Network Leap 4

By | Blog, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Media, Music, Networking, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Persuasion, Platform Building, Privacy, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Stress, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Twitter, Twitter, Virtue, Website

The impact of the next leap remains non-obvious for too many people, and too far off in many individuals’ minds. But then, there is the alarming presence of all the obvious “whens” all around us.

When the AI gets so good that human beings can’t tell the difference between the computer program and the human being.

When the machine learning gets so good that human beings can’t navigate managing and strategizing about the flood of data coming at us faster than the machine can.

When the amount of collected data is so overwhelming that human beings are paralyzed by analysis rather than having the courage to act in spite of the implications of the data.

In a world of those “whens”—which are arriving to the present as fast as they possibly can, no longer “whens” but “nows”—the only areas remaining to categorize, atomize, and to deliver on spec at low cost to an eager consumer, will be the emotional content of individual, human-to-human interactions.

The next leap is not around AI, machine learning, the Internet, or social media applications.

The next leap is not around robotics, data analysis, electric cars, augmented reality applications or virtual reality.

The next leap won’t even be around the industrialization of outcomes to spec on price, cost, labor, and work.

The next leap will be people—individuals, corporations, businesses, churches, schools—preserving and paying for the texture that individuality brings to human interaction.

The companies that are playing the long game of digitizing everything—every human interaction, every job, every product, every process, every service, and every crumb of knowledge—understand this las concept innately.

Google’s next great leap from dominance in the digital world will be from industrialization of outcomes to spec in a digital environment, to dominance in the material world of emotional, human-to-human interactions where spec means something different from individual to individual.

Are you playing Google’s long game, or are you playing humanity’s long game?

Erosion Rate

By | Blog, Facebook, Media, New Posts, Platform Building, Relationships, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Website

The difference between attention and time spent paying attention is the erosion rate of a creator’s long-form content.

For example, the average video on YouTube is around 4 minutes. The average blog post is no longer than 200 words. The average podcast is around 45 minutes to an hour.

As audience attention spans wane and decline, there is less and less interest (or care on the part of audiences) in the expense to creators of the sunk costs of making long-form content. The sunk cost is the video editing suites, the cameras, the time spent editing 20 minutes of digital footage into 4 minutes of something that someone might click through.

The sunk cost is the time spent writing, the computer and writing software, and the time spent uploading the blog post for something that someone might skim through.

The sunk cost is the time spent finding a person with a perspective that is interesting, then connecting with that person, interviewing that person for an hour, and then editing, posting, and distributing the audio that someone might listen to with half an ear for around 20 minutes.

And we haven’t even gotten into the fact that repeating the processes for all three forms of long-form content (audio, video, and written) takes time as well.

But these are still sunk costs.

The erosion rate of your content matters if you are a creator of content. But it should matter to you more as a consumer of content. As a consumer of content, connecting with creators that you care about, and supporting them by writing them, contacting them, and talking about them to others, matters more for the creation of more content.

It also reduces erosion rate and brings more value to the content for you the consumer.

Internet Thinness

By | Advice, Blog, Culture, Education, Facebook, Google, Media, Negotiation, New Posts, Old Posts, Platform Building, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Website

There is a species of thinness at the center of most of what you are reading, absorbing, and choosing to be activated by, on the Internet.

Social media (from YouTube to Soundcloud) drives a lot of this thinness by providing distractions, by watering down complicated subjects, and by blasting your attention and awareness repeatedly.

There were many people who believed that the rise of the Internet would herald deeper, more intimate connections between people.

They believed that the mechanism of combining television, radio, computer technology, and phone and cable lines, would herald a newer, fresher, more meaningful communication experience for humanity.

They believed that the Internets’ ability to scale empathy, connection, and action, would overcome the human tendencies toward tribalism, passivity, and disconnection.

And to a certain degree, they were right.

At scale, however, it only took a little while, for the forces of the big to take over and dominate the center of the Internet communication schema, and to use it for their own ends.

Which typically means to sell you more stuff at a faster rate, than ever dreamed of before…

…and as the long tail has gotten even longer, and as the “get rich quick” artists have fallen away;

…and as the large communication conglomerates have dominated more and more of the center;

…and as the average person has decided that active publishing and shipping is too hard, and that passive consumption is easier;

…and as the metrics of engagement have proven to be more and more inflated;

…the thinness of the big dominating the center, has become more and more apparent.

In the face of these realities, the hard thing now is to stick to the outer edges of the Internet universe; to do the work of publishing hard, thick, crusty ideas; to be committed to the building of communities of like-minded people over years (and in some cases decades); and to do, say, show, and commit to the hard thing without hope of payoff.

