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People First
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A People First Update

People First has a big vision and is moving forward on a variety of initiatives. Life is too short to record it all in detail here … so I am choosing to reference a few (in alphabetical order);

  • (The) Business Of Identity
  • CH-MRC
  • Digital Puerto Rico
  • IndieWeb
  • Internet Identity Workshop
  • Lost Identity

Some are large far-reaching initiatives some are small ideas. Some I am just interested in, others I am helping get established. I believe all are designed to help ‘move the can down the road’ in different ways. (The can being that which we each need to move forward to create a better world where people and their humanity are not afterthoughts but at the center of thinking, decisions and action.

And that human-centered perspective got me to thinking about people – and their stories.

So, in parallel with these initiatives, we are also pivoting the site, including moving the blog front and center and dropping the ‘WhoWhatWhenWhereWhyHow’ pages to a supporting role on the site.

Microphones

We are also announcing the introduction of a new theme of posts categorized as ‘Travels Without Charley’ – tipping cap, doffing hat, nodding head vigorously towards one John Steinbeck.

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Commerce
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Exploitation of People By People

Vehicle Costs May Put Some Uber and Lyft Drivers in the Red

”The ride-sharing drivers earn just $3.37 per hour on average, according to an MIT study.

I have said for a long time that the same people who object to treatment of workers in remote countries making phones, garments et al … are generally the self same people who love the convenience of ‘their’ Uber.

Case In Point … disasters.

We seem to worry more about issues that are close to home far more than remote ones … 2 dead in storm floods in the next state over is so much more worrying than 200 dead in Pakistan floods … yet exploitation of those people in Pakistan by the garment industry hits the news cycle regularly … exploitation of our own countrymen in the so called ‘sharing economy’ … that we don’t hear about too much at all.

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Learning Technology

Humanity Over Tech

The news is full of the bad boys of the internet. Their lack of interest in ‘we the people’. Their apparent disregard for humanity. The need and importance for tech tech tech – no humanity needed.

But sometimes – just sometimes – the good news, the positive news, the uplifting news does get through.

Keith Block, vice chairman, president and COO of Salesforce, and his wife, Suzanne Kelley, VP of operations & PMO, global business units at Oracle Corporation, made the lead $15 million gift to establish the Block Center for Technology and Society at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy.

Read All About It

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Learning
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Cognitive Elites

“A ‘cognitive elite’ will rise to power and influence, as a class of sovereign individuals ‘commanding vastly greater resources’ who will no longer be subject to the power of nation-states and will redesign governments to suit their ends.”

Read More In The Guardian Here

Cognitive Elites … not the same as ‘Elites’ – and – be it a ‘discredited’ term or not – I have no doubt that those that seek to use technology to protect their interests – and not subjugate themselves to the Corporates will win out. They are thinking, acting, doing and rising above the media clutter. Who are those people? Well, maybe it is easier to point out who they are not …. they are not people;

  • who shake their heads and say ‘what can we do’
  • who continue to blindly use Facebook, despite all the proof of what they have done and continue to do
  • who have a single password across all of their accounts
  • who have a password like 1234password
  • … you get the picture

NO – it doesn’t include those people.

But it also is not about having superior intelligence. (Which is what the book was talking about.) No. That is not going to save you. And those people aren’t the cognitive elites that I think about.

To me – I think you are a cognitive elite if you think. At all. Your IQ can be below 100 – like half the population – but that doesn’t mean you can’t think … that is a choice.

Start to think. Start to act. Be Different.

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Technology
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The Second Innings Of The Internet

“Moral leadership means truly putting people first and making whatever sacrifices that entails,” said Seidman. “That means not always competing on shallow things and quantity — on how much time people spend on your platform — but on quality and depth. It means seeing and treating people not just as ‘users’ or ‘clicks,’ but as ‘citizens,’ who are worthy of being accurately informed to make their best choices. It means not just trying to shift people from one click to another, from one video to another, but instead trying to elevate them in ways that deepen our connections and enrich our conversations.”

Dov Seidman, CEO of LRN

via Thomas Friedman

… makes total sense to me. What we have today is the total domination of the online world by old school, old power, old values corporations – and people be damned. That is why we started People First – and interesting to see ourselves at the intersection of organizations and issues like The Indie Web and Internet Identity amongst others.

But if you think about issues like Ad Tracking, Profiling, Big Data, Walled Gardens, Data Warehouses, Self Sovereignty, Data Ownership, Net Neutrality, POSSE, longevity – you can complete the list as well as I can … the entire push and narrative today is to the benefit of the large corporation and the detriment of ‘we the people’.

By the way – if you want to see indie web in action – john.philpin.com is running on micro.blog – a nascent but emerging micro blog environment that is just part of this particular persons war chest of tools to take back the internet for people. More of this to come in future posts.

As I have said for many years – “I am my own system of record”.

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Technology
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Digital Tech Is Transforming The Physical Shape Of Our Cities

“The digital revolution is changing how and where work happens. Employment is becoming more flexible and fluid, with digital technology enabling more people to work remotely and to collaborate in the cloud. This will impact city-centre offices, with landlords having to adjust to weaker demand and shorter leases. And as artificial intelligence bites – machines don’t care where they work – we’ll see the growth of cheaper regional back-offices, which is bad news for expensive cities.”

Read All About It.

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Data
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Data Is The New Oil

As I watch the emerging news surrounding MoviePass and how they are (note – not have …. despite the changes to their app) tracking their customers, I keep hearing ‘Data Is The New Oil’. It is not a new phrase and in fact as far as I can tell was coined by Clive Humby back in 2006 … but it struck me that if true (it isn’t and I really need to publish that post) then corporations obviously view people as vessels, silos, containers … whatever, but certainly not as people.

