First off, a big thanks to you for helping us launch The Big Idea Blog this year -- we love the feedback we're getting via karma votes, comments, emails, txt msgs, and of course in person!
Today's Big Idea comes from Thomas Jefferson,
"Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today"
Of course for those Mark Twain fans among us who likely subscribe to his
"Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow"
Jefferson's admonishing seems easier said than done!
There is something to be said for tradition of course. I see it every year at my gym -- the parking lot is filled to overflow in January, and returns to normal levels around mid February.
Don't get me wrong, I love traditions -- they are little stars we get to orbit around throughout the year. And speaking of stars, it reminds me of the Weird Al song, "That's Your Horoscope For Today", where he mockingly says:
The stars predict tomorrow you'll wake up, do a bunch of stuff and then go back to sleep
So why do we do it? We make the resolutions with all good intention of following through -- an aspirational goal if you will. The optimist sees opportunity while the pessimist thinks of the nature of the surface material on the road to hell. Somewhere in the middle is the rest of us. But broken promises to ourselves can have a negative reinforcing loop effect.
There is a transformative power in writing down goals, reading them aloud, and posting or declaring them publicly (think of how wedding vows are exchanged, oaths of office, or ceremonies are performed). Change Agents know that once you can name a thing you can control it. Mythology is filled with stories of deities and saints who create things by speaking their names. Change agents are like modern day superhero's. The word of the day is "reification".
When you are ready for change you move from passive to active. Why be passive and wait for the coincidental passing of some arbitrary time to get started?
One of my all time favorite quotes, that is at once so simple, elegant, powerful, it's almost zen-like in its meaning, comes from a fictional character:
Do, or do not. There is no try. - Yoda
So if you must make any New Years Resolution, make it final: No more New Years resolutions.
Today's Big Idea: Treat everyday as if it were New Years Day.
Here's a mental exercise to get you started: I sometimes like to think that I wake up everyday inheriting the memories of a previous 'me' -- who is more real? The me that was? Is? Or will be? What would you do differently today if you could start it over? For the lighter side of existential philosophy go rent "I Heart Huckabees" (how am I not myself?), or "Joe Versus the Volcano", or even "GroundHog Day".
When people hear I am in the idea business, they often tell me their 'million dollar idea.' You know, the one that will make them a cool million.
I think its good to have huge, game-changing, new to the world ideas. But, one million dollar idea isn't enough. Your idea may be un-workable due to current technology or already in process by a major corporation or...well anything. Instead I recommend to them (and you) to have lots of big ideas. Have so many that you can't get to all of them, so many that you run out of space. Then you'll be forced to work on the ones that are most profitable, quickest or fun. (A good metric, by the way.)
Knowledge Management tools seem to be going through the same kind of spasms that regular OS User Interfaces have experienced ever since the GUI was developed by XEROX PARC.
We seem to be saddled with these outmoded metaphors of things like "files and file cabinets" -- and even the concept of 'disks' as something tangible (physically spinning memory??) -- are fading fast with flash drives and network attached (web-based) storage.
Given the capabilities of the medium we're working in, "scalable user interfaces" could be leveraged to provide access to content in a way that is meaningful to each user, without having to change the underlying Knowledge Owner's mental models or the Knowledge Objects/Elements they create.
Taking it a step further, using the ideas of "aspect programming" content could be personalized in a way that allows/provides each user a perspective or view on the content in an order that makes the most sense to them -- even in the case of something as pathetic as 'ego'.
The idea of having "editions" of collected works is largely meaningless, when what you're really concerned about is the currency (and history) of any given Knowledge Object -- micro versioning if you will....
I'm not sure though that the collective 'we' have developed the right vernacular and metaphors to be able to discuss such a system, let alone be conversant not only among ourselves, but among the potential users writ large!
It reminds me of the story of the "iron horse" -- that fundamentally people thought of mechanizing existing models -- they thought they wanted an iron horse -- what they needed was a locomotive. Or as Henry Ford has said about not giving people what they wanted: "Faster Horses" (see my post on Telling People What they Need to Hear). Something of a paradigm shift was needed to move society forward: New Metaphors had to be developed and dispersed.
It seems to me that we cling desperately to the ink stained pressed dried fibers of woody stem plants and the associated forms and utilities created to make them more useful (such as forewords, tables of contents, indices). They are no longer precious to us and no longer deserve the veneration.
Today's Big Idea: Its time to abandon our "Cult of the Dead Tree"* -- to burn its codex in effigy for all to see so that we may break its spell and allow us to transcend it.
*The inspiration for the title "Cult of the Dead Tree" came to me in my IDSC 6471 Knowledge Management class at CSOM. I was thinking about the power of metaphors and wondering, what it must look like from a completely alien archaeologist kind of perspective about what a report on civilizations on planet earth would include? What would you say about the us and our fascination with killing trees and staining them in order to transfer knowledge, only to bind them and put them up inside of buildings or dump the remnants in landfills. And how odd things like paper shredders would seem? Therefore....
Please consider the environment before printing this blog entry
The purchase process was easy, the download instantaneous.
But the Nook has Issues.
When I hit page 33 and try and go to the next page, it pauses, and jumps to page 55 (start of chapter 2) -- if I hit the back button, nothing happens, so I hit a second time and it now randomly sends me back to page 12 or page 18.
A quick Google search, tells me that B&N Message Board and a blog post here says I'm not the only one. As this blogger points out, there is no "go to page" option -- just cover, and chapters.
Also for additional content, I found FictionWise a Barnes & Noble company! But not all the content available is compatible with the Nook, nor is it integrated into B&N's main site. Seems like it would be trivial for them to make a link -- like with its used books.
I totally get that this is a "version one" release -- I'm a little stunned that this kind of problem exists -- you'd think QA/QC would have caught something like this. You would think that actually turning the pages in order would be, I dunno, a basic Tier 1 test?
*UPDATED* Evidently changing the font will allow you to read the content, but the page numbers disappear -- which really, when you think about it, the page numbers are coincidental anyway...important in some contexts...but largely concidental....especially in an e-book reader. Noodle on that over coffee this morning....