Instant, or otherwise.

It will take a long time for the thinness to thicken up in most of what you read, absorb, and choose to be activated by, on the Internet.

At this rate, it may take another twenty years.

But if you choose not to ship, choose not to participate, choose only to observe, it may be impossible for you to act when you’re ready.

Start this year.

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Six, Episode # 3 – Robert Baril

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Earbud_U Podcast, Earbud_U!, Entrepreneurship, Media, Music, New Earbud_U Episodes, New Posts, Podcast Archives, Podcast Episode, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy

Earbud_U, Season Six, Episode #3 – Robert Baril, Stand-Up Comedian, Sketch Comedy Writer, Talk Radio Show Host

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Six, Episode #3 - Robert Baril

The past is the past. Unless it has something to teach us. And the art of satire, the art of comedy, and the art of delivering a punchline is about connecting the past to the present and the future, with humor.

Humor can be used in all sorts of situations to break the tension, break the ice, or to break a new idea into your head, particularly if you’re resistant to a notion or a concept.

Our guest today, sketch writer and budding stand-up comic, Robert Baril will touch on all those areas, including how to get across a notion to people in power. And this is particularly tricky in an era of the joker and the satirist being seen as ubiquitous due to the presence of social media.

The masters who do this art must start somewhere, and starting always matters more than where you end up. Every comedian has a story, from Jerry Seinfeld to the guy who started in comedy in the 70’s and is still doing the circuit around the Midwest.

If you’re fascinated with the technical aspects of this art, it’s not anywhere close to pulling apart gossamer. As a matter of fact, truth be told, some of our favorite podcasts are comedic ones that focus on the process, rather than the product.

As usual, connect with Robert Baril in all the ways that you can by clicking on the links below:

Robert Baril: https://standuprecords.com/products/robert-baril-sex-and-poitics-download

Robert Baril on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robert.baril.12

Stand-Up Records on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/standuprecords

Laughing Matters Online: http://www.am950radio.com/events/laughing-matters/

Robert Baril on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertBaril1

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Six, Episode # 1 – Kate Otting

By | Advice, Blog, Earbud_U Podcast, Earbud_U!, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Media, Mediation, New Earbud_U Episodes, New Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Peacemaker, Platform Building, Podcast Archives, Podcast Episode, Relationships

Earbud_U, Season Six, Episode # 1 – Kate Otting, Mediator, Ombudsperson, Entrepreneur, Organizational Peacebuilder, Founder/Owner-Interaction Management Associates

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Six, Episode #1 - Kate Otting

Hello and welcome, back to the sixth season, which is really the third year, of the Earbud_U Podcast.

So, I’d like to use this time to mention some changes that you are going to hear over the next few months, throughout this season and into season seven, next year.

First, there will be a lot more of Jesan just ranting. This is because—as a result of positive activity on my Youtube Channel, Jesan Sorrells Presents, I’ve been getting a lot of requests to pull the audio from the videos that I’m cutting, and to make that audio available in other formats.

Like here on the podcast.

So, I’m going to do that.

The second thing that you will notice is that I’m going to ask you all to DO stuff for me a lot more obviously than I have before.

This is not advertising. It’s actually helping the show, boosting our place in iTunes and on Stitcher and making it possible for advertisers to support the show. By the way, if there are particular advertisers you’d like me to pursue, reach out to me via all the ways you can on social media and let me know.

Lastly, the audio is about to take a major step forward. I’ve been pursuing a studio space so that I can move the podcast out of my basement (or my home office) and into a soundproof area. It will make it be more professional and less gritty, sure. But it will also help me do other things.

Speaking of other things, our guest today on the show, Kate Otting owns her own mediation practice, Interaction Management Associates, based in Arizona. She has a wide range of interests, but she is focusing on one of the grittier realities of our modern world, diasporas.

You know, the reality of people moving around.

Look, when populations move, everything changes. Some of those changes we like—such as new foods that we can eat, or new clothes that we can try on. Some of those changes we don’t like—such as people living next door to us who might speak a different language.

Every change is unique, just like every story. And Kate will walk us through a lot of this, though not all of it, and will make the complicated, and complex, understandable.

