While clearing the clutter in the blogroll (and doing some coincidental browsing) I came across some interesting tidbits:
Nancy White’s finally announces the book Digital Habitats (cowritten with Etienne Wenger and John Smith has turned into an eBook (available for Kindle). After tinkering with iBooks Author for an hour this weeked I had a more complex layout ready to rumble. Which means the proliferation of this and other book-building tools should enable many more good books to see the light. Also it means you can now easily buy the book. Do so, it’s good. And if you want to know why I’m a fan of her work, try this.
Here’s Sean O’Driscoll’s team view on some notorious cases of «grassroots» movements that overturned US legislation using social media (among other artillery). The piece is nice in that it’s quite synthetic… and it illustrates the roles that huge, savvy players had in sponsoring and focusing mobilization. By the way, there’s a recent interview of Sean here (worth watching).
Daniel Martí at Communisfera has some nice current writings in Spanish (I do think any University reform in Spain will need to be non-consensual, and enjoyed the piece on new communications roles) and also gives a heads-up about the Pew Report on «The future of apps and web». Makes nice reading, but will surprise fewer people: it’s more than a year since the Silicon Valley people started buzzing about the «death of the web». Overstated, either way. Apps are far more convenient in certain appliances, and web apps (currently but not necessarily browser based) are skyrocketing. How that is bad… I can’t see. The report, while very superficial (8 pages of quotes), is better than it’s comments.
For the daily dose of deep coherent thought, try JP Rangaswami (or @jobsworth)’s latest piece on artificial scarcities (AND/OR, BECAUSE/WITH, WE/ME), the kind that can’t easily be maintained. More practical than it sounds, and it actually deals with relevant changes to the marketplace… so go read it. If you feel still more practically inclined, his piece on the need of open data in order to correct relevant sets of public sector data is… extremely poignant. Rotund, indeed. Absolutely unmissable.
Just to make my day, he also recently wrote about communities, markets and pricing. It would be perfect, but I don’t agree on the conclusion. At least in the sense I’m dealing with it.
If you still have an unfulfilled craving for deep thinking, try Leonard Nakamura’s paper on the new economy (it’s from 2000, makes more sense than you’d expect… and gives pause at how some trends look favourably one year, and seem quite less happy a decade later).
Joitske Hulsebosch brings some deep thought to the reading table too. Try her solid piece on social media and how we use, analyse and reflect on information, from habits to self. Also, an extremely interesting, candid assessment of how a two-year project for improving learning with social media has… failed expectation. Plus lessons learned. Practical ones.
Paul Ritchie wrote in February a rather unexpected piece in which he analyses Lenin as a model for driving change. The piece is too short, but the link to Lenin‘s actual framework for revolutionary action is… scary reading. Forceful phrases and Russian density for a document that essentially tries to turn a disorganised attempt to tame capitalism into a force for its overthrow. Like «don’t tinker, shoot the beast» with a sensible task list. Read only if you really have too much time or are curious about the period. Or about «grassroots» agitation. Now you mention it…
I also came across Steve Denning’s 2011 comment of Eric Ries’ book and thesis on «lean startups», which I kind of like (haven’t quite finished it yet, it gets repetitive). Denning does too, sorta, and the series of articles highlights why.
On a completely different line, Luis Suarez has changed from getting us to live without email to trying to get us to live without fixed holidays (or without holidays at all). He says some companies are testing that, I do it with one of my teams (I draw their blood when needed, they get any off days they need and some besides; it works and they’re surprisingly happy, their families hate me cordially). Who knows, he may win this battle too.
He has it a bit more uphill with the idea that people really overwork. Time spent at desk or in the office does not equal work. I know literally no knowledge workers who really go at it for eight intensive hours a day as a rule. Nobody. Well, one person. I just reviewed files for some hundred manual and creative workers, and only two actually did it in the last month according to their own numbers… which I disbelieve. OK, some of us multi-employed workaholics do work at one thing or another for twelve hours a day… and then break down after a couple of weeks. But as a rule, I don’t think the sustained real effective worked time per day of many people does reach eight hours. It can’t. Dedicating time to the job is one thing. Working on that job’s another. So by all means, let’s dedicate less time to being on the job… and more of that time to doing it effectively.
Then let’s go for a holiday. And leave the iPad behind.