do

I agree that one great value of Peter's contextual computing is to make agents like Apple's Siri or Google Now much more effective in answering questions, making recommendations, and delivering what you want based on how you express it in your own words or gestures, taking into account your current situation, recent requests and interests. But this augments a more fundamental capability: human content navigation, including but not limited to search.

In the world of work, I believe it's incredibly valuable to capture and connect the natural objects of your attention and interest, including tasks, projects, work product, relevant discussion, related references even if you're standing in for Siri or Google Now.

When Mr. Dithers shouts: "Bumstead! Where are we on the Acme Account?", the most timely, frequently discussed and contextually relevant version of Dagwood's Acme tasks, projects and work should pop up near the top of the result list, along with the cloud of tags and people who have touched or talked about tasks, projects and other related to the Acme account and its associated activity streams.

The important requirement is making tasks, projects, pages, discussions and other work products first class sharable, named objects that can be connected to each other and what you're working on, discussed, tagged, tasked, and navigated as well as found using search. Being able to talk about tasks and projects relating to Acme captures one important part of your interest and behavior graph (activity stream), and links these items to the names and behavior of other people working with or discussing the same objects.

The objects and connections made in the context of work are more reliable than connections that need to be inferred from your behavior - and they're available now, including the ability to connect tasks, projects, pages and discussion in TeamPage and files, discussion, email and SQL databases in your external systems of record. They record valuable context for Siri and Google Now when used at work - but there's no reason to wait to get started.

Related

Zoom in to focus, zoom out for awareness, bubble up items in the flow of work

Intertwingled Work

Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work

Traction TeamPage: Connected Work

TeamPage Action Tracking with Tasks, Milestones, and Projects

Lost Roots of Project Management: Think Agile that Scales

April 25, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

The Manhattan Project, Atlas and Polaris projects cited as roots for traditional phased stage-gate Project Management didn't use that model; new high innovation projects shouldn't either. Think Agile that Scales. A fascinating 2009 paper by Sylvain Lenfle and Christoph Loch of INSEAD, cited on Twitter by Glen B. Alleman who calls it "breathtaking".

Lost Roots : How Project Management Settled on the Phased Approach (and compromised its ability to lead change in modern enterprises) 
Sylvain Lenfle and Christoph Loch, 2009/59/TOM
INSTEAD Research Working Paper

Quoting from Introduction:

“Modern” Project Management is often said to have begun with the Manhattan Project (to develop the nuclear bomb in the 1940s), and PM techniques to have been developed during the ballistic missile projects (Atlas and Polaris) in the 1950s. The Manhattan Project “certainly displayed the principles of organization, planning and direction that typify the modern,management of projects.” “The Manhattan Project exhibited the principles of organization, planning, and direction that influenced the development of standard practices for managing projects.

This characterization of the roots of PM represents a certain irony – the Manhattan Project did not even remotely correspond to the “standard practice” associated with PM today, and both the Manhattan and the first ballistic missile projects fundamentally violated the phased project life cycle: both applied a combination of trial-and-error and parallel-trials approaches in order to “stretch the envelope”, that is, to achieve outcomes considered impossible at the outset.

However, the Project-Management discipline has now so deeply committed itself to a control-oriented phased approach that the thought of using trial-and-error makes professional managers feel ill at ease. In our seminars, experienced project managers react with distaste to the violation of sound principles of phased control when they are told the real story of the Manhattan Project (or other ambitious and uncertain projects). The discipline seems to have lost its roots of enabling “push the envelope” initiatives, de facto focusing on controllable run-of- the-mill projects instead.

How could this happen? And does it matter? In this paper we describe how the discipline lost its roots and we argue that it matters a great deal: it has prevented the project management discipline from taking center stage in the increasingly important efforts of organizations to carry out strategic changes and innovation.

Related

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz - The social dance of getting things done, dealing with exceptions, and staying aware of what’s going around you

Intertwingled Work - Scalable like the Web

Ada Lovelace Day | Sunita Williams, Astronaut and Captain U.S. Navy

October 16, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Ada Lovelace Day celebrates the contributions of women in science and technology. This year I've chosen to write about Suni Williams, NASA Astronaut and US Navy Captain currently commanding Expedition 33 on the International Space Station. I hope young women reading about Ada Lovelace Day now are encouraged by her example to pursue their dreams where ever they may lead - here on Earth or as the first Earthling to set foot on Mars.

Captain Williams graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1987 with a B.S. Degree in physical science and was designated a US Naval Aviator in 1989. She served as a helicopter combat support officer and officer in charge of a H-46 detachment for Hurricane Andrew Relief Operations before being selected for NASA's Astronaut Training program in 1998. She served as crew for on International Space Station Expedition 14, setting new records for female astronauts in space (195 days) and spacewalk EVAs.

On July 14 2012 Captain Williams launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome to join ISS Expedition 32 as Flight Engineer and Expedition 33 as Commander. On Aug 6, 2012 she and Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide completed a pair of spacewalks totaling more than fourteen hours to install a balky Main Bus Switching Unit, bringing her total EVA time for six spacewalks to over 44 hours. She is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the Society of Flight Test Engineers. Read Captain Williams' Why Did I Become an Astronaut interview for her personal story. Follow @Astro_Suni on Twitter.

Ada icon by Sidney Padua: I strongly recommend that you download the thrilling adventures of Babbage & Lovelace for your iPad (free), and enjoy more of their adventures on author Sydney Padua's 2D Goggles Web page.

Previous years

Ada Lovelace Day | Betts Wald, US Naval Research Lab 2011

Ada Lovelace Day | Fran Allen, IBM Fellow and A.M. Turing Award Winner 2010

Ada Lovelace Day | Professor Lee S. Sproull, Stern School, NYU 2009

Remembering Neil Armstrong...

August 26, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

"I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow." - Neil Armstrong, The Engineered Century. I was sad to hear about the death of Neil Armstrong on 25 August 2012. I'll always remember meeting Armstrong at an event for high school science students in the spring of 1966. He'll be remembered forever as the first person to set foot on the Moon on 29 July 1969. He coolly navigated the lunar lander to the surface despite computer alarms, avoiding rocks at the planned site, and landing with gauges showing about 20 seconds of fuel left. But that wasn't his only close call as an astronaut. In March 1966 Armstrong and David Scott successfully returned Gemini VIII to earth after a runaway thruster spun the Gemini and attached Agena target vehicle to a roll rate of about 300 degrees per second, making chances of recovery "very remote".

Armstrong and Scott were scheduled for a brief question and answer session at the Pennsylvania state science museum auditorium in Harrisburg - squeezed between astronaut meet and greet events for the Governor and state legislators a few blocks away. A handful of high school students and their science teachers from local schools were invited to the event on short notice. I was lucky to be selected by my high school physics teacher, who knew I was a space nut - before geek came into general use. There were a few hundred students, teachers, and a small number of reporters and photographers in the auditorium for the afternoon event.

A state official welcomed Armstrong and Scott, invited them to tell us about the Gemini VII mission, and cautioned that they'd only have a few minutes for questions before they had to move on to the next event. Armstrong and Scott thanked everyone for showing up on short notice, made a few brief remarks on the mission, and opened the floor for questions.

All hands went up. A local science teacher was the first person recognized - not Mr. Sault my physics teacher. He asked how they as astronauts would justify the time and treasure that the US spent on the space program. His question was a long, slow, philosophical speech. All the kids groaned and mumbled. Armstrong diplomatically summarized NASA's mission and suggested that although as a citizen he enthusiastically supported NASA's mission, astronauts executed policy, but didn't make it.

The next question went to the pudgy kid with glasses and camera jumping up and down in the tenth row - me. Maybe it seemed like a safe bet. Before the talk I reviewed everything I could read and remember about the mission and had my question prepared. Most of us in the room remembered when the spin began at about 4pm the afternoon of the 19 March 1966 launch since the launch and significant events like the Agena docking were covered on live TV, and of course we watched. So: 1) What in your training and experience enabled you to diagnose and recover so quickly? 2) How far along was the mission debrief and investigation? 3) Could you share any insights on the thruster issue and changes to avoid similar problems?

I got a smile and a nod from Neil. Armstrong and Scott ran out the short time remaining on the clock with a crisp summary and discussion on the thruster problem, test pilot skills, and new training procedures, which they enjoyed as much as we did. When Armstrong and Aldrin ran into issues on Apollo descent and landing I felt confident it would work out.

On Saturday 25 Aug his family posted: "Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend. Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job."

They continue:

“While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.

“For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.” - The family of Neil A. Armstrong, 25 Aug 2012

I hope this sky isn't cloudy, since I plan to spend some time looking at the moon. And winking.

A few links and references on the life and times of Neil Armstrong, including several that aren't so common. I strongly recommend his NASA Oral History project interview.

The Engineered Century - Neil Armstrong, National Academy of Engineering, Spring 2000, The Bridge, National Academy of Engineering. Edited version of remarks to the National Press Club, 20 Feb 2000

Neil A. Armstrong (1930 - 2012) - From the family of Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong | 1930 - 2012: Made 'Giant Leap' as First Man to Step on Moon - John Noble Witford's New York Times obituary, 25 Aug 2012

Gemini VIII Mission Summary - NASA Apollo Lunar Surface Journal

Apollo XI Mission Summary - NASA Apollo Lunar Surface Journal

Lunar Landing Guidance Equations - Part of the source code for the Lunar Module's (LM) Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC), for Apollo 11. From the Virtual AGC and AGS emulation project

Oral History Transcript Neil A. Armstrong, NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project. Interview by Dr. Stephen E. Ambrose and Dr. Douglas Brinkley, Houston, Texas - 19 Sep 2001 (pdf 106pp)

Catalog of NASA Oral History Collections - NASA Headquarters and Field Centers

Anti-Social Software

July 17, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

It's common to read about corporate culture as a big barrier to successful adoption and use of social software in business. It's easy to understand people's reluctance to change and adopt a new way of working. There are many good reasons to be wary of the promised benefits of change if you don't have relevant direct experience ("I've used this and it works"), clear examples, trust in your organization, and trust in your leadership. Books like Jacob Morgan's new The Collaborative Organization offer great practical guidance, examples, and answers to important questions. However, most social business advice makes a common and good-natured assumption that your organization is healthy - or at least has good intentions - but is just hard to convince. That's not always true.

The culture of some organizations ranges from ineffectual to poisonous, and it's difficult to turn such organizations around. I believe social software can be an amplifier of behavior - bad or good. A list of patterns of behavior to avoid comes from an interesting source: the January 1944 Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Simple Sabotage Field Manual No. 3 (declassified in 2008). I tip my hat to Michael Cooney for his July 13 2012 Network World story: CIA: Five particularly timeless tips from the Simple Sabotage Field Manual which includes Michael's own selection of quotes and a link to the newly released manual.

The purpose of the manual was to educate people in World War II occupied countries on techniques for simple sabotage, performed by ordinary citizens with no special training or equipment. In addition to physical sabotage, the manual offers suggestions on General Interference with Organizations and Production which should be read as an anti-pattern for Enterprise 2.0 behavior and methods.

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

OSS Field Manual No. 3
17 Jan 1944

1. INTRODUCTION

a. The purpose of this paper is to characterize simple sabotage, to outline its possible effects, and to present suggestions for inciting and executing it.

b. Sabotage varies from highly technical coup de main acts that require detailed planning and the use of specially trained operatives, to innumerable simple acts which the ordinary individual citizen-saboteur can perform. This paper is primarily concerned with the latter type. Simple sabotage does not require specially prepared tools or equipment; it is executed by an ordinary citizen who may or may not act individually and without the necessity for active connection with an organized group; and it is carried out in such a way as to involve a minimum danger of injury, detection, and reprisal.

c. Where destruction is involved, the weapons of the citizen-saboteur are salt, nails, candles, pebbles, thread, or any other materials he might normally be expected to possess as a householder or as a worker in his particular occupation. His arsenal is the kitchen shelf, the trash pile, his own usual kit of tools and supplies. The targets of his sabotage are usually objects to which he has normal and inconspicuous access in everyday life.

d. A second type of simple sabotage requires no destructive tools whatsoever and produces physical damage, if any, by highly indirect means. It is based on universal opportunities to make faulty decisions, to adopt a non-cooperative attitude, and to induce others to follow suit. Making a faulty decision may be simply a matter of placing tools in one spot instead of another. A non-cooperative attitude may involve nothing more than creating an unpleasant situation among one's fellow workers, engaging in bickerings, or displaying surliness and stupidity.

...

11. General Interference with Organizations and Production

(a) Organizations and Conferences

(1) Insist on doing everything through "channels." Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.

(2) Make "speeches." Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your "points" by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate "patriotic" comments.

(3) When possible, refer all matters to committees, for "further study and consideration." Attempt to make the committees as large as possible - never less than five.

(4) Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.

(5) Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.

(6) Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.

(7) Advocate "caution." Be "reasonable" and urge your fellow-conferees to be "reasonable" and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.

(8) Be worried about the propriety of any decision - raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.

(b) Managers and Supervisors

(1) Demand written orders.

(2) "Misunderstand" orders. Ask endless questions or engage in long correspondence about such orders. Quibble over them when you can.

(3) Do everything possible to delay the delivery of orders. Even though parts of an order may be ready beforehand, don't deliver it until it is completely ready.

(4) Don't order new working materials until your current stocks have been virtually exhausted, so that the slightest delay in filling your order will mean a shutdown.

(5) Order high-quality materials which are hard to get. If you don't get them argue about it. Warn that inferior materials will mean inferior work.

(6) In making work assignments, always sign out the unimportant jobs first. See that the important jobs are assigned to inefficient workers of poor machines.

(7) Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products; send back for refinishing those which have the least fiaw. Approve other defective parts whose fiaws are not visible to the naked eye.

(8) Make mistakes in routing so that parts and materials will be sent to the wrong place in the plant.

(9) When training new workers, give incomplete or misleading instructions.

(10) To lower morale and with it, production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers; complain unjustly about their work.

(11) Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.

(12) Multiply paper work in plausible ways. Start duplicate files.

(13) Multiply the procedures and clearances involved in issuing instructions, pay checks, and so on. See that three people have to approve everything where one would do.

(14) Apply all regulations to the last letter.

(c) Office Workers

(1) Make mistakes in quantities of material when you are copying orders. Confuse similar names. Use wrong addresses.

(2) Prolong correspondence with government bureaus.

(3) Misfile essential documents.

(4) In making carbon copies, make one too few, so that an extra copying job will have to be done.

(5) Tell important callers the boss is busy or talking on another telephone.

(6) Hold up mail until the next collection.

(7) Spread disturbing rumors that sound like inside dope.

(d) Employees

(1) Work slowly. Think out ways to increase the number of movements necessary on your job: use a light hammer instead of a heavy one, try to make a small wrench do when a big one is necessary, use little force where considerable force is needed, and so on.

(2) Contrive as many interruptions to your work as you can: when changing the material on which you are working, as you would on a lath or punch, take needless time to do it. If you are cutting, shaping or doing other measured work, measure dimensions twice as often as you need to. When you go to the lavatory, spend a longer time there than is necessary. Forget tools so that you will have to go back after them.

(3) Even it you understand the language, pretend not to understand instructions in a foreign tongue.

(4) Pretend that instructions are hard to understand, and ask to have them repeated more than once. Or pretend that you are particularly anxious to do your work, and pester the foreman with unnecessary questions.

(5) Do your work poorly and blame it on bad tools, machinery, or equipment. Complain that these things are preventing you from doing your job right.

(6) Never pass on your skill and experience to a new or less skillful worker.

(7) Snarl up administration in every possible way. Fill out forms illegibly so, that they will have to be done over; make mistakes or omit requested information in forms.

(8) If possible, join or help organize a group for presenting employee problems to the management. See that the procedures adopted are as inconvenient as possible for the management, involving the presence of a large number of employees at each presentation, entailing more than one meeting for each grievance, bringing up problems which are largely imaginary, and so on.

(9) Misroute materials.

(10) Mix good parts with unusable scrap and rejected parts.

12. General Devices for Lowering Morale and Creating Confusion

(a) Give lengthy and incomprehensible explanations when questioned.

(b) Report imaginary spies or danger to the Gestapo or police.

(c) Act stupid.

(d) Be as irritable and quarrelsome as possible without getting yourself into trouble.

(e) Misunderstand all sorts of regulations concerning such matters as rationing, transportation, traffic regulations.

(f) Complain against ersatz materials.

(g) In public treat axis nationals or quislings coldly.

(h) Stop all conversation when axis nationals or quislings enter a cafe.

(i) Cry and sob hysterically at every occasion, especially when confronted by government clerks.

(j) Boycott all movies, entertainments, concerts, newspapers which are in any way connected with the quisling authorities.

(k) Do not cooperate in salvage schemes.

Strategic Services Field Manual No. 3

17 January 1944
OSS William J. Donovan Director
Declassified 2 April 2008
Download the full manual (.pdf) from the CIA.gov unclassified news archive.

"All of this has led me to believe that something is terribly wrong with e-mail. What’s more, I don’t believe it can be fixed."

July 11, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

"All of this has led me to believe that something is terribly wrong with e-mail. What’s more, I don’t believe it can be fixed," writes New York Times columnist Nick Bilton - not pictured on right - in his July 8, 2012 Bits column, Disruptions: Life's Too Short for So Much Email. He's cranky just because he received 6,000 emails this month, not including spam and daily deals. Nick says: "With all those messages, I have no desire to respond to even a fraction of them. I can just picture my tombstone: Here lies Nick Bilton, who responded to thousands of e-mails a month. May he rest in peace."

Nick continues: "Last year, Royal Pingdom, which monitors Internet usage, said that in 2010, 107 trillion e-mails were sent. A report this year from the Radicati Group, a market research firm, found that in 2011, there were 3.1 billion active e-mail accounts in the world. The report noted that, on average, corporate employees sent and received 105 e-mails a day. Sure, some of those e-mails are important. But 105 a day?" Please read his entire column for a lively piece of Nick's mind on the subject.

Email is OK for incoming introductions and disposible notifications, but when you try to use email for collaboration, multiple To: addresses turn it into something like the stateroom scene in the Marx Brothers A Night at the Opera.

Add the Cc: line and give up all hope! In 2008 Google engineer Kevin Marks referred to email as a "strange legacy idea" for the younger generation. I call it tragicomically inept for collaboration.

In 2003 Clay Shirky said: "All enterprises have more knowledge in their employees as a group than any one person, even (especially?) the CEO. The worst case is where one person has a problem and another knows a solution, but neither knows the other – or that the other knows. Despite e-mail’s advantages for communication, it falls down as a close collaboration tool on complex projects: E-mail makes it hard to keep everything related to a particular project in one place; e-mailed attachments can lead to version-control nightmares; and it’s almost impossible to get the Cc:line right. If the Cc:line is too broad, it creates “occupational spam” – messages from co-workers that don’t matter to everyone addressed. If the Cc:line is too narrow, the activity becomes opaque to management or partners."

From my 2008 blog post Email isn't dead - It's only sleeping

See Clay Shirky, Social Software: A New Generation of Tools by Clay Shirky, Release 1.0 Vol 21, No. 5, 20 May 2003 (pdf)

Caroline McCarthy, The future of Web apps will see the death of e-mail, CNet.com, Feb 29, 2008

Modern social software is now being widely adopted as an alterative to email collaboration, based on a pattern that Doug Engelbart recognized long ago, see Flip Test 1971 | Email versus Journal.

May I suggest Traction TeamPage?

Why links matter - for your business as well as the public Web

July 7, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Mathew Ingram recently wrote Why links matter: Linking is the lifeblood of the web. He makes a strong case for the value of open linking - giving credit to original sources - as an ethical imperative. He also points out the collective benefit, quoting Om Malik:

"Links were and are the currency of the collaborative web, that started with blogs and since then has spread to everything from Twitter to Facebook to Tumblr. Links are the essence of the new remix culture. It is how you show that you respect someone’s work and efforts. It is also indicative that you are part of a community."

Despite the success of Facebook and mobile apps that attempt to maximize value from walled gardens (where your attention is the product being sold), I remain optimistic that the Web and behavior that rewards linking will continue to win.

And I believe that the same open link and search model will win for work and serendipitous discovery in the realm of Enterprise 2.0 (or Social Business if you prefer).

See Intertwingled Work, my two cents on why links matter in E2.0 - from 2010.

Why we're here. TeamPage at Enterprise 2.0 Boston 2012

June 18, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

If you're attending E20 Boston 2012, please drop by Traction Software's booth 418 to say hi and learn what Traction TeamPage can do. If you're interested in social task management, integrating systems of record and systems of engagement - or just using social software in the context of work, talk the folk at Traction Software who know how to help you succeed. That's where we started and that's our enduring goal.

TeamPage in the Cloud Jordan and I can answer questions about TeamPage's new Cloud options, starting at less than $2.50 per user per month for 25 user accounts - or see for yourself.

You can see TeamPage improvements introduced over the past year, including:

New streamlined Proteus interface makes summary awareness, status, task tracking, and coordinated activity fast and easy.

Unified search in the header makes looking up people, spaces, tasks or projects quick and easy. You see suggested matches based on name, email address and other content as you type, with a Show All choice if you want to browse more. Unified search also matches names and descriptions of all preferences and setup controls and takes you to the right spot in all setup and administration views.

Autosave and "finish later" saves your work in progress if you want to take a break - or if you accidentally click away from or close a browser window!

iPad and mobile access Monitor the pulse of your organization, stay informed, and work securely from the beach or mountains with your iPad, iPhone, or Android tablet. "I'd rather be sailing" isn't an mutually exclusive choice any more - ask Chris!

If you're early in line Tuesday or Wednesday, you can also pick up free, signed, pre-release copy of Jacob Morgan's excellent new book The Collaborative Organization.

If you're too late to pick up a free copy, you can still pick up a bookmark as a reminder of what Enterprise 2.0 is about - at least for me:

See Enterprise 2.0 Schism

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz

Extending the fabric of work, or How to Be Emergent

20 June 2005 | Supernova | Why Can't a Business Work More Like the Web?

Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart

The Collaborative Organization - Free signed copy, Traction Software Booth 418 E2.0 Boston 2012

June 13, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

I've read an advance copy of Jacob Morgan's upcoming book, The Collaborative Organization: A Strategic Guide to Solving Your Internal Business Challenges Using Emerging Social and Collaborative Tools. I'm very happy that we decided to give Enterprise 2.0 Boston folk a chance to meet Jacob and get their own free, signed copy at Traction Software Booth 418 next week. Jacob says: "The purpose of this book is to act as a guide for executives, decision makers, and those involved with collaborative initiatives at their organizations". I believe he hits the mark with a book of lasting value, as do reviewers including Vivek Kundra, former Chief Information Officer of the United States; Erik Brynjolf, MIT Center for Digital Business Director, and others.

Jacob organizes his book into three parts: The Opening, The Middle Game, and The End Game. The Opening chapters talk to people in organizations who are just getting started with their initiatives. It covers business drivers, case studies, evaluating risk, and getting the right people involved. The Middle Game chapters cover topics including defining goals to match your business, developing a strategy, vendor evaluation, dealing with resistance, rolling out a platform, and developing governance. The End Game chapters talk about strategies for sustaining and maintaining these initiatives in the long term, including a bonus chapter on Enterprise 2.0 with Andrew McAfee.

Jacob's book is based on his own analysis and research, including interviews, case studies and survey responses from 234 individuals around the world, working for companies ranging from 1,000 to over 100,000 employees, with responsibilities ranging from mid-level to C-level executives. The Collaborative Organization is vendor neutral, involving actual practitioners who are implementing collaborative tools and strategies for their organizations - not vendors or consultants.

Each chapter includes analysis, examples and a well-written Summary and Action items section, with actionable advice that you'll turn to often. Chapters include case studies, examples and results drawn from practitioner experience, not hand-wavy fluff.

It's a handbook you'll have on your desk for the next few years. I particularly like:

  • Chapter 2 - The First Step to Recovery is Admitting You have a Problem on business drivers and problems (20 pages)
  • Chapter 7 - The Adaptive Emergent Collaboration Framework practical advice on choosing and adapting approaches to match your business goals and culture (27 pages)
  • Chapter 8 - Resistance is Futile on barriers to success (13 pages)
  • Chapter 12 - Measures of Success, practical advice on measuring soft benefits, hard benefits, and defining business value (19 pages)

Traction Software is the only source for full hardbound copies before the book's official ship date in July 2012! Show up in person at Traction Software's booth 418 during E20 Boston 2012 Showcase Exhibit hours. Follow @TractionTeam on Twitter for times when Jacob will be available for signing and to talk with him about business challenges using emerging social and collaborative tools.

Free copies are limited. I'll post rules for an online Enterprise 2.0 Twitter quiz you can use to put yourself first in line for a copy. You must show up in person to claim a book, but the Twitter quiz should be fun too!

Update: See E2.0 Boston 2012 Twitter Pop-Quiz for rules and quiz highlights.

Update: Thanks to the @e2conf staff and everyone who dropped by booth 418 to talk, and pick up a free copy of Jacob's book. After you read it, please post a review on Amazon to let others know what you think. Here's my Amazon review.

Also, after visiting us at Booth 418, don’t miss Robert Morison (@rfmorison), author of Analytics at Work: Smarter Decisions, Better Results at Talent Analytics Booth 232.

See 19-20 Jun 2012 | Traction Software Enterprise 2.0 Boston

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz

Extending the fabric of work, or How to Be Emergent

"Probably the coolest vendor pricing page I've seen for any collaboration vendor" ~ Jacob Morgan

April 19, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Thanks to Jacob Morgan, Chess Media Group for his Tweet this afternoon while we were chatting on the phone. Last October Jacob reviewed Traction TeamPage in his Emergent Collaboration Vendor series, and liked what he saw, including TeamPage pricing. He said: "I had the pricing explained to me so I understand it but I think it would be helpful if they made it easier to understand for all site visitors because it really does make sense." We agree on both points! In updating the Buy page, Chris Nuzum used Apple Store product configuration pages as benchmarks for clarity and ease of use.

We followed Jacob's price comparison model, providing interactive feedback on per user per month pricing as well as an annual roll-up and clear option pricing. Cloud-hosted TeamPage is featured front and center - with hosted TeamPage free for your first month, at $1.87 per person per month for 100 people. All TeamPage products include integrated action tracking for project and case management that works like jazz, not something out of 1984.

Pricing options includes cloud-hosted Attivio premium search and Social Enterprise Web, choices of workgroup or full TeamPage configurations, flexible pricing based on the number of named accounts, and easy upgrades when you want them. Cloud-hosted TeamPage is great for small to mid-size organizations who want to punch well above their weight without hiring or adding IT staff.


I'd change Jacob's probably the coolest and say the coolest, no doubt! Thanks Chris! Go to the Buy page and see for yourself.

What's the Point ?

February 15, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


From Nora Ephron speaking at Brown University, President's Lecture series, "Adventures in Screenwriting" April 24, 1997. Paraphrased notes by Greg Lloyd: I took my first journalism course in high school. The fellow who taught it left after two years and opened a hardware store in LA. I think I was the only person he taught who went on to work as a journalist.

We learned the basics of story writing - who, what, when, where - and then learned how to write a lede. One day, the teacher wrote something like this on the board:

Mr. Charles Fenwick, principal of the Broadmoor High School, and his staff will attend the regional educator's conference in Wilmington on Thursday April 25th. Dr. Raymond White, state Secretary of Education, will keynote the conference, which will also feature an address by Dr. Marsha Newman, High School teacher of the year.

He said, "Write the lede." We sat at our desks and wrote, Dr. White to keynote educator's conference, Fenwick to lead teachers on trip to Wilmington and so on.

We turned them in. The teacher looked them over and said "No. What's the point?

"Your lede is, No School Thursday"

At that instant, I thought "What's the point? What a wonderful question!"

Feb 15, 2012 Reading John E. McIntyre's excellent blog post The Things Editors Do reminded of a point that tickled me in Nora Ephon's talk. Her story seems particularly apt in the age of Twitter, activity streams, and social software.

Happily I had a record of my notes posted in Traction Software's TeamPage server automatically carried forward from pre-release version of TeamPage, and still as easily findable and quotable as my latest post. - grl

"If what you write does not relate to the point, it may be good, but it will likely end up on the cutting room floor." ~ Nora Ephron, Adventures in Screenwriting, April 24, 1997.

Happy Birthday Doug Engelbart!

January 30, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Happy Birthday Doug! A perfect gentle knight of technology as well as a pioneer and great inventor. Doug Engelbart's 87th birthday - today - is a fine day to watch the video of Doug's talk "The Strategic Pursuit of Collective IQ" embedded below. And a great day to (re) read Doug's "Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework" 1962, see DougEngelbart.org. My favorite Doug quotes and links, see Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010 from two years ago.

Update Remembering Doug Engelbart, 30 January 1925 - 2 July 2013

[from archive.com] "The Strategic Pursuit of Collective IQ" - Doug Engelbart's presentation at the The Brown/MIT Vannevar Bush Symposium in 1995, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Bush's groundbreaking article "As We May Think". Introduced by host and long-time friend Andy van Dam, Doug recounts his discovery of Vannevar's work, briefly describes the unfolding of his own work and what's next using hisBootstrap "Paradigm Map", and shares his wish that, had he only known that Vannevar was still alive in 1968, he would have sent him the film of his 1968 demo. See Doug's Abstract and Bio for this talk. Presentation: 50 minutes; Q&A 10 minutes.

See the Video Archives - Bush Symposium page at the Doug Engelbart Institute website for links to all 11 sessions of this Symposium.

This movie is part of the collection: Doug Engelbart Video Archives

Seamless integration can work like the Web | W3C Social Business Jam

November 9, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

I just joined the Nov 2011 W3C Social Business Jam and added a discussion topic: Seamless integration can work like the Web. I'm on deadline for Enterprise 2.0 next week in Santa Clara [ see you there ! ] but will try to steal time to jump in to a live IBM Jam while it's open (through Nov 10, 2011 8pm EST).

The description for Seamless Integration begins: Are there effective ways to combine legacy applications with new social technologies to help foster or encourage greater use in the company? If so, can it be done incrementally?

I propose:

... integration of social software (now "systems of engagement") and transactional systems where work gets done (now "systems of record"), using the same W3C protocols and layers over W3C protocols that make the public Web successful: Web-standard content delivery, links, and link-aware search."

The world inside a social business differs from the public Web in many significant ways: a) it's much smaller; b) it's very link-deprived compared to the public Web; c) there's a lot of redundant content (think of all of the copies of the same slide deck distributed in email); d) some highly valuable content isn't linkable at all (think legacy systems of record); e) finer-grain permissioned access rules are much more important when you want to open up the most of what the business does, and what people in the business know. On the plus side, social business activity adds valuable context.

This bring issues like consistent and reliable identity, consistent and reliable access controls (over W3C protocols), representation of context, and permission aware search to the top of the queue. I believe these issues can be addressed by system architecture and layering of services over base level W3C protocols, which may eventually lead to extension or additional layers of W3C protocols.

Then use Doug Engelbart's model linking Knowledge Product (systems of record), Dialog (systems of engagement), External Intelligence (email, public Web, other social businesses) as examples. And Traction TeamPage. Published in the Jam with with links of course!

See Seamless integration can work like the Web - in the W3C Social Business Jam.

Reinventing the Web

Extending the fabric of work, or How to Be Emergent

Fixing Enterprise Search

Intertwingled Work

Introducing Online Workplaces - Greg's notes on Larry Cannell's July 2011 Webinar

20 June 2005 | Supernova | Why Can't a Business Work More Like the Web?

Ada Lovelace Day | Betts Wald, US Naval Research Lab

October 8, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Ada Lovelace Day celebrates the contributions of women in science and technology. I've chosen to write about Betts Wald who was a branch chief in the Communications Science division of the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) when I first met her. I joined NRL in 1974 as my first real job - after serving in the US Army when I was drafted as a graduate student at Brown. It was a great experience. NRL was full of wildly talented, energetic and brilliant managers who knew how to get impossible things done in engineering and government, and taught that skill to their teams. Betts was one of the best: leading and inspiring her team, running interference, providing just enough technical guidance (i.e. to avoid permanent damage) while constantly encouraging and developing her team's talents. Women in science and technology should be encouraged to consider career paths as leaders as well as individual contributors: Betts is a great role model. Although I never heard Betts shout: "To the difference engine!", except for the pipe it would be in character. And I'm not certain about the pipe.

Ada icon by Sidney Padua: I strongly recommend that you download the thrilling adventures of Babbage & Lovelace for your iPad, and see author Sydney Padua's excellent 2D Goggles site.

What's the 2.0 of Enterprise 2.0? Or, How to Be Emergent?

September 4, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Hat tip to Professor +Andrew McAfee for pointing out Do Happier People Work Harder? my nomination for Required Reading of the Day (#RRD). Teresa Amabile, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Steven Kramer an independent researcher wrote a great New York Times Labor Day opinion column. They cite sobering results from a Gallup-Healthways poll of 1,000 adults every day since Jan 2008: "People of all ages, and across income levels, are unhappy with their supervisors, apathetic about their organizations and detached from what they do." They also suggest that the problem is manageable - by what I would define as great enterprises.

Over the past half-decade Amabile and Kramer researched micro-level causes behind this problem, collecting nearly 12,000 electronic diary entries from 238 professionals in seven different companies. The results support three important conclusions:

1) "... inner work life has a profound impact on workers’ creativity, productivity, commitment and collegiality... Conventional wisdom suggests that pressure enhances performance; our real-time data, however, shows that workers perform better when they are happily engaged in what they do."

2) "Gallup estimates the cost of America’s disengagement crisis at a staggering $300 billion in lost productivity annually. When people don’t care about their jobs or their employers, they don’t show up consistently, they produce less, or their work quality suffers."

3) Managers can help insure that people are happily engaged at work - I believe Peter Drucker would claim that's the primary responsibility of management. And doing so isn't expensive.

Amabile and Kramer say:

"Workers’ well-being depends, in large part, on managers’ ability and willingness to facilitate workers’ accomplishments — by removing obstacles, providing help and acknowledging strong effort. A clear pattern emerged when we analyzed the 64,000 specific workday events reported in the diaries: of all the events that engage people at work, the single most important — by far — is simply making progress in meaningful work..."

"Most managers don’t understand the negative consequences of this struggle. When we asked 669 managers from companies around the world to rank five employee motivators in terms of importance, they ranked “supporting progress” dead last. Fully 95 percent of these managers failed to recognize that progress in meaningful work is the primary motivator, well ahead of traditional incentives like raises and bonuses."

"This failure reflects a common experience inside organizations. Of the seven companies we studied, just one had managers who consistently supplied the catalysts — worker autonomy, sufficient resources and learning from problems — that enabled progress. Not coincidentally, that company was the only one to achieve a technological breakthrough in the months we studied it."

That's good news - but not really news. An enterprise that makes great use of the creative talents, enthusiasm and unique expertise of its people can gain a sustainable competitive advantage and be a great magnet for attracting and maintaining talent. Look at Apple among others.

Technology can't create a great enterprise, but it can open the door for innovation in how any enterprise operates - from micro to macro scale - including how it operates with external stakeholders, customers and suppliers. This opens the door to another form of strategic as well as operational advantage.

I've persistently said that the 2.0 of Enterprise 2.0 should refer to a conscious rethinking of how an enterprise can work more effectively and creatively, using Web technology to enable "action at a distance" and connections spanning barriers of space and time. Web technology is necessary but not sufficient for this kind of innovation at scale, although Doug Engelbart's work clearly called this shot decades before the Web.

I'm no sociologist, but Amabile and Kramer seem to support the view that socialization in the context of everyday work - rather than as a separate "social" duty while at work - may be best. I don't think people know how to "be emergent", but people are very good at discovering and developing unexpected relationships in a context where many values and norms are shared - at work.

Repeating points from Enterprise 2.0 Schism in 2009: 1) It's not just the technology; 2) It's not just the people; 3) An effective organization is a social invention that is created or shaped to serve extraordinary ends, and that may be the most valuable invention of all.

"The purpose of an organization is to enable ordinary humans beings to do extraordinary things." ~ Peter Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices (1974)

See Amabile and Kramer's New York Times column, and read their July 2011 book The Progress Principle (Forbes interview).

Do Happier People Work Harder? By Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer New York Times Sunday Review, September 4, 2011

G+ discussion on +David McRaney's The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight and how emergent behavior is not all unicorns and rainbows. Think Lord of the Flies

Need for Incentives, and other Innovation Myths - The most powerful incentives are intrinsic, not "pay to share" games.

Enterprise 2.0 Schism - Why Doug Engelbart and Peter Drucker should be declared Patron Saints of E2.0

Peter Drucker and Enterprise 2.0 - Drucker Centenary Nov 2009

Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 20, 2010

See G+ for original post and discussion

Enterprise photo courtesy US Navy. Strictly speaking CVN-65 is Enterprise 8.0 - the eighth US Navy ship to bear that name see enterprise.navy.m…

I don't know what a picture of an "Enterprise 2.0" might look like, and don't want to use any of the stock photos of smiling folk around a laptop that are about as convincing as socialist realism posters of smiling tractor factory workers. And all the good Star Trek Enterprise photos are Paramount's copyright.

Extending the fabric of work, or How to Be Emergent

August 24, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

I enjoyed reading Dion Hincliffe's Putting Social Business to Work and G+ discussion led by Luis Suarez on Laurie Buczek's The Big Failure of Enterprise 2.0 Social Business. I agree that top down - and isolated - Social Business parallels the faults of top down - and isolated - Knowledge Management. I like Laurie's analysis and recommendations, including her top level: "Make social tools part of the collaborative workflow." This is good for both social business and knowledge management. The question is: how to extend the fabric of work?

An edict from management or prayer from internal evangelist to "be social" is often translated: "how many hours a week?" and "instead of doing what?" A top down Knowledge Management edict: "share what you know" turns into a empty Friday afternoon exercise that's soon abandoned.

In both cases bottom-up capture of conversations, actions, responses to routine or exceptional issues, and human actions in context is a much better way to deliver what knowledge management and social business promise.

This includes free-form accidental discoveries and introductions to folk throughout the organization who aren't usually involved or aware of what others are doing. In my opinion, emergent and unpredictable value that advocates of Enterprise 2.0 promise is an outgrowth of making work more open, observable and discoverable. It's also critical to make work easier, more effective and more enjoyable. Build on that rather than adding overhead and waiting for people to jump into an activity they see as optional and divorced from their contribution to the success of their business.

Enterprise 2.0 systems like Traction TeamPage are really good at capturing conversation in context, tracking action and linking what people do or say to their profiles and vice versa. But it's difficult to make work done within siloed systems of record - document repositories, ERP, CRM - visible and actionable. Opening up siloed discussion in each system of record makes matters worse, not better.

Sharing activity streams across systems of record is one way to avoid the siloed discussion trap. But limiting visibility of work to activity streams opens a new problems: activity stream overload. If you think following hundreds or thousands of people on Twitter can be frustrating, wait until you hear what you get from raw streams from line of business applications. A stream of "What I had for lunch" tweets is thrilling compared to a stream of Documentum check-in notices and decontextualized status.

I believe that the best solution will include permission-aware search than spans activity streams and systems of record to make documents, individual email messages, SQL database records from CAD/CAE or other line of business systems actionable, social objects. What's important is the ability to connect people, records, conversation and action in the context of core business activities like product development, sales, support, and coordinated work with customers, suppliers and partners. This should include daily routine, exceptions, and new discoveries.

At E2.0 Boston, Traction Software announced and showed TeamPage and Attivio's Social Enterprise Web technology used to search, discuss, tag, task, and share live structured data or unstructured content in external systems of record including Microsoft SharePoint, EMC Documentum, Microsoft Exchange, File servers, SQL databases, intranets, and the public Web.

A question found in a customer email stored in Exchange, an issue with a new drug application filed in Documentum, a fact in a legacy document stored in SharePoint or a File server S: drive, a record in an SQL database can all be discovered, discussed, tagged, and tasked for follow-up action in TeamPage without converting or importing data from its original source. Systems of record look and act like they are part of the same permission-aware TeamPage fabric used for collaboration, communication, and action tracking in the flow of daily work.

Large companies have enormous IT teams promising enterprise-wide search and collaboration with roadmaps stretching years into the future and budgets of seven to ten figures or more. Traction TeamPage and Social Enterprise Web capabilities are packaged and priced to make deep, permission aware search and collaboration crossing many sources simple to deploy, manage, and use. This is a game changer for small to mid-size businesses who don't find complex, multilayered enterprise architectures manageable or affordable. This is also a great option for teams in large companies who want to get their work done now, working over existing systems of record.

You'll hear more about this soon [or contact us to learn more now]. Making systems of record look and act more like the Web - including scalable, permission aware search - extends the fabric of work in context for external and internal stakeholders.

