Here’s to Your Strange Heart

Many, many years ago – back in my early days of social media, I connected with a very strange person. His name is Mike Wagner. He was a boldly creative and generous spirit that leaped at me out of the vast sea of social media chaos. I loved his energy and his thinking.

But the thing is … he stood out. We connected. We conversed. And after many years of connecting over social media, we met – face-to-face – in Des Moines, Iowa – and I felt like we had been friends for years. I thought it was about some deeper truth related to social media. But I was wrong.

And now I know how he did it. He used his STRANGE on me.

In this great TEDxDesMoines talk, he talks about the positive power of strangeness – and how we can tap into our strangeness to connect with the people who can help us solve the problems of our world.

So how do you feel today? I’m full of Johnny Cash today, but tomorrow I expect a touch of Ray LaMontagne. Rock on with your strangeness today.

Finding Your Passata

How do you change the world? It’s not about doing things … well not entirely. It’s about metaphors. It’s about storytelling. It’s about changing behaviours one person at a time. Just ask Sally Hill. It’s also about passata.

When 0.5% Is Not a Statistical Glitch

When you are dealing with statistics one expects a margin of error. You could be estimating a project and suggest +/- 10 percent. You could be waving your finger in the air and provide a rough order of magnitude “guesstimate” of +/- 200 percent.

So the thought of taking as little of 0.5% out of an equation should not be a problem, right?

But what happens if that 0.5% happen to control 38.5% of the world’s total wealth?

05-of-the-worlds-population-owns-385-of-its-wealth-this-is-insane (1)

The Business Insider shares 13 Staggering Facts About the Global Super Rich – and it leads out with this image of the global wealth pyramid based on data from Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Databook 2011.

Given these figures, there’s little surprise that civil protests like #OccupyWallStreet in New York are gaining momentum (including the local #occupysydney efforts). It makes for interesting times.

Walkers, Talkers, Stalkers and Baulkers

 

Walkers, Talkers, Stalkers and BaulkersIn almost any field of endeavour, you are going to come across four different types of people. Your project may be some form of project implementation for your company. It could be that you have a creative idea for an advertising client. Or you may just want to go back to university to complete a degree. But no matter your focus, you will have to deal with walkers, talkers, stalkers and baulkers. In some cases these people will be your boss, or a member of your staff. They may be parents or friends.

But whether you like it or not, you need to figure out a way of dealing with each type. Let’s take a look at their characteristics.

Type Description How to help them
Walkers You want the Walkers on your project. They deliver. They understand the terminology and the goals and they know how to achieve outcomes. Because the Walkers are so busy resolving issues, achieving outcomes and so on, they may not communicate “up” as much as is necessary. Add regular communications into their mix of KPIs.
Talkers The talkers are evangelistic. They are great at the start of a project, picking up the terminology and the ideas and transmitting them to others. The Talkers are often purists which means that they are sometimes unwilling to compromise. Help them see the win-win outcome – but also push them to move from “talk” to “walk”.
Stalkers The vast majority of the population are Stalkers. They will watch from a distance but don’t personally commit. They won’t get in the way but they won’t participate either. The Stalkers will often do a great job – but will only do as they are instructed. Inertia is the domain of the Stalker. You can use the Talkers to engage and activate these folks. You can point towards the Walkers as aspirational role models, but the challenge is in building momentum.
Baulkers The Baulkers are the intransigent group. They may be active detractors or simply explain all the reasons why your project will not succeed. They can sometimes feign support but will often move back to an inert or negative position very quickly. The Baulkers have the power of negativity on their side. As we generally don’t like change, the Baulker appeals to our risk averse natures. They discredit the ideas underpinning your project and those who support them. Leave them in a room with a Talker.

 

Any long term project success requires the activation of all four of these types. The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to change these people. They won’t change for you.

But they may change their opinion of your project.

Take the time to understand the motivations of each of these types and play to their strengths and weaknesses. It is about playing the person, not the project.

Working with the people will deliver your project – but focusing only on the project will more deeply entrench the positions of the Walkers, Talkers, Stalkers and Baulkers. Your challenge is to create movement between the categories – and the best way to do that is activate their talents.

Give it a try, you might just find you succeed wildly.

Australian Asylum Seekers Infographic

Each year the Australian population swells. There are babies born and plenty of smart people moving to our country. And there are people who arrive here seeking asylum. But what are the percentages – and should we really be worried by the numbers of people desperate enough to risk their lives arriving by boat on our northern coast? This infographic from the folks at Crikey tells the story (HT to Tiphereth Gloria).

