PodCamp London – Law of Two Feet

I’m in the middle of PodCamp London and, as usual, completely blown about about the quality of talks, the attendees here and the overall excitement that is taking place around the Convergence Centre.

One of the major parts of PodCamps is the Law of Two Feet. At its core, the means that anyone who is in a session and wants to leave is encouraged to.

However, my fear is that this in fact encourages a type of attention deficit disorder. If the speaker isn’t engaging you, you just get up and  leave. But perhaps if you were to “stick it out” an attendee would benefit from staying there.

These thoughts lead me to to look around the web, and eventually the “user guide for the open space world” and this quote:

Finally we come to the One Law of Open Space. It is a law only in the sense that all participants must observe it or the process will not work. We call it the Law of Two Feet. Briefly stated, this law says that every individual has two feet, and must be prepared to use them. Responsibility for a successful outcome in any Open Space Event resides with exactly one person — each participant. Individuals can make a difference and must make a difference. If that is not true in a given situation, they, and they alone, must take responsibility to use their two feet, and move to a new place where they can make a difference. This departure need not be made in anger or hostility, but only after honoring the people involved and the space they occupy. By word or gesture, indicate that you have nothing further to contribute, wish them well, and go and do something useful.

I know that personally I’m going to work harder to exercise the law in this way and when I leave, its because I wish to further the experience for others and not just myself.

Canada: Politically and Digitally

Walking up in Stratford on May 3rd and I’ve got a lot of Canada on my mind.

The results from the general election are all in, and we have both a similar and radically different government. The next four years will be an interesting time in Canada and I’m both nervous and excited to see what will happen now. Its been a long time since we last had a majority government and I hope no one get to excited too quickly.

Also on my mind, and the reason I’m in Stratford today, is the Canada 3.0 conference. This is my second year attending and I”m hoping for a radically different impression then I had last year. Already I know that London Ontario is going to make a difference and a scene here and that will help the overall conference feel. Check out www.ldn30.com for London content live from the event and our live video broadcast.

Canada is at a cross roads now, both politically and digitally. I’m hoping that I can play a role in the latter and shape the future of Canada’s digital space. I’m raring to go and show what can be done through dedication and commitment and how the digital future will be driven by grassroots efforts.

My FitBit Story

Over a year ago I came across a nifty looking device that was currently available for pre-order; the FitBit. In a nutshell; the device tracks your steps (like a pedometer), number of calories burned, miles walked, and an overall “active score”. It uses an accelerometer to sense motion in all directions and get an accurate picture of your day. Additionally when worn at night it tracks how well you sleep and the number of times you awaken over the night. On top of this; it syncs all this information to your profile online whenever you walk within 15 feet of the base station.

I was finally able to get one of these sweet little devices myself a little over a month ago and since then I’ve been addicted to thee data it provides! You can see my overall progress online and track my attempts to be more active in my day-to-day life (which is hard when you sit behind a computer all day).

Sadly, today when I walked out to my car, the FitBit became unclipped from my pocket and disappeared! I didn’t notice until much later that it was gone; and as you can imagine I was heartbroken. My mind started to race about where it could be, and who may have run it over or (gasp) stolen it!  Then I started to think about I’d return to my inactive ways now that I didn’t have a little piece of technology encouraging me daily. Pictures of my stuffing my face with donuts flashed through my mind!

When I got back to my office, I brought up the FitBit website and started to search to see if they offered replacements for situations just like mine.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find any infromation, but I did track down an email address. I dropped their support line a note, asking if they sold replacement units.

Within the hour I received an email back from the FitBit Team.  They expressed honest disappointment in the loss of the FitBit and then did an incredible thing; asked for my mailing address so they could send me a free replacement.

Now, I realize that in the age of social media we’ve come to expect this sort of thing. We hear (and I preach) that “Word of mouth is the best advertising”. And you know what; its true. Simply offering to providing me with a replacement when I was willing to pay is the best customer service I could ever receive. And as a result of this action; I’m going out of my way to tell everyone not only what a great device this is; but also that a great company built it.

