Digital Life Design II (afterthoughts)

I have let a few days, actually a whole week go by, before sitting down to post what has transpired and refluxed from my own handwritten notes. You know, the usual excuses apply, fact is that I am not a journalist, thus to report stuff as it happens is not on my priority list. A technorati search for “dld07” would give anybody a good cut of what people were writing as the event was happening.

What I particularly appreciated about the event was that it was where gloss meets geek, and that is indeed a great interface for advancing media and communication. Gloss being the more traditional media and geek, well being geek and internet. For some odd reason I was surprised at the tenor of the whole event being around sustainability. A sustainability discussion is to me always welcome, however I am not always convinced of the arguments, and more often than not tend to think that I have a much different understanding of what sustainability is. But then, why don’t I write more about it? After all I have worked in the area for several years, written several papers within specific client mandates, and have yet to publish one.

On the third day of DLD I had to confront my own ignorance. I had never heard of John Naisbitt and he was on the program first thing with a catchy “Mind Set” title. Naisbitt had a few good things to say to the questions from the moderator David Kirkpatrick.

What I got was that people are tired of the hype of technology, and that gloom and doom has become a religion of sorts. Although Nasbitt did not chain the two ideas, I would like to do it: It seems sometimes to me that when drowning in gloom and doom, it is rather easy to look for the saviour, and that saviour these days tends to take the form of technology hype, or hype of any sort. There is a lot of hype about innovation in some not so naive or populist circles, and there innovation is looked at as the saviour for whatever ails the system, the economy, or the enterprise. Sometimes it sounds to me like a domestic strife in that “the other” is always in the wrong, and only if “the other” had another personality, another something or other, would work on improving himself/herself, would say – innovate, then all would be well. If you are looking at the surface, then that is the right conclusion, but if you are looking at the surface, you are not seeing.

Naisbitt also made a good point about the problems associated with doing straight line extrapolation. Indeed there are a few classical examples of past future predictions based on straight line extrapolation that when we hear them today seem totally ridiculous and not just naive, but also pretty stupid. One is tempted to ask how people could have been so naive, and we often forget that we have not necessarily evolved all that much when it comes to extrapolation. Not all, but many economic models are based on based on linear coupling mechanics, while the whole of the ecosytem – that includes economics too – is highly nonlinear. In my view, one of the least predictable of the non-linearities has to to with human behaviour, and in particular human creativity and adaptability.

Naisbitt touched on a fair number of very zeitgeist issues including the speed at which events happen and the human expectation of that speed, journalism and old school media, shifting media mix, the move towards a more visual culture, architecture as an important art form, colour coding in communication, even terrorism.

I enjoyed the panel on “Interface and Design” that included Bruce Stirling, Chris Bangle, Tim Brown, and Walter Mossberg. Surely spimes and the iPhone came up in the same sentence. Most of it some of us have all heard it before, but it was good to listen to it all live.

The panel on the “Billion Dollar” bubble failed to thrill me much, but then that is my problem. Still there was something around the idea that the world is flush with cash and short on management. Let’s think about that one. Flush with cash, yes. But what is cash viewed from the perspective of sustainability? Is it management that the world is short of? I would more be looking for where the leadership is. Where are the leaders?

James Murdoch delivered a well polished closing keynote speech and brilliantly highlighted his company’s approach to sustainability. Good stuff, but I still do not have a television, however I have heard of Sky channel.

The “Cimate Change” was thoughtful, and while it brought no news, I do wonder how many people are actually listening or have listened to what is being communicated. Certainly there are whole nations bent on ignoring the whole climate debate. I am however not prepared to go into any detail on this issue. Good to know, but at the end of the day what is it that you are doing in your daily life? I tend to think that people are not concerned with global issues although these offer great excuses for all sorts of mishaps in one’s life, but a concern is not what I often find. So what is it that moves people to act?

The closing note has already been widely broadcast, so I will skip on commentary here. Although I could say that I found it interesting and any effort that raises awareness for nature is a good effort.

All in all, it was great to be in Munich.


Reboot 8: What have I learned so far? (before the dust settles… and i enter another chaos state)

To begin with it is tough, to say nothing of difficult, to deal with one’s expectations of an event like reboot that has been so praised and so anticipated! That and the fact that i, like a few other people, have been dealing with information input overload since about lunch time yesterday.

The best place to start is however to say that this is so far (June 2, 2006 15:00) this reboot is an excellent conference. Expectations and anticipation are a good thing, but somehow they are not the whole story. In fact these gray emotional states do cloud one’s thinking and need to be embraced and cherished.

The way that I see it, the paradigm shift already happened. We are here and the revolution is taking place. The shift is from capitalism to social humanism.  I am not quite sure what to call it, but let’s play around with the term social humanism along the lines that business is art and that it is all about sustainability somehow. How? We are working on it.

Due to my lackadaisical approach to studying Copenhagen’s map I missed Ben Hammersley talk. I got lucky and Bruno Giussani did blog on it. I managed to find myself as the guest of two different families thanks to the genius of Henriette Anderson Weber who had the wonderful idea of starting “can i crash?“.  Do not get me wrong, I find the experience delightful, however I could afford to improve my relationship to logistics.

I was rather in for a surprise with the talks by Adam Arvidsson that both enlightened and challenged my thinking. He gave both an introduction to sociology and revisited Marx idea of general intellect.I find it both amusing and appropriate that somebody would introduce an ethical economy by referring to Karl Marx and asking how does capitalism looks in its final stages.

I was rather pleased to have JP Rangaswami  (his blog) participate in my workshop, I wanted a challenge, I got it and I will blog on it as soon as my mind gets back to ground state and I can write something coherent, right now it feels like mush or rice pudding. Euan Semple is up on stage and I am going to listen to him.

LIFT06: It does

Sex sells. The  video is in Swiss-German, but the mimic… is yours.

Madison Avenue knows this, pimps know this, and a few other people know this: sex sells. Sex is a commodity. Is it?

No. Tacit, intangible, palpable, real it is. Sex is not a commodity. It is the primal paradox from which we originate. Primal not primordial: I like absolutes, this one is one of my favorites. There is something absolute about sex. A fact long forgotten by the so-called western culture is that an orgasm can be a most fundamental spiritual experience.

For the time being, I will suppose that necessity drives sustainability. Our needs are simple: food, shelter, spirituality and connectivity. We are social animals with the power of language. This is who we are on this planet.

It is not just men that think about sex every eight minutes or so, women tend be right there with the same stats. Still I found myself at this conference not even thinking about it, even when Hugh had his blog up on the big screen displaying a matter of much controversy these days: a cartoon. A penis somehow does not get anybody bent out or shape anymore. Why is that that even the presence of such evident symbology, sex was not on my mind?

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