Feeding Edge is going on tour, fresh from the most enjoyable Metanomics interview in Second Life I am taking my brand of futurology, enthusiasm and technology geekness to Northern Ireland. I have been invited to Awaken Creative Entrepreneurship (ACE) 25th March – 27th March in Derry.
My job is to both open the event with a keynote to set the tone, but also very much to participate in the rest of the event, much of it is in an unconference format.
I was very interested in this particular event because it aims to mix all sorts of people from all sorts of professions and industries. The intersections of parts of creativity in all pursuits is where true innovation happens. You have to combine and mix people, if two groups are stuck in two different ways of doing things, they will inevitably question one another’s approaches and in an open environment such a conference like this good things will happen. Even just take a look at the set of speakers and you will see a diverse set of people, education, games, software companies, finance, hardware, media development to name but a few. Mix in the very integrated close cooperation that delegates have in the unconference format and we are going to spark some great ideas.
I know the sort of areas I will be hitting in the opening session. The key being that we are the most disruptive technology and we now have ways to connect and disrupt that where unheard of even 10 years ago. Hopefully see some of you there, lets get going with this.
The rednosin twitter account made me aware of the excellent addition to the comic relief donation options. That of buying a digital rednose picture. Whilst many of us can bolt a red nose onto a picture that is not the point. The ability donate and join in with the excellent charity that is Comic relief is something we should all do. We use avatar pictures all over the place and you will see twitter full of them next few days.
I have written about some of these things elsewhere but as this is turning over a new digital leaf I thought it worth mentioning some key things that I think are worth paying attention to when you are trying to persuade people of the benefits of the current wave of emerging technology.
Seth Godin’s book Tribes which for me is more of a history book as it came after our tribe had already got going . It shows the sort of attitude and actions across the available media to get a massive adoption of an idea and of a movement, which indicates that if others take note of his style and approach, if they like his angle on things, then they can be successful too.
Don Tapscott’s latest Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World which is really for those who need to see the statistics about the wealth of engagement across all forms of social media and whilst may not be able to engage yet, will need to see what the workforce will expect in the very near future.
Each of these three books offer a convincing set of approaches for certain types of people. Godin is more evangelical, Tapscott scientific analysis, Carter offers practical steps for business.
I have of course alluded to my own book, having not written a whole book before, but instead stacks of individual presentations and ideas I am working up the thread of my story. Trying to in some way cross the approach of these three books, without repeating too much of course. The history and the challenges faced as an intrapreneur, and the ways to bypass those obstacles that really should not be there will form the main arc. I can only really be personal about these things as it is when I feel things happen I can articulate them. Facts can work for some people, but when they have their mind set against something, or are not in a receptive mood for change it is not clear facts that alter those states. Here I give a nod to all my fellow metaverse and social media evangelist friends, how often have we said, armed with a fact or two “but it’s obvious!”
It is really the fun in all this, finding what it is that makes people so anti an idea, or so supportive of it and blending the two in a way everyone is supportive rather than resolving to a balanced zero!
The first in the title is done with a hint of irony at all the firsts we used to hear about and claim in virtual worlds over the last few years. However I am delighted to have been asked to appear on Metanomics this coming monday representing Feeding Edge and myself. It is the first interview or public conversation I have had since starting Feeding Edge a whole week ago (just to put it into context it is still very early days).
I am intrigued as to where the conversation and the questions may go. I have of course the things that make up what I intend to be doing with Feeding Edge.
The history of creating a movement like eightbar and mass adoption via social media of an idea within the constraints of a corporate environment, dare I say the birth of enterprise 2.0.
Metaverses and virtual worlds themselves. What have we done so far and what can we do next. What are the sorts of applications we can expect to see layered on top of the experiences we already have today. The recession, corporate activity, open source platforms etc.
Where are we going now? The future of Augmented Reality,Rapid Fabrication/3d printers, merging with the games industries etc.
Any of you who have heard me speak before know that I am more than willing to go off topic. I find in those off topic areas is where both inspiration and serendipity reside.
I am also looking forward to being amongst a knowledgeable audience, it is nice to mix evangelizing about this to people who have yet to fully appreciate the enormity of what is happening, with those that we don’t need that onramp conversation and can challenge points based on experience.
So feel free to come along the Metanomics site has a multitude of ways to interact.
This should be fun and challenging all in one tasty virtual package.
The link to the video is here
Part of the journey of discovery with Feeding Edge as a business has focussed around immersing myself in the logo. I know a logo does not make a brand, but as a flag to rally around it is a good place to start. There is something theraputic about finding new renditions for an idea, and executing them on the very platforms that I help people come to understand.
I had done a few of these before as we played with the eightbar image over the years.
The journey so far started with in the middle of the night with an image in my head, combined with a small plastic cog from a toy that was lying around in the kitchen and fueling my late night ponderings.
The logo was intended to be a simple line drawing to enable lots of easy transformations.
Xbox Live had an interesting web application to allow you to make scenes with your 360 avatar and so I gave that a go. It is really just a composite but I liked how it worked, and I was able to use my own background.
