Tuesday, March 20, 2007

An interview with Michael Wesch

Passionate professor of anthropology on January 31st 2007 surprised the Internet community, but mostly himself, by the net effect that his educational video experienced. Even today, after 3 months he is still creating the history of the video Net sphere. So what really happened, why and how? What were the conditions? What is the message what are the consequences?


In 14 days from an excellent anthropology professor to a number one Net 2.0 story.

Just trying to raise the awareness really. I just wanted to show how the web 2.0 looks like. Wanted to get people to innovate on the Net. To make people to see possible challenges. To make people start thinking about the social impacts of the Net, specially Net 2.0

Well, I was really plying with this challenge of effective communication for a while. It took me almost a year to conceptualize the idea. First I was trying to write an academic paper. But it was difficult to express this dynamic and visual medium in writing. So I started thinking about animation that I often use to support my lectures. And one morning the vision came clearly through. And the video was born. I worked 3 days almost with ought any sleep. I was recording a screen after screen, trying to put steps together. Trying to tell a story. I really wanted to show the back “stage”. From a point of view of the code. To point out the new developments.

Day1 (Jan 31st 2007):
The video was posted on YouTube … I did not tell anybody… After a few hours I sent mail to 10 colleagues to get their opinion… in the evening one of them forwarded the mail to one of her colleague and the movement had started…

The next morning it had 100 views. I got very excited. I was telling my students about the progress. I was very trilled thinking that 100 people saw my video. 100 views were really great.

The next morning there were 300 views, in the afternoon 500 views and e-mails from all over the state (it went through the local networks and reached statewide reach)… And after some colleagues around the nation got in touch with me I started sensing that something is happening. The same afternoon the video got 800 views. That was already exceeding all my expectations. At this point my wife and I were hoping to reach 1000 views and that was my goal.


And it happened. The next day – by noon there the 1000 views was reached. But I knew that YouTube is refreshing the number of views only every 12 hours, so I started monitoring the statistics on “favorites” are refreshed immediately …there I saw that 8 thousands users marked my video as their favorite. In the evening it was blogged at over 100 places…This was awesome. From that point on I was monitoring and being constantly surprised. Mails started coming in, phone calls…

Friday, March 16, 2007

Salzburg Seminar - the inspiration and a challenge

It is just so great to be positively surprised. To be inspired. To be really intellectually challenged. It does not happen that often any longer. But the Salzburg Seminar on “The new Information Networks: Challenges and Opportunities for Business, Governments, and Media” managed to just do that. Meeting on one place so many incredible people, be able to hear, experience, exchange so many profound and diversified views on the most vivid global challenges related to new technologies and social transformations, exceed all my expectations. Started naming people that contributed to the excitement most would probably be unfair to the rest, since only as a community we were able to create this diversified space. But still Michael Welsch, the author of one of the most popular videos ever published on YouTube and professor of anthropology, with his personal story really demonstrated the power and culture of Web 2.0 communities. Christoph Mohn, the 6th generation of Bertelsmann family and director of LYCOS showed a business understanding of the emerging technologies and in some aspects the conceptual misunderstanding of the behavior of Net community. Yochai Benkler professor from Yale Law School, Andleeb Abbas professor and business consultant from Pakistan, Milena Bukova an executive director of media NGO from Bulgaria, Kemi Ayanda and advocate of development and change in Nigeria, Victor Mayer-Schonberger professor from Harvard University, Paul Sterne, the chief financial officer and general manager Americas of Open-Xchange, Inc. , Noel Hidalgo, freelance business and lifestyle consultant, blogger, Wilfried Rutten, director of the European Journalism Center, Stefan Blachfellner from Indaba, were continuously opening up views and thoughts and challenging my perceptions. I know that my understanding of the role of technologies, local richness, behavior and human desires, and needs has been enlightened with new relations, content and empowered with new tools. I feel more connected. I feel freer. I become even more aware about the power of self motivated, active masses and the power of response. Benjamin, thanks for inviting me.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

World is not flat

The World does not need to be flat (any longer). Internet is becoming a powerful common infrastructure, common dominator that allows fantastic diversification, depth and broad variety of collaboration models. So, on a top of this fully distributed environment we see so many new layers, and depth. Above a large community a new specialized ones are forming. At the top of one application layer new are established. Business models are fully engaging in vertical and horizontal clustering. Cultural diversity finally gets a chance to be fully appreciated and integrated in all manifestations of our society. The same applies for the regional competences and natural advantages. Networks of diversity are being able to express their power. Therefore, Internet, especially the Net 2, really provide a flat layer but that is where the concept of “flat” stops. The rest is a tremendous differentiation that is based on the beauty of uniqueness of every individual, group, community, geographical position, historic momentum, potentials…. The world we live in could just not be described and perceived with the glasses of “old” society. The evolution made a huge jump. So big that is hard to see it.

