Greenpeace 2.0?

I enthuse to Martin Lloyd in the office about my experience at the South By Southwest conference, and he responds with “so what will you do differently as a result.” 

This is a man schooled in the “verb the noun with the object” school of Getting Things Done management.

Well, where to start? My response was a lame mumble about doing more of some of the things we’ve done in the past — we turned the naming of a ship over to our supporters, we launched a massive friend-get-a-friend appeal with the prize of a voyage on a Greenpeace ship, we got our users to design flash animations and illustrations in an outpouring of creativity, we’ve used the various conventional pressure mechanisms to turn Coke around on climate-killing refrigerants, a reverse boycott to hold Icelandic whaling in check and market pressure to save the Great Bear Rainforest. We had the Cybercenter (Note to self — banish that term, it’s soooooooooo last century) to do that with. At the moment, we’re stuck without a highly functional community tool, so even some of that “been there, done that” stuff is hard to implement, much less new and funky extensions. And many of our campaigns are still focussed on the decision making authorities of governments and intergovernmental organisations, which just isn’t always a match to the places where People are more directly Powerful: consumer markets, brand attacks, many-to-one pressure tactics.

But there are some things I think we can do and would like to do. 

–Turn a part or all of our homepage over to some of our A-list Online Activists and Ocean Defenders to bring a lively refresh rate and new perspectives to (and engage them in the task of site promotion at the same time)

–Get a contest going for a spot on the Antarctic voyage next year — recruit the most Ocean Defenders, and you’re on — in order to drive recruitment up and bring a fun challenge with a really cool prize to our activists

–Auction of that banner Mikey held up on the whale. That was a part of history, and I betcha we could do really, really well with this one if we promote it right.

–Get our activists into our planning process. What an injection of light it would be to go out of shop and kick open the question of how we apply all the passion and will and imagination of our supporter base to winning the most important environmental challenges out there.

–Start pulling Featured Blog RSS feeds and some of the great stuff out there on Treehugger, Grist, WorldChanging into a single resource spot — Greenpeace as aggregator. We can do so much more with RSS than we’re doing now. We built massive RSS capability into the Greenpeace Planet platform, we ought to use it.

–Running with an idea Elaine Hill has been touting of an interactive comic featuring Ocean Defender heroes, in which the storyboard gets determined by the audience.

–The Green Wiki. Somebody at the old Cybercentre suggested this a long time ago, and it’s still a good idea. Take Treehugger, mash it together with Grist and GreenLiving Tips and create an interactive Wiki of ways we can all decrease our envrionmental footprint. Tips ranging the one Ann Novek came up with of keeping a bucket in the shower to catch water for her plants to Make magazine’s step by step plans for making your own wind turbine. 

Well, it’s 7:45 and it’s time to get ready for the day, bundle Doony onto the bike and drop him at school. More on this later: I’m going to open this thread up to folks over at the Ocean Defenders community and see what they have to say.

The Bad News from Tom and Jerry

Elizabeth Kolbert is becoming the New Yorker writer I most dread reading. In the most recent issue she describes the findings of a pair of satellites, nicknamed Tom and Jerry, which have been chasing each other around the planet for the last couple years measuring the mass of the Antarctic ice sheet.

Every estimate we’ve had of potential global-warming-induced sea-level rise over the past decade has been based on the presumption that while the Antarctic is losing ice at the edges, it’s being compensated by increased snow over the continent.

Tom and Jerry say it ain’t so. The Antarctic is losing ice overall. Add that to the news of the unexpectedly fast pace of melt in Greenland, and I start to wonder if those of us living in the Netherlands need to start thinking about a move to hgher ground sooner rather than later.

The conservative media machine is already in full spin. Since denying Global Warming is now beginning to wear thin as a strategy, they’ve adopted a new tack: So there’s gonna be poverty, and floods, and extreme weather — we should deal with those issues directly rather than the CO2 problem. Kolbert deliciously describes this as the equivalent of treating diabetes with doughnuts. 

I wish the New Yorker would keep The Talk of the Town online. They don’t, but this was from the March 20th issue. Elizabeth Kobert’s book, “Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change,” just came out.

The Iraq “I told you so” T-shirt: XX Large

I posted the following over at the DailyKos this morning.

It was three years ago in February that 30 million people turned out in the streets in the largest rally in the history of humanity to say invading Iraq was a really bad idea. It was three years ago today that that the Cheney Boys thumbed their noses at world opinion, and did it anyway. As a consolation prize, I suppose somebody ought to find a market for 30 million “I Told You So” T-shirts out there, which would need to be an XX-Large to fit the following facts:

People will Die”: The Lancet puts it at 100,000 Iraqis by October 2004. 2,500 coalition soldiers, 2,300 of them from the US.

The Reconstruction will be a bitch”: Basic social services have not been re-established, human rights violations have increased.

You’ll leave behind a civil war”: The political process designed by the occupiers, in which Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish communities compete for power has inflamed sectarian violence and has put the country into, gee, civil war.

Invasion will feed resistance”: In November 2003 the number of Resistance members was estimated at 5,000 today those estimates have increased to 20,000.

You can’t defend human rights by violating human rights”: The United States has used illegal weapons, such as white phosphorus to bomb Falullah in November 2004, and tactics, such as massive and indiscriminate detentions and torture (not only in places such as Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, but also in secret detention centres in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries).

Rummy’s Low Cost War is a crock”: Over $300,000 million has been spent in military operations (some $5,900 million a month during 2005) and it is calculated that the total cost will be over a billion dollars. This amounts to the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of countries like Canada or Spain. 


OK, so we were right. Big whip.

The most important question now is how those who opposed this war learn from the lessons to ensure Iran doesn’t become the next Iraq. Because the Cheney Boys have definitely learned a lesson, and they won’t be going the next one alone.

