Archive for 2007

Presentations as progress

Friday, December 21st, 2007

I’ve been traveling quite a lot and looking back after the last one in K.U.Leuven, Belgium, I’ve given over 100 presentations this year. That averages about two per week and considering that my real job is running a company and I don’t actively sell any of these appearances, it’s quite an honor to be invited by so many different people to interesting places to expand my own thinking. Thanks to all who have been perspective devices and centrally involved in getting my atoms transported from place to place.

Some think that giving presentations is about broadcasting your message, but for me presentations are really about growing new connections: inside and outside. If I have the opportunity to speak, I also have the opportunity to get really deep into certain developments in our society to gain new perspectives. I don’t want to run the same speech every time, but remix my consciousness with new points of view.

The stress and preparation required for a presentation is always an opportunity for re-evaluating your arguments. Once the speech is done and the resulting adrenaline is getting you high, it’s time for reflection in a social setting how it went. I feel disconnected from myself if I don’t have a recording or other means to tear the presentation into pieces. In a sense, presentations are a gesamtkunstwerk (Richard Wagner) for me, a massive work of art shaking all senses. I feel sorry for those who repeat their rap to boredom and perfection, rather than progression.

Looking back, the quantum leaps that have emerged in my thinking have happened in my three trips to Italy: twice to Bolzano (Bolzano Conversation and ILIAS Conference) through Rome and once to Naples (EDEN Conference) through Rome. I’ve also had some great presentations in Netherlands (SURF Education Days) and Belgium (Dag van de Docent). I haven’t yet had the opportunity to upload all the presentations I’ve done this year but will do so eventually.

Why is Rome so important? Well it’s because of the reflecting conversations with Sepp, Susan, Robin and Roberto. Not to mention the transitory state that it has served for my trips. Thanks to Robin for getting us all in touch. Here is one of the more informal conversations we have shared, as transcribed by Robin:

Who knows what will happen in year 2008? Maybe I’m forgotted or in greater demand than ever. I’m very excited – and I have some great news in January.

Btw. If someone knows how to get rid of Google PageRank 0 for this blog, I would be very happy. I’m not a spammer, although my nerve waste can be a burden sometimes.

Escaping the Age of Speed: New Paradigms of Learning as Impacted by Social Technologies

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

This is a recording of a presentation I delivered at the SURF Education Days 2007, in Utrecht, Netherlands. I used VCASMO to sync the slides with the presentation afterwards.

The industrial revolution changed the meaning of the word “speed” from “good luck, success, prosperity and advancement” to something that resembles machine-like mechanical speed, effectively disconnecting context from time.

This thinking was later captured by increasing focus on efficiency in industrial organizations, a model that was also adopted by our educational system to meet the demands of efficient organizations of tomorrow. As we move towards a real-time economy, social software is shifting our thinking from efficiency to responsiveness and ability to adapt. Context is once again connecting with time and as a result, our system is facing increasing pressures to change. What opportunities, challenges and new ways of relating will emerge?

Click the magnifying glass to get the video in full-screen.

Interview with Stephen Downes at SURF Education Days 2007

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

I interviewed Stephen Downes at SURF Education Days 2007 in Utrecht, Netherlands. The conference was mainly about professional education. Thanks for the organizers for inviting me.

I’ve known Stephen’s great newsletter since 2001. He covered my previous project called MimerDesk on March 29, 2002 with the following notes:

For those of you looking for alternatives to six-figure learning management systems, here is an alternative that my be easier on your budget (and may change the way you approach online learning).

Well, MimerDesk really didn’t change the world in general but it teached me many things about the value of openness and thinking differently about online learning. The project has been discontinued since 2003, when I started to work on Dicole.

In february 2005 I interviewed Stephen Downes for a podcast and since then we have been watching the work of each other closely. Stephen’s work has been a source of inspiration for me for many years and I consider him as one of my real teachers since I left the cathedrals of traditional education. Finally we had the opportunity to meet in person at the dutch edu-blogger dinner (thanks to Wilfred Rubens and Keith Russell) and later at the SURF Education Days 2007 conference.

We both had presentations at the conference. I recorded Stephen’s great presentation on free learning vs. control learning and my own that will be available later. Until then, here is a video interview with Stephen Downes as we retreated from the conference to a restaurant to have a conversation on all things related to learning:

Here is a podcast version, if you want to listen it instead: [MP3, 14MB]

Privacy looters

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

I wrote recently about privacy issues related to Facebook, especially how private companies get away with it and the public just loves them. Everyone who reads Slashdot has already seen this, but anyway here are a couple of additional resources for the issue for those who are interested:

Clay Shirky has some interesting observations there. Employers can use the information they find about you online for anything they want. He points that if you aim a shotgun mic at someone or listen into the conversations of others on a public place that turns you into a weirdo. In the other hand, if Facebook employees aim “shotgun mics” at you it cannot be detected and they can get away with it much more easily.

