Saturday, December 8, 2007

Paradigm Shifts Through The Application Of The Intellect

NPR : The Holy Life of the Intellect by George Bowering Listen Now From NPR This I Believe

I found this again when going through my tags. It was one of my favorites from a previous incarnation.

"We understand why the great poet Shelley wrote a poem to what he called "Intellectual Beauty," and called it an invisible power that moves among the things and people of this Earth. It descended on him when he was a youth looking for wisdom from the words of the dead. Intelligence literally means "choosing among." Shelley called it the spirit of delight."

One of the focuses that this new format will continue is on personal paradigm shifts and the resources that help bring them about. The ideas expressed here are mirrored by the musings of Herbie Hancock.

Attempting To Tag Intelligently

My recent forays into blinklist, ma.gnolia, and digg made me decide to go through and redo my tags - deleting all of the tags in these systems and revamping my tags under As I stated in a previous post, there were some websites booked marked on blinklist as "economics" which in truth did not fit that label. Even for my own use, indiscriminately tagging a website with every possible tag seems to go against the concept of organized knowledge or intelligence. It seems to be a matter of cutting down clutter. I de-tagged a number of sites. My next step will be to investigate those tags which have only a few occurrences to determine if there are in fact useful. This is all based upon my recent reading of "The Structure of Collaborative Tagging Systems" by Scott A. Golder and Bernardo A. Huberman of Information Dynamics Lab, HP Labs.

Its still difficult to assign websites to specific categories even when you have a number to choose from and I have a new found respect for librarians. The web, however, is even harder to delineate as a book usually has a finite and focused purpose but a website especially one like TED can have multiple resources and multiple purposes. The tag "economics" has a wide ranging applicability and works at multiple levels. Other tags forced thinking as to how I wanted it defined. "Development", I decided was the process that took place in realizing a economic implementation after research, design and planning. But even then its not so simple to place a particular website on one side of the fence of the other. Does the Clinton Foundation do development as I defined it? Yes, there is a component of the Clinton Foundation directly involved in development.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Retirement Fits Into My Plans Does Social Entrepreneurship?

David Bohl, writing for Small Business Trends | small business experts asks Entrepreneurs, Does Retirement Fit Into Your Plans?

Though not an entrepreneur, I am supposedly included among the "Approximately 78 million Americans comprise the Baby Boomer demographic." However, I am less and less enamored with the standard deal of making sacrifices to get ahead and earn a respectable living. Truth is that I make a respectable living. I still place the highest value in family, friends, and community as well as hold honesty, integrity and ethics in high esteem.

Yet, I am also one of those who does not fit or identify with the generation we are born into but then according to Brazen Careerist I might be misidentified. I miss being part of the Jones Generation 1954 to 1965 by 6 months, and I think I should score higher than the Generation Jones maximum of 6 points on Margaret Weigel's test, pushing me into Generation X at least virtually. Though asking if I text my 84 year old mother seems a bit warped.

I do "plan to work in some capacity during my retirement years." So the the question still looms: how to continue experiencing happiness and fulfillment in your personal and professional life well into the Golden Years? The question is part of the reason for this weblog. Creating this weblog is another personal paradigm shift I have been undertaking as an answer to this question.

David Bohl's answer

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Scouting New Ways Of Connecting For Future Paradigm Shifts

via Small Business Trends | small business experts by Anita Campbell on 11/29/07

Anita Campbell tells us that she is a big proponent of business networking online and that The best online networks increase your face-to-face networks.

Instead of thinking of online networking as a replacement for face-to-face networking, perhaps a better way to think of the two is that they work together. She goes on to tell about some of the people with whom she works that she originally met online.

What can I say, but "small world." Online networking really does lead to person-to-person relationships.

Every one of the interactions mentioned (above) was brought about directly or indirectly as a result of networking online. Were it not for creating connections online, I would have known no one in New York — not a single person.