At the IAEA board of governors, the US has been doing the same old same old bulldogging, but their aim is building a Security Council consensus. As much as the hawks hate the concept of global coalition building, they know they have to put the elbow grease in on this one. And unfortunately, they’ve got a winning game plan: Everybody who has nuclear weapons gets to keep them. Anybody who doesn’t have them yet gets a unified front of opposition.

That’s the real signal of Bush’s little trip to India. It said “forget about the NPT, you’re in the club.” There was also the tacit signal in the new National Security Strategy, a 49-page document that strongly warns Iran that the US will “act” to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability, but in the case of North Korea, which is believed to already be over the nuclear weapons threshold, it merely mumbles about the need to change policy. 

Unfortunately, that message translates as one thing to anyone interested in developing a nuclear weapons capability: get busy, do it fast, do it secretly — if you get past the door, you’re in the circle. You’re home free.

And for the rest — when it comes to enforcing who will and will not have nuclear weapons, beware the international body whose power equation is defined by who did and didn’t have nuclear weapons at the time it was founded.

Remembering Three years ago

It was three years ago on February 15th that 30 million people took to the streets to say that a pre-emptive invasion of an aggressor suspected of having weapons of mass destruction was a really bad idea. And it was three years ago today that the powers that be thumbed their noses at world opinion, and invaded Iraq.

I remember thinking what a great leap forward that rally felt like — I remember the incredible outpouring of webactivism, of people united by a single passionately felt objective. 

Well, we may need all that energy again if things continue the way they are going in Iran. The “We told you so” T-shirts we’re wearing today just might might serve second-hand if we don’t head this one off at the pass. Because Rummy and Bush and the Cheney Boys all appeared to have learned a lesson about protest avoidance from the last round. They’re not going this one alone — they’re working to build a UN mandate to go after Iran, and instead of basing it on the principel that The US knows whats good for the world, it’ll be The US knows whats good for the world disguised as the Security Council knows whats good for the world. I.e. The guys with the grip on the nuclear weapons that ain’t about to let go.

The military machine has been once-burned. And while it may only have been a tiny scorch, the fact is they have to reckon with the second superpower of public opinion.

The picture at left is my son Doon out showing the flag three years ago. Last night as I put my 18 month old son, Dylan, to bed, my goodnight wish to him was that he’d live in a wiser world.

Iraq antiwar protest and the web

If you were lucky enough to be at the Cluetrain Manifesto discussion at SXSW, you got a fabulous treat of hearing Doc Searls, Heather Armstrong, Henry Copeland, and Brian Clark discussing where we are today against the benchmark of the 95 Thesis that was the CM

Über-cool Brian Clark of IndieWire got asked what might be coming down the pike in 7 years time. He thought we might see things that behviourists say shouldn’t happen, like massively multiplayer games in which 5000 people are acting as a group without leaders in these massively coöperative situations. 

I think we’ve already seen it. But it wasn’t in a game and it was merely enabled in virtual space, transitioning to physical space. It was that historic moment a couple years back when 30 million people agreed a date to show up on the streets all over the world to ask George Bush not to invade Iraq. (With the quirky excpeption of California, which had theirs a week later) I’ve been an activist for decades and what blew me away about that was a silly little logistical thing: the fact that the internet enabled a glocal group decision about what day to do it. It was a completely decentralised decision — no leaders, no major groups took on a central coördinating role, suggestions got thrown out here and there but there was no single steering committee, no top dogs. The entire process was organic in that way that looks like magic, because you’re seeing something inexplicable. 

Anyone who has every tried to get 300 or 3000 or 30,000 people together to show up on the same day with the same message, much less 30 million, know how much work those simple decisions usually are — you have to negotiate between individuals and groups, there’s always stupid niggling about conflicting events and the gradient of messaging and who’s in and who’s out and who won’t be in if somebody else isn’t out. But this unifying passion of opposition just blew that away and within the space of a couple weeks, one or two city listings were up at, then that became a snowball that started downhill until the concensus was so clear and so big it just kept picking up more cities, more snow, until it became unstoppable. I´d still like to know what happened in California, though: somebody had a wedding and couldn’t cancel?

Wisdom snags and snicker captures

Here, for your browsing pleasure, my raw notes from the bits of the SXSW interactive conference that I attended. These were only intended as notes to myself, but there’s some links here and the occassional random grabs that may make a scan useful for anyone wanting a flavour of this ultimate Geekfest. 

I had such a good time. I got to play robot pool with a hacked roomba. I got to sit at the feet of Kathy Sierra. I met Bruce Sterling. I got to hook up with the guys from Rainforest Action Network who used to work for Dean. I met the man behind Treehugger. I ate Sushi.

I took notes…

Podcast 2.0

Chris Pirillo Pres, Lockergnome
Eric Rice Founder,
Rob Greenlee Sr Mktg Mgr, Melodeo Mobilcast
Laura Swisher Commedian

Atlantic Monthly: “Podcasts are being created by people who know how to do it, not people with a message anyone particularly wants to hear.”

Conversations and interviews as easiest content to create (Greenlee)

Podcasting with a message vs doing it for doing it: entertainment podcasting.

Lorem Ipsum — 15 episode filmmaker podcast: check this out.

Andrew from Rocketboom: 300,000 viewers a day.

yahoo podcast directory
Podsinger podscope

Olympus recorders
Envision in
As recording devices


Jesse James Garrett What he did
David Schiemann DOJO How it works/Libraries
Dori Smith Devil’s advocate and watchits

JJG: Changes the interaction model: not call & response in the way html fetched from a server, form submission response etc. Decouples the synchronisation: Asynchronous Java and XML — Google released Google Maps at same time, demonstrating the term he’d created. 

People think Ajax is a magic bullet and improves an app immediately. But it’s a magic bullet you can shoot yourself in the foot with. Mistakes along the way.

