HyperScope Sprint, June 30 in Sebastopol

Last month, we held a HyperScope sprint at Jonathan Cheyer‘s house in San Jose.    (MCC)

https://i1.wp.com/farm1.static.flickr.com/221/497382906_fa363d9798_m.jpg?w=700    (MCD)

It was so productive and fun, we’ve planned another one at the end of this month, Saturday, June 30, from 10am until we drop. This time, we’ll be meeting at Christina Engelbart‘s house in beautiful Sebastopol.    (MCE)

Please join us! This will be an excellent opportunity to learn more about the HyperScope and to hang out with some very interesting and cool people. RSVP at Upcoming or contact me if you’d like to attend, and I’ll forward more details.    (MCF)

HyperScope Sprint this Saturday in San Jose

Brad Neuberg, Jonathan Cheyer, and I will be meeting at Jonathan’s place in San Jose this coming Saturday, May 12, at 10am for an ad hoc HyperScope sprint. Please join us! This will be an outstanding opportunity to meet the team, learn about HyperScope, and help us move the project forward. If you’d like to participate either face-to-face or remotely, please drop me a line or RSVP on Upcoming.org. Hope to see you there!    (M8T)

Catalytic Communities’ Secret Sauce: Trust

A few weeks ago, I drove down to The Tech Museum in San Jose for the Tech Museum Awards exhibit. All 25 recipients were there showing off their projects, including Theresa Williamson, who was an Equality Award Laureate for her organization, Catalytic Communities.    (LKF)

I’m a big fan of Theresa’s. She is a wonderful person, and she’s doing awesome work. Catalytic Communities, besides having one of the best names in the business, is a knowledge-sharing network for community activists all over the world. It consists of an online database of community solutions and a community center in Rio de Janeiro known as the Casa. There are over 130 projects over nine countries documented on the site, and over a thousand local community leaders have met at the Casa to share stories.    (LKG)

What’s really interesting is that she’s doing an outstanding job of leveraging technology to help catalyze her network, even though her tools and her organization’s knowledge of tools is rudimentary at best. Theresa says that she first heard the term, “Wiki,” from me at a talk I gave a few years ago. Well, her ignorance of the concept hasn’t hurt her one bit, and it may have even helped.    (LKH)

At the awards exhibit, I asked her what she thought her secret sauce was for catalyzing a vibrant network. “Trust,” she responded without hesitation. I shook my head vigorously and protested, “No, that’s too trite. What have you done to build that trust?” She thought for a moment, then cited the importance of Casa. She suggested that face-to-face interaction was even more critical for building trust in Brazil than it was in this country, where a culture of digital literacy is starting to emerge.    (LKI)

I think the jury is still out as to whether or not face-to-face is inherently better for building trust than other mediums. Nevertheless, there is unquestionably something special about face-to-face interactions, yet many organizations don’t do a very good job of leveraging this.    (LKJ)

Looking back, I was too quick to dismiss Theresa’s initial response: Trust. This past year, several groups asked me to comment on online tools they were building to help catalyze knowledge sharing and collaboration within their networks. The majority of the efforts were completely over-engineered. The problem was that the designers got too excited about Web 2.0 bells and whistles, and didn’t think deeply about how those features addressed their underlying challenges, challenges such as how to build trust within a network.    (LKK)

When I originally founded Blue Oxen Associates, my main goals were to identify and name patterns of high performance collaboration and to understand the forces (like trust) these patterns facilitated. While I haven’t completely strayed from these goals, I’ve certainly done my share of meandering. My conversations with Theresa and others these past few months have helped me refocus, and I hope I’ll have interesting things to report over the next year.    (LKL)

BlogHer: Not Just a Conference

Elisa Camahort, Lisa Stone, and Jory Des Jardins, the founders of BlogHer, spoke at last Monday’s Collaboration SIG meeting, and they absolutely blew me away. I’ve got many great female colleagues, and I’d heard great things about BlogHer last year, so I figured it was a good thing. What I didn’t know was how thoughtful these three women were about collaboration and how active a role BlogHer was playing in facilitating this network of women bloggers.    (KRT)

They won me over right from the start when I approached them about format, and they said they preferred to do it Donahue-style. I asked them whether they needed a moderator, and they said the three of them would just play off of each other and go from there. I asked what they thought about shifting the room into a circle, and they said they preferred it.    (KRU)

https://i2.wp.com/static.flickr.com/70/176131867_6e142892ca_m.jpg?w=700    (KS2)