Related

21 Jun 2011 | Traction Software Introduces Social Enterprise Web
Alcoa Fastening Systems - Groundswell 2011 Award Nomination for Collaboration
Introducing Online Workplaces - Greg's notes on Larry Cannell's July 2011 Webinar - Online workplace
Fixing Enterprise Search - spanning systems of record
Intertwingled Work - connecting work across multiple sources
Knowledge Fishing vs. Knowledge Farming - Grass roots knowledge management
20 June 2005 | Supernova | Why Can't a Business Work More Like the Web?

On G+ see
Luis Suarez - 24 Aug 2011
Dion Hinchcliffe - 24 Aug 2011
Greg Lloyd - 24 Aug 2011

Lipstick on a Pig

August 5, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


On Aug 5, 2011, Andrew McAfee opened a public discussion on Google+ by sharing How Apple (unintentionally) revolutionized corporate IT by Aaron Levie. McAfee commented "Story from CNNMoney about how Apple is unintentionally revolutionizing corporate IT. About time, too." and asked "Does anyone doubt that the Cloud + mobile + social + new devices is going to have a huge impact on corporate technology infrastructures and costs within the next 5-10 years?" Off to the races...

Greg Lloyd - This may also radically reduce the roll-out time for new corporate capabilities designed to use native Web infrastructure including HTML5, GWT and other technologies that deliver a user experience on par with the public Web.

The same applies to back end services and IT's ability to acquire, deploy, adapt and support back end services more rapidly and effectively.

Contrast aggressive internal awa external use of Web tech and architecture by IT versus the interlocking three, four, or five year update cycles using the MS stack (or others) and update cyles of IT systems that depend on and lag MS by years.

A very highly placed person in government told me: "Traditional IT architecture and practice almost guarantees that any new initiative will be late, grossly over budget, and obsolete before it is delivered."

Forcing change to a Web-like approach from front end mobile and user experience expectations can shift IT back to focus on timely response and business value rather than plumbing. And deliver systems people like to use.

Dan Camper - +Greg Lloyd I agree with you, so long as the problem (and solution!) domain remains within the "corporate capabilities designed to use native Web infrastructure."

There is sometimes a tendency for IT to force an inappropriate solution onto the customer merely to make IT's life easier. A web app implementation rather than a thin app (or even a custom app), for instance. Or vice-versa. This leads to a dissatisfied captive customer base, which of course doesn't help anyone in the long term.

An IT department would do well to treat its internal customers as if they where external, paying customers instead. To borrow some of Steve Jobs' phrasing: Delight those customers with extraordinary, amazing solutions. Yes, you have to pay to play, but the end result would be worth it.

Greg Lloyd - +Dan Camper I agree. "Lipstick on a pig" fits for a weak Web interface as one-for-one replacement for IE6 or similar vintage IT clients for systems of record. But even a weak Web interface can at provide mobile access, and steps around an obsolescent plumbing choice that Microsoft urges customers to abandon.

I believe that the 5-10 year shift in corporate technologies and infrastructure Andy envisions should and will move toward: 1) traditional, transactional "systems of record" - ERP, MRP, Accounting, CAD/CAE - remain as specialized silos and functional back-ends for enterprise systems; 2) minimalist secure (authenticating) Web-compliant interface to these systems of record (to create a thin or custom app as needed); 3) secure, permission-aware search spanning content of systems of record and "systems of engagement"; 4) minimalist but effective, easily adaptable and extensible Web interfaces provided by vendors of system of record (scaling down to mobile); 5) social software / Enterprise 2.0 technology and "systems of engagement" spanning and connecting human work, exception handling, innovation and "systems of record".

Issues of enterprise wide authentication, secure access, permission aware search spanning "systems of record" and "systems of engagement" at enterprise rather than public Web scale can and have been successfully addressed - at least in early stages. The architecture of enterprise IT will more or less resemble the architecture of the public Web - with adaptation and extension of provisions for authentication, permission-aware access, permission-aware search that go beyond the needs of the public Web (although Google and G+ seems to be heading in that direction too).

For thoughts on this shift in IT architecture, see:
July 2010 | Intertwingled Work - Observable work as an activity spanning systems of record

And a step in that direction (Note - I am President and co-founder of Traction Software)
June 2011 | Traction Social Enterprise Web - "Marrying Deep Search and Collaboration"

In this case (and others) it's putting our money where our mouth is, not vice versa.


These are quotes from a public GooglePlus discussion - feel free to join in. If you need a Google+ invitation, please email grl@tractionsoftware.com with the email address I should use to send the invitation.

Related

Reinventing the Web on how we got here

Building pleasant and stable islands in a storm-tossed sea on extending the Web

A Circle is not a Space on GooglePlus experiments and notes

Note: The only iStock photo I could find with lipstick on pig used a piggy bank rather than a real porker. Seems to fit.

A Circle is not a Space

July 13, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Like many people in the tech industry, I've been happily exploring and enjoying Google+ for the past week or so (thank you Susan Scrupski for the early invitation). I like the Google+ bar, polished integration with Google Profiles, Photos, and Video, as well as the new Huddle and Hangout capabilities. And I'm looking forward to Google+ integrated Search.

Google's Circle model was carefully designed, with a wonderfully polished interface for adding folk to Circles and creating new Circles. Google is encouraging active discussion, feedback and suggestions on how Google+ should evolve. That said, I've also followed more than a few Google+ discussions in which people get confused by what the current Circle model is versus what the word "Circle" means to them.

I think it's easiest to understand the Circle model by comparing it directly to email lists. This post illustrates that analogy, with my analysis of the Circle model's strengths and weaknesses, and how it might evolve.

My Google+ Foodie Circle Example

If I create a Circle named Foodies and include all my foodie friends, I can post restaurant photos and notes that can only be read by folk I've included in my Foodies circle, hidden from the public. They can comment on what I post, and their comments can be seen by others named in my Foodie circle.

This means:

1) You can't add yourself to my Foodies circle. I'm the only person who can add people to my own Circles.

2) When you look at my Profile, you don't know what Circles I may have added you to. You see either: a) I haven't added you to any Circle (I won't even see your Public posts in my Google+ stream), or b) You are in Greg's circles too. If you're in at least one of my Circles, I will see anything you post to Public or to one of your Circles that include me.

3) You don't know the names of any of the Circles I have created. For all you know, I may have Circles named Saints, Sinners, and Bozos as well as Foodies.

4) You don't know the names of those Circles of mine of which you're a member. You may be both a Saint and a Foodie.

5) You can't treat Foodies like a Twitter Hash tag. It's not the label of a topic that categorizes my posts in a way that is meaningful (or visible) to anyone but me. It's [currently] a set of people to whom I can choose to address a specific post.

So when I create a Foodies Circle, you can't follow or block posts I make to that Circle (a common request).

You don't even know that my Foodies circle exists unless I tell you about it. So you can't "follow just my Foodie posts" without Google+ allowing me to share at least some of my Circle definitions, and giving you the ability to follow just those posts rather than everything I publish.

And when I'm on my Google+ Streams Page, clicking Foodies doesn't show me posts I or others have made "about" food - it just shows me the list of all public or limited distribution posts made by people I put in my Foodies circle. Foodies is a set of people, not a topic or a shared Space.

It's also not [currently] possible for a group of friends to create a public Google+ Circle that people can follow, join, or leave on their own. As a variation on this theme, different types of public Circles might have open membership, moderated membership (to keep out the spambots), or membership by invitation only.

Adding public Circles would create a kind of shared Space model, where everyone who is a member of the same Space gets (at least) permission to see what other members of the same Space post. The globally known (or selectively shared) name of a Space like Foodies would then create a shared room or context for people to talk or work within, implicitly sharing access with other members. Traction TeamPage builds on and extends a Space model to provide permissions, tags, and context for business activities, see Borders, Places and Spaces.

The current Circle definition and possible extensions are pretty clear to folk who get deeply into sharing models (including yours truly). But details of the Circle model seem pretty complicated when you try to write them down, draw pictures, or explain them. Part of the problem is the power of the word Circle.

"Circle" is so powerful that I think a lot of people hear it as something acting more like a shared Space than how Google+ currently works: Circles act like email lists. Thanks to John Tropea for the Google+/Email analogy in his Google Plus : Closed group email collaboration done online of 8 Jul 2011.

A Google Circle is Like a Personal Email List

Google+'s Circle model provides a way for you to share specific conversations with a set of people who you select, who may choose to listen to what you say, and who can comment back to you and others who share the same conversation.

1) You address a Google+ post to a specific set of individuals or to a named Circle (email list) when you create a post. A Google+ Public post can potentially be read by anyone (cc: the World).

2) If people to whom your post is addressed decide to listen to you (they name you in at least one of their Circles), they'll see your post in their input stream. Otherwise they'll need to look at their Google+ Incoming stream to read posts addressed to them from you and other people they don't already "follow". Reading Google+ Incoming feels like reading a low-priority email folder vs reading your standard or Circle filtered stream.

The list of your Circles shown on your Google+ Stream page looks something like a list of incoming email folders. Actually it's a way to show incoming posts from people listed in that Circle: Click a Circle to see all of their Public posts and limited distribution posts addressed to you. As an input filter, Circles don't organize posts by topic (like an email folder), but by sets of people.

3) Commenting on a post is like replying to a specific email message. People who can see the original Post can see the additional comments. The current Google+ presentation becomes noisy when a famously popular person writes a post which attracts an endless stream of "me to" or spammy comments (see G+ comment stream discussion below).

4) You can't change the Circle to which a post is addressed. Like the email list of an outgoing message, the selected Circle or specific folk addressed by a post are fixed when you send it. However, unlike email you can retroactively edit members of the Circle to add or remove folk, as well retroactively edit your own post or comment.

5) When you Share a Google+ post from someone else, it's like you're sending a copy of the original post to a different set of people (the Circle you select), but without the original post's comments. This is analogous to forwarding an email to a different group after stripping out any embedded replies.

Each Shared copy then accumulates its own independent set of comments, visible to the people to whom the new Share was addressed, including resharing a private message to the general Public. Google quickly added an option that the original author can use to disable Sharing of specific posts, and a reminder that resharing of limited distribution posts can be a violation of confidence. But like an email message that's copied and forwarded many times, comments on Shared posts quickly become fragmented.

GMail, Wave, Buzz, Google+ Circles - Email messaging is the model

I believe GMail, Wave, Buzz, and the Circle model of Google+ all share DNA from Google's email culture and the GMail product:

... there are literally tens of thousands of special interest groups that can range in size from two to more than 1,000 members and cover topics from wine to hiking to quilting to Dungeons & Dragons. There are the Gleeglers (who sing a cappella); the Dooglers, who bring their dogs to work; the Snowglers (skiers); and the Skeptics (who question everything). There are groups for pilots, expectant moms and photographers, and a group for Googlers who like flea markets. There's even a group for former startup employees whose companies were bought by Google and who may struggle to navigate a company where they must be both entrepreneurs and employees.

Any employee can start a group -- in fact, employees are encouraged to, said Stacy Sullivan, Google's chief culture officer, a title bestowed by the founders. Most groups have an email "alias" on Google's vast intranet system, such as "bowling@google.com." Google has more than 100,000 group aliases in its Intranet system, although not all groups are active.

For employees, the groups "have been kind of anchors and havens and think tanks -- to actually be able to build their own community, just for their own support and interactions, within the mass of all Google," Sullivan said. As Google has grown, "I think it's become much more important because when you're this big, you can lose sight of being connected to the mass around the world. So this is one way they can all pull together."

From At Google Groups are key to the company's culture
by Mike Swift, San Jose Mercury News, 23 Jun 2011

Google+ Circles avoids the Buzz assumption that your social network could be gathered and publicized by analyzing the your email contacts - an assumption that might have worked internally for Google, but which caused a firestorm of protest and legal action when Buzz launched. But the Buzz presentation model of a top level Post and its comment tree as the unit of conversation, floating to the top of your stream every now and then, carries over to Google+.

Google+ Circles provide a much more refined model of selective sharing. However, in my opinion the Circle sharing model works much better for Facebook style sharing of friends and neighbor conversations - a post by an individual and its comments - than it does for Twitter's fast paced global stream of conversation fragments which interleaves the equivalent of posts, comment (replies) in one stream that's easier to scan, particularly when a post may collect tens or hundreds of comments.

Twitter connects fragments by tags. Twitter also implements a socially refined retweet and reply permission model that works better than Google's for that purpose: in Twitter you only see replies if you are following both the person who posted and the person who makes the reply. This has signifiant value for conversation and signal to noise in a large public Commons. See "Option of Latest Posts Discussion" below.

A Circle is not a Space

For work, the current Google+ post and comment presentation can become noisy and unpredictable, repeatedly showing promoted posts based on recent comments from any source, and repeating Shares that fragment comment threads. A presentation choice that favors a top level post and comments, rather than a stream of post and comments (with link back to the conversation in context) is a presentation choice, not a fundamental limit.

More significantly, the current Google+ Circle model makes it difficult to see what's happening in the context of a business activity - tapping into a stream of posts, comments, replies, actions, and actions. For business activities, the stream of actions and conversation in a shared Space provide a natural framing context and natural boundary for permissioned access.

For example, a Space shared by members of law firm and Client A naturally frames and protects work and conversation in that context while also protecting it from disclosure to any other client. A shared Space, tag, and activity stream model is simpler to understand and use for work and conversation with groups that share a purpose and common expectation of privacy.

Experiments

JP Rangaswami is currently experimenting with three different formats for three purposes:

Playing with formats. Twitter as short form frequent. google plus as longer form, one per speaker at TED. Blog as even longer, one per event) 12 Jul 2011 @Jobsworth

He's also experimenting with a Google+ Circle workaround to allow people to opt in to his conference liveblog posts. You post a comment back to him, he adds you to the Conferences circle he'll use for his liveblog posts. In this case, JP's intent is to allow folk to throttle down the volume of his liveblogging posts appearing in their stream, rather than make those posts private. See "Circles should be created by Publishers as well as Subscribers" discussion below.

The Google+ preview is just about a week old, and Google is actively asking for feedback and suggestions, which has led to lively discussions on how Circles might evolve. And when Google+ integrated search appears (soon), I expect it will be permission-aware, which will be a game changer. Enough balls are in the air to make me rethink for Commons, Neighborhood and Work players in Explaining Twitter - One of Three Places for People - stay tuned!

See links and Google+ discussion (gathered from G+ and all over)

JP Rangaswami, Google+, 12 Jul 2011 (Public)
I'm experimenting …

JP Rangaswami - I'm experimenting. Seeing if I can avoid making noise in people's streams by giving them subscriber-level choices on subsets of my stream. For the next few days I will be covering TEDGlobal, but the updates will only reach those who ask me for them. If you asked me, and you don't start receiving them in a short while, do let me know.

Yes I know the way I've done it is messy (creating a publisher circle and then manually adding people to that circle as they ask to be included) but I could not find s simpler way. Let us see.

John Tropea, Library Clips blog, 8 Jul 2011
Google Plus: Closed group email collaboration done online

Greg Lloyd, Google+, 6 Jul 2011 (people in my Circles only)
G+ comment streams on public posts by popular folk are problematicI can't Share this to Public without losing comments, but here's the main point:

Greg Lloyd - Interesting - and encouraging - to see improvements to adaptive boost of posts based on new comments. Today a 5 hour old +Sergey Brin scenic photo post ~ sticks in place as older post despite a continuous patter of "nice photo!" comments from folk I don't know or follow.

Not clear what the promised comment weighting stream boost adjustment was. Social / follow weighted, linguistic or other, but helps S/N for public posts by famous folk whose patter of friendly, log rolling or spam comments would never die. Google+ needs to fix this before it's gamed to spoil the Public commons.

Followed by:

About 30 minutes after post thanking Google for promised improvement in comment boost to reduce noise based on "non-relevant" comment, a 5 hour old +Sergey Brin photo popped to the top of my mobile and desktop stream with a recent "Cool Man!" comment. No intervening comments from folk I follow in those 30 minutes that I can see.

+Sergey Brin Still getting flooded with tortoise pictures and the like. More recent pyramid pictures are an improvement, but please keep pushing for improvement.

See "flooded by tortoise pictures" discussion

JP Rangaswami, Google+, 10 Jul 2011
In G+, Circles should be created by "publishers" as well as "subscribers"

JP Rangaswami - I guess I'm warped. What I really want is to break myself up, classify myself, into a series of circles: cloud, food, music, books, cricket, politics, hippieness, freedom, whatever. Then others who put me into their circles can choose to put bits of me or all of me. Publisher circles are like hashtags and channels. Subscriber circles are filters and balancers. That combination creates the best signal-to-noise ratios

Jeff Jarvis, Google+, 4 Jul 2011 (public)
... I still want the option of only the latest posts, regardless of comment tagging.

Greg Lloyd - I'd also welcome a pure chron option, with one click to take me to the full post and comments for context when I want it.

For promotion or pure chron, imo Twitter asymmetric reply clip is pretty effective. E.g. Twitter rule that mutes replies from your stream unless you follow both parties. Although I originally opposed the change, I've grown to like it.

Without a pure time ordered option (and jump to full thread) or a hard clip, promoting a post from famously popular person will always be problematic when thousands of "me too" comments pile on. That was my major beef with Buzz. I guess I need so see what Google+ does with rank.

... Jennifer Forman Orth - So, basically, no one's ever going to see this comment :-). How does this foster networking, especially for the Technorati who cultivate these large clusters of folks they do not know to follow them? If I figure no one's going to read what I say, what is the incentive to comment?

Greg Lloyd - Jennifer - A valid point, but IMO the recourse is social. With Twitter, Jeff or someone else may rt or "publicly" reply to you and a wider non-clipped audience by prefixing your handle with a character. This subtly raises the visibility of particularly good comment based on human judgment, polite recognition, and an invitation to a larger audience to read more of what you say.

Greg Lloyd - Taking this conversation as something close to a best case, about 50% of the comments are "I agree" or restate the original point. This from a group of bright and eager early adopters. When the number of Google+ folk increases by three or four orders of magnitude - not counting bots - the bounce will become ludicrously noisy, like Buzz. That's not conversation, that's Brownian motion. Selectively following a reasonably large number of diverse, curious and intelligent folk with a sense of humor is the only scalable filter I know that balances breadth vs S/N. I want to leverage their judgement to surface interesting discussion and as well as talent scouts for who else to follow

Sergey Brin, Google+, 4 Jul 2011 (Public)
… getting flooded by comments on [ five year old ] tortoise pictures

Sergey Brin - I think a lot of people are under the misimpression that I am posting photos of exotic places at a furious pace to Google+. Actually, I have had a bunch of albums public for some time on my picasaweb page. However, people only started to take note recently thanks to Google+ and when they comment on those photos they end up in the streams of people who have me in their circles.

We made some ranking changes recently that demote such comments if the commenter is not in your circles. Let me know if you are still getting flooded with tortoise pictures and the like.

Ross Mayfield, Slideshare, 5 July 2011
Visual Guide to Circles in Google+

Introducing Online Workplaces - Greg's notes on Larry Cannell's July 2011 Webinar

July 8, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Larry Cannell, Research Director, Gartner Group presented great slides and hosted an excellent webinar on July 7, 2011 based on his research and experience. Free registration gives public access to a recording of the Webinar and a copy of Larry's slides - at least for a few days (after than please check Gartner Webinar Archives). Please register and learn! Larry will also be leading sessions at Gartner Catalyst Conference 2011 San Diego, July 26-29. Larry's framework is very crisply stated, general and useful. The 65 slides include very helpful diagrams, examples, scorecard decision aids, and more. These are just top level points from my notes.

An IT Vision for Social Software: Introducing Online Workplaces

The emergence of a new layer of online capabilities, one that sits between rigid business applications and the dynamic world of the information worker, has gone unnoticed for years. Some have started to call this a social layer, inspired by the rising popularity of social software. However, it is better described as an online work layer because not all activities within an enterprise are social in nature, but they all support how work is done. Enterprises need to develop their own tailored vision for how this online work layer (which includes the use of social software) improves their business, rather than relying on vendor product positioning.

This webinar will describe a vendor-neutral framework that helps IT describe, manage and evolve collaborative and workplace technologies to maximize the effectiveness of their enterprise’s information workers. ~ Larry Cannell, Research Director, Gartner

Introducing Online Workplaces
Larry Cannell, Research Director, Gartner @lcannell

Need to distinguish:
What (Business Objectives) vs How (Approach for accomplishing What)

What (business objective): Work
How: Unified communication, Email, conferencing, Productivity tools, Social Software, Workspaces, Content Management, Search

Defining a Work Layer

Enterprise Goals and Objectives -> Business Processes (PD, Mfg, Sales...) <-> Work Layer (Routine, Non-Routine) <-> People (individuals, teams, communities)

[ Very good slides distinguish needs and perspective as individual, as member of functional team, as participant in broad community and directed versus volitional participation ]

Online Workplace:

Organize/Manage Work (tasks, priorities, etc)
Facilitate Work Processes (ad-hoc, tacit)
Work as Individuals (attention management)
Work together (team, communities)
Capture and Reuse Intellectual Assets.

Online Workplace Relationships:

Business processes <- (tasks, priorities) -> Online Workplace <- (completing tasks, prioritizing work, planning, deciding) -> People
Human Capital (knowledge, experience, relationships) <- (discover, describe) - > Online Workplace
Structural Capital from Applications (CRM, ERP, PLM, SCM, etc) - (data) -> Online Workspace

Online Workplace Framework:

Individual environments, Group environments (Teams, Communities)
Knowledgebase
Business Applications, External Information

Group Environments - A spectrum of participation
directed - individual must participate to meet some joint objective or get certain kind of work done.
volitional - individual choses to participate or not, choses level of participation

Process (90% directed participation, 10% volitional participation)
Activity (50% directed, 50% volitional)
Community (30% directed, 70% volitional)
Network (10% directed, 90% volitional)

Recommendations

Position online workplaces as strategic assets
Take care of the individual worker
Expect to support multiple online workplaces
Develop new skills
Provide a roadmap
Demand what you need from your vendors

Online Workplace Framework and Traction TeamPage

Larry's framework is descriptive and intentionally vendor and technology neutral.

I believe Traction TeamPage is very well aligned and easy to explain in terms of Larry's framework. Expect me to make liberal use of his framework and terminology - with credit to Larry. Here's a start:

Traction Software Introduces Social Enterprise Web - The TeamPage workplace spans external Sharepoint, Documentum, Exchange, Email and other Systems of Record using TeamPage Attivio Plus, bookmarking and content badging. Unlike some analysts and vendors, I believe the future workplace will be search and content coupled (just like the public Web) rather than exclusively activity stream coupled.

I see activity streams as a great alerting mechanism to help maintain situational awareness with respect to human centered or software events spanning many systems. But event awareness is no replacement for unified, permission-aware search combined with link, tag, task and comment capabilities spanning systems of record. That's what TeamPage delivers, enabled by Attivio's Active Intelligence Engine™ (AIE) technology.

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz - When you watch a skilled team in action, it's like watching a great jazz group - there are themes, there is structure, and there are limits, but a team shines in individual excellence combined with coordination, improvisation, innovation, handling exceptions, and seemingly effortless awareness of where others are and where they're headed.

Intertwingled Work - The record of collaborative and observable work needs to span multiple external and internal systems to provide a simple and coherent view of activities

Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart - A dynamically evolving knowledge base ... [consists] of three primary knowledge domains: intelligence, dialog records, and knowledge products (in this example, the design and support documents for a complex product). ~ Doug Engelbart

See also Enterprise 2.0 Schism - Why Peter Drucker and Doug Engelbart should be the patron saints of Enterprise 2.0. And what to do with social media gurus and sinners.

Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010 - Irresistible quotes and references.

The Debate Zone: Has the US passed peak productivity growth? | McKinsey & Company

May 23, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

See the lively McKinsey & Company What Matters debate, Tyler Cowen: "Yes. The big gains in the 20th century resulted from transformative innovations that are much rarer today." versus Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson: "No. We’ve only just begun to reap the productivity benefits of digital technology." Read the analysis, lively comments, and jump in! My two cents (also posted as What Matters comment): I agree with Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson's analysis that digital technology - including but not limited to the Web, communications and computer technology - is a GPT that "leads to fundamental changes in the production process of those using the new invention." and whose impact on productivity will be felt over decades, not years.

In a narrower domain of technology, Bill Buxton refers to this as "The Long Nose of Innovation" (link below)

Buxton cites a 2003 report presented by Butler Lampson to the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Research Council in Washington which traced the history of a number of key technologies driving the telecommunications and information technology sectors.

"The report analyzed each technology (time-sharing, client/server computing, LANs, relational databases, VLSI design, etc.) from first inception to the point where it turned into a billion dollar industry. What was consistent among virtually all the results was how long each took to move from inception to ubiquity. Twenty years of jumping around from university labs to corporate labs to products was typical. And 30 years, as with the mouse and RISC processors, was not at all unusual (and remember, this is the "fast-paced world of computers," where it is "almost impossible" to keep up)."

Buxton concludes: "Any technology that is going to have significant impact over the next 10 years is already at least 10 years old. That doesn't imply that the 10-year-old technologies we might draw from are mature or that we understand their implications; rather, just the basic concept is known, or knowable to those who care to look."

I believe that the fundamental value of the GPT we call the Web is as part of an interlocking set of communication and information technology capabilities organizations *can* employ to reduce the friction of knowledge work across space and over time, as well as fundamentally shift channels of marketing, sales, and distribution.

Assimilation and productive use of these new capabilities requires organizational change and innovation as profound as the technology driven changes of the Industrial Revolution. Steam, railroads and electricity fundamentally changed the economics of production of material goods - as well as introducing new media like radio and new travel and leisure markets.

I would not be surprised to find that the long nose of Enterprise 2.0 innovation enabled by this GPT (with a tip of my hat to Prof McAfee) spans 30 to 50 years.

The Long Nose of Innovation
Bill Buxton, Business Week, Jan 2, 2008

[Bloomberg BusinessWeek image] Bill Buxton is Principal Scientist at Microsoft Research and the author of Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design. Previously, he was a researcher at Xerox PARC, a professor at the University of Toronto, and Chief Scientist of Alias Research and SGI Inc.

Enterprise 2.0 Schism
Greg Lloyd, Traction Software Inc, Nov 9, 2009

Zoom in to focus, zoom out for awareness, bubble up items in the flow of work

May 9, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

There's been a lot of Web and Twitter discussion about the value of activity streams to promote broad awareness versus the potential problem of showing too much information and having important signals get lost in the flow. I believe that the best solution is to allow people to selectively zoom into activity streams, status and discussions - clipped by space, project, person or milestone - to focus on any particular activity in context. To focus more precisely, click a watch button to get notification when anything is added, changed, or discussed in a context you want to monitor carefully.

Traction TeamPage Release 5.2 adds mini-dashboards to make it simple to see status, activity, tasks, discussions and related articles or documents focused on a particular project or milestone, complete with sparkline diagrams to see at a glace what's happening over time. Each project, space, and person has an activity stream, making it simple to focus on what you care about - and shift your focus easily.


See Action Tracking with Tasks, Milestones, and Projects videos

You can also zoom out a broader view of all spaces you have permission to read, or people you choose to follow. This makes it easy to dip into the flow and read, search, or navigate by person, tag, task or discussion thread.

You can flip to your own profile to review and use the stream of your own activities, tasks, and calendar across all spaces and projects you have permission to see.

Flip to the profile of any other team member by clicking their name to review their activities, tasks, and calendar, limited to just what you have permission to read.

You can flag a post, project, tag, or space and receive an automatic notification (by email or Jabber) when a comment is added, edit is made, a specific tag is added (e.g. urgent) or other actions happen in the context of activities you want to watch closely. If you receive a notification by email, you can reply to that email and your comment is automatically added to the right discussion.

Because Traction TeamPage spaces carry access permissions, internal teams, customers, suppliers and other external stakeholders can freely tag, task, link and discuss anything they discover - even make more private comments on more public content.

Activity streams, search results, comments, email digests, notifications, and even tag clouds are automatically clipped to keep private activities private, but make everything you're allowed to see visible in context.

When you see something that looks important you can tag, task or comment on the relevant item to raise its visibility as an opportunity, an answer to an important question, or an issue to be addressed.

A TeamPage project creates a shared context where work actually gets done - with specific deliverables; as an open ended activity with a stream of actions and milestones; or as customer or client case to be tracked and guided to a desirable outcome. In each case, TeamPage's integrated action tracking makes it easy to recognize, track and handle exceptions or opportunities in the natural flow of work.

A TeamPage customer quoted in the Feb 2011 Deloitte Social Software for Business Performance study said:

"With Traction Software I can post meeting notes and assign action items to individuals. Then, they can go into the tool and write comments to update the group on the status of their action items as well as post deliverables. It greatly increases transparency and streamlines communications."

Related

Action Tracking and Project Management

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz

Fixing Enterprise Search

Literate Business and Euan Semple

May 4, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Euan Semple's Literate Business post of May 4, 2011 is well worth reading. In preparing to write his book, Euan noted "There's something wrong with the names we use for social web tools in business... whether Enterprise 2.0, Social business or whatever."

"It occurred to me that what is significant about the tools we are seeing creeping into the business world is not so much that they are social as that they are literary in nature. They require, at whatever level, people to observe the world around them, make sense of it, and convey that sense to others, mostly, through the written word. All three parts of this process are the essence of good literature and they are all relatively unfamiliar in the business world. Most people don't pay much attention to what is going on around them, they don't sit and think much about what it means, and they are very unlikely to take the time to sit down and write about it. This is what blogging or tweeting makes easier. It also makes it collective."

I like Literate Business a lot. One advantage vs Enterprise 2.0, Web 2.0: the prior state is "illiterate" - which carries a lot of truth.

Literate implies, but does not strictly require an audience. The audience expects that they can come up to speed at any time by reading what the author has written in the past, as well as literate (curated) commentary, discussion and analysis. The value of the curated content grows over time. Evaluation of past decisions and analysis can even be changed in light of future experience! You might get better at what worked, avoid what failed, and let everyone learn from experience!

Literate also says much for the value of recorded narrative or observable work versus a business environment where decisions are made and good or bad inferences are drawn in near-real-time, with nothing preserved but ill formed and inconsistently remembered recollections of those present in the little room or on the call.

The only thing missing is collaborative creation of literature, which is not that common. But if you set the words to music I guess you could call it Business Jazz!

Related

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz
Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work
Enterprise 2.0 Schism

March 11 - Vannevar Bush's Birthday

March 11, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

The Computer History Museum's This Day In History March 11 reminded me that today is the birthday of Vannevar Bush (born March 11, 1890), a distinguished educator, engineer, Vice President and Dean of MIT, and President of the Carnegie Institution. As World War II Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Bush managed all US wartime research, reporting directly to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After the War he was instrumental in creation of the National Science Foundation. Bush is also known as the author of a famous July 1945 Atlantic Monthly essay As We May Think, where he described a possible "new relationship between the thinking man and the sum of our knowledge" including the Memex - a literary machine which inspired the invention of hypertext twenty years later - and indirectly lead to creation of the Web. See the video archive of the MIT / Brown Vannevar Bush Symposium on the 50th Anniversary of As We May Think for a great collection of talks by Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, Andy van Dam, Tim Berners-Lee, Alan Kay, and others inspired by Bush and and his work.

Visit the Computer History Museum in Mountain View California or on the Web.

Related

As We May Work - Andy van Dam
The Evolution of Personal Knowledge Management
Reinventing the Web

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz

February 16, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Yesterday I read GigaOM analyst and editor Haydn Shaughnessy's Future of Work Platforms report (registration required, free seven day trial available). I commented: Haydn -- A very thoughtful and useful analysis – a combination that’s all too rare! I’m particularly happy to see your thoughts on observable work (see the full report for Haydn's excellent analysis).

Ever since Jon Udell coined the term, it struck me as good way to talk about practical benefits and a business purpose for collaboration. In my opinion it helps by pealing back issues of privacy in context and activity streams, along with subtleties required to support the social dance of getting things done, dealing with exceptions, and staying aware of what’s going around you without getting swamped. This is much closer to jazz than the world of canned business transactions. It requires a level of attention to ease of use and user experience that’s just as important but in many ways more challenging to do well in a business context than for the public Web.

I also thank you for your careful analysis and kind words about Traction Software.

I've thought a lot about how to describe the relationship between Observable Work and the style of action tracking, coordination and agile project management used by TeamPage customers like Brian Tullis and Joe Crumpler, as well Traction Software folk. When you watch a skilled team in action, it's like watching a great jazz group - there are themes, there is structure, and there are limits, but a team shines in individual excellence combined with coordination, improvisation, innovation, handling exceptions, and seemingly effortless awareness of where others are and where they're headed.

Traction TeamPage 5.1 aims to support this performance model. Bill Ives captures the idea well: "The action tracking concept is not old school project management with Gantt charts and resource allocation. It is allowing employees to manage their work tasks and make this management transparent to those who need to know...This is the action tracking part of project management for the regular employee, not the program management office. It brings this activity into the enterprise 2.0 world as every task is treated as an object for comments, RSS, and made searchable to those with the proper permissions."

Every business activity involves some measure of action planning and tracking. People have lived with action tracking systems that range from a list on the back of an envelope, to getting things done style planning, to multilevel project plans for large and complex products like aircraft.

The TeamPage 5.1 action tracking model focuses on making it simple for individuals and teams to plan and coordinate the daily, weekly and monthly activities that drive effective teamwork. This level of coordination can quickly become too complex for the simplest systems, but too detailed – and close to real life – to be effectively modeled, tracked and managed in real time using software designed solely for top down project modeling and planning.

In my opinion, the big difference is action tracking built in to the natural flow of work. This makes daily life easier rather than more complicated.

  • Collect individual tasks into projects to make summaries easy to report up, and top down progress easy to track by project or by individual.
  • Tag any paragraph as a task and later dive down by person, task, project or milestone to make personal tracking and maintaining awareness much easier.
  • Click a name and link to a colleague's profile to see tasks, activity and status from their perspective.
  • Pop a quick question into a status window to make communication quick, effective and observable.
  • Add a comment to a task (status message, page, post or paragraph) to raise an issue or suggest a solution, to make exceptions much easier to recognize and handle.

All of this works with TeamPage's advanced search, notification, and a collaboration model that puts tasks, status, conversations and posts in a business context, organizing communication by space for those who have permission to read, while using spaces to protect all content in client, partner or internal spaces that require privacy.

Watch the video to see what I mean.

I've worked for the US Naval Research Lab managing parts of very big projects for the US Navy, and as a member of small startup teams. I believe that at the working level the same model supports effective teamwork where bottom up activities meet top down plans as the foundation of projects of any size.

We're seeing first results from TeamPage customers and Traction Software using TeamPage 5.1 integrated action tracking and the response has been great. Look for updates here, on Twitter, or join the TeamPage Forum and the live conversation - or to should I say jam? (to borrow a great term from IBM).

Related

Blog1351: Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work

Intertwingled Work (and Case Management)

29 July 2010 | Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work: Brian Tullis and Joe Crumpler, Burton Group Catalyst 2010 Santa Diego (Alcoa customer panel at Catalyst)

How to make your ISO Auditor Smile; And Make Your Professional Life Much Easier (From customer to Quality Manager, shop floor, and ISO auditor)

Blog446: Learn by watching - Then do (US Naval Research Lab)

Action Tracking with Tasks, Milestones, and Projects (Video)

10 May 2011 | Traction® TeamPage 5.2 Introduces Dashboards for Action Tracking, Project and Case Management

9 Nov 2010 | Traction® TeamPage 5.1 Introduces Integrated Action Tracking For Improved Team Performance

2 Dec 2010 | AppGap Review - Traction TeamPage 5.1 Moves Forward with Project Management Capabilities

Applied Knowledge Co Ltd - Bringing Traction TeamPage 5.1 to Japan

January 21, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Our long-time Japanese reseller partner Applied Knowledge Co Ltd has done a great job bringing Traction TeamPage to the Japanese market. They are an excellent sales and consulting partner for Japanese market customers. AKJ also has deep experience applying Enterprise 2.0 principles, the Traction TeamPage SDK, Japanese Language localization of the TeamPage interface, and Japanese advanced linguistics and faceted navigation capabilities of Traction's Attivio powered Advanced Search.

I'm proud and happy to point to AKJ's excellent Japanese Traction TeamPage Release 5.1 examples posted on tractionsoftware…. I thank our friends at AKJ for bringing the full set of TeamPage 5.1 action tracking, integrated status, profiles, Attivio advanced search features and Proteus user interface to the Japanese market so quickly and professionally.

Here are few links to Japanese Traction TeamPage 5.1 examples and screenshots. You can use Google Translate or other tools to browse tractionsoftware.jp in English or other languages.

Traction TeamPage 5.1 Introduction (Japanese)

Status and following model of Traction TeamPage 5.1 (Japanese)

Using TeamPage status updates - mobile, laptop, desktop (Japanese)

Task and Action Tracking in TeamPage 5.1 (Japanese)

Traction's Attivio Powered TeamPage Advanced Search (Japanese)

See also 14 Dec 2010 | TECH.ASCII.jp - プロジェクトの円滑な遂行をサポートする「TeamPage 5.1」 アプライドナレッジ、コラボレーションツールの新版を発表

Traction TeamPage 5.1: Social Software, Meet Project Management

Doug Engelbart's copy of As We May Think - with Doug's 1962 notes scribbled in the margins

January 6, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


The Doug Engelbart Foundation's 1995 Vannevar Bush Symposium video archive page includes a section on Bush's influence on Doug's work, including his copy of Bush's As We May Think with Doug's 1962 notes in the margins (pdf). Talk about deeply intertwingled living history. Per a note in the .pdf, the original hardcopy has apparently been donated to the Computer History Museum. Look for this paper when the Computer History Museum's Revolution - The First 2000 Years of Computing exhibit opens in Mountain View CA - and online on 13 Jan 2011.

Update Remembering Doug Engelbart, 30 January 1925 - 2 July 2013

Related

Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010

Could I interest you in a Memex?

The Evolution of Personal Knowledge Management

TUG 2010 Newport | Thank you!

October 15, 2010 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

TUG 2010 Newport just wrapped up after four busy and enjoyable days. It's hard to express how grateful I am to the customers, partners, friends - and the Traction Software team - who made this such an enjoyable event. First I'd like to thank keynote speakers Jim McGee, Chris Nuzum, Jon Udell as well as customers, friends and partners whose thoughtful talks and enthusiasm made Wednesday's sessions so rewarding.

Jon Udell cheerfully and skillfully moderated Thursday morning's Observable Workshop in an unconference spirit when I asked for the benefit of his advice and experience with no advance notice - thank you Jon!

Thanks to Jordan Frank, Kellen Roach and everyone on Traction Software's exceptional team for making every training, product and developer session sing, and for their consistent dedication to make every customer happy and successful. Special thanks to Chris Nuzum, Andy Keller, Dave Shepperton, and Roger Fujii for the leadership, hard work, dedication and talent that brought TeamPage 5.0 to customers earlier this year, and for the awesome new task and project management capabilities they demonstrated at TUG which we'll announce at E2.0 Santa Clara this November.

You can get a hint of what TUG 2010 was like from the #TUG2010 twitter stream. Next week you'll be able to see slides and videos of most TUG talks, including the Observable Workshop.

See 12-15 Oct 2010 | Fifth Annual Traction User Group Meeting, TUG 2010 Newport (Agenda, slides, video links)
TUG 2010 Observable Workshop Notes (Brian Tullis)

For a permanent archive of all Twitter updates with the tag, see http://twapperkeeper.com/hashtag/TUG2010

Fixing Enterprise Search

September 4, 2010 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

A few days ago the Enterprise 2.0 Blog published Venkatesh Rao's excellent post The Real Reasons Enterprise Search is Broken. When he hears ironic jokes comparing search on the public Web versus internal enterprise search, Venkatesh notes: "People move on because they seem to think that this is incompetence at work. Search is soo 1.0 right? It's been solved and we're just fumbling the execution, right?" He says: "I have reached a radical conclusion: broken search is the problem, but fixing search is not the solution. Search breaks behind the firewall for social, not technical reasons... Let's start with the blindingly obvious, and then draw some weird conclusions." I think they are perceptive conclusions based on sound analysis, and agree with most, but come at the problem from a different angle.

I strongly agree with Venkatesh's main conclusion: "The fundamental social and information flow assumptions of “search” need to be deconstructed and reconstructed for the enterprise. Local/silo search within single sites/assets is fine. Enterprise-wide search in its naive form is a terrible idea."

I agree that flat and dumb enterprise-wide search is broken for the reasons he points out. The principles that make relevance ranked search work well on the public Web fail miserably in the link-poor, (relatively) small scale, cc spammed, siloed and obscurely hidden environment behind the firewall in most companies.

I agree that "Web 1.0" technology can't address problems of redundant attachments, email hairballs, point-to-point back channel communication that's not even indexed, let alone officialese used to send timed and coded signals the clear! [ I think Venkatesh just outed enterprise steganography. Cool! ]

A few years ago I wrote a note based on similar customer disappointment with enterprise search versus what they saw on the public Web and came to conclusion that the Web 2.0 / Enterprise 2.0 layer over the Web 1.0 layer offers hope for technology-based improvement:

1) Make business context manifest for discovery and search: This means the ability to create spaces that frame natural business context.