DSch: XMLHttpRequest: misnomer, but basically a no-refresh content fetch.

Issues: Back button behaviour, cross domain security risk, JSON Rpc: call back function, implicity two way agreement on content provision; race conditions: load of one snippet before a required snippet. Draw capability.

Toolkits: Dojo, MochiKit (open source)
“Learn Javascript and HTTP

DHTML Univere

DS: Contrarian, but agrees AJax is where we’re going
BUT: Accessibility and Usability
–Degradeability: do those who don’t have js enabled browsers get anything?
–Security conscious who turn off JS
–Older Browsers
–Differently Abled
You can’t bolt on degradeability
User expectations: Back Button doesn’t work — i.e. she in Google Maps wants to go back to last map, uses back button DOH!
Bookmarks: gotta be able to save url or send to other people.
–Cross platform i.e. Mac

Toolkit longevity is now more robust thanks to subVersion popularity and open sourcing of code.
Kathy Sierra

TAKE NOTE: This was by far and away THE greatest thing I saw at SXSW this year. Kathy is writing a book on this theme and I am really, really looking forward to getting my brain jolted by it. 

Passsion makes us put more meaning into the activity than it has. It’s a form of rrationality.
Golf: It’s just a game in which you hit a ball with a stick. But to a golfer, it’s much much much more. 

How many people in this room who already had one iPod were lining up to buy a smaller, less capable Ipod when the Nano came out? What irrationality explains multiple purchases? 

So we set out to reverse engineer passion. When somebody is passionate about something, they learn more about it. They seek out things about it and people who know about it. Where there is passion — there is a user kicking ass. Key to creating passion if figuring out How long does it take a user to stop sucking at something?

How do we get people further up the expertise curve before they crash?

Learning increases resolution: you hear stuff in jazz if you know about it that others don’t. It’s a richer experience.

Helping a user kick ass doesn’t need to be about the utility of the product. Misattribution of arousal means the user will gravitate to any of the environmental conditions that surround a pleasureable experience. Teach someone to make kick-ass digital videos at a website about trashbags, and they’ll associate the fun with the trashbag.

Coldplay and Fair Trade. Teenage daughter sees coldplay and suddenly becomes an advocate of Fair Trade lecturing her mom about her inappropriate coffee choices.

Guy from Coldplay starts wearing an inscrutable bar sign on his hand. People want to know what it means. He creates a conversation, get’s people asking and telling. And the passionate user is cool because they know that it means FairTrade — they are DYING to share that knowledge.

Red Bull sponsoring music — not lecturing about ingredients in Red Bull.

Getting past the crap filter. The brain filters non-threats, non-interesting, non-survival based stimuli.

but it also pays attention to uniqueness. And somehow “I’m having fun I must be doing something good for my survival.”

MindTax (sp?) recreational neuroscience. There’s a fulltime dedicated separate area of the brain that does nothing but process faces.

Unresolved imagery, a story where you can’t quite figure out what’s going on. Engage the user in figuring out what the story is. Don’t unravel the whole thing for them. Can you leave some things unresolved?

The Brain cares about:
innocent (young cute)

Conversational beats formal lecture. If you write conversationally, if you use the second person in your text rather than formal, third person exposition, the Brain actually gets fooled into thinking it might be in a real conversation. Brains attention and recall goes up.

book: Media Equation

The Brain doesn’tknow that it’s not having a real conversation: so your Brain engages because it thinks it needs to hold up its end and contribute. It follows the argument. It doesn’t go to sleep.

Talk to the BRAIN, not the mind. Get to the LEGACY Brain. Trick them until they’re past the I suck threshold to the passionate threshold.

Once up the learning curve, people don’t want to go up that curve again. Have to motivate them up the curve. 

Why does anyone snowboard twice? They all suck when they start. But they see other people having a good time. You don’t see how many times they fell to get there. A compelling picture of what it looks like to be an expert. There’s a story about what’s going to await you at the other side of that learning curve. But they need to see a series of steps. They need to see the path up the curve.

You need to give the user a clear picture of (way to recognise) expertise and how to get there. And a meaningful benefit that motivates them.

Facts ————— Information ————–Understanding

Sea Slugs have visible neuron system. They can teach them things with one repetition. Huge amount of energy goes into making your brain forget: there’s a powerful crap filter which tries to get you to pay attention only to things that the lizard brain believes matter.

Time and repetition gets things past the crap filter (this is the hard way)
OR there’s the shortcut — give it emotional content.

Book: FLOW (understanding people staying engaged) You’re in flow when you’ve lost all sense of time. The reason you stay in flow is that you think you’re just one compile away from an incremental improvement. If you thought you were (as you are) twenty compiles away, you’d stop.

Game designers get this: how to get people into flow state. 

Flow equals Challenge in a balanced proportion to Knowledge and Skill to meet it.

Basecamp gets out of my way. It’s not about he software tool, it’s about what the user is using the tool to do.

Experience spiral: Get them involved, build interest/motivation, challenging activity, payoff.

User as hero.
And in the hero’s journey, you?re job is to be the wise helpful mentor/sidekick.

HERO OVERCOMES BAD THING is the key point — changes user. If that’s not part of the storyboard, don’t do the project.

Map out the journey, how will the user change.

The market for something to believe in is infinite.

google this to find the video: “visions clash planes crash” Sara McLaughlin vid on what a 150,000 USD video could buy.

Tribal identification. Are they a part of the tribe because they’re passionate about hte product, or are they passionate about the product because they’re a member of the tribe.

Legends gossip stories.

Here’s an acid test: when you have a passionate user base, they will get accused of being sheep, a cult. DON’T pull toward the centre. Delight the people on the other side.

Don’t always listen to what they say, it may conflict with what they really want. When you ask people to explain their choices, their choices change.