Now I realize that an important consideration is that this is among a professional cadre who are very comfortable with the online Web 2.0 world. It does however point to some pathways regarding communication and networking for the future and moving into new lines of work. At this point in time, this is basically a small shift in my personal paradigm but after a year or two, closer to dayjob retirement, it could become the basis for a larger paradigm shift in my life.

Blocking Your Own Paradigm Shifts

(Are you) Getting in your way? via Seth's Blog by Seth Godin on 11/29/07

Seth Godin asks the question, So, as a percentage of the time you spend at work, what percent would you say qualifies as "marketing"?

Now Seth has a definition which is likely more expansive than that of most people.

"I'm going to count educating yourself, networking, creating products, creating media, spending money, building networks of sneezers, inventing great stuff, executing great stuff, motivating front-line people and telling stories."

Based on this criteria I do a good deal of marketing both at my dayjob and with my online persona. My work depends upon constant communication. In some ways I do more marketing of projects than I do managing of projects. Often, it is the same thing. The best management takes good marketing. At least if I use Seth's definition.

The other two choices according to Seth are:
  • Selling your ideas internally/waiting for approval
    • and
  • Dealing with the chaff of responding to inbound junk and wasted time in meetings.

Which is also true, and since I work for government, perhaps even more so. Seth doesn't attribute this to environmental or organizational factors though. I am guessing he sees the individuals he is talking about as change agents. Since they are supposed to be changing, improving, enhancing the image of who they work for in a substantial way, not just veneer, then they should be able to do the same for themselves. Sometimes the most needed personal paradigm shift is to market ourselves to ourselves.

Becoming a Web 2.0 "Expert"

As another Web 2.0 experiment I now have lijit temporarily included within this webblog. So now theoretically, blinklist, diigo and ma.gnolia can all be linked together which is good for disseminating information across a larger audience so communication is potentially enhanced is but is still basically repeating information. Seems that I also have or had a furl account, which is another tagging system, though I don't actually remember signing up. It also includes digg though I have still not dugg anything. The widget also includes some flicker photos which I may not leave up. I am not Elvis. The link works whether or not I am signed in, but of course I already have the tag cloud. Blinklist only works if I am signed in and it doesn't recognize my ma.gnolia account.

What lijit does do from a social networking perspective is connect me with others who are deemed "experts". This of course depends upon the pool of people they have which seems a bit limited. For the test run search economics innovation "find an expert" search they have me listed second. I am sure that is higher than it should be. Expert is the wrong term particularly for myself. Using the term happiness for the same type search Guy Kawasaki, who was cited in a recent post on money, happiness and connections, is listed third. Blinklist also lets me check out "experts", though sometimes they use the term "top contributers" or "matching users" which is closer to the truth. As their recent e-mail to me stated.

On BlinkList, you can also check out what other people
are discovering every day. In fact, if you go to any
of your own tags, you will always see the who the Top
BlinkList Experts are for any given topic.

By checking out other BlinkList users, you will see
an entire world of discovery open up and rapidly start
to discover sites that you could have never discovered

Using their search for economics innovation there are 20 users listed as matching and I am not listed which is more believable though it does not attest to the actual expertise of those listed.

I am getting better at editing xhtml and have been able to re-edit embedded videos that didn't work so that they did. Seth Godin provides another resources with SEO for bloggers via Seth's Blog Seth Godin on 11/26/07.

A lot of useful insight (and a great example in itself of how to acquire traffic!)

Still need to get back to learning about mashups.

UPDATE: Went back to blinklist and made my all of my blinks public. I am now a blinklist economics "expert". Seems expertise is based on number of links on a particular subject. There are though some of my links for which I have to question applying the tag "economics".

Like Trying to Milk a Fish

The Entrepreneurial Mind wrote Like Trying to Milk a Fish on 11/30/07

The concept of social entrepreneurship has also been explored a number of times by this weblog. Jeff Cornwall introduces us to social entrepreneur Sam Davidson has a thoughtful reflection who at his blog tells us about what it is like being an early-stage entrepreneur.

