Attencion! Camp — Starbuck vs. Samwise in a Fight (and what does that have to do with the Attention Economy?)

Posted by bryanzug - 2009/02/27

As I’m getting around to documenting some of the fun things I’ve gotten to do over the last year, this one was quite the blast. I updated my (Geek Fight * Attention Economy) talk with a new character — this time a woman who kicks serious ass.

At the very first BarCamp Seattle last June, we had a great turnout for “Starbuck vs. Samwise in a Fight (and what does that have to do with the attention economy)”. Here’s the session poster:

BarCampSeattle: Starbuck vs. Samwise in a fight (and what does that have to do with the attention economy?)

I’m not going to give away the thread of the discussion, because that makes it less fun if you ever get to drop in on one of these discussions — but I’ll tell you this, they are lively, fun, and get everyone to think.

I learn a ton every time I facilitate it.

Wanted to take a bit of time to note it because this theme of attention keeps coming up.

While at the Seattle Drupal User Group’s MiniCamp this last Saturday, Gregory Heller, Scott Falconer, Larry Swanson, and I began talking about how we need a camp about content that is tool independent and all about “signaling through the noise”.

Since “content” is such a boring word, I suggested an “Attention Camp“, which seemed to strike a chord.

Looking around for a domain, “attentioncamp.com” is being squatted — so I went with the next best things —

  • attencioncamp.com (we could all use a little revolucion! no?)
  • attncamp.com (140 char headline writing seems to be seeping into my thinking)

So we’ll see — I’m pinging possible partners in crime to see if this thing has legs. If you are interested, tweet me and join the discussion.



Fake Steve Jobs is Dead, Long Live Fake Steve Jobs

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/08/06

My favorite anonymous blogger of all time has been unmasked. Yesterday the New York Times revealed that Fake Steve Jobs, author of the witty and sarcastically insightful Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, is actually Daniel Lyons, a senior editor at Forbes magazine.

Scoble points to a cool insight from Scott Karp over at Publishing 2.0 on lessons to be learned by the whole thing —

Fake Steve proves that big media companies have the talent in house — they just can’t get out of their own way to experiment with disruptive innovations.

Couldn’t agree more, and to take it a bit further, I think there really is a place for anonymous posting sometimes.

The first time I ever began to appreciate the idea that there could be a place for anonymous internet posting was back in 2000 — when I participated in a lively online community for the first time. We got into a fun experiment where a pastor friend of mine used an anonymous character on a public church bulletin board to “spur on” some folks in his congregation.

It was the first time that I saw someone in a reserved organization say things that needed to be said with an over the top sarcastic wit that signaled through the noise.

It went well beyond the “nice” conversations you were “supposed” to have at church, and, funny enough, it captured a lot of attention (especially in a sub-culture where hyperbole seems to have been dropped from everyone’s literary toolkit).

The more I think about these experiences the more that I firmly believe that, while there are clearly dangers of anonymous postings (where people do not own their words), there are also clearly situations where anonymity can breed a level of honesty that can be, shall we say, quite fruitful at times.

FSB is dead — Long live FSB.



Gratitude as the driving force behind Google

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/09/28

Here is a cool quote about what drives Google engineers —

The thing that drives the right behavior at Google, more than anything else, more than all the other things combined, is gratitude.
It is well buried in this long articulate rant by Steve Yegge on why most Agile development hype is akin to sci-fi religion yoohoo — he frames the nice stuff by so much self aware BS detection that, well, I kinda believe it.

Definitely want to digest the whole thing as I have more time.



Nothing like a closely followed policy

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/05/04

From the annals of “The Daily WTF” comes “Hungry Hungry HIPAA” — a story of healthcare IT training (my specialty) gone awry — very very awry.

The lead in (quoted below) is great — the story is priceless — hard to read if you are at all security minded — you’ve been warned.

I get pretty excited whenever a new regulatory framework like HIPAA or SOX is enacted. Not only does it bring the potential to sit on a committee responsible for deciding the procedure needed to formulate a project request to initiate the creation of group responsible for determining the key players on a compliance assessment team, but it brings some pretty interesting stories of non-compliance like this anonymously submitted one …


Mind Camp 2.0

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/04/07

Mind Camp 2.0 registration opened this AM. Event is Saturday April 29-30 in West Seattle. It’s going to run $25 a head this time to help cover costs.

Get in quick if you want to go — space went fast last time. Register at –

http://www.mollyguard.com/event/28039868

From the email announcement –

Seattle Mind Camp 2.0 Begins: Apr 29, 2006 at 11:00 am Ends: Apr 30, 2006 at 12:00 pm Location: Youngstown Cultural Arts Center; 4408 Delridge Way SW; Seattle, WA 98106 It’s that time again… Seattle Mind Camp is a self-organizing, digitally minded, entrepreneur-driven, overnight Seattle confab. What happens when you put 200 of Seattle’s smartest people in a creative environment for 24 hours? We’re not sure either, but we’d like to find out. It’s time to meet and connect with those involved in the interesting projects going on in Seattle.


Vista ‘Porn at Bay’ (aka pBay ??)

Posted by bryanzug - 2006/01/09

Best tech quote from last week comes from Andru Edwards at Gear Live as he covered the CES show in Vegas. In a post on parental controls built into Microsoft’s Vista operating system –

…Vista has big plans for keeping Timmy’s future porn habit at bay.

That’s funny (and, unfortunately, oh so true)



They Say I’m Extreme

Posted by bryanzug - 2005/11/16

Went to Barnes & Noble over at U-Village a couple of days ago (near the University of Washington here in Seattle). Had been having a bad day and needed some time to clear my head — decided to wander the store and explore — which usually does the trick.

These days I’ve got so much past due (on every front, all the time), that I rarely wander aaround and shift gears to discovery mode — so it was a nice couple of hours.

Came across a cool little ‘explode your world’ book by Seth Godin called “The Big Moo”.

It’s a collection of essays by 30 people who would best be described as ‘change catalysts’. Godin serves as editor for the collection and it’s chocked full of nuggets (all of which are not credited to a particular contributor — that’s interesting).

One of the essays is called “They Say I’m Extreme” and it knocked me on my ass.

It was exactly what I needed to hear on that particular afternoon. I’m passing a few quotes of it along here (you can find the full version around if you google) — hope the copyright police don’t mind (and if they do, I hope they recognize the attention exchange as worth it).

If this inspires you, replicate the DNA by passing it along and buying the book (it’s a non-profit thing and all proceeds go to charity — bulk orders info available on The Big Moo site).


Here’s the first exceprt that got me…

They Say I’m Extreme They say I’m extreme. I say I’m a realist. They say I demand too much. I say they accept mediocrity and continuous improvement too readily. They say, “We can’t handle this much change.” I say, “Your job and career are in jeopardy; what other options do you have?” They say, “What’s wrong with a ‘good product’?” I say, “Wal-Mart or China or both are about to eat your lunch. Why can’t you provide instead a fabulous experience?” They say, “Take a deep breath. Be calm.” I say, “Tell it to Wal-Mart. Tell it to China. Tell it to India. Tell it to Dell. Tell it to Microsoft.”

Here’s another…

They say, “Happy balance.” I say, “Creative tension.” They say they favor a “team that works and lives in harmony”. I say, “Give me a raucous brawl among the most creative people imaginable.” They say, “Peace, brother.” I say, “Bruise my feelings. Flatten my ego. Save my job.”

And another…

They say, “We see Harvard M.B.A.s.” I say, “I seek certificate-free ‘Ph.D.s’ from the School of Hard Knocks.” They say they want recruits with “spotless records”. I say, “The spots are what matter most.” They say, “Integrity is important.” I say, “Tell the unvarnished truth, all the time…or take a hike.”

Last one…

They say, “Zero defects.” I say, “A day without a screw up or two is a day pissed away.” They say, “Think about it.” I say, “Try it.” They say, “Plan it.” I say, “Test it.”

Very nice bit of inspiration. A bit of googling this AM turned up an earlier version in a compelling visual form (.pdf). Amazing how Google can lead you right to the source with just a few bits of info.

Good stuff…



Best quote today from 43 Folders

Posted by bryanzug - 2005/11/08

Best quote today comes from Merlin over at 43 Folders in the post “Five email tics I’d love for you to lose” –

Friend: I love you, but you must evolve.


If software lived in meatspace

Posted by bryanzug - 2005/10/24

Great post on Signal vs Noise over at 37signals the other day proposing that “If software was physical you’d have to look away”.

It’s not only funny, but thought provoking as well (always a powerful combination in my book).

The idea came to mind again yesterday as I was talking with a friend who is a tech leader at a large healthcare organization in the Seattle area.

We were on the topic of content management systems (or knowledge management systems, if you prefer) and why the big expensive enterprise ones, like Microsoft’s Sharepoint products, result in so much suckage.

In reflecting on our discussion, I realized there are several ways to make the case — here are a few for instances –

For Instance 1: I can talk about how these types of systems don’t follow baseline “Don’t Make Me Think” usability principles — which works really well if the folks you are talking with are aware of Steve Krug’s work (and better still if they agree with it).

Even if they haven’t heard of “Don’t Make Me Think”, I’ve found that I usually sound smarter than I am (often the case — ha ha ha) because the title is funny and my sound bite description of Krug’s thesis often gels with folksy conventional wisdom — even if you don’t spend your free time studying human interaction and user interface design best practices.

(For the record, my soundbite synopsis of Krug’s thesis goes like this — “We think people use computers with much thoughtfulness, like many of us tech folks do — but, the research is showing they don’t — most folks actually go to a screen and just start clicking on stuff — often getting confused really fast and then giving up, or, alternately, settling into a process of smoldering frustration if they can’t accomplish the task at hand” — my colleague Christian Watson has posted this great picture of this point from the back cover of the book in his review of the second edition)

For Instance 2: I can describe how inflexible a Sharepoint system is when compared to some of the open source solutions that are quickly reshaping this business space.

For those of you that don’t know, there are a lot of free tools out there that are hands down kicking Sharepoint’s ass — examples include Xaraya (customer facing implementation of which can be seen via these sites from Sacred Heart Medical Center of Spokane, WA and The Schwab Foundation), Drupal, WordPress, Moveable Type, Mambo, Writeboard, etc.

For example — I can make most of the open source tools look like this or this or this (if it makes usability sense) but I can only make the Sharepoint site look like an ugly stepsister of this even if it is, to put it politely, not optimal for my users.

For Instance 3 (The Closer): I could take the 37signals cue and just say, “If Sharepoint existed in meatspace, you’d have to look away”.

The folks with good visualization skills would immediately feel nauseated, say “Yep — you’re right” and we’d all be moving on to the next topic.

This third method, in my book, is a noteworthy and cost effective method of rapid systems prototyping — ha ha ha



Google showing entire first episode of Chris Rock’s “Everybody Hates Chris” on demand in flash video

Posted by bryanzug - 2005/09/27

The headline says it all. URL is –

http://video.google.com/chris.html

If you don’t know why this matters, all I have to say is, “I’ve drawn the dots and numbered them. You’ve got to do the rest on your own…”



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