User Happiness graphed against number of features. (37Signals)

The secret? It doesn’t matter what they think about you. It’s not abou tyou. And it’s not about what you do. It’s about what the user feels about themselves.

How do you give the user an I RULE! kickass feeling.


How and Why to Podcast an Event

Moderator: John Allsopp , Western Civilisation
Mack May Blue Flavor
Maxine Sherrin Westciv
Eric Meyer Principal, Complex Spiral Consulting
Alex Williams Exec Producer/Found, Podcast Hotel

Always have a Backup AW
check your sound levels
Audio Hijack Pro for live recording.
Garage Band wasn’t reliable. (They were recording at 192kbs and running
other apps simultaneously)

Record as close to source quality as you can, sample down.

S5 Slideshow runs in browser while podcast plays.

Creative commons music: sources?
Create an “asyncrhonous Event” Allsop had 60,000 downloads for an event where 320 people participated. 

Maxine had someone from WWF say they wouldn’t come next year — they’d watch the podcast rather than burn the carbon and money to get there.


Daniel Catt
Glen Murphy UI Software Engineer, Google
PJ Hyett
Jared Upton-Cosulich Founder, CommunityWalk

Jared, CommunityWalk guy: 

instant maps, add a Quicktime Panoramic to a marker.

Explore pulls the pictures out into a clickable index.

PJ: Wayfaring
Mission to make it as dead simple to make a map as possible.
You can see other people tracking the map.

Murphy: MeHere : WikiEntry to Map app.

Greasemonkey script that lets you add a Center Map on Me function, gives GPS functionality to your Browser.

Dan Catt: Yahoo
Always wrap KML in a network link: this ensures it will get updated time to time, rather than being downloaded once and rotting.



BLUETOOTH tagging as well.
If there’s one bluetooth device that knows where it is, your phone will grab that info and upload it as well. “35 Ways” search on google.

Yahoo maps can take swf markers.

Zonetag: CellID gets put into an image via the CELL location on your phone.

E9? Another mapping tour.


League of Technical Voters

Motivating technical experts to effectively influence the political process.”

Looking to extend beyond singular issue advocacy into a community, bridge the gap between high levels of techincal expertise among the geeks and the low level of expertise among legislators and their staff.

Reputational systems necessary so that information is verifiable and traceable — don’t want the Wikipedia model of subjective edit ability with no accountable trackback.

(Example Stem Cell researchers wanting to ensure decisions are based on information rather than opinion or belief)

Security and privacy geeks want it — difficulty is the legislators and staff: different mindset.

Don’t have time during legislative session (but isn’t that precisely when they need to be influenced?)

Tagonomy of Bill evolution. 

The staffer who takes the phone calls in a phone attack isn’t the one getting the message in to the Representative. the raw information she gets is I got 25 calls against bill X — no summary of why, what points. The legislative assistant needs a single page explanation of why the bill is wrong, a measure of the opposition, and talking points that she can feed to the rep to say explaining his position and responding to criticism.

We never do a requirements document before we write a bill — and the exigencies are identical. Stakeholders need to be gathered, experts need to interject, and clear specifications need to be drafted.

Draft legislation is never perfect — it is expected to be manipulated and molded — but it’s not always the right people doing that.

Isenberg: The telecom bill that was scheduled to go through the congress actually said that Yahoo chat over IP would require an FCC license, that a coffee shop with a linksys would need an FCC license, that Skype would require an FCC license, and nobody who drafted the bill were aware of just how unenforceable those regulations would be. Digestible, focussed, credible information.

CivicSpace has been considered but it’s a different model. Drupel starts to choke at around 90,000 nodes.

Revenge of the Bloggers: Election 2008

Michael Krempasky Edelman Red State
Marcos Moulitsas: DailyKos
Ruby Sinreich Web Maven of & Founder of, Netcentric Campaigns
Henry Copeland Founder,

Ruby: Local organising in Chapel Hill against red light cameras — exposing astro-turf organisations, involvement of vendor in political process. 

2.5 years 18,000 comments at 400–800 visitors a day, 10 keeners who do nothing but post and comment.

DailyKos — Visits: couple hundred thousand a day, breaks into million a day around elections 400 diaries a day 10+15 thousand comments a day.

Conservative Blogs tend to focus on working within the existing mechanisms, while liberal or left blogs tend to focus on building mechanisms outside the established structures. (Krempasky) But it may be simply a function of the fact that Republicans are in power. (Marcos)

Marcos: We don’t have a liberal media machine like Fox, Washington Times, etc.

Democrats didn’t build the machinery conservatives did. The left is doing what the Right did decades ago.

Krempasky: We’ve had a vice president shoot somebody, a former aide arrested for shoplifting, a business deal mishandled extraordinarily badly, and we still may win. We can’t be faulted for the ineptitude of our adversaries.

there’s a communal dynamic missing on the right: Kos is a big blog with a communal aspect, most big conservative blogs don’t allow comments.

Krempasky: Not sure relative value of creating lobbies where people can hang out talking to each other versus going out there and doing something.

Moulitsas: Video blogging will be huge in 2008

Krempasky: The blogs that use the things we know about politics that already work.

Ruby: 2008 is too late. MidTerms are going to be huge. Organising has to be happening now. There’s a broader toolbox available. Blogs are the homebase for strong social networks — want to see campaigns coming to the social networks rather than vice versa.

Krempasky: the argument in 2004 was about who got blogging better. But it ought to have been about which is more important: blogs or a 6 million person email list microtargeting and getting people out to talk to their neighbors.
Bright shiny objects don’t win elections, and if you keep focussing on the latest technology rather than the most effective methods, you’ll continue to get beat. Don’t think of a website as a 30 second television commercial, think of it as the envelope to a direct mail piece. You just need to get them to open the envenlope, then get a relationship going and keep talking. 