A space defines a context for documents, blog posts, wiki pages, status, what we now call activity stream items and more. A space can also carry permission to see or use content within that space - or know that the space exists.

For example a space "Board of Directors" or "Medical Records" may have more restrictive access that a space "Engineering". Although there are good reasons for making spaces as transparent to as many people as possible, a client facing space in a law firm would need to have permission limited to that client and members of the firm - reliably excluding other clients.

Likewise a space in which private medical issues are analyzed and discussed would need to be more private than most other spaces, but provides a perfectly transparent named context for search, faceted navigation and discovery, tagging, activity stream aggregation, or automatic notification - for those with appropriate permission.

A space provides context and can carry permissions, both of which are important for discovery, tagging, navigation, search, and cross-boundary discussions spanning as many spaces as an individual has permission to see (see Borders, Spaces and Places).

2) Searching across business systems is not the major problem. Enterprise search engines such as Attivio do a great job searching across multiple enterprise business systems. An MRP system, Accounting system, CAD/CAE repository may be a "silo", but it's a silo with a well defined purpose that functions like a "bounding space" by providing context that an enterprise search engine can map and use.

For example, searching for a part number might return hits in MRP, Accounting, and CAD/CAE design databases. These different sources can be modeled as facets, which makes it pretty easy to choose from among MRP, Accounting or CAD/CAE hits when you enter a part number depending on content: Are your interested in manufacturing, accounting, or design related part information?

In my opinion, the real problem pops up when you have one, two or a myriad of generic Content Management Systems or email repositories that are used as general purpose buckets where data and documents are dumped:

  • Without a bit of context (think of the Ark at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark)
  • Without hope of making stored content discoverable and linkable.
  • With redundant copies of email conversations and attachments scattered over tens, hundreds or thousands of email accounts and email servers

I don't know a technical solution that disentagles this mess once it has been created. The context was never recorded or was destroyed when it was stored.

Doing a content search for "Acme Briefing" and finding thousands of hits in redundant copies of different versions of the same .ppt attached to email that has been cc:'d and re:'d to death for months is very discouraging.

Intelligent indexing of context as well as content in an Enterprise 2.0 system such as Traction TeamPage solves the nasty problem of correlating messy human details that people rely on beyond the neatly ordered world of functionally siloed business systems. I realize "Neatly ordered" business systems is a relative. A part number is a lot less ambiguous than "a really big contract problem with important customer" when you're trying to discover something.

The answer to a messily human search for "what's the contract problem" is likely to be found in the Enterprise 2.0 record of work, conversation, tagging and tracking by finding either the answer or people who know the answer (and who are now a click away)

I believe that the transactions and content in functionally siloed business systems should be observable and addressable using standard Web protocols (with appropriate identity and security to allow transparent linking). It would also be best to avoid creating separate social silos that act as walled gardens embedded within each business system, see Intertwingled Work.

3) Make "who links to what and who talks to whom about what" indexable for search and discovery. Indexing author, date, space and other metadata as well as content associated with links and attachments adds valuable context for facet content navigation, discovery and search.

When Mr. Dithers shouts: "Bumstead! Where are we on the Acme Account?", the most timely, frequently discussed and contextually relevant version of Dagwood's slide set could pop closer to the top of the result list, along with the cloud of tags and people who have touched or talked about that account (see Why Enterprise Search Sucks).

4) Be clear what you mean by Enterprise Search. No technology or search engine will be able to find its way through the twisty maze of social relationships and pathological behavior that people can use to hide information that they want to keep private and off the record. The only exception is the technology proposed by Prof Germain Gervais in his Green Chameleon video.

What if you really want the inside scoop on what's happening with the Acme Account?

4a) Use the social network. Find someone in the know and ask them. Enterprise social networking can be a lifesaver when the big barrier is finding something which wants to be widely know in the company but is hidden by an infrastructure that sucks. If what you want to know is the unofficial word (often the truth), find people in the know who are part of a network of trust. If you're been in the military, you'd ask a trusted Sergent or Chief who's well connected in the NCO network.

4b) Hire a private detective. It take human intelligence and experience to find something that doesn't want to be widely known in the company (even if it should be widely known by policy). You could also become a whistle blower and get professional investigators on the case if the issue is really serious.

4c) Find a better place to work. If your just plain frustrated with an inability to find what you need to get your job done and feel happy about it, rise to a position of power and fix it, or find a job in an organization that's not so damaged.

Related

Why Enterprise Search Sucks and what to do about it ...

Intertwingled Work and Adaptive Case Management providing a business context makes it easier to find people and resources that are helpful for observable work

Borders, Spaces, and Places boundaries that make sense for privacy, permission and business context

Enterprise 2.0 for Intelligence Analysts context, connections, boundaries, navigation and search.

Explaining Knowledge Management - Prof Gervaise Germaine Jul 2006 (video)

For an example of how Traction TeamPage handles boundary aware navigation, tagging and search, see TeamPage Attivio® Search Module and Michael Sampson's Currents: "TeamPage - the One System to Rule It All".

Work you can see x Who you know = What you can do

August 24, 2010 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Work you can see x Who you know = What you can do
With thanks to Jessica Hagy
Who created her great This is what 2.0 means drawing on Aug 14, 2010.

Related

Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work

Intertwingled Work

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz

29 July 2010 | Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work: Brian Tullis and Joe Crumpler, Burton Group Catalyst 2010 Santa Diego

July 29, 2010 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Brian Tullis and Joe Crumpler did a lively talk on Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work at the Burton Group Catalyst 2010 North America conference in San Diego. For those of us who couldn't be there in person, see their Abstract quoted below and the enthusiastic Twitter stream from 29 Jul 2010! I'll add a link to their speaker notes and slides when they become available. Update: Brian posted Enterprise 2.0 and Observable work slides and speaker notes. For slides see inline Slideshare below. Sounded like a super session!

Abstract: Most large organizations face huge challenges in staying aligned, knowing when and how to collaborate, and capturing knowledge for future use. Traction TeamPage has allowed a large virtual team at Alcoa Fastening Systems to implement principles of “Observable Work” – which for us means making visible and transparent the normally arcane processes of Information Technology management. Implementation of observable work practices has increased alignment, collaboration, and knowledge capture in the organization. Topics discussed include:

• What is Observable Work and why is it important?
• Overview of techniques used to manage the flow of information.
• Examination of a successful multi-country ERP project managed with these tools and techniques.
• Areas of improvement and where we go from here.

See also Enterprise 2.0 and Observable work slides and speaker notes
Brian's blog post Observable Work: The Taming of the Flow
Jim McGee's original blog post
Followup discussion and links on Jim's post

Observable Work session Twitter feed

movito @panklam's term "OpenWork" and the just-coined "Observable Work" are more focused & precise. #owork holds far greater potential than #e20. via Tweetie for Mac

PhilippBohn RT @gialyons Loving the concept of Observable Work. hashtag is #OWork #cat10 <-- me2 via CoTweet

movito RT @gialyons Break out of proprietary doc formats, and use addressable hypertext (URLs) ← it's the best way forward #cat10 #alcoa #owork via Tweetie for Mac

movito RT @MikeGotta Observable work: make status of work visible and avoid needless "status meetings" - status available to all that care #owork via Tweetie for Mac

movito RT @MikeGotta Observable work principles applied to project freed up 30% labor due to reduced meetings #cat10 #owork #socbiz via Tweetie for Mac

gialyons Really great content here at Burton Group Catalyst Conference, esp. in the Social Means Business track. #cat10 via Seesmic

gialyons Hey @Greg2dot0, @joecrumpler just presented about how Alcoa saved 100 hours by using #socbiz for project status updates. #OWork #cat10 via Seesmic

gialyons Loving the concept of Observable Work. hashtag is #OWork #cat10 via Seesmic

aewang “@scottylogan: @joecrumpler @briantullis great presentation on observable work #cat10 #OWork” totally agree via Twitter for iPhone

gialyons Most excellent prezzy from @joecrumpler @briantullis at #Alcoa #cat10 via Seesmic

scottylogan @joecrumpler @briantullis great presentation on observable work #cat10 #OWork via YoruFukurou

MikeGotta RT @gialyons: Traditional daily status process: 4hrs, 3 times/wk w/10 ppl=loss of 120 hrs of project labor, new process saves 100 hrs #cat10 via TweetDeck

catatweet RT @gialyons Traditional process took 4hrs, 3 times/wk w/10 ppl=loss of 120 hrs of project labor. New #socbiz process saves #cat10. WOW!!! via Twittelator in reply to gialyons

mikerollings "observable work" - anybody that ever experienced "death by meetings" would appreciate this approach #cat10 via Echofon

aewang Awesome presentation by the Aloca guys on E2.0 and Observable Work #cat10 via Twitterrific

gialyons Project mgr throws an "explosion of information hand grenade" via #socbiz for others who care. Like mgrs. #alcoa #cat10 via Seesmic

mikerollings "Observable work" reduces project status meetings because issues and accomplishments are transparent to team members as they occur #cat10 via Echofon

dustinupdyke Can I take @JoeCrumpler to work on Monday to clear our path of pointless meetings? #cat10 via TweetDeck

lcannell Observable work also enables better focused meetings (not just reduces them), more productive use of (expensive) F2F time #cat10 via TweetDeck

gialyons Traditional daily status process took 4hrs, 3 times/wk w/10 ppl=loss of 120 hrs of project labor. New #socbiz process saves 100 hrs. #cat10 via Seesmic

MikeGotta Observable work principals applied to project freed up 30% labor due to reduced meetings #cat10 via TweetDeck

catatweet Status as you work. #cat10. Reduce meetings. 30% increase in actual work. The result of observable work is reduced need for meetings. via Twittelator

gialyons Reduce meetings is a result of observable work using #socbiz software; got 30% more labor out of teams, too. #cat10 #alcoa via Seesmic

scottylogan reducing number of meetings led to a 30% increase in actual work #cat10 via YoruFukurou

catatweet Manage content streams, read, and remain aware. #cat10. A key objective of the observable work principle. via Twittelator

jakrose @gialyons amen #cat10 #alcoa via TweetDeck in reply to gialyons

MikeGotta "Status as you work" ... whether status telegraphs positive or negative news - all visible, transparent - and "observable" #cat10 via TweetDeck

catatweet Use #social technology to have LESS MEETINGS by leveraging the status reporting inherent in the technology. #cat10 via Twittelator

mikerollings Principle: achieve status from observable work #cat10 words to live by via Echofon

gialyons Heh. sitting next to a fellow former Certified Lotus Instructor (CLI) #cat10 #bleedyellowstilljustalittle via Seesmic

aewang RT @MikeGotta Observable work: make status of work visible and avoid needless "status meetings" - status available to all that care #cat10 via Twitterrific

scottylogan terrifying slide of kid with circular saw! #cat10 via YoruFukurou

ericzigus http://tweetphoto.com/35608795 funny pictures in #alcoa presentation #cat10 via Touiteur

aewang RT @MikeGotta Concept of "observable work" a new way to operate at Alcoa Fasteners #cat10 great concept via Twitterrific

scottylogan Alcoa guys: Use addressable hypertext rather than (proprietary) documents #cat10 via YoruFukurou

MikeGotta Alcoa took a project that normally takes up to 18 months in 7 months #cat10 (QAD implementation in China using Traction TeamPage) via TweetDeck

gialyons "here's a piece of content, please comment, we'll change content based on what you say, let you know when it's changed." #cat10 #alcoa 41 minutes ago via Seesmic

gialyons Break out of proprietary doc formats, and use addressable hypertext (URLs) #cat10 #alcoa via Seesmic

MikeGotta Observable work: make status of work visible and avoid needless "status meetings" - status available to all that care #cat10 via TweetDeck

dustinupdyke Doing the work in an observable way eliminates the need for status metings #cat10 via TweetDeck

catatweet Meetings suck! One outcome of observal work is that status is apparent to anyone that needs it #cat10 via Twittelator

gialyons Do your work in an observable way (via #socbiz), and others will see it, make mental connections b/n theirs and yours. #cat10 #Alcoa via Seesmic

scottylogan Alcoa don't like meetings - observable work reduces the need for meetings #cat10 via YoruFukurou

mikelor Make people realize that they are inside a ecosystem, encourage clickable and linkable content. #cat10 via TweetDeck

gialyons People need to know how what they do is linked to what others do in the company #cat10 #alcoa via Seesmic

bduhon RT @gialyons: If you create a community of trust, they'll be comfy working together outside of hierarchy #cat10 via HootSuite

catatweet Authority to update content - don't worry about it. The right thing will happen. #cat10 #OWork via Twittelator

jamiemlewis That's the goal. Glad to hear it's working. ;-) RT @JBrodkin: Great tech content at #cat10. Very little marketing BS. via TweetDeck

gialyons Need to interject social in what you do, especially if you're in IT. #alcoa #cat10 via Seesmic

MikeGotta Sign of an unhealthy culture is a mindset that thinks they "we" have to survive encounters with "them" (insiders vs. outsiders) #cat10 via TweetDeck

catatweet Collaboration requires trust. The battle plan rarely survives contact with the enemy (users) ;-) #cat10 via Twittelator

gialyons Being introverted IT guys, we love to close the doors and focus on transaction work. #cat10 #alcoa via Seesmic

handslive #cat10 HR needs to be aware of the impact of the changes they make. OMG yes. via Twitter for iPhone

gialyons If you create a community of trust, they'll be comfy working together outside of hierarchy #cat10 via Seesmic

gialyons Oh, this is shaping up to be a fun and informative preso. #Alcoa #cat10 via Seesmic

NishantK IMO, if more business processes were structured like a game, more stuff would get done way more efficiently #cat10 via TweetDeck

dustinupdyke "the battle plan rarely survives first contact with the enemy" #cat10 via TweetDeck

gialyons ... which leads to better performing team and company. #cat10 via Seesmic

catatweet Why observable work is important. Common aps and processes, within a world of compliance and accountability - we can control work! #cat10 via Twittelator

gialyons Alcoa hypothesis: Implementing observable work PRINICPLES through enabling TECH creates stronger connections w/customers & colleagues #cat10 via Seesmic

gialyons Alcoa makes fasteners that go on large things. Like airliners, trucks, etc. #cat10 via Seesmic

gialyons Alcoa is up now. #cat10 Brian Tullis, Joe Crumpler presenting via Seesmic

catatweet Observable work principles in the realm of #social presented by Alcoa here at #cat10 via Twittelator

MikeGotta Concept of "observable work" a new way to operate at Alcoa Fasteners #cat10 via TweetDeck

ericzigus standard disclaimer from #Alcoa about ideas are their personal ideas not of their companies #cat10 via TweetDeck

roundtrip "Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work" @BrianTullis and @JoeCrumpler session @ #cat10 11:50am PDT #OWork #E20 via Osfoora for iPhone

Related

3 Aug 2011 | Alcoa Fastening Systems: What were you doing at 7:15AM Saturday July 2, 2011? Joe Crumpler was working.

23 Feb 2011 | Traction TeamPage customers Alcoa and Ensign Bickford featured in Deloitte "Social Software for Business Performance" report

Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work

Intertwingled Work

July 5, 2010 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Last week's post by Jim McGee Managing the visibility of knowledge work kicked off a nice conversation on Observable Work (using a term introduced by Jon Udell) including: my blog post expanding on a comment I wrote on Jim's post; Brian Tullis's Observable Work: The Taming of the Flow based on a comment Brian made on Jim's post, which he found from a Twitter update by @jmcgee retweeted by @roundtrip; a Twitter conversation using the hash tag #OWork (for "Observable Work"); John Tropea's comment back to Jim from a link in a comment I left on John's Ambient Awareness is the new normal post; Jim's Observable work - more on knowledge work visibility (#owork), linking back to Mary Abraham's TMI post and Jack Vinson's Invisible Work - spray paint needed post, both written in response to Jim's original post; followed by Jack Vinson's Explicit work (#owork) and Paula Thornton's Enterprise 2.0 Infrastructure for Synchronicity.

That's a bunch of links! But I include them for a reason. [ For anyone who finds the presence of inline links distracting, see Apology to the Easily Distracted, below. ]

This modest trail is not only observable - it's spread over about a dozen posts on eight unrelated blog servers using unrelated software, loosely coupled by conversations, links and hash tags observable in the Web commons known as Twitter. The only things that connect this trail are links, search, syndicated feeds and serendipity. In the words of Ted Nelson this is an intertwingled trail - although not very deeply intertwingled, and not that easy to follow.

That brings three points to mind:

1) The fact that "intertwingle" is an amusing word can obscure an important idea I believe Ted Nelson is a Casandra-like inventor blessed and cursed with a rapier wit and the ability to invent concepts and coin terms that stick deeply in peoples minds. Hypertext one of the terms Ted coined and concepts he invented - working independently from Doug Engelbart at about the same time - inspired by the work of Vannevar Bush.

One of Ted's mantras: "EVERYTHING IS DEEPLY INTERTWINGLED. In an important sense there are no "subjects" at all; there is only all knowledge, since the cross-connections among the myriad topics of this world simply cannot be divided up neatly." Ted Nelson, Computer Lib / Dream Machines, 1974

Although I think it's useful to believe in the existence of subjects - and spoons - in the past, conversations could only be intertwingled across paper memos, faxes, written reports and email. Until the advent of the Web it wasn't possible to intertwingle conversations, networks, analysis and work in near-real time and global scale. Now that's trivial and essentially free with basic Web access.

2) The Web does what it's intended to do, so long as content is addressable and findable. The trail on observable work isn't stored in one specific place - but with a little effort it's possible to follow the flow and join the conversation.

The fact that blog posts and comments are created and served by different content server systems is irrelevant, so long as the content is addressable using basic Web standards. How the different servers store the addressed content internally is likewise irrelevant so long as they deliver the content using Web content standards.

The fact that no one has to create a common place to contain a trail is an advantage of the Web, not a disadvantage. It makes finding and linking harder, but creation and association infinitely easier than attempting to force the world into one "Observable Work" discussion area you create in one specific blog, wiki, forum, Wave or whatever.

The Web succeeds succeeds by making it possible for anyone anywhere to create a trail which others can find, follow and join using nothing more than their own Web browser, Web search layered over the basic Web and Twitter as one good example of a Web commons.

The Web doesn't guarantee that you'll be aware of conversations on observable work going on in other trails unless you search or stumble upon a link which leads you connect the two. I don't follow discussions on LinkedIn, but might be alerted to something interesting there by someone I follow in a commons like Twitter where I do participate.

The fact that everything posted publicly on Web is potentially observable doesn't lead mean you have to deal with Too Much Information shoved in your face - or into your email box.

You choose who and what to follow, augmented by Web search and your ability to jump in and join or forget about and a trail at any time - although you might hold on to a link so it's easy to find the trail again if you change your mind.

3) Business context makes observable work easier to create, discover and use. Unlike the public Web, work in a private or public organization has a purpose and context that can make observable work easier to discover and talk about. Work and discussion in an organization generally take place in the context of broad business activities like sales, product development, research, finance or administration. Context in an enterprise can be represented as places where work and conversation takes place with reliable privacy aware search, tagging, linking, comments, status updates and activity streams. [ For Traction Software's take on this concept, please see Traction TeamPage 5.0: Social Software for Work ]

I strongly believe the important point is supporting business context - not business process in the sense of transactional workflow or automated systems. I believe that functionally specialized transactional systems in an organization will likely remain silos of structured information - but market forces will drive vendors to make their content addressable using simple Web standards and services - with appropriate authentication and privacy in context.

These functionally specialized systems will also signal their status using social computing standards that are now starting to take shape. This will push routine reporting and dealing with exceptions from transactional systems into the "social" places where people can stay informed, recognize issues and exceptions and decide what to do. In an ideal world, transactional systems would provide authenticated access to Web addressable content or analysis, signals based on routing activity or exceptions, Web sensible control interfaces - and not a much more. Most human access would be handled on the Web rather than transactional processing side. I believe the Web has become a valid, scalable and secure alternative to proprietary stacks for integrating most enterprise software at the user experience level.

Much of what a sociologist would call "social" behavior when talking about Enterprise 2.0 would naturally center on the sociology of work: how people communicate and interact with others while dealing with questions, issues, exceptions, suggestions and the messy stuff that routine transactional systems can't handle, along with interpersonal relationships that develop in a specific context or as member of an extended enterprise (including customers, suppliers, consultants and external as well as internal stakeholders).

On top of relationships based well established patterns of work and conversation - Andrew McAfee's strong ties - enterprise social software opens the door to discovering people and groups who most folk in a large organization would never meet face to face.

This offers the same opportunities for serendipitous discovery we see on the public Web, but with privacy in context which enables open discussion and shared goals and purpose that are part of what Peter Drucker calls the purpose of an organization: "The purpose of an organization is to enable ordinary humans beings to do extraordinary things."

Much of what's challenging about using "observable work" principles can be addressed by examples at top, middle and grassroots levels of an organization. What's needed is a willingness to tolerate and encourage observable work in the small under local control, and leadership to make it an enterprise norm.

As Paula Thornton says: "For as much as people want to make Enterprise 2.0 about technologies, then I’m willing to concede this: Enterprise 2.0 is the means by which to achieve Work 2.0 to deliver Business 2.0."

To be continued Jim, Brian, John, Mary, Jack, Paula, Mark, Gordon, Rawn, Jose, JP, Tom, Deb and the rest of the World - over to you. The best way to follow the evolution of the Observable Work trail is Twitter's #OWork tag. All of the participant's seem to use Twitter as a commons linking posts that either directly respond to the Observable Work conversation, or are related in some interesting way, such as Tom Peter's Strategy: Space Matters ("who sits next to whom in your office can make a huge difference"), JP Rangaswami's Musing about learning by doing, Deb Lavoy's Common Operating Picture - share facts, debate possibilities, John Tropea's link to Keith Swanson's excellent slide set, and John's soon-to-be-published post on Adaptive Case Management.

Unfortunately neither Twitter nor Google's hash tag search seems complete and reliable. So far as I can tell not all Tweets mentioning are found by either service. There's room for improvement on the public Web as well as the Enterprise 2.0 domain.

Apology to the Easily Distracted: Readers who find embedded links distracting don't have to click while reading the paragraph. I apologize if using the Web to source references that would be unimaginably difficult to provide in any other medium is a distraction. I believe it's not hard to exercise a little discipline when reading, then go back and click any links where you'd like to dive deeper based on your interests. I like to put a small number of See Also links at the bottom of posts where you can dive deeper if you choose.

Related

The Work Graph Model: TeamPage style - "...A work graph consists of the units of work (tasks, ideas, clients, goals, agenda items); information about that work (relevant conversations, files, status, metadata); how it all fits together; and then the people involved with the work (who’s responsible for what? which people need to be kept in the loop?)"

Reinventing the Web - Ted Nelson, Tim Berners-Lee and the evolution of the Web. The Web rightly won versus "better" models by turning permanence into a decentralized economic decision.

Reinventing the Web II - Why isn't the Web a reliable and useful long term store for the links and content people independently create? What can we do to fix that? Who benefits from creating spaces with stable, permanently addressable content? Who pays? What incentives can make Web scale permanent, stable content with reliable bidirectional links and other goodies as common and useful as Web search over the entire flakey, decentralized and wildly successful Web?

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz - The social dance of getting things done, dealing with exceptions, and staying aware of what’s going around you

Fixing Enterprise Search - Context and addressable content in functional line of business systems

Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box - Hypertext and the Web

User Experience Standards for Social Computing in the Enterprise Notes for Mike Gotta E2.0 Boston 2010 panel

Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work - A riff on themes from Jim McGee and Jon Udell

29 July 2010 | Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work: Brian Tullis and Joe Crumpler, Burton Group Catalyst 2010 Santa Diego

Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work

June 23, 2010 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


I really like Jim McGee's Jun 23, 2010 blog post Managing the visibility of knowledge work. Jim makes the excellent point that "Invisibility is an accidental and little-recognized characteristic of digital knowledge work." and points back to his 2002 post Knowledge Work as Craft Work to reflect on what Jim calls a "dangerous tension between industrial frameworks and knowledge work as craft work". Early in his 2002 post McGee says:

"The Importance of visibility in craft work Almost by definition, the final product, process, and intermediate stages of craft work are visible. Consider your experiences at a glass blowing workshop or touring a silversmith's workshop. The journey from apprentice to master craftsman depends on the visibility of all aspects of craft work."

Jim continues with an exceptional analysis of what he calls "Knowledge work today as invisible craft":

"One unintended consequence of today's technology environment is to make the process of knowledge work less visible just when we need it to be more so. The end products of knowledge work are already highly refined abstractions; a financial analysis, project plan, consulting report, or article. Today, the evolution from germ of an idea through intermediate representations and false starts to finished product exists, if at all, as a series of morphing digital representations and ephemeral feedback interactions."

Please read the full post!

Two connections sprang to mind (and I didn't need a hyperlink to divert my attention - mea culpa):

1) Jon Udell's April 2009 talk at the April 2009 Open Education Conference. Udell says:

"In the pre-industrial era, education and work were: Observable, connected
In the post-industrial era, they are: Non-observable, disconnected"

Jon notes that only recently have work processes become network observable, and that this was rare in practice for all but software people. Jon speculates that software folk's norms of feedback, iterative refinement and testable outcomes seem aligned with principles of observable work - and they've become comfortable with networked technology after using the Internet for collaborative development of software and standards over many years.

2) Thomas Stewart in the Wealth of Knowledge (and my personal experience working on projects at the Naval Research Laboratory many years ago). Stewart says:

"A whale ship was my Yale College and my Harvard," said Herman Melville's Ishmael; when it came to learning my job, circulating correspondence was mine. Reading my superiors' letters opened a window into how they conducted business with the world outside; I aped things more experienced colleagues did, and saw how they handled tricky situations; I copied useful addresses into my Rolodex (another antique). I learned who knew what, and that made me better at asking for advice."

I don’t think the notion of visible work or observable work is new: mentoring, apprenticeship, and letting trusted folk watch, learn and use what they see on their own is how law, medicine and other professions were originally taught and refined as collaborative practices - and it's still so today. But as Jim McGee points out, we've lost some of the habits of observable work - to some degree intentionally, to some degree due to blinders added by the tools we've grown comfortable using:

"With e-mail, word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation tools, maintaining visibility of your knowledge work (at both the individual and workgroup level) requires mindful effort. An office full of papers and books provided clues about the knowledge work process; a laptop offers few such clues. A file directory listing is pretty thin in terms of useful knowledge sharing content. In an analog process, it’s easy to discern the history and flow of work. When an executive takes a set of paper slides and rearranges them on a conference room floor, a hidden and compelling story line may be revealed. You can see, and learn from, this fresh point of experience. That’s lost when the same process occurs at a laptop keyboard at 35,000 feet. The gain in personal productivity occurs at the expense of organizational learning."

I believe that Enterprise 2.0 principles open the door to making most work observable throughout an enterprise. There are important exceptions to protect the privacy of employee medical, financial and personnel records as well as Board and other discussions which require an exceptional degree of privacy until approved for release or for a longer term. I believe that Enterprise 2.0 collaboration principles apply equally to these more private domains within the enterprise as well as domains open to most employees. With appropriate attention to security and privacy in context, most collaborative work with external stakeholders including clients, customers, suppliers can also be made observable throughout the enterprise while simultaneously respecting privacy among clients, customers, suppliers, and all internal stakeholders.

Jim suggests that principles of observable work apply to the flow of work as well as the work product:

"The right starting point is to simply make the flow of work more visible. I suspect that this is one of the underlying attractions of social networking and micro-blogging. They promise to restore some visibility to digital team work that we lost in the first generation of tools."

I agree with Jim's suggestion. I also suggest that both the flow of work and the collaborative work product recognize privacy in context for authoring, linking, tagging, discussion, content navigation and search that seamlessly connects the worlds of flow and content. This makes it possible for almost everyone in an enterprise to be potentially aware of almost everything their organization is doing - and who knows what - to the benefit of each individual and to the enterprise as a whole.

I believe Traction TeamPage 5.0 is exceptionally well equipped to enable that vision - that's our explicit goal - but please see for yourself.

I believe that principles of open, observable work – like open book financial reporting to employees - is a simple and powerful principle that people at every level of an organization can become comfortable using. In my opinion, wider adoption of observable work principles can succeed with support and encouragement from true leaders at every level of an organization - as Peter Drucker defines that role: "A manager's task is to make the strengths of people effective and their weakness irrelevant--and that applies fully as much to the manager's boss as it applies to the manager's subordinates."

Related

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz
29 July 2010 | Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work: Brian Tullis and Joe Crumpler, Burton Group Catalyst 2010 Santa Diego
Intertwingled Work
Peter Drucker and Enterprise 2.0 | Drucker Centenary
Enterprise 2.0 Schism
Borders, Spaces, and Places
Learn by watching - Then do
Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart

Welcome to Traction TeamPage 5.0!

June 15, 2010 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

On Tuesday June 15, 2010 we'll introduce Traction TeamPage Release 5.0 to the world at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston. TeamPage Release 5.0's new generation Proteus interface technology is fast, simple, and looks great. TeamPage 5.0 leverages this technology to add extensible personal profile pages, Twitter style personal status, group live blog technology, slick and simple Feed summary and more as a natural part of Traction's award winning Enterprise 2.0 platform.

I believe Proteus lives up to the TUG 2009 Proteus mantra: Fast, Simple, Beautiful and hope you agree. I'd like to thank all of the members of the Traction Software Team for imagining, designing and bringing Proteus to life - particularly Andy Keller, Chris Nuzum, Dave Shepperton and Michael Angeles. I'd also like to thank the Traction TeamPage customers who worked closely with us in the conceptual design, mockup, wireframe and preview stages of Proteus, social networking, and project management extensions.

Please see Traction Traction TeamPage 5.0: Social Software for Work for a brief white paper on TeamPage 5.0 including a tour of these slides:

A release candidate for Traction TeamPage 5.0 is available today for download and installation by customers - including users of the free five user TeamPage configuration.

TeamPage 5.0 is also running on Traction Software’s corporate TeamPage server which provides free access (registration required). Register today to join the conversation and download a free copy of Traction TeamPage 5.0.

I hope you all enjoy using TeamPage 5.0 as much as everyone at Traction Software already does. Tell your friends!

The spy who came in from the code | O'Reilly Radar | Carmen Medina interview

May 4, 2010 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

See The spy who came in from the code for James Turner's excellent O'Reilly Radar interview with Carmen Medina who recently retired from the CIA after 32 years after serving in roles including Deputy Director of Intelligence, and Director of the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence. Carmen was the keynote speaker at Traction Software's Oct 2009 Traction User Group meeting, speaking on Enterprise 2.0 and the Context of Work (see slides and video). She'll speak at the Gov 2.0 Expo on May 26, 2010 Washington DC on A Match made in Heaven: High Reliability-High Risk Organizations and the Power of Social Networks. Don't miss her talk, and follow @milouness on Twitter!

Ada Lovelace Day | Fran Allen, IBM Fellow and A.M. Turing Award Winner

March 23, 2010 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

For the second annual Ada Lovelace Day, March 24, 2010 - celebrating women in science and technology - I've chosen to write about Frances E. Allen, IBM Fellow, Turing Award winner and pioneer in the theory and practice of optimizing compilers. I've never had the pleasure of meeting her in person, but I'll take the liberty of calling her Fran, as Dick Merwin and everyone I know called her in their Fran stories.

According to her Wikipedia biography, Fran Allen grew up on a farm in update New York. After earning BSc and MSc degrees in Mathematics she joined IBM in July 1957, deeply in debt and planning to stay only until her school loans were paid. She stayed for a 45-year IBM career that included pioneering research and development in computer languages and compilers, leading her to become the first female IBM Fellow in 1989. She retired from IBM in 2002, won the Augusta Ada Lovelace Award that year from the Association for Women in Computing, and the A.M. Turing Award for 2006 (aka computing's Nobel Prize. Fran used the $100,000 Turing prize, funded by Intel, to start a fund to teach girls in areas of the world where educational opportunities are slim.

I first learned about Fran's work from Dick Merwin, then my boss at the Safeguard System Office, and former Engineering Manager of the IBM Stretch / Harvest computer. Stretch (aka the IBM 7030) was an extraordinarily ambitious and influential project to build the world's fastest computer; it was that - although it fell short of its 'stretch' goal of 100x faster than the IBM 704.

Very early in her career Fran played a crucial role in creating computer languages and compiler optimization techniques for the NSA's HARVEST system (which used Stretch technology) which Fran described in a Nov 2000 interview:

From abstract: " In response to government requests, IBM Research designed a system for a very large data processing application, known as the HARVEST system, including Stretch, which was delivered to the National Security Agency in the early 1960s. The combined Stretch-HARVEST Project created a milieu for developing new technologies, new hardware architectures, and new software to meet the challenges of both systems. One of the guiding principles of the project was to make programming easier by the use of a compiler to generate code automatically from statements in the user's language.

Allen was a member of the ALPHA language design team which created a very high level language featuring, among other things, the ability to create new alphabets beyond the system defined alphabets (e.g. English, decimal, integer, binary) and treat complex, heterogeneous data in high-level statements. In addition to an overview of Stretch-HARVEST, the talk will describe some of the lesser known aspects of the project the people and institutions involved, the political climate, and the shared knowledge, views, and value systems which were part of this interesting project at an interesting time in the history of computing. "

Stretch HARVEST compiler lecture by Fran Allan | Film | Computer History Museum

And finally: "Allen, 74, thinks women were more prevalent when she started her career--in 1959, three of her four IBM co-managers were women--than they are today. The shortage of women in IT "is getting worse," she says." Fran Allen 2007 Information Week Interview.

Footnote: I tip my hat to IBM for its early leadership in fair, progressive employment and promotion policies that encouraged recruiting, recognition and promotion of highly qualified women, minorities and others who suffered from discrimination. It was was not only a morally right action, but also a business decision that brought exceptional talent to IBM to the lasting benefit of IBM stockholders.

Order shirts or mugs with the Ada Lovelace Day art (shown above) by Sidney Padua, author of The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage - a free Web comic you'll surely enjoy.

Via FindingAda.com here's a great Ada Lovelace Day 2010 presentation by Andra Keary

Garry Kasparov on Computer Chess and Enterprise 2.0

February 19, 2010 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Professor Andrew McAfee posted a very good business analysis of points made by Garry Kasparov in his Feb 11, 2010 New York Review of Books article on Diego Rasskin-Gutman's book Chess Metaphors: Artificial Intelligence and the Human Mind. Kasparov's summarized of his own thoughts as a Chess Grandmaster and world chess champion playing against - and losing to - IBM's Deep Blue chess computer. But the interesting part comes when Kasparov talks about a recent match open to grandmasters who were allowed to use computer chess programs of their choice to augment their own chess skills: "The surprise came at the conclusion of the event. The winner was revealed to be not a grandmaster with a state-of-the-art PC but a pair of amateur American chess players using three computers at the same time." McAfee quotes Kasparov and continues:

My favorite aspect of these 'freestyle' competitions was the specific type of human creativity that led to victory. Instead of pure chess genius, it was something much closer to business process design brilliance. The overall winner was a team that contained neither the best human players nor the biggest and fastest computers. Instead, it consisted of "a pair of amateur American chess players using three computers at the same time. Their skill at manipulating and "coaching" their computers to look very deeply into positions effectively counteracted the superior chess understanding of their grandmaster opponents and the greater computational power of other participants."

Kasparov was surprised at this outcome and I have to confess that I was as well, despite my deep conviction that a well-designed process is a potent weapon. I didn't think that smart process design — in this case, a process for determining the "best" chess move — could overcome both cognitive and computational deficits. But it did, even in this domain where brains and calculations would appear to be the only things that matter. As Kasparov writes of this amazing result, "Weak human + machine + better process was superior to a strong computer alone and, more remarkably, superior to a strong human + machine + inferior process." I think that's my new motto. - Andrew McAfee, Harvard Business Review, Feb 18, 2010

Read McAfee's Did Garry Kasparov Stumble Into a New Business Process Model for his excellent analysis and conclusions. I commented: Thanks for a great post on what it means to augment rather than automate business processes! Doug Engelbart devoted a lifetime of work to investigating how technology can augment the abilities people to address complex and challenging problems, including but not limited to business (see Engelbart links below).

The Kasparov quote also gets to what I believe is the heart of the Enterprise 2.0 value debate:

• ERP / MRP / BI and other enterprise IT systems deliver value based on optimizing flow of transactions, optimizing management of predictable processes, or providing analytic insight. ROI calculation for optimizing automated processes is straightforward - and managers are comfortable estimating the potential business value of better analytics.

• Enterprise 2.0 systems augment the ability of organizations to recognize and deal with opportunities, exceptions (and threats) which aren't predictable but have high enough value and occur frequently enough give companies who execute well a sustainable competitive advantage.

I believe the two points are connected. Expensive analytic and reporting systems are of little value if discoveries made can't be turned into actionable insights. Senior management should weigh how Enterprise 2.0 techniques can augment their people's ability deliver value using the expensive transactional and analytic IT systems that they already have or want to create.

Related

Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010 Augmentation quotes and links

Enterprise 2.0 Schism Why I believe that Doug Engelbart and Peter Drucker are Patron Saints of E2.0

Augmenting Human Intellect: Remove the brick

In 1962 Doug Engelbart wrote the paper he calls his bible: AUGMENTING HUMAN INTELLECT: A Conceptual Framework. It is both a roadmap of his lifework - and a white paper presented to ARPA and other agencies for funding. In 1962 Doug could not cite examples for the use of computer systems to augment the creative and problem solving abilities of humans - he was in the process of inventing that - but he could perform a de-augmentation experiment which he used as a counter example. He tied a brick to a pencil and demonstrated that his handwriting became much slower and much less legible. My paraphrase of Doug's research objective: Remove the bricks that limit our ability to write, work and communicate effectively by providing computer systems that augment people's natural abilities to write, work and communicate.

Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart

Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010

January 30, 2010 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

"DOUG Engelbart sat under a twenty-two-foot-high video screen, "dealing lightning with both hands." At least that's the way it seemed to Chuck Thacker, a young Xerox PARC computer designer who was later shown a video of the demonstration that changed the course of the computer world." from What the Dormouse Said, John Markoff

Doug Engelbart has been recognized as a great figure in the history of technology with awards including the National Medal of Technology presented by President Bill Clinton for: "... creating the foundations of personal computing including continuous real-time interaction based on cathode-ray tube displays and the mouse, hypertext linking, text editing, on-line journals, shared-screen teleconferencing, and remote collaborative work."'

Doug is also noble figure. Motives that drive Doug's research have a moral purpose, reflecting the skills and attitude of a great engineer and humanitarian: If the world is faced with complex, intractable problems that challenge the ability of individuals and nations to solve, what can I do to help people fix what's broken?

Doug's research focuses on how computers can aid people's ability to think and work as groups as well as individuals - what Doug refers to as Augmentation rather than Automation. This involves understanding how problem solving groups actually behave - and how introducing new technology changes behavior and vice versa. This led me to nominate Doug along with Peter Drucker as a patron saint of Enterprise 2.0; the phrase is flip but the thought is serious. Please send 85th Birthday greetings to Doug today.

I'll let Doug speak for himself in the opening paragraphs of what he calls the bible of his research agenda, AUGMENTING HUMAN INTELLECT: A Conceptual Framework from Oct 1962:

By "augmenting human intellect" we mean increasing the capability of a man to approach a complex problem situation, to gain comprehension to suit his particular needs, and to derive solutions to problems. Increased capability in this respect is taken to mean a mixture of the following: more-rapid comprehension, better comprehension, the possibility of gaining a useful degree of comprehension in a situation that previously was too complex, speedier solutions, better solutions, and the possibility of finding solutions to problems that before seemed insoluble. And by "complex situations" we include the professional problems of diplomats, executives, social scientists, life scientists, physical scientists, attorneys, designers--whether the problem situation exists for twenty minutes or twenty years. We do not speak of isolated clever tricks that help in particular situations. We refer to a way of life in an integrated domain where hunches, cut-and-try, intangibles, and the human "feel for a situation" usefully co-exist with powerful concepts, streamlined terminology and notation, sophisticated methods, and high-powered electronic aids.1a1

Man's population and gross product are increasing at a considerable rate, but the complexity of his problems grows still faster, and the urgency with which solutions must be found becomes steadily greater in response to the increased rate of activity and the increasingly global nature of that activity. Augmenting man's intellect, in the sense defined above, would warrant full pursuit by an enlightened society if there could be shown a reasonable approach and some plausible benefits.1a2

This report covers the first phase of a program aimed at developing means to augment the human intellect. These "means" can include many things--all of which appear to be but extensions of means developed and used in the past to help man apply his native sensory, mental, and motor capabilities--and we consider the whole system of a human and his augmentation means as a proper field of search for practical possibilities. It is a very important system to our society, and like most systems its performance can best be improved by considering the whole as a set of interacting components rather than by considering the components in isolation. - AUGMENTING HUMAN INTELLECT: A Conceptual Framework, Douglas Engelbart October 1962

And notes from a conversation with Alan Kay - one of the two thousand people who attended Doug's Dec 1968 Demo, and went on to shape the world of technology as we know it.

