Moving Beyond The Book: Searching For New Constructs

Whither the book, that glorious construct that has transported so many of us into new worlds that have both delighted and trapped us between their pages as protagonists explore and evolve.

In this age of new form factors, like the iPad, are we satisfied to merely flip pages? Definitely not, said Richard Saul Wurman at BIF-6 last week. Paper delimited pages were initial mimicked on web sites, smart phones and, so far, on pads.

However, there is such an array of endless possibility for us in this arena – sorting information by context, curating by design and shifting in and out of real time.

I look forward to continuing to explore how we transport “readers” into new and exciting places. For now though, check out this short conceptualization from our friends at Ideo:

The Future of the Book. from IDEO on Vimeo.

Augmented Reality Enters The Realm of Raw Possibility

In talking about augmented reality and technology in general, science fiction writer Bruce Sterling drops a classic line:

The failures are more interesting than the successes. They serve as a kind of negative space for what’s possible and what’s not possible.

He goes on to talk about the current status of augmented reality – it’s still in the hands of artists, non profits and scientists…a phase filled with “raw possibility”, not tempered by the constraints of quarterly targets and profit. We’ll dwell in this arena for a while yet…

Watch the entire session with Bruce below – it holds some fantastic footage of giant AR projections, or cut to 4.20 or so for his nugget of wisdom.

How to download and build the latest mobile phone and other gadgets


Further to my post about Makers and 3d-printing machines…I can see a day coming where we believe it to be pure arrogance that a company could design a product, have it manufactured and distributed to retail stores in the belief that consumers will buy their latest gadget.

In this next now, imagine getting a news alert (ok, a tweet) late one evening from an influential source (anachronistically, a friend) telling you about the latest 3d design released by company X. You love this new gadget so you pay for and immediately download the specs straight into your 3-d printer. You click print and then go to bed.

The next morning you eagerly head down to your studio and sitting in your printer’s out tray is your new shiny phone.  It’s been printed out for you and what’s more, it contains your personalized brand, the same as all your gadgets.

No major punt by Company X, they’ve simply uploaded a design spec. No supply chain. No negative impact on the environment by shipping goods all over the place. And for you – no hassle, instant gratification and a device for far cheaper than any gadget delivered to your store or doorstep today…

A final assumption: your 3-d printer has a port for recycling any device it has made as well.

Grassroots, open source, replicable 3-d printing: RepRap

I’ve been enjoying reading Cory Doctorow’s latest novel, Makers, which tracks the growth of a grassroots 3-d printing revolution in a post-GFC-like world. You can follow the novel in parts here.

A real life example is the RepRap movement. A group of people have come together to develop an open source 3-d printer that can replicate itself. Check out the video below:

RepRap from Adrian Bowyer on Vimeo.

5 ways influence is rapidly changing the media and advertisting landscapes

On Tuesday I’ll be co-chairing the Future of Influence Summit together with Ross Dawson. It’s an extremely topical area as we are rapidly seeing a complete shift in the media arena as a result of innovations in influence. I personally predict that the whole concept of an advertising industry is about to be turned on its head and that this is already more well advanced than many industry players are aware of.

Ross has pointed to five key trends that are the leading edge of this transformation:

1. The democratization of influence

It used to be that influence was a direct result of a person’s placement on some form of elevated platform – the CEO of a multinational, politician or a journalist with a media empire backing them.

These folks are still heard, but more and more voices of influence are emerging from completely left of field. Tools such as Twitter have liberated the great unwashed masses. Anyone can start a movement and many are.

2. Quantifying influence

How well a brand campaign runs has always been one of the advertising industries great smoke and mirror acts. No more. Influence is becoming far more measurable. In fact, as Ross points out, there will be more metrics for individual influence as well and these will be used as for more accurate guide to who we hire and do business with.

