Jason Kottke talks about the importance of still having applications that you can use offline, even though most of the industry is pushing towards online applications. He has a very good point and one that I’d like to expand upon using the comparison to your existing computer’s RAM memory, virtual memory, and disk storage space. In the future, I see our computers as being the RAM and virtual memory of Web 2.0 with the Web itself being the disk storage space. In effect, when we work and save our applications, they will be saved to our hard drive but more as a "disk cache". As soon as Internet network activity is established your computer will synchronize this data with your online storage space automatically without you having to do anything. That way, if you don’t have your computer, you can still access and work with any of your data at any computer that has the same applications upon it (just by logging in).
I can’t help but think about what David Seah said about wanting to eventually develop his own products instead of focusing just on services. I feel exactly the same way. Don’t get me wrong though, the feeling you get when you actually help someone is a great feeling but therein lies the problem. You can’t help someone who doesn’t want your help, no matter how badly they may appear to need it. That company or person has to be willing to want your help first and trust in your experience and knowledge before you can help them.
Obviously companies like 37signals are a great example of companies who’ve switched from services over to selling a product. However, a little closer to home, I remember admiring a local carpenter who does the same thing. Instead of running his own shop where he may have to create custom work for clients, he works out of his garage building what he likes and then turns around and sells those pieces to other stores for them to sell. He may not make as much money but he loves what he does because he works whenever he wants, vacations whenever he wants, and builds whatever he wants (like an artist). I always thought if I could create my own product in this same way, I’d be in heaven. Again, yes, you’re not making as much money but as long as I had enough to live a comfortable life, I’d be happy.
Why can’t web designers and developers get together (and I think the 9rules network would be a perfect community to tackle this with the three amigos of Business Logs, Scrivs, Rundle, and Oliphant, spearheading the effort) to create a "Don’t Make Me Think" or XPLANE type of website geared for clients to help them understand the entire design process in extremely simple terms and why each aspect/role of the job (i.e. usability, information architecture, design, etc) is critical and important to the success of it. That way when someone wants to develop a web site, they can see what they should be doing and what information they should be collecting BEFORE they even approach a web company to do their site for them or even to gather a team to build something themselves. That way if a client approaches them without this knowledge, they can just point them to the site as an introduction to the design process (not to mention a great knowledge base to refer to if the client asks a question about something, such as "What’s wrong with having a flaming logo?"). I think if something like this was ever developed, it would be the keystone that would support the enter web development industry and make every developer’s job so much easier.
If I had the necessary funding at this point, it’s straight forward: I’d go looking for a good database guy, a couple of good PHP programmers comfortable with Linux, and so on.
I was really hoping to volunteer for this project but since I just read the above (which indicates Greg’s greatest priority as finding backend people), I wouldn’t want to touch it with a ten foot pole. I’m not even going to comment on why this gives me a bad feeling because if you’ve done professional web development work, you’ll know why already. Sorry been there, done that. All the best to him though on his endeavor.
Jason Kottke wants to see mobile phones that allow you to quickly “ping” someone with tiny predefined messages, such as letting your wife know that you are leaving work now and on your way home (i.e. Message from Jason Kottke: I’m leaving work). Yes, you can do this now with SMS but he wants the ability to press a few quick keys (i.e. two or three strokes) to send the message off quickly without having to type it out every time.
What Jason is talking about here is something very similar to what I’ve discussed before. Situational awareness. With situation awareness all that you are doing is making the other person (or persons) aware of what is going on with you at that moment. That’s it. There is no ongoing discussion or dialogue. Think of it like a heart rate monitor that lets you know that person is ok by letting out a “ping”.
