The business is about the people!

Okay, caught a glimpse of a link (of the web ‘hyper’ kind) that got my mind linking (of the cerebral kind) all these things together.

I’m gonna try and get them down before the latter (cerebral) ones give out on me. Follow the links (web) and try to keep up with my thoughts.

I wrote in my previous post about how the problem getting people with disabilities involved in a conversation in the CRC was generally an empowerment issue to partake (consume) in the opportunity:
Empowering a conversation based on Focused Intention

That post pointed to Lloyd’s blog about the CRC. Lloyd previously blogged about strategic commercial advantages in developing technology after chatting with Mark Bagshaw:
Strategic thinking in Technology Development

Mark Bagshaw, Director Accessibility for IBM Australia & New Zealand, has been on about the commercial untapped market that exists in people with a disability for ages:
Smart Thinking And Money

So, the Tourism people are getting wise:
Tourism for the disabled regarded as a new niche tourism market

Okay. Tourism issues from the proprietors’ angle is largely about access to a built environment and transport. These businesses recognise that their premises are their business – using it is the thing they sell – access to and in and around their premises by people, even if they have a disability, is a value proposition.

Now we just need the ‘wiseness’ to spread. Last week I drove past 3 different places that weren’t accessible to go to a place that was to buy a particular electrical item. I was having lunch too at that time, so neighbouring businesses serving food also missed out on my moola. More and more, I just bypass places who don’t want my money because they don’t bother to see me as a consumer, and I spend it somewhere that does.

I think the key reason why the Tourist people are starting to get it and others aren’t is that for those others they don’t see their premises as part of their business. They see their business as selling food, or selling car parts, or selling gadgets…not selling building space (which is basically what accomodation owners do, albeit on ashort term basis). To them, the building is just a thing in which to put the stuff they want to sell.

All businesses need to start seeing that their business isn’t about selling ‘stuff‘ at all, it’s about people. Then the people will be their focus and doing things to remove barriers to getting the people to their ‘stuff’ will be seen as a value proposition.

Markets are conversations? If I can’t access the seller to talk about what their selling we can’t have the conversation and I can’t ‘consume’. Market-gone…..to someone who will have the conversation with me!

See, it’s not just a virtual market we’re talking about.

Empowering a conversation based on Focused Intention

Caught up with Dr Lloyd Walker today. He was in at where I work with some 5th year biomedical engineering students he gives lectures to about rehabilitation engineering so he dropped by my office.

We were talking about the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) bid and the desire to engage people with disabilities, and those whom to the CRC will be potential ‘end-users’, as an integral part of the CRC operations. Blogging and emerging citizen publishing and communication mechanisms is expected to play a big part. However the bigger question is what are the barriers for participation and being involved? What stops the conversation?

The goal is to get input from the end result – lets call it ‘5‘. However this requires enabling those you are wanting results from to be at a level of ability – this end result – this ‘5‘. But not all will be. Sometimes they’ll be starting at ‘3‘ or ‘2‘ or some even ‘1‘.

Empowering the people with technical and even moral support that goes beyond (or even behind) the actual end result that is trying to be achieved is a huge part of enabling the conversation in my thinking and experiences.

There are some things you can’t get straight at. Sometimes you cannot get ‘second‘ things simply by seeking them. Often you have to do ‘first‘ things first. Even further than that, some things are only ever a RESULT of doing ‘first‘ things first and ‘second‘ things evolve naturally as a result of those actions.

Now Lloyd and I totally agree we need this. But the question we were pondering is how do we show or put up a good case that investment in the arena of getting from ‘1 to 5‘ is worthwhile and neccessary?
How do we do this so we can agrue that the CRC bid includes funding for those activities?

It concerns me that CRCs are so ‘output‘ focused that those ‘inputs‘ required that are sort of ‘outside’ the scope of what would traditionally be seen as ‘core’ business, will be overlooked. Or it might be argued that it’s ‘easier’ or more ‘efficient’ to bypass such empowerment and building.

This would be such a waste, both in terms of the potential of the relevence of the ‘outputs‘ from the CRC but also in the lost opportunity to build the ‘inputs – the real people’s skills and abilities and talents and self, to be raised to new levels for the long term.

What we need is someone like Seth Godin onboard to challenge the ‘traditional’ thinking.

While it might be seen as a different context, I see similarities to what Doc Searls’ termed the ‘Intention Economy‘. Doc says …

The Intention Economy grows around buyers, not sellers.

