Amazing people and Google Calendar
As I’ve indicated before in my blog and podcast, I embarked on a new adventure in January pursuing next generation internet. I’ve been consulting, implementing community support offerings and Web application assets, and delivering white papers and presentations for a major smartphone company. The best part of the path I’m on is aligning with dozens of amazing people and organizations.
I’m connected with several groups of people that are driving toward new ways of bringing groups of people together, building community in new and fundamentally different ways, and tapping in to the increasing numbers of people who are searching for meaning. This wider group of people I’m involved with are searching for a better way to connect with others who share an affinity for <fill in the blank>, and even those who are working toward joint goals (think collaboration from a software standpoint).
The photo above is of a group of men in North Dakota working for the Great Northern Railroad sometime in the early 1900’s. My grandpa is in there somewhere but I’ve not yet located him. He worked for the railroad for 44 years and passed in the 1970’s. Why bring that picture into this post and what the hell has it got to do with today, the internet and my current adventure?
As I’ve been scanning and restoring old photos over the last several years, ones like this make me stop and think. I try to put myself into that era and ponder what, say, that guy laying down in the front with a hammer was experiencing and what was his story. What the black cook in the front (the only African American in the photo) must’ve felt in the midst of a sea of white guys prior to the civil rights movement. How bad these guys must’ve smelled with what my grandpa had told me was the poor personal hygiene habits of guys in these camps.
The isolation my grandpa felt as he traveled the rails — often alone fixing signals alongside the tracks throughout northern Minnesota and North Dakota — must’ve been daunting and pleasing at the same time since he loved his family and missed them but also deeply cared about the wide open spaces of NoDak. My Mom told me that he’d be gone for a week or more at a time without the ability to touch base with them. Not only was this lack of familial connectedness an issue for my grandma and the kids, but it shaped, what I later learned was, grandpa’s very narrow world view. He simply wasn’t exposed to diversity of opinion and thought leadership, nor did he ponder much outside of his small sphere.
Though my current sweeping and strategic understanding of enterprise, internet and personal technologies helps me to connect the dots on the technologies affecting us all in new and profound ways, we’re still people that need to live, love, eat, sleep, play, work and find meaning in our very short lives while making an impact in the world.
What I’ve discovered in the last 12-24 months is this: everyone has a story, their own intrinsic and often amazing value, and many are seeking meaning in a multitude of ways. That said, their ability to share it with the world and connect with others in roughly the same frame of mind is INCREDIBLE with the accelerating number of enabling technologies, methodologies and applications that are rushing on to the Web.
In the tech sector, we all get excited about many individual developments and sometimes miss the big picture. For example, it’s when something happens and technoweenies respond with, “Oh…Google announced their calendar today!” and the blogosphere goes wild. The cognoscenti leaps into discussion about microformats and how the interchange of calendar events will accelerate people’s ability to subscribe and access events that they care about and want to have at-their-fingertips.
It’s not that an online calendar will simply make life easier for people and that Google’s (and the dozen or so others that preceded it) aren’t cool. That’s certainly part of it. But here is where it gets exciting and MUCH more powerful : Let’s say a small company that’s carved out a niche in some industry can now collate, aggregate and deliver ALL the events that their core audience, team or affinity group needs to have in front of their faces. Now the entire core constituency can know, attend, or read blogs about events that they otherwise would’ve had zero knowledge.
So even a seemingly interesting delivery of a calendar by Google — and all the other small value propositions being tossed out on to the Web every day — is accelerating connections, shaping worldviews (just knowing about all the events provides a glimpse in to the energy in any given area) and provides us all with better personal hygiene than those Great Northern guys (that makes no sense…but I didn’t know how to wrap up this post!). 😉
About Steve Borsch
Connecting the Dots Podcast
Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.