Alan Kay At PARC one of the goals was to do NLS as a distributed system and all of the ALTOs had the five-finger keyboards as well as the mouse on them. We basically loved NLS and we'd done a few modifications which we thought even sped up. NLS part of the interaction scheme on it was, I believe, because the analog mouse there was some drift in it, so one of the things that they did was to say what kind of a thing you were pointing at, so you'd say move character or move word or move paragraph and so forth. It was kind of a procedure where you gave the command first and then bug bug and then command accept. We realized at Xerox PARC that you wanted to have a speedy scheme for interacting and we thought we could go even one better by selecting the objects, so you'd select something you'd do something to, give the command and then, in the case of move character you'd go select, move, select and it would it with fewer keystrokes.

Now, the abortion that happened after PARC was the misunderstanding of the user interface that we did for children, which was the overlapping window interface which we made as naive as absolutely we possibly could to the point of not having any work flow ideas in it and that was taken over uncritically out into the outside world. So we have many systems, like Lotus Notes and many mail systems that when you say replay it comes up with a window over the very thing you were reading as though there weren't any connection between these things. So this is an abortion to me, but its basically part of the whole feel. Whereas our notion was that you start the kids off on this fairly simple, naive thing and then there would be an actual progression where you would get up to this several commands a second kind of thing that you could do with NLS. If you have ever seen anybody use NLS it is really marvelous cause you're kindof flying along through the stuff several commands a second and there's a complete different sense of what it means to interact than you have today. I characterize what we have today as a wonderful bike with training wheels on that nobody knows they are on so nobody is trying to take them off. I just feel like we're way way behind where we could have been if it weren't for the way commercialization turned out.

Doug Engelbart Well, strangely enough, I feel the same. It's part of the thing of the easy to learn and natural to use thing that became sort of a god to follow and the marketplace is driving it and its successful and you could market on that basis, but some of the diagrams pictures that I didn't quite get to the other day was how do you ever migrate from a tricycle to a bicycle because a bicycle is very unnatural and very hard to learn compared to a tricycle, and yet in society it has superseded all the tricycles for people over five years old. So the whole idea of high-performance knowledge work is yet to come up and be in the domain. Its still the orientation of automating what you used to do instead of moving to a whole new domain in which you are going to obviously going to learn quite a few new skills. And so you make analogies of suppose you wanted to move up to the ski slopes and be mobile on skis. Well, just visiting them for an afternoon is not going to do it. So, I'd love to have photographs of skateboards and skis and windsurfing and all of that to show you what people can really if they have a new way supplied by technology to be mobile in a different environment. None of that could be done if people insisted that it was an easy-to-learn thing.

So, moving your way around those thought vectors in concept space - I'd forgotten about that

Alan Kay You said that, right?

Doug Engelbart I must have, its so good. [laughter] Its to externalize your thoughts in the concept structures that are meaningful outside and moving around flexibly and manipulating them and viewing them. Its a new way to operate on a new kind of externalized medium. So, to keep doing it in a model of the old media is just a hangup that someplace we're going to break that perspective and shift and then the idea of high performance and the idea of high performance teams who've learned to coordinate, to get that ball down the field together in all kinds of operations. I feel like the real breakthrough for us getting someplace is going to be when we say 'All right, lets put together high-performance, knowledge-work teams and lets pick the roles they're going to play within our organizations in some way in such even though they operate very differently from their peers out in the rest of the organization they can interact with them and support them very effectively. So there are roles like that that would be very effective and everyone else can sortof see because they're interacting with these guys what they can do. And suppose it does take 200 hours of specialized training - that's less than boot camp.

One of those boxes on that paradigm map about deployment was really coming down and showing you that special purpose teams are one kind of thing in the way that they can propagate and very different from moving a group of people who have an existing set of staff and processes and methods and skills and equipment and trying to move them all together. It's practically an impossible task to do that in any significantly large step without having casualties. They just aren't all equipped to mobile in that space. So, there's a lot to go with that and it all stems from looking at today and saying 'why do we accept that?' That's the modern thing, its almost a religion. In any other company I'd be afraid to bring that out. Maybe I'll have to run from you too... from Notes from the Panels The Brown / MIT Vannevar Bush Symposium, October 1995

Update Remembering Doug Engelbart, 30 January 1925 - 2 July 2013

Resources

DougEngelbart.org: The Doug Engelbart Institute was was conceived by Doug Engelbart to further his lifelong career goal of boosting our ability to better address complex, urgent problems. It contains an excellent history, archive of papers, photos and other published resources as well as links to Doug's current projects.

Douglas Engelbart Interviewed by John Markoff of the New York Times Outracing the Fire: 50 Years and Counting of Technology and Change Computer History Museum oral history interview, March 26, 2002.

Doug Engelbart Video Archive: 1968 Demo - FJCC Conference Presentation Reel Dec 9, 1968 Internet Archive, the so called Mother of All Demos. See also From Pranksters to PCs chapter about Engelbart's 1968 FJCC demo from John Markoff's book What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry, authorized excerpt.

Video Archive MIT / Brown Vannevar Bush Symposium: A Celebration of Vannevar Bush's 1945 Vision, An Examination of What Has Been Accomplished, and What Remains to Be Done. Oct 12-13 1995, MIT. Talks and panel discussion with Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, Andy van Dam, Tim Berners-Lee, Alan Kay and others. See also ACM Interactions summary (free access), transcript of day 1 and day 2 panels.

Doug Engelbart's copy of Vannevar Bush's 1945 As We May Think, with Doug's 1962 notes scribbled in the margins.

Tuesday Dec 9, 2008 | Forty years after the Mother of All Demos Engelbart's demonstration of the Augment shared screen hypertext and video system developed by a team at SRI under Doug's leadership. Links to videos, interviews and other resources

AUGMENTING HUMAN INTELLECT: A Conceptual Framework By Douglas C. Engelbart October 1962 (SRI AUGMENT, 3906)

And yes, Doug also invented the mouse, and used it in his 1968 demo. But introducing Doug as the inventor of the mouse is like introducing Leonardo da Vinci as a guy who knew how to make good paint brushes.

Traction Software Blog Posts

Enterprise 2.0 Schism

Reinventing the Web

Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart

Tricycles vs. Training Wheels

Facebook: A Carnival Midway not a Neighborhood?

December 17, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Oliver Marks wrote a very good post: Facebook: The Legal Rumblings Start Dec 17, 2009, on the Facebook's potential legal exposure due to its controversial changes to member privacy capabilities and settings. My comment: Oliver -- Very good followup on Facebook's awkward (to put it mildly) changes to selective privacy capabilities which were a large part of their differentiation vs Friendster and MySpace.

With over 70 million folk apparently hooked on "social" games like Farmville, targeted ads that seem to belong on late night TV, and incredibly lame attempts to nag folk get their friends to use Facebook more (giving "viral" a new and flu like meaning), I see Facebook becoming a downscale carnival midway more than a neighborhood. They certainly have a right to do that.

Originally I thought the equally lame and manipulative privacy changes would just contribute to the downmarket feel of the place.

But as you point out - EU privacy laws may land them in legal entanglements too.

Facebook is becoming a bad example rather than a good example for use of social software in the enterprise - or anywhere for that matter. Look out below!


My point is that Facebook has every legal right to attempt to develop, market and monetize a site with whatever privacy and promotional rules it wants - and let customers vote with their feet. But changing rules of an established site by eliminating privacy related permissions can run into legal trouble as well as losing trust that makes people comfortable continuing to use the site.

Facebook seems to be floundering and flailing into the greedy vision of "a closed Internet with ads" that has been the graveyard of AOL, Friendster and others, see the Onion Video Internet Archaeologists Find Ruins of 'Friendster' Civilization. Even worse - Facebook ads, apps and promotions are increasingly loud, spammy and sometimes offensive. Google does a pretty good job of mixing advertising that's not too obtrusive with their services - and the certainly makes money. Facebook should learn from Google.

I believe that the popularity of social sites on the public Web and the value of internally and externally facing Enterprise 2.0 collaboration comes from a skilled combination of affordances that make spaces more or less inviting and suitable to some intended purpose. Great architects of physical places know that people bring expectations and norms about the kind of behavior that's appropriate and enjoyable to any physical space - and that's a lesson that public Web and Enterprise 2.0 designers need to learn and use.

Related

The Social Facebook Fiasco Oliver Marks, Dec 15, 2009. Analysis. "...the effect of these Facebook fiascos are a confused business audience, some of whom would like to see an ‘enterprise Facebook’ in their corporate environment…if they could get a handle on Facebook’s ever mutating terms of service."

Facebook's Privacy Move Violates Contract with Users Kaliya Hamlin, Dec 15, 2009. Guest RWW post reviews the changing "social contract" offered by Facebook - and points to Second Quarter 2010 planned availability of Facebook's Social Graph API as the motive for the privacy change.

Privacy groups file complaint with FTC over Facebook settings Larry Dignan, Dec 17, 2009. A very concise summary of Facebook's Dec 2009 revision to privacy settings offered to members.

Explaining Twitter - One of Three Places for People I decided to describe Twitter as one of three distinct places on the Web where I socialize every day: the public commons. The others two are my neighborhood (Facebook) and my workplace (the 300+ spaces on Traction Software's TeamPage server). Compares and contrasts patterns of connections and the social architecture at work and in public places.

Ask an Engineer: What do you think of the Facebook Terms of Service Flap? Analyzes the Feb 2009 Facebook terms of service revision flap based on the difficulty in defining privacy policy based on two different and irreconcilable sets of expectation on what should happen to data previously shared by applications if a member subsequently revokes permission to share.

Clarity Amid the Hype What's different about enterprise Twitter? Most of this carries forward to consideration of What's different about enterprise Facebook?

Borders, Spaces, and Places How to model permissions and borders to enable collaboration where there's a natural expectation of privacy crossing many spaces - for example a law firms simultaneous collaboration with each its clients as well as internal groups. Permissions and borders need to be simple, scaleable and secure to work for internal and externally facing E2.0 collaboration.

How big a deal is Enterprise 2.0? What do you mean by "Big"?

November 22, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


I'm flattered that Professor Andrew McAfee cites Enterprise 2.0 Schism in his Nov 20, 2009 blog post Enterprise 2.0 is Not THAT Big a Deal, kicking off a neat discussion on serious points behind my tongue in cheek analysis. McAfee agrees that Enterprise 2.0 is a big deal - but "... I don't see E2.0's tools, approaches, and philosophies making obsolete managers, hierarchies, org charts and formal cross functional business processes". There's no need to use a 2.0 version for the Enterprise, but:

I yield to almost no one in my belief about the power and utility of ESSPs [ Emergent Social Software Platforms ], but I just don’t think they’re going to transform the structure or purpose of the enterprise. As I wrote earlier, I don’t see E2.0’s tools, approaches, and philosophies making obsolete managers, hierarchies, org charts, and formal cross functional business processes...

I want to be clear: Lloyd’s post is fantastic: grounded and very thoughtful. He’s not in the enterprise-as-slime-mold camp. And I definitely agree with him that Enterprise 2.0 is a big deal. So what’s the right way to describe its impact?

Here’s my take: ESSPs will have about as big an impact on the informal processes of the organization as large-scale commercial enterprise systems (ERP, CRM, Supply Chain, etc.) have had on the formal processes.

This is not a conservative statement. Enterprise systems have been a huge deal for organizations. They’ve turned reengineering from a whiteboard exercise into an unignorable reality for many, many companies. And Drucker was right when he said that “Reengineering is new, and it has to be done.” - Andrew McAfee Nov 20, 2009

I happily replied:

Andy -- Thank you for the kind words as well as the thoughtful analysis. I agree strongly with your take that the impact on the informal processes will be as large as the impact of large scale commercial enterprise systems on formal processes.

I differ a little by including daily working communication, awareness and alerting (the way people work - not workflow or transactional communication) along with the ESSPs as having a large impact on the informal processes of organizations.

It's an interesting - Peter Drucker style - question to see how this plays out over time see my Drucker Centenary post which really should have been titled: "What questions would Peter Drucker Ask about Enterprise 2.0?"

On the 2.0 question: I always took the "2.0" of Web 2.0 as a tongue in cheek observation that the way people use the web and their expectations have shifted dramatically even though there is no "version" you can associate with the emergent phenomena we call the Web. "Who rolled the version?" on the Web is a funny and enlightening question.

I wouldn't expect organizations to use "2.0" as much more that a rallying cry, koan or plain old kick in the pants to take a look around and see what's changed. That's useful too.

Euan Semple commented:

Great post Andrew. I think what is happening IS a big deal but have been wary of labelling it Enterprise 2.0 as this makes it too easy to make it "other" and ignore it or assimilate it - bit like what happened to KM. I don't think our current methods of organisation are inevitable and I don't think we have even begun to see the effect of networked ways of thinking on how we relate to the world. This is why when asked recently how long I thought it would be before the full impact of what is happening works itself into organisational life I said fifty years.

I replied:

I agree with your 50 years - if you start the clock running with Doug Engelbart in 1968!

More seriously - for a major shift in enterprise use of technology I believe 10 years (from early adopter to common use) is closer : From "We have a Web Page" in 1993 to Web Commerce Bubble of 2001; Rare use of inter-enterprise email 1988 to universal by 1998; "Enterprise 2.0" in the broad sense 2006 to 2016. Pretty close to Engelbart + 50 years!

The evolution of the Web itself is an great example of an emergent phenomena. It started from TBL's very austere protocols and concepts though unpredictable and intertwingled rounds of innovation in how the Web was used the tech layered over it (search engines+), see Reinventing the Web for my view as early Web skeptic.

I believe the motivation for changing informal processes of organizations will come from a combination of: 1) people's expectations on how things can and should work from their direct experience with the public Web (as well as internal examples); 2) a measure of strategic thinking about how patterns of work and management can change based on new technology and expectations - in the spirit of Drucker and Engelbart.

Very few individuals in an enterprise are experts in ERP / MRP / Supply Chain Management etc so the feedback and demand cycles that drive human factor improvement and evolution of these systems are very weak. I have very few constructive comments on improving my payroll system and only whine about its eccentricities and complexity.

However everyone is a social animal and brings that experience to work every day. That's the "social" in social software that will drive evolution and adoption of new enterprise technology - with the public Web as a practical benchmark.

Euan replies:

I'm sticking to 50 years from now! I was thinking of the impact on how we structure organisations rather than just common adoption of technologies. Still think that will take a long time.

If I'm wrong I hope I'm around to settle the bet in fifty years!

Related

Tuesday Dec 9, 2008 | Forty years after the Mother of All Demos
And here's what Enterprise 2.0 looked like in 1968 | Dealing lightning with both hands...

Peter Drucker and Enterprise 2.0 | Drucker Centenary

November 19, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Earlier this week Oliver Marks wrote an excellent post on his Collaboration 2.0 Blog: 'The Purpose of a Business is to Create a Customer' - Peter Drucker Centenary. Oliver celebrates the Nov 19, 2009 Centenary of Peter Drucker's birth with two of his favorite Drucker bumper sticker quotes: " ‘Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes‘ and ‘There is an enormous number of managers who have retired on the job‘, which somehow seem to fit together very well." then uses these quotes as context to discuss the disturbing findings of the 2009 Shift Index report and followup analysis by John Hagel, John Seely Brown and Lang Davidson of the Deloitte Center for Edge Innovation. Please read Oliver's full post - you'll like it. Oliver was also used kind words to build on my earlier Enterprise 2.0 Schism post. Here's a slightly extended version of the comment I posted in reply, along with my two favorite Drucker bumper sticker quotes and several links to celebrate Drucker's birth and life.

Thank you for the kind words and for pointing out the HBR Drucker Centenary issue. My "Enterprise 2.0 Schism" post was fun to write - with tongue firmly in cheek - as you note. But it also expresses some serious beliefs.

For me the key Drucker quote is: "The purpose of an organization is to enable ordinary human beings to do extraordinary things."

The scale shift that ubiquitous Web tech enables as well as bottom up participation in E2.0 initiatives are both necessary - but neither are sufficient to distinguish "Enterprise 2.0" from the Web we see and use every day outside work. I believe the difference lies in the shared purpose which drives people to create or join an enterprise and work together over time, along with the need to manage use of scarce resources to a shared end.

By definition an enterprise is a purposeful undertaking that generally requires many hands, expertise and capital that aren't easy for a non-purposeful group to gain and apply over time. This make the "social ecology" of an enterprise different from other groups.

In saying "2.0 modifies how the Enterprise works, not the technology," I take the rhetorical position that the technology which underlies E2.0 - specifically the ubiquitous Web as a platform - is a necessary enabler which provides the first chance to practically apply many of the principals of open work, distributed work and effective collaboration over time that Drucker and Engelbart have advocated for the past fifty years.

I believe that emergent phenomena which Prof Andrew McAfee includes as a core part of his definition of Enterprise 2.0 are significant and different in kind and structure from anything seen before in any enterprise - based on the speed, scale, simplicity and ubiquity of the technology combined with expectations and experience grounded in the public Web. Speculating on how management could embrace but not squash these phenomena to "create more customers" is a good Druckerian question.

But I also believe that the most likely path to large scale adoption and use of this enabling technology will come from small to mid size groups within an organization who intentionally use it to improve their own ability to get work done - rather than in direct pursuit of emergent benefits. They can (and by mandate should) open the direct and indirect record of their work to others who then may become better aware of what their enterprise plans to do, is doing or has done - and who knows what. I really like Jon Udell's term for this principal: Observable Work.

I believe this bottom up and pragmatic adoption model parallels lessons learned from bottom up Knowledge Management versus the failure of top down KM, and lessons learned from the history of the simple, practical Web itself versus failed dreams of more sophisticated universal hypertextuality.

The benefits that are new in kind are emergent, but the path to broad adoption and acceptance will be based on mutual consent, compelling benefits to those who do the work, leadership, and experimentation in activities that have a clear business purpose - designing, building, selling, maintaining products, providing services to clients, customers and partners.

It's presumptuous to guess what Peter Drucker would say about the relationship between the technology, techniques and phenomena we call Enterprise 2.0 and its potential to change the patterns of work and management of an enterprise.

But I believe it's fair to ask: "What sort of hard questions might Peter Drucker ask?" David Rendall (of the UK's National Health Service, Orkney) tossed a nice Druckerian question to Carmen Medina during the followup discussion to her Enterprise 2.0 and the Context of Work keynote at TUG 2009 last month:

#tug2009 Question for Carmen: how do those collaborative networks balance with clear lines of responsibility e.g. in healthcare? from TweetDeck @davidrendall

For example, the decision on course of treatment for a particular patient is yes or no and may be life and death. You want many people to be able to contribute to that decision - including the patient - but ultimately someone has to accept responsibility for that outcome. In all enterprises decisions between mutually exclusive courses of action need to be made - up to and including "bet the company" decisions.

See the video (time 68:20) for David's question. Then follow Carmen's response and a fascinating discussion that includes FAA experience in understanding and mandating training on cockpit resource management to make air crews aware of how to communicate effectively in high stress situations. Planes have literally flown into mountains when a junior officer was not willing or able to alert a senior pilot to a critical issue while the senior pilot was dealing with the same or an unrelated emergency.

Drucker would hold management ultimately responsibility for the course of action and outcome. But how to make best use of the experience and judgement of a distributed, experienced and self-directed organization is not a simple question, particularly in a crisis such as the mortgage credit crisis (or South Sea Bubble) where madness rather than wisdom of crowds is part of the problem. In my opinion Drucker was often at his best when expressing and defending contrarian opinions that he considered morally right as well as intellectually correct. See Schumpeter and Keynes which Drucker wrote on the Keynes Centenary.

Drucker makes the point that innovation in how an enterprise (profit or non-profit) works - how it provides motivation, support, leadership and resources to its members to "Create a Customer" - is as important as innovation in whatever else an enterprise delivers.

I hope we'll see more good work (like John Hagel & John Seely Brown's The Only Sustainable Edge) that focuses on E2.0 style business innovation based on Drucker's understanding of what drives success.

PS - My second Peter Drucker bumper sticker quote for the day: "A manager's task is to make the strengths of people effective and their weakness irrelevant--and that applies fully as much to the manager's boss as it applies to the manager's subordinates."

Peter Drucker Centennial

'The Purpose of a Business is to Create a Customer' - Peter Drucker Centenary Oliver Marks, Nov 16, 2009

Entreprise 2.0 : Les promesses du management moderne enfin tenues ? Cecil Dijoux, Nov 11, 2009

Drucker Centennial Week Celebration (Drucker100Week.co…) - The Drucker Institute, Claremont Graduate University

The Drucker Centennial (Drucker100.com) - The Drucker Institute
[ Drucker photo credit ]

The Drucker Centennial - Harvard Business Review, Nov 2009

Books and articles by Peter Drucker

Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices - Peter Drucker (Paperback edition 1993)

The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker's Essential Writings on Management (Collins Business Essentials) (Paperback 2008)

The Theory of Business - Peter Drucker, HBR Sep-Oct 1994 ($)

Schumpeter And Keynes - Peter Drucker, Forbes May 1983 (cover story) A superb essay comparing the two greatest economists of the 20th century, written in the centenary of Keynes birth. A Drucker classic on the relationship between economics and innovation.

Related

Enterprise 2.0 Schism

CIA and the NHS: Common features of “high risk, high reliability” organisations - David Rendall, A Web that Works, Nov 3, 2009

Carmen Medina: Enterprise 2.0 and the Context of Work | TUG 2009 Keynote

As We May Work - Andy van Dam

Mind, heart and hands: Lifelong learning and teaching in the digital age - Jon Udell on what he memorably calls the principal of Observable Work April 2009

Reinventing the Web

Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box

Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart

Enterprise 2.0 Schism

November 9, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

I have to confess that I've enjoyed watching recent rounds of Enterprise 2.0 discussion and mud wrestling. The fact that so many people enjoy debating definitions, values, doctrinal principals - even the existence of Enterprise 2.0 - makes me think that E2.0 might best be framed as a religious debate. With that in mind, I'd like to introduce a new and exciting element: schism.

I hereby declare myself an Enterprise 2.0 Strict Druckerian. I believe that "2.0" should be considered a modifier of Enterprise rather than an allusion to mere Web 2.0 technology - which is what an Enterprise 2.0 Strict Solutionist would have you believe.

I further declare: No, it is not "all about the people" - which is what an Enterprise 2.0 Strict Proletarian would have you believe. Without the enabling technology of the Web, plus search engines and other affordances based on Sir Tim Berners-Lee's innovation, the Strict Proletarian would find it difficult to fit the inhabitants of McAfee's inner, middle and outer rings into the same room, get them to participate in the same conference call, or exhibit their "emergent" behaviors using typewriters, copy machines, faxes and email. Speed, scale and connection patterns matter and the technology that spans these barriers is neither trivial nor insignificant to the phenomena Strict Proletarians value.

I believe that although both technology and broad bottom-up participation are necessary to achieve the Drukerian vision, neither element alone is sufficient to achieve the noble end of re-engineering how ordinary people work together to achieve the ends of enterprises they choose to affiliate with.

As Peter Drucker said: "The purpose of an organization is to enable ordinary human beings to do extraordinary things." Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices Chapter 28, The Spirit of Performance, p. 361 (1974)

I nominate Peter Drucker and Douglas Engelbart as Patron Saints of Enterprise 2.0 (Strict Druckerian). If you don't know who either of these gentlemen are, I suggest you click their Wikipedia links for two pretty good short biographies.

Peter Drucker constantly advised businesses to give employees direct control over their own work and environment, with teams of "knowledge workers" responsible for work toward goals stated as broad business objectives rather than prescriptive plans. Drucker stated that management could only achieve sustainable profits by treating people as an enterprise's most valued resources, not as costs. In later years he described his role as "social ecologist" rather than management consultant.

"Marketing alone does not make a business enterprise. In a static economy there are no business enterprises. There are not even businesspeople. The middleman of a static society is a broker who receives his compensation in the form of a fee, or a spectator who creates no value.

A business enterprise can exist only in an expanding economy, or at least in one that considers change both natural and acceptable. And business is the specific organ of growth, expansion and change.

The second function of a business is, therefore innovation - the provision of different economic satisfactions. It is not enough for the business to provide just any economic good and services; it must provide better and more economic ones. It is not necessary for a business to grow bigger; but it is necessary that it constantly grow better...

Above all innovation is not invention. It is a term of economics rather than technology. Non technological innovations - social or economic innovations - are at least as important as technological ones.

In the organization of a business enterprise, innovation can no more be considered a separate function than marketing. It is not confined to engineering or research, but extends across all parts of the business, all functions, all activities." Peter Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices (1974)

At a 1934 Cambridge seminar by John Maynard Keynes, "I suddenly realized that Keynes and all the brilliant economic students in the room were interested in the behavior of commodities, while I was interested in the behavior of people." Peter Drucker, The Ecological Vision, p. 75-76, (1993)

"A manager's task is to make the strengths of people effective and their weakness irrelevant--and that applies fully as much to the manager's boss as it applies to the manager's subordinates." Peter Drucker, Managing for the Future: The 1990's and Beyond (1992)

In an equally distinguished career, Douglas Engelbart has been enormously influential in creating and inspiring the creation of technology we use today (far beyond his invention of the mouse), but Doug's goals have always been expressed in terms of improving the abilities of groups to address complex, difficult and important problems:

"By 'augmenting human intellect' we mean increasing the capability of a man to approach a complex problem situation, to gain comprehension to suit his particular needs, and to derive solutions to problems. Increased capability in this respect is taken to mean a mixture of the following: more-rapid comprehension, better comprehension, the possibility of gaining a useful degree of comprehension in a situation that previously was too complex, speedier solutions, better solutions, and the possibility of finding solutions to problems that before seemed insoluble. And by 'complex situations' we include the professional problems of diplomats, executives, social scientists, life scientists, physical scientists, attorneys, designers--whether the problem situation exists for twenty minutes or twenty years. We do not speak of isolated clever tricks that help in particular situations. We refer to a way of life in an integrated domain where hunches, cut-and-try, intangibles, and the human 'feel for a situation' usefully co-exist with powerful concepts, streamlined terminology and notation, sophisticated methods, and high-powered electronic aids." Douglas Engelbart Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework, Introduction, (1962)

On the term "social software", I believe it's fair to blame it on Clay Shirky - who had the misfortune to introduce a term that's perfectly respectable for a sociologist who studies how technology influences group behavior:

“It's software that supports group interaction. I also want to emphasize, although that's a fairly simple definition, how radical that pattern is. The Internet supports lots of communications patterns, principally point-to-point and two-way, one-to-many outbound, and many-to-many two-way.” − Clay Shirky, A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy O’Reilly Conference (April 2003)

If the term "social" must be deprecated, I hope its banishment takes with it all Social X marketing buzzwords, job titles, twitter tags, and the well-earned disco ball reputations of the so-called Social Media gurus.

On "Return on investment" debates, I believe that Taylorist time-and-motion studies would show gains that exceed the modest costs of introducing and using Enterprise 2.0 software. However, for knowledge work where the potential business value is much greater than transactional (e.g. reduced time to handle a purchase order) value studies are difficult to design and far too easy to fudge. Long term experimental studies measuring business improvement are even more difficult:

"A very important surgeon delivered a talk on the large number of successful procedures for vascular reconstruction. At the end of the lecture, a young student at the back of the room timidly asked, 'Do you have any controls?' The great man hit the podium and said, 'Do you mean, "Did I not operate on half the patients?"' ... The hall grew very quiet and the voice at the back of the room very hesitantly replied, 'Yes, that's what I had in mind.' The surgeon's fist really came down as he thundered, 'Of course not, that would have doomed half of them to their death!'...The room was then quiet, and one could scarcely hear the small voice ask, 'Which half?'" - Dr. E. E. Peacock, Jr., University of Arizona College of Medicine; quoted in Medical World News, p. 45 (September 1, 1972) quoted by Edward Tufte in Beautiful Evidence (2006)

I believe the value of Enterprise 2.0 techniques comes from small to mid size groups within an organization who intentionally strive to improve their own ability to get work done, while opening the direct and indirect record of their work to others who then may become better aware of what their enterprise plans to do, is doing or has done - and who knows what.

Finally - having demonstrated the unerring truth of the Strict Druckerian position regarding the nature of Enterprise 2.0, I declare both the Strict Solutionist and Strict Proletarian interpretations to be false, heretical, and anathema. Living in our tolerant and civilized times, I found it difficult to imagine an appropriate way to separate those who obstinately cling to these heretical beliefs, until I ran across this nugget:

Nike does "email archeology" to decompose email thread to expose one part of a specific collaboration. :>) @lehawselive (4:20pm Nov 4, 2009)

So if you don't agree with me, I hope you spend the the rest of your corporate life decomposing email threads from your corporate archive into Google Waves or Traction TeamPage comments where others can benefit from your labor if not from your ideas.

Related

Enterprise 2.0: What a Crock - Dennis Howlett Aug 26, 2009

Denial is a river full of crocks - Gil Yehuda August 31, 2009

Enterprise 2.0 is a Crock: Discuss - Andrew McAfee Sep 2, 2009

[ And so much more. It's the Web - you could look it up - or follow the fun on Twitter ]

See also
How big a deal is Enterprise 2.0? What do you mean by "Big"?
Peter Drucker and Enterprise 2.0 | Drucker Centenary
Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010
Having versus Using Enterprise 2.0 Software
Reinventing the Web
Tuesday Dec 9, 2008 | Forty years after the Mother of All Demos - Doug Engelbart
Connections - Clay Shirky and Social Software
The Rise of Enterprise 2.0, Andrew McAfee | Video | Enterprise 2.0 Summit 2008 Tokyo

Schumpeter and Keynes, Peter Drucker, Forbes magazine (cover story) May 23, 1983 - This is great!

Afterword: This was far too much fun to write. I hope I haven't needlessly offended anyone, but I'm also happy to defend the essence of the Druckerian position in more serious terms; Enterprise 2.0 is a big tent and I hope it stays that way.

I also value the term Enterprise 2.0 for a reason over and above the Druckerian fantasy. Unlike terms invented to express a desire to sell software to managers (X Management - you do want to manage X don't you?), Enterprise 2.0 expresses a simple, grounded wish:

"I wish the software I used every day at work allowed me to find what I want; discover what I need to know - along with surprises; and connect with people I don't even know to get my job done, learn more, and work in an enjoyable place." or much more narrowly: "Why can I find what I need with Google on the Web, but have to pull teeth to find anything useful when I go to work?"

This is a grounded wish since everyone in business has a direct basis for comparison - what they or their children see, use and enjoy on the public Web every day. This doesn't mean that expectations, behavior, and (uh sociology) of the public Web and the internal/external web of connections used in an enterprise are the same - but they are comparable with respect to desired experience.

To the extent that corporate barriers dash expectations, read Peter Drucker on how to get rid of those barriers or find a better employer.

To the extent that enterprise technology differs with respect to needs for privacy, finding information in a link-deprived environment and sharing access to confidential sources or legacy applications, Enterprise 2.0 offers the opportunity for vendors and community projects to create products that respond to that simple, grounded wish and measure the difference.

I'm not sure where Professor Andrew McAfee sees himself in this ecclesiastical model. I'd be happy to support his claim to any sub-numinous position.

Update Remembering Doug Engelbart, 30 January 1925 - 2 July 2013

Update 6 Jun 2013: In the original version of this post I used Strict Technarian to refer to those who believe there is a purely technical - specifically Web or Internet - solution to every problem. Since then the term solutionist has gained popularity, generally through the acerbic criticism of Evgeny Morozov. I switched the awkward Technarian to Solutionist.

Although I don't agree with all of what Morozov says - or the way he says it - I believe solutionist is a useful term. See James Temple's 3 April 2013 SFChronical.com column Why Silicon Valley needs critics like Morozov

Update 21 Nov 2014: Enterprise 2.0 - Are we there yet? Is there a 'there' for Enterprise 2.0, or is it more like shaking a sleepy beehive?

Introducing Proteus (demo)

November 2, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Traction Software Director of User Experience Michael Angeles introduces Traction's new Google Web Toolkit (GWT) based Proteus user interface with a brief tour (video below).

See also

TUG 2009 Providence | Thank you!

November 2, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

I'd like to thank all of the Traction customers, partners and friends who traveled to Providence last month to make TUG 2009 Providence as enjoyable as it was enlightening. Special thanks to keynote speakers Carmen Medina, Chris Nuzum, Stewart Mader and all of the customers and partners who participated in the Oct 14 Main event. And my personal thanks to everyone on the Traction Software team who worked so hard to bring TeamPage R4.2, the Oracle RDB backend, Attivo Advance Search, and the Proteus Google Web Tookit (GWT) UI to life. I don't know what we'll do to top TUG 2009 next year - but TUG members provides some excellent ideas! See TUG 2009 Providence | Keynotes by Carmen Medina, Chris Nuzum and Stewart Mader for links to TUG videos, slide shows, interviews, tech talks and more, along with how become a TUG member and join the conversation. TUG registration is free and open to the public.

You're also welcome to review the the TUG 2009 dinner menu at Gracie's Restaurant in Providence. This year we had an outstanding five-course tasting menu with paired wines at one of Providence's best restaurants. Gracie's was kind enough to give TUG folk the main restaurant when we outgrew the event room. In past years, TUG events featured two full McGrath's Rhode Island clambakes (lobster, clams, mussels, corn etc seaweed steamed over a hardwood fire) and a crab fest. Between Gracie's and the good folk at the Hotel Providence, TUG members this year were well nourished physically as well as mentally and we'll carry on the tradition at future TUG events!

Where's Greg?

October 21, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

You may have noticed a slow down in blog posts by Jordan and myself, and attributed that to our work for TUG 2009 Providence last week, and you'd be partially right (but it was fun - as you'll learn). You can also blame our slower blog posting to time spent on Twitter, both as individuals: @roundtrip (Greg Lloyd) and @jordanfrank and using the Traction Software corporate feed @tractionteam (which broadcasts the title and a shortened link to new content posted on TractionSoftware…. as well as original tweets).

I'll continue to blog notes that take more than 140 characters here. But for peek at what's I'm tweeting about Enterprise 2.0, KM and more with my trusty iPhone while having coffee at Seven Stars bakery, please follow @roundtrip. Here's a sample of recent tweets:

On Twitter you can also follow the Traction-Software List of Traction's team members, customers and friends. See Explaining Twitter - One of Three Places for People on how I use Twitter, Facebook and Traction TeamPage every day.

2.0 Adoption Council | Neat Tweet!

September 22, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Susan Scrupski (aka @ITSinsider) tweets Sep 22, 2009: reading a great preso by a Council member. great testimony for e20 vendor Traction Software @TractionTeam

Thanks Susan! Susan recently founded the 2.0 Adoption Council to bring together managers of large enterprises who are early adopters of Enterprise 2.0. See this 2.0 Adoption Council Intro. She describes the Council:

We are a collection of managers in large enterprises that are charting the course for 2.0 adoption. Although we may use different platforms and tools, we all share a common enthusiasm for bringing a new way of working to our representative companies. We call ourselves “internal evangelists” and some say we have one of the most difficult, yet exciting jobs in the global marketplace...

The 2.0 Adoption Council is a self-service community of passionate early adopters. From members with over 100K seats under management to members experimenting with departmental deployments, we all share a common goal of delivering 21st century collaboration and social connectivity to the enterprise. In a recent survey, our members indicated 36% are managing budgets between $500K and $1M; although another 40% is still in the planning stages and can’t assess their total budget spend.

... We are not admitting sellers of IT software or hardware products, consultants, agencies, press, or analysts into the 2.0 Adoption Council. The group exists as strictly a peer support channel for customers to help each other and share experiences. We will be launching an external community soon for all friends and fans of the global enterprise 2.0 movement.

To apply to become a member of the Council, send us an inquiry on LinkedIn and we will get back to you in 48 hours.

We're delighted that Traction TeamPage customers are active and articulate members of this Council, and encourage Enterprise 2.0 early adopters to follow @20Adoption and join the 2.0 Council.

To hear more from Traction TeamPage customers - and two great Enterprise 2.0 keynotes - also put the 13-16 October 2009 Traction User Group Conference on your calendar!

As We May Work - Andy van Dam

September 7, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


On April 17, 2008 Professor Andy van Dam of Brown University delivered the keynote address of the Enterprise 2.0 Summit 2009 Tokyo. Andy's title is a play on Vannevar Bush's July 1945 essay As We May Think. As We May Think inspired creation of pioneering hypertext systems by Andy, Ted Nelson, Doug Engelbart and others, leading to Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web. The creators of these hypertext systems originally envisioned an environment where individuals could write, link, comment on and share what they wrote as well as search and read what others had written - core capabilities of what we now call social software for the public Web or an Enterprise. Andy's keynote is a personal history, and a vision of how the Web provides a new context for work as well as public communication, socialization, commerce, scholarship and entertainment. For the full slide set see As We May Work (.ppt 8.8MB), posted here with Andy's permission.

I've known Andy since 1967 as a teacher, friend and trusted advisor, and thank him and Rosemary Simpson for their thoughtful work on this presentation.

Related

The Rise of Enterprise 2.0, Andrew McAfee | Video | Enterprise 2.0 Summit 2008 Tokyo
Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box
Reinventing the Web
Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart

Is Twitter Like Going Out for a Smoke? - And Other stories

September 3, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Bill Ives posted an interesting post Is Twitter Like Going Out for a Smoke?, responding to a Twitter / Water Cooler analogy by Arie Goldshlager and a smoker's network analogy pointed out by Stewart Mader and Gil Yehuda in Lessons from New York Smokers. I commented: Bill -- An interesting post and topic! I think there's likely an interesting history (and sociological studies) of how informal groups form and cross-link in businesses and other organizations.

The most interesting groups seem to be cross-functional and distributed - with some difficulty before the Web and email, with less difficulty now.

A few examples:

1) Watercooler - physically collocated, somewhat cross-functional (but often cube neighbors)

2) Smokers - physically collocated, cross-functional and cross-hierarchical

3) IT Tech support, Admin Assistants - folk who talk a lot with a wide variety of others in the enterprise, and have their own network or grapevine of contacts with their peers.

4) The NCO / Chiefs network - Anyone whose been in the military knows that NCOs (Sergeants and Chief Petty Officers) use an informal network of local - and globe spanning - contacts who know what's up and how to make something happen. This probably dates to Roman times.

With the advent of cheap and ubiquitous Web technology, it has become easier for networks to form, keep in contact, and scale beyond previous limits of space and number of participants.

Is there a Doctor of Sociology in the house with a few good references?

A few of my notes with links on

Connections & McAfee Bullseye model of strong, weak, potential ties
Connections

Twitter: world's largest floating cocktail party, coffee break, and trade show happy hour
Explaining Twitter - One of Three Places for People

[ In the interests of non-smokers and former smokers everywhere - no smoking photo with this post! Join the followup conversation on Twitter ]

Compliance and Enterprise 2.0 - For the right reasons

July 13, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Burton Group analyst Mike Gotta writes Compliance Doesn't Sell E2.0 … But It Should in his personal Collaborative Thinking blog. Mike summarizes a June 2009 E2.0 conference interview with Alexander Howard, quoted in Compliance concerns dog Enterprise 2.0 collaboration platforms. Howard asks:

Can an enterprise leverage collaborative software like blogs, wikis and microblogging platforms and retain compliance? It can, if collaboration platforms are built in-house from selected technologies, as opposed to an all-in-one suite from an Enterprise 2.0 (E20) vendor. Enterprise 2.0 compliance, in other words, is something best baked in from day one?

Mike says:

"The enterprise is tougher than consumer environments because of so many contrived regulations. There should be higher expectations of the enterprise 2.0 vendors to prioritize the features that will help enterprises manage compliance."

When asked if E2.0 Vendors "get" compliance, Sameer Patel said:

"Nope, not yet. It may be overkill, but spending 10 minutes with enterprise content management vendors or the IBM collaboration group exposed how little E20 has attended to this."

I certainly agree that Enterprise 2.0 compliance is something that needs to be "baked in" rather than tacked on. In my opinion, failure to address compliance and security can block use of Enterprise 2.0 technology in contexts where the greatest value, greatest potential for innovation - and most sensitive information - lives.

And I'll claim that Traction Software really "gets" compliance for reasons that accept, but go beyond regulatory requirements.

An ad-hoc wiki used solely within an IT department may not need much more than the basics. But to use Enterprise 2.0 technology widely within or crossing firewalls, authentication and security (including permission models around activity streams) are absolute requirements - particularly for highly regulated industries such as health care, pharma and finance.

