October 31, 2011
GigaOm Event on Nov 10: How will Connectedness Transform Everything?
Blazing fast networks, cheap silicon, always-on devices and a torrent of data will fundamentally change everything — how we consume media, how we work, how and what we buy, and even who we are.
They plan to expore how connectedness will transform every industry and facet of life.
Here's a snapshot of the opportunities they plan to examine.
October 22, 2011
Bryan Doerries' Theatre of War
At PopTech this week, Bryan Doerries, a New York-based writer, translator, director, and educator read poetry to us, his eloquent use of language and intonation resonating with nearly everyone in the audience.
He is the founder of Theater of War, a project that presents readings of ancient Greek plays to service members, veterans, caregivers and families as a catalyst for town hall discussions about the challenges faced by combat veterans today.
Over the past year, Bryan has directed film and stage actors such as Paul Giamatti, Isiah Whitlock Jr., David Strathairn, Lili Taylor, Charles S. Dutton, Gloria Reuben, and Jeffrey Wright in readings of his translations of Sophocles’ Ajax and Philoctetes for military communities.
When people are in pain or have undergone crisis, it's important to be able to speak the unspeakable. He says, "Imagine soildiers in Athens, seated in the order of tribe and according to rank. They have come together to hear plays that only those who have been to war or cared for those who have gone to war could understand. They were there to laugh, weep and bear witness to the truth of going to war."
He goes on: "Now imagine American soldiers in a drill hall or a field house where they are seeing a play about a depressed warrior who has slipped into depression because he has seen his best friend murdered. He then takes his own life."
"Being separated from my troop is like being stripped of my humanity," said a soldier to him. He is doing this project to restore humanity for these individuals who feel like they lost their humanity along the way. And, he wrote these plays to help people heal.
Sophocles wrote these plays to comfort the inflicted and to inflict the comfortable. "This is what happens everytime we perform Theatre of War," he says. "In an environment that combines live theatre and community dialogue, people are comforted by what brings them together across time. They are inflicted by the understanding that empathy is not enough. Theatre is an ancient military technology which we are licensing from Sophocles, to raise awareness, to raise stigmas, and to stir our fellow citizens to action."
His other recent theatrical projects include “Prometheus in Prison,” which presents Aeschylus’ “Prometheus Bound” to corrections professionals to engage them in conversations about custody and reentry, and “End of Life,” which presents Sophocles’ “Women of Trachis” to palliative care and hospice workers to engage them in dialogue with other medical professionals about medical ethics and pain management.
For more on his work, read Bryan Doerries' op-ed in the Washington Post about his experience taking Theater of War performances to military bases.
October 21, 2011
Anne-Marie Slaughter: A New Networked World Means Rethinking Professions
Anne-Marie is a Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and also served as Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State from 2009-2011, the first woman to hold that position.
She discussed where we started from and where we have moved to, aka from a world of states to a world of social actors. The world of states was the first (traditional) way of looking at foreign policy, something she refers to as the billiard ball world. Today, we live in an networked world.
In that world, foreign policy has started to shift, where we are seeing orchestrated coaltions. In a top down colation, the World Bank pulled together 14 of oil producing companies and 4 oil producers to reduce environmental effects.
Where we're going however is bottom up: build local and go global. Examples include:
- From USAID to Kiva
- From NDI Election Monitoring to Ushahidi
- From the Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement to Palestinian Political Risk Insurance Project
In a billiard ball world, countries go to war. In a networked world, the dynamic changes and the players have much more resilience than in a billiard ball world.
She has been spending a lot of time researching and learning about network theory and horizontal management Everything she is hearing now in and outside of Washington is a combination of public and private initiatives. "We're moving forwards citizen act social foreign policy," she says.
We're at the beginning of a new world. Advice that she gives:
1. Don't just stand there, do something.
2. Connect, but not too much. Do not connect all the time. Be focused about their networked communications and don't overdo it.
3. Small is beautiful. She refers to Clay Shirky's work. If you want to get the energy of collaboration, you want small communities to be more effective.
4. Portals and plug-ins everywhere. Government has always thought in silos. Open government is about breaking down those silos.
5. Self-organization is better? The power of what we see in the Middle East is self-organization. Government needs to facilitate not do.
The whole idea of what foreign policy is going to change profoundly. She says, "iIf we're going to do this, we're going to have to change the way we think about our professions."
