visionary landscape

Start a look back

1995 – 2001  .com era.  As a perfect information ‘economist’ to buy my first internet magazine in 1995 and see the world I had written about as a theory, be more like a reality (an early one at that).  The whole world will change in a bang, mindset, well in the small financial community until the bubble burst.

2002 Built first internet product, a tool bar to share web information with ‘family, friends, the web’.   Then c-commerce to get closer to cashflow but provided environment to obverse lifestylelinking working in the world and how it would be applied to all via the Internet. started.

2004-2010 web2.0 era
Society — Authoring content and connection   Minimising the barrier to author (self expression) and symmetrical and asymmetrical connection of individuals.  Search from .com era has more content to work with, gets better (thus more ad money moves online) and new social analytics try to find new ways to connect.

Tech — vast reductions in price of serving a webpage, infinite scale via cloud computing emerges.

Economy — attempts at making shopping social but SEO (search engine optimisation) for those selling ads or products still dominate.  VC gap fund increasingly powerful social businesses i.e. facebook but valuation based on low cashflow amounts.

Semantic badged services becoming more visable.  Started powerset acquisition 2008.  NLP (natural language processing), Wolframalpha and now ‘text and data analysis’ from finding people to give answers, to personalized home pages, taming the firehose from twitter and the ‘real time web’.

2011 – ahead  semantic web era?  Who knows, we can look back some day and edit for the generally accepted term.

The word, ‘generally’ I except will become increasingly rarely used word as personalization and participation rockets.

We have vast amounts of information, but still most of it not digitized and on the web. This will be solved.

Society:  Radical shift in participation, collaboration by the masses.  Increased authoring of information and data working better to deliver life i.e data captured at finer grains of granularity and new discovery of connections.

Tech: vast reductions in price of computing power (in addition to storage) and these laws become dominant across all industries, biotech to physical manufacturing.  Small and distributed architectures replace all large scale central efficiency networks, water/sewage, power, education, websites, and databases etc.  Increase in the blurring on difference between software engineer and an individual ‘user’.

Economy:  Almost complete separation from a cashflow-financial system of economic management to an attention based one.

The Power of Pull – book review

The Power of Pull is the latest book I have read.  I would not normally buy and read a business book but this book was recommend by a close friend, a fellow participant in the movement contributing to the Attention Economy.  The three Authors have a long history of authoring influential books focusing on the impact the Internet has on business.  Straight of the bat, this book does not read like a business book, it would be equally happy sitting on the self help guide shelf in a library.  This is not a criticism, it is very much to its credit.  The future is all about the individual, most chapters of the book are devoted to guiding individual to get a “return on their attention.”

Two chapters can be described as self help guides for business and organisations but 80% of the volume of that content is on the individual.  The authors conclude they don’t see the end of business, changed yes but still there.  I would liked to have seen them be bold enough to conclude this will be outcome.  All their evidence and models point clearly to this conclusion.

The BIG SHIFT sets the scene, a digital, internet based attention economy resulting in sustained innovation, not a one of structural shift, a permanent state of uncertainty.  This in itself is not a bad thing, but it is for the current way the economy does business.  What about the topics explored?  Well, many of those familiar to myself, I’ve written about them on my blog. Collaboration and the concept of a collaboration curve is central to geting a return on attention.  The book is very practical on how to achieve this.  Often this is missing but as best the authors can show pre this being ‘the future norm’ then the examples and observation support their three stage process for individuals to manage their attention.

The examples given come from people following their passions.  Those already equipped to live in an Attention Economy.  I would have liked to see the authors take some future white space and devote a few pages to world they see tomorrow but not being done today.  They allude to this by noted most human effort goes into none standard changes to products and services.  This is the soil, in my view, for creating a mass product personalization capability for everything.  In old school words, mass economies of scale but for non-homogeneous products and services.

The book articulates where we are now and were we are heading at a fast and increasing pace.  Personally the book has provided me with great material to show the seamless join from an economy based on a monetary currency to one based on Attention.  I’d recommend you read it, that is every individual.

Open Whuffie

I was asked this questions on Twitter: How do you ascribe a value to the original tweet without measuring its effects?

The question was put by @bureauista in reply to a tweet where I said, ‘yes, but for me the original tweet is the most valuable Whuffie score, how the info. impacts other life(ves) is still unclear’  in reply to @bureauista tweet, ‘a person’s RT score is a kind of whuffie’.