In Jason’s example that he used above, instead of relaying typical predefined messages, what if you constructed your message with a few strokes instead? For example, what if he had ten predefined locations and ten predefined events. So say he wants to tell his wife he’s leaving the office. All he does is press the [PING] key, then his [LEAVING] event key then his [OFFICE] location key and the message is instantly sent (assuming it is defaulted to her). I mean if you really wanted to get technological (and a little big brother-ish), RFID technology could even do this for you. For example, if you are not at work but walk into the office, the RFID chip that you left at your office desk would tell your cellphone of your change in location which means you are [ARRIVING] there at the [OFFICE] and that message could be sent automatically. Of course, the wife could set this ping to have no audible tone but instead just show the last location and event. That way if she is wondering where you are at the moment she can look at her cellphone to see that you are [DRINKING] [PUB] and know that you are hard at work. 🙂
Actually what I find interesting about this “awareness tagging” is the possibilities of using it elsewhere, such as on the Web. Imagine if everyone broadcasted these awareness tags for different things and there were awareness aggregators out there that collected information and displayed it in a variety of different ways. An example I gave before in a previous post was making people aware of your daily mood (i.e. happy, sad, etc). As I indicated before, imagine if an awareness aggregator collected these tags from everyone and displayed them in different ways. So you could see what the daily mood of the world would be. Or maybe you could see the mood by country with a tiny dot representing you on the world map. Or what about other awareness tags? What about if an organization wanted to start an awareness campaign about supporting a worthy cause? Imagine if they told you to use a specific awareness tag on your site to indicate your support for the cause and then everyone with that tag was shown on the awareness aggregator site via a world map. You could see all the people around the world that cared about something specific. Or, from a different approach, you could see all of the people in the world who disagreed with an ideology or government approach. It would be like a virtual walk on a government building in that you could see the number and diversity of people from all over who came together to make a stand for or against something.
It looks like Everybody 2.0 and their Dog 2.0 is coming up with another 2.0 buzzword similar to Web 2.0. I guess I’ll add to the party and talk about the cultural paradigm shift that is occurring right now and call that Culture 2.0. Hopefully when this is completed we will have Society 2.0, not to mention Business 2.0 (for real this time!), where people will actually have Compassion 2.0 for one another and works towards a better World 2.0. Did I miss anything…2.0?
Noticed on Boing Boing a link to Dick Hardt’s Identity 2.0 keynote address which I watched in full and enjoyed immensely. Why I enjoyed it so much was that in the first part of the presentation he asked the question "What is identity?" He replied by saying identity is "Who you are." He then asked the question, "Who am I?" And then proceeded to blow me away by doing the very thing that I am trying to do on my website here. What is that? He defined himself by the work he has done, where he lived, what he read, what he watched, or what he likes. In a nutshell, who he is today is defined by all of these elements from his past and present. Even more so by knowing all of these things, we can probably guess pretty well which direction he is interested in going in his life based upon these same very things. Again, that is exactly the goal I’m trying to take with this website. I’m letting people get to know me by letting them look at my identity which is defined by the elements of my life.
BTW just a sidenote on this. I proceeded to Dick’s company site called Sxip because I enjoyed him and his presentation so much that I thought I’d check out his business but when I reached his website, I was confronted with typical corporate hooha. Why? Why do people keep pushing in this old direction? I mean don’t get me wrong he at least provides a lot more information about the people in the company and what they are doing than other companies do. However, what I would love to have seen is something more similar to what he said about himself in his presentation. I mean could you imagine if each member of his company shared the same information about themselves on their website as he did in his presentation. I mean you’d feel like you were actually dealing with people who were passionate and excited about what they were doing, as Dick appeared to be in his presentation, than some faceless sterile corporate entity. Geez, can you tell that I really want to give this paradigm shift, that is occurring now, a serious kick in the ass to get it moving faster. 🙂
David Weinberger brings attention to an incident that Tom Coates of PlasticBag encountered that involved a fictional corporate entity named Barry Scott who had commented on Tom’s blog about his post about his missing, but now found, father.
"Hi Tom, Always remember one thing. Life is very, very short and nothing is worth limiting yourself from seeing the ones you love. I hadn’t seen my father in 15 years until 2 years ago. I was apprehensive but I kept telling myself that no matter how estranged we’d become there was no river to wide to cross. Drop me a line if I can be of any more help. Cheers, Barry"
Sounds fine, doesn’t it? Except that ‘Barry Scott’ isn’t a real person – he’s a marketing vehicle for a brand called Cillit Bang and his weblog is a barely disguised viral marketing platform for the product.