We have an intention for a CRC to build technology for independent living to improve people’s lives. In effect we have people saying ‘build us widgets so we can have a better life with this disability’. The ‘buyers’ here are the people and organisations who will use the technology.
The ‘sellers’ will eventually be the companies formed out of the CRC endeavours, but at this bid stage the selller could be considered as the CRC.

Doc also outlines that …

The Intention Economy is built around truly open markets, not a collection of silos.

The whole CRC concept is about developing and growing a ‘market’ around disability based on research outcomes. The crafted mechanism to deliver that needs to be driven by those it is intended for -and to do so it must include them! To come at it from the other direction, the traditional way, is to build a silo. And we all know what silos are used for – to store stuff – not distribute it!

For the CRC to build and grow the market it aims to, it must engage all the ‘buyer’ groups and individuals in its’ ‘economy’, and it must do it in an environment and ‘spirit’ of openness – in an ‘open’ (not merely transparent) way.

The CRC should be all about the people in a holistic sense, not just about ‘outputted’ technology.

People-centric not technology-centric.

[tags]crc, lloyd+walker, intention+economy, disability, disabled, independent+living[/tags]

Truth and Traffic

Seems the net went balistic on a topic with the same title as my last post on Lifekludger only revolving around someone trying to get traffic by offering a bottle with bubble gum stuck to the top on ebay (I purposely am not linking to it). In addition it seems that Popular Science may have had a hand in its popularity too. Here’s what Jake says in a comment elsewhere (Visual Grammer blog, again I’m purposely not linking)

1. Jake Ludington Says:
March 22nd, 2006 at 2:49 am

You can thank Popular Science for pushing the Bottle Cap Tripod above the noise on Technorati. They featured my DIY tripod http://jakeludington.comdiytripod in their April 2006 issue without actually linking to the article. I’m more surprised the search term continues to beat the Microsoft Mix06 conference, which has many bloggers attending.

and on another:

I can’t decide if you are attempting to provide serious commentary here, making a point by including every top Technorati search term in one post, or simply trying to game the system to boost your rankings (which indirectly validates that point you might be trying to make). At any rate, you drew my attention by linking to the Bottle Cap Tripod article, which is number 1 on Technorati because it recently appeared in Popular Science, not because someone wrote a bizarre article about creating an eBay auction for the tripod.
Published By Jake Ludington (http://www.jakeludington.com) – 21 March 03:37

The post of mine at Lifekludger on the subject (which follows up on one I did back in Feb.) and the conversation between Jake and myself, which can be seen in the comments there, are valid and honest. The idea and the purpose espoused by Jake and I are still valid.

Mike seemed concerned I’d been the target of some comment spam or we might be seen as a ‘link whores’. In fact, aside from Jakes comments on my Feb. post, the only commen t on the recent one was a trackback from http://www.neatorama.com, which looks like a good reputable (and interesting) site to my thinking.

Overall I think it’s nothing to worry about. If people take the time to look more than ‘one-link-deep’ a true picture emerges. That’s one good side of the net keeping things over time – assests like accountability and integrity are there to be seen.

Turns out the ‘virtual world’ isn’t so different after all!

Pledgebank – empower yourself

I came across this site, Pledgebank, via Beth’s blog.

What a brilliant idea. A tool to harness the collective will of a group of people!

From the Pledgebank site:

“We all know what it is like to feel powerless, that our own actions can’t really change the things that we want to change. PledgeBank is about beating that feeling…”

What is PledgeBank for?
PledgeBank is a site to help people get things done, especially things that require several people. We think that the world needs such a service: lots of good things don’t happen because there aren’t enough organised people to do them.

Can you give me some examples?
Sure. ‘I will start recycling if 100 people in my town will do the same’; ‘I will organise my child’s school play if 3 other parents will help’; ‘I will build a useful website if 1000 people promise to contribute to it’.

How does it work?
PledgeBank allows users to set up pledges and then encourages other people to sign up to them. A pledge is a statement of the form ‘I will do something, if a certain number of people will help me do it’. The creator of the pledge then publicises their pledge and encourages people to sign up. One of two possible outcomes is possible – either the pledge fails to get enough subscribers before it expires. In that case, we contact everyone and tell them ‘better luck next time’. But the better possibility is that a pledge attracts enough people that they are all sent a message saying ‘Well done – now get going!’