In a New World, we have to think about existing professions differently and gives the following 'spot-on' answers.
- Editor (old world) to Finder, Mapper (new world)
- Publisher (old world) to Aggregator (new world)
- Reporter (old world) to Verifier, Curator (new world)
- Public Relations (old world--image) to Convener (the person who brings together lots and lots of actors)
- Diplomat (old world) to Connector (new world)
- Leader (old world) to Catalyst (new world)
In these new roles, she concludes, we can build a networked world, one that is open, working from the bottom up. And, as a result of this, foreign policy will dramatically change. Enter, the new actors on the global open platform political stage.
October 20, 2011
Iceland's President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson Talks About Lessons Learned
Iceland’s President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson took the PopTech stage in Camden Maine on October 20, 2011, where he discussed economic crises and how to handle them in a way that will ensure long term sustainability of a country. He used his own as an obvious example, which has not only faced economic issues but natural disasters over the past year.
President Grimsson spoke about how he made a choice for his country that would either make farmers, local businesses and individuals take responsibility for their own decisions which would impact the financial health of the country OR turn to/blame the force of the market.
He chose to choose the democratic will of the people, which he says, hasn’t brought on the dark results that everyone predicted it would.
In his day, he reminded the audience, demonstrations and protests were the only way to get noticed and bring about change. “Now,” he says, “we are now seeing people power in its purest form, enhanced by social media. The fundamental essence remains to challenge political institutions as never before.”
"The power of the people through social media has dramatically accelerated change, making the traditional political decision making process has almost become a side show," he says.
Below are some lessons he has learned from Iceland:
- Significance of China. "The arrival of China is here now, not ten or twenty years from now," he says. "The leadership of China was the one of the most successful discussions following the collapse of the banking system than any other country we talked to, including Germany, Italy, U.S., France and others."
- The banks have become high tech companies, threatening the growth of the creative sectors of our economies. He says, "What we learned in Iceland, when the banks collapsed, is that the pool of talent from the banks were suddenly all available. "Even if the banks are successful, it’s bad news for a country that wants to be a player in the creative economy," he adds.
- The importance of clean energy. The lesson learned is that if you have built up a clean energy economy, it will help you fight against financial crisis in the future. It provides people with a lot of energy at a low cost.
Historian Stephanie Coontz on Rebalancing of Genders
She talks about when and how women not just in this country but worldwide, started to rebalance the power between sexes.
It starts happening between genders when women not just started to work but got paid to work. After they get into the workforce, literacy goes up, they get a choice of who they got to marry, and then labor laws changed among other things.
If you think about it, the countries with the lowest rights for women are the countries where women have the lowest access to the labor force. Sexual harassment didn’t come force in the U.S. until 1993.
Two thirds of divorces are initiated by women. Countries like China have had an 800% increase in divorce over the past 25 years. Countries which are socially more conservative, where women have experienced job independence but not other independence have gone on strike with marriage and motherhood.
Look at an example of what happens when women are empowered. In Guatemala, women are still exploited and underpaid and yet $12 extra income in the hands of a Guatemalan mother adds healthy weight gain and balanced diet into the mouths of her children whereas it is an extra $166 extra income in the hands of a man to get the same result.
Look at countries like Italy, where women don’t have as many rights, the woman who tastes that independence In Sweden, there is no such association.
There has been tremendous reversal for women in the U.S. for women who were born before 1960 versus after 1960. For women born before 1960, if a woman had higher education and earning, they were more likely not to marry or get a divorce quickly. Women today with higher education marry later and they’re less likely to divorce.
The bad news is that today in the U.S., where women also work, most children six and under have both parents work outside the house, but the laws and rules of conduct in the workforce haven’t caught up with those trends.
A few stats: in the U.S., business family work policies is last among all wealthy countries in the world. America doesn’t believe it to be “class privilege” to stay at home with the family, nor does it have a national childcare system or standards. Even the medical leave act in the states is lower than any other country.
There is the highest work family stress in the U.S. than any other country and they work the longest number of hours in the world, including Japan.
“We have to redefine work balance,” says Stephanie. Women’s access to careers has been the greatest achievement for globalization but we can no longer sustain a work regime where we are expected to be available to employers 24/7, and yet still take care of all other human needs at home.