Venture funding might not be enough

It is great seeing all the effort regarding the encouragement of risk taking and entrepreneurship development, providing funds for great new ideas, creating the platforms for competition, one minute presentations… all this is needed, no doubt about it….at a certain stage of establishment of an innovation platform. But I can only hope that there is more than just neo-capitalistic approach to exploration of ideas and maximization of solely financial capital behind it. I hope somebody is telling to these great enthusiasts how important it is to build on sustainability in their thinking and strategic development. Not for the sake of the financial capital investors but for the sake of the entrepreneurs themselves that they can one day get up and be able to say, “I crated a wealth and I am happy, I live full life”. The last thing we need is on the top of socialistic exploitation another generation of neo-capitalistic exploitation. It is not enough to provide great idea generators with financial capital… they deserve a chance to at least understand the dimension of human capital (intellectual, emotional, spiritual and social). Of course I do not want to say that this is solely the role of the state, or the investors. It is a great opportunity for innovation ecosystem to overpass the old frameworks of thinking and doing and bravely explore the new ones that distributed environments and holistic economy are offering. It is Ok to unique approaches… even in Slovenia… to do it our own way… maybe it is time to stop copying over lived models and understand our uniqueness and manifest it through our own approach that.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Another moment of inspiration and deep learning.

It was another moment of inspiration and deep learning. Today. At the lecture that I had for SIQ as part of the PIM project. What a great group of people, rich experiences, constructive thoughts, opened dialogs. At the moments like this one I feel my mission fulfilling, I connect with true challenges and opportunities of the space I actively am involved in. Innovation being the core subject is opening up so many real life issues. Words like movement, collective consciousness, social consciousness, cross-functional teams, constructive dialog, get a real, meaningful dimension. There is still too much fear, jealousy, lack of self-motivation, lack of self-activation, lack of global perspectives. But it is improving. More people are asking themselves “is there a better way”, “can we do it differently”, “who are we”, “who am I”. And it is true, for a society to move on you need a large base. But it has to start somewhere and there is always the first, the second, the hundredth, the .. so, if each of us who were part of this session, will integrate some of the shared experiences in the daily (business) life I am sure the impact will continue and more than 16 people will continue challenging everything we know, understand, take for granted. And the evolution will make a new step in its own sustainable growth. And then we will realize that there is already more of us, hundreds, thousands even in such a small country as Slovenia. Those that believe in good, that believe in light and in the well being. Who understand that only out of good for ourselves can we actively participate in creation of a platform that can bring the best out of many more; show them the beauty they posses and steer it into creative thinking; the manifestation of the core competences we all have deep inside.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

What can shamanism contribute to innovation ecosystem

So much has happened in the last 2 weeks that it is hard to come back and write again. I‘ve started the Shamanic Academy and step by step I am learning about the fascinating world of nature, an individual and the complexity of holistic approach that I strongly believe is the future of our society and the base for creative social models. Each of us should really first work on his/herself to be able to interact with the outer world… it is so true for corporate environments (companies), as well. First you need to have strong internal relationships in order to proactively and successfully interact with customers, suppliers, owners, public, specially to ensure the sustainable long term growth. Probably the most important conformation at the beginning of this journey was the fact that once you open up the channels to your soul and spirits there is no room for doubt (did you know that there is a tribe in Peru that has in its language just options of yes and no.. they always know, they are never indecisive), no room for bluffing, no room for dishonesty … just lots of work and white energy… and than you suddenly understand that companies have it’s own soul as well, and we hardly ever pay attention to it. It’s own character. It’s own powers. And managing this along with knowledge and experiences is the winning combination for success. There is just so much more we have no clue about, no conscious awareness .. .and at that moment you realize and understand that the polygon of human creativity is just starting to surface.