A recent study also found that an average American is largely unaware of their privacy online and most (about 55%) falsely assumed that company’s privacy policies prohibited it from sharing their online activities with third parties.

“The more they know about you, the less you are.” – Marshall McLuhan


I will be in Netherlands, Utrecht next week for the SURF Education Days, as is Stephen Downes. There is a blogger dinner on monday.


I plan to start a videoblog about some of my activities at Dicole, 5 minutes per day. Because I’m quite busy I can’t do all this by myself so I need to find someone from Helsinki area who can help me. He/she should know some graphic design, video editing, sound processing, speaks english, can operate a video camera and has a great attitude. If you know someone or would like to work for an innovative company on a good spot looking at the adoption of social media within organizations, please contact me.

Fake blog award 2007:

Friday, October 26th, 2007

This had to happen. Fake blogs have landed to Finland. Millan blogi is the worst case I’ve seen so far. It has FAKE written all over it with invisible ink. I can almost imagine how the marketing department at PICNIC (a cafe francise) and some clueless ad-agency got together to envision a new format to reach their customers:

Our marketing is not effective enough. We are not reaching the 25-35 year olds through traditional means. We have heard that 25-35 year olds use the web and find their news online.

Clueless ad-agency:
We have a revolutionary idea: lets use the web as a medium and blogs as a platform to create an effective marketing campaign!

Hooray! How come we didn’t come up with that ourselves, it’s so obvious! Thank you, thank you, thank you… Let’s get right down to details…

Clueless ad-agency:
Hold on, we will send you an exp…eerr innovative offer with all the details by monday. We look forward to work with you on the best viral campaign the world has seen so far!

As if Finland needs more failed viral campaigns… The end result is a blog, run by an imaginary 30-something Milla, an easy going and funny woman living in a buzzling city, probably Helsinki. She is once in a while dropping by at Café PICNIC for a sandwitch or two to fatten the bottom line of the company while going to the gym. She obviously has a blog to report that. Get addicted to her stories by following her for months.

That’s where the whole plan starts to go horribly wrong. A huge marketing budget with high production values meets low-cost social media… a combination that has no taste nor future.

Let me go through a few of the disgraceful mistakes in this “blog”:

  • On the front page you can’t identify right away if the site is a blog written by some girl called Milla, or just a cheesy commercial. This is unforgivingly misguiding for the readers.
  • The front page features 9 fake pictures taken by professional photographers with pro-cameras. The photos scream “I’m fake” right at you.
  • A commercial starts to play immediatly to disrupt you. It scares you to death with its unauthenticity
  • The content is written in first person but the whole story is childish, cheesy and hard to believe. The story and language of Milla looks deliberately crafted. The truth shines through shamelessly: it’s not written by a real person called Milla, but some cheap part-time trainee at the clueless ad-agency
  • The posts appear in a strict schedule every monday (sometimes tuesday, because the trainee was lazy), drifting the story totally out of context
  • The blog refers to PICNIC in about half of the posts without any warning of affilliates

Technically speaking, this site misuses the whole concept of a blog:

  • No permalink to refer to each blog post separately
  • No RSS feed to subscribe to new posts
  • No timestamps
  • No commenting or trackback feature, the site is talking right-at-you rather than with you
  • No “About Milla” page telling who she is, who she represents, what she will write about and how to contact her

The site is everything but authentic. It’s a shame for the whole finnish blogging community, that sites like this exist with the name “blog” written on it. Some companies do it right, some listen to ad-agency drones who don’t know what they are doing. For a better example, see blogger Veloena sponsored by Suomen Kuvalehti. She is doing a great job and probably costs less than this shameful campaign.

I feel sorry for the initiators of this campaign. They obviously didn’t have the best expertise around. In fact, I feel so sorry that I volunteer to lend my copy of “Naked Conversations” (or give a signed copy of the translation “Blogit ja bisnes” with my foreword when it comes out) and provide FREE consultation for them to fix this misdoing with a fraction of the original budget. If you know anyone responsible for this, please ask them to contact me.

Do you have other examples of fake blogs in Finland? Let me know.