Strategies for a discontinuous future.

Consulting & advisory, research notes, in the press, about bubblegen,
next wednesdays.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Hey guys, thanks for all the comments below. There is clearly a lot of interest in more hands-on advice.

I need two things from you guys to do that most productively.

First, more concrete needs - what exactly would help the most?

Second, to open source it somehow. How can we all help each other more effectively? Would open threads here help?

-- umair // 1:14 PM //


Umair, I don't know exactly what kind of tool would be the most useful and efficient.

Personally, what I would like a collective effort to focus on, is the heuristics necessary to conceptualize the complex dynamics we're talking here.

I've been trying to do such a thing on the wiki I set up here ( wiki.macroprinciples.com ) . I never got past the step of setting it up and define the structure a bit, for a lack of time, but it can be used to exchange collectively if we want: everybody who ever edited a wikipedia entry will be able to do the same without learning curve.

I've disabled the possibility to sign up because I didn't want to spend time on fighting spam. If anyone is interested in making contributions, shoot me a one-line email and I'll create an account for you.

Of course, if this is to be used seriously, I'll make the necessary adjustments to enable automatic sign-up...
// OpenID Julien // 1:57 PM


Re: open sourcing /open threads

We're developing a creative commons tool for collaboratively mapping and evaluating complex, multi-dimensional arguments -- with the ability to share / embed the argument maps in blogs.

I'd be happy to help structure discussion here if the mapping approach appeals to you (and rest of the folks).

// Anonymous David // 2:49 PM

comments are transparent so already open-source. I would just follow your own intuition. Start with where the rot is worst and suggest some pathways out of it.

If you want to coordinate around some themes you could always set up a wiki or other such collaborative platform, maybe a ning space?
// Anonymous james // 2:50 PM

I don't think technology will lead the solution, instead it will follow the people who are changing the way important real-world needs are being met. The people who are making the necessary changes often lack necessary technical help. Find them and help them, or be them. Open-source the technical aspects and it will help others organize more solutions.

I'm thinking particularly about food, housing, healthcare, childcare, etc.
// Blogger Bob // 3:40 PM

re: "open threads"

> You need something better than blogger comments. Goog gave up on blogger years ago.

> Maybe add Disqus?

> Could also consider using some google docs type open document that people could edit/share.

> Or make a page on bubblegen that imports feeds... so folks could all write back and forth anything that creates an RSS feed.

> Or import a feed from a service like delicious so folks could tag a specific page and make comments on it and send it to bubblegen.

UGH... I cannot get this captcha right!?
// Anonymous Rick // 3:51 PM

1) Getting all pedagogical won't move the ball. You shd engage your audience. Put them to work. Let them suggest. Let them critique. Let them vet the ideas. Let them summarize and conclude.

2) Why not use the Socnet tools that are out there to run the conversation? Roadtesting a half dozen SkypeChats, Facebooks, etc would make the process even more useful.

3) Don't confine the conversation to media or make media the dominant thread. Another theme might be more useful. Money? Power?
// Blogger Phoneranger // 3:52 PM

I think adding Disqus to the Bubblegen blog is all you need in terms of a "tool" to make this more useful.

You can set it up to send comments to your email and then reply to a comment by replying to the email.

It rocks...and would alleviate the need for you to do those replies where you individually address several different people in one comment.

As far as concrete "needs", I would like to see you just put out some ~30 word "elevator pitches" for different business ideas.

This would be good because:

1. It would be REALLY stimulating for entrepreneurs and the conversation as a whole

2. there's so much variability in the details of how "elevator pitches" get executed that you're not really giving anything away (e.g. "embedable Flash-based video player")

Maybe you could also turn around and offer to be a [limited] advisor to any entrepreneurs that run with these ideas. Get a little "market" action going.

Finally, I'm all for moving past the problems of the media industry, but why don't you hit us with some science on this "make ads that don't suck" meme you've been riding for ~4 years ;-)

I have my own thoughts on it but they don't amount to any particular scalable "service". It's just talking points for agency types (make ads that are useful, make tools for your customers, blah blah)

I think GetSatisfaction is the closest thing I've seen to a scalable Marketing 2.0 service.