Those who know me know that I never planned on being an entrepreneur, but that I enjoy every single minute of it. There's risk, there's reward, there's freedom, there's excitement, there's disappointment, there's opportunity - and that's just Monday before lunch. And so when people ask me what it's like to start my own company and be a social entrepreneur, I tell them:

"It's like trying to milk a fish."

Sam is a co-founder and President of CoolPeopleCare

Below is a short video from their website on who they are.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Little Ideas Are The Pathway To Big Sucess

Big Ideas (Meatball Mondae 11) via Seth's Blog 12/3/07 gives me an excuse to bring up another article that I posted but never dealt with to the extent that I wanted.

Seth points out that in a factory-based organization, "little ideas are the key to success".

"Small improvements in efficiency or design can improve productivity and make a product just a bit more appealing. New Marketing, which exists in the noisy marketplace, demands something bigger. It demands ideas that force people to sit up and take notice."

"Today, the advertiser's big idea doesn't travel very well. Instead, the idea must be embedded into the experience of the product itself. Once again, what we used to think of as advertising or marketing is pushed deeper into the organization. Let the brilliant ad guys hang out with your R&D team and watch what happens. Yes, there are big ideas. They're just not advertising-based."

This is a pretty profound statement from a marketer. He does not say it explicitly, but the noisy marketplace of New Marketing seems to break out of the Henry Ford industrial assembly model. Regardless, it involves innovation and Seth is asserting that innovation belongs in all components of the organization at a fundamentally deep level. The whole Seth Godin meatball series is here.

This supporting article from the Christian Science Monitor is on, "How companies can encourage innovation."

"We're moving from an industrial economy to a creative economy," says Richard Florida, author of "The Rise of the Creative Class,"

In a new survey, the Innovation Institute, "finds a "creativity gap" in the workplace – a disparity between the creative resources available and those being used. While a vast majority of American workers (88 percent) consider themselves creative, fewer than 2 in 3 think they are tapping their creative capacities on the job. Nearly 30 percent say they would take a lower salary to work for a company that valued their creative input. And 1 in 5 say they would move to a different city to work for such a company."

Two other factors – a rise in entrepreneurship and more women in business – also promote innovation, says Vicki Donlan, author of "Her Turn: Why It's Time for Women to Lead in America." Many women tell her they left a corporate job because they lacked opportunities to use their creativity.

The More We Know, The More We Know That Fools and Facts Don't Mix

Seth's Blog had the Fools, facts and the more we know post on 12/5/07. Something I have noticed during this web 2.0 experience is that a good deal of the information found on the web and especially among blogs is derived and repeated from other source. Not that this is necessarily bad but it does raise some issues.

Seth points us to Neal who in turen points us to: Saying more by saying less. Then according to Seth, this post then leads to an extraordinary blog post.

At least that's what Seth tells us but it seems to get away from the point of the first link or at least takes a long road around (truth is that I have not read it all the way through yet). The point of the first link is.

"Certainly the more information we get, the higher the level of ignorance seems to be."

This concept of information glut has been dealt with particularly with regards to e-mails but this seems to be a bit more basic. Easy access to information lets everybody be an expert or at least claim to be one on their blog or website. That means we need to be careful about who we listen to and how we present ourselves. It was probably best said, if I can believe BrainyQuote, by Abraham Lincoln,

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Why design? Philippe Starck on

Why design? Philippe Starck on via TED | TEDBlog by on 12/4/07

The importance of design is made ever more apparent through the explorations done through this weblog, not only in terms of marketing, technology and architecture but biology and physics. Philippe Strarck provides inspiration beyond his physical designs.

Legendary designer Philippe Starck -- with no pretty slides behind him -- spends 17 minutes reaching for the very roots of the question "Why design?" Along the way he drops brilliant insights into the human condition; listen carefully for one perfectly crystallized motto for all of us, genius or not. Yet all this deep thought, he cheerfully admits, is to aid in the design of a better toothbrush. (Recorded March 2007 in Monterey, California. Duration: 17:07.)


