There is a There, There…


The closer I get to connecting the dots — on the impact of global internet connections, community, affinity, awareness raising, collaboration and all the other perspectives on what is happening to humankind as we all search for a better way — the further away from connecting them I seem. As a consequence, I double my efforts and connect with people with richer, deeper and more textured experience in order to gain others insights and perspectives. A guy named Griff Wigley is just such a person and we connected today.

He beat-me-to-the-punch and blogged about our meeting today (I *really* enjoyed our meeting, Griff).

I’ve got alot of questions about what’s going on that may encourage, enlighten or inform you if you’re also interested in human-to-internetwork connections — or feel free to point out how far away I am from connecting the dots!

As has probably become clear if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, my focus and energy has increasingly shifted to collaboration, community, affinity and all the other areas where human beings intersect online and virtual communications between us grow exponentially more efficient and rich. My goal is to accelerate my knowledge of as many “dots” that inform this as is possible, connect them, and thus do a better job of building online community.

As my role model for setting goals, Steve Martin, once said, “…the thing you have to learn, in having a goal, is not to set an impossible goal, something too high you can never reach.  You gotta have a series of smaller goals, that you can accomplish and slowly work your way up. And this is what I have done. That’s why I’m so happy. My goal?  Right now, I want to be the all-being, Master of Time, Space and Dimension. Then…I wanna go to Europe.

As I’m on this adventure (and yes, it *is* leading somewhere this year), the holistic nature and interconnectedness of everything is growing clearer to me by the day. The dots I’m struggling to connect (and understand how they impact and inform building social software and collaborative Web applications) are ones like:

  • The slow-but-sure shifting in economic models and what the heck it means. The rise of social entreprenurism, social capital, open source software and other non-monetary value based efforts is accelerating. Good article here and here as well as this interesting perspective from CIO magazine. What is this doing to capitalism? To our current (yet only 150 years or so old) way of assembling ourselves in hierarchical organizations?

There are so many people I know that hold intrinsic value propositions but struggle with knowing how to sell or market themselves to those that need what they can offer. The movie business is a great example of an
“assembly” and “disassembly” project model that might shed light on new ways of thinking about assembling knowledge worker value.

The movie business is primarily comprised of a multitude of small and medium sized firms (as well as talented individuals) that come together for a movie and then disburse. Of course, this is one reason why movies are so damn expensive to make, but there has been an industry created that is arguably the best in the world comprised of an assemblage of value propositions.

What’s emerging? If we don’t get paid for some or most of our value, how do countries measure GDP and GNP? Where are the incentives to create and innovative if not to build wealth or make an impact in some other but measurable way? I wish focusing solely on monetization of all value didn’t matter and that we could all have a replicator like on Star Trek (and morph matter into whatever we wanted it to be like food, clothing, anything) but we don’t and still need to take care of Maslow’s first rung of the hierarchy of needs (plus, I don’t think humans are sufficiently evolved to handle what most would view as a combination of Communism and Socialism writ large. Incentives and achievement — and capitalism — are the only proven methods to motivate humans to date).

  • Global consciousness. Not the parapsychology kind, but rather an admitted “at the edges” pursuit of knowledge amongst seekers (e.g., this Princeton University project) looking for evolved ways of knowing the interconnectedness and gaining understanding from and about it. Yes…there is much evidence pointing to humans ongoing search for meaning, for spiritual awakening, for understanding others points of view, and now it appears that the primary conduit for this seeking behavior is the internet and how extraordinarily efficient it is in connecting we humans to others, to thought and, hopefully, to understanding.

One example of a recognition that “there is a there, there” is the pursuit of knowledge around the efficacy of meditation. Most healthcare professionals acknowledge and even encourage the practice of meditation for stress relief, and even scientists are analyzing the brains of Tibetan monks in order to understand how and why their meditative practices are so effective. Perhaps this is how we’ll begin to quantify the effects of what has remained in the spiritual realm and that science and religion will come together at some point.

  • Online connection points are accelerating. We all know about the 70M MySpace registrants. The stats around internet use, especially amongst youth. The volume of offerings that are attempting to connect people in new and fundamentally different ways. The connection/collaboration/meeting spaces are proliferating *very* quickly and it’s becoming easier by the day to collaborate and connect with people a world away.

Here’s an example I know since I ended up choosing Joomla to meet the needs of a client. It seems the team from all over the globe had collaborated to fork the Mambo Project (long story) and most had never met. At a conference in the UK, they all agreed to connect in person and did so at a pub. There were photos and comments (on a blog I no longer can locate) and recall one blogger talking about how delightful it was to meet and that he felt they’d known each other for years.

Wish I had the time to interview thought leaders in dozens of disciplines (and I’ll do some of that). There are religious, geopolitical, energy, water, resource consumption and other issues that could be discussed as major bodies of thought that are all informing and impacting humankind and our increasing connection online. So instead of going on-and-on throwing out my questions and wearing my seeking-on-my-sleeve, I think I’ll take off with this week’s National Enquirer for some serious leisure reading.  😉

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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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.