As usual, connect with Kate and Interaction Management Associates in all the ways that you can by clicking on the links below:

Interaction Management Associates: https://imamediation.com/

Interaction Management Associates on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InteractionManagementAssociates/

Interaction Management Associates on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ima_mediator/

Interaction Management Associates on Twitter: https://twitter.com/imassoc

Kate Otting and Interaction Management Associates on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/imamediation/

Laboring in Vain to Make Spectacle

By | Blog, Leadership, Media, New Posts, Opinions, Persuasion, Platform Building, Problem Solving, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Website

Many people are laboring in vain online to create, distribute, and promote content that has all the actionable substance of milk designed for infants, rather than meat to be served to adults.

Long ago, symbolism and spectacle have come to replace action and substance. First with the TV-advertising complex that dominated much of the 20th century, and now with the ubiquity of social media use and through our mobile phones.

Content we create that should be focused on that which is concrete and actionable will not be found in our social media feeds.

Just as the television and mass advertising of old, our collectively new, spectacle driven environments, tend to encourage and reward the development of content designed to appeal to the interest of the masses, who have all the attention span of infants.

Or much less.

Adults—people with longer attention spans searching for the meat of substance–have now had their interests, attention spans, and content pushed to the edges of the content universe of the Internet.

In the niches.

They’re tucked away reading long blog posts, listening to challenging podcasts and watching long videos.

They’re investing in online classes and developing learning experiences that marry the life online with the life off line.

If you want to get the attention of the masses then, by all means, compete in a race to the bottom on creating, developing, curating, and distributing spectacle-driven content.

But make a decision about what you’re actually offering: meat or milk, once the spectacle has run its course, that way your laboring won’t be in vain.

Random Acts of Criticism

By | Blog, Culture, Education, Media, New Posts, Persuasion, Relationships, Strategies, Strategy, Stress, Truth, Virtue

The fact of the matter is, there is more content to read and interpret now than ever before in the course of human history.

Due to the ubiquity and persistence of Google in particular, and the internet in general, more people have more to read that ever before.

The problem is not that audiences have suddenly become alliterate, illiterate, or even semi-literate. The problem is not that there is an abundance of writing: good, bad, ugly and indifferent. The problems isn’t even in the declining power of the critic to influence and push a set of ideas.

The problem is that the act of criticism has always inherently been based upon an assumption of scarcity: both in content and in opinion.

Gatekeepers of all kinds exist to inform audiences about that which is “good” and about that which is “bad.”

But in a world where everyone can ignore the critic (or choose to revoke the critic’s power through denying them permission to influence a choice), the act of criticism has to shift from one of determining and enforcing a regime of quality to the act of educating, advocating and taking a position.

And defending it.

Of course, the critic should read, watch, listen or otherwise take in the content that they are seeking to critique. But if they don’t, then the audience owes them little in the way of attention and credibility.

Otherwise, the critic is no different than a member of the audience—albeit one with more reach, but not more impact.

Culture of Immediacy

By | Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Media, Networking, New Posts, Platform Building, Privacy, Problem Solving, Relationships, Resolution, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Stress, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Virtue

The culture of immediacy that we have created with our digital social communication tools, has convinced our brains that problems of all kinds should be solvable immediately, to our specifications, and with little effort (or friction) on our part.

Here are a few examples. Your mileage (and examples) may vary:

Climate change could be solved tomorrow…if only the “right” people oversaw the solutions. Like the people who populate my Facebook feed…

Elections could turn out with the “right” outcome with results that I could see immediately…just like a Twitter poll does…

People could treat each other with fairness, justice, and equality in a pretty cool and hip way…if only it were the “right” people doling out the fairness, justice and equality…and all others who don’t agree (or aren’t hip or cool enough) could be blocked or never seen anyway….just like in my SnapChat feed…

Rights, responsibility, accountability, and freedom. These are human conditions that took centuries to adjudicate, argue over, and have conflict about, to come to the space of where we are now as a global culture.

They will not fall to the growing culture of immediacy anytime soon.

Netflix, podcasts, YouTube videos, search results. These are tools of communication that operate on the principles of speed to market (your eyes) and entertainment (your brain).

The slow, plodding things that need to change (i.e. systems) are hard to shift, require emotional energy in the face of human intransigence and institutional friction, and need conflict to change. It used to be that we recognized and passed on to the next generation, the idea that incremental change was enough and that lifetime change (on the scale of anywhere from 35.5 to 78.8 years) was enough to get a society and culture to where it could reasonably be expected to be.

But this idea of plodding, incremental change is slowly eroding in the face of collective minds, attitudes, and behaviors being transformed by the culture of immediacy that our digital social communication tools provide.

