Headlines for Tuesday:

  1. Oct 30, 2006 to Nov 5, 2006 (457 words)
  2. Tom Purves, Enterprise 2.0 overview (710 words)



1. Oct 30, 2006 to Nov 5, 2006: 12:18

School and learning

I spent the week steadily working on various school deliverables - CAS project report, KMD2004 essay on open source in developing countries, and MIE1402 readings.

I enjoyed spending time with Simon, too. Hack night on November 1 was *tons* of fun. We learned a lot about Google Maps and PostgreSQL's geometric functions. It was so much fun pair-learning. We could keep each other on task, and my breadth of background was helpful. We should do that again with something else, like Ruby.

I also had a terrific time having hot chocolate with John Oxley. I'm starting to figure out what I want in a job.

Somewhere in between, I found the time to write Emacs Lisp code to produce a contact report for September and October. I also tweaked my blog design to be a little simpler and cleaner.


It was a very good week in terms of people. Over the week, I sent out lots of cards. I figured that, well, I have all this blank stationery lying around... I might as well use it. Having stamps on hand certainly helps! I need to buy another pack of US and international stamps.

Simon came over on Monday just to hang out and breathe. As previously mentioned, Hack Night on Wednesday was tons of fun. And he visited again on Saturday to take care of me while I was sick... =) There, see, he does make time.

Halloween parties were fun, too. I got to hang out with Leigh and her friends. The red leather dress ("So this is the famous red leather dress?" - Leigh) got a number of compliments. =) I told them how my mom picked it out for me, and some of the other things my mom's asked me to try out... <laugh>

I had a three-hour conversation with my mom over Skype. We initially had problems with feedback between her speakers and microphone, but we sorted that out when she plugged in earphones. Voice quality was pretty good. It was great chatting with her about the different things that were going on, and my dad had an interesting theory about Microsoft's interest in me. ;) You'll have to ask me about it; it's unbloggable.

I was too sick to go to Andrew Burke's housewarming party or Joey de Villa's birthday party, but I called with regrets as soon as I recovered.

The week ended with a wonderful dinner at the McGuffins. Michael turned 30. Seeing them reminded me that I need to spend more time with those folks - I like them a lot.

A very good week indeed. =)


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2. Tom Purves, Enterprise 2.0 overview: 19:25

I'm at Enterprise2.0Camp right now. Tom Purves gave a good overview of what Enterprise 2.0 is and what it means for businesses. "Social media" is fine for Web 2.0, but it raises eyebrows in business. Tom suggested "tacit media" as a better term, and went into more detail.

Bryce Johnson pointed out a difference between barcamp.org wiki and usabilitycamp.org wiki - barcamp wiki was where organization happened, whereas usabilitycamp wiki happened after the organization. Tom shared something from Office 2.0: "A blank wiki is a room without chairs." (Esther Dyson)

Comments: Seeding a wiki can affect how it goes. Any best practices? Tom suggested deliberately making small mistakes, which encourages people to look for how to edit it. Another person points out that this also lowers the psychological barrier to entry - things don't have to be perfect. There are social issues, though, such as implied permissions. Bob Logan pointed out that you can't design emergence. Alex Petrov noted that you can't predict innovation if you're going bottoms-up. Tom acknowledged the loss of control, but talked about unorganizations that emerge as well.

Another person explicitly distinguished between innovation and collaboration. Innovation is never really been successful without some sort of direction, he continues. A wiki is like a blank piece of paper, which is difficult to work with. Tom replied that collaboration is a good stepping stone toward innovation or the dispersion of innovation. The first person continued that R&D expenditure has no correlation to the performance of the company. Innovation is a very different function than collaboration. Another person talked about skunkworks and the possible value of having a skunkworks wiki, which could be a very powerful tool. Greg Van Alstyne supported Tom's point that innovation requires diffusion and adoption, and differentiated innovation from invention. You have to see it happening in a network. The person beside him talked about emergence and levels of complexity.

Another person talked about the nature of a corporation as a tree structure, push instead of pull. You have to fuse them together. Tom wondered if wikis need critical mass, and if the software isn't as good as they thought.

Deb brought the conversation back to the empty wiki. Anything successful has at the core of it a real problem, so that people have a motivation to do whatever. Carsten pointed out that it needs to be appropriate. Bryce brought up the idea of voice. Tom agreed that different kinds of media fit different tasks. Brent Ashley pointed out that there's a certain constituency of the population who are going to be involved. So we need to draw out the people in the organization who would be good adopters of these tools, so that the tools will be built by people who care about it. Tom agreed absolutely. Firestoker saying: "Learn to stop worrying and love your 1%." Rohan said that the key is to make sure that something there is important. People don't want to be left behind. As long as what's on the wiki is a hobby thing, then they're not going to go there. Jevon of Firestoker: A moment of crisis. Work gets done and operational efficiencies come into play. In that moment of crisis, it's a chance for leadership to let go and give up some of their silos. It's after that point that we see innovation and collaboration really come into play, because that's when people trust the space. Carsten: I think what makes collaboration unattractive is the lack of integration. The browser is the great equalizer. [But it's not integrated into the applications that I live in, like Outlook]. Maybe the wiki is not all that appropriate or practical.

Jevon: Story about Big 5 banks. They had computers in managers' offices, but no one was reading e-mail because computers were handled by their secretaries. Then the CEO sent the final paper memo, and then everyone used e-mail.

Person: If you build technology that does not conform to the way people behave, no one will use it. Noted problem with signup wiki. UX experience is the story. The experience of using a device should complement what you want to use it for.

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