Media Influencer

helping people break out of pigeonholes since 2003

Quote to remember

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Organizations will work tirelessly to de-personalize every communication medium they encounter.
- Seth Godin in The first law of mass media

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When you want to make a private picture or note available only to your friends, why do you hand it over to a multi-national corporation first? What use is a mobile phone running Apache? Does IPv6 really exist? Can we be ecologically-sound and still run our terabyte home servers? Please?
- Danny O’Brien in Living on the Edge (of Network)

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There shouldn’t be writers and fans. We’re all writers on such platforms and should be all equal. The moment there are writers and ‘names,’ it’s a failure of the system.
- Ashok Banker on why he stopped using social media.

Note: The writer-fan distinction should not collapse into some false and, god forbid, forced equalisation. It should collapse into us being fans as well as having fans. That is the strength of the network.

On committies, agendas and rocks

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In anticipation of a VRM workshop and upon reading this in a mailing list this morning, I give you timelessly revelant Douglas Adams and his take on formal procedures and structures. May his words reach the minds of ‘management consultants’ and ‘marketing people’ of this world. Or better yet, may his words make us follow common sense rather than ‘modern business methods’.

“I bring you news,” he said, “of a discovery that might interest you.”
“Is it on the agenda?” snapped the man whom Ford had interrupted.
Ford smiled a broad country-rock singer smile.
“Now, come on,” he said.
“Well I’m sorry,” said the man huffily, “but speaking as a management
consultant of many years’ standing, I must insist on the importance of
observing the committee structure.”
Ford looked round the crowd.
“He’s mad you know,” he said, “this is a prehistoric planet.”
“Address the chair!” snapped the management consultant.
“There isn’t a chair,” explained Ford, “there’s only a rock.”
The management consultant decided that testiness was what the
situation now called for.
“Well, call it a chair,” he said testily.
“Why not call it a rock?” asked Ford.
“You obviously have no conception,” said the management consultant,
not abandoning testiness in favour of good old fashioned hauteur, “of
modern business methods.”
“And you have no conception of where you are,” said Ford.
A girl with a strident voice leapt to her feet and used it.
“Shut up, you two,” she said, “I want to table a motion.”
“You mean boulder a motion,” tittered a hairdresser.
“Order, order!” yapped the management consultant.
“Alright,” said Ford, “let’s see how you are doing.” He plonked
himself down on the ground to see how long he could keep his temper.
The Captain made a sort of conciliatory harrumphing noise.
“I would like to call to order,” he said pleasantly, “the five hundred
and seventy-third meeting of the colonization committee of
Fintlewoodlewix …”
Ten seconds, thought Ford as he leapt to his feet again.
“This is futile,” he exclaimed, “five hundred and seventy-three
committee meetings and you haven’t even discovered fire yet!”
“If you would care,” said the girl with the strident voice, “to
examine the agenda sheet …”
“Agenda rock,” trilled the hairdresser happily.
“Thank you, I’ve made that point,” muttered Ford.
“… you … will … see …” continued the girl firmly, “that we are
having a report from the hairdressers’ Fire Development Sub-Committee
today.”
“Oh … ah -” said the hairdresser with a sheepish look which is
recognized the whole Galaxy over as meaning “Er, will next Tuesday
do?”
“Alright,” said Ford, rounding on him, “what have you done? What are
you going to do? What are your thoughts on fire development?”
“Well I don’t know,” said the hairdresser, “All they gave me was a
couple of sticks …”
“So what have you done with them?”
Nervously, the hairdresser fished in his track suit top and handed
over the fruits of his labour to Ford.
Ford held them up for all to see.
“Curling tongs,” he said.
The crowd applauded.
“Never mind,” said Ford, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
The crowd hadn’t the faintest idea what he was talking about, but they
loved it nevertheless. They applauded.
“Well, you’re obviously being totally naive of course,” said the girl,
“When you’ve been in marketing as long as I have you’ll know that
before any new product can be developed it has to be properly
researched. We’ve got to find out what people want from fire, how they
relate to it, what sort of image it has for them.”
The crowd were tense. They were expecting something wonderful from Ford.
“Stick it up your nose,” he said.
“Which is precisely the sort of thing we need to know,” insisted the
girl, “Do people want fire that can be applied nasally?”
“Do you?” Ford asked the crowd.
“Yes!” shouted some.
“No!” shouted others happily.
They didn’t know, they just thought it was great.
“And the wheel,” said the Captain, “What about this wheel thingy? It
sounds a terribly interesting project.”
“Ah,” said the marketing girl, “Well, we’re having a little difficulty there.”
“Difficulty?” exclaimed Ford, “Difficulty? What do you mean,
difficulty? It’s the single simplest machine in the entire Universe!”
The marketing girl soured him with a look.
“Alright, Mr Wiseguy,” she said, “you’re so clever, you tell us what
colour it should be.”
The crowd went wild. One up to the home team, they thought. Ford
shrugged his shoulders and sat down again.
“Almighty Zarquon,” he said, “have none of you done anything?”

Quote to remember

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Always code as if the person who ends up maintaining your code is a violent psychopath who knows where you live.
- Code for the Maintainer

via Coding Horror

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…when I hear ‘viral’ applied to software I replace it with ‘cancerous’ to clarify…
- a developer at the Facebook developer Garage, relayed by Kevin Marks.

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SOA reminds me of the engraving over the entrance to the University of Wyoming’s engineering department in Laramie: CONTROL OVER NATURE IS WON, NOT GIVEN. That fits with the command-and-control mentality. Web 2.0 would never say “CONTROL OVER USERS IS WON, NOT GIVEN”.
- Nat Torkington in Web 2.0 Is From Mars, Enterprise Is Up Uranus

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When you take an idea or a concept and turn it into an abstraction, that opens the way to take human beings and turn them, also, into abstractions.
- Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel

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It’s not about the money, it’s about ALL the money.
- description of the entertainment business in Wired article Myka: One Set-Top Box to Rule Them All?

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Why does listening to your customers sound like a web 2.0 idea? It should be a business 1.0 necessity.
- Jeff Jarvis in Starbucks listens – at last

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The openness of the Internet is what made Google — and Yahoo! — possible. A good idea that users find useful spreads quickly. Businesses can be created around the idea. Users benefit from constant innovation. It’s what makes the Internet such an exciting place.

- Yahoo! and the future of the internet, The official Google blog. via Doc

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Becoming a blog-friendly company by chattering on blogs is like becoming a cat person by clawing your own couch and crapping in a litter box. You have to give the bloggers something to chat about.
Don Marti in comment on Today’s re-reading assignment

via Doc

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