Warning: I’m probably going to tweet a fair bit about #OzPol & #media140 this coming week

Because, along with the witty and intelligent @neerav @smurray38 @grogsgamut @paulwallbank, I shall be in Canberra blogging and tweeting about Media140 Oz Politics.

This event is on Thursday 23 September 2010.  There’s a fascinating line up of speakers and I’m expecting that my brain will be buzzing with ideas.

The agenda includes:

  • keynote addresses from US Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich and GetUp Director, Simon Sheikh
  • talks by Senator Kate Lundy and Dr Claire Wardle
  • feature interview with Rob Oakeshott

The official Twitter hashtags for Media140 Oz Politics are #OzPol and #media140 so keep an eye out for them if you’re interested in this kind of stuff.

A new dimension to analysis: Time to include a spiritual angle?

In business school we all learned to use the same analytical tools – S.W.O.T., P.E.S.T., P.E.S.T.E.L., BCG Growth Share Analysis, Competitor Analysis, Porter’s 5 Forces, etc.

But at dinner the other night, while chatting to some “kidults” (as they were introduced by their parents), we discussed the P.E.S.T.E.L. analysis.

This stands for an analysis of an issue in terms of the following factors:

  • Political
  • Economic
  • Social
  • Technological
  • Environmental
  • Legal

It was a joking suggestion from one of the my dinner partners that this analysis was missing an element that got me thinking.  This traditional business school analytical tool is typical of US influenced management thinking.  It is entirely rational.  It does not incoroporate any other perspectives.

I started to wonder, what happens if we add another element to this kind of analysis?  What happens if the last lens becomes:

  • Spiritual?

Not sure about the answer on this. But I am very curious as to how the answers change if we move from a P.E.S.T.E.L. analysis to  a P.E.S.T.E.L.S. analysis approach?

Privacy! Who the hell ever had privacy?

One question that I am often asked when speaking to groups about the digital revolution is “what about privacy?” This is usually in relation to social media and social networking.  Privacy comes from the Latin word privatus:

In Roman law, the Latin adjective privatus makes a legal distinction between that which is “private” and that which is publicus, “public” in the sense of pertaining to the Roman people (populus Romanus).
Source: Wikipedia

This question fascinates me.  Privacy is such a recent invention and many people seem to be unaware of this. Also there is an important distinction to be made between privacy and confidentiality.  Since time immemorial societies have acknowledged that some kinds of information are confidential.  A good historical example of this is the Catholic Church keeping the revelations made during their rite of confession confidential.

However, until very recent times – during the late twentieth century – privacy was an aberration.  Anchorites had privacy, but most people lived cheek by jowl with others for their entire lives.  This is important because privacy is predicated on separation. It is predicated on a physical separation between people – it is enabled by the spaces in between individuals.  If there are no spaces between individuals then privacy is very hard to achieve (or even to conceive).

In the past even the most wealthy and most exalted personages did not experience privacy.  Kings and queens lived surrounded day and night by their courtiers.  In the days before genetic testing even queens gave birth in front of their court to ensure veracity.

Historically nobles were attended, bathed and dressed by their servants.  The servants lived together in crowded quarters.  Secrets were very hard to keep in such a world.

For the poor, there was no separation even between people and their livestock.  And, if there was no separate room for the livestock, nor was there a separate room for any of the people.  Entire families were conceived, born, lived and died within shared physical spaces.

Even in cities people lived  a village-like existence (London is a good example).  Without transport to move easily from place to place people stayed within the confines of their local village.  Neither rich nor poor city dwellers experienced privacy.

Nor did the generations of the early twentieth century experience privacy.  During the first half of the century poverty meant that most people could not afford the luxury of privacy.  And during that same period the wealthy still lived with domestic staffs who cared for their needs (and continued to ensure little privacy).

Privacy for most of us only became possible with the advent of the post World War II economic and population boom.  The growth of tract housing in suburbs meant that nuclear families could live in large houses with separate rooms for most family members.  Thus it was in this period that people could assume that they had a right to privacy.

Thus a brief flowering of privacy in the latter part of the twentieth century allowed many people to assume that this was how things had always been.  It also allowed many to assume that this would continue.  However, with the advent of the hyperconnected world of the early twenty-first century we are seeing digital villages remove the spaces between individuals once again.

Perhaps the only thing that enabled privacy to blossom was the increased physical space between people and lack of communications technology during the late twentieth century? And perhaps it is now time to farewell privacy once more?

Some resources for thinking about privacy follow:

Twitter and the Australian election #ausvotes #ozpolitics

I’ll be heading off to Media140 OzPolitics in Canberra on 23 September 2010 (the Twitter hashtag is #OzPolitics). It fits nicely into many of the  discussions I’ve had about the recent Australian federal election

Some of the big questions I’ve been thinking about include:

  • Was the realtime web important in the outcome of the election?
  • Did Twitter play a major role in election discussions?
  • If there was significant conversation about the election on Twitter did the politicians listen to it?

I’m going to be exploring these questions over the next two weeks.

In the meantime I’ve been checking out some of the analysis of the election Twitter stream (mainly around the #ausvotes hashtag) done before, during and since the election.

