Archive for March, 2006

Collaboration and the fear of failure

March 29, 2006

Last week I ran into Pledge Bank. At first I thought it was just another web2.0-social-networing site. Anyway, I decided to check it out and was positively surprised by the site promise: to help you find people who would join your pledges and help you on achieving a common objective. Isn't it great? You can start doing something only when you're sure it won't be a complete failure.

I started to think about so many pledges I could run. "I will post a new entry to this blog, but only if at least 3 people leave comments", "I will write my undergratuate essay, but only if I'll get an A+". Of course these are only jokes, but it got me thinking…what's the problem on failing? Why are we so afraid of failing?

So many good things can be learned from "failures". A good and recent example from the blog world is Bayosphere's. The site was supposed to be a source of news "by and for the Bay area", but it didn't work exactly like that. I won't go into the details, you can read'em all on the open letter linked above. But, to put it simply, there were very few citizen journalists participating. Can we call it a failure? I'm not sure we can.
According to game theory, when a player collaborates on a game, he/she expects that other players will collaborate too. If there's a way to "punish" the players who don't, the collaboration level gets closer to optimum. What happens, then, when the "game" will only take place if collaboration is assured? Let's watch Pledge Bank and see. While I'm hoping for the success of the many pledges already in there, I still think we might be missing some good learnings from old school trial and error method.

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A decade ago

March 27, 2006

 

“We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or
prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station
of birth. We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express
his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being
coerced into silence or conformity. Your legal concepts of property,
expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They
are all based on matter, and there is no matter here.[…]

Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate
themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to
own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas
to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our
world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and
distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no
longer requires your factories to accomplish.”

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, John Perry Barlow

You could think this text was written recently by a citizen media enthusiast like Dan Gilmour (although this is definitely far from Dan's writing style) or one of the good guys on ourmedia.org. But, in fact, it was written a decade ago, on February 1996. It's
interesting to think of how much of what we thought then became true
(or is on its way), and still how much we don't know about where this
is leading us. A must read, even though 10 years later.

About the content

March 22, 2006

I’ve been delaying this post since I started this blog, and the reason is that there’s not a single subject. The idea is really to put up some quick comments for discussion – “fast food for thought”. Given my technology-Internet-marketer background, it will most oftenly read about one of these things, or better yet, all of them together.
One might think I’ve got this title from Murdoch’s saying that media will become fast-food. Actually I came up with the idea one day before I read the quote. Maybe he’s right, media will become fast-food. But he misses to add: fast-food, self-service and do-it-yourself.

That’s it, folks, now done with the “about” posts. Hope you enjoy the next posts more then these first ones. “Grab” it, take it with you give it some thought. And if you feel like, come back to comment or trackback once in a while.

About me

March 20, 2006

I thought it would be a good idea to provide some background information so that you can filter what you’re reading.

My first Internet connection was back in 1993, on a Brazilian BBS and still using terminal on DOS. After that I played around with some graphical-interfaced BBS programs like FirstClass, but didn’t really got the grips for this net stuff. Finally on 1997 I bought my first Mac (a Performa 6300, old stuff) and was completely clueless on how to use that damn thing. It took me at least 10 minutes to figure out how to turn it on. None of my friends knew anything about Macs, I was completely lost and lonely…but then I found an installation CD for Internet connection, and besides the BBS clients I found one great little new thing: Netscape. And the Web. And e-mail. And IRC. And ICQ. And I found some great people who helped me on getting started to the Mac and the WWW world, even though I have never seen the faces of many of them. Four months later I learned HTML, and next JavaScript. One year later I learned RealBasic programming and even developed some popular software pieces with friends I had met on IRC. On 1999 I was invited to contribute to Macmania, the only Brazilian magazine about Macs, at the same time I joined my first job on an ISP. But this is getting too boring, so let’s shorten this: after working 4 year as a developer I decided to move to Internet Marketing (or whatever you may call it) and I’ve been here for 3 years now. Why? Well, call me stupid but I still prefer people over machines. 🙂

About the language

March 16, 2006

I was born at Brazil, 23 years ago. My grandfather came from Lebanon and met my Italian grandmother here. My mother’s grandmother was Spanish. I love Japanese food and I currently work for a Korean company.You may ask, then…why the hell are you blogging in English?

Well, I could think of so many good reasons about this being more “democratic” and spread to a wider audience, which are not completely false. But there are 2 other reasons. The first is that it’s easier to talk about technology in English, since everythin else is already in English. I’m not that great a translator when it comes to translating technical terms or commonly used expressions from the tech world. And least, but not last, I need to practice my English since it’s getting worse every day.

Of course some of the links and RSS feeds might be in Portuguese. If you can’t read them, try Google translation or drop me a line.