Don't fall off the wagon!
// Blogger Ethan Bauley // 4:18 PM

PhoneRanger: Pedagogical? Good one!

My thoughts -

1) Mini-Case Study:
I agree with Rick's comment on yesterday's post (#17). "Maybe the beauty of Umair's posts is the lack of specificity."

There is a lot of value in making us think for ourselves. The reason I enjoy your writing so much is because I can always extrapolate your ideas and thoughts into what work I'm doing, or want to be doing.

Nevertheless, a concrete need that I think would help would be for you to pick an industry that could potentially solve big problems - but isn't yet - and take us down the path of what you would do. That alone would expose some of your thinking and would help us apply those ideas to other industries. I vote that you talk about energy.

And if that works, maybe you do another mini case study on another industry/big problem.

2) Disqus.com
As for open threads:
I recommend discuss (http://disqus.com/) for threaded comments.
// Anonymous Jim Parker // 4:41 PM

For me, any 2.0 frustration comes out of the feeling that many commentators etc assume by restating the most obvious benefits, that's enough.

But for anyone trying to show and make changes in a larger company, the more discussion of open standard metrics, measurements, and returns on 2.0 endeavours, the easier it becomes to get more involved.

I'm very lucky in that I work for a company which is really getting behind community and 2.0 approaches, but a lot of my time at the moment is being taken up with experiments in metrics, rather than getting on with producing results...
// Blogger Dan Thornton // 4:43 PM

Open social forces open social. How cool is this?!
// Blogger Scott Crawford // 4:46 PM

I remember a few weeks ago, you made a comment about Kevin Rose deciding to become a Nerd Rock Star instead of using Digg to create real value. Then you let the ball drop and didn't explain what he could have done differently to create value.

I feel like that little bit of specificity would add immense value to your posts. Your meta critiques are awesome, but some more granularity would help. The example proving the point, etc.

I don't want to speak for other commenters, but I feel like I get and agree with your general ideas, what I really enjoy is when you give examples of how those ideas are playing out in specific situations (and don't get me wrong, you do that sometimes, I would just like to see more of it).

For example--you have mentioned a few times why Etsy can be the next Google. I would to hear your thoughts on that.
// Blogger TuckerMax // 5:01 PM

I completely agree with Tucker's comment. And as I have commented before, let's hear how we could take down the monster that is Paypal...for that matter Ebay too which is becoming a pox on the web and its users. Instead of just cursing the darkness let's try lighting some candles.
// Blogger Joseph // 5:15 PM

This is my first post here, but I've been reading this blog for a while since, in general, I'm very impressed with the quality of thinking here.

I would prefer to see the following:

Umair starts 5 or 6 "threads" (however they are technology managed) where he lists value-chains that are clearly suboptimal, in decay, whatever, along with as much insight as he's willing to give on _why_ they are in decay and where explicitly value is destroyed/ not created where it could be. Then as a community, we discuss possible new value-chains that address these concerns. I think it'd be too much to ask Umair to give us a full solution, but it would be greatly appreciated if he participated in these threads to keep them on track.

// Blogger Brad // 7:15 PM

Hi Umair,

I'm one of the founders of Disqus. Ethan Bauley was kind enough to direct me toward this post.

I think Disqus will work very well for what you need. I'd be happy to help you set up or answer any questions.
// Anonymous Daniel Ha // 7:22 PM

Possibly fine tuning it with Disqus word be a perk, but wont fundamentally change how BubbleGen works.

The way you are currently doing it (specifically with your most recent posts) is great, i.e. raise an issue through the lens of your BubbleGen framework, then let the comments of the community run their course.

But, I think what would add the most value to this site would be simply you posting alot more in the comments. Not just explaining yourself in the first post completely, but throwing an idea out there, and letting us all think, discuss, argue and agree over it, and you then throwing in your ideas on the issue, for a more natural discussion style theme.
// Blogger Pana // 1:00 AM

For me, your most valuable posts are ones that assess the weaknesses and strategic mistakes made by today's business and broader industries in light of disruption at the edge. I think your insights found at the intersection of economic guiding principles and new edgeconomy sources of value are the key.