You will understand nothing with my type of English. Is good for you because you can have a break, after all these fantastic people. I must tell you I am like that [shakes hands], not very comfortable, because usually, in life, I think my job is absolutely useless. I mean, I feel useless. Now, after Carolyn [Porco], and all the other guys, I feel like shit. And definitively, I don't know why I am here, but -- you know the nightmare, like you are an impostor, you arrive at the opera, and they push you, "You must sing!" [gasp!] I don't know.

So! So! Because I have nothing to show, nothing to say, we shall try to speak about something else.

Because there is different types of design. The one, we can call it the cynical design, that means the design invented by Raymond Loewy in the '50s, who said, what is ugly is a bad sale, La Laideur se vend mal, which is terrible. It means the design must be just a weapon for marketing, for producer to make product more sexy, like that, they sell more, it's shit, it's obsolete, it's ridiculous. I call that the cynical design. After, there is the narcissistic design; it's a fantastic designer who designs only for other fantastic designers. [laughs] After there is people like me, who try to deserve to exist, and who are ashamed to make this useless job, who try to do it in another way, and they try, I try, to not make the object for the object but for the result, for the profit for the human being, the person who will use it.

That is our poetry. That is our beautiful story. It's our romanticism: Mutation. We are mutants. And if we don't deeply understand, if we don't integrate that we are mutants, we completely miss the story.

And here is something: Nobody is obliged to be a genius, but everybody is obliged to participate. And to participate, for a mutant, there is a minimum of exercise, a minimum of sport ... The first, if you want, there is so many, but one which is very easy to do, is the duty of vision. I can explain you. I shall try.

Combining Efforts, Connecting People - Nokia and Pangea Day Work on a Paradigm Shift

Nokia and Pangea Day combine efforts, to connect people around the world through film via TED | TEDBlog by on 12/4/07

Pangea113x85.jpg Pangea Day, was the subject of my first blog post two incarnations ago so I am happy to put it back up again to promote this effort. Now they are partnering with Nokia who has been featured at one level or another in this weblog.

Pangea Day will be broadcast globally to millions on television, in digital theaters, online and via mobile devices.

"From the earliest days of movies, film has had the power to bring people together. But today, Internet technology is allowing film to bring together not only neighbors, but an entire global community," said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Nokia president and CEO (pictured at right). "Nokia is proud to work with Pangea Day as we embark on this important shared mission of connecting people across the globe."

"Perhaps Nokia's greatest contribution to Pangea Day is the ability of our technology to give a voice to people who previously were unable to take part in the global community that is the Internet," Kallasvuo said. "By integrating the power of wireless technology into Pangea Day, we can help it meet its goal of bringing together people from around the world."

"Pangea Day was created by TED Prize winner Jehane Noujaim"

For more information on Pangea Day, visit

About Nokia
Nokia is the world leader in mobility, driving the transformation and growth of the converging Internet and communications industries. Nokia makes a wide range of mobile devices and provides people with experiences in music, navigation, video, television, imaging, games and business mobility through these devices. Nokia also provides equipment, solutions and services for communications networks.

Why be Optimistic? Why Not!

Why be optimistic? Larry Brilliant at Skoll World Forum, on via TED | TEDBlog by on 11/26/07

As was said in the last post much of the information on the web is repeated but that is in part because many of the individuals providing the new information have multiple venues, for example Larry Brilliant. This is worth repeating as this brings up the concepts of innovation and even more importantly optimism.

Recorded at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship, Oxford, UK: 2006 TED Prize winner and director Larry Brilliant uses a clip from an old Frank Capra movie to show that we've known about global warming for 50 years -- yet in half a century, we've done almost nothing to solve it. He explores this and other megatrends that could inspire pessimism. But, he says, there is a more powerful case for optimism. (Recorded March 2007 in Oxford, UK. Duration: 21:01.)

The Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford, UK, is an annual gathering of innovators from all over the world who are creating positive change across critical issue areas.

If this doesn't load use one of the links above to get to the TED site.

Social Networking Spiritual Networking Its All Connected

Provides a bit more importance to the concept of social networking.

Buddhist Thought

"One day Ananda, who had been thinking deeply about things for a while, turned to the Buddha and exclaimed: "Lord, I've been thinking- spiritual friendship is at least half of the spiritual life!" The Buddha replied: "Say not so, Ananda, say not so. Spiritual friendship is the whole of the spiritual life!" - Samyutta Nikaya, Verse 2..."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Blogging as Self-Experimentation

Marginal Revolution: Blogging as self-experimentation

I have fallen way behind in reading Marginal Revolution and am spending the evening catching up. Also not having any input into the discussion until I get a bit more macro-economics in my head. Instead I am just reading to learn. Tyler Cowen's thinking, however, expands often times beyond economics and provides more general insights. This one, from way back in February of 2007, I found especially true.

Blogging as self-experimentation Seth Roberts writes:

“Blogging, of course, is one of the ultimate forms of self-experimentation,” Tyler Cowen wrote me. I wasn’t quite sure what he meant. He explained: “Your blood pressure, how your brain is working, what new ideas you have, how your attention span has changed, how you now read other people’s work differently, who you find yourself liking more (and less), etc. I believe those effects [of blogging] are often quite striking.”

Tyler Cowen adds,

"Blogging makes us more oriented toward an intellectual bottom line, more interested in the directly empirical, more tolerant of human differences, more analytical in the course of daily life, more interested in people who are interesting, and less patient with Continental philosophy. All you bloggers out there, or spouses of bloggers, what effects do you notice?"

In truth, I don't blog in the usual understanding of the word, I write more for my own education than trying to teach or convince anybody else. This weblog is an expression of interconnected self-reflection and quest for knowledge. I can agree with everything Professor Cowen says but then this weblog was intentionally created with those goals in mind. The responses from the various bloggers who participate in the discussion was interesting. I have collected them for a closer look to see what they offer and how they present themselves. They seem to cover a wide span of thought.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Resilience Is a Gift

Resilience Is a Gift

From NPR This I Believe by Joel Schmidt

Listen Now

"I believe in the power of human resilience. I am continually inspired by the ability of the emotionally wounded to pick themselves up and keep going after enduring the most traumatic circumstances imaginable. "

Riding the Long Tail

According to Seth Godin in his week 9 Meatball Mondae on the Long Tail, "(Almost) everyone wants choice". He rightly says that "choice makes some people stressed and unhappy", which is something that Barry Schwartz would agree with. But in true marketing fashion he goes on to state that, "it also makes lots of people happy. And now people have the choice."

My interest is more from the economics concept of creative-destruction that I have been reviewing lately.

Competition and the Long Tail From Wikipedia

The Long Tail may threaten established businesses.[10]

Before a Long Tail works, only the most popular products are generally offered. When the cost of inventory storage and distribution fall, a wide range of products become available. This can, in turn, have the effect of reducing demand for the most popular products.

It is also of interest because it can be related to word frequency which relates to tagging and linguistic evolution which I have also been studying. According to the SEO-Blog,

"Word frequencies in natural languages such as English demonstrate the following property: In a given body of text there will be just a few words that are used very often and a large number of words that are used not so often. This property was noted by the Harvard linguistic professor George Zipf and the precise mathematical relationship is called Zipf’s Law." This is the basis for which this blog utilizes.

Seth then goes on to discuss the trends that are arising due to this change
  • a. Online shopping gives the retailer the ability to carry a hundred times the inventory of a typical retail store.
  • b. Google means that a user can find something if it's out there.
  • c. Permission marketing gives sellers the freedom to find products for their customers, instead of the other way around.
  • d. Digital products are easy to store and easy to customize.
  • e. Digital technology makes it easy to customize non-digital goods.

