Real Life Community

January 3, 2009

I’m sitting here in the shuttle to JFK having finished an awesome trip to NYC and I’m thinking about community.

In our industry that word gets thrown around a lot, but I’m not talking about our product, I’m talking about our process.

This thing that has happened over the last few years has been special. A global ecosystem of people – no of friends – has been created. Friends defined not by their knowledge of each other necessarily, but in the knowledge of a shared idea. A shared belief perhaps. That by being more open and connected we can achieve new, better things.

Better ideas, better friends, better businesses, better governance… maybe even eventually a better society.

I have met these people everywhere I go. From Amsterdam to New York City. They are individuals and groups with unparalleled openness to new people and new ideas. They have opened their homes and minds to me and the others around them. It has been amazing to watch.

We all seem to recognize our common hopes in each other instantly. Hopes about the social web, about our work and maybe even in a new kind of global social consciousness.

People like @askfrasco who let me stay in her Greenwitch Village apartment for almost a month. @Brett who invited and introduced me to almost everyone in New York – especially @tedmurphy, @mikepratt & @hellyeah1. My old friends (old in both age and length of friendship) @globalcitizen and @bryanthatcher who lent me their offices and reminisced about past parties and work. One of the first people I met in the US tech scene, @gregarious, who showed me his old family home and introduced me to new friends like @rogerwu @themaria, @suzymae, @skyle and @technosailor. And by extension their introduction to @hermannm who had us over for a random dinner party.

All these people (and these are just some of the ones in NYC), have all shown me this new kind of person. This new community. I hope that this collective survives the faded Web 2.0 bandwagon and the defusing funding surge to turn into something more important, long lasting and profound.

A new kind of global collective that seeds our ideas in the general, mainstream public to change the people around us – one at a time. To help them to discover the kind of global village we know exists. Because after all, the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed… yet.

Happy new year my friends.

See you in NY and Vegas

September 12, 2008

I will be heading to NY this coming week (Starting Sep 15) to speak at Web 2.0 Expo and Vegas to hang out at BlogWorldExpo over the weekend (Starting Sep 19). Please drop me a line if you’d like to meet up to chat.

Are you coming?

Web 2.0 Expo New York 2008

I will be speaking on “Understanding the Basics of Personal Data: Vendors, Users, and You” – 09/18/2008 3:05pm – 3:55pm EDT Room: 1A06 &07.

Here’s a $100 discount code if you’re planning on going webny08mc23.

Hope to see you there!

In the mean time, I’m hanging out in the Bay Area.

Are you in Sydney or the Bay Area? If so – come join me,┬áRobert Scoble, Loic Le┬áMeur and our host Ross Dawson at the Future of Media Summit 08. A Cross-continental conference.

Otherwise track #fom08 on the various social networks.

American Politics

June 7, 2008

As many of you know – I have been visiting in the US now since the end of January (with a short stint in Europe in the middle). I am loving it. Particularly here in San Francisco and the Bay Area specifically. It’s an amazing place where amazing things are getting done every day.

But I have made an observation in my travels that I thought I would write about today.

American Politics is a fascinating spectacle. And I don’t just mean the politics of government, but the politics of business, community and culture as well. These patterns, trends and reactions are consistent in all sorts of other political interactions here.

The themes go something like this.

If you have been doing something for a long time and talk about very practical, operational things, then you must be good at whatever you do. You typically talk about being against something than for something else.

If you are new to the process and/or attract large crowds of new people, then you are interesting and inspirational but you surely can’t have any substance to your message. You typically talk about being for something rather than against something else.

These two positions are always seen as polar opposites. Many people seem to refuse the idea that someone who is new can also have substance. Or something that is experienced may actually need new blood and new ideas.

It’s a politics that fights not the ideas on their merits, but the way those ideas are derived, or who proposes them.

There’s also a tendency to focus on what ‘has worked’ rather than what ‘could work’ – or what has worked in other organizations or other structures outside the immediate scope of inquiry.

Universal Health care for example. Surely the government can’t look after our health right? They couldn’t even look after the victims of Katrina. Of course, if we look beyond the borders of the United States it’s clear that every other 1st world country does have Healthcare backed by the federal government and it works well to create a safety net for their people. It’s a simple observation that allows the conversation to move beyond ‘could it work’ to ‘how could we make it work for us’.

There’s often a lack of subtlety – a sense that we should throw the baby out with the bathwater rather than taking the good and building on it. Making what is work for us.

As I said, I love this country and my experience here has been amazing – I hope it continues in fact. But as always, I will continue to look for patterns and see if they can be improved. At least in my little corner of the world.

Some of this also comes down to an idea I posted on Twitter the other day – I think it explains some of my thinking in this area.

“We need to extend the time frame inside which we evaluate what is in our best interest”

Everyone acts in their best interest. It’s inevitable and irrefutable. But if you open the window from 1 month or 1 year to 5 or 10 years you realize that what’s actually in our personal best interest is actually in the best interest of many other people too.

But that’s a post for another day.

Web 2.0 Badge

The conference that stated it all is back in town next week. Regardless of what you think of the term, it’s the place to be to see all your favorite people in one place. Let me know if you are going to be there – will be great to catch up with some people!

Register here

Sounds like there might also be a DataPortability meetup happening at the same time too!

I am speaking at the NextWeb Conference today in Amsterdam.

Live stream here

Are you in the crowd – come say hi! Or leave comments below.

I will post the slide deck and any other materials on this post after the session.

Good news – I will be in Amsterdam speaking at the Next Web Conference on the 3rd and 4th of April – are you coming? I will also be in London for a few days after the 4th.

Here’s a bit of info about the conference from the website:

The Next Web Conference is THE European conference for industry thought-leaders, leading web-companies, innovative Startups, visionaries and real Web savvies. This third edition will be held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on April 3rd & 4th, 2008.

Have not locked in accommodation yet – but should be a fun ride. Will try to update the blog with some news and pics!

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