Thursday, April 3, 2014

Day In Pictures; Busy Wednesday

The little one on the drive to school.

She turned the camera on me while I was driving.

Ellen at Laughing Goat Café
Greg Schwarzer talking mountain bike wheel diameters. Always a good conversation to start the day.
Time with Jillian; it had been awhile.
Gayle Doud running the show and crushing a Komboucha.  
Seth describing an awesome strategic business/tech opportunity.
Fred intently listening and clearly enjoying the prioritization melee playing out in front of him.
Ian... the well balanced, un-emotional voice.
David Campbell; one of three people I know who fully understand network/software security. Sporting a Gnip shirt too boot!
Chris Moody... getting it done.
Wrapping the day with our regular "engineering management" sync. Eric Ryan, myself,  and Greenstreet.
Greg Greenstreet talking software and human resource stuff.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Day In Pictures; Last Tuesday

Some last minute homework before heading off to school. 
First meet of the day; Jim Davidson. My old boss/mentor at AOL. Remains in my "top 3" list of people who have had the most impact on my life. 

Couple's therapy with Bruce Tift. Always enlightening.

Weekly sync with Andrew. 
Plowing through team scale challenges/opportunities with Eric and Parker. At nearly 100 people, internal communications requires conscious effort.

Engineering team lunch.

April pulling dinner together. 

The beast; Oliver.

Reading about grains.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Parents, DRM & School Projects

Just posted this in Facebook, but want to post here too for broader audience.

To Elementary School Parents out there:

how are you dealing with your kid(s) pulling digital assets down from the network and using them in class projects/science fair presentations and such?

when one of our kids is using an image, a song, or a video that they don't have copyright to, for commercial purposes (e.g. builds a video on YouTube to get more subscribers), the line seems clear; you can only use stuff you have the rights to do so. Sorry kid, you can't use that song in that video.

however, for a school project, it's not feeling as clear. I can easily hold things to the literal letter of the law (nope... sorry kid, you can't use that because you didn't create it (or you don't have rights to it)), but is that going overboard?

I guess I'm feeling like "commercial" equates to "competitive purposes" (not necessarily monetary) in this context, and if you're trying to "compete" (e.g. win best of show), any material you use needs to have appropriate rights associated.

therefore, for a school project you need to have rights to the stuff you incorporate into it. ugh, after saying that, I used to tear out pages from Time magazine for school projects, but I certainly didn't have "rights to use" those articles or images.

definitely foreshadowing myself being at the project fair, seeing another kid "win" and asking him/her whether or not they played by the copyright rules, finding out they do not, and asking that they be disqualified :).

DRM... what a mess.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What Makes Us Tick: Online Social Ingredients

Six years ago I wrote a post about this. I thought I'd revisit it as I've been talking about it a fair amount over the past few months. This post will be different obviously, but what's cool is that nothing has actually changed. Our idea held up!

About eight years ago my friend Robert Reich and I spent an afternoon at his house brainstorming about ideas for me.dium (a company he founded and I worked at). Me.dium turned into OneRiot and was sold to Walmart Labs. The drawing above, and the description below is what we came up with.

There are three pieces to "social" in the consumer space. Any "application" or "service" that succeeds in adoption, active users, and longevity, strikes an powerful chord between these three things. The yin-yang diagram is an attempt to illustrate the relationship between the concepts. Like the Chinese philosophy itself, perfect balance between these notions is a powerful force.

Humans want connection with other humans. Once you're a couple of levels up from the bottom of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, it's required for existence. It's base. We all want to feel to connected to others, whether In-Real-Life, or "online." Whether one other person, or hundreds of so-called "friends." It gives us reason. It gives us purpose. It gives us a place to "be." Ultimately, it gives us love.

We have an innate need to always be discovering things in life. Some of us get lazy of course, but we ultimately find a way (again, In-Real-Life, or "online") to discover. Be it staying abreast of current political events, or learning what music our friends are listening to. We want to be discovering things all the time. How often is our friend checking messages? How often is our child posting videos to YouTube? What images is my sibling posting while on vacation? We want to know! What does my favorite media outlet consider "news" right now?

Self Expression ("Ego")
This one's always fun of course. Some of us publish manufactured perfect lives online. Some of us express the simplest things in the world ("I'm drinking a coffee right now."). Others write blog posts about their cancer diagnosis. One of the most expressive statements someone can make today is to not engage with social media at all. Their absence from this "online" world is a very strong statement in and of itself. The stories we "share" or "reblog" are expressions as well of course.

We all engage with luddites from time to time and some of them condemn "social media" as a plague on humanity. Of course it can get in the way of priceless face to face human interaction, but, if you hold this perspective, consider mapping this diagram to our "real" lives. I think it's a mirror image of what makes us tick. Whether you apply it to "online" lives, or "real life," doesn't matter.

Applications have all sorts of spins on these concepts. Some push Discovery to the fore, while others are all about Connectedness. Discovery may be the main ingredient in another. Regardless, social applications we fall in love with, and use like a drug, provide some powerful concoction of this trifecta.

Consider your favorite "social" app in this light. I think you'll find some neat stuff.