The talk was entitled, “From Hierarchy to Community,” and they spoke both about their relationship with the community-at-large (which they played a big role in bringing together) and with each other, as equal partners of an LLC. Much of what they said about collaboration resonated strongly with me, and I found myself nodding a lot. For example:    (KRV)

  • Lisa said, “Collaboration is not consensus.” Being collaborative does not mean getting everyone to agree on everything.    (KRW)
  • Elisa talked about the transition between conversation and action, and noted that setting boundaries played a big role in making sure that action happened.    (KRX)
  • Jory talked about the importance of attribution — Spotlight On Others. She also called collaboration “laborious” a number of times. There’s overhead when you collaborate, and it can be a frustrating process, but there’s a huge payoff as well. The big ones are Shared Language and trust. Charles Welsh, one of our co-chairs, noted afterwards that the three mentioned “trust” 14 times throughout the evening. (Thanks for counting, Charles!)    (KRY)

There are a lot of organizations right now who are trying to figure out how to facilitate networks sustainably. I think BlogHer is onto something good — their values are on-target, and they’ve got three very smart and competent leaders — although whether or not their model is sustainable is still an open question. I wouldn’t bet against them, though. They’re doing some interesting things with their advertising network, for example.    (KRZ)

There’s also a lot they can learn about even more powerful models of collaboration and transparency. For example, I liked their approach to the BlogHer conference, but I couldn’t help thinking about how they were going through the exact same process that Harrison Owen went through 20 years ago before he invented Open Space. It’s not an indictment of them, but a constant reminder that those of us who are passionate about collaboration are still not close to knowing what everyone else knows, and it’s further reinforcement that Blue Oxen Associates‘ mission is an important one.    (KS0)

In any case, I’m looking forward to following BlogHer‘s progress. Check out the podcast from the meeting, and also Elisa’s comments afterwards. The next conference is July 28-29 at the Hyatt San Jose in San Jose, California, and there are still spots open for the second day, so check it out.    (KS1)

Officially A City Guy

After nine wonderful years in the Silicon Valley, I recently moved 40 miles north to San Francisco. It’s a move I’ve thought about for many years, but a combination of circumstances finally made it reality.    (JII)

Some initial impressions:    (JIJ)

  • It’s foggy all the time. I’m enough of a Bay Area veteran to know to bring a jacket when visiting San Francisco in the summer, but I had seen enough glorious sunny summer days in the city — even in the Richmond District, where I now live — to decide that reports on the fog were greatly exaggerated. I was wrong. If two weeks is a valid sample size, then yes, it does get mighty foggy here. Makes days like today when the sky clears all the more wonderful.    (JIK)
  • Muni does not constitute legitimate public transportation. It takes an hour for me to get from my apartment in the Outer Richmond across town to SBC Park via Muni. CalTrain from Menlo Park to the ballpark also takes an hour, so there’s literally no gain there. San Francisco badly needs some form of public transportation with more comprehensive coverage than BART, but that doesn’t stop at every freakin’ block like Muni.    (JIL)
  • Of course, part of the city’s charm is sharing a bus ride with its scintillating characters. The other night, a crazy fellow sat across from me and started talking to himself. Usually, this is a sign to keep your eyes averted, which is what I did. Nevertheless, he somehow managed to engage me in a one-sided conversation where he explained that everything he had feared in life had come true, and it didn’t turn out as badly as he thought it would. You go, crazy guy!    (JIM)
  • I can see Sutro Tower from my apartment and thus get great television reception. Well, except for KNTV, the local NBC affiliate, which is based in San Jose. I don’t even get a flicker. I won’t recount the politics that led to KNTV acquiring the NBC affiliation, but I think it’s an absolute travesty that I can’t get a signal in San Francisco. The only way to get this broadcast station is via a paid service — cable or satellite.    (JIN)
  • My neighborhood is replete with tiny delis and markets of every ethnicity imaginable. Makes for great ambling and outstanding eating. I am going to have to befriend a Russian local to help me navigate some of these places.    (JIO)

It’ll take a few months before I fully acclimate to my surroundings, but sitting on my balcony on a day like this, gazing at the Golden Gate Bridge and the city skyline, I can’t help but be giddy about the move.    (JIP)