I have to laugh about this more than anything. I mean are people really that surprised that things have gone this far (not that I’m defending it in anyway)? I mean we have corporations which are pitching themselves as "fictitious entities" on a daily basis on TV but no one complains about that because it’s "acceptable" (and doesn’t hit so close to home). We see commercials showing people (actors) from the law firm Stanley & Stanley (just made up that name) shaking hands with a client. In the background, we hear the commentator saying "Stanley & Stanley is there to help you when you need a friend." The company, the corporate entity, is your friend. What about the people in the company? Oh they don’t exist anymore because they’ve been consumed by the entity to keep it alive. 🙂
Here’s another example of how far I think this will go. I read a book not to long ago entitled The New Culture of Desire (which I need to add to my book list). What this book talks about in a nutshell is the ongoing transition of companies in becoming the "life guru’s" or "meta-physicians" of tomorrow. What this means is that in the future, companies will compete for your entire lifestyle and you will select one to fulfill all of your needs and solve all of your problems. Now imagine sitting down at your computer in the future (or whatever it is called then) and up pops your Corporate Guru assistant (aka virtual computer agent) to tell you how best to run your day and informs you of all the special deals on at each of the partner stores associated with this corporate entity. "You need to pick up Billy from baseball practice at 5:00 PM. His baseball glove is probably getting worn by now since it was purchased a while ago. I’d recommend stopping at Sport’s World on the way home to pick him up another one, as it would probably make him feel better and give him some added confidence in his game. Oh, I just noticed that they are having a sale on baseball gloves this week actually. Even better!"
What I’m getting at here is that this interaction with corporate entities will become more and more prolific and normal within our lives until eventually we will treat it as friend and tell our human friends, "Man, Fred my Guru gave me this awesome tip on where to find those new 10 foot by 10 foot Ziploc bags. He’s amazing!" Or "Fred is great! My father just passed away, so he recommended that I take a short break from my work and take a vacation. He recommended a trip to a secluded resort in Mexico and he booked everything for me. It was perfect and exactly what I needed. I feel so much better now and feel like I’ve come to terms with my father’s passing."
We will see this in our lifetimes unless we start changing our existing culture and put the emphasis back on the people hidden inside of the companies instead of the corporate entity itself. In other words, be a diverse group of people with a company instead of a unified corporate entity with a group of people hidden within it. Instead of advertising your fictitious corporate ideas, focus on marketing the different real people in your company who are doing great things daily and can actually be met by other people. And I’m not just talking about a flash of a face with a corporate business title below it. Show what these real people are doing daily and explain why these different people, in each their own way, help to define the company (instead of the company defining them).
The same could be said for any country, like Canada or the United States. It is the people themselves within the country, with their diverse ethnic mix and outlooks, that truly define the nation as a whole. I mean if the government just showed a white male actor standing beside a flag, then I think most people would be ticked off by this. Instead it is the mother, fathers, daughters, uncles, grandfathers, grandmothers, and so on of all different races and cultures that make up the nation and make it so strong. It is this diversity, not uniformity, with which gives each nation its strength. And it is this very diversity of character and thoughts within each person that makes them so interesting and appealing to each of us.
I decided to throw in a logo design submission for Greg Costikyan’s Manifesto Games company. While design is not my greatest strength, I just wanted more than anything to get some ideas that I had in my head across. Hopefully if people aren’t into the design (i.e. color, style, font type) as much, they will at least understand the direction I’d like to see the symbolic elements of the logo go in, that being more towards a 60’s/70’s protest movement manifesto direction instead of the typical communist manifesto direction. As it has already been noted by a few people, if there is a strong communist slant to the visual imagery of the company, they believe it will do more harm than good.
If you have not heard about Operation Eden yet (as it is making its rounds in the blogosphere), definitely check it out. This is definitely an excellent testament to the willpower and fortitude of those still struggling to survive in Katrina’s wake.