Combine this fact with the reality that the inner workings (both the how and the why) of our digital social communication have become incomprehensible for the average person and that we have elevated this incomprehensibility from a minor annoyance (think about how you could repair a car in your garage only 50 years ago) to a belief in the magical genius of self-interested companies (think Google and how the algorithm of search works), and we have a giant problem on our global cultural hands.

Relationships with people are boring, mundane, exciting, and thrilling.

Solutions to people problems cannot be solved through the clever application of another frictionless algorithm.

People cannot be inspired through speed, or motivated through impatience to change.

The hard work, the meaningful work, the work of people conflicting against other people, is the last thing that will survive the cult of immediacy we have built.

If we let it.

And the changes that can come about from that survival is worth leveraging all the immediacy-based, incomprehensible tools for good, that you can.

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode #3 – Katie Vaz

By | Blog, Culture, Earbud_U Podcast, Earbud_U!, Entrepreneurship, Media, Networking, Old Posts, Podcast Archives, Podcast Episode, Storytelling

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode #2 – Katie Vaz, Illustrator, Graphic Designer, and Author of “Don’t Worry, Eat Cake”

Love is a many splendor thing.

…maybe that’s splendid…

Or so it is said.

When you get to do what you love every day, it doesn’t seem like work. But the thing is, many people don’t do what they love every day.

Many people, for a variety of reasons, do what they have to do, what they are required to do, or what they are told to do.

Our guest today, Katie Vaz, a graphic designer and illustrator, and author of Don’t Worry, Eat Cake, is living the life that she wants to live, doing what she wants to do, and creating a voice and an oeuvre of work that shows what can happen when you march to the beat of your own drummer.

And now, a word about coloring books:

There’s a growing movement of providing coloring books for adults, and Katie’s book is about tapping into this phenomenon.

I personally have never colored (with the exception of finger painting and whatever I did in college art classes for my major), but I understand the sentiment behind the idea in a world where love is the hardest thing to attain.

What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.

That, and coloring books.

And cake.

Definitely cake….

Connect with Katie in all the ways that you can below:

Etsy Store (Use code EARBUD20 for 20% off orders for Valentine’s Day): https://www.etsy.com/shop/katievaz

Website: http://katievaz.com/

Blog: http://katievaz.com/blog/

Book: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Worry-Eat-Cake-Everything/dp/1449478123

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katievaz

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katievaz

Katie Vaz Design on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KatieVazDesign

You Were Already Angry Before the Internet Came Along

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Culture, Dysfunction, Media, Negotiation, New Posts, Persuasion, Reconciliation, Relationships, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy

When people talked with each other across the fences in the backyard, they knew (with some certainty, though certainly not ontological certainty) which of their neighbors were angry and which were pleasant.

The bowling league, the local bar, the country club, and even the grocery store served as locations that allowed people to bump into each other in ways both random and purposeful, and to take each other’s’ temperature about the news of the day.

There were opportunities for thought leaders, opinion makers, and public intellectuals to educate the public about what they believed, and because first the Church, and then the government, and then the corporations acted as gatekeepers, democracy of thought and passion was tamped down successfully enough.

If you were an individual looking to step out from the shadow of conformity and the comfort of the crowd, there were few venues that existed for you to walk out those minority viewpoints, and the gatekeepers of the majority existed primarily to ensure that the minority was never heard from.

Or at least, rarely heard from.

Fighting for a minority belief against a seemingly overwhelming power structure became sauce for the cooking of the goose of ideas, and passions, and sometimes, those ideas broke through the dominant culture, leaped over the gatekeepers and struck a chord with millions of people.

In the 4th great human revolution, the one being driven by a global communication channel known as the Internet, the gatekeepers have little power to police, minority voices and viewpoints can connect with each other and influence like never before, and you know how angry your neighbor is, because she tweeted out a passionate comment last week and it popped up in your feed.

Here’s the thing that we forget, in light of the technological show being put on by the Internet now:

Your neighbor was always angry and disgruntled about the way that the world fundamentally worked.

There were always minority viewpoints in the culture, looking for connection, engagement, and searching for meaning against a dominant culture that was perceived as arrogant, conformist and overbearing.

The bowling league, the local bar, the country club, and even the grocery store have been replaced first by chat rooms, and now by the “impermanent” web, and will be replaced further by whatever comes next.

Since the magnification of a problem is not the same as the problem’s ‘root cause,’ it should come as no surprise to us that people are at the root of our angry, passionate, loud discourse, on an open, democratic and connecting tool.

We all can now say, due to the overwhelming evidence and with almost ontological certainty, that if we fix the people the tool will magically change.