It was Seth that provided me the term change-agent. Even though its hairsplitting the term change-agent organization is far preferable to my thinking over non-governmental organization. The macro-economic class I am listening to informs me that only 30-35% of technological or productivity innovation comes from new machines or inventions, the bulk comes from new ideas from the suggestion box on how to use those new resources better. What I am now contemplating is how social change-agents can utilize this information. Items b through d seem fairly apparent to me. Items a and e are a bit more problematic.

Creating Economic Opportunity At All Levels

My interest in economics from an academic perspective is based on my interest in economic development and how technology can can better peoples lives. The following set of stories touches upon all three of these concepts.

"Professor Anirudh Krishna of the Duke Center for International Development leads this collaborative project involving multiple scholars and institutions in the United States, India, Kenya, Uganda and Peru. Our primary research focuses on pathways into and out of poverty and utilizes a specialized methodology to understand poverty from the perspective of the poor themselves. The method, developed after extensive field investigations in India and Kenya, is discussed in the 'Methodology' link in terms of the steps that are followed. On this site you will find published and working papers generated from these investigations."

His work was highlighted in an article that appeared in two new newspapers, the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune. The New York Times article headline focused on those Indians who had benefited from the Web 2.0 economy and their efforts to help others less fortunate through Professor Krishna's studies. The Tribune headline focused on the poor benefiting from the program created out of those studies by Professor Krishna

"Mr. Krishna found that many poor Indians in dead-end jobs remain in poverty not because there are no better jobs, but because they lack the connections to find them. Any Bangalorean could confirm the observation: the city teems with laborers desperate for work, and yet wealthy software tycoons complain endlessly about a shortage of maids and cooks."

"Mr. Blagsvedt’s epiphany? “We need village LinkedIn!” he recalled saying, alluding to the professional networking site."

Another New York Times article demonstrates the impact the rapid economic change in India has had on India's social structure in giving women new independence.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Getting Deeper Into Creative-Destruction

Also spent the weekend doing a bit more studying of economics in particular the concept of creative-destruction. I have added a few more websites to the MyStuff folder for creative-destruction. Finally got around to reading the Wikipedia articles on creative-destruction and on Joseph Alois Schumpeter again to get a better understanding. One disadvantage of the web over a printed book is that it is harder to get and in-depth understanding of a particular perspective. One advantage of the web over a printed book is being able to get multiple perspectives rather easily. Now have a fairly good idea of what Tyler Cowen and Schumpeter mean by creative destruction but need to get a better understanding of how others are using the term. Another concept I have been studying is the "COASE THEOREM" , which I learned about at a Freakonomics post.

Web 2.0 Explorations

Over the weekend I went back to learn some more about the Web 2.0 tools out there. I am now into tagging, especially and diigo. Lately, I have been taking a look at some of the other tagging systems out there like BlinkList and Ma.gnolia. Not sure if there is any advantage to having more than one system from an organizational perspective except for getting your message in front of more people. There is definitely a difference between the audiences of the various systems. Kiva has 44 users who have tagged the site under BlinkList, 99 on Ma.gnolia and 2,964 users on The TED Talk by Dan Gilbert on Why are we Happy has 2 users on Blink, 5 users tagging it on Mag.nolia and 240 on Blinklist and even more so Ma.gnolia state that they focus more on the social aspects of tagging. One user on Blinklist has 44 different sites with the happiness tag so it is possible to find connections but it's creating personal nodes rather than cognitive ones. One problem with all of these sites is that you have to have the right tag that the majority of other users have utilized. You can't look up the site name or address within these systems even if you know it. I am beginning to see more possibilities for the personal connections on a project basis though I still don't care about anybody's cats. Also took a look at SuperGlu. Superglu is designed to put all this together though I don't see any real advantage over what Blogger can do.