Boundaries that make sense, WebDAV file versioning, Page / content moderation, audit trails and other compliance related capabilities are also crucial when working with external clients (including supplier and resellers as well as customers) or in contexts such as R&D or project management where the payoff for Enterprise 2.0 innovation is greatest, and the distinction between work-in-progress collaboration and an internal or externally binding agreement (or consensus) is important.

It's great to have wiki pages open for general editing wherever possible. It's also great to support the most open possible work-in-progress draft collaboration while creating a plan, budget, or other agreement that will be become binding on all parties when agreement is reached.

But it's also important to be able to distinguish pages that represent an agreement at a specific time - the approved budget, product specification, reseller agreement in a way that can't be confused with casual work-in-progress (or prankish) change.

People who want to be able to use wiki pages for reliable reference to the current approved budget, specification etc need to be able to distinguish the "last stable / approved version" and any work-in-progress drafts. Otherwise how would you know if a change that cuts the budget of a new project by 25% and schedule by 2 months is real, a proposed change, or just a prankish edit? If you're serious about using Enterprise 2.0 technology across the board, you need to address these issues to get work done, as well as satisfy the letter of the law.

Traction TeamPage has permissioned activity streams - for tag clouds, search results, email digests, RSS/Atom feeds and web navigation as well as microblogs. Features like WebDAV file versioning, Page / content moderation and detailed audit trails have been "baked in" to support use of Enterprise 2.0 technology in the context intentional as well as emergent practices.

"Baking in" support for these capabilities makes it possible to support wide open draft collaboration as well as "latest stable version" publication in the same collaboration space, as well as permission boundaries that disappear when you have permission to cross them but act as secure and reliable barriers when privacy counts. For example: clients of the same law firm can have separate spaces which become reliable barriers between clients but which slide down automatically for when members of the law firm with rights crossing all client spaces search, navigate, comment, link and tag anything they see.

Try to do this by slapping separate Social Software and ECM products together and you'll likely end up with something that works like JFK's description of Washington DC: "A city that honors the traditions of Southern efficiency and Northern hospitality."

We didn't go to all this work just to satisfy checklist requirements - I honestly believe it's what's necessary for widespread use and adoption of Enterprise 2.0 technology.

For more on related TeamPage features, see:

Boundaries that make sense - Patterns of collaboration.

Permissioned activity feeds - Including tag clouds, search results, email digests as well as rss / atom / microblog feeds

Moderation and work-in-progress collaboration - Enabling collaboration on content where consensus - or binding agreement - counts.

Audit Trail - Edits, tags, names, email and more.

And where this comes from Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart

Having versus Using Enterprise 2.0 Software

May 15, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Gil Yehuda wrote a very good post today Enterprise 2.0 Thoughts to end the week. He talks about Enterprise 2.0 maturity, second wave adoption, focus on work, and levels of the conversation. It's a great post you should read in full and reflect on. One particular point caught my attention; Gil says: "... having a wiki, forum, blogs, etc. on the intranet and using a wiki, forum, blog effectively to improve the transparency and productivity of collaboration are very different indicators of progress."

Businesses (or vendors) who say “We have a wiki; we have a blog; we’re an Enterprise 2.0 company” remind me businesses in 1995 who said “We have a web page; we’re an internet company”.

I like Andrew McAfee’s analysis in general and his specific observation - backed by studies that he cites: “… since the 1990’s a combination of the Web and IT spending on enterprise information systems has shifted the ability of businesses to recognize and deploy good ideas; that this has raised the pace and level of competition, making effective innovation more valuable, and more strongly differentiates winners and losers in competitive markets.

McAfee further claims that the Web and IT changes they analyze appear to be step functions:

This new, nastier competition does not depend on continued IT innovation. It only depends on continued managerial innovation. If all the technology vendors were to close up shop tomorrow competition in all industries would not eventually revert to where it was prior to the mid-1990s. The current IT toolkit lets companies propagate business ideas faster, more broadly, and with higher fidelity. That’s all that’s necessary to increase the pace of competition, and to keep it high. Of course, the tech vendors are not about to shut themselves down and we’ll see a lot more innovation from them; this will only serve to further increase competitive nastiness. But technology innovation is the icing on the cake of managerial innovation. - Andrew McAfee; Curb My Enthusiasm

The technology of Enterprise 2.0 is most significant as an enabler of new patterns of communication, collaboration and awareness that astute businesses can use to gain a sustainable competitive advantage. I believe this is very similar to W. Edwards Deming’s work which enabled businesses in Japan and the rest of the world to gain great competitive advantages by continual improvement of processes and systems.

Related

No need to curb your enthusiasm ... For a bit more analysis
The Rise of Enterprise 2.0, Andrew McAfee | Video | Enterprise 2.0 Summit 2008 Tokyo Professor McAfee discusses E2.0 and Japanese business practice.
Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its boxReinventing the Web

Andy Keller talks about Traction's use of GWT | Video

May 13, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

May 12, 2009 5:38pm rotkapchen Great explanation: Traction Director of Engineering Andy Keller tells why Traction's chose GWT (Google Web Toolkit) for TeamPage's new interaction layer. View video inline below or youtube.com/watch…

Video by Paula Thornton, Experience Design Strategist
Twitter: rotkapchen
LinkedIn: iknovate

See where this choice led:
Traction TeamPage 5.0: Social Software for Work
Traction TeamPage 5.1: Social Software, Meet Project Management
Action Tracking and Project Management

And particularly Traction TeamPage Videos

Can't stuff the Web back in a box ...

April 19, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


On April 16 2009 Oliver Marks wrote The CIA's Collaboration Growth Curve & IBM's Lotusphere ecosystem connecting three topics: 1) the transformation of the CIA's collaborative practices; 2) how this relates to the concept of the collaboration curve introduced by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown (JSB), and Lang Davison, and 3) his reaction to IBM's Lotusphere Comes to You roadshow event in San Francisco that day. It's a great post which motivated me to add a comment which I expanded a bit below.

I've added one key quote for context on my comment - please read Oliver's full post for his insightful analysis.

Oliver writes:

John Hagel III, John Seely Brown (JSB), and Lang Davison discuss their concept of ‘the collaboration curve‘" on harvardbusiness.org, and there are some interesting parallels to the cultural and process challenges of the CIA’s historically deep rooted processes, as they relate to Intellipedia.

There’s a classic story in economics primers illustrating the power of network effects. It tells how the first fax machine gave little value to its owner–after all, there was no one else with whom to send and receive faxes. As time went by, however, the value of that first machine increased as other people bought fax machines, and soon its owner could send faxes to the far corners of the earth, and receive them in return.

The point of the story is how the value of a node in a network rises exponentially as more nodes are added to it. These are called network effects.

Now let’s add a twist to the story. What would happen if, at the same time more fax machines joined the network, each machine rapidly improved its performance? The result would be an amplifying effect on the first level of exponential performance. One exponential effect occurs from growth in the number of nodes. A second amplifying effect arises from the improving performance of the machines themselves.

Fax machines, of course, don’t perform better as you add more of them to a network. But people and institutions do. And that’s where the concept of network effects gets more interesting–when we apply it to how people might perform better.

Oliver -- I think the three parts of this post fit together very well, particularly the network effects and the collaboration curve theme.

The JH, JSB, and LD quotes make the point: People and institutions are the 'nodes' that can enable a collaboration network to perform better as you add more of them to a social network ('social' in the broad sense - not party time).

But I think it's also important to note that the Web has become an open platform that allows the work product of collaboration networks to be created, linked, annotated, signaled, searched and analyzed at scale that would have been unimaginable in the heyday of Lotus Notes. In that respect the Web *is* like the "self-improving fax machine" whose limits we won't see for a very long time.

You muse: "... on the idea that the agility of modern enterprise collaboration techniques and technologies are arguably far more powerful when consciously assembled to achieve given objectives, as opposed to people attempting to work within the manufactured framework of a product suite, when watching the Lotus demos."

I believe that's right. In every previous generation hypertext system, the ability to read, search, link and communicate came with a terrible price: it might work well, but only if you were willing to put everything you wanted to work with into some sealed box, and convince everyone you wanted to work with to use the same box.

Ironically most successful collaboration box that the Web allowed people and institutions to escape was -- Lotus Notes. If IBM focuses on building a product suite rather than a platform that works with and like the web I think there's a problem.

See Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box
based on a 2007 debate / discussion between - Mike Gotta and Andrew McAfee.

Ada Lovelace Day | Professor Lee S. Sproull, Stern School, NYU

March 23, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


For this first Ada Lovelace Day I've chosen to write about Professor Lee Sproull an internationally-recognized sociologist whose research centers on the implications of computer-based communication technologies for managers, organizations, communities, and society. Professor Sproull is a pioneer and visionary in the rigorous study of what we now call social software.

I heard Professor Sproull talk at the MIT/Brown Vannevar Bush Symposium celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Bush's As We May Think. After the symposium I read and enjoyed her 1991 book Connections: New Ways of Working in the Networked Organization (co-authored with Sara Kiesler). Connections is based on original field research, social and psychological experiments the authors performed to understand how computer based communication technology - email, bulletin boards, computer networks - changed the way people communicate, work together, and make decisions.

In her 1995 talk at the Bush Symposium, Information Is Not Enough: Computer Support for Productive Work, Professor Sproull said:

Any vision of a new technology implies a vision of human beings and their behavior. In this talk I describe the vision of human behavior associated with the most influential technology visions of personal computing, epitomized by Vannevar Bush's Memex -- the vision of the solitary thinker and problem solver. I contrast this vision with an alternative view of how human productive behavior actually occurs -- in interdependent social relationships. I review the current state of computer support for social actors and propose an alternative view in which information processing is subordinated to relationship managing. - Abstract

Professor Sproull conducted research in Fortune 500 firms, scientific communities, municipalities, universities, software development teams, households, and electronic groups. In all of these settings she has documented how technology induces changes in interpersonal interaction, group dynamics and decision making, and organizational or community structure. She has been a visiting scholar at Xerox PARC, Digital Cambridge Research Lab, and Lotus Development Corporation and has published the results of her research in eight books and more than sixty articles including Essence of distributed work: The case of the Linux kernel, First Monday Volume 5, Number 11, Nov 2000.

At present Professor Sproull is Vice Dean, Academic Affairs and Professor of Information Systems & Management, Lawrence N. Stern School of Business, New York University.

About Ada Lovelace Day
On January 5, 2009 Suw Charman made a pledge to publish a blog post about woman in technology that she admires, but only if 1,000 other people pledged to do the same. Suw named this Ada Lovelace day in honor of the world first computer programmer and author of the first description Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. Suw wrote:

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology. Women’s contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised. We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines. Whatever she does, whether she is a sysadmin or a tech entrepreneur, a programmer or a designer, developing software or hardware, a tech journalist or a tech consultant, we want to celebrate her achievements.

See the Ada Lovelace Day blog for news and special events, including Ada Lovelace day at the London Science Museum

New: Meet meet Ada Lovelace herself in a video interview by the original Analytical Engine!

Explaining Twitter - One of Three Places for People

March 22, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Last week a friend who just signed up on Twitter said: "... just like Jon Stewart, I can't figure out how it works or why anyone would want to tweet or get anyone else's twitter. I had no idea what grunt and stalker is but I am assuming that is reality too. I put this all in the pocket with second life (stupid bulky awkward and totally useless)." So I reluctantly joined the crowd attempting to explain why people who have a job and have a life might be interested in Twitter. I decided to describe Twitter as one of three distinct places on the Web where I socialize every day: the public commons. The others two are my neighborhood and my workplace.

The mechanics of Twitter aren't hard describe: you can post short messages of up 140 characters ("tweets") with a name you choose on Twitter's site. There you can: read tweets made by people you choose to follow (as one merged stream); reply directly to any tweet with one of your own; let people follow whatever you tweet; see the profile of anyone including: recent tweets, who that person follows, and who follows them. You can also search for people by name, search the content of tweets, or use a variety of applications built over Twitter to see what's going on and how topics or people are connected in many neat ways that evolve very quickly. For an explanation in pictures see Twitter in Plain English.

One problem with Twitter in Plain English is that it explains Twitter just as a way to keep in touch with your friends, which is just one use - and relies on the assumption that your friends are either already using Twitter or you can convince them to do so.

I'll call this the "I just picked up more cat food" use - and yes I believe than many people do have friends and family from whom a stream of these tiny updates is enjoyable and valuable even when the content is as mundane as the dullest blog in the world. Tweets are very short and don't demand a lot of attention. The background chatter of friends or family - like the chatter of children playing - is comforting, enjoyable and entertaining especially when you're physically separated. You should note that Twitter currently allows you to either make your account public (anyone can read) or private (only followers you OK can read what you tweet) so using Twitter for private "friends and family only" tweets become awkward at best and precludes use of the same account for public conversation on Twitter.

At the opposite extreme, Twitter becomes a platform for individual or corporate brand promotion. I'll call this the How to promote yourself as a branded channel for fun and profit use. If you post to Twitter you'll automatically pick up promotional followers who hope you'll automatically follow them back to increase the reach of their channel. If this bothers you - or you pick up followers who look really dubious - Twitter allows you to block followers to remove them from your profile. Celebrities, pundits, experts, brand managers and just plain folk with something interesting to say can build a large following to create or extend their brand.

For me, the most interesting use of Twitter is as host of the world's largest collection of personal channels: you can find, follow or reply to people adept at the 140 character tweet. For example, I enjoy David Pogue (pogue) and Steven Fry (stephenfry) for their ability to mix notes, quips and links. I also follow a sampling of folk interested in hypertext, social software and technology - at least those who don't just repeat what I scan in more detail from their RSS feeds. I'll occasionally reply or rebroadcast a tweet ("retweet"), but I also don't feel bad about un-following folk whose posts I'd rather read in RSS, or tune out as the only way to keep the signal-to-noise ratio of what I read under control. If you attempt to follow a very large number of people, you'll end up reading a random sample or facing a signal to noise problem:

Venkatesh Rao (vgr): 9:44AM Mar 21: Twitter needs a 'more like this'/'less like this' reinforcement learning to lower my SNR :(. Fave tweet types, not people.

My reply (roundtrip) about 12 hours later: @vgr agree. There's a great difference between following friends & family where everything counts & topics you care about x everyone.

I'll call this use of Twitter the world's largest floating cocktail party, coffee break, and trade show happy hour, where you're free to tune in to what anyone is saying to the world - and talk back if you wish. Just like any party the roof is an introduction, but you can also just step back and enjoy the flow. It's a fragmented, freewheeling and noisy place - but you choose channels you want to listen to and change channels any time. It's like tuning dials on a hypertext radio until the sum of social chatter, news, business, fun, and off the wall discovery makes you happy. You can't do that at a real party.

People aren't the only ones invited to the party. As Jeremiah Owyang astutely points out, mining Twitter gives CRM vendors, advertising agencies and market analysts valuable analytic insights and opportunities for engagement. If the government does this it would be a privacy scandal; if vendors do this it's called a business model for Twitter.

So if you don't keep in close contact with friends and family using Twitter, promote your brand, understand your market or enjoy the opportunity to mix, mingle and listen to the flow in Twitter's world-wide public commons I guess you don't have a good reason to become a Twitter enthusiast. But Twitter one of many competing and complementary places for socialization on the Web.

Is there a Doctor of Sociology in the House?

I believe the most interesting point is that Twitter defines a place that escapes the scaling limits of the physical places we're all used to, but invites social creatures like us to build social norms and expectations over the public commons and specific affordances that Twitter created.

Great architects of physical places know that people bring expectations and norms about the kind of behavior that's appropriate and enjoyable to any physical space. Architects are skillful in designing spaces to match their clients desires and expectations by providing cues that are easy to perceive and appropriate for the intended purpose, but a lot of the norms of the same physical space become clear only from social context.

If you walk into a conference room with a group of people you don't know talking quietly around a table - and someone closes the door behind you - you'll likely speak and act differently than if you walk into the same room with people you know laughing, eating and drinking. If you walk into a theater you'll probably seat yourself quietly in the audience rather than striding onto the stage (see the Re-Placing Space reference).

What fascinates me about social software is how we're learning to create places with perceived affordances - features and user models - that seem natural for different purposes and intentions. I use Facebook, Traction Software's TeamPage server, and Twitter as three separate places: my neighborhood, my workplace, and the public commons I like to use.

Facebook: To me this place is a neighborhood where you can choose your own friends and neighbors. I use Facebook mainly for informal friend, family, alumni keep in touch posts and links. Because Facebook friending automatically builds a two-way follows relationship versus Twitter's one-way user model, it's easy to build and maintain a neighborly feel by default. I enjoy status updates and posts (like tweets with structure for videos, web links and Facebook apps) from "friends" and keep my posts open to members of my college's Facebook Network. The Facebook posts I write and read are generally for smile value or status updates that would only be of interest to folks who know one another and find the chatter comforting rather than noise. Although it's possible to turn down the volume of posts from folk who tend to update a lot, signal to noise is not really a problem with a neighborhood of tens to hundreds of folk. Just like in real life you know how to act and what to expect in your Facebook neighborhood.

Traction Software's TeamPage server: It's the place I work - along with other employees of Traction Software, customers, reseller partners, technology partners, Board members, consultants, advisors, friends of Traction, contractors, and our legal and PR firms. TeamPage makes it easy to support many different spaces (or places) on the same Traction server with different membership rules. Like Facebook each individual on a TeamPage server has their own profile page whose content can be customized - by default it shows the set of most recent posts and comments by that individual which you have permission to read. Like Twitter you can use TeamPage's LiveBlog skin to share brief notes, comments and replies - within a space shared by a group with access to that space. Traction has over three hundred spaces on our corporate TeamPage server - including spaces for all customers, product development, support, each technical and reseller partner, each major account, board of directors, our PR firm etc. Boundaries separating spaces you have permission to read automatically slide down so you can link, search, or syndicate content using spaces just to group content for navigation. Your rss feeds, tag clouds and search results reflect only the content you have permission to read. See Michael Sampson's Traction TeamPage: the One System to Rule It All.

Twitter: For me it's ultimate mashup of technical conference coffee breaks and trade show happy hours. I enjoy listening, meeting new people, and just shooting the breeze. I think of Twitter a place for listening and conversing with an ever changing cast of characters rather than a neighborhood where I live or a place where I get work done. The fact that Twitter is a hot, popular public place is more significant that its technology particularly as Facebook adds public and fan permissions to its walled garden privacy rules (which might complicate or sacrifice Facebook's "neighborhood" feel). If I want to "tweet" among friends and neighbors I do it in Facebook; If I want to "tweet" to get work done, I use TeamPage.

I like the idea of having three recognizable places corresponding to: neighborhood, workplace, and commons and want to keep then clearly separated in a social if not technical sense.

Metaphorically, if I want to talk to the neighborhood I'll go outside and speak with the expectation that anyone in the neighborhood can hear me (if they want) and I can shout out to anyone by name. If I want privacy I can walk inside and close the door. When I go to work I can speak in my office so that other TSI folk can overhear me (if they want), or walk into a conference room that's clearly marked for the Board, a specific technology partner, a specific customer, or an all customer commons and know that everyone in the room has the same expectation of place and privacy. When I want to join (my own) selection from the global commons, I'll walk into a bubble of babble (the converse of a cone of silence) and pay attention and respond in a different way that I would to the chatter of friends, internal collaboration at work, or conversations with external clients who expect - and demand - privacy and security for many working conversations.

Just like a good architect knows how the to use the affordances and relationships of physical spaces to help cue behavior, architects of social software should aim to use software affordances to make socializing in the neighborhood, workplace, and commons as natural as possible. I think this will require cues to signal and differentiate as well as connect places. The goal should be to help people read context and act comfortably in different places whose norms they can quickly learn, understand and trust. As Harrison and Dourish write:

"A conference hall and a theatre share many similar spatial features (such as lighting and orientation); and yet we rarely sing or dance when presenting conference papers, and to do so would be regarded as at least slightly odd (or would need to be explained). We wouldn't describe this behaviour as 'out of space'; but it would most certainly be 'out of place' and this feeling is so strong that we might try quite hard to interpret a song or a dance as part of a presentation, if faced with it suddenly. It is a sense of place, not space, which makes it appropriate to dance at a Grateful Dead concert, but not at a Cambridge college high table; to be naked in the bedroom, but not in the street; and to sit at our windows, peering out, rather than at other people's windows, peering in. Place, not space, frames appropriate behaviour." - Re-Place-ing Space: The Roles of Place and Space in Collaborative Systems

I look forward to the day when identity, syndication, security and search standards are robust enough to allow me to search, link and communicate across many different places for my own convenience, preserving sensible boundaries as well as appropriate expectations of privacy. I believe that's how the Web will evolve in the not too distant future.

If you don't like my explanation of Twitter, try one of these:

Why I use Twitter Mar 1, 2009 George Millington replies to his friend's similar questions and objections.

Explaining Twitter to Eggheads Jan 4, 2009 - Jay Rosen asks readers to help him write an essay on why he's on Twitter - to be published in the Chronicle of Higher Education (print edition and Chronicle Review web site). I think this is the outline of a really good article and provoked a rich stream of comments. I guess I fit Jay's target audience, and will happily add a link to the essay when Jay publishes it.

"Facebook is for those you used to know, Twitter is for those who you will know".

Ask Twitter! - The Newest Q&A Source Mar 20, 2009 Aaron Asay blogged: "I've heard more than once: “Facebook is for those you used to know, Twitter is for those who you will know.” " which was quoted by mjasay in Twitter Mar 21, 2009 about 8:15AM and retweeted (RT'd) by windley about 8:18AM, which I noticed about 9:20AM and replied as roundtrip (me) "... and E2.0 is for those you work with" about 10:20AM.

For the hopelessly pedantic: A Google search finds that Andreas Ringdal suggested - in a comment on Steven Arnold's Mar 3, 2009 Twitter Facebook Analogy post - that this quote "as someone brilliantly put it" might be identified by reading Ivor Tossal's Dec 25, 2008 Globe and Mail 903 word story: Teeny-tiny Twitter was the year's big story which I'm too cheap to purchase for $4.95 plus tax and find out - thank you very much GlobeAndMail.com

and finally ...

Twitter Sucks, so change your friends Mar 16, 2009 Steve Lawson. His analysis and examples are even better than the title.

Feeling pretty meta about this post, and deciding that's not bad

You can find me on Twitter as roundtrip, and follow Traction Software as TractionTeam. Follow Traction-software for a list of all Traction Software team members, customers, and friends. Please tweet back! Cheers! For live @roundtrip Twitter updates see Where's Greg?

See also
The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz
Ask an Engineer: What do you think of the Facebook Terms of Service Flap?
Reinventing the Web
Who's on Your Team ?
Borders, Spaces, and Places
Connections
Re-Place-ing Space: The Roles of Place and Space in Collaborative Systems (.pdf)
by Steve Harrison (Xerox PARC) and Paul Dourish (EuroPARC), online draft of paper presented at CSCW '96.

Kuka Systems TeamPage Case Study

March 14, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


See Kuka Systems for an excellent TeamPage story Jordan wrote in cooperation with this Traction TeamPage customer. KUKA is one of the world's leading suppliers of robotics as well as plant and systems engineering and has been in the automation technologies business since 1898. They build robotics systems for factory automation and are a leading worldwide supplier of assembly and welding systems, and other related machinery, servicing the automobile, aerospace, and energy industries.

KUKA's Enterprise Applications Group started using TeamPage for collaborative issue tracking in 2006 and has expanded their use to support capture of procedural knowledge, audit compliance, and six sigma style continuous improvement processes. They are further expanding use of TeamPage as a wiki to document key business processes and core knowledge that's required for every day management and support of their business. It's a great manufacturing use case complete with background and TeamPage screenshots.

Clarity Amid the Hype

February 26, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Mike Gotta posted Enterprise Twitter: Clarity Amid The Hype analyzing - and generally agreeing with - points raised by Adina Levin (Socialtext) in her excellent post What's Different about Enterprise Twitter? I agree with Mike's analysis and Adina's thoughtful points (read them both) but want to focus on Mike's conclusion:

[like fragmented email conversations] ... Twitter-like systems are also difficult to follow - the tools so far do not do a great job of isolating conversation threads, manage/filter messages over time, etc. On top of this - do we really think that companies will have wide-open conversation spaces without applying permission models that limit access rights based on a variety of business reasons? I don't disagree with the concept of transparency - but you have to consider policies related to role, separation of duties, security, confidentiality, intellectual property, compliance and so on. There are very good reasons to have bigger walled gardens within enterprise organizations - and some organizations will be much more public than others - but we do get back to addressing barriers encountered by other messaging tools.

BTW - many (if not all) of these concerns and issues apply equally to "activity streams". The need for activity streams to support permission models, and comply with logging/audit/compliance/discovery requirements should be pretty clear. For vendors offering "Twitter for the Enterprise" or "Activity Streams" - making sure you support security (permission/access controls), identity, and records management requirements has no down side. - Mike Gotta

The concept of transparency and "borders that seem appropriate to users" (to borrow Andrew McAfee's phrase) are closely related to people's natural expectations for shaded degrees of privacy based on the context of the conversation or activity - and apply to blog posts, wiki pages, comments, rss feeds, and search results as well as enterprise "tweets". As Facebook found last week, it's difficult to come up with a simple explanation of privacy rules that: 1) meet natural expectations; 2) can be accurately described in legal prose; 3) correspond to promises that your software system actually implements.

I won't claim that Traction TeamPage's security model "has no downside", but we've worked pretty diligently with some of the most demanding - and innovative - customers in the world. Our objective has been to make it straightforward to meet natural privacy and security expectations with a model that's easy to use - even if it's not easy to implement.

For an enthusiastic ("I think that rocks") reaction from collaboration and Microsoft Sharepoint expert Michael Sampson, see his Traction TeamPage: The One System to Rule It All posted Feb 23, 2009. Note that the same example Michael uses to show how it's possible to interleave, link or tag more private discussions on any paragraph in a wiki page applies to all TeamPage personal or group blog posts, LiveBlog "tweets" or comments. It's easy to understand - but I don't think you'll find any other Enterprise 2.0 product which lives up to these promises.

See Also Borders, Spaces, and Places
Ask an Engineer: What do you think of the Facebook Terms of Service Flap?
Reinventing the Web
Live blog with Traction TeamPage

Traction TeamPage: The One System to Rule It All

February 24, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Needless to say I'm delighted with Michael Sampson's Currents: "TeamPage - the One System to Rule It All". I like One System to Rule It All angle, butassume that would make me a metaphorical Elven-smith of Eregion rather than Sauron of course. Hmmm

Ask an Engineer: What do you think of the Facebook Terms of Service Flap?

February 18, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


If you haven't been paying attention to this week's flap on Facebook's revised terms of service - posted three days ago and retracted today - Andrew Lavelle of the Wall Street Journal published a good recap today. The controversy relates to what rights does Facebook get to content that an individual Facebook user posts? There are a lot of good arguments about what rights people think Facebook should be able to retain, but there's a second level of discussion that relates to how people expect Facebook privacy settings to work, and how these expectations make it difficult to craft an agreement that seems fair, makes sense, and corresponds to what Facebook actually implements and enforces.

Lavelle quotes Techcrunch's Erik Shonfeld: “If I upload a picture which I later regret uploading, why shouldn’t I be able to erase it from Facebook forever, even if some of my friends have already seen it?”

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg's Monday 5:09PM post said:

"Our philosophy is that people own their information and control who they share it with. When a person shares information on Facebook, they first need to grant Facebook a license to use that information so that we can show it to the other people they've asked us to share it with. Without this license, we couldn't help people share that information.

One of the questions about our new terms of use is whether Facebook can use this information forever. When a person shares something like a message with a friend, two copies of that information are created—one in the person's sent messages box and the other in their friend's inbox. Even if the person deactivates their account, their friend still has a copy of that message. We think this is the right way for Facebook to work, and it is consistent with how other services like email work. One of the reasons we updated our terms was to make this more clear."

These examples show the difficulty in defining privacy policy based on two different and irreconcilable sets of expectations. If you don't grant Facebook legal permission to share what you post based on your privacy settings, Facebook doesn't work as you expect. And if Facebook's implementation doesn't enforce your privacy settings correctly, you have a right to be upset (or sue). But if you change your mind - or cancel your Facebook account - what happens to content that you've granted Facebook the right to share with other Facebook users? Here are two alternatives:

1) Grant Facebook rights subject what you ever posted to your Wall or someone else's Wall subject to your privacy settings which you can change at any time. This require Facebook to restrict future access to whatever you have posted or shared directly or indirectly with others using Facebook when you subsequently change your mind or leave Facebook and cancel your account (e.g. Ted Nelson style enforcable “transcopyright”).

2) Grant Facebook rights to use copies of your content (the copyrighted email message model) that you post to your Wall or someone else’s Wall directly or using a third party’s Facebook API. You arguably have a legal right to restrict future use of copyrighted content distributed to others via third parties, but don’t have a practical way to retract content that has been copied and stored outside Facebook’s direct control.

Zuckerberg argues that the content of your Wall might disappear or be restricted based on your privacy settings (or disappear if you cancel your account), but whatever you've posted to someone else's Wall might be retained by Facebook - and deleted or restricted by the owner of that Wall. This may or may not be what you want - and not how I read what Facebook's promised to do in Mondays (retracted) revised terms:

"You are solely responsible for the User Content that you Post on or through the Facebook Service. You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof. You represent and warrant that you have all rights and permissions to grant the foregoing licenses."

My reading of this was a promise to respect an individuals privacy settings for whatever that individual posted to their own Wall or anyone else's Wall - directly or indirectly - in exchange for rights to copy distribute that content. If so, Facebook is setting a pretty high bar for what they have to implement.

I read Monday's version as a promise to track sharing rules based on Facebook privacy settings as you may change them over time. If so, it looks like developers who use the Facebook API need to reference the current value of per user privacy settings that are authoritatively maintained by the Facebook platform. Not a bad position for Facebook as the gatekeeper for all runtime access - but not easy to craft an agreement that “make sense”, is broad enough to protect Facebook, matches what they actually implement, and can be enforced on their Facebook API developers who also need access to user content.

For comparison, Traction TeamPage uses run-time transclusion with permission checking to grant or deny access to to posts, pages, comment and tags (as well as what you can see by navigating, searching, Jabber or email notification and RSS/Atom feeds).

The TeamPage model uses permissions attached to the content of specific work spaces rather than individuals, but allows private comments in one space (e.g. the Support project) to be added to any paragraph of a more public space (e.g. a customer Forum), and shown only if the reader has permission to read the top level entry and the spaces(s) in which comments on that entry are posted.

This makes it easy add or remove a person from the access list of the Support project, and instantly change the page content, comments, tag clouds and search results that person can see.

See Borders, Spaces, and Places
Reinventing the Web
Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box

Reinventing the Web

January 12, 2009 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


John Markoff wrote a really good Jan 11 2009 New York Times profile, In Venting, a Computer Visionary Educates on Ted Nelson and his new book, Geeks Bearing Gifts: How the Computer World Got This Way (available on Lulu.com). Markoff notes that Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, but: "Lost in the process was Mr. Nelson’s two-way link concept that simultaneously pointed to the content in any two connected documents, protecting, he has argued in vain, the original intellectual lineage of any object... His two-way links might have avoided the Web’s tornado-like destruction of the economic value of the printed word, he has contended, by incorporating a system of micropayments."

I was one of the skeptics who thought that the World Wide Web with its fragile one-way links would never take off as a global hypertext platform. Classic hypertext systems (from HES and Augment though Xanadu, Plato, Intermedia, Lotus Notes, and Dynatext) went to great lengths to preserve the integrity of links, relationships, and content.

The idea that any sensible person would rely on a global hypertext system where links on one computer pointed at locations on another computer which would break whenever the remote computer was unilaterally moved, renamed, taken off line or abandoned seemed absurd.

The idea that you would have no way to know what incoming links would break when editing or refactoring content seemed just as bad.

The Word Wide Web protocols looked like they would work for relatively small cooperative groups like CERN who could keep things from breaking by having shared goals, and using peer pressure plus out of band communication to keep distributed content alive.

Actually that intuition was pretty good, because the World Wide Web took off in a direction based on other incentives compatible with those assumptions - and grew like crazy because unlike alternatives, it was was simple, massively scalable, cheap and eliminated the need for centralized control.

1) The Web became a distributed publishing medium, not the fabric for distributed editing and collaboration that Tim Berners-Lee and others envisioned. People and Web publishing engines like Amazon created content and kept it online while it had economic value, historical value (funded by organizations), or personal value. Content hosting became cheap enough for individuals or tiny groups. Advertising supported content became "free".

2) Search engines spanned the simple Web. Keeping content addressable now gained value since incoming links not only allowed people to bookmark and search engines to index what you had to publish (or sell), but the incoming links gained economic value through page rank. This provided even greater motivation to edit without breaking links, and to keep content online while it retained some economic, organizational or personal value.

3)People and organizations learned how to converse and collaborate over the Web by making it easy to create addressable content others could link to. The simple blog model let people just add content and have it automatically organized by time. The Wiki model required more thought and work to name, organize and garden content, but also creates stable, addressable islands of pages based on principals that reward cooperative behavior.

4) Search engines, syndication and notification engines built over the Web's simple, scalable protocols connected the Web in ways that I don't think anyone really anticipated - and work as independent and competing distributed systems, making rapid innovation possible.

Tim Berners-Lee made an inspired set of tradeoffs. Almost every concept of value on the Web: search engines, browsers, notification is built over his simple, open, highly scalable architecture.

I believe it's possible to provide what TBL calls "reasonable boundaries" for sharing sensitive personal or organizational data without breaking basic W3C addressable content protocols that makes linking and Web scale search valuable. That should be the goal for social and business software, not siloed gardens with Web proof walls.

As TBL said in a Jan 2013 interview: “The web isn’t about just sharing everything, destroying privacy… [but] if I want to share something with you it shouldn’t be the technology that gets in the way.

So when people ask what will deliver two-way links, fine grain comments and tagging, traceable transclusion and the promise of the Semantic Web, I suggest an approach which layers these hypertext capabilities over the basic Web in way that exposes readable content which is absolutely compatible with the basic Web for all readers and existing engines.

Offer seamless collaborative editing, traceability, semantic search and other capabilities by extending the hypertext editing engines to support new layered protocols and transparently downsample richer models to deliver basic Web content to clients who use basic Web protocols. Offer extended formats and services to client or other servers with extended capabilities.

I'm sure that won't satisfy Ted, but before a sea change in the basic structure of the Web - which is what Nelson and other's global visions require - I believe you'll have to be satisfied with stable islands in the Web's storm tossed sea and protocols that support robust connections among islands.

I believe it's even possible to implement Ted's micropayment transclusion model as a layered protocol. People's DRM aversion, rights contracting and enforcement seem to be bigger issues than the technical barriers.

I also believe that Enterprise 2.0 secure collaboration and social networking provide the motivation to make this new way to think of reinvention of the Web a reality.

Traction TeamPage was designed from the start to use layered principles, working with and over the Web without sacrificing (internal) two-way links, paragraph grain comments, tagging and relationships, content journaling, spaces with role based borders, and other capabilities that match and better capabilities of classic hypertext systems. Consider TeamPage a proof of concept.

I hope that the evolution of Enterprise 2.0 platforms leads to definition of layered protocols which extend valuable hypertext capabilities across hypertext systems - Traction's and others - to extend the Web for everyone's use and remember the lessons of simplicity, scalability and innovation that the Web has taught us all.

For additional thought's see Peter O'Kelly's comments on Markoff's profile, and Peter's excellent followup notes on the Web and Hypertext.

For more on how to intertwingle sites and services over the Web see Intertwingled Work and Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box.

Update 14 Jul 2014: See Reinventing the Web II for follow on discussion and analysis.

Related
Intertwingled Work
Building pleasant and stable islands in a storm-tossed sea
Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box
20 June 2005 | Supernova | Why Can't a Business Work More Like the Web?
Seamless integration can work like the Web | W3C Social Business Jam
The Work Graph Model: TeamPage style
The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz

I originally titled this post "Re: In Venting the Web" - but chickened out - grl

Tuesday Dec 9, 2008 | Forty years after the Mother of All Demos

December 7, 2008 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

On Dec 9, 1968 Doug Engelbart stepped onto a stage in front of about 2,000 people. He adjusted his headset and sat down before his mouse, chord key set, and twenty-two foot TV projection screen. His NLS/Augment system prefigured the Web, shared screen teleconferencing, much of what we know as hypertext, in what's often called the Mother of All Demos. Read this authorized clip from John Markoff's excellent book What the Dormouse Said or see the video of the Demo.

"Doug Engelbart sat under a twenty-two-foot-high video screen, "dealing lightning with both hands." At least that's the way it seemed to Chuck Thacker, a young Xerox PARC computer designer who was later shown a video of the demonstration that changed the course of the computer world.

"On December 9, 1968, the oNLine System was shown publicly to the world for the first time. Encouraged by [Bob] Taylor, Engelbart had chosen the annual Fall Joint Computer Conference, the computer industry's premier gathering, for Augment's debut. In the darkened Brooks Hall auditorium in San Francisco, all the seats were filled and people lined the walls. On the giant video screen at his back, Engelbart demonstrated a system that seemed like science fiction to a data-processing world reared on punched cards and typewriter terminals. In one stunning ninety-minute session, he showed how it was possible to edit text on a display screen to make hypertext links from one electronic document to another, and to mix text and graphics, and even video and graphics. He also sketched out a vision of an experimental computer network to be called ARPAnet and suggested that within a year he would be able to give the same demonstration remotely to locations across the country. In short, every significant aspect of today's computing world was revealed in a magnificent hour and a half.

"There were two things that particularly dazzled the audience on that rainy Monday morning in December 1968: First, computing had made the leap from number crunching to become a communications and information-retrieval tool. Second, the machine was being used interactively with all its resources appearing to be devoted to a single individual! It was the first time that truly personal computing had been seen.

"Engelbart spoke softly in a monotone, his voice given a slightly eerie quality by the reverberations of the cavernous hall. Wearing a short-sleeved white shirt and a tie and seated at a desk on a custom-designed Herman Miller chair, he introduced the world to cyberspace. He showed the nation's best computer scientists and hardware engineers how people would in the future work together and share complex digital information instantaneously, even though they might be a world apart.

"For many who witnessed it, it was more than a bolt from the blue: It was a religious experience, inspiring the same kinds of passion that Vannevar Bush's Memex article had given rise to for Engelbart twenty-three years earlier. Computing was just beginning to have an impact on society. Local newspaper articles that preceded the conference noted that there would be discussions of the privacy implications of the use of computers, and a public forum, "Information, Computers and the Political Process," would feature broadcaster Edward P. Morgan and Santa Clara County's member of the House of Representatives, Paul McCloskey Jr.

"But Engelbart stole the show. In the days afterward, the published accounts of the event described nothing else. Years later, his talk remained 'the mother of all demos,' in the words of Andries van Dam, a Brown University computer scientist. In many ways, it is still the most remarkable computer-technology demonstration of all time."

Quoted from John Markoff's What the Dormouse Said with permission, by Metroactive.com, From Pranksters to PCs.

Although the anniversary has gotten some trade press coverage, most stories call this the "40th anniversary of the mouse". Yes, Doug and his team at SRI invented the mouse - and Doug demonstrated it during the shared screen interactive hypertext demo.

To put things in perspective - praising Doug and his team for creating the mouse is a little like praising Leonardo da Vinci and the kids who hung around Florence for the quality of their paint brushes. The mouse is arguably one of the least of an impressive roster of inventions demonstrated that day. What they showed that day inspired generations of researchers including Alan Kay and Andy van Dam. John Naughton of the Guardian wrote:

Mr Engelbart has always viewed technology as a means to an end, not an end in itself. The vision that has driven him since he was a radar technician in the US army in World War Two is the idea that computers offer a way of augmenting human intelligence - power-steering for the mind. That's why his Stanford lab was called the 'Augmentation Lab'

... if progress on making computers easier to use has been limited, we have made even less headway on Engelbart's goal of using them to augment human intelligence. And such progress as has been made comes not from the software that runs on PCs but from the fact that we have found a way of enabling them - and therefore their users - to communicate. In that sense, Wikipedia is closer to an embodiment of 'augmentation' than any piece of software ever written. And Google can be seen as a memory prosthesis for humanity - or at least for that part of it that has access to the network.

On Tuesday morning, Engelbart and his wife will kick off a conference at the San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation to mark the 40th anniversary of his landmark San Francisco presentation. The subject is 'collective intelligence'. He's a famously prickly character, so my guess is that his reaction will be to observe, as Gandhi famously did when asked what he thought of Western civilisation: 'That would be a good idea.' - John Naughton The Guardian Dec 7, 2008

One caveat on Mr. Naughton's story. I wouldn't call Doug a 'prickly character'; he is kind, thoughtful and one of the most considerate people I've met. I would say that Doug is often bemused by the length of time it has taken for people to understand his motivation and objectives.