She adds, “we have got to have a better balance between work and home and culturally, we have to embrace it and respect it. We need to redraw the boundaries of our personal lives in the same way we have our professional lives. “Mapmakers, bring it on and make it happen,” says Stephanie as she ends her talk.
Robert Nieuwirth: The Free Market Vs the Flea Market
Who’s afraid of the informal economy? journalist and author Robert Neuwirth asks the PopTech audience. He is known for his book Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, a New Urban World. His latest -- Stealth of Nations -- is focused on street traders around the world.
He notes that 80% of the working people are not in the informal economy, but something he refers to as System D, aka the Self Reliant economy, which he pirated from the African speaking Africa and Caribbean world.
Half the people in the world are working in System D, which means that the total value of System D around the globe is around $10 trillion. “If this was combined in a single political entity, let’s call it Bizzare-istan,” he says with a smile, “it would be the second largest economy in the world.”
It means that squatter communities are growing faster in legal areas, that the informal economy is exploding and that The Rational is becoming Irrational.
The informal economy has always been around globally, as he throws out example after example with photos in China, Taiwan, and Africa, where individuals are selling pirated designer sunglasses, cologne, DVDs, and mobile phones. He also notes that this kind of quasi-criminology happens in the formal economy every year as well, talking about Siemens who paid $1.9 billion a day, where it was done above board and legit.
In the Free Market Versus the Flea Market, the lazy man's money is worth more. "We have to consider fairness," says Robert. "What we think are facts, are actually set in stone by those who are in the most power and have the most interests."
If so many workers around the world are street trading and they're alive, employed, thriving and growing, we have to work together, and with and within it. Says Robert, "we shouldn't criminalize street trading - we should embrace it in someway so that we can bring people doing it out of poverty and into a better way of life." Hear hear Robert.
Also refer to a video on the TED blog to hear more of his insights.
October 18, 2011
Where is Foursquare Going? Dennis Crowley Reveals The Latest...
Apparently 50% usage of this growing-in-popularity location based network is outside the U.S. They plan to focus on building out a European team next year.
"The bigger we get, the bigger the opportunities that come to us," he says in response to whether they plan to stay independent or get acquired.
Dennis doesn't seem to be wedded to either one as long as they can continue to build a product the way they want to build it. "The only thing that we want to do is build a product to where we want it to be in a year from now, three years from now.....We want to build tools that change the way all the people in this room experience the real world."
Of Foursquare's growth, he says that they're launching new features every few weeks and as each new feature gets launched, the pieces of the puzzle comes together more and more. In other words, those who may not necessarily understand the value of what Foursquare can bring to them personally today, may see new "nuggets" that make it worth their time.
With more than 10 million downloads, Foursquare remains the category leader in LBS (location-based services).
A new addition called RADAR for the iPhone which was announced earlier this month, could either be perceived to be a cool new feature or scary.
They're trying to make it less painful to check in or rather have to "think about" checking in when you arrive somewhere. So, rather than having to check-in to see what’s happening at a venue, Radar uses the technology introduced in iOS 5 to provide you with notifications when you are close to a location that might be of interest to you.
If you find yourself close to a venue where your friends may be hanging out or a place on you go to frequently, Foursquare now sends you a notification to let you know.
When looking back at the past innovations he has worked on, starting with Dodgeball, Dennis says he doesn't understand when people ask him what kind of start-up they should do. He says, "focus on your passion, what you love, what you want to build that no one else is building or doing and go from there." Hear hear.
I'd add this: at the end of the day, if you wake up years from now wondering why you're doing what you're doing, you've made the wrong decision. Do what matters....to you....no one else.
Mary Meeker: Silicon Valley Innovation May Be Unprecedented
Full of not only data but lots of fascinating commentary and unique perspective, she gave the audience depth and texture over the last year in the areas of mobile, social media, ecommerce, real-time data, advertising and the economy.
She covered the following areas:
1. Globality – We Aren’t In Kansas Anymore…
2. Mobile – Early Innings Growth, Still…
3. User Interface – Text - Graphical - Touch ���- Graphical T ouch / Sound / Move
4.Commerce – Fast / Easy / Fun / Savings = More Important Than Ever…
5. Advertising – Lookin’ Good…
6. Content Creation – Changed Forever
7. Technology / Mobile Leadership – Americans Should Be Proud
8. Mega-Trend of 21st Century = Empowerment of People via Connected Mobile Devices
9. Authentic Identity – The Good / Bad / Ugly. But Mostly Good?
10. Economy – Lots of Uncertainty
11. USA Inc. – Pay Attention.
We learn that Apple, Google, Amazon.com & Facebook remain the mega leaders.
