Live What You Have Learnt

The following is a newer maxim of mine. “We must work at living what we have learnt through play.” What I’ve realized recently is that it’s time for me to put my money where my mouth is and start living this maxim as it implies.

You see in my last post, I got really excited when I realized that there are many people out there all effectively working on the same thing as I am, that being figuring out the dynamics of this new emerging type of organization with its unique “natural culture” as I like to call it. Well with that high immediately came a low that slapped me abruptly in the face. If there are and have been a variety of notable people working on this (some for decades), why isn’t it more prominent within the business world today?

I mean there have been some companies who have integrated some of these new principles but for the most part, they are pretty unique. For example, people like Ricardo Semler have done amazing things in terms of changing the way we work, yet even when he openly shares this knowledge, even giving speeches to large corporations on the subject, it’s evident that it’s not making a noticeable impact within the typical business mindset. In effect, today when someone creates a new business, more than likely they’ll automatically create a hierarchical organizational structure and implement managers to “control” people without questioning or researching to see if there is a better way.

What I’ve come to realize now is that it’s pointless talking about this anymore. Why? Because words can only take you so far. What really changes hearts and minds are the visible actions of others, so that people can see these principles and culture put into practice itself which then can be utilized as an example to others. So I need to help create these new types of organizations so that people can see and understand how they work from the inside. Even more so, I need to try to create a variety of them in different areas of life, so that each individual can find one example that relates to their particular perspective of life, thus allowing them to understand it better.

While creating some of these living examples will be easy, because they will start as online communities, others that are more business-like will take more time because it means starting my own business or finding a business that is pliable and courageous enough in accepting this culture. Again while I have some business ideas that I could implement, they are going to take a lot of time to grow and I need work in the interim to sustain myself while I build up these examples.

Another major problem that I see is that the two initial examples that I’d like to start with, that I’ve already tested in the past, are going to be difficult to start because I don’t have the social object to build them around that I once had. For example, I’d like to use this natural culture in building a community around a video game and another one around a web development platform. Right now though, the MMO gaming scene is all but dead because there is nothing out there as yet that I’m excited about which is critical if you want to build a community around it. Same applies to a web platform. I used to love Squarespace but this is no longer the case, so I’m looking for another platform that I can get excited about again.

All said and done though, it’s time to go back into stealthy action mode and follow an “actions speak louder than words” mantra that I used to relay to newbies when teaching them online about Threewave Capture The Flag.

“Let your rocket do the talkin!”

By Nollind Whachell

Questing to translate Joseph Campbell's Hero’s Journey into The Player’s Handbook for The Adventure of Your Life, thus making vertical (leadership) development an accessible, epic framework for everyone.

2 replies on “Live What You Have Learnt”

Hey Nollind, I got a bug up my ass to search you out and I'm happy to see you're back at it, blogging your mind like you used to. There is definitely a pent-up "demand" for more horizontal organizing and 'organic hierarchies', a phenomenon which I feel is about to explode on the world stage. Also curious to know what you have to say about ARGs/Alternate Reality Games.

Tyler West

Hey Tyler,

Long time no talk. Hope you're doing well also.

With regards to my organizational development research, I actually just found another awesome book called 'The Starfish and The Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations'. Amazing book that talks about the differences between a centralized and decentralized system or organization. Even talks about 'catalysts' which are social and cultural leaders of these new types of organizations.

Besides my organizational systems research though, I'm also doing research on content management systems, as I'm finding Squarespace not evolving to meet my needs. What I find funny though is the similarity in my research between these two. For example, my organizational research deals with changing the belief of what an organization should be and the behaviors within it. My CMS research in turn deals with changing the belief of what a CMS should be and the functional behaviors within it as well.

A quick example of this is the belief that blog posts should be sorted behaviorally from newest to oldest. Instead of creating a CMS that only defaults to these predefined beliefs and behaviors, I'd like one in which the end-user can change these basic functional behaviors to suit their individual local needs. Squarespace does this somewhat in a basic way via module options but I'd like to make it much more visual via a drag n drop interface, almost like a LEGO building kit. So you could drop in a "journal module" but just as easily go beneath the surface of it and adjust it's complete functional behavior to suit your needs. Or once you become familiar with it, you could theoretically build your own module from scratch, again using these simple drag and drop block elements.

With regards to Alternate Reality Games, haven't really played any but have read up on the use of transmedia to create them, particularly within the entertainment industry (i.e movies, etc). Of the ones I've seen displayed, none really interested me from a games perspective because most were for business marketing purposes and thus trying to sell something. I mean I loved the latest Avengers movie but if someone made a transmedia AR game for it, I probably still wouldn't play.

The biggest problem I see with most businesses today is that their lack of understanding of the changes that are taking place. Thus they continually push something out to entice people to their product or their "crafted story". What they should be doing instead, which some companies are finally understanding, is crafting their product and service around an existing story that is already emerging in the world. For this to work though, requires a level of authenticity and caring that most corporate companies just do not have. Thus if they come into a community and start speaking marketese, they'll stick out like a sore thumb and be shunned by the community. Again, it requires real people building real relationships, with the product sale or service subscription being the end byproduct of it, rather than the starting point.

If you want to read more on this new authentic and empowering approach, a book that talks about this somewhat is 'Winning The Story Wars' by Jonah Sachs.

PS. I think the amazing moment is when people themselves start using these transmedia techniques in real life. For example, the revolution in Egypt utilized a variety of mediums to relay an emerging story and awareness of events that allow people to contribute and "play a part" in the story. Thus, when this happens, life itself becomes the greatest game of all. 🙂

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