However I also tried out a version of the logo on my shirts in the 360 version of skate2 that I blogged here
That indicated to me that the sort of size and shape and simple approach was going to work. It was alot cheaper than printing real shirts first to find out too!
Another test was how quickly could I work up a Second Life version
Very quickly indeed of course! These are basic prims, but a good friend is building a scuplty low prim one for me and its looking very neat indeed, more in another post on that.
Finally in the journey so far, a quick rendition on the wonderful Little Big Planet on PS3.
I was particularly happy with this one as it was so quick to do, yet very satisfying.
I guess this sort of logo morphing does not fit in with heavily PR managed logos companies have, a degree of control and protection is placed upon them with lots of guidelines in force. With new environments and hence styles possible I think it will become harder for brands to deal with the minute details of control, but they will need to explore things in the ways I am doing here in order to be where the people are.
As a first bite on technology so you dont have too I thought this subject would be a good place to start.
A common theme I often come across is one of the need to deal with certain real world applications in a virtual world. As with all things related to mirror worlds the assumption often has to start at a replication of exactly the way we currently do something. In some ways it could be considered a challenge to virtual worlds that they are made as effortless as a blackboard and chalk are in todays class rooms. The pencil and a piece of paper has done us proud over many years. There is a place for a simple pen outline or diagram, a chalk and talk to a sports team, a hey guys I have a great idea look at this etc. Those work really well in real rooms, where people just grab whatever they have to hand, adjust to their surroundings and draw and share. At the moment virtual worlds do make that quite tricky. Intricate details take time. We have pens and touch tablets, screen sharing etc and it is of course possible to inject that into many virtual worlds in various ways.
However, I want people to go back and think this over. Even with the metaverse technologies we have today we already have very effective and simple tools often built in, that at almost no cost can be used to get a point across. More than one person present at a place in a virtual environment able to see the ideas form and mental placeholders moved around them as the person explaining the idea manipulates the environment.
I produced this video, a live one take event. The aim to show that if I wanted to explain something, in this case it could even be a sports play of some sort, I could with no frills, no fancy touches show my ideas. The example shows using Second Life or Opensim (though anywhere you can rez anything this would apply) creating objects, moving them around, assigning meaning through colour and position and manipulating the environment live can be done simply and to great effect.
The idea is to understand these basics and be then able to visualize the potential. If with a little more effort these movements are recorded and replayed back, interchange with other services, if the blocks are replaced with more detailed meaningful models, if simpler interfaces make moving the pieces even easier, if weight and friction and physics are used they all start to enhance the basic feature. One that is an environment that is adjustable and not constrained by the limits of a whiteboard, or piece of paper or laptop presentation.
The takeaway from this is that there are many ways already to use a metaverse platform to exchange ideas. It can be as simple as this. In a given situation this may be enough to sketch a solution. This basic experience can be made much more visually stimulating, if it needs it, but it required no buildings, places, presences, branded experiences to get this across in 2 minutes. Get some people together, just try it and see if it works.
****UPDATE In order to understand and actually visualize how these things can work when directed at a particular sport and with gaming console technology you can see what happens here in a fan video for Madden 09, using the tools available to describe American Football offence tactics.
So here I go starting out on my own, in many ways from scratch, but equally doing more of the same again. It is a strange balance of understanding those things that I may be known for or expected to be doing and finding those things that allow me to reinvent/evolve who I am and what I do.
I have been overwhelmed by the support both out on twitter and on my post on eightbar about my leaving of one company and forming my own. Thankyou all so much for the thoughts, and the time to comment and of course it goes with out saying, but if anyone ever needs anything just ask!
Feeding Edge Ltd is my vehicle for transition. I have had lots of questions about what it is I am actually going to do, who I am working with. The truth is there are a good few options nothing firm, nothing definite, but it had to be done.
My aim is one of flexibility to make things happen. There a so many providers of virtual world platforms, services around those platforms that with the industry where it is today a broad view has to be taken. I still maintain there is not one simple answer, mainly because there is not one simple question. Finding the path that we need to take, as well as helping others even realize a path is there is a full time occupation and has kept me learning and sharing for many years already.
There are, and you all know who you are, a stack of people leading this industry, many facing individual challenges around support in their organizations for what we are all trying to get to with all things metaverse. These technologies are about people, as is the rest of the web now. Unlike many other technolgies the scope of connectivity and communication may seem overwhelming to those who have not yet realized its potential impact. That brings fear. I hope we can all manage to bypass that fear as a wider group spanning many organizations. The industry is young and fragile enough that whilst there may be individual goals down the line, right now we need to combine our forces.
It strikes me that an independent voice has a place. I am not the only one of those voices, but I hope I can provide some now non-partisan support to my fellow evangelists embedded in organizations and dealing with the uphill battles that will inevitably occur with disruptive social change.
I intend to continue the experimentation, seeing what fits, what works and where I can apply what I do for people in any size business or organization. These will be varied, so expect to see my name attached to a few things, but I am not following a traditional route, but then even in corporate life I never really did that either did I?