As Alan Kay said: “Less progress has been made in the last 25 years than before 1980... the commercialization of technology spread it wide and thin without getting to the real heart of the matter. We call it reinventing the flat tire. We wish they’d reinvent the wheel.

Doug started off several decades ahead of the rest of the world - and we're finally starting to catch up. Happily over the past decade Doug has been getting the recognition he richly deserves (National Medal of Technology, Lemilson-MIT prize, Turing Award, Lovelace medal, etc).

The Program for the Future is hosting a two day celebration starting Monday Dec 8 (open to virtual participation - free registration required), followed by SRI's Engelbart and the Dawn of Interactive Computing event at Stanford University Memorial Hall (tickets required).

I hope SRI or Stanford will post a video of the event. It's awfully ironic that the birth of interactive hypertext collaboration will be celebrated by a Stanford paid admission event with no live Web broadcast or promise of a public record video.

Update Remembering Doug Engelbart, 30 January 1925 - 2 July 2013

Related

Doug Engelbart Video Archive: 1968 Demo - FJCC Conference Presentation Reel Dec 9, 1968 Internet Archive, the so called Mother of All Demos. See also From Pranksters to PCs chapter about Engelbart's 1968 FJCC demo from John Markoff's book What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry, authorized excerpt.

Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010

And here's what Enterprise 2.0 looked like in 1968 | Dealing lightning with both hands... - Engelbart Demo

Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart

Tricycles vs. Training Wheels - Doug Engelbart and Alan Kay

On Ted Nelson, Tim Berners-Lee and the future of the web:

Reinventing the Web

Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box

Do Something Differently - Spend less for better results

November 16, 2008 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


JP Rangaswami offers typically sound advice for businesses looking at how to cope with hard times in his October 19th post Invented Here. He says when times are hard, a firm has four choices:

  • Stop Doing Something Completely
  • Continue to Do Something, Just Less of It
  • Start Doing Something New
  • Do Something Differently

JP notes that to stop doing something completely is hard for firms with values, relationships, habits, people and culture built around their specific products, services territories and markets. As a result "... instead of Stopping Doing Something, many firms go for the Continue to Do Something, Just Less of It option. Because Doing Less of Something is Easy. Targets are handed out, 'haircuts' are cascaded down, and Death by a Thousand Cuts becomes the norm."

Doing Something New is also hard, particularly in big firms where starting something new means you first have to stop doing something old - and depend on good execution by very nervous defenders of the status quo. Machiavelli had some wise words on this.

That leaves Do Something Differently. It's not too hard to consider incremental changes that both save money and promise to deliver better results (with a reasonable degree of certainty).

So - how about cutting direct travel costs and downtime for meetings while building stronger internal and customer facing relationships?

I like Cisco's Save More Travel Less TV commercials featuring road warriors acting out air safety briefings with more panache than Southwest airline's Halloween flight attendants.

But I don't agree that the solution is to load up on multi-million dollar telepresence systems - particularly when you need to connect with customers, suppliers, consultants, lawyers and other stakeholders who aren't supported by your IT budget (thank heaven for small blessings).

The incremental cost of adding one named account to a Traction TeamPage server is $120 or less for a perpetual license ($60 or less per year for a subscription). This is much less than the direct cost of one face to face meeting. But unlike a face to face meeting, a TeamPage account makes it possible to maintain closer, stronger relationships connecting external stakeholders and internal product development, marketing, engineering, executive and sales teams.

With Traction's new Live Blog technology (a standard feature - no extra cost) you can even keep a secure Twitter like channel open to link selected customer, partner and internal groups over Traction TeamPage's widely praised Enterprise 2.0 collaboration platform.

I don't think Enterprise 2.0 technology connecting internal or external groups will ever replace face-to-face meetings for valuable long term relationships. Events like Traction User Group meetings (TUG 2008 October photo below) connect customers and employees in a way that social software - or a telepresence system - will never replace.

But when you add the continuing day-to-day connections and shared awareness that Enterprise 2.0 technology makes possible to relationships established in person or remotely, you cut the frequency of face to face meetings and travel time while doing a better job at developing and maintaining valuable relationships.

Professor Andrew McAfee takes the position that that Enterprise 2.0 can become a strategic differentiator, since the skills and capabilities the people in an organization are rare, valuable and difficult for competitors to imitate. The internal and external relationships that your organization has or develops can be equally rare, valuable and difficult for competitors to imitate. Now is a very good time to find ways to spend less for better results - and I believe that's a very conservative statement of the value of Enterprise 2.0 practices.

I should also mention that Traction Software is thanking our current customers and welcoming new customers who face these hard decisions for hard times by offering a 20% discount on Traction TeamPage 4.0 licenses and subscriptions - including upgrades - purchased through December 31, 2008, see Record 2008 Results and End of Year Discount.

Here's to Happy Days in 2009!

References:
Live blog with Traction TeamPage
Record 2008 Results and End of Year Discount
Reviewers and Customers Praise TeamPage 4.0 - Cite breakthroughs in Enterprise 2.0 collaboration
The Rise of Enterprise 2.0, Andrew McAfee | Video | Enterprise 2.0 Summit 2008 Tokyo
Enterprise 2.0: Radical Change by Revolution or Mandate?

Live blog with Traction TeamPage

November 16, 2008 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


from Michael Angeles, Traction Software Director of User Experience: Live Blog
is a new plug-in for TeamPage 4.0. The new Live Blog interface works like Twitter or IM. It creates an automatically updating browser window you can park on your desktop (or iPhone). You type a brief note and everyone with access to that Live Blog sees their window update in seconds. But unlike Twitter or IM, Live Blog is backed by Traction's TeamPage platform that provides scalable storage, security, integrated search and all of the other capabilities that make TeamPage the leading best platform for Enterprise 2.0. For a video introduction see below. If you don't have Traction yet, remember that Traction is free for up to five project spaces and five users. Get a free Traction TeamPage/5 license and start Live Blogging now!

The concept

Live Blog makes it simple to share brief notes connecting groups of people. You may already be familiar with these models:

1) Instant posting and response - the Chat or IM model

2) Micro blogging and social messaging - the Twitter or Facebook model

Live Blog is implemented as an AJAX enabled TeamPage skin so conversations are near-synchronous. That means what you say gets pushed out to everyone watching the Live Blog seconds after you post.

Because the interaction is supported in Traction, conversations you might otherwise have in IM or Twitter can take place securely within a TeamPage context with a rich content, tagging and discussion model. A Live Blog note on a critical issue can easily be tagged and referenced for followup, found in TeamPage search, or disseminated in an TeamPage generated IM, email or RSS stream.

What you can do with Live Blog

Microblogging and Social Presence

Think of Live Blog as Twitter for the enterprise. It lets you instantly message work groups or communities within your company.

Social presence is a way of updating others of your status, as in Facebook ("I'm on the phone with Acme Rocket Co."). Or you can use it to tell people what you're working on, as in LinkedIn ("Starting work on FTL drive project")

Conference / Meeting Live Blogging

This is like what we see at those consumer electronics conferences like MacWorld where conference attendees post about every thing that's being demoed. Or you can imagine a conference back channel where users post ideas or questions about the presentations. The same scenario is useful even in small office or intra-office meetings.

Chat

This is can be like your virtual watercooler, or set up targeted chat projects around topics or communities of practice. It's as simple as IM or chat, but it's all within TeamPage and it's open to whatever groups you set.

Mobile Skin


It also works great in mobile devices like the iPhone!

Getting started

Those are just a few common examples. Where you take it is up to you. Live Blog removes barriers to posting content so it's simple to participate. All it requires is some basic understanding of what you can do. And because your Live Blog is a TeamPage project, any of the access control rules you set work as you expect.

If you don't have Traction yet, remember that Traction is free for up to five project spaces and five users. Get a free Traction TeamPage/5 license and start Live Blogging now!

Light up some classrooms! DonorsChoose.org Challenge

October 5, 2008 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


On Oct 1 DonorsChoose opened their Blogger Challenge 2008 to help spread the word about a great model for charitable giving. It's simple: Teachers ask. You choose, Students learn. Click the badge below to learn more and bring some light to classrooms where any contribution can make a difference. You'll feel good on a person-to-person level, and help children succeed in life.

I learned about DonorsChoose.org through a Dec 2007 holiday gift from Google Ads making a starter donation for a project I could chose, rather than sending trinkets. Good for Google!

Of the many great local projects, the one that hit me was a math teacher asking for a LCD projector to follow up on the great response from 4th grade students when she was able to borrow the only LCD projector in the school one day a week for a special end of year project.

This is in an urban school district with very tight budgets and almost 90% of the students receiving free lunch.

An LCD projector is the sort of tool that's cut when absolute necessities are hard to afford - but can make an enormous difference in engaging kids in learning. The teacher made a case that was heartfelt and compelling. I topped off the starter gift and felt great.

Let's get some of this affordable tech gear in the hands of teachers who will value both the donation and vote of confidence.

Projectors can help many kids over a period of years. Choose your own favorite and let there be light!

Avast Ye Enterprise 2.0 Seekers!

September 19, 2008 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


If ye be seeking Enterprise 2.0 Skills, click Traction Software or prepare to be Boarded, Pillaged and Sunk by thy Competition! If thou knowes't not how Enterprise 2.0 Skills canst Protect thy Treasure - Unto thy very Corporate Life - Profesaarh Andrew McAfee can set thee aright. Arrhh!

If ye seek Enterprise 2.0 Skills, ye may also sail to Cambridge Maryland for the Third Annual Traction User Group (TUG 2008) meeting at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Oct 6-8, 2008. Forget not to haul your bunt well up on the yard, smoothing the skin and bringing it down well abaft, and make fast the bunt gasket round the mast, and the jigger, if there be one, to the tie.

If thou art puzzled by why I be Speaking like This, know ye that Sep 19 be International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Google hath also announced that ye may now choose pirate (as well as Bork Bork Bork or Elmer Fudd) for thy search interface. This as Rumored by Douglas Cornelius, the most Fearsome Lawyer of Boston on this day.

Who's on Your Team ?

July 10, 2008 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Web-based social software makes it possible for people to discover connections and stay in touch on a global scale without imposing undue work on either the sender or receiver of information - unlike email, face to face meetings, or any other medium in human history. In Who’s on Your Team? Enterprise 2.0 and Team Boundaries Larry Irons discusses a 2002 study on distributed work that's relevant for Enterprise 2.0 collaboration. The study found that members of geographically distributed teams have a fuzzy notion the boundaries of their team (who was in, who was out) while collocated teams rarely disagreed. Larry suggests that wiki style collaboration and social networking will make team boundaries fuzzier - and that's a good thing.

Prof Andrew McAfee makes a similar point with his bullseye model which characterizes strong, weak, and potential ties between knowledge workers and their colleagues in an enterprise. McAfee suggests that one value of social software is making it easier to convert potential ties to strong or week ties, and stay on top of what's happening in an extended network.

The situation gets even more interesting when you examine how the desire to make new Connections plays with the notion of borders and boundaries where there's a natural (or legal) expectation of privacy.

For example - if you work for a law firm there's a reasonable - and legal - expectation that only the client and members of the firm have access to the collaborative space reserved for work with each specific client. But a member of the firm may be working with many different clients at the same time, and need to keep on top of many external engagements - and a host of internal engagements that are shared within the law firm but invisible to all clients.

This "hub and spoke" collaboration pattern is common for business. If your company builds complex, customized products - like robotic systems sold to manufacturers - it's valuable to have separate collaboration spaces that connect each customer and your internal product development, sales and marketing team. Everyone on the inside has a bird's eye view across all customer specific work. Each customer sees a dedicated collaboration space for private working communication - and can also read or participate in spaces that you intentionally open to all your customers or the public Web.

Some boundaries are firm and reliable - other boundaries need to become fuzzy or invisible - depending on who you are. See Borders, Spaces and Places for some additional thoughts and examples.

No need to curb your enthusiasm ...

July 8, 2008 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Read Prof Andrew McAfee's recent blog post Curb My Enthusiasm for a very concise summary of the model, analysis and conclusions of a July / August 2008 Harvard Business Review article he co-authored with MIT's Erik Brynjolfsson. McAfee poses a polite challenge that I'll paraphrase: For a bold and important claim, where is he wrong?

He asks if readers have a better explanation of the pattern he and Brynjolfsson observe: that since the 1990's a combination of the Web and IT spending on enterprise information systems has shifted the ability of businesses to recognize and deploy good ideas; that this has raised the pace and level of competition, making effective innovation more valuable, and more strongly differentiates winners and losers in competitive markets.

McAfee further claims that the Web and IT changes they analyze appear to be step functions:

This new, nastier competition does not depend on continued IT innovation. It only depends on continued managerial innovation. If all the technology vendors were to close up shop tomorrow competition in all industries would not eventually revert to where it was prior to the mid-1990s. The current IT toolkit lets companies propagate business ideas faster, more broadly, and with higher fidelity. That’s all that’s necessary to increase the pace of competition, and to keep it high. Of course, the tech vendors are not about to shut themselves down and we’ll see a lot more innovation from them; this will only serve to further increase competitive nastiness. But technology innovation is the icing on the cake of managerial innovation. - Andrew McAfee Curb My Enthusiasm

It's an interesting argument that seems to be based on an observation that it's possible to reduce the "friction" inherent in introducing new ideas or techniques using two diametrically opposing approaches:

Embed what's new as part of a discrete and non-discretionary process. A good example from the new paper is CVS pharmacy discovering that prescription customers became frustrated when they dropped off a prescription, only to return and find that the order had not been filled because a medical insurance check raised a question that was quick and simple to answer but couldn't be resolved until the customer returned. CVS changed their pharmacy software so that any such questions were raised at drop off time - and improved customer satisfaction scores from 86% to 91%. Because the process change was embedded in an inflexible software process, the change could be rolled out to all pharmacies with very little confusion, training, or other costs - and implemented uniformly.

Use social software principles to make the benefits of new ideas, techniques - or just connections and working communication - more visible and actionable throughout the organization. McAfee refers to this type of software as:

  • Emergent: freeform, and containing mechanisms to let the patterns and structure inherent in people's interactions become visible over time. and
  • Freeform: Optional, without workflow, egalitarian, accepting many types of data)

To get good results, both embedded and social methods require good ideas and the ability to implement good ideas effectively.

Unlike the cookie cutter results you can expect from a precisely repeatable change to a deterministic human or automated process, using social software as platform to engage and connect people throughout the enterprise requires a mix of bottom up participation and top down support and encouragement - and willingness to innovate. Good management and leadership combined with good execution can produce a sustainable competitive advantage over competitors who are not as good or committed to innovation.

For example GE's Workout process in the 1990's was a well-regarded innovation designed to shake up GE's rigid management culture by giving employees a stronger voice - and commitment to listen.

The Work-Out process was born. These were two or three-day events held at GE sites around the world, patterned after New England town meetings. Groups of 40 to 100 employees would come together, with an outside facilitator, to discuss better ways of doing things and how to eliminate some of the bureaucracy and roadblocks that were hindering them. The boss would be present at the beginning of each session, laying out the rationale for the Work-Out. He would also commit to two things: to give an on-the-spot “yes” or “no” to 75 percent of the recommendations that came out of the session, and to resolve the remaining 25 percent within 30 days. He would then disappear until the end of session, so as not to stifle open discussion, only returning at the end to make good on his promise.

Tens of thousands of these sessions took place over several years, until they became a way of life in the company. They are no longer “big events” but part of how GE goes about solving problems...

A middle-aged appliance worker who was at one Work-Out spoke for thousands of people when he told me, “For 25 years, you paid for my hands when you could have had my brain as well – for nothing.

At last, because of Work-Out, we were getting both. In fact, I believe Work-Out was responsible for one of the most profound changes in GE during my time there. For the vast majority of employees, the boss-knows-all culture disappeared. - Jack Welch Voice and Dignity | Every brain in the game

Enterprise 2.0 thus becomes more about Release 2.0 of how a large and disparate group of people can work together effectively with common purpose than about Release 2.0 of a particular technology. One big jump - the writable Web - was enough to get the revolution in social software started:

Prior to the Internet, the last technology that had any real effect on the way people sat down and talked together was the table. There was no technological mediation for group conversations. The closest we got was the conference call, which never really worked right - Clay Shirky, A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy

This is a big idea - no need to curb your enthusiasm !

For a free copy of the academic paper on which the HBR article is based - including a detailed description of the model, analysis and conclusions - see Scale Without Mass: Business Process Replication and Industry Dynamics, HBS Technology and Operations Management Unit Research Paper No. 07-016.

See also The Rise of Enterprise 2.0, Andrew McAfee | Video | Enterprise 2.0 Summit 2008 Tokyo
Connections
Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box
Learn by watching - Then do

Why Enterprise Search Sucks

June 27, 2008 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Ron Miller of EContent wrote a very good article AIIM Study Finds Enterprise Search Still Lacking about an upcoming AIIM report on Findability and disappointed expectations for enterprise search. Ron's title is more polite than some of the words I've heard (and used) to characterize enterprise search. Bluntly - if we all agree that enterprise search sucks, what is to be done?

Ron quotes Dan Keldsen, director of market intelligence at AIIM:

"It’s not that people don’t have search or other tools and techniques to find information. They have too many tools. They have search in their email client, search on the web, the sales force automation software has its own search [and so forth]." The trouble is most organizations don’t have tools to search across everything, he explains. In spite of the fact that federated search has been around for some time, he says, most organizations don’t have it because it’s tricky and expensive to implement.

Therefore it’s not surprising that 82 percent of those surveyed by AIIM agreed or strongly agreed that their experience with the consumer web has "created increased demand for enterprise findability." Whether that’s realistic or not, matters little, says Keldsen, because we have to face the fact that these users are frustrated for whatever reason. "Should we be frustrated that this is what people think and feel, or face it because it’s reality?" he asks.

In a highly unscientific poll of about forty people attending the Network Application Consortium's Fall 2007 Conference on Collaboration Technologies, I asked:

"How many of you think enterprise search sucks?"

and was not surprised to see about forty hands raised. I also believe that expectations set by people easily finding what they want on the public Web sets a high bar for what they expect at work (see Why Can't A Business Work More Like the Web?).

Ron's story goes on to quote Carl Frappaolo, VP at AIIM: "I don’t think the technology is failing us, I think it’s the way we are using the technologies," but he adds, "If I can’t find my content, it doesn’t exist."

I have a slightly different take. If all relevant content isn't indexed, it can't be found, but when you add more content stores to be indexed, the signal to noise ratio can get worse as coverage increases.

The technology of enterprise search is robust and capable of astonishingly deep analysis of great piles of content in almost any format.

But the relevance of search results often gets worse as a larger number of stovepiped and minimally cross-linked content stores are indexed. Email stores are often the worst offenders - but contain much of the most valuable working communication.

On the public Web, page rank and similar algorithms cleverly leverage human intelligence to help determine what people have found relevant in the past and found "link worthy". Web page content can provide valuable and indexable context for other files and pages connected by links.

In the enterprise, there are very few links to use for relevance ranking, and tons of duplicate files (or minor variations of the same file) attached to email that's blasted throughout the company and scattered .

Think of poor Dagwood Bumstead working hard to win the Acme Products account. He drafts a PowerPoint and circulates it for review. Because it's an important account many people are cc'd. They each squirrel away a copy, make proposed changes and sent those modified copies around.

The poor enterprise search engine may have hundreds or thousands of copies of duplicate or near duplicate PowerPoint files that talk about the Acme Product proposal - but very little context to determine which version is most relevant, or the context in which it was created. The signal to noise ratio of broadly cc'd email discussions with rats nests of quoted content is even worse.

I believe that blog, wiki, RSS feeds and tagging metadata (collectively "E2.0 sources") can greatly improve the relevance of enterprise search results by intelligently using E2.0 sources as human authored and highly contextualized indexes to weight the relevance and provide useful context to the content they contain or link to.

For example, the relevance rank of blog posts or wiki pages talking about the Acme Account can contribute to the relevance of any directly or indirectly referenced PowerPoint describing Dagwood Bumstead's plan. The PowerPoint could be stored within an E2.0 source - or stored elsewhere and referenced one or more E2.0 sources.

To me, the most important point is that the E2.0 sources model business context in a form that intelligent enterprise search engines can index and use to provide faceted navigation and relevance ranking based on factors including:

  • General business context: Inferred by correlating content analysis, use of "sales" related content tags, and other contextual clues
  • Specific business context: The Acme proposal, with resources collected, used, discussed, or referenced to create that proposal.
  • Time line: Items referenced or discussed while developing and discussing the Acme proposal.
  • People involved: Who worked on the Acme proposal ? What did they talk about and tag ?
  • Space: In what public, private, personal or by invitation collaboration space was the content recorded or referenced ?

When Mr. Dithers shouts: "Bumstead! Where are we on the Acme Account?", the most timely, frequently discussed and contextually relevant version of Dagwood's slide set could pop closer to the top of the result list, along with the cloud of tags and people who have touched or talked about that result.

For more thoughts on how the content of E2.0 sources can be used to provide context - and improved relevance - for enterprise search, see Enterprise 2.0 for Intelligence Analysts. My working title for the internal version of this slide deck was Why enterprise search sucks - and what to do about it.

See also Information Foraging at FASTForward '07
Authority versus Page Rank

A first-order approximation of what I'm talking about:
TeamPage | Attivio Search Module

but the concept using E2.0 sources to improve the relevance of enterprise search is not limited to correlating information from just one E2.0 source or from Traction Software's products. See Why Can't A Business Work More Like the Web?

Borders, Spaces, and Places

June 26, 2008 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


One big problem for collaboration has been too many borders - technical or cultural - creating silos of information for no good reason - and many bad ones. There's also a big problem if you don't have a good way to mark borders that enable collaboration where there's a natural expectation of privacy.

For example - if you work for a law firm there's a reasonable - and legal - expectation that only the client and members of the firm have access to the collaborative space reserved for work with each specific client. But a member of the firm may be working with many different clients at the same time, and need to keep on top of many external engagements - and a host of internal engagements that are shared within the law firm but invisible to all clients.

This "hub and spoke" collaboration pattern is common for business. For example, if your company builds complex, customized products it's valuable to have separate collaboration spaces that connect each customer and your internal product development, sales and marketing team. Everyone on the inside has a bird's eye view across all customer specific work. Each customer sees a dedicated collaboration space for private working communication - and can also read or participate in spaces that you intentionally open to all your customers or the public Web.

Similarly, most businesses work with a network of external suppliers, resellers, technology or business partners and external service providers - including your law firm, accountants, PR firm and others. If you're interested in keeping touch with each of these external stakeholders and enabling your employees to have a birds eye view of what's happening across your entire business the hub and spoke pattern is also appropriate.

Your business may also have good reason to set up spaces for private collaboration that's limited to certain groups (e.g. your Board of Directors) or for specific purposes (e.g. your HR Department privately helping employees resolve medical claim issues).

If your Enterprise 2.0 software doesn't support these patterns of collaboration with a user model that's simple and secure you're limited to internal or public collaboration. This limited form of collaboration is useful but doesn't enable employees in the hub to stay informed or participate in many of most valuable relationships where your business meets the external world. John Hagel and John Seely Brown call this collaboration at the edge:

The point is that by being able to listen deeply and participate on the edge, you can pick up things before anybody else picks them up, and you can use that to accelerate your own capability building. This implies that it is not just corporate training that is important but rather rich participation with partners who are at the edge as well. One of the questions we ask ourselves is, how do you learn as much from a partner as you learn from creating something yourself. This puts a new spin on why distributed collaboration around the world might be critical in creating this sustainable edge. - John Seely Brown Can Your Firm Develop a Sustainable Edge? Knowledge@Wharton

In his Fast Forward 08 Keynote What's Most Important for Success with Enterprise 2.0? Prof Andrew McAfee said that borders are needed in order to use Enterprise 2.0 principals for many valuable business purposes, but it's very important that "Borders seem appropriate to users."

I agree and suggest adding a follow-on principal: "Borders should seem transparent to those with permission to cross them."

For Traction TeamPage this means:

  • All content and relevant context are indexed for search, but the search engine delivers the subset of results that the person making the request can read.
  • Tag clouds and drill-down navigation present the tags and drill-down paths derived from what that person can read.
  • Traction's Dashboard views roll-up content from many spaces based on tag, content or other criteria defined by Section widgets, and automatically shows the subset of content which that person can read.
  • RSS feeds, email, IM notifications and cross-reference lists automatically reflect the content and cross references which that person can read.

For example, if you're an employee at the center of a "hub and spoke" collaboration pattern, when you navigate, search or link information, the borders separating different customer spaces and internal spaces you can read become transparent for collaboration.

You can still use the names of spaces created for particular customers to focus your attention on a particular issue or collection of content, but you effectively see one big wiki / weblog. Borders help you visualize the business context and intended audience.

If a customer logs in to your TeamPage server, they see only the rolled-up content, search results, tags, feeds, and space names that they have permission to read. The content - and existence - of private collaboration spaces of other customers or reserved for internal use are hidden.

Traction TeamPage even extends commenting and inline discussion to work transparently across borders.

Let's say a customer posts a page of product suggestions in their own space (Traction calls this a project space). Everyone in your internal team can read and comment on any paragraph in the customer's suggestion page, and by default their comments will also be posted to the customer's project - and immediately become visible to the customer.

Let's say Sue is an engineer working on a related project. She reads the third paragraph of the customer's suggestion page and wants to open an internal discussion comparing confidential feedback on that topic from other customers. She posts a comment on the third paragraph, but instead of posting the comment to the customer's project, Sue posts her comment to an internal engineering project.

The internal engineering discussion is then anchored to the third paragraph of the customer's original suggestion page, but the thread is invisible to all but internal team members who have permission to read the engineering project. After internal discussion, Sue may decide to post a summary comment back to the customer (or add a tag which makes a specific engineering comment visible).

Six months later, Alan in Marketing is asked why particular approach was chosen in designing the new feature. His search finds the internal discussion in the context of the original customer suggestion. He can easily follow the linked trail for background, contact Sue, or add a clarifying note.

This multiple space model is much more than just an administrative convenience that makes it easy to deploy one TeamPage server for different groups within an enterprise. Not that there's anything wrong with administrative convenience!

It starts down a road to creating places which groups use for agreed social purposes - just like the rooms and spaces in a well designed building make it easy to hold conversations in different contexts without a lot of conscious thought. You talk differently in the space near your desk, in a conference room being used for a customer meeting, in a public event held in an auditorium, or in a huddle space for the team you work with every day.

With the TeamPage model, if you want to hold a conversation with a specific customer, post it to that customers private collaboration space. If you want to address a broader group, use a space a space with broader participation and a less formal purpose, while retaining the the ability to have a more private discussions (or take strictly personal notes) in the context of a more public place.

See Re-Place-ing Space: The Roles of Place and Space in Collaborative Systems by Steve Harrison (Xerox PARC) and Paul Dourish (EuroPARC) for some interesting thoughts on where this could lead.

See Michael Sampson's Currents: "TeamPage - the One System to Rule It All" for an independent expert's opinion of TeamPage's capabilities for cross-workspace collaboration.

See also Connections
The Rise of Enterprise 2.0, Andrew McAfee | Video | Enterprise 2.0 Summit 2008 Tokyo

Traction TeamPage 5.0: Social Software for Work
Traction TeamPage 4.0 Puts Hypertext to Work
Why Can't A Business Work More Like the Web?

TeamPage | Search
TeamPage | Attivio® Search Module
TeamPage | Front Page and Project Pages
TeamPage | Personal Profile Pages
TeamPage | Comments and Threaded Discussions

Get a Bike Mr Kagermann!

June 24, 2008 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


WSJ.com's Ben Worthen quotes SAP chief executive Henning Kagermann "giving an interview in the back seat of a hybrid Mercury SUV instead of his usual Town Car, in accordance with SAP's new environmental policy". Kagermann is skeptical about the proposition that "large corporate-software projects will disappear, replaced by easy-to-use Internet-programs targeted at individual workers". Kagermann says:

... the most important features for the managers who buy business software are still a system’s security and reliability, and whether the system helps a business comply with an ever-growing number of government regulations, says Kagermann. Systems bought by individuals or departments don’t have the company-wide perspective necessary to meet these goals - The Reason It's Called Management Software, WSJ.com

I agree with Mr. Kagermann's points that Enterprise 2.0 software complements and connects transactional data that is stored in MRP, accounting and other traditional business applications, and complements rather than replaces transactional data stores.

Small and agile Enterprise applications work in the application gaps and cross-link silos of traditional enterprise software. By flagging issues and linking to opportunities or threats discovered in traditional systems, Enterprise 2.0 applications actually make transactional content more actionable and useful.

On Mr. Kagermann's last point - systems from small, agile suppliers are perfectly capable of meeting security, reliability and other business requirements based on a company wide perspective. And small, agile mammals discovered their niche and evolved to reshape the world of ah... dinosaurs. No offense!

A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower Strategy | Video

June 20, 2008 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


I'm just back from the 2008 Current Strategy Forum at the US Naval War College in Newport. This year the topic of panels and presentations (including addresses and extensive Q&A by the Secretary of the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations and, the Commandant of the Marine Corp) was the Cooperative Strategy for 21s Century Seapower - a joint strategy for the US Marine Corp, Navy and Coast Guard. The strategy raises prevention of war - deterrence, cooperative relationships with more international partners, trust built through humanitarian assistance and disaster response - to an equal level as the conduct of war. In the very best sense this is a positioning statement: what a nation should expect from its maritime forces.

I think it's a deep and intellectually honest reflection on specific value that maritime forces can deliver in a time of uncertain conditions and rapid change. A Navy Commander who lead the team responsible for developing the strategy wrote (anonymously):

... the Naval War College and my staff began conducting the “Conversations with the Country”. We were eventually to conduct seven, in Newport, Phoenix, Atlanta, San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Chicago. I was a huge skeptic of these forums from the start; by the end, I saw some value in them. We relied upon several methods of creating the invitation list for these events. We started with the Naval War College Foundation mailing list—but then worked with state humanities councils, civic groups and academic groups to try and get a broad cross-section of Americans. Did we succeed? Not entirely. We got a lot of old, white guys who had military backgrounds. But we also got a lot of teachers, first responders, friends of folks in the military—just plain citizens who were just plain pleased to be asked their opinion. And that’s what we mainly did—while we jiggered with the formula over the course of the Conversations, we never wavered from the central proposition that we were there to listen.

What we learned is what we say in the strategy. They want us to remain strong, they want us to protect them here in their homeland, and they want us to work with other nations around the world to preserve peace. Sounds pretty boilerplate, right. Think again. I’ve spent a goodly part of the past 21 years working the edges of the empire; I just naturally assumed that the American public knew what we were doing out there and that they had some appreciation for why we do it. I was shocked at how wrong I was…my strongest take-away from the early conversations was that Homeland Defense and National Defense were the exact same thing to most of the people in the audience. They were concerned with porous borders, port security, and terrorists on airplanes. I did not discern a great deal of understanding as to why we were forward deployed around the world. There was only a vague sense of the importance of the Navy. - Maritime Strategy 2007: The Team Leader Speaks

I think the strategy is clearly stated, well crafted and appropriate for public review and discussion. Most importantly, I believe it can raise the level of discourse on the role of the military above purely partisan positioning. The video (below) is pretty good too!

Never before have the maritime forces of the United States—the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard—come together to create a unified maritime strategy. This strategy stresses an approach that integrates seapower with other elements of national power, as well as those of our friends and allies. It describes how seapower will be applied around the world to protect our way of life, as we join with other like-minded nations to protect and sustain the global, inter-connected system through which we prosper. Our commitment to protecting the homeland and winning our Nation’s wars is matched by a corresponding commitment to preventing war.

Our citizens were involved in development of this strategy through a series of public forums known as the “Conversations with the Country.” Three themes dominated these discussions: our people want us to remain strong; they want us to protect them and our homeland, and they want us to work with partners around the world to prevent war. These themes, coupled with rigorous academic research, analysis and debate, led to a comprehensive strategy designed to meet the expectations and needs of the American people.

A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower binds our services more closely together than they have ever been before to advance the prosperity and security of our Nation. The demands of an uncertain world and the enduring interests of the American people require nothing less.

from A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Centry Seapower (.pdf)

Connections

June 8, 2008 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


To the best of my knowledge, Clay Shirky is responsible for popularizing the term Social Software. By his definition, it's primarily about patterns of connections:

... Let me offer a definition of social software, because it's a term that's still fairly amorphous. My definition is fairly simple: It's software that supports group interaction. I also want to emphasize, although that's a fairly simple definition, how radical that pattern is. The Internet supports lots of communications patterns, principally point-to-point and two-way, one-to-many outbound, and many-to-many two-way.

Prior to the Internet, we had lots of patterns that supported point-to-point two-way. We had telephones, we had the telegraph. We were familiar with technological mediation of those kinds of conversations. Prior to the Internet, we had lots of patterns that supported one-way outbound. I could put something on television or the radio, I could publish a newspaper. We had the printing press. So although the Internet does good things for those patterns, they're patterns we knew from before.

Prior to the Internet, the last technology that had any real effect on the way people sat down and talked together was the table. There was no technological mediation for group conversations. The closest we got was the conference call, which never really worked right -- "Hello? Do I push this button now? Oh, shoot, I just hung up." It's not easy to set up a conference call, but it's very easy to email five of your friends and say "Hey, where are we going for pizza?" So ridiculously easy group forming is really news.

We've had social software for 40 years at most, dated from the Plato BBS system, and we've only had 10 years or so of widespread availability, so we're just finding out what works. We're still learning how to make these kinds of things. - A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy, Clay Shirky July 1, 2003

I think the Clay's focus on groups and patterns of connections is very important to remember for two reasons:

1) Social Software is not about non-stop party time at the office.

At the Enterprise 2.0 Summit 2008 Tokyo, one of the organizers asked me to include a definition of "Social Software", since in Japan the most common uses of the English word "social" seem to center on party time, social rank, social status and similar definitions of the word "social". The temptation to think of "social" as the opposite of "work" is common in the US as well. I used Clay's definition to make the point - and got a laugh describing email as the disco ball of social software (see slides).

2) The sociology of groups and patterns of connection is a deep, rich and important topic that informs how business and other organizations really work.

Prof Andrew McAfee introduced his bullseye model to talk about strong, weak, potential, (and non-existent) ties which connect a knowledge worker and other colleagues in an enterprise. He says:

These days, after drawing the inner 3 rings of the bullseye but before discussing tools like social networking software (SNS) and a corporate blogosphere, I make two points. First, that weak ties are highly valuable, as is the process of converting a potential tie (either strong or weak) into an actual one. So anything that helps a person stay on top of their network of weak ties or convert potential ties should also be quite valuable.

Second, that prior to the 2.0 era (yes, that’s a silly phrase, but not a meaningless one) there were really no good technologies to help at the 2nd and 3rd rings of the bullseye. In other words, there were no effective digital tools for helping a knowledge worker stay on top of and/or exploit her networks of weak ties, or to indicate potentially valuable ties to her. I then go on to discuss the value of SNS for weak ties, and of a blogosphere for potential ones. - Something New Under the Sun? Andrew McAfee, May 21, 2008

I like McAfee's model, and agree with his second conclusion. The wiki (and group blog) model often supports strong ties of business groups working together with a shared purpose or common deliverable. Weak and potential ties then represent potential colleagues - or at valuable sources of expertise and situational awareness - who may or may not be aware of content, conversations and expertise happening outside their local groups.

Social networking promotes new and serendipitous connections among people (and in TeamPage 4.0 the content they create and comments they make within a business context). But the public Web - and bounded world of Enterprise 2.0 - also creates connections based on serendipitous discovery using search, syndication, and context.

Network scale search of blog content is one Web scaleable way to find out who's actively talking about or working on a topic that interests you. Once you find a relevant hit, you then have the opportunity to: 1) make a personal connection; 2) subscribe to a syndicated feed from that individual or group; 3) make your own blog post or wiki link to tell let others in your strongly connected group - and anyone else in the who can read your post - that you've found an interesting fact or connection. Blog / wiki connections make it possible to add situational context - including time based patterns of interest - to search, which is particularly valuable in the relatively small and link-poor enterprise.

Your post then becomes a new item which others can discover - or read if they subscribe to your personal or group blog / wiki - as a potentially valuable source. This weak signal amplification creates a spreading activation network that can quickly span the globe - and further extends and reinforces the network. It also reinforces the value of old fashioned and irreplaceable face to face connections by letting people keep in touch with their extended network without creating undue work for either the sender or receiver.

Without the Web's combination of blogs, wikis, search, syndication and syndication indexing there's a vanishingly small chance that I would end up with valuable (and enjoyable) near real-time connections to: Jim McGee (Chicago), Patrick Lambe (Singapore), Suw Charman (UK), Masayuki Kojima (Yokohama), Michael Sampson (New Zealand), Olivier Tripet (Switzerland), and JP Rangaswami (UK).

So "Social Software" may not mean non-stop parties in the office, but it does provide some of the enjoyment that people gain by going to conferences, business meetings - or using any other excuse - to get to know other employees, customers, consultants, competitors and scholars. You learn what they are saying and can often make valuable and long lasting connections - if not friendships - that make you more effective at your job and open opportunities for your business.

The "social" part of software in the Enterprise 2.0 opens opportunities for strongly connected groups to work together more effectively, while making valuable connections within and across the enterprise. These connections would be wildly impractical if we were limited to the physical world of airplanes, meetings and conferences, or the disco ball era of email! But the value of these connections can lead to real strategic advantage, not just reducing the cost of travel and frustrations of email.

See also

Traction TeamPage 5.0: Social Software for Work

Blogs and Wikis: Building Customer Connections

20 June 2005 | Supernova | Why Can't a Business Work More Like the Web?

Enterprise 2.0 for Intelligence Analysts - FASTForward 08

Use of Weblogs for Competitive Intelligence | First International Business, Technology CI Conference, Tokyo Oct 2005

The work of Lee S. Sproull, Leonard N. Stern Professor of Business and Vice Dean, Stern School of Business, New York. A pioneering scholar of electronic groups, organizations, and communities.

Welcome David, Kellen, Michael !

June 8, 2008 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

With the release of Traction TeamPage 4.0 it's been a busy week! I'd like to take time out to welcome three new Traction Software employees:

David Parker, Principal Software Engineer David brings 20 years of database design and software engineering experience to the Traction team. He is an avid competitive chess player, and has a BA in English from Yale.

Kellen Roach, Sales Kellen joins Traction Software sales team working from our DC / Virginia Sales Office. Kellen has a BS from the State University of New York at Courtland.

Michael Angeles, Director of User Experience Michael has been providing simple, usable and elegant solutions to information seeking problems since 1995. In various positions, he designed projects ranging from enterprise digital libraries to online communities and social software. Michael formerly headed information architecture at Lucent Technologies and at Sling Media's Entertainment Group. He holds a BA in Art History (1993), and an MLS in Library and Information Science (1998), both from Rutgers University.

Michael's long-time personal blog is urlgreyhot, and well worth reading. In a recent post, Michael says:

One of the best things about working at Traction is that the team lives and breathes because of the product—every process is conducted through the software we sell. It's not a matter of eating your own dog food, it's a matter of creating the tool that lets you work the way you want to work.

He starts a series of screencasts on his deep dive into Traction Teampage with Mounting Traction Shared Folders on Mac with Quicksilver.

The Rise of Enterprise 2.0, Andrew McAfee | Video | Enterprise 2.0 Summit 2008 Tokyo

May 31, 2008 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Last month I had the pleasure of interviewing HBS Professor Andrew McAfee at the Enterprise 2.0 Summit Tokyo 2008. The forty minute interview was videotaped in Professor McAfee's HBS office based on questions submitted in advance from the Tokyo conference site (www.enterprise20.jp). Topics included the definition of Enterprise 2.0 versus Web 2.0; return on investment; risk of disclosure; factors for successful Enterprise 2.0 deployment - and a series of questions and followup on Enterprise 2.0 and competitive advantage that particularly struck me:

From Tokyo: "Do you see the benefits of Enterprise 2.0 leading to more intense and effective competition between companies? What are the common behaviors and characteristics of future winners?"

McAfee answered by reviewing three theories of Information Technology's impact on competition:

  1. IT doesn't matter - IT brings productivity and performance benefits, but it brings them to all competitors equally.
  2. IT has a leveling or homogenizing effect on competition ... it makes firms in an industry more similar. ... everyone's business processes should become more similar and undifferentiated, since they're encoded in the same software. IT doesn't separate winners from losers, in other words -- it brings them closer together, and makes it less likely that anyone's going to stand out.
  3. IT does matter - its main effect is to differentiate competitors within an industry and separate winners from losers.