Q: Is blogging the death of activism?
Marcos: Before you get active, you talk about what you do.
Krempasky: Every time the democrats get together and a drum circle breaks out, Republicans celebrate. You’re socializing with each other and not getting out and talking to anybody.

The Cluetrain Manifesto

Moderator: Henry Copeland Founder,

Doc Searls Senior Editor, Linux Journal
Heather Armstrong Author, Blurbodoocery
Henry Copeland Founder,
Brian Clark Founder/CEO, GMD Studios/IndieWire

Doc: Back in 98 the dot com madness was having its heyday. Locke, Weinburger and I were friends complaining about the complete disconnect between what was happening on the net and what was being funded. Advertising would save everything. We could recreate awful things, like Shopping Malls! on the web! 

So we whinged about it on the phone.

Conversations are fire. Marketing is arson.

Nailing up a 95 thesis like Martin Luther on a web page — we figured 95 because that worked for Luther. The Cluetrain name was serendipitous. Doc mentioned an epitaph on a startup: the cluetrain stopped there four times a day and never made a delivery. We added Manifesto because that worked for Marx.

The seed was this: We are not seats or eyeballs or endusers or consumers. We are human beings and our reach exceeds your grasp: deal with it.

Markets are conversations.

Power shift: the market can self organise, they can communicate to one another, it’s a healthier environment for the market.

We were out to challenge the concept that the consumer is a gullet: he exists to gulp products and crap cash.

Companies are terrified to their customers. Bloggers are scary because if they have a bad experience they tell thousands of their friends. (Clark)

Do we have empowered consumers? Heather Armstrong: she sold Nikon D70s like crazy with her pictures and testament to how well the camera works — never been paid by Nikon, never heard from them. And now she’s thinking about a switch, and realises she’s a force to be reckoned with. “My site is a highly effective brochure for their product.”

Motorola doesn’t want to have feedback about what their mobile ?phones will do. They have 150 products lined up that they intend to make you want.

Clark: the web is the customer service for products now. I don’t call customer service when I have a problem, I google the problem.

Armstrong: Love the I Hate Best Buy websites. Would never go there to buy a camera.

Doc: Microsoft has 300 bloggers. It can’t hurt to have lots of people blogging from Longhorn and Vista got changed because they’re out there getting feedback and the feedback shapes the product.

(Copeland) Threadless as the premier Cluetrain Company — in which the community creates the product and buys the product.

Doc: companies get started because of a passion. Nobody starts a company to “return value to stockholders.” Drucker said your employees come first, your customers come second, your stockholders come third. Nobody believes that anymore, which is a shame.

Are there nonprofits using blogs to spread their word. Greenpeace. PETA in myspace. Peta did some viral video and had 200,000 — giving the community something to do together. Grey album: the graying of the blogs in one day to support rights of Mash Up.

Barlowe declaration of the independence of cyberspace: doc recommends “Death from Above” which talks about the assymmetry of … CEOs post WWII were disproportionately former bomber pilots, because one job was suited to the other.

Saving the Internet” — we have big bandwidth down, narrow up because the big companies still think it’s going to be like cable TV.

Next 7 years, what’s coming down the pipe? Clark: Gaming will set up situations that according to social behaviourists shouldn’t work — people working cooperatively in groups of 5000 without leadership.

[NOTES to my comment] In response to Brian’s point that we might in 7 years see 5000 people acting as a group without leaders in these massively coöperative situations, I think we’ve already seen it and that was a couple years back when 30 million people agreed a date to show up on the streets all over the world to protest the invasion of Iraq. (With the quirky excpeption of California, which had theirs a week later) I’ve been an activist for decades and what blew me away about that was the way the simple agreement about what day to hold that protest was a completely decentralised decision — no leaders, no major groups took on a central coördinating role the entire process was organic in that way that looks like magic, because you’re seeing something inexplicable. 

Ruby or Japhet or anyone in this room who has done organising know how much work those simple decisions usually are — you have to negotiate between groups, there’s always stupid niggling about conflicting events and the gradient of messaging and who’s in and who’s out. But this unifying passion of opposition just blew that away and within the space of a couple weeks, the concensus was so clear and so big it became unstoppable.

I don’t think I’ve seen any real appreciation of just what a phenom this was — it was the biggest single global protest in the history of the planet, and it was brought to us by the hive mind of the internet. It’s the beginning of the evolution of a mammalian brain for the planet. [END OF NOTES]

Doc: We are all authors of each other — and that’s what authority is — the permission to shape.


Building Buzz

Jamison Stafford Iventa Corp
Rufus Griscom ceo, Nerves
Keith Richman Break Media
Philip Kaplan CEO, AdBrite Inc
Joanna Angel Porn Star,

Phillip Kaplan, created Fucked Company (dotcome crash moan site — remember?) which he never spent a dime on marketing. is Alexa rank #300???????????? 356 to be precise. And it launched in November.

Philip? Making it personal: Contact Pud (Not contact us) Making your staff famous. making yourself famous. Making your visitors famous.

Burning Angel: Have a star, have a rep, a cheerleader. Go to anything related to Sex, Music, be there. MySpace — important to be there. More people will look at myspace than your website no matter how big your myspace is. (Joanna has 30,000 friends on MySpace). Keep a blog. Not that exciting to be filming pornography personally, but other people are REALLY interested in that personal glimpse. Blogs are free.

PK: Richard Branson & Virgin
Hugh Hefner & Playboy

Rufus: Nerve was envisioned as next generation Playboy but with spokespersons who wore glasses and spoke in complete sentences. “We have today half the buzz as five years ago and five times the revenue.” (re Nerve in the NYT)

Fucked Company skyrocketed when mailing list got a write up (which PK wrote) saying what an awful site was. Using the Howard Sterne theory that peoiple who like you listen 3 hours a day, people who hate you listen 4 hours a day.