AustBoatPeople They look like one percenters. Statistically, that makes them bloggers, tech evangelists or early adopters.

Seriously, it’s about time we stopped whining about the “dangers” of these arrivals and started living up to our international humanitarian obligations.

A Collection of Australian Wikileaks Commentary

I thought I’d take a quick scan for Australian blogs and non-mainstream media sites covering Wikileaks and its fallout.

While there is a lot of chatter on Twitter, there is less coverage on blogs than I had expected. There are, however, a few more interesting angles covered by the following:

Wikileaks Payback Targets

With Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, refused bail, it is now down to the network of Wikileaks editors, technologists, journalists etc to carry on with their publishing plans.

Meanwhile, a payback campaign has been launched by loosely connected activists, hackers, bloggers and various Wikileaks supporters targeting efforts aimed at financially crippling the Wikileaks group. This group, known as Anonymous Operations are using the web to orchestrate and plan their efforts – and are, at present at least, keeping one step ahead of efforts to shut down their servers. Google’s caching servers unsuspectingly seem to be supporting this.

But who is on the list and why? A quick scan of the cached Anonymous Operations target page reveals the following:

BBC for it's manipulative, distorted and selective reporting on Wikileaks related events.

Any US Anti WL site,

  • FoxNews
  • EveryDNS
  • cnn.com
  • washingtontimes.com
  • Eventually Mastercard/ Visa, not viable with current hive.

If we go after a US site, more US anon will join, its only (as of this writing) 10:20 EST, vs. like 4 am in euro.

  • http://www.dyn-intl.com Exposed by WikiLeaks cables; DynCorp, headquartered in DC with Texas offices, helped pimp out little boys as sex slaves to cops in Afghanistan. Currently not enough attention has been brought to the gross misconduct of a US private contractor.

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

Way back in 1996 – before Wikileaks was a glint in the anarchic eye of Julian Assange, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s John Perry Barlow published A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. It speaks of a social contract. A different world. Utopian? It certainly is. But there is also a clear vision of a more open, transparent world where the exercise of power is exposed to the citizens of the world. After all, it is in the name of those citizens that power is aggregated and wielded by both governments and private sector institutions.

Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.

Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.

You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.

You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don't exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract . This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different.

Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.

We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.

We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.

Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here.

Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge . Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.

In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.

You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat.

In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.

Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.

These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts.

We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.

Davos, Switzerland

February 8, 1996

So how does this declaration read to you in light of the global actions being taken on both sides of the Wikileaks divide? Hackers operating loosely under the collective Anon_Operation are variously targeting institutions who are supporting efforts to close down Wikileaks. Interestingly, where hackers would usually organise quietly, Anon_Operation are clearly sharing, collaborating and orchestrating their efforts in full public view. Perhaps for me, this is the most interesting aspect of the community response – it’s participatory. It’s empowering. And it makes for riveting viewing. Who needs TV?

UPDATE: Twitter has suspended the @Anon_Operation account. (9/12 – 10:30am)

anon-operations

The BP Oil Disaster Mashup

When we hear about the BP Oil Disaster – it is difficult to get a sense of the scale of the impact. But what if we could superimpose the spill dimensions on a map of your local area? What if it was possible to take the data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and mash it up with a Google map?

Andy’s website does just that. You can choose your location and show just how far the slick would extend up and down your own coastline.

The BP Oilspill Over Sydney

In this image we can see that the spill would reach from Newcastle in the north to almost Shell Harbour in the south. It would reach as far as Cessnock in the Hunter Valley, extend over the Blue Mountains to Lithgow and reach far out to sea. If you wanted to drive from north to south in a car, it would take you about four hours at highway speeds.

If this happened on your doorstep, do you think you would consider it a spill – or a disaster? Would you take it personally? I would.

Via Kristen Obaid

Censorship is a Bad Idea – It’s Time to Tell Your Mum

I have written many times about internet censorship, but in case you have not heard – censorship is a bad idea.

The Australian Federal Government is about to introduce mandatory internet filtering. If implemented it will make Australia the most heavily censored country in the western world. They’ve told us it’s to protect the kids but the truth is it doesn’t. By telling your mum the facts you will help her realise that if she really wants to protect kids online mandatory filtering isn’t the answer.

To learn more – and to find out how best to explain to your mum just why internet censorship is such a problem (and no it won’t stop child pornography), take a look at the It’s Time to Tell Mum website. It’s in all our interests.