He said that he believes in the third theory - and that success in using Enterprise 2.0 technology is a particularly good test, since management needs to pay attention to culture, incentives, barriers to adoption, encourage bottom up participation and other issues - good management counts. The potential benefits of better communication and collaboration thoughout a business can be strategic differentiators - since the skills and capabilities of the people in the organization are rare, valuable and difficult for competitors to imitate (McAfee talked about this topic in a FastForward 07 keynote and a blog post here). Enterprise 2.0 technology becomes an enabler for Enterprise 2.0 management innovation - including lateralization of control and other practices.

In followup discussion we agreed that this seems very well aligned with Japanese management strengths in recognizing and pioneering concepts of total quality management and other management practices where collaboration is focused on:

  • Improving the quality of the product - from concept through design and manufacturing
  • Improving the competitiveness of the organization
  • Building and maintaining strong ties with long term suppliers and customers - as true partners

Prof McAfee said that Japanese business people may be inclined to see the competitive value in Enterprise 2.0 in reshaping how their organizations work and communicate for a shared purpose. If so, their experience in getting broadly based participation in other innovative practices may lead them to excel in Enterprise 2.0 practice as well.

I agree. This is one more reason why I interpret the "2.0" of Enterprise 2.0 as a new version of the Enterprise - rather than than the Web - supported by technology that enables new patterns of collaborative work - see Blog50: Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart

Note 1 Jun 2008: Olivier Tripet of b-spirit.com adds his own time-tagged transcript of the questions from the video interview. Merci Olivier! - Greg Lloyd

Andrew McAfee references:

Enterprise 2.0: The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration
MIT Sloan Management Review, Spring 2006

What's Most Important for Success with Enterprise 2.0?
FASTForward 08 Keynote topic
Andrew McAfee HBS Blog, Feb 22, 2008

The 9X Email Problem
Andrew McAfee HBS Blog, Sep 29, 2006

Enterprise 2.0, version 2.0
Andrew McAfee HBS Blog, May 27, 2006

The Slippery Nature of 'Strategic' IT - Discusses VRIN test with examples
Andrew McAfee HBS Blog, April 10, 2006

To download a Japanese language translation of these references prepared for the conference, click here (.pdf 116KB).

See also

Enterprise 2.0: Radical Change by Revolution or Mandate?
Flip Test 1971 | Email versus Journal
Having versus Using Enterprise 2.0 Software

Email isn't dead - It's only sleeping

February 29, 2008 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Caroline McCarthy has a wonderful post The future of Web apps will see the death of e-mail. She quotes Kevin Marks:

Kevin Marks, a Google engineer and Technorati veteran, said in a talk about the company's OpenSocial project and Social Graph APIs that e-mail is a "strange legacy idea."

"E-mail has died away for a group of users. for the younger generation, they don't use e-mail," he said, talking about the young Web users who have started to abandon e-mail for Facebook messaging and mobile texting. "They see it as this noisy spam-filled thing that annoys them every day...they see it as how you talk to the university, how you talk to the bank." Marks pointed to technologies like OpenID that promote the notion that online identities these days are defined by so much more than e-mail addresses--URLs and social-networking profiles, to name a few.

I don't exactly think email is dead - and don't think point-to-point email will ever go away - but as a medium for broadcast collaboration it should be considered as lively as Mr. Praline's parrot.

Blogs, wiki's and IM displace use of broadcast email for group working communication. Email is a great medium for one to one - back and forth - communication, but it's a terrible medium for group collaboration. Clay Shirky says:All enterprises have more knowledge in their employees as a group than any one person, even (especially?) the CEO. The worst case is where one person has a problem and another knows a solution, but neither knows the other – or that the other knows. Despite e-mail’s advantages for communication, it falls down as a close collaboration tool on complex projects: E-mail makes it hard to keep everything related to a particular project in one place; e-mailed attachments can lead to version-control nightmares; and it’s almost impossible to get the Cc:line right. If the Cc:line is too broad, it creates “occupational spam” – messages from co-workers that don’t matter to everyone addressed. If the Cc:line is too narrow, the activity becomes opaque to management or partners. -- Social Software: A New Generation of Tools by Clay Shirky, Release 1.0 Vol 21, No. 5, 20 May 2003 (.pdf)

Social software needs to be just as simple, and substantially more effective than email when used for working communication within and across groups. If the software is simple to use, it can be much easier to post what you want to say - or a question you want answered - to a place where others who have the same compelling interest can read it, than to craft an cc: list and force each individual to deal with a rat's nest of replies interleaved in a week's worth of email. -- From Blog73: Personal Knowledge Management: Building Actionable Content from Collaborative Publishing

Andrew McAfee has a very good analysis of email's strengths and limitations as a channel oriented communication medium, summarized in Flip Test 1971 | Email versus Journal

Buy your own Dead Parrot toy here. Puzzled by the Mr. Praline reference? Read about the Dead Parrot sketch. Or just watch it:

Enterprise 2.0: Radical Change by Revolution or Mandate?

February 16, 2008 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Ross Dawson's Enterprise 2.0 will bring radical change in organisations quotes Steve Hodgkinson, Ovum research director from an article by Merri Mack writing in Voice and Data magazine:

Steve Hodgkinson, Ovum research director, sees Enterprise 2.0 as a genuine opportunity for technology to act as a catalyst for changes in organisational culture.

"Enterprise 2.0 is emerging as the most practical way of sharing and managing knowledge in a range of contexts, from team collaboration to customer self-service forums. This leads to the ability to bring about cultural change with the personal power of informal networks such as wikis, blogs, profiles and forums."

"The root of its culture change power, however, is its ability to unleash the personal power of informal networks," said Hodgkinson.

Key ideas within this new system include:

* The need for a flat organisation, rather than an organisational hierarchy
* Folksonomy rather than taxonomy
* User-driven technology rather than IT department control
* Short time-to-market cycles; to continue and increase flow
* Global teams of people, rather than locating the whole organisation in one building
* Emergent information systems, rather than dictated and structured information systems
* The opening of propriety standards

All excellent points, but don't assume that this will necessarily happen as a bottom up revolution - with employees storming the barricades - and don't assume that all top level executives are blind to the advantages of spending money - or mandating organizational change - to gain a valuable, rare, inimitable and non-substitutable advantage over their competitors. Radical change can come by mandate as well as by revolution - you may want to re-read your Machiavelli:

... it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, then to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them. Thus it happens that whenever those who are hostile have the opportunity to attack they do it like partisans, whilst the others defend lukewarmly, in such wise that the prince is endangered along with them.

It is necessary, therefore, if we desire to discuss this matter thoroughly, to inquire whether these innovators can rely on themselves or have to depend on others: that is to say, whether, to consummate their enterprise, have they to use prayers or can they use force? In the first instance they always succeed badly, and never compass anything; but when they can rely on themselves and use force, then they are rarely endangered. Hence it is that all armed prophets have conquered, and the unarmed ones have been destroyed. - The Prince, Nicolo Machiavelli, Chapter VI.

I don't want to sound melodramatic, but just make a simple point that innovative leadership from the top of an organization can make a big difference in the prospects for successful change.

Both Andrew McAfee and Ray Lane's analysis support the proposition that C level executives can and should support change to gain these benefits - sometimes reorganizing around or eliminating middle managers who stand in the way.

McAfee notes that the advantages of making much more effective use of the expertise within your company satisfies the VRIN (valuable, rare, inimitable, and non-substitutable) criteria that businesses can use to create and sustain a unique competitive advantage.

Read McAfee's Feb 2007 post FastForwarding to a Better Understanding, Part 2, and see him make this point in his FastForward 07 keynote: Enterprise 2.0: The Next Disruptor (scroll through the list of Videos in the right side of the page to find this title)

Read Ray Lane's June 2006 Business Week interview A VC's View of Web 2.0 and see him make similar points Lane in his FASTForward 07 Keynote: The Inter Personal Enterprise (scroll through the list of Videos in the right side of the page to find this title)

Note also that Traction's first Pharma success was driven by an innovative CIO acting directly on his CEO's mandate to rethink and reshape Competitive Intelligence information for the company, see 13 June 2005 | Dark Blogs Case Study #1 - A European Pharmaceutical Group.

Speaking of FASTForward ...

If you're headed to FASTForward '08 in Orlando next week, I'll be speaking on Competitive Intelligence Analysts as examples of hard core knowledge workers in the Tuesday 19 Feb 1:45PM Session: Implementing Content-Based Collaborative Applications, see my abstract and slides in 19 Feb 2008 | Greg Lloyd on "Enterprise 2.0 for Intelligence Analysts", FASTForward 08.

The FASTForward '08 agenda looks great, and the conference will be almost twice as big as last year's FASTForward. See you there!

My notes and slides from last year's FASTForward: Information Foraging at FASTForward '07

Could I interest you in a Memex?

February 7, 2008 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Today Weblogged News (Will Richardson) has a thoughtful post "Proficiency in Tossing Stuff Out", reflecting on Thomas Washington's essay in the Christian Science Monitor. Washington says: "The pursuit of knowledge in the age of information overload is less about a process of acquisition than about proficiency in tossing stuff out."

"I suspect that the tipping point in information overload has tipped. Students' aversion to reading does not necessarily signal a weakness, much less a dislike of reading. For them, and now maybe for me, moving on to something else is an adaptive tactic for negotiating the jungle that is our information-besotted culture of verbiage." -- We're on information overload, Thomas Washington

Will adds a personal example:

Yesterday I did a couple of RSS sessions in Elluminate for the PLP cohorts and I found myself talking more about what I don’t read than what I do read. I’m guessing that I scan through about 80% of what comes into my Google Reader, actually read a few full paragraphs and note or tag or move another 15%, and do a “deep” read (and perhaps write, as in this case) of the remainder. -- "Proficiency in Tossing Stuff Out", Will Richardson

Exactly - a good example. It’s important not to confuse “reading comprehension” and “skillful navigation of a bewildering store of knowledge”. You can and should safely discard 80% of what you scan for information - holding on to the momentarily important item when you find it, and reading deeply when it matters - or when it gives you pleasure. Concerns on how to cope with information overload are far from new. Could I interest you in a Memex?

The difficulty seems to be, not so much that we publish unduly in view of the extent and variety of present day interests, but rather that publication has been extended far beyond our present ability to make real use of the record. The summation of human experience is being expanded at a prodigious rate, and the means we use for threading through the consequent maze to the momentarily important item is the same as was used in the days of square-rigged ships. -- As We May Think by Vannevar Bush, Atlantic Monthly, July 1945

I believe that students becoming more skillful navigators, more comfortable with the technology that enables them find, keep and share what’s important on a global scale is cause for celebration! Learning when as well as how to read deeply should be taught, but this deeper than a SAT “reading comprehension” skill.

The "momentarily important item ..." is one of my all time favorite quotes!

See also The Evolution of Personal Knowledge Management
Use of Weblogs for Competitive Intelligence | First International Business, Technology CI Conference, Tokyo Oct 2005

Not to mention a bunch of juicy posts from my internal blog mentioning people and circumstances I don't have time to redact. Maybe later ...

The least entertaining game ever

January 18, 2008 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Good Morning Silicon Valley's Off Topic section for 18 Jan 2008 links to this page as "the least entertaining game ever". Unfair, unkind, funny, but with an element of truth: close to a perfect example of what I'd call a good cheap shot. To restore my karmic balance and express a personal opinion that the authors of the game might appreciate, see this page.

Searching for the Perfect Fried Clam | Rhode Island

September 23, 2007 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Bill Ives of Portals and KM shifts his usual focus to raise a question near and dear to all of us who live in New England, Searching for the Perfect Fried Clam. He lists three tempting choices in Massachusetts, settling on Woodman's in Essex as his first choice. I'll certainly put that on my list, but must nominate Evelyn's Drive Inn in Tiverton RI for the Clam of Honor. Not only do they have great fried clams, but they're also my top choice for Rhode Island style (clear) clam chowder and traditional Rhode Island stuffies ("Fresh local quahogs halved and filled with our spicy blend of chopped clams and chourico").

If you go to Evelyn's, don't pass up the chance to finish your meal at Gray's Ice Cream just a few miles further south on Route 77 in Tiverton Four Corners. Home made ice cream flavors include all the usual choices (including both Coffee and Coffee chip) along with New England specialties like Grapenut and fresh Ginger.

In Rhode Island's world of chowders there are only two native varieties: clear (mostly broth with clams, potatoes, and a bit of onion, salt pork and seasonings) and red (clear with a dash of tomato and red pepper flakes - from Portuguese style I think). In Rhode Island "White" means cream based clam chowder - good but a little over the top for local tastes. Don't ever confuse Rhode Island "red" chowder with clams dunked in tomato soup named after that New York island to the south.

I also like the Rhode Island clear, red (and white) chowder and local seafood at George's Point Judith, and Horton's Seafood, Providence.

See Quahog.org - The Definitive Rhode Island Road Trip - for Ocean State facts, lore, sights and cuisine. Don't get me started on Rhode Island's love of coffee milk - the official state drink.

A Web That Works | NHS Orkney

August 16, 2007 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


David Rendall, National Health Service Orkney created his A Web That Works blog to complement his poster presentation at the UK's National Health Service conference: Delivering Healthcare in the 21st Century, 11-12 Jun 2007, Glasgow UK. David co-authored a 30 July 2007 Intranet Journal article about his experience with Traction Software's Jordan Frank. Visit David's blog ! To download a full-size copy of David's poster (3.2MB .jpg) click here, posted with David's permission.

See also The Power of Enterprise 2.0 for Healthcare Delivery by Todd Berkowitz
Enterprise Blog and Wiki Success Story from Traction Software - UK’s National Health Service (NHS) Orkney by Bill Ives
National Health Service Orkney customer profile

Learn by watching - Then do

August 14, 2007 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

JP Rangaswami writes an excellent blog - Confused of Calcutta - where he shares his experience as an "accidental technologist" who moved from investment banking to the services arm of a telco. His post on Facebook and Knowledge Management tells a great story about what happened when he decided to open up his mailbox to his direct reports:

My intention was to let them see precisely what I did by showing them what I faced, the incoming mail. That they could somehow vicariously gain the experience of sitting where I sat, doing what I did, thinking what I thought, by seeing what I saw.

And then I observed what they did. Boy was I wrong. Most of them were far more interested in my ‘sent mail’. They felt they could learn more by watching my outgoing rather than my incoming, they felt they could get ‘into my head’ faster by focusing on my responses rather than on the stimuli. - JP Rangaswami

His conclusion? "People learn best by watching what you do." He builds a great case for the future of knowledge management: Reduce the cost and simplify the process of letting people watch what you do - and learn from watching.

This strikes a very deep chord for me. Many years ago, I worked as project engineer at the Naval Research Lab with a handful of peers and a very creative boss. My boss would shuffle project assignments every now and then: I'd take over Rick's project, he'd take over mine, Sue would swap assignments with Peter, etc.

It was a small office. We knew in general what everyone else was up to and how it was going, but we each were deep in development, consulting, contract management, meetings, sponsor briefings and lively discussions with other project stakeholders. We could see the forest, but managing a project meant dodging the trees while running as fast as you could. When YS pulled the rug out from under from us, the only way to come up to speed quickly was to scan the project serial file he had us keep.

Each project's serial file was nothing fancy. Usually it was a few file drawers with incoming and outgoing correspondence, briefing slides, q&a memos, contract actions and meeting notes, all top bound in chronological order - full contracts, formal specs and other deliverables were filed separately. In pre-email days, the project serial file was a pretty accurate snapshot of our interactions with the outside world interleaved with internal notes and memos. We all kept our own date stamped lab notebooks for private jottings.

A day or so of close reading and the chance to ask a few pointed questions to the original project engineer ("You said WHAT to Captain K??") usually got us up to speed on the pulse of each project - not just the formal status and deliverables. We learned to use the project file to refresh our memory on details before and important meeting or decision - or just to reflect and review the bidding. We learned to use each other's project files to keep track of dependencies and learn how to handle problems. Thomas Stewart had a similar experience:

"A whale ship was my Yale College and my Harvard," said Herman Melville's Ishmael; when it came to learning my job, circulating correspondence was mine. Reading my superiors' letters opened a window into how they conducted business with the world outside; I aped things more experienced colleagues did, and saw how they handled tricky situations; I copied useful addresses into my Rolodex (another antique). I learned who knew what, and that made me better at asking for advice. - Thomas Stewart - The Wealth of Knowledge

I know that an electronic form of serial file can replace the old paper trail, since that's what I use every day. Traction TeamPage lets everyone look over my shoulder - and vice versa - as we tear off in different directions and do our work as individuals or teams.

I rarely need to read any one stream in real time, but I know that I can come up to speed quickly, search across all spaces, and dive in if I need to. If someone asks for help or sees an opportunity, they can post it if it's not urgent; add a tag to anything that needs quick action; or IM a permalink if they need me to look at something now. What I can do, all of Traction's employees can do - only the "Board of Directors" space is private. Board pages or posts - including monthly financials - are cross-tagged to make them visible to all hands when the dust settles.

It works the same way for our customers, reseller partners, OEM partners, law firm, Board members, PR firm and contractors. They just see, subscribe to and search a smaller set of spaces than Traction employees, based on permissions assigned for each space. For example, each partner, customer, and contractor we have a long term relationship with has a separate space dedicated to private working communication between us and them. All Traction employees, partners and customers share access to other spaces for common work and discussion. We cross-tag posts, comments or pages we want to make visible across larger number of spaces - and involve a wider audience.

More and more, knowledge management is going to be about reducing the cost of, and simplifying the process for, letting someone watch what you do. Nonintrusively. Time-shifted. Place-shifted. Searchable. Archivable. Retrievable. - JP Rangaswami

Amen.

See also The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz
Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work
Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010
Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart
Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box
20 June 2005 | Supernova | Why Can't a Business Work More Like the Web?
Reinventing the Web

Looking for a new Fake Steve Jobs ...

August 6, 2007 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Learning Fake Steve Jobs' real identity is about as much fun as learning that Santa Claus died on 6 September 1959 of pneumonia and complications from a stroke. Adopting an anonymous persona for for satiric or polemical rants has a long and honorable history, unlike the self-serving sock puppetery of some real life CEO's. The former FSJ takes a nice parting shot at Valleywag:

"One bright side is that at least I was busted by the Times and not Valleywag. I really, really enjoyed seeing those guys keep guessing wrong. For six months Dr. Evil and Mr. Bigglesworth put their big brains together and couldn't come up with the answer. Guy from the Times did it in a week. So much for the trope about smarty-pants bloggers disrupting old media. Brilliant. My only regret is that we didn't get a chance to see Bigglesworth take a few more swings and misses." - Damn, I am so busted, yo

Good bye Squirrel Boy. So long My Little Pony, Goatberg, Scooter, Beastmaster Bill and all you Microtards. Farewell Al Gore of the Valley. Somehow I don't think we'll be reading much more of you on the pages of Forbes.com, If we do, I fear it will be in a different voice, even if it doesn't turn FSJ into Forbes' own John Dvorak. Any of you frigtards who posted your oh so clever "I am Fake Steve Jobs..." Spartacus references willing to step up and claim the FSJ title? Thought not. Namaste former Fake Steve ...

And here's what Enterprise 2.0 looked like in 1968 | Dealing lightning with both hands...

July 15, 2007 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


The video This is what the web looked like in 1994 - a DEC promotional video of that era - got a bit of attention recently. Just for the record - here's what Enterprise 2.0 looked like in 1968 - courtesy Doug Engelbart and his team at SRI.

Doug bootstrapped Augment to design, build and extend itself, showing how Enterprise 2.0 will work when we finally gets our acts together. Augment was used as a collaborative platform for: CAD/CAE design of its own hardware components; sofware development; a software repository; issue tracking; a research notebook and public journal for ARPANET software development - running as ARPANet node number three.

See Doug Engelbart's December 1968 demonstration.

"Doug Engelbart sat under a twenty-two-foot-high video screen, "dealing lightning with both hands." At least that's the way it seemed to Chuck Thacker, a young Xerox PARC computer designer who was later shown a video of the demonstration that changed the course of the computer world.

"On December 9, 1968, the oNLine System was shown publicly to the world for the first time. Encouraged by [Bob] Taylor, Engelbart had chosen the annual Fall Joint Computer Conference, the computer industry's premier gathering, for Augment's debut. In the darkened Brooks Hall auditorium in San Francisco, all the seats were filled and people lined the walls. On the giant video screen at his back, Engelbart demonstrated a system that seemed like science fiction to a data-processing world reared on punched cards and typewriter terminals. In one stunning ninety-minute session, he showed how it was possible to edit text on a display screen to make hypertext links from one electronic document to another, and to mix text and graphics, and even video and graphics. He also sketched out a vision of an experimental computer network to be called ARPAnet and suggested that within a year he would be able to give the same demonstration remotely to locations across the country. In short, every significant aspect of today's computing world was revealed in a magnificent hour and a half.

"There were two things that particularly dazzled the audience on that rainy Monday morning in December 1968: First, computing had made the leap from number crunching to become a communications and information-retrieval tool. Second, the machine was being used interactively with all its resources appearing to be devoted to a single individual! It was the first time that truly personal computing had been seen.

"Engelbart spoke softly in a monotone, his voice given a slightly eerie quality by the reverberations of the cavernous hall. Wearing a short-sleeved white shirt and a tie and seated at a desk on a custom-designed Herman Miller chair, he introduced the world to cyberspace. He showed the nation's best computer scientists and hardware engineers how people would in the future work together and share complex digital information instantaneously, even though they might be a world apart.

"For many who witnessed it, it was more than a bolt from the blue: It was a religious experience, inspiring the same kinds of passion that Vannevar Bush's Memex article had given rise to for Engelbart twenty-three years earlier. Computing was just beginning to have an impact on society. Local newspaper articles that preceded the conference noted that there would be discussions of the privacy implications of the use of computers, and a public forum, "Information, Computers and the Political Process," would feature broadcaster Edward P. Morgan and Santa Clara County's member of the House of Representatives, Paul McCloskey Jr.

"But Engelbart stole the show. In the days afterward, the published accounts of the event described nothing else. Years later, his talk remained 'the mother of all demos,' in the words of Andries van Dam, a Brown University computer scientist. In many ways, it is still the most remarkable computer-technology demonstration of all time."

Quoted from John Markoff's What the Dormouse Said by Metroactive.com review, From Pranksters to PCs.

Doug is proverbially described as being twenty to thirty years ahead of his time - in this case it may be forty years - but I think he'll do it again. In the words of Alan Kay: "I don't known what Silicon Valley will do when it runs out of Doug's ideas".

Update Remembering Doug Engelbart, 30 January 1925 - 2 July 2013

See also Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010
Tricycles vs. Training Wheels
Tuesday Dec 9, 2008 | Forty years after the Mother of All Demos
Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart
As We May Work - Andy van Dam

Building pleasant and stable islands in a storm-tossed sea

May 16, 2007 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Traction Roots: A Whirlwind Tour (.ppt 6.2MB) tells the Traction story in pictures: 1) Tim Berners-Lee's web trades stable links for utmost simplicity and bottom-up scalability without central control; 2) Traction creates spaces which are pleasant and stable islands with a rich hypertext model internally: bi-direction links; comments based on ternary relations rather than hacking the representation of the referent object; faceted permission models uniformly enforced for search results, cross-references, as well as content browsing; fully journaled actions, etc. 3) Traction generates HTTP addressable views of its content to enable any item in the Traction corpus to be read and linked like the rest of the web (optionally restricted by access controls). This creates a pleasant and stable island that's easily connected to other islands of stability on the Web - as well as anything in the storm tossed sea - not a stovepiped box.

We set out to build a hypertext system that could natively link to anything and interoperate with anything on the Web, rather than limiting the domain of discourse to whatever people chose to store within a proprietary hypertext box (be it NLS, Intermedia, or Lotus Notes).

Although Traction's logical schema is a rich hypertext model internally, it uses pluggable skins to render the content as permission filtered HTML or XML views on the fly when communicating with Web browsers, RSS readers, search engines, or other agents. That's where a lot of experience and IP resides as well.

You'll be able to get an editing/viewing interface that's as rich as you want, combined with HTML / XML views of the same corpus to make it linkable at a fine grain using standard W3C protocols. Because we mediate the edits, the rich hypertext model retains its internal integrity and presents a stable view to any agent: rich client, Web browser, syndication reader, Web search engine, etc.

An early version of this story is in Use of Weblogs for Competitive Intelligence | First International Business, Technology CI Conference, Tokyo Oct 2005

Related

Reinventing the Web (2009) Ted Nelson, Tim Berners-Lee and the evolution of the Web. Ted Nelson wants two-way links, stable transclusion, micropayments. Tim Berners-Lee wants a new Web with open, linked data. I believe that most of what they want can be delivered using the current flakey, decentralized and wildly successful Web as the delivery medium for richer, more stable, more permanent internal models, as stable federations of islands in a storm-tossed sea.

Intertwingled Work (2010) No one Web service or collection of Web servers contain everything people need, but we all get along using search and creative services that link content across wildly different sources. The same principal applies when you want to link and work across wildly different siloed systems of record and transactional databases.

20 June 2005 | Supernova | Why Can't a Business Work More Like the Web? If a person can find what they need on the public Web, why can't they work the same way when they're at work? Identity and permission over simple HTTP / HTML are the foundation.

The Evolution of Personal Knowledge Management - Snapshots

Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box

April 24, 2007 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

In his Mar 26, 2006 post, Putting Enterprise 2.0 in Perspective, Mike Gotta agrees with Tom Davenport and Andrew McAfee that a balanced discussion of E2.0 should include "... how well an enterprise addresses the complex organizational dynamics that often inhibit change," not just "irrational exuberance regarding the technology."

That said, Mike has a slight disagreement with Andrew McAfee on the evolutionary versus revolutionary nature of E2.0 technology. McAfee says:

"My optimism, and my interest in the component technologies of E2.0, comes not (solely) from my inherent geekiness, but from the fact that these technologies really are something new under the sun. They’re not extensions or enhancements to previous generations of corporate tools for collaboration and knowledge management; instead, they’re radical departures from them. Technology platforms that are initially freeform and eventually emergent, that require no nerd skills to use, and that contain the SLATES elements I proposed a while back were born on the Internet just a couple years ago, and are now starting to make their way behind the firewall." - Andrew McAfee, I STILL Agree with Tom, And yet ...

Gotta replies: ".. Tools emerging under the category of social software are benefiting from common application, infrastructure and network services that were not mature in the eighties and nineties. ... It is true that originally Notes was a self-contained environment (some would call it monolithic). Notes came with its own infrastructure, complete with its own repository and even dial capabilities for mobile users. At the time, directory, storage and other infrastructure services were not readily accessible to applications in any consistent fashion. Today, we would not engineer a product in that manner but there was no other option back then."

Gotta concludes: "Today, we have a new set of design criteria that allows us to focus on the social aspects of how people work together, share information and communicate across groups and networks. That design criteria exploits a more mature collection of application, infrastructure and networking services. Much of E.20 technology is evolutionary and in some ways, inevitable."

Characteristically, I agree with both of them. With Andrew, I believe there is a "radical departure" that distinguishes E2.0 technology from Lotus Notes, Groupwise, Intermedia, Hypercard, FRESS, Augment and every other groupware and hypertext system. With Mike, I agree that: "As lower-level services become taken for granted, designers and developers are able to focus on software that exposes functionality that we now call 'Enterprise 2.0'."

I believe that the radical departure is the Web as the context of work: the universal medium, universal library, universal marketplace, and universal platform for personal as well as enterprise communication. After the rapid adoption of the read-mostly Web, we've seen the first use and rapid evolution of the Web as a platform for self and social expression.

Why not for work? I have nothing against new forms of self and social expression as emergent behavior in the workplace, but how about using Enterprise 2.0 technology for the every day work required to design, build, sell and maintain a product or deliver a service?

I believe the primary barrier to Enterprise 2.0 adoption for an established business purpose is The 9X Email Problem rather than hierarchy and a command and control mindset. And I believe that the Web as the context for work is what surmounts the 9X problem by exposing almost all of the relevant working communication and context to search, links, authoring, tags, extensions, and signals (McAfee's SLATES, see his 2006 Enterprise 2.0 the Dawn of Emergent Collaboration).

In every previous generation hypertext system, the ability to read, search, link and communicate came with a terrible price: it might work well, but only if you were willing to put everything you wanted to work with into some sealed box, and convince everyone you wanted to work with to use the same box. From the earliest days of Vannevar Bush's Memex, the vision was universal, but the implementation was a siloed. As Ted Nelson once said on the folly of using computers to simulate paper, Xerox PARC's first paper simulation was followed by Apple's contribution:

"By tying little pictures of paper to files and the programs that created the files - Apple made things even worse. Now, instead of programs designed to work with just about any kind of file - mixing, matching and combining actions to do what people want - you have:

  • A program, and
  • A software company that owns the program
  • For every kind of file

Not just a simulation of paper, but multiple, incompatible simulations of paper!"

Ted Nelson, Starting Over, Towards a True Electronic Literature
Keynote Fourth Annual Digital Arts and Culture Conference
Brown University 26 April 2001

Base level Web technology is not radical: http, HTML and the first generation of read / write web browsers and web servers could have been layered over the first generation DARPANet in the 1970's. Berners-Lee's simple http and HTML Web framework is simpler than the corporate point-to-point communication infrastructure that preceded it (PROFS anybody?), and much simpler than the hypertext systems of the 1980 and 90's.

But the Web over the universal Internet turned the world-view of Lotus Notes (and the Sharepoint stack) inside out: no proprietary client, no proprietary representation, no requirement to work inside the proprietary box - and every motivation to make anything valuable you create or deliver compatible with the least common denominator representation outside the box - http addressable HTML.

Enterprise 2.0 tools work because they use the basic Web as a platform that does not limit discourse, and can make the content of even the most specialized line of business systems more valuable by linking to them in context. For example, market forces drive makers of ERP systems, CAD repositories and analytic systems to at least make their content viewable and linkable using the Web. That's all that's necessary to add a link from a blog or wiki to a contextually relevant object or report. Search, links, authoring, tags, extensions and signals provide a mechanism for "weak signal amplification" and discovery that works even at internet scale, and can work at the intranet scale as the enterprise becomes a link friendly environment.

With appropriate attention to permissioned access, the same principles open up working communication between the internal stakeholders of an enterprise and their external customers, suppliers, resellers, clients, sponsors and advisors - all for goal directed behavior that even the most hardheaded manager can understand as valid and a potential competitive advantage.

For thoughts on extending SLATES technologies with permissioned access to internal and external stakeholders, see Why Can't a Business Work More Like the Web? (.pdf), and Flip Test 1971 | Email versus Journal

For more on Ted Nelson, see John Markoff's Jan 11, 2008 NY Times profile In Venting, a Computer Visionary Educates and Ted's own words in his newly published book Geeks Bearing Gifts: How the Computer World Got this Way and Reinventing the Web and blog post: Reinventing the Web

See also
The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz
Intertwingled Work
Borders, Spaces, and Places
The Work Graph Model: TeamPage style
As We May Work - Andy van Dam
An Infinite Number of Cats on Keyboards: Ted Nelson & Computer Lib at Homebrew Computer Club Reunion
October 2006 | Burton Group Report - Hypertext and Compound/Interactive Document Models

Sherlock Jr.

February 16, 2007 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Just what you need, believe me.

A YouTube clip from Buster Keaton's 1924 Sherlock Jr. with Air music video soundtrack. The same YouTube author did seven other Keaton clips with modern soundtracks, all good to great. One Week (from 1920) was my second favorite of his Keaton clips; The Cameraman (1928) clip makes me think of Kubrick - but see them all.

Keaton craze courtesy Kottke.org post of 15 Feb 2007: Lots of Buster Keaton Movies on YouTube and Google Video = lots of joy and amazement. Update: Kottke.org posts a link to Keaton movies (not just clips) from the Internet Archive at archive.org

Information Foraging at FASTForward '07

February 14, 2007 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


I enjoyed FASTForward '07 last week in San Diego - an excellent conference and 60 degrees warmer than Providence Rhode Island! It featured great keynotes (particularly Andrew McAfee on Enterprise 2.0 the Next Disruptor), sessions, networking and entertainment.

I did a short breakout session on "Search Meets Blogs and Wiki's" with a different slant on search: It's now easy to do an excellent job with enterprise search when you want to find topically relevant content - say anything about "penguins".

But within an enterprise you often want actionable information in context, where "in context" is hard to characterize using standard search techniques. However, context is relatively easy to characterize if you have blog/wiki spaces that contain or link to the work product, dialog, and intelligence centered on contextually relevant business purposes, e.g. developing a product; managing a client contract; pursuing a legal case; reporting on an competitive intelligence topic.

For example, in early January 2007 Accenture published a report Managers Say the Majority of Information Obtained for Their Work Is Useless, Accenture Survey Finds. It starts off with the finding: "Managers spend up to two hours a day searching for information, and more than 50 percent of the information they obtain has no value to them." And goes downhill from there ...

A few days later Euan Semple replied with a FASTForward Blog post Survey proves 90% of managers are clueless. Euan said:

... what people really wanted was to find someone who knew what they were talking about. Even if that “knew what they were talking about” meant knowing which document to read, why and where it was to be found. So what we did was start building online social spaces like forums, blogs and wikis in which highly contextual, subjective, complex patterns and information could start to surface about anything and everything in the business that was interesting and worth writing about.

The result was that when someone said on our forums “I need to find the official documentation on x because I am about to do y” they were usually rewarded, and very quickly, with multiple answers along the lines of “Well I found this document answered my questions because ….. ” pointing them at the documentation. Indeed increasingly the source they were directed to was a blog or a wiki containing up to date, contextualized information.

Having context in the question, context in the answer and the collective memory of your corporate meatspace, empowered by the mighty hyper-link, in between is hard to beat. Add to this the trust of your sources built up over a period of online socializing and you might have less managers whining that they can never find anything!

Finding someone who knows what they're talking about to get you a contextually relevant answer has always been a great strategy if you're the boss: "Bumstead - What's wrong with the Smithers contract!"

But if you're one of thousands of middle managers in a large corporation without the luxury of shouting your demands down the hall and expecting instant response, doing your own search for "Smithers contract" is likely to find copies of the formal contract and draft's circulated in email, but not a lot of help in finding what's wrong with the Smithers contract, or who might know about it. As Euan suggests, you might ask a polite question - but you still need to ask it in place that might elicit a timely and helpful response. The content of blog and wiki spaces can help.

Blog and wiki spaces become what Information Foraging researchers like Peter Pirolli and Stuart Card call enriched "information patches". These patches (and the resources they link to) are likely to become rich sources of highly contextualized information because they represent the work product of people engaged in a business process that provides a natural context for guided search.

I showed a few slides introducing Information Foraging theory, then a few screenshot examples using FAST's guided search to navigate Traction content by space (project), label, and automatically recognized keyword or entity (person name, company name, location).

You have a much better chance finding a contextually relevant "Smithers contract" in a client project blog/wiki space where you can easily explore content hits with an "Urgent" label and a pileup of recent comments on your own. Or at least find a space where you can post your own question and expect a highly relevant response.

To download my slides click Search Meets Blogs and Wikis (4.7MB .ppt)
Greg Lloyd, FASTForward '07, Feb 8, 2007 San Diego.

See the new book: Information Foraging Theory, Peter Pirolli, Oxford Books Jan 2007
Nice review, synopsis and interview with the author here

Flip Test 1971 | Email versus Journal

January 15, 2007 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Andrew McAfee asks a great question in A Technology Flip Test: Introducing Channels in a World of Platforms: "... imagine that current corporate collaboration and communication technologies were exclusively E2.0 platforms -- blogs, wikis, etc. -- and all of a sudden a crop of new channel technologies -- email, instant messaging, text messaging -- became available. In other words, imagine the inverse of the present situation. What would happen? How, in the flip-test universe, would the new channel technologies be received?"

He imagines that users would "...adopt the new channel technology for private communications, but not for much more than that." He also imagines that many would hate the new channel technology and demand that it be kept out since it would be too easy to leak sensitive information, and would encourage sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior.

McAfee writes: "For managers accustomed to platforms where all contributions are immediately and universally visible and traceable, channel technologies would seem scary. I could imagine that a common response, upon hearing about them, would be something like 'No way. The risks of email and IM are too great. If people need to talk privately, let them pick up the phone. We'll set up a few email accounts so that we can exchange information with the outside world, but we're sticking with our platforms for internal communication.'"

I think "using channel technology for private communications, but not for much more than that," is spot on, and compatible with what I see using our product internally. When something needs to be said for any shared corporate purpose, it's either written directly to the TeamPage space, or cc'd if it's outbound communication to an external party.

One-to-one internal email is used for infrequent private communication or an occasional shoulder tap. Instant messaging is used for one-to-one or many-to-many conversation, often with pasted permalinks to anchor the discussion to posted content. One-to-many internal email is rarely used.

Email, IM, and syndication feeds are used as notification channels driven by posted content, either in the form of a periodic digest or real time push when a significant event occurs.

I believe the flip from writing for a channel addressed to specific individuals, to writing for a permissioned group - or the general public - is more subtle and interesting. It's ironic that in a slightly different universe, Professor McAfee's flip test might have run in the opposite direction.

The first network email was likely sent in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson of BBN. He adapted a local inter-user mail program to use an experimental file transfer program called CPYNET for network transport. In those days, basics like character set conversion so users of different computer systems could simply read text files cross-platform was a big deal.

At the same time, Doug Engelbart's NLS was being used as the first network collaboration platform - part of SRI's Network Information Center (NIC) on the ARPANet. NLS (later AUGMENT) foreshadowed blogs, wiki's and most of the collaborative hypertext technology that followed over the next thirty five years, see Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart.

In the early seventies, I believe the greatest technical limitations to network collaboration were fast (non-printing) terminal access, ubiquitous hosting of content, and ubiquitous cross-site linking. NLS could be used with a remote terminal interface, but I don't know if cross-site linking of content among NLS sites was ever developed or used - I would not be surprised if the answer is "yes". Unlike Tim Berners-Lee's much simpler http / HTML protocols, NLS was a complex program running on a few DEC10 or DEC20 mainframe platforms.

The learning curve - and potential return - for NLS was steep, which certainly limited its growth and acceptance. But I'd guess that email dominated the early internet because it has simpler base technology and a simpler user model that requires less overt cooperation to function - albeit at a lower level.

Then as now, email's user model boils down to shoveling bits from one person's bucket to another, and letting each recipient figure out how to organize and use every copy. Each email message is like a personal copy of a paper letter, which you can read, ignore, file, shred, or use for any purpose. It gets interesting when you embed the email channel in a social system where you have to reply or respond to at least some messages to live, prosper, and have a life. It gets unmanageable when you try to use email for long lived N x M conversations.

Today, the user model for a collaboration platform is not much more complicated. You can reach out and change bits in a place that others can see. In some cases many people can change the same bits. Group access to the same bits makes the social interactions more interesting from start, and even more interesting as groups grow and evolve. The collaboration platform model is richer and more valuable, but in most cases requires groups with a shared goal or purpose to make it work well - for Enterprise 2.0 a business purpose certainly counts.

Clay Shirky says: Prior to the Internet, the last technology that had any real effect on the way people sat down and talked together was the table. There was no technological mediation for group conversations. The closest we got was the conference call, which never really worked right - Clay Shirky, A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy

Update Remembering Doug Engelbart, 30 January 1925 - 2 July 2013

See also Email isn't dead - It's only sleeping

"All of this has led me to believe that something is terribly wrong with e-mail. What’s more, I don’t believe it can be fixed." quoting Nick Bilton, New York Times, Jul 8, 2012

For more on the blogs, wikis and the NLS connection, see
Use of Weblogs for Competitive Intelligence | First International Business, Technology CI Conference, Tokyo Oct 2005

Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box

Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart

And for NLS / Augment in the "Mother of all Demos", see
And here's what Enterprise 2.0 looked like in 1968 | Dealing lightning with both hands...

InfoWorld 2007 Technology of the Year Award

January 1, 2007 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Everyone at Traction Software is honored to learn that TeamPage has been named a InfoWorld 2007 Technology of the Year Award Winner. In addition to InfoWorld, we'd like to thank customers and friends of Traction for helping us build a product that works well and serves a useful purpose. I'd personally like to thank Traction Software's employees and partners, as well as the inspiration from Andy van Dam, Ted Nelson and Doug Engelbart. What a way to start the New Year!

Pastepost

September 22, 2006 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


The very first public document from the very first Hypertext Editing System (Andy van Dam et al, Brown University circa 1968) was a press release announcing its own creation. The Brown U Public Affairs department thought this was very clever. AvD and crew wrote a two page press release, which in the second paragraph claimed to:

"... eliminate the tedious and error prone scissor and pastepost editing procedures used by newspapers ..."

Pastepost? It should have been pastepot. In those days Press Release's were mailed to newspapers. We of course printed several hundred originals directly from HES using the IBM S/360's line printer (with sexy upper/lower case TN print chain). In three days the New York Times ran a story: Brown University Professor To Eliminate "Pasteposts" from Newspaper Offices.