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People First
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Apologies For Our Absence

… we have been doing a little housekeeping at ‘Chez First’ … and now we are finished. You can expect a lot more interesting and relevant information coming through this channel. Thank you.

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Technology
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The Downside Of Social Media

Titans of Social Media explain why they might have made a mistake.

There has been a lot of recent commentary on social media addiction, but this video summary was interesting, concise and in 15 minutes says it all.

To me what is interesting is that they all say that they could see it coming … and then did it anyway. What does that say about them. It certainly doesn’t say that they ‘put people first’.

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Work
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Innovation Silicon Valley Style

People First is delighted to share work that is relevant to our initiatives. Geoffrey Moore is an author, speaker and management strategy advisor. His work has influenced the careers of many of us at People First and we are excited he granted us permission to share this particular article.

There is a cottage industry in conducting executive tours of Silicon Valley, and now increasingly San Francisco SOMA, to expose teams from other parts of the planet to what is admittedly a uniquely successful culture of innovation and wealth creation. I’m all for it up to a point. Where I part company from the herd is with the notion that global corporations have a chance in hell of playing the same game. They don’t. Here’s why.

To quote a hopefully soon-to-be would-be candidate for president, Silicon Valley’s version of the innovation game is rigged! That is, it is specifically designed around a venture capital oriented ecosystem that is uniquely aligned to support investments in disruptive innovation. The limited partners who fund VCs want their money put into these high-risk, high-reward endeavours. The VCs that parcel out that money interview entrepreneurs to pick the best ideas, plans, and teams to prosecute a disruptive innovation. The ecosystem of service providers needed to support these fledgling enterprises is deeply experienced in navigating the economic gyrations brought on by the Technology Adoption Life Cycle. And when any individual joins one of these companies, he or she knows their sole mission in life is to bring the targeted disruptive innovation to scale as fast as possible, come hell or high water, Devil take the hindmost. Now, I ask you, where else in the world could you expect to find this kind of alignment?

Most companies in most economies in most places live by sustaining innovation, not disruption. Successful investments are typically medium-to-low risk with medium-to-high rewards. They do not involve going through a bet-the-company J-curve, that deep and harrowing financial trough from which only a fraction of traveler’s return. Financiers from traditional economies do not want the companies they invest in to take this route—they want steadier ROIs from more proven paths. The executive teams who run these companies developed their considerable expertise prosecuting opportunities of just this sort. The workforce’s who report in to them are not prepared to work crazy-long hours in pursuit of some visionary dream, nor do they want them to. They want them to show up, be present, do real work, and then go home and spend time with their families, loved ones, and significant others. That’s what economic stability is all about.

So, when a disruptive innovation does cross the chasm and breaches the defenses of one of their mainstream marketplaces, it should come to no one’s surprise that it is not being led by any currently successful established competitor. Frankly, such organizations all have better fish to fry. BUT, once a disruption has breached the mainstream market’s defenses and taken hold, then the game is dramatically changed. The old way is now under existential threat, the established ecosystem is no longer economically viable, and customers are looking to their traditional vendors to see if they can and will adopt the new playbook.

Now, the good news here is that customers do not like to switch vendors. This means, if you and your ecosystem of partners can stand down from your old positions of power and take up the new modus operandi, then your prospects of defending your turf are actually quite good. You don’t have to introduce a disruptive new business model of your own to do this, but you do have to catch up—and smartly too! This means you have to incorporate enough of the new technology to modernize your operating model, to blunt the appeal of the disruptor by stealing a bit of their thunder. That is, your goal is not to differentiate in order to win new customers—that’s the disruptor’s playbook. They want the customers you have. Your goal instead is to neutralize the opposition’s appeal in order to keep your existing customers loyal to you. Differentiation and neutralization call for two very different playbooks. Silicon Valley is the master of the first. You need the second.

For that, you should look outside the Valley to a company like Microsoft, one that has spent the entire arc of its history protecting the extraordinary customer base it was gifted by the near-universal adoption of the IBM PC. Without exception its most successful products were born out of neutralization, not differentiation. That is, Windows neutralized the Macintosh OS, Windows NT neutralized Novell, Office neutralized WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3, and Persuasion, Outlook neutralized cc:Mail, SQL Server neutralized IBM DB2 and Oracle, and Internet Explorer neutralized Netscape Navigator. In every case, Microsoft was quick to clone just to get something vaguely competitive into the market asap, and then worked relentlessly first to bring its product up to speed and eventually to surpass the original disruptor. And all along the way, it leveraged its existing market position to bundle early offerings in for free, monetizing them downstream either on their own or by virtue of them sustaining the price premium of the suites they had been incorporated into.

By contrast, Silicon Valley companies that have found themselves under a comparable attack have often tried a different tack. They have sought to out-innovate the innovator, to leapfrog the freakin’ toad that just leapfrogged them! Yahoo wanted to out-innovate Google with social search. Sun and HP wanted to out-innovate Intel with Spark and PA-RISC. eBay wanted to out-innovate Amazon by buying Skype. But when the barbarians are at the gates, there is no time to invent a new weapon or experiment with an unproven one—you have to co-opt the one they are using against you.

So, yes, please do come to Silicon Valley and take away whatever lessons you can incorporate successfully into your current enterprise. Everyone needs to differentiate eventually. But you might extend your trip up to Redmond to learn a trick or two from the folks up there as well.

That’s what I think. What do you think?

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