Nerve paid a dollar a word to attract big writers to create content for their site. We don’t spell check. We’re not smarter than you. We’re not better than you. We try to appeal the side of guys that likes to see dumb things.
Slowly added the name being incorporated into the video.

Iventa Suit: Make your audience your staff, delegate the responsibility and give them tools to organise. If you’re a fan and you go out and post links on three hundred websites or do stencils you can upload a photo and your street team leader can confirm that you get 300 points, turn it into a competition for points, maybe give them a blog or tickets or product giveaways or other benefits. (He does this with Fan base for Korn, Metallica etc.) Not very expensive, but associate yourself with an exciting brand. Street teams start at 0 and can go to 100,000 to several million really fast.

Richman: Don’t do anything in your community that you wouldn’t want to do. Refresh content. You want to see what’s changed. As soon as it looks like nothing has changed.

PK: things you can do to get people coming back: Adbrite reach 400 million pages a day. STarted from 0. Everybody who buys ad space we try to turn into sellers. Created a game and you can bet on the companies that you thought might go out of business. Office pools got created, people started betting on their own companies telling their friends.

Nerve would trade ad space with Salon few years back. Now have 8–9 different sections, with Nerve Recommends sections. Advertising growing faster than other revenue streams. So our drive is to increase traffic. The premium sections are less and less interesting. SEO of course is important 


tags need to be right.

Iventa Suit: Loyalty systems. You get points for sticking with a product, a company or an aritst will have some unique piece of content like an autographed album and will put it up for auction. 

Press: PK says press was the main driver, totally free, for his traffic. PR firms cost. I could get the articles I wanted written. I wrote a letter to Howard Stern and how he wanted to be on the show. Week later had a 20 minute phone interview. Recently raised 12 million for startup. Found a writer who wrote about a similar subject, his email address on and pitched it. Front page of Business section with a stippel picture. Help them do their job and they’ll love you. Stack of press releases? Not the same as a phone call from the CEO.

Rufus: 1.5 million a month. Help the journalist please their editor.
People are more accessible than you think.

Ambient findability:

Search results page: #2 most visited page — where’s the fight over real estate that you get on the front page.

Usability is not the be all and the end all. Is it relevant? Is it useful? Is it pretty? Attractive images make people happy. Happy people are pleased with your site.

Bubble up common search terms (i.e. Jobs should be on the top menu)

Architecture and site design have direct impact on your believability and trust factors.

Specific search terms: was happy with being topped ranked return on search term cancer. But they were being drowned by other sites ranked higher on “breast cancer” and “lung cancer”.

Ambient findability: The ability to find anyone or anything from anywhere at anytime.

A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”

Child tags WITH BREADCRUMB features. 

David Brin: The Transparent Society.

In a world of more and more haystacks, how do we create bigger needles? How do we describe ‘Aboutness’ in a way that increases the findability of our documents.

Steve Krug: Don’t Make me Think (book)

Who’s going to help? The Revenge of the Librarians!!! Metadata. Tagging. Throw away taxonomies. Lets go to a crazy world where anyone can use any word to tag their content.

The old way creates a tree. The new rakes leaves together. –David Weinberger

The leaves are those cool flickr clouds of meaning. And leaves rot. To feed trees.

Pace Layering

slow Fast
nature culture governance infrastructure commerce fashion art

PodZinger: speach audio to text content.

Rumsfeld: things we know etc etc and unknown unknowns — things we don’t know we don’t know.

Search has become the new interface of commerce. And government.

Inverted L of Navigation as anchor credibility, and leave the user to shape the experience within that (Wikipedia)

Chicago Crime mashup: live data fom chicago police department into google map.

Transit strike live mashup with live reports from the streets of what was easy or hard to do.

Human Brain is not evolving as fast as the exploding world of information. 

What People are Really Doing on the Web

Moderator: Joel Greenberg Sr Planner, GSD&M

Holland Hofma Brown VP Internet Panel Mgmt, Harris Interactive
Joel Greenberg Sr Planner, GSD&M
Michele Madansky VP Corp & Sales Research, Yahoo!
Max Kalehoff VP Mktg, Nielsen BuzzMetrics

Eric von Hippel Democratizing Innovation

94% using internet for 5+ years
One third would rather email than call a friend
30 percen shop online
1 in 3 primary sourc eof news

General public trusts Television over Newspapers over internet.

BUT SXSW interviewees trust Newspapers first internet next 3% trust TV.

Men reading blogs more than women. young males dominate. but 29% of males over 60 have read a blog.

53 percdent of students have read a blog in last 30 days.

60% of SXSW have read a blog in the last hour.
72% have posted replies.

General users are not moving every aspect of their lives on line.

Yahoo gets 2 terabyte of data a DAY. More than library of congress.

Truly, Madly, Deeply Engaged.

Communication is killer app

MySpace is now in top ten in the US.

Facebook came into top 20 this year.

Yahoo answers: social search.

Nielsen Buzzmetrics: Monitor measuring customer sentiment and views expressed online.

Word of mouth far more influential than any othe information source.
67% in 1977 to 92% in 2005.
Driven by CGM Consumer Generated Media.

of the top 10 search terms on the top 20 brand names, only 26% was generated by those brands: the rest was consumer chatter or even activist sites.

copies of the powerpoints:

SocialWeb: human answers to questions rather than 100k search results.


Adding video to your blog

Eddie Codel Producer, Geek Entertainment TV
Schlomo Rabinowitz Janitor, SOAPBOX Kunstwerks
Mike B Slone Founder/ Creative Dir, InkNoise Inc
Michael Verdi
Sarah Hepola Writer, The Morning News

ourmedia: creative commons licence options
bliptv: ditto, but noncommercial right to
FireAnt — rss video subscriptions
ValleyWag (who was that guy at the party)?
VloggerCon: howto on personal narrative. Node101

Organised way to capture and archive dailyness.