81% of Internet users are outside the U.S. The below shows you usage in the U.S. versus rest of the world.
In other areas of global trends, mobile is booming. As astounding stat: 200 MM farmers in India are receiving government payments and subsidies via their mobile phones. Also, in China over three years, they added more Internet users than exist in the U.S.
Social networkers as of October 2011 by country below. You may be surprised to see Israel, Argentina, Turkey and Chile in the top four. You may also be surprised to see how far down the list the U.S. ranks.
Below shows interesting stats of UK-based Shazam (sound recognition and music discovery), Swedish-based Spotify (music discovery and streaming), Israel-based Waze (driving navigation) and European Soundcloud (sound discovery and sharing). The numbers are astounding and show a huge trend towards "creative discovery" on the web.
She notes that while iPods have changed the media industry and iPhones ramped even faster, iPad growth has gone through the roof. She also shows us that Android growth was bigger than we may have imagined (even faster than the iPhone).
Overall, mobile usage is exploding. It's big and its growth isn't slowing down anytime soon.
This is kind of a scary slide, suggesting that perhaps Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs needs to be revisited. This thought process hasn't hit the third world yet despite the explosion of mobile phones, yet I fear that Maslow's new hierachy of "musts" in Silicon Valley has already been transformed...from what I see, it may be above food/water but below shelter in some cases.
For a full peak at her slides, check out Kpcb's site to learn more.
Bill Gross Unveils Chime.In at Web 2.0 Summit
Bill Gross thinks that social media will be the connected issue across the planet that will enable us to communicate, connect and engage. He said at Web 2.0 Summit in his announcement speech of the new social networking service Chime.In, "I believe that social is going to be embedded in every kind of transaction in the next decade."
"There are only two real problems with social media today," he adds. "Relevance and monetization."
He talked about the signal to noise ratio issue that has been raised a lot since the Summit started, which Twitter's Dick Costolo addressed as well (last paragraph).
"We need better filters. Any system that has a billion people contributing to it is going to have a serious signal to noise problem. In addition to relevancy, there's the monetization piece. Some revenue needs to go to publishers and content creators and that isn't happening in a real way today. The people who make the great content don't participate it."
They hope to address that with Chime In, what Bill refers to as the first interest network. By focusing on your interests, you can get more relevant information in the way of streams that you follow every day.
You can just follow part of a person or the whole person. You can choose a chime thread, all of this addresses relevance. For example, you may want to follow Dennis Crowley's thread on LBS but not necessarily on fashion.
On the monetization page, you can customize your page with your favorite chimes, sponsors, polls and as a publisher, you can earn the revenue from that page: 100% if you find your own advertisers. Publishers can make money alongside the content they create. Ahhh, life as it should be.
They've already signed deals with E-entertainment, Bravo, Disney, Comcast and others are are going into beta now. See Harry McCracken's write-up on the new service on CNET.
Michael Dell on Apple, Enterprise & Innovation
Michael Dell was on the Web 2.0 Summit this stage this morning, sharing his thoughts about everything from offsite servers, product innovation, their continued strength in the healthcare and enterprise sectors, and Apple.
I'll talk about the more personal side of what he shared with an audience of more than 600 people in San Francisco's Palace Hotel ballroom.
When he was 14, he bought an Apple 2, and he set up a bulletin board system. Way back when, he saw the power of Internet sharing and embraced it.
How do you have a company with big ears, learning all the time & listening? "It's something we ask ourselves all the time," he says.
He looks at social media as a fabulous way to learn with greater speed with greater scale, which is not unlike what he did at 14, only that he has significant tools to accelerate that sharing today. While he's an active user of Twitter and a big believer in getting "social" with his customers and fans, they also help other companies implement their own social media command centers.
Dell talked about meeting Steve Jobs for the first time when he was 16 years old. Steve came to Houston Texas to address an Apple user group meeting and he was there with his trusty Apple 2. He adds with a pause as he reflects. "Steve will be missed."
Yes he will Michael. He most definitely will.