Call for Papers: Haecksen Miniconf LCA2011

The folks over at LCA2011 are running a Haecksen miniconf and have issued a call for papers closing on 24 September 2010 …


“The Haecksen miniconf is on again! This year, linux.conf.au is going to be held in sunny Brisbane, and we want to invite women who develop, administer and play with FLOSS to come and join us again at the miniconf.

Important: The CFP closes at midnight 24 September 2010. Selected talks will be announced early in October. That’s not much time, so get cracking!

We’re attempting to mix it up a bit this year, so we’re looking for people willing to give long talks like normal (20 or 40 minutes), but we are also after lightning talkers, panel experts, and hands-on demos.”

Rethinking organisations: the digital revolution, social and convergence

An interesting question came up last Friday in a discussion with a group of Marketing and Communications folks from McDonald’s. It was about how social media might be situated and used differently depending upon whether you approached it from either a Marketing or a Communications team perspective. Also the question of who should “own” social media within the organisation was raised.

These are good questions and they got me thinking.

One of the things I often speak about is how technology is converging. How computers, televisions, mobile phones and broadband are converging together to give us new kinds of devices that call into being new kinds of content. As a result we are seeing the mashing up of media from diverse sources and its remixing. The much loved Hitler Downfall Parodies are a great example of this.

The convergence of technology is also being influenced by new kinds of software. Social software that is so easy to use that non-technical people can create and use it without needing to track down geek assistance. Software like Facebook and Flickr are great examples of this trend.

However, another trend associated with this change in technology is the skills and capabilities that businesses need to thrive in this new environment.

In the past, under bureaucratic systems that arose during the last two hundred years in the industrial revolution, specialised silos were created to enable businesses to scale effectively.

Bureaucracy has become a value laden term these days and it is generally used in a negative sense. However, bureaucracy was an essential way to organise people on a grand scale in an age before realtime digital communications. But now that there is almost ubiquitous realtime digital communications we are undergoing a digital revolution.

Our business structures, skills and organisation have not yet adapted to this new world. I can see the need for convergence of skills and activities to enable businesses to take advantage of the digital revolution. Thus I’m starting to see the need for a convergence of many roles and functions. We need to start thinking about how to totally remap the organisation to integrate digital functions effectively.

For example, in the areas of marketing and communications the boundaries start to blur already. The real task of these areas is to communicate with people, either inside our outside of the organisation. And, increasingly, their role is to converse and collaborate with their stakeholders. These functions are merging towards creation of collaborative communities as the audience morphs into participants rather than passive recipients.

The kinds of ideas that need to inform our thinking about how to reshape our organisations for the digital revolution include:

  • Networks: both human and technology networks are key, working out how to enable each of these inside and outside of the organisation is critical.
  • Amplification: understanding how these new human and technology networks amplify messages is imperative; defining cultural practices that embrace this idea is important.
  • Connected: determining how to manage people and business in an age where everything is connected – both people and things – as is how to use this power for business and social good.
  • Personal: the blurring of the boundaries between business and personal or between private and public is already occurring. We need to develop cultural and organisational practices that understand and enable us to manage this blurring of boundaries.
  • Social: human beings are social animals.  The Taylorist world view that has coloured much management thinking in the twentieth century needs to change and reflect this truth.  Humans are not interchangeable widgets and we are not machines.  It is time business leaders and structures change to reflect the social nature of human and business interactions.

We need to find ways to move away from hierarchy and silos. We need to find ways to move towards meshes and webs of relationships.  These are more like the way human beings relate in nature anyway.  The entire bureaucratic venture has been an unnatural way of being for humans. Humans need to find a way to make business more human and less machine like.

It seems that social computing and hardware convergence could be the catalyst for us to change our ways of running businesses so that they better meet human needs and map to human social needs, while continuing to make profits.

Australian courts decide “No Copyright in Newspaper Headlines”

It is interesting to read through the notes on this recent decision by the Federal Court of Australia. It’s worth reading the entire post on Mallesons’ site or even the judgement here on AUSTLII.

It looks like the traditional news media are losing ground on their ambit claims to own everything 😉

As Mallesons so neatly summarise it:

“The Federal Court of Australia today decided that copyright did not subsist in newspaper headlines. See Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd v. Reed International Books Australia Pty Ltd [2010] FCA 984. This is the first time anywhere in the world that a common law court has fully considered and decided this issue.”


“Businesses that abstract and summarise the works of others will be able to continue to use the title or headline of the original source when citing the original source.”

via No Copyright in Newspaper Headlines – 7 September 2010.

Innovation Bay seeking Startups for Angel Pitches

On Tuesday 21 September 2010 those smart folks over at Innovation Bay will be running another one of their angel dinners.

With these dinners Innovation Bay acts as a broker between “angels” (those with money to invest or advice to give) and “entrepreneurs” those with ideas and talent but not enough money or business advice.

Previously a number of Australian businesses have pitched and it has been reported that about $7m of funding has been raised as a result. This is great news for startups in Australia.

If you have a business and are looking for funding Innovation Bay is interested in hearing from you.


You need to submit a 90 second video to info@innovationbay.com telling us about the business and why we should select you. Please see some of the posts below for advice and guidelines as to how best to do this.


More infomation is available on http://www.innovationbay.com/