John Patrick on Blogs.

CIOs wake up and smell the coffee. John Patrick on Blogs. Insightful. Eloquent. The guy oozes common sense. Heck, I’m almost quoting the whole interview.

I think a lot of times people see something come along and they say, “What’s the big deal? We had that in 1972,” like knowledge management or artificial intelligence. When instant messaging started, a lot of people said, “oh, this is no biggie. We had this on the mainframe in the 1960s.” It’s true we did. But what makes IM different is that now we have the Internet the widespread sharing of information. That allows for collaboration, it allows for a global effort. So it spawns many more ideas, it allows a new thought to take off like wildfire.

[…] Blogs have the power to introduce new voices into the mix, which will enrich the quality of information available. Voices not necessarily heard before, thanks to limitations of money, access or hierarchy you’re not the CEO, you’re just a guy with a big idea now you can bridge those gaps. Say you’re a CIO who wants to develop some thought leadership around the need to rethink the company’s approach to mobile workforce strategies. Blogs can give you access to the grassroots and to your peers that you might not otherwise have had.

[…] There are millions of people who are experts at certain things, have a point of view and are good communicators. They are not journalists in the traditional sense, but they will create large amounts of information that will be syndicated around the world. People will no longer just do a Google search to find information on a topic. Instead, they will search the blogsphere to find out what those in the know are currently thinking and writing on a topic.

[…] I suspect that blogging is already happening, in most major companies today, even though the CIO may not have ever heard of it. Run a search across the intranet and look for XML blog files. You’ll find them.

[…] We all know somebody in our organization who knows everything that’s going on. “Just ask Sally. She’ll know.” There’s always a Sally, and those are the people who become the bloggers.

(via Internet Time Blog) [Seb’s Open Research]

Lots of fellow bloggers have been pointing to this interview with John Patrick. Seb has quoted quite a bit, but you really need to read the whole thing.

What's your Google Number?

What's your Google Number?. (SOURCE:Don Park's Daily Habit)- My google number is 45, 800.  What's yours?


Latest Google fad seems to be calculating Google Number (via Elliotte Rusty Harold). A person's Google Number is the number of results return by Google when queried with the person's name in double quotes like “Don Park”. Bill Gates and Michael Jackson are both around 2,900,000. Dave Winer is 194,000 and Don Box is 127,000. My google number is 83,700 which seems too high.


[Roland Tanglao's Weblog]

18,900 for me.

UPDATE: I found some more background on this in an interview with Valdis Krebs in the Star Tribune. Using the common variations on my name that I use pushes the number up over 25,000 although that's a bit high because there are a number of other Jim/James McGee's out there on the web. Still not a bad return on two years of blogging.

John Seely Brown on Stolen Knowledge

Stolen but unfinished. Prodded by Maish’s eLearningpost, this evening I re-read John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid’s wonderful article, Stolen Knowledge. More than ten years old now, yet people are still absorbing the message. I gained new insights from my return visit.

… the best way to support learning is from the demand side rather than the supply side. That is, rather than deciding ahead of time what a learner needs to know and making this explicitly available to the exclusion of everything else, designers and instructors need to make available as much as possible of the whole rich web of practice-explicit and implicit-allowing the learner to call upon aspects of practice, latent in the periphery, as they are needed….

[Internet Time Blog]

And, prodded by Jay, I just did the same.

The quote that opens the paper is also worth highlighting:

A very great musician came and stayed in [our] house. He made one big mistake . . . [he] determined to teach me music, and consequently no learning took place. Nevertheless, I did casually pick up from him a certain amount of stolen knowledge.

[Rabindrath Tagore quoted in Bandyopadhyay, 1989: 45]

Why is it such a hard step to give up on the notion of control? Or, put another way, why do organizations and schools insist on forcing certain content down people’s throats? You might want to take a look at Roger Schank’s thoughts about learning in this context. Take a look at Coloring Outside the Lines : Raising a Smarter Kid by Breaking All the Rules or at Designing World-Class E-Learning.

Or if you want things in a real nutshell consider the following bit of wisdom from Calvin and Hobbes:

Calvin and Hobbes for 27 Nov 1992

Some lessons learned

2nd Email. I get a lot of email. I post it very infrequently. This is a keeper.

