ARCHIVE: February, 2006

On Changing the World

Dave Rogers, on his attempts to not drive angry:

“In the end, I’m not sure you change the world by competing with other people. Mostly I think you change the world by competing with yourself, to try to be the better person you think you might be.”

Authority, Whose Authority?

So which do you think will be more valuable?

A) Technorati’s generic authority slider (Scoble’s coverage | Technorati)

B) Findory’s personal authority recommendations (Barnett’s coverage | Findory)

On Why A-plus.net Sucks and Privacy Policies

Last week, during the Attention podcast with Steve Gillmor, I made the claim that many companies were selling my information without my “explicit consent”. Steve strongly disagreed, saying that by using their service I am agreeing to their policies. In other words, the agreement I make when I use Gmail isn’t just about Gmail, it’s about everything that Google stuffs into their privacy policy, whether or not I’ve read it or understood it.

We were talking about this the other day in the office. Our founder Jared, whose father is a lawyer, said that Steve was technically right, given that “explicit consent” is a legal term and by using a service I am legally bound by their privacy policy. (Jared has a great writeup on privacy policies today on Brain Sparks. He asks: What are we agreeing to? )

Continue Reading: On Why A-plus.net Sucks and Privacy Policies

On Bridge

This is cool, Blog Bridge allows easy publishing of Reading Lists to Web:

“And while you don’t need BlogBridge to do this, we do make it brain-dead-simple. A single checkbox enables the publishing of your Guide (Reading List) to the web. No OPML, no scripting, no FTP, no nuttin.

So in the fun and excitement of Semantic Web and OPML name spaces, and dynamic, meta-dynamic, and hyper-dynamic reading lists, it’s easy to lose sight of the universal appeal of sharing ones enthusiasm.”

On Rereading Shirky

Update: Completely changed the post, so updated timestamp.

Reread Clay Shirky’s great Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality. Still as relevant today as when he wrote it:

“Inequality occurs in large and unconstrained social systems for the same reasons stop-and-go traffic occurs on busy roads, not because it is anyone’s goal, but because it is a reliable property that emerges from the normal functioning of the system.”

Lots of folks complain about the A-List bloggers and characterize them as gatekeepers. I don’t feel that the term “gatekeeper” fits. “Authority”, maybe.

But “gatekeeper”, no. What am I being kept from? Where is the gate? If the answer to the former is information and the answer to the latter is an A-lister’s web site, then I don’t buy it. I’ve got complete freedom and choice to listen to who I want to listen to. I’m the one choosing which URLs to type in. Sure, tech.memeorandum has a lot of overlapping people, but those people are talking about things I’m interested in. Tech. When it becomes less valuable to me, I’ll stop reading it. Do I like the fact that A-listers get put on it immediately while I have to work a bit harder….if I answered yes would you believe me? If the answer were yes then our system would be completely different to the extent that we wouldn’t be talking about this.

One difference between A-listers and Z-listers is that A-listers have been better writers over a longer period of time. They articulate their thoughts, build up an audience, and gain a reputation. Let them have it! And let them serve as strong examples of what you can do, if you choose to.

So this is the “that’s the way it is” reply. I can’t come up with another one, because I truly believe that this is a big insight into how humans, talent, and hard work fit together. And yes, complaining about it is a part of it. I complained for a while, and then decided that I wasn’t helping myself, read up on some network theory, and got on with my life. I’m still learning how to do it. I’ve even written some horrible crap lately that I wish I hadn’t, but I’m improving. Slowly.

I, for one, am glad to have passionate people who blog everyday and gain a reputation as an authority in their field. That’s actually what Alex Barnett and I are doing with podcasts. We’re out talking to these people, and having a great time learning from them. Want to know about this whole “attention” thing? Well, we talked to Steve Gillmor about it, certified A-list blogger. He’s the guy who you want to talk to when you start learning about attention. If you don’t like what he says, go write your own blog for 3 years about attention, start leading the discussion, and then Alex and I will come do a podcast. :)

I find that the harder I work, the better my future looks. Seems to be one of the few constants in this sea of change.

By the way, it could be a lot worse…

Imagine if rebels and visionaries hadn’t found the Web first.

Reading Lists Podcast

Adam Green and Danny Ayers joined Alex Barnett and I for a podcast on OPML Reading Lists.

Reading List Podcast with Adam Green and Danny Ayers (11MB .mp3 – Alex’s notes)

We talked about reading lists, dynamic reading lists, and feed grazing. In addition, both Danny and Adam talked at length about the Semantic Web, and how we seem to be building toward it with formats like RSS and OPML.

It’s a solid introduction to this interesting development in feed reading. Enjoy!

Continue Reading: Reading Lists Podcast

On Machinery

Stowe Boyd:

“People are the center of the universe — People are what makes the universe worth paying attention to, not the machinery that we rely on to communicate.”

On Bubble Software

Marc Hedlund in Web Development 2.0:

“Software isn’t written for Web 2.0 companies the way it was during the bubble, nor is it written the way traditional, shipped software was. New ideas about Web applications seem to necessitate new ways of making those applications.”

On Adjectives

simple, fast, intuitive, social, minimal, choice, useful, fun

Ninged and Flocked

Umair Haque:

“Getting Ninged and Flocked – things only geeks can figure out, versus things only geeks want – are the two big barriers to growth for 2.0 at the moment. They illustrate how out of touch 2.0 really is with consumer markets, which require deep understandings of consumer behaviour and how to make things if not cool, at least useful, usable, desirable, necessary, etc”

My emphasis added.

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