(I’m not sure how I would have said all that in less than 150 characters.)  I have been brewing a blog post entitled Open Whuffie for a while now and I think this blog post might start to answer the opening questions too, here goes:

Open Whuffie is the working title I have in my head for a project to create a opensource Whuffie currency.  Wikipedia gives us an opening definition of Whuffie, but I like to go back to original place where the word originated for me, the  novel by Cory Doctorow, Down and Out In the Magic Kingdom.  Here Whuffie is described as a number displayed on the forehead.  I just accepted it was a number but I have started to question if that has to be the case?  But for now Whuffie is going to be a numerical digit, much like we see in the stock markets of the world today.

The currency of stock markets (including futures exchanges) is money.  Money, cash, pounds, euros, dollars, yen, etc.  Numerous currencies, made numerous by the accident of country boarders or even new ‘virtual’ currencies segmented by information walled gardens or silos they operate in.  Whuffie is universal, the currency of all life.

In theory this implies that all life is connected to all other life at all times.  When new information is authored/created then it will affect all life, and that will range from a direct affect ( e.g. a RT in twitter) at one end of the rainbow to butterfly effects at the other (the chase for a  pot of gold is not required anymore).  The timing of any effect could be real time to a future time but refer back in time too.  What do we mean by life anyway?  I am sure we could go on listing variables that whuffie could include for a very long time.  And addressing these endless possibilities is the challenge to be grasped in measuring Whuffie, it will mean something different to everyone at the same time.

An attempt to be a bit less woolly in addressing the original Q.  The original tweet is more valuable than the RT’s in terms of Whuffie score.  Who knows?  More accurately I should have said, the original tweet has a whuffie score, the RT might be more valuable as its ‘new information’ value (yes, even thought it is sort of a copy), who knows?  The nub of the point I was attempting to make was that the original tweet does not require any RE-tweeting to have a Whuffie score to give it a measurement.  Why?  In theory, given we know all other information in the universe, we can ‘measure’ the affect this new information has had.  Sure, hyperlinks have made more visible the intangibles of yesterday (influence, social capital, call it what you may) but we can free ourselves of hyperlinks, just like monetary capitalism can from ‘banking transactions’ to propel us forward to an Attention Economy.

It’s a start, and hopefully I’ll get round to setting up an OpenWhuffie project wiki and devoting more attention to it.

An add-on: a for instance. . .

Everyday on the site I build, I have a primitive framework working (I refer to it as a stage before the creation of a whuffie currency), here is what it does:

Lets say, I (James) authored a blog post / twitter e.g.  I pulled a muscle swimming tonight at the pool.    And the quest for information I have is to recover as best I can.    Now my twitter/ blog commentators may provide info. but what I really want is to ‘correlate’ myself to all life that has the best information.  What happens is the ‘software/machine’ ‘understands’ the context of what I have authored (and in the context of all my previous authored info. on my life), it also understands the context of all other swimmers that have pulled a muscle swimming, the ‘machine’ then bring to my attention the best bits of information for me.  No hyperlinks are counted into a PageRank (by the way PageRank is  the current best way to link to information)  but the context does have numerical score attached to it.  I will be open sourcing the documentation on the scoring context dynamics, for the nitty gritty on that. Whuffie scoring will be the stage after ‘context’ scoring.

Attention : Whuffie

I was down in Edinburgh the other week where Mike Coulter was showing me a set of presentation slides he had presented to a SME (small business) audience.  On one slide on measuring social media he listed Attention as being currency of measurement.  Got me thinking, how long before the world Attention will be replaced by the word Whuffie?

Whuffie, the new bark

Capitalism is often described as a dog eat dog world.  Well, capitalism there is a new bark in town, Whuffie.  One of the earliest blogs I read is titled, HorsePigCow. It is the blog of Tara Hunt and this year she has published a book titled, The Whuffie Factor.  I’ve not read it yet but I will.  Why?  If I were to name one person in the world to explain why web2.0 and social networks are not just mere buzz words but a state of natural evolution in society’s ability to communicate and share, then Tara would be that person.  As for the word Whuffie, it comes from a book called, Down and out in the magic kingdom, by Cory Doctorow.  In this novel Whuffie is the currency used by humans to make decisions on how trustworthy other people are and how to give our attention.  Tara has a set of slides that explain Whuffie much better. .  . .