As I’ve Matured…

I’ve learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is stalk them and hope they panic and give in.

I’ve learned that one good turn gets most of the blankets.

I’ve learned that no matter how much I care, some people are just jack

I’ve learned that whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others – they are more
screwed up than you think.

I’ve learned that depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

I’ve learned that it is not what you wear, it is how you take it off.

I’ve learned that you can keep vomiting long after you think you’re

I’ve learned to not sweat the petty things, and not pet the sweaty things.

I’ve learned that ex’s are like fungus, and keep coming back.

I’ve learned age is a very high price to pay for maturity.

I’ve learned that I don’t suffer from insanity, I enjoy it.

I’ve learned that we are responsible for what we do, unless we are

I’ve learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

I’ve learned that 99% of the time when something isn’t working in your
house, one of your kids did it.

I’ve learned that there is a fine line between genius and insanity.

I’ve learned that the people you care most about in life are taken from you
too soon and all the less important ones just never go away. And the real pains in the ass are permanent.

Pass this along to 5 friends…trust me, they’ll appreciate it. Who knows,
maybe something good will happen.

If not…tough.

As Always … Keep grinning …. it makes people wonder what you are up to

[raving lunacy]

Since I talk about learning from time to time this seemed worth keeping and passing along.

From status report to discovery tool

Weblogs as status reports – It can work but the barrier is cultural not technological. (SOURCE:Rands In Repose: Status Reports 2.0 via McGee's Musings)- We've tried over the last 2 years to replace status reports with blogs at a e-commerce company I do consulting for. Success has been mixed. Even though most of the people are engineering staff (i.e. technical people who should have no problem with the 'geekiness' of today's blogging tools), getting them to document in real time what they do has been more difficult than I anticipated. Transparency, even internal status transparency, is a new and hard thing for today's business culture. I think this will shift in time as people become more used to the idea of making themselves more transparent. Not only will the tools get easier to use, but the idea of being transparent (internally at least) will become more and more common just as the idea and culture of email took a while to take hold. Remember the executives who got their email printed out by their secretaries? Just as this is perceived as being quaint today, so too will today's resistance to internal transperancy be perceived as quaint in the future.


There needs to be some creative incentive for individuals to write stuff down. For the Wiki, there is the promise that if you write it down, maybe you can avoid future lame redundant questions. For the weblog, the timely conversational style of the medium keeps the content focused on news of the moment and that's really the question; is news of the moment interesting to an engineering organization?

What I'm curious about is if anyone has had any success using web-based collaboration tools as a means of augmenting or replacing status reports. I know Wikis have successfully emerged as semi-structured information repositories… have they evolved into anything? How in the world can I get out of writing Status Reports?


[Roland Tanglao's Weblog]

Roland, of course, is spot on about the problems being cultural. And with the notion that the transition is becoming more comfortable with transparency. Time to move David Brin's The Transparent Society to the head of the reading queue.

My current hypothesis is that you have to start with the individual knowledge worker and work from the bottom up. What I haven't cracked to my own satisfaction yet is what the organizational support requirements need to be.

Current status reporting requirements are still rooted in industrial assumptions about projects and processes. Key to those assumptions is the notion that variation is bad. Things are supposed to go as planned. In a knowledge economy those assumptions are inverted. You still need to plan. But now the plans are to help you recognize which variations are important, which are trivial, which are bad, and which are good. Status reporting should become more about discovering and understaning the implications in those variations.

Status reports in the knowledge based enterprise

Status Reports 2.0. At a start-up, there are two organizational inflection points which drastically change communication within the organization. The first change occurs around fifty or so people — this is the moment when, if you're an early employee, that you first see… [Rands In Repose]

Some nice reflections on the potential for wikis and weblogs to address that perennial necessary evil in organizations–status reports. Comes down slightly in favor of weblogs for most organizations given the open-ended, unstructured, nature of wikis.

Overall, I'm inclined to agree, although the hybrid strategy that Ross Mayfield is pursuing at SocialText is intriguing as well. Another take to factor in is that taken by the folks at Traction Software. The start up curve appears a bit steeper, but they seem to have thought more about how to operate at the structured team level.

What I'm continuing to struggle with is how best to introduce these concepts into organizations that are just beginning to grasp the limitation of email as a management tool.