3. Individual reputation trumps corporate influence

We are more likely to trust a company based on the reputation of the individuals running it than ever before. Steve Jobs drives Apple’s influence. Jeremiah Oywang’s move from Forrester to The Altimeter Group was more about him as a key influencer than about Forrester.

4. Influence is the new media

We listen to those who we trust, we listen to those who deliver us value. If a newspaper continuously delivers news items well after you’ve digested them from your personal newsfeed, the newspaper’s influence over you will decrease significantly. Ross sums this up well – publishing itself won’t get an audience – only influencers will create views.

5. The influence economy is born

Again, Ross has this covered: the $550 billion advertising industry may be transformed.

I’m really looking forward to the conversation next week.

Cluetrain Manifesto, A Decade Later

Ten years ago the Cluetrain Manifesto emerged as the voice of the Internet, coalescing the pioneers who were forging the links into this brave new world of connectivity.

Ten years ago I was one of the signatories to the manifesto. Here’s what I had to say at the time:

The language of humanity, our collective consciousness, is what is driving the Internet forward to beyond the hype – may your train continue to lay down the tracks.”

It’s quite a wonderful feeling to take a moment and pause in my/our journey. We’ve come a hell of a long way. I remember the first time I dialled into this thing called the World Wide Web – from a terminal at the University of Cape Town, on the slopes of Table Mountain. I remember buying my first book from Amazon and being enthralled when it arrived. I remember hacking together my first webzine and the feeling of endless possibility when I started getting comments from people all around the world. I remember the joys of investing into what seemed like crazy ideas to many of my colleagues and watching those turn into thriving businesses and I remember watching a few flame out brilliantly too!

Ten years on where are we? The first rickety tracks are well and truly laid – I still order books through Amazon, buy and sell through eBay and talk to friends and colleagues via Internet telephony, but I do these as second nature now.

We are now also beginning to not only grasp, but utilise our collective consciousness through real time tools such as Twitter.

But there is still so much more. For example, I am currently assessing the educational sector and see so much opportunity for improving how we teach, how we learn. More on that in another post.

That’s about as much time as I currently have for a pause, now to get on with the future…

The Future of Media is Salient

I went along to Ross Dawson’s Future of Media Summit yesterday. Kudos to Ross for pulling off what appeared to be a seamless transcontinental event.

My only piece of event-management related feedback is that in keeping with the culture of participation theme running through the media these days it would have been good to have had a roving camera and/or pans so that the audience in Sydney could see and engage with the audience in Mountain View.

To some degree this was achieved in true guerilla-style by the uber presence of Phil Morle’s conference chaser. His chaser approach is to hook up ustream to tangler to create a livestream of an event together with a rich seam of commentary. He did this to great effect at the Sydney MySpace Developer Platform launch a few months back and again yesterday.

Yesterday however, the chaser took a cool twist. Phil was located near the back of the room in Sydney and wasn’t getting good video. So he tapped into the video feed from Stilgherrian, who was seated near the front and mixed this with his audio on ustream.

My biggest take away from the time I spent at the event was captured in a comment by Mark Pesce – “Content requires Salience”. I’ll let you ruminate on that for a while.

Stephen Collins has a great wrap up of the event.

Metarand Unplugged: Ross Dawson, Future Exploration Network On Media’s Future

In this session of Metarand Unplugged we talk with Ross Dawson, Chairman of the Future Exploration Network. Ross is a bestselling author, global futurist and the convenor of the cross continental Future of Media Summit.

We talk with Ross about the future of media, the upcoming Summit and its place as a crystal ball for the media industry. We also talk about the futurist business as a whole and where the iPhone fits on his roadmap for the future.

The biggest takeout: he uses frameworks to synthesize his pattern recognition and as a communication tool for exploring trends and the potential paths we will follow in the future.

I hope to see you at the Summit.

Stream the Session in Quicktime:


Stream the Session as an mp3:


UPDATE: Ross has released two frameworks in the lead up to the Future of Media Summit:

Check them out and let me know your thoughts.