What would really help is a set of frameworks and edgeconomy tools that allow more people to understand and apply your lessons.

For example, what is your version of disruption model in the edgeconomy? How does good v. evil translate into business model and monetization strategies? How have value chains been transformed in the edgeconomy? Can companies and industries change their DNA for success in the edgeconomy, and if so, how? What should the Fed, SEC, FCC policies be to adapt to the edgeconomy?

Thanks for the opportunity to help. I can add more and be more specific if you'd like to discuss.

I'm looking forward to your follow-up.
// Anonymous brucemacv // 7:32 PM

May I(very humbly) suggest Haquespertise?
// Blogger preetam // 9:06 PM

cultivating the community.

the current functional set up is not good for type of stuff discussed here.

the thread 'comments' are fine being asynchronous - in the current set up anyone can add their pennies worth whenever they want. As it should be.

BUT the thread topics in "practice" are not asynchronous (really) because they drop "below the fold" - out of site - and forgotten.

Blogs are okay for rapid fire topics that are quickly forgotten, but some of the subject themes discussed here need to be returned to - or explored more fully before the topic drops below the fold (like my email does ;) )

Not a wiki tho' (this is all asynchronous) - the style would be too static and boring. It aint dynamic enough.

Could i make a suggestion. If you look on the commentisfree - Most active box. Would keep topics that need to be discussed more at the top of the list (remaining true to peer production ;) )

Huffpost (NO) the 'comment style' and function is too fluid for bubblegen and overkill. Does not rank the topics in interest.

Digg clone (NO) - wouldnt work cuz there aint enough traffic.

So once again, a commentisfree most active box - is imho your best bet.

no clue if disqus does all this.
// Anonymous Ray // 9:43 PM

Commentisfree looks interesting...

Disqus really gets at a lot of that, and they're improving that service daily.

Check out Fred Wilson's thought pattern on USV's investment in Disqus:

"[Disqus] allows the comments to go anywhere and everywhere where there is an audience for them. Abstracting comments from the blog hosting platform does for comments what RSS has done for content; it allows the comments to flow freely to whatever place it should most logically be consumed."

I think there are a lot of other great ideas going (in the comments here and at preetam's blog) but Disqus is a quick fix for some minor problems...

yadda yadda
// Blogger Ethan Bauley // 9:59 PM


Yes, Disqus has a lot of interesting features like that, including showcasing items that are most Disqused(active), top commenters etc. It also lets your sort comments by top/best/newest/oldest, etc.

check out: weareindia for most discussed videos.
then check out: mr. tripathi for threaded comments.

disqus is v. cool, but not the solution to the problem. i sort of agree w/ Julien..we need a reasonably heuristic framework(could be as simple as a well-constructed wiki) to pull this off..
// Blogger preetam // 10:01 PM

What ever happend to the Bubble Gen Wiki? It was started a while back...that could be a great place to allow the community to explore conrete ideas. Can you post the link on the Bubble Gen site Umair?
// Anonymous Zack // 7:00 AM

Umair, I request to fix the links for archives please, archives for 2007 and 2008 does not exist at all. (I think this because of the way you changed your permalink url type of the posts).

A trivial suggestion but most easily doable.

// Blogger Rajan // 8:33 AM

returning to my comment about education, I will be creating my own blog exploring the idea if anyone is interested. I just got the domain yesterday. I am about to go set it up now.

the domain is:


Again, the theme will be to explore
alternative education methods with an undercurrent theme of doing to debt based higher education what file sharing has done to record labels. I know the analogy probably makes some people cringe - but we can explore the positive possibilities and confront the negative head on.... Should be fun.
// Blogger one // 7:04 AM

Crazy idea Umair ... how about a hands-on face to face workshop. Name a time and place. UK, Canada, US ... don't care. This is really important and getting some of brains that follow this blog together could have incredible repercussions.
// Blogger allan isfan // 8:31 AM

All we need is forums/wiki people.
// Blogger Ismail D // 8:17 PM
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