/blog > Transparent Culture

library

Would you believe — the Public Library? In an age of electronic books and media, not to mention information overload, libraries are working to evolve a new image and a new mission. Or maybe it’s a fairly old mission: We see the library as not being in the book business, but being in the learning business, and the exploration business, and the expand-your-mind business. We feel this is really in that spirit, that we provide a resource to the community that individuals would not be able to have access to on their own. Of course, even in the “depository” model, libraries are an important resource for a transparent society seeing as they are the home of so much public information. But this expanded model opens up new possibilities. As libraries become meeting places they potentially have a role to play in what we have described as the coffeeshopification of everything….

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damone2

As I relate on