What a fantastic idea and a potentially wonderful tool.

Got an Ozzie blog?

From the site:

AustralianBlogs.com.au
is a free community resource to bookmark your favourite Australian blogs. Similar to del.icio.us (but less invasive – we don’t need you to register or login), you can add your bookmarks or just browse to see what’s popular.

WHY?
It is a place where Australian bloggers can showcase their work, and the blog-reading public can find interesting, relevant and popular Australian blogs.

PREREQUISITES:

:: It MUST BE about an Australian subject or topic; OR by an Australian; OR have a .au domain name.
:: It MUST BE a blog.
:: *** NO ADULT CONTENT OR SPAM PLEASE! *** (a zero-tolerance approach will be taken)
:: If it passes the above tests, then it’s in!

So if you fit the bill, wander over!

Serendipitous sxore

Just got off an IM session with Weston who’s a developer working for Sxip/Sxore.

Weston left a couple comments on my Lifekludger blog and I’m always interested in who’s leaving reading/leaving comments so I tracked him up on his blog netSIGN.

I’d been playing with installing the Sxore plugin for WordPress on my blogs. I’d gotten it working on one but not the other. Turns out I just didn’t really understand the concept. I thought I should be able to have my two blogs on the one sxore acct. Turns out I can, but that side just hasn’t been implimented for users to do yet. So after a few comments and emails, weston, who is in Canada, and I happened to be on at the same time so we hooked up via IM.

He added my second blog (this one) in manually by allocating me a new ID for this blog. I then wondered if the plugin would work under WPMU, so I installed the plugin on the support blog of enableblogs. After weston allocating another ID it worked fine.

So now I have a central place on Sxore where I can manage and follow all comments on the three blogs I need to.

Westons gonna have a look at WPMU a bit closer. I think the idea of single sign on for comments of all blogs under a WPMU install would be great.

Blob7 – Network of 6; The new concierges?

Blob7 Podcast snippet – Are ‘Network of 6′ the ’emerging concierges’ Linda Stone talks about? (2:23, 2245kb)
Description
This is a very short snippet (about 2.5mins) from the February 17, 2006 edition of the Distributing the Future podcast. [Rael Dornfest and Tim O’Reilly continue their preview of next month’s Emerging Technology conference…] The bit that caught my attention is the mention of the ‘wisdom of tens’. Are these the ‘trusated concierges’ Linda Stone talks about?

Background
Mike put out his podcast about the ‘Network of 6’ over on LearnDogRemixed podcast (LDR) about when I was listening to the February 17, 2006 edition of Distributing the Future podcast . Mike highlights [tag]Mena Trott[/tag]’s magic number 6 (or 12) and Rael talks about 10 (or 20).

Whatever the number, it’s small. But the thing that hit me listening to this was how this smallish number applies to the idea of ‘trusted concierges‘ that [tag]Linda Stone[/tag] spoke about.

I think it seems this small trusted network will be set to play more than a ‘passive’ role as people to hang-out with but with right tools will be ‘active’ as ‘concierges’, enabling you to ‘home-in’ on your signal of choice.

So while [tag]Squidoo[/tag] has the ‘lens’ idea, and I see that’s a ‘referal’ model, it also seems very public and large-scale. There’s perhaps room for a similar, yet more private and smaller model – private in terms of ‘personal’ not just hidden.

The whole thing makes a sort of blurry-sense to me. The future will tell.


Quote from Linda Stone:

The next aphrodisiac is committed full-attention focus. In this new area, experiencing this engaged attention is to feel alive. Trusted filters, trusted protectors, trusted concierge, human or technical, removing distractions and managing boundaries, filtering signal from noise, enabling meaningful connections, that make us feel secure, are the opportunity for the next generation.

[tags]learndog, ldr, longtailjewel[/tags]

LongTailJewel on Gday World

Mike ([tag]Learndog[/tag]) was a guest on G’day World #92 yesterday. He successfully hi-jacked the show to get in discussion of things we’ve been thinking about in the longtailjewel conversation – ensuring every voice has at least one listener, every writer at least one reader.

For those in Continuous Partial Attention mode, I’ve snipped the relevant bits from the show into a podcast that goes for a little over 5mins. Happy listening.

LongTailJewel on Gday World

[tags]mena+trott, netsquared, longtailjewel, net2[/tags]