In three weeks, over 200 US papers and the International Herald Tribune ran similar stories. Several wrote wry editorials, including one editor's Uncle Jeb's Cracker Barrel (I think) column in a small weekly newspaper which cackled that a country editor could teach those Ivy League professors a thing or two about copy editing.

Sigh. I now claim that no PR has any credibility without at least one obvious error. But misspelling the second word in the title of your own Press Release is a bit much, see:

[Weblog Software Company] Announes Enhanced Version of [Product Name Here] - Sep 18, 2006 posted on their web site. No, not Traction Software!

Original HES photo by Greg Lloyd, 1969

That was fast!

September 21, 2006 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

See the update time on Olivier's TeamPage 3.7 post (from my Technorati watchlist)!

See, it is possible to keep up to date on what anyone in >54 million blogs is saying about you, your product, your company in near real time! If only it were possible to do the same for what's happening within your business. It will be. See Traction's A Web that Works white paper (pdf) from Business Week's 11 Sep 2006 Special Advertising Section, short clip below:

A Web that Works

How to you know what people are saying about your product? Your industry? Before you make a business call, do you 'Google' your contact's name to learn more than you can from reading their business card?

If you're like most business people, you use public web's search and syndication services to stay informed about what matters to you, leveraging resources that only a small country could have afforded only 15 years ago. Why can't your business work more like the web? It can.

On the public web, blogs and wiki's make it simple for anyone to create web content that grows page by page (like www.Wikipedia.org), or as posts over time (like most blogs). What people write on the public web becomes an authored, searchable index to what's happening and what people think is important elsewhere on the web.

The same principles work for your business, with a few twists:

1) Blogs are for groups as well as individuals Blogs can have multiple authors addressing a shared topic, and the same group editing capabilities as a wiki.

2) Business purpose matters Personal blogs are usually one person's opinion, A group blog or wiki for product development, sales or marketing focuses on news, analysis, meeting notes, plans, issues, questions and answers.

3) Security matters Blog and wiki software can provide private access to business stakeholders. Stakeholders include customers, suppliers, resellers, PR firms, legal and other consultants, as well as internal marketing, product, sales and management teams.

A European pharma company started using blog software for competitive intelligence. The CIO reports that it's widely accepted and helps make competitive intelligence more valuable to daily decision-making. He says market relevant communication is moving from email to blogs, creating a new model for knowledge management and collaboration within the company.

See also Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box
20 June 2005 | Supernova | Why Can't a Business Work More Like the Web?
Use of Weblogs for Competitive Intelligence | First International Business, Technology CI Conference, Tokyo Oct 2005

Authority versus Page Rank

September 17, 2006 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

On 15 Sep 2006 Tim Bray wrote in Wikipedia: Resistance is Absent:

What happened was, I went to check out the new Microsoft search engine at live.com (it’s not bad), and I started by looking for myself. I was kind of surprised when my Wikipedia entry came in ahead of ongoing. (Wikipedia’s #2 at Google and Yahoo.) I’m seeing this pattern of Wikipedia inching up the search-result charts for a whole lot of things. Search-result rank, on the Internet, more or less equals Authority. So this trend has to worry the anti-Wikipedians. It worries me too. Maybe it could be reversed, but I don’t think so.

As an example, Tim uses a search: "for each of the ten provinces of Canada, what is its population?" and notes that population figures from government sites are available but hard to find, and scattered throughout cyberspace with horribly meaningless URI's. Tim ask: "Would you bookmark them? ... how confident are you that they would be there after the next site re-org?" [versus the stable and increasingly popular but less authoritative pages of WikiPedia]. Tim posits that the Wikipedia is going to win the page rank battle, and asks for other plausible outcomes.

I read global Search-result rank = authority as the underlying problem, and the ability to select a (large) collection of sources to weight page rank as an interesting alternative. Use the content (or just the links) of a large collection of reference libraries when searching for authoritative facts. Use the content (or just the links) of pop culture sources - or the universal web - when searching for the latest on Britney. This is a very tall order, but I think it's an interesting concept to explore.

The Wikipedia has become a popularly cited source and uses an encyclopedic organization that is extremely "page rank friendly" since there is exactly one article titled Douglas Engelbart (title text is weighted heavily), and when internal WikiPedia or external references to Douglas Engelbart are created, they will tend to link directly to that one URL, rather than being distributed among many articles that talk about Douglas Engelbart in the context of hypertext, history of the graphical user interface, the Hypertext Editing System, etc.

When doing serious research, I want to be able to select the authority and viewpoint of sources used to rank my search results. A search for facts would use different sources than a search for buzz about a person, product or political topic. Is it surprising that someone interested in the latest scoop on Britney Spears versus the population of Canadian provinces might want different page rank based a priori as well as calculated authority of linking sources? (e.g. links from a trusted World Almanac vs the National Enquirer).

In Tim's example, when searching for specific population facts, I'd want to use a weighted search based on links within and extending from trusted reference libraries whose content is selected, reviewed and updated by professional reference librarians. There would of course be many choices, and the union of the content of many reference libraries would be more valuable than a single library for page rank weighted search.

If I was a student at Brown University, I might use anonymous links abstracted from Brown faculty, student, and elibrary content as weighing factors for research (you'd also see content hits in local sources you're permitted to read). You might choose a national reference library, a corporate reference library, or any other aggregate source you have permission to use as a relevance ranking resource. Except for special purposes, you'd likely choose the largest aggregate whose authority (and viewpoint) you trust for your research objective.

For specialized research on hypertext or the history of computing, I might choose a collection of references from specific researchers or organizations whose opinions I particularly value for the purpose of weighting my general search requests without asking those researchers or organizations to explicitly disclose the content of their collections. I just want to use their content to weight the page-rank relevance of the content I search.

For example, the IEEE might make link references of everything they publish available for weighted-page rank calculation without necessarily disclosing the content. Members might be encouraged pool their own relevance ranked references using social software like Furl or del.icio.us.

More organically, individuals and groups within an organization might give permission for their blog / wiki content to be used for link weighting (with or without disclosing the content). Many large professional or scientific organizations or enterprises might pool their references to form a link base of authority weighted references large enough to encompass a large portion of relevant content on the public web as well as their private sources.

It becomes particularly important to be able to deal with a variety of sources, since for many work products there will be more than one "authoritative" source of facts, opinions, and analysis. Having one popular WikiPedia is good, and useful in the same sense that having one World Almanac for 2006, Oxford English Dictionary, or good source of movie reviews in imdb.org.

But real world research also needs to deal with difference in opinion, analysis, historical or national perspective. I'd be willing to bet that dailykos.com and rushlimbaugh.com could get into a fight over their opinions on the population of Canadian provinces, regardless of the facts. And you might want to research how many people hold different opinions, why, what influences their opinions, and how their opinions change over time (it's called political science).

Sources can of course also disagree on "objective facts" - such as population of Canadian provinces - based on how the information is collected and by whom. It's good to try to reconcile alternatives to arrive at a consensus on "facts" for ready reference, but important to remember that consensus always reflects a point of view at a particular time.

Explaining Knowledge Management

August 4, 2006 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Green Chameleon posts two wonderfully funny fake interviews: Explaining KM #1 (which roasts KM academicians) and Explaining KM #2 (which roasts KM consultants). I hope they go on to produce Explaining KM #3 to roast KM software vendors! Produced by (and starring?) folk from StraitsKnowledge…., which appears to be a very good Singapore-based consulting and research firm focused on knowledge, learning and innovation.

Their Green Chameleon blog also notes "... that some ingredients in KM are just the standard stuff you need to have, like the marscapone and the coffee in tiramisu. the other bits are a matter of taste." from Amaretto or Cognac - Which Tastes Better in Tiramisu? Amaretto or Cognac ? Tiramisu? Delightful choices. I'm glad they're showing the world how to move beyond KM granola.

Pointer from ELSUA - A KM Blog by Luis Suarez, who prefers Explaining KM #2 to Explaining KM #1. I prefer KM #1, which seems like something Ernie Kovacs would do.

Personal publishing and the future of e-mail

July 31, 2006 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

David Baker writes on The Future of E-Mail, riffing on an article New Technology, New Media and New Paradigm by Paul Gillilan in the print edition of last month's BtoB Magazine. David quoted from Paul's article:

"We hear a lot about blogs, but blogs aren't important. What's important is personal publishing, or the ability to communicate a message to a global audience almost instantaneously. Personal publishing will permeate electronic media, providing counterpoint to mainstream sources and adding depth and color to the conversation."

"We hear a lot about podcasts, but podcasts aren't important. What's important is time-shifted media. The phenomenon that started with TiVo has spread to digital audio and will soon capture portable video. Information consumers will no longer be beholden to program schedules or even their living rooms. Our TV shows will travel with us."

"We hear a lot about RSS, but RSS isn't important. What's important is the ability to subscribe to information that really interests us. RSS is mainly used to subscribe to blog posts and podcasts. But in the future, they will use it to subscribe to ideas."

David then says:

"So, as someone who aspires to effect a change in the paradigm of digital communications and consumer behavior, I put my spin on the future of e-mail using this same logic. I conclude that we hear a lot about e-mail, but e-mail isn't important. What's important is our ability to communicate in a synchronous and asynchronous fashion in a mixed media world. E-mail will be our notification agent, alarm clock, Post-it® Note, pager, cell phone, fax machine, instant messenger, and document management system all combined. It will be supported on any device via many different sources."

All good quotes. But in my opinion, David is right on what's important, but wrong on email as the medium. Email is a channel that combines notification and content in one bundle, connecting two or more people who have no a priori introduction or interest. The upside is: it's universal and sometimes the introduction or update is invaluable. The downside is: by bundling notification and content email INVITES NOISY, INCOHERENT INTERRUPTION AND DEMANDS TOO MUCH OF THE READER'S ATTENTION - LIKE THIS SHOUTED TEXT. Every incoming email could be a continuation of an old conversation or a new event that you need to read (at least a bit) to see if you care or don't.

"What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it. (H.A. Simon as quoted by Hal Varian, Scientific American, Sept. 1995, p. 200)." - from Information Foraging - Peter Pirolli and Stuart K. Card, Psychological Review, Oct 1999

I want less content delivered by email, not more. It's less disruptive to log notification and read content from a journaled medium (blog style), and layer notification, organization, and discovery on top. For notification, I'd prefer a level of urgency explicitly set by those who I trust to use their judgment (family, close friends, business colleagues), combined with a triage mechanism I can independently choose, tune or teach; NetNewsWire on my Mac combined with Traction on TSI's corporate server is a good first step for me.

The trouble with email is that you have to read it to decide if you want to have read it, and keep reading to make sure you haven't overlooked something you really should read. You need to delete, filing, or answering as you go, or deal with your personal slush pile later. We can do better.

See The Evolution of Personal Knowledge Management

I picked up the trail from Personal Publishing in A VC's feed.

Apocalypse?

July 12, 2006 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Regarding Yahoo's new The 9, Tim Bray writes: "This is the End, maybe, of Civilization As We Know It. I’m thinking now would be a good time for the Borg to come along and assimilate us all..." Come on Tim! Hardly the Apocalypse! Somewhere between the burning of the library of Alexandria and the first Entertainment Tonight.

Beyond blogs and wikis

May 2, 2006 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

I really like David Berlind's post IBM's Suitor asks how you share documents. Wrong question, right time (May 2, 2006). David makes a great points including: "Think about freeing your knowledge. Then worry about the format (after your thinking leads you to regular document land)." But I think David edges close to a similar problem in characterizing blogs vs. wiki's - particularly with respect to Traction and other products which purposefully blur the boundaries.

David says:

For all intents and purposes, wikis are blogs that have exchanged the diary-like posting format for the ability to let multiple users edit the same piece of content (aka: collaborating on knowledge). In other words, instead of sending a editable document around, host it as a Web page that anybody with access to the wiki can edit. Wikis also support RSS (notify me when this wiki page changes). Revisions can be tracked and restored. Content can be edited with user-friendly WYSIWYG tools. Traditional content management systems, look out

Traction TeamPage and some blog products support collaborative editing of posts using both WYSIWYG tools and RSS syndication. SocialText blurs the lines starting from a wiki model by adding features that make it useable as blog.

Traction starts from the blog end of the spectrum (actually it started from link Doug Engelbart's concept of a hypertext Journal) in that it records collaboration over time. But, the knowledge product of the collaboration - represented as a web of editable pages, office or CAD files - can be recorded and versioned in Traction along with the external intelligence and internal dialog about the creation and evolution of the product. The knowledge product can also reside in an external repository and become the subject of dialog using links from Traction. Both the dialog and knowledge product are typically created and edited as a purposeful group activity.

Traction maintains a full audit trail (of labels added/removed as well as edits), built in WebDAV versioning of files attached to posts, and integrated WebDAV web folders with simple linear file versioning (see eContent's 2004 story). I agree that this is a disruptive alternative to high priced and high complexity content management systems, because that's what customers are telling us - integrated WebDAV was funded by a customer.

Traction's Release 3.7 adds MediaWiki style difference display and one click revision support to Traction's content and action audit trail.

I believe that any successful challenge to the document centric collaboration model will need to support collaboration in place (group editing of the same page); collaboration over time (commentary and conversation in context); and real-time collaboration (IM and syndicated notification).

All three modes of interaction can work together effectively using RSS/Atom for syndication, IM for notification, syndication search (like Technorati), collaborative tagging, and a compatible framework for permissioned access - which is critical for business use, and important for groups of friends, family and other associations. It's the combination of ingredients that offers the hope for collaborative systems that scale like the web.


Traction Software's products are based on a model of group group editing in place combined with group collaboration over time that pre-dates blogs and Wiki's by over 40 years - see Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart. For more information on Douglas Engelbart, the Godfather of effective collaboration, see Doug's Wikipedia page.

For notes from John Blossom's lively panel on blogs, wiki's and IM for collaboration see Personal Knowledge Management: Building Actionable Content from Collaborative Publishing and John's Personal Knowledge Management Tools Ready for Enterprise Use.

For 60 years of history in four one paragraph steps, see The Evolution of Personal Knowledge Management

See also Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box.

The Evolution of Personal Knowledge Management

April 26, 2006 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


July 1945 The difficulty seems to be, not so much that we publish unduly in view of the extent and variety of present day interests, but rather that publication has been extended far beyond our present ability to make real use of the record. The summation of human experience is being expanded at a prodigious rate, and the means we use for threading through the consequent maze to the momentarily important item is the same as was used in the days of square-rigged ships. -- As We May Think by Vannevar Bush, Atlantic Monthly, July 1945

February 2000 What's more ironic is this: As the Web has made the idea of cross-linked, cross-indexed information commonplace, the tools we provide end-users to cross-link and cross-index personal information have become worse. -- Still in mourning for my personal information manager - now extinct by Bob Lewis, Infoworld

August 2003 Here, for me, is the secret promise of blogs. They lower the barriers and make the practice of writing widely accessible. Writing is the fundamental tool of reasoned argument and what we need as individuals, organizations, and civilization is as much reasoned argument as we can get. In the blogosphere you get to watch good writers at work as they develop ideas. Thanks to aggregators those ideas appear in a form that makes them natural raw material to kindle your own thinking. The combination of blog technical features (public distribution, short posts, chronological ordering, permalinks) with social practices (personal identification, generous linking, blogrolls) highlight the development of ideas as a social phenomenon over time. -- My secret hope for blogs, Jim McGee

October 2005 Millions of human eyes and their agents constantly scan and evaluate items posted to the public Web using Web search, notification, and social tagging engines to focus on a particular topic. When a person finds a “momentarily important item” [Bush (1945, p. 1)] by directed search or serendipity, it's simple to post a note and link to that item on their weblog. If the item is of genuine interest, the weblog post will be discovered and discussed by others, a social process that amplifies a weak signal and can add collaborative information -- Use of Weblogs for Competitive Intelligence, Greg Lloyd

Use of Weblogs for Competitive Intelligence | First International Business, Technology CI Conference, Tokyo Oct 2005

April 26, 2006 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


Abstract:
Over the past fifty years, the inspiration of hypertext systems has been the challenge of dealing with an ever-increasing volume of information. With the advent of the World Wide Web (WWW) as a near universal platform for commercial and scientific information, it is now possible to use the WWW as a platform for collecting, analyzing, disseminating and receiving feedback on competitive intelligence and other valuable business information. This paper will use examples of weblog deployment for competitive intelligence in the pharmaceutical industry to examine broader challenge of enabling enterprises to more effectively deal with the ever increasing volume of critical business information in general.

Use of Weblogs for Competitive Intelligence (full paper 853K .pdf)
by Greg Lloyd
The First International Conference/Workshop on Business, Technology and Competitive Intelligence
Nihon University, Tokyo 25 Oct 2005

Introduction

Weblogs (or “blogs”) are best known as personal daybooks on the web written by an individual consisting of a “collection of clippings, musings and other things like journal entries that strike one's fancy or titillate one's curiosity. What makes this online daybook different from the commonplace book is that this form of personal noodling or diary-writing is on the Internet, with links that take the reader around the world in pursuit of more about a topic” Safire, (2002).

Weblogs gained mass media attention as personally published websites written by amateur reporters, pundits – or teenagers. For example, anyone can sign up for a free personal or low cost personal weblog from LiveJournal.com. As of August 2005 LiveJournal.com hosted over 2,600,000 active weblogs, 85% written persons by persons 20 years old or younger, see LiveJournal (2005). As of the end of July 2005, Technorati.com reported that it was tracking over 14.2 million weblogs, about double the number tracked in March 2005, see Sifry (2005). Weblogs are part of an emerging infrastructure that uses the global Internet as a massively scalable platform to disseminate information in a form that can be easily written, read, correlated, and commented on by anyone with the skills necessary to use a web browser.

This paper presents the following thesis:

1) The World Wide Web’s shift to medium that is generally writable as well as readable represents a return to the original vision of the WWW and hypertext systems that pre-date the Web.

2) Weblog technology will not be limited to personal use, but holds the potential to profoundly change the way that commercial and government enterprises handle internally facing and externally facing working communication.

3) Collection, analysis, and dissemination are classic parts of the Competitive Intelligence (CI) process, and particularly well suited to the strengths of weblog technology.

4) Weblog technology can deliver a higher volume of CI alerts and analysis to a wider audience more effectively than email or any known alternative.

By creating easily authored content and commentary within the weblog and linking to any Web addressable content, weblogs create an open and scalable resource that can be used for notification and reference, as well as mined for historical insight across the largest enterprise. ...

Weblog - the NLS Journal Revisited

The central thesis of this paper is that the weblog format provides a stable, open journal, which links and comments on the intelligence, dialog, and work product contained within the weblog, while connecting to all sources addressable on the public or a private Web.

Because the weblog is itself part of the public (or private) Web it can preserve a stable, addressable set of references, which can be linked to by any other Web source, or analyzed by any application that has permission to address that weblog’s content. This interoperability addresses Engelbart’s primary concern about proprietary and opaque representations (the norm prior to the Web) creating silos of information that would make universal linking and interchange difficult or impossible.

The time ordered and uniquely identifiable articles (or posts) within the weblog correspond directly to individual documents with the NLS Journal. Like documents in the Journal, articles with the weblog should either be read-only, or include revision history.

Any link to content external to the weblog is subject to the same uncertainty as any other link in Berners-Lee’s web – content can change or abruptly disappear at the whim of the publisher, by accident, or if the publisher goes out of business. This limitation does not generally apply to Web addressable resources that have lasting commercial value, or Web addressable resources created and maintained in stable repositories such as Enterprise Content Management or line of business systems managed by businesses for their public or private use.

It is also possible to deploy weblog products that can clip and retain an independent record of valuable but potentially transitory facts or documents (used subject to copyright law), or post a brief independent summary to a weblog.

The last point is worth analyzing. Any information posted to the public Web can be discovered and commented on by any person with an interest and a free weblog. The fact that a person or organization posted an item mentioning any phrase or URL in one of over 14 million weblogs monitored by Technorati.com (or one of their competitors) can be reported to anyone with a (free) Technorati.com account in near real time via an RSS subscription. See Sifry (2005).

Millions of human eyes and their agents constantly scan and evaluate items posted to the public Web using Web search, notification, and social tagging engines to focus on a particular topic. When a person finds a “momentarily important item” [Bush (1945, p. 1)] by directed search or serendipity, it is simple to post a note and link to that item on their weblog. If the item is of genuine interest, the weblog post will be discovered and discussed by others, a social process that amplifies a weak signal and can add collaborative information.

A note and link from a weblog also adds a measure of statistical redundancy to the unreliable Web. Although the content of an arbitrary Web resource referenced by the weblog post could be changed or disappear at any time, if the original content is noticed, linked to and commented on by one or more persons, a secondary record of the original content may remain in a form that is difficult to eliminate (for legal content) and easy to find.

Like Berners-Lee’s original concept of the Web, use of weblogs and wikis as easily deployed and relatively stable authored indices to arbitrary Web content is a pragmatic compromise. The Web’s naturally evolving infrastructure provides complementary Web search, RSS/ATOM syndication, notification and search, augmenting the loose but massively scaleable architecture of the Word Wide Web. ...

Copyright © 2005 Gregory R. Lloyd
Some rights reserved, distributed under terms of the
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Full Paper (853KB .pdf)
Abstract and Reference sections
Powerpoint slides and additional references (6.8MB .ppt)

Personal Knowledge Management: Building Actionable Content from Collaborative Publishing

April 23, 2006 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

I enjoyed participating on a lively panel in NYC last Wednesday. John Blossom of Shore Communications moderated an SIIA Brown Bag. From John's blog: ...

Personal Knowledge Management is engaging individuals with today’s advanced collaborative publishing tools to create groups of people in enterprises and beyond who can communicate far more effectively with one another than ever before. From finance to major industries to the open Web these tools are creating bodies of content that leverage the insights, knowledge and opinions of actively engaged contributors to enable them to understand what a group as a whole understands with amazing speed and effectiveness. The technologies used to accomplish this can vary quite a bit, but they all have the same net effect: groups as large as entire enterprises can all be on the same page to respond to major opportunities and challenges without a lot of support from traditional content and technology providers. - ContentBlogger Commentary 20 April 2006

Panelists:
Bob Serr, CTO, Parlano
Matthew Mahoney, Business Development, Socialtext
Greg Lloyd, President and Co-founder, Traction Software, Inc.
Ben Elowitz, CEO, Wetpaint.com

Software & Information Industry Association (siia.net) members can log in to a very well produced webcast and podcast of the event, and John will post his analysis later.

A few of my notes from the panel:

1) The most effective way to get results from knowledge management is to work from the grassroots. Blog, wiki or IM software needs to be simple to use, and make people's daily life easier and more productive in order to gain acceptance. Then others in the organization can reap the benefit of using that group's written record to stay informed, and find out what's really happening - while cutting reporting overhead and cc:'d email (see Knowledge Fishing vs. Knowledge Farming).

2) The best way to seed success is to start with one or more established groups who have high need for effective working communication to get their job done. For example:

  • Roll out a world wide sales campaign;
  • Develop a new product with participation from key customers, offshore suppliers, resellers and experts as well as internal marketing and engineering teams;
  • Run an effective competitive intelligence organization that provides real time updates and two way communication rather than a 30 page Word report ever month.
  • Manage a trading desk (great example from Matt Mahoney)
  • Track handling and escalation of critical product, customer, or management issues

3) The elephant in the room is email. Blogs, wiki's and IM displace use of broadcast email for group working communication. Email is a great medium for one to one - back and forth - communication, but it's a terrible medium for group collaboration. Clay Shirky says:

All enterprises have more knowledge in their employees as a group than any one person, even (especially?) the CEO. The worst case is where one person has a problem and another knows a solution, but neither knows the other – or that the other knows. Despite e-mail’s advantages for communication, it falls down as a close collaboration tool on complex projects: E-mail makes it hard to keep everything related to a particular project in one place; e-mailed attachments can lead to version-control nightmares; and it’s almost impossible to get the Cc:line right. If the Cc:line is too broad, it creates “occupational spam” – messages from co-workers that don’t matter to everyone addressed. If the Cc:line is too narrow, the activity becomes opaque to management or partners. -- Social Software: A New Generation of Tools by Clay Shirky, Release 1.0 Vol 21, No. 5, 20 May 2003 (.pdf)

Social software needs to be just as simple, and substantially more effective than email when used for working communication within and across groups. If the software is simple to use, it can be much easier to post what you want to say - or a question you want answered - to a place where others who have the same compelling interest can read it, than to craft an cc: list and force each individual to deal with a rat's nest of replies interleaved in a week's worth of email.

Bob Serr said: "One key thing is to avoid having to figure out who has an the answer to your question. Instead of saying who has the answer to my question, you can go to the place where that topic is already covered, and get that question answered." Yes!

A blog, wiki, or IM space can be used to define that place you can go to, or search, or subscribe to - in order to keep in touch with a sales campaign, product development, client engagement, etc. But I believe it has to be a space that's a live record of the business activity - not just another place to look.

Doug Engelbart's model says that a high performing group needs to: 1) capture and organize external intelligence about the task they are performing (from customers, competitors, internal stakeholder); 2) capture the internal dialog (meeting notes, field reports, discussion); 3) keep a shared record of the evolving work product (plans, budgets, designs, issues, decisions).

That's what lead Traction to focus on collaborative editing (with full audit trail and integrated WebDAV file versioning), combined with the time ordered Journal which we now call a blog.


From Doug Engelbart's "Toward High-Performance Organizations: A Strategic Role for Groupware", see Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart

4) The evolving blog, wiki, IM, syndication (RSS) and search infrastructure proves that it's possible for anyone to find and stay informed about what matters to them across a network as large and chaotic as the World Wide Web. I can get notified in minutes when a news source or blogger talks about my company. Why should the largest enterprises settle for less? I don't think they will.

The expectations everyone gets from finding what they want and staying informed on the public internet will drive people in business to ask why they can't know what's happening in their own enterprise.

I believe that within the next five years the communication pattern we're discussing will become the norm for business groups of all sizes, displacing broadcast email for dissemination, working communication and collaboration.

For annotated screenshots from my five minute demo (9.8MB Powerpoint format) see Personal Knowledge Management- SIIA 19 Apr 2006 | Traction screenshots from live demo

Knowledge Fishing vs. Knowledge Farming

April 16, 2006 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Euan Semple's IT professionals, knowledge management and trout farming notes that a conversation "about managing communities of practice is raising my usual concerns about the fatal combination of the words "knowledge", "communities" and "manage"."

Indeed the combination of "knowledge" and "manage" is highly suspicious. The ever perceptive Dave Weinberger quoted a Gartner survey of CIO's in 1999: "... the subjects were reluctant to recommend anything called "knowledge management" because it basically doesn't mean anything, although they see value in the general subject area. ("If you had any knowledge, do you think it'd be good to manage it, or what?" "Um, yeah, sure. You said there'd be hors d'oeuvres.") " -- JOHO June 30, 1998

Kevin Werbach introduced the term Post Modern Knowledge Mangement, but Grass Roots Knowlege Management is simpler and gets to the point. I think its best to start with the assumption that knowledge lives in people's heads - it's the clear perception of fact, truth, or duty by a person - and discover how organizations can best make use of what people learn and perceive in the course of their organizational life.

I like Euan's fly fishing vs. trout farming analogy for capturing the need for patience and subtle skill, and for the implicit recognition of the difficulty in quantifying business value of the activity. The ROI of trout farming is a simple business exercise - asking for the ROI of fly fishing seems like a pretty silly question.

The challenge is to motivate organizations to cultivate, appreciate and reward the effective use of what its' people know, without interfering with people's ability to do their work.

I believe the best approach is to design systems that people want to use for daily working communication and collaboration because it makes their life easier. Then mine, comment, and build on that "work in flow" for higher value lessons learned and as a long term record of experience - over and above the direct operating benefit.

This isn't a new idea: Douglas Engelbart based his augmentation theory on the use of a time ordered journal (Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart); Jim McGee writes on bottom up knowledge managment frequently; Thomas Stuart's Wealth of Knowlege (published December 2001) includes a crisp example and a great literary quote:

At a company where I worked many years ago, circulating correspondence was an everyday practice. It was also one of the simplest and best knowledge management techniques I've ever seen.

Whenever you wrote a letter -- and we wrote a lot of letters -- you made two copies: one to file, one to circulate. Every week (or every so often) you took the circulating set, culled any that included confidential dope or made you look more stupid than usual, stuck on a buck slip, and put them into your outbox. By the time the folder returned, it was generally time to refill it and send it out again. Everybody participated, including the chairman and the president.

"A whale ship was my Yale College and my Harvard," said Herman Melville's Ishmael; when it came to learning my job, circulating correspondence was mine. Reading my superiors' letters opened a window into how they conducted business with the world outside; I aped things more experienced colleagues did, and saw how they handled tricky situations; I copied useful addresses into my Rolodex (another antique). I learned who knew what, and that made me better at asking for advice.

Circulating correspondence was obligatory, easy, and genuinely useful.

As such, it stands in stark contrast to much of what today passes for knowledge management -- an activity that has assumed immense importance in the corporate world. ...

As time marches on, and Moore's Law with it, this technology gets swifter, stronger, and subtler. Why, then, is there a nagging sense that all of it misses the point? Or that much of the time it yields no more insight than a file of circulated letters? -- Quoted from Thomas A Stuart, The Wealth of Knowledge - Intellectual Capital and the Twenty-First Century Organization, December 2001.

Maybe Knowledge Fishing will do!

Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart

April 9, 2006 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd


The source of the term Journal for the Traction TeamPage database is Douglas Engelbart's NLS system (later renamed Augment), which Doug developed in the 1960's as one of the first hypertext systems. Traction's time ordered database, entry + item ID addressing, and many Traction concepts were directly inspired by Doug's work. I'd also claim that Doug's Journal is the first blog - dating from 1969.

More importantly, Doug's aim has never been "content management" or some buzzword - it's been improving the performance of teams dealing with complex and challenging tasks - "raising their collective IQ". Augmenting human intelligence is a challenging and noble goal for social software.

In the late 1960's Doug created the Journal (along with the mouse, shared-screen interactive hypertext and video, dynamic outlining and many other inventions) to support the needs of high performance, problem solving teams.

Doug’s first hypertext Journaling systems were deployed as part of the original ARPANet Network Information Center (NIC), starting with ARPANet Node 3 at SRI - i.e. the third node on what we know as the Internet.

I’ve known and admired Doug’s work starting as an undergraduate Computer Science student using Andy van Dam and Ted Nelson's first hypertext system at Brown (1969). I had the privilege of meeting and working with Doug in the late 1980’s when he and Andy became members of Context Corporation's technical advisory board (Context was a commercial hypertext editing and publishing system with built in change tracking and early SGML support, used for aircraft maintenance manuals and similar applications).

Doug and Andy would visit Context in Portland OR every quarter for a three day meeting - on Context's plans, their advice, and their perspective on hypertext history and evolution. We also enjoyed meals and conversation. I'll always remember Doug's quiet and smiling manner as well as his incredible determination, deep understanding, moral commitment, and pioneering vision. He was and remains a hero to me.

My advice - if you want to invent the future of the web and social software, carefully read what Doug, Andy, Ted and Alan Kay have written. Their wikipedia bio's are a good starting point - I'll post a few favorite quotes here.

See the Doug Engelbart Foundation site (DougEngelbart.org) for Doug's current work, links to many of his papers, and November 2000 National Medal of Technology Award citation . A few of my favorite quotes:

In 1975 Doug wrote:

Our Journal system was conceived by this author in about 1966. I wanted an underlying operational process, for use by individuals and groups, that would help bring order into the time stream of the Augmented Knowledge workers. The term "journal" emerged early in the conceptualization process for two reasons:

  1. I felt it important in many dynamic operations to keep a log (sometimes termed a "journal") that chronicles events by means of a series of unchangeable entries (for instance, to log significant events while evolving a Plan, shaping up a project, trouble-shooting a large operation. or monitoring on-going operations). These entries would be preserved in original form, serving as the grist for later integration into more organized treatments.
  2. I also wanted something that would serve essentially the same recorded-dialogue purpose as I perceived a professional journal (plus library) to do.

Compcon 75 Digest, Sep 1975 pp 173-178, Douglas C. Engelbart THE NLS JOURNAL SYSTEM see the full paper, courtesy of the Doug Engelbart Institute.

In 1992 Doug wrote:

A result of this continuous knowledge process is a dynamically evolving knowledge base as shown in Figure-7 below, consisting of three primary knowledge domains: intelligence, dialog records, and knowledge products (in this example, the design and support documents for a complex product).

  • Intelligence Collection: An alert project group, whether classified as an A, B, or C Activity, always keeps a watchful eye on its external environment, actively surveying, ingesting, and interacting with it. The resulting intelligence is integrated with other project knowledge on an ongoing basis to identify problems, needs, and opportunities which might require attention or action.
  • Dialog Records: Responding effectively to needs and opportunities involves a high degree of coordination and dialog within and across project groups. This dialog, along with resulting decisions, is integrated with other project knowledge on a continuing basis.
  • Knowledge Product: The resulting plans provide a comprehensive picture of the project at hand, including proposals, specifications, descriptions, work breakdown structures, milestones, time lines, staffing, facility requirements, budgets, and so on. These documents, which are iteratively and collaboratively developed, represent the knowledge products of the project team, and constitute both the current project status and a roadmap for implementation and deployment. The CODIAK process is rarely a one-shot effort. Lessons learned, as well as intelligence and dialog, must be constantly analyzed, digested, and integrated into the knowledge products throughout the life cycle of the project.

Figure-7:: The CODIAK process -- collaborative, dynamic, continuous.

Figure 7 itemizes the evolving knowledge base within three categories: (1) Dialog Records: memos, status reports, meeting minutes, decision trails, design rationale, change requests, commentary, lessons learned, (2) External Intelligence: articles, books, reports, papers, conference proceedings, brochures, market surveys, industry trends, competition, supplier information, customer information, emerging technologies, new techniques (3) Knowledge Products: proposals, plans, budgets, legal contracts, milestones, time lines, design specs, product descriptions, test plans and results, open issues.

from 'Toward High-Performance Organizations: A Strategic Role for Groupware' Douglas C. Engelbart, Bootstrap Institute, June 1992 (AUGMENT,132811) see the full paper, courtesy of the Doug Engelbart Foundation

[ quoted from grl1427, Greg Lloyd's private TSI blog post of August 2002 ]

Update Remembering Doug Engelbart, 30 January 1925 - 2 July 2013

See also Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010
Reinventing the Web
As We May Work - Andy van Dam
Enterprise 2.0 - Letting hypertext out of its box
The Evolution of Personal Knowledge Management
October 2006 | Burton Group Report - Hypertext and Compound/Interactive Document Models
And here's what Enterprise 2.0 looked like in 1968 | Dealing lightning with both hands...
Tricycles vs. Training Wheels

Tricycles vs. Training Wheels

February 2, 2006 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

In Infoworld, Jon Udell writes When it comes to increasing human productivity, user interfaces aren't one size fits all and cites Doug Engelbart:

"Easy-to-use computer systems, as we conventionally understand them, are not what Engelbart had in mind. You might be surprised to learn that he regards today’s one-size-fits-all GUI as a tragic outcome. That paradigm, he said in a talk at Accelerating Change 2004, has crippled our effort to augment human capability.

High-performance tasks require high-performance user interfaces specially designed for those tasks. Instead of making every task lie on the Procrustean bed of the standard GUI, we should be inventing new, task-appropriate interfaces. No, they won’t work for everyone. Yes, they’ll require effort to learn. But in every domain there are some experts who will invest that effort in order to achieve greater mastery. We need to do more to empower those people. ..."

I agree, and second Jon's suggestion that we all should look carefully at Doug's goals and analysis. Doug's consistent position since the 1960's has been: valuable skills that make people productive have a learning curve, but may provide the only means to effectively augment ones capabilities. Doug often uses the analogy: Riding a bicycle - unlike a tricycle - is a skill that requires a modest degree of practice (and a few spills), but the rider of a bicycle quickly outpaces the rider of a tricycle.

Alan Kay (the godfather of Smalltalk and the PARC interface) picked up on this theme during a talk and panel discussion at the MIT Bush Symposium: 50 Years After As We May Think, quotes below (watch the video it's great). Doug's hard core position on this point has likely been one of the factors which limited acceptance and adoption of Augment/NLS [Doug's 1968 hypertext system for which he invented the mouse and chord keyboard].

From today's perspective, Augment/NLS suffered from a learning wall rather than a learning curve. Thirty years ago, Augment/NLS users had to understand, learn, practice, and use an entirely new and unfamiliar set of paradigms for communication (and typing - if you wanted to use Doug's chord set along with the mouse). The rewards were great, but the steepness of the path required heroic dedication.

The great challenge is: finding an effective strategy to get people moving in a direction that delivers on the promise of Engelbart's Augment/NLS systems for highly skilled and dedicated teams - who reap the greatest benefit from a deep product - while making the entry point simple and clear to a naive or disinterested user.

Over thirty years later, we have the luxury of building on top of the experience and social as well as technological infrastructure of the web. We need to make the entry barriers are as invisible as we can, and make each step up the experience ramp deliver greater and greater return.

This makes interface design much more challenging, but worth the effort.

In the same panel, Alan Kay said: "I characterize what we have today as a wonderful bike with training wheels on that nobody knows they are on so nobody is trying to take them off".

I think it's better to build software with training wheels that are easy to recognize and remove, than to continue to build tricycles that no-one can grow out of. As Alan says, its a terrible mistake to assume that kids and and grownups will not spend the time to acquire new skills, so long as the payoff is great enough and mastery of the skill is itself a source of enjoyment. Mastery of Emacs can be just as enjoyable and rewarding as mastery of a video game.

Alan Kay: ... If you have ever seen anybody use NLS [Engelbart's 1968 hypertext system for which he invented the mouse and chord key set] it is really marvelous cause you're kindof flying along through the stuff several commands a second and there's a complete different sense of what it means to interact than you have today. I characterize what we have today as a wonderful bike with training wheels on that nobody knows they are on so nobody is trying to take them off. I just feel like we're way way behind where we could have been if it weren't for the way commercialization turned out.

Doug Engelbart: Well, strangely enough, I feel the same. It's part of the thing of the easy to learn and natural to use thing that became sortof a god to follow and the marketplace is driving it and its successful and you could market on that basis, but some of the diagrams pictures that I didn't quite get to the other day was how do you ever migrate from a tricycle to a bicycle because a bicycle is very unnatural and very hard to learn compared to a tricycle, and yet in society it has superseded all the tricycles for people over five years old. So the whole idea of high-performance knowledge work is yet to come up and be in the domain. Its still the orientation of automating what you used to do instead of moving to a whole new domain in which you are going to obviously going to learn quite a few new skills. And so you make analogies of suppose you wanted to move up to the ski slopes and be mobile on skis. Well, just visiting them for an afternoon is not going to do it. So, I'd love to have photographs of skateboards and skis and windsurfing and all of that to show you what people can really if they have a new way supplied by technology to be mobile in a different environment. None of that could be done if people insisted that it was an easy-to-learn thing. ...

Alan Kay: Looking back I think that one of the paradoxes is that we made a complete mistake when we were doing the interface at PARC because we assumed that the kids would need an easy interface because we were going to try and teach them to program and stuff like that, but in fact they are the ones who are willing to put hours into getting really expert at things - shooting baskets, learning to hit baseballs, learning to ride bikes, and now on video games. I have a four-year old nephew who is really incredible and he could use NLS [Engelbart's 1968 hypertext system] fantastically if it were available He would be flying through that stuff because his whole thing is to become part of the system he's interacting with and so if I had had that perspective I would have designed a completely different interface for the kids, one in which how you became expert was much more apparent than what I did. So I'm sorry for what I did.

quotes from: Brown/MIT Vannevar Bush Symposium - 50th Anniversary of As We May Think, Notes from the Panels, see the video.

Update Remembering Doug Engelbart, 30 January 1925 - 2 July 2013

See also Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010
And here's what Enterprise 2.0 looked like in 1968 | Dealing lightning with both hands...

Welcome to Traction Blogs!

January 25, 2006 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

This is a group blog for employees of Traction Software Inc of Providence Rhode Island. You can read about Traction Software's customers products, partners elsewhere on this web site, but here you'll find a public conversation about anything and everything. Blogs is just one page of Traction's web site, but every news item, customer story and product note is a Traction blog post. Everything on this site is powered by a single Traction TeamPage server showing the content of Blog, Press, and Public projects (blog/wiki spaces) using a custom skin (for a similar example see IJIS.org). Welcome!

Contact Traction Software Inc by web form, email or phone please click here.

Permalink The blog name and post number you see in the header of every post is a short, stable permalink you can use to bookmark any Traction article or comment. For example the permalink of this post is Blog2.

If you're using Traction TeamPage you can create a link to another post just by typing or copying the permalink name into the editing form. The permalink name becomes a live link and by default expands to show the title of the post as part of the link text. Like this: Welcome to Traction Blogs!.

My Technorati Profile