Michael uses: Sanyo XATCI C5: Takes still pictures, pistol with a fliparound.
Look for a fliparound to mirror ToCameras.
InkNoise for uploading media, tied to your blog via RSS?

Compression, filesize, bandwidth: 4–5 megabytes per minute 6-700kbs 320x240px
Mpeg layer 4,
Windows media encoder dual pass.
Freevlog step by step tutorial

10USD per month if you don’t go RocketBoom popular

Google Video: Check their license — they get incontrovertible rights to rebroadcast, they own your video in perpetuity???????

Soundtrack of our life — check it out story of altercation with security over digital rights at a coldplay concert.

What is the Future of Radio?

Elise Nordling Music Dir/DJ of Indie Pop Rocks!, SomaFM
Celia Hirschman One Little Indian/Downtown Marketing KCRW
Roman Mars Producer, Third Coast Festival
Tim Westergren Founder, Pandora
Kevin Smokler 

Celia: Record industry came out of entrepeneurs who built a structure for raising artistss’ visibilty — radio being the backbone.

Pandora got a lisence to play music with conditions that make it more radio-like : no more than 12 skips in an hour, can’t do music on demand, you listen to what they stream basically so it’s not competing with buying a CD, and more like listening to the radio.


Flickr is not a hippy knockoff.
Wikipedia is not like anything that has existed before.
The networked community is no longer hanging on the coattails of Gates.
Only in the US do dying phone companies lobby the government as if they were Indian Casinos.
Visionary in Residence: audacious and freaky, not a Harry Potter book
I live out of my laptop now.
National borders are like speed bumps.
Frantic collisions of fundamentalist theory with reality.
Neil Gaiman: We’re the sink that the gutter drains into. And today they’re so important that embassies are being set on fire over what they’ve done.
Meathook future vs the Bright Green Future. There are things that can move the sliders, but we’ve not invented the vocabulary yet. There’s smoke filling the theatre but the exit signs are a tangled nonsense.
Gibson: the street finds its own uses for things.
Spime: it’s not a word, it’s a tag. it’s a theory object. Any word in any language means what the popular conception of it is. Cyberspace in gibson is a conscensual hallucination: it’s not internet, yet it’s dated.
Spime is a Speculative Imaginary Object. Important in 6 ways:
1. It has a chip, or a barcode, or a tag that names, sorts, ranks, shuffles it.
2. Local precise positioning system.
3. Powerful search engine. Auto-googling object.
4. Cradle to cradle recycleable
5. Transparent production

3D virtual modelled object
Objects exist virtually before they exist in reality (think online shopping)
Rapidly prototyped: fadgets 

World Changing: index of ways out of the smoke filled room.
A Spime is trackable in space and time.
Informational support is so extensive and rich that they are substantiations of imaginary objects.
They begin as data. Virtual objects first, physical objects later.
The object: to build an INTERNET OF THINGS, not an internet of words.
A Civilizational step forward.
Primary advantage: I no longer inventory my possessions in my head, it’s done by an inventorial voodoo below my attention level. I don’t need to worry where they are or how to get more. I don’t hunt for my shoes in the morning, I just Google them. I am at ease in materiality in a way I never was before.

Big concept. Needs distributed intelligence.

Make no decision out of fear.

What’s required is a regional novel about the Planet Earth.

Serbia has a small language, so they still have poets. Poets can be pretty famous in Serbia — almost like a right-wing conservative blogger.

Historical perspective, 1937. Carl Sandburg:

The people yes
The people will live on.
The learning and blundering people will live on.
They will be tricked and sold and again sold
And go back to the nourishing earth for rootholds,
The people so peculiar in renewal and comeback,
You can’t laugh off their capacity to take it.
The mammoth rests between his cyclonic dramas.

The people so often sleepy, weary, enigmatic,
is a vast huddle with many units saying:
“I earn my living.
I make enough to get by
and it takes all my time.
If I had more time
I could do more for myself
and maybe for others.
I could read and study
and talk things over
and find out about things.
It takes time.
I wish I had the time.”

The people is a tragic and comic two-face: hero and hoodlum:
phantom and gorilla twisting to moan with a gargoyle mouth:
“They buy me and sell me…it’s a game…sometime I’ll
break loose…”

Once having marched
Over the margins of animal necessity,
Over the grim line of sheer subsistence
Then man came
To the deeper rituals of his bones,
To the lights lighter than any bones,
To the time for thinking things over,
To the dance, the song, the story,
Or the hours given over to dreaming,
Once having so marched.

Between the finite limitations of the five senses
and the endless yearnings of man for the beyond
the people hold to the humdrum bidding of work and food
while reaching out when it comes their way
for lights beyond the prison of the five senses,
for keepsakes lasting beyond any hunger or death.
This reaching is alive.
The panderers and liars have violated and smutted it.
Yet this reaching is alive yet
for lights and keepsakes.

The people know the salt of the sea
and the strength of the winds
lashing the corners of the earth.
The people take the earth
as a tomb of rest and a cradle of hope.
Who else speaks for the Family of Man?
They are in tune and step
with constellations of universal law.
The people is a polychrome,
a spectrum and a prism
held in a moving monolith,
a console organ of changing themes,
a clavilux of color poems
wherein the sea offers fog
and the fog moves off in rain
and the labrador sunset shortens
to a nocturne of clear stars
serene over the shot spray
of northern lights.

The steel mill sky is alive.
The fire breaks white and zigzag
shot on a gun-metal gloaming.
Man is a long time coming.
Man will yet win.
Brother may yet line up with brother:

This old anvil laughs at many broken hammers.
There are men who can’t be bought.
The fireborn are at home in fire.
The stars make no noise,
You can’t hinder the wind from blowing.
Time is a great teacher.
Who can live without hope?

In the darkness with a great bundle of grief
the people march.
In the night, and overhead a shovel of stars for keeps, the people
“Where to? what next?”

Red Tribes, Blue Tribes

This was the comment I put up over at the DailyKos about one of the SXSW sessions:

Someone noted (I think it was Copeland) that there are few open forum blogs like DailyKos on the right, and many of the big conservative blogs don’t even take comments. (Authoritarianism, don’t talk back, the dialogue isn’t important, only the dictat and the discipline of lining up)

Krempasky comments about Republicans rejoicing every time Democrats get together and a drum circle breaks out (because it means Dems aren’t out knocking on doors) and questions whether creating social lobbies for people to hang out in and exchange views really accomplishes anything. (Nurturing, open debate, process as important as outcome)

Ruby notes that at the small-scale local level, community outweighs partisanship, and throws an open-ended zinger at Krempasky that he only thinks those drum circles aren’t accomplishing anything.

Echoing between these points I sat there wondering what this says about Tribes and the differing way people identify with those they agree with on the left and the right.

It’s something about Hive versus Worker Ants — the left values the membership in the tribe intrinsically. The right seems to value the tribe only for what it can achieve. 

I got a chance to talk to Ruby Sinreich quite a bit after this, and she elaborated a bit about the power that those “drum circles” build in community terms, creating bonds between people, creating shared resolve, creating information networks. 

And that’s really it, isn’t it? When I think about what a great experience SXSW was for me in networking terms: I met Graham from Treehugger, Japhet from Rainforest Action Network and a bunch of his possie of web saavies who used to work with the Dean Campaign, Bruce Sterling, the good folks at Blogads who had some rockin ideas about advocacy advertising, Amanda Congdon (ok, ok, she’s not an activist but hey (hair flip) yuh never know…), the Netcentrics and the Netsquareds and the other folks looking to help NGOs be smarter about technology. Now sure, there’s a Republican in me (albeit a very, very small ratfaced creature) who sees that network merely for how I can use it. But there’s a democrat in me (and he is vast, he contains multitudes) who enjoyed the parties as much as the panels, would open my house to any of these characters, and who knows that we’ll all be handing out virtual mbiras and bongos around the electronic campire.

It’s not just that I don’t want to be a part of any revolution I can’t dance to, it’s this: the revolution you can’t dance to just ain’t a revolution.


How Geek am I? When Bruce Sterling was giving his presentation on Spime at SXSW he cited a very cool illustartion of what he means my objects locatable in space and time: when you get up in the morning, you won’t hunt for your shoes, you�ll just google them. 

I was reading the Wikipedia entry on Spime at that moment, and there was nothing so concrete there, so I updated the entry live while he was talking.

I told Dane Petersen this as I came out of the hall and he did the full-on Nerd Fist pump and high five, to my great amusement. He also told me that last year Sterling had brought a 3D printer along and had demonstrated an object’s transition from virtual space to physcial space by printing out some objects for the audience. Dane was in the back of the hall and figured he was People in the back figured they were never going to get to see what one looked like, until someone at the front took a picture, uploaded it to Flickr, and the whole room had it in seconds via the projection screen — sending the object back from physical space to Virtual. 

Damn. This place is Geekout Central.

I shook the hand of the walrus

I shook the hand of Amanda Congdon!!! OK, I know every geekboy on the planet has a crush on the RocketBoom Hostessisima, but how many could walk up to her after an SXSW panel and offer to let her guest podcast from the deck of the Rainbow Warrior?

Despite the fact that I am reeling with a Tanqueray and Tonic hangover from the SXSW after party, I’m still jittery with having met so many people I’ve been reading or watching for years: Amanda, Bruce Sterling, Doc Searles, Jason Kottke James Surowiecki.

Kick Start

Welcome, Earthling, to this my blog. It was born at the South-by-Southwest Interactive Conference at 6:48 am on 13 March 2006 after an evening of too much Tequila mixed with too many conversations with other activists and internet mavens about the state of the world, the opportunities we’re missing, the victories we’ve won that remain unsung.

My pledge:
To bark;
To bite;
To stand on my head;
To never, never bore you.

Slap me when I stray.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to being a Head of State at the Earth Summit

Hi kids! Have you been watching the proceedings of the Earth Summit in Johannesburg? Do you wish that YOU too could take bold commitments to save the world and turn them into mushy language full of loopholes, wiggle room, and ambiguity GUARANTEED to ensure you never have to lift a finger to save the planet???

Well now you CAN! Let’s pretend you’re a real world leader in Johannesburg! Here’s what you should do when handed a draft agreement.

Let’s say this draft contains the following statement:

All countries agree to phase out coal as an energy source.

Isn’t that just awful? So clear and so simple a child could have written it, but it’ll mean a lot of work for you when you get home. It may also make some of those pals of yours a little bit upset. They might not buy you any more elections! So let’s swing into action!

Now, if you’re a national delegate, you can tell the Chairman that you want to put that statement in brackets. Brackets mean you’re not entirely happy with that text, and you’d like to strangle it. Go on. Any country can do it, all by themselves, for any reason at all. Brackets are cheap, so sprinkle them liberally throughout any text that suggest actually doing anything! It’s so easy!!!

[All countries agree to phase out coal as an energy source.]

Now that you’ve got it in brackets, let’s add some cool inactivating phrases. Personally, I’ve always liked “take measures to.” Watch!

[All countries agree to {take measures to} phase out coal as an energy source.]

Still, that’s a bit too crisp. So let’s reach into our document hat and find another nifty nugget. How about “have instruments in place”??? Sounds like lawyers will get involved! Now THAT ought to slow things down! Continue reading “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to being a Head of State at the Earth Summit”