However; after getting this email I started thinking about where I was today, and how it could have fallen out of my pocket. So I walked to the parking garage and scouted around the cars. To my surprise there was the FitBit! Lying on the ground, completely unharmed! I snatched it up, secured it deep it my pocket and tracked my steps back to my desk.

So, even though, I didn’t necessarily get anything out of FitBit ; I feel that they deserve huge congratulations for their company behaviour.  A real person replied to an email; with real emotion; it a very fast time frame. They offered to look after me and weren’t looking for some kickback or promotion.  Kudos to Rachel and the team at FitBit!

Three Words for 2011

I don’t typically do New Years resolutions or make public proclamations about how I’ll improve in the upcoming year. However I was encouraged by Chris Brogan’s Three Words from 2010 to develop my own: Use Less Words

I get the irony or having to use more words to explain what this means and how I’ll apply it; but here it goes.

1. Being able to explain a point in a concise manner

2. Less talking about something and more action towards accomplishing it

3. Using more multimedia (audio and video) to share content and explore ideas.

I’m looking forward to applying this in 2011 and I hope that it makes the upcoming year more successful for myself, my projects and my city.

Delicious(ness)

I’m a little bit late to the discussion around the shutting down selling of Delicious but I’ve taken the time to think through exactly why this move is so strange.

Yahoo! has come out firmly as a content company. They want to produce and package information to be consumed by the masses of internet users. If we applied a Technographics profile to their ideal audience it would be Spectators.

Now the interesting thing about being successful at creating content; you need to produce information that enough people want to engage with. Ideally you need to have a finger on the pulse of society before society knows that they really want to learn about.

The best way to find out that information is to crowd source it. Essentially take advantage of a thousands of people who are curating the web and identifying trends as they become trends.

See where I’m going with this? Delicious provides Yahoo! (and anyone else for that matter) with real time information about what people are finding interesting and what to know more about. For a media company this information should be incredibly valuable.

And this is why Yahoo!’s decision to divest themselves of Delicious is so confusing. They’re throwing out their best research tool; information they paid nothing for and which they can easily monetize around. However because you can’t make money off the raw materials they ignore the potential when its combined with other arms of the business.

Maybe I’m overly pessimistic, but is this the beginning of the end for crowd-sourced information gathering?

Good vs. Great

I rely heavily on the internet and cloud applications in my day to day life. With the release of the Chrome Webstore I’ve been turning to the web for even more computer needs.

However, I’ve noticed one thing about many of these applications, and what makes an ok one versus a great one.

Its all in the back button. As in, great applications don’t rely on that crutch. Most websites don’t need great UI because if the visitor ever gets confused they can just ‘back out’ of the situation. Web applications don’t have the luxury, there need to be a way for me to navigate through your ‘site’ without every having to use typical browser functions.

I’ve started to realize though, that this shouldn’t be a requirement of just cloud apps. All websites should be held to this standard, and its nowhere near common enough. As an example, take your favorite webpage and turn it into an application via Chrome. Is it still as intuitive as before?

What do you think? Am I completely off my rocker and (as I expect) have no real design sense?

Museum Telethon

I don’t often talk about the actual on the ground implementation of some of the projects that I’m involved with. Its not because they aren’t really neat, but rather because I’m not one to brag about my accomplishments.  However I have talked before about the need to move from idea into action, so I thought I should share something that I have been involved with recently.

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Eight Principles of Fun

I’m going to apply these 8 principles to all new projects and then use them to continually evaluate through the process.

Moving from Idea to Action

Last night I was able to see my friend Scott on his London stop for his UnMarketing book tour.  As always,  Scott did an amazing job connecting with the audience and explaining why marketing isn’t a department its part of every interaction your employees have.

However, I was left with a couple of thoughts after the evening.

Many people focus on the concept of ideas and get very excited hearing new ones and feeling like they are part of a club that “gets it”.  Unfortunately too many people don’t think that they should implement those ideas and put them into action

So to everyone who was there last night, or people who participated on Twitter, here is my call out to you:

What are you going to do, today, tomorrow and in the coming months to put into action one of the many things you heard Scott say? It shouldn’t be too hard, his talk was full of “actionable items”.

Pick something and make that change in your personal and corporate life. Once we all start implementing ideas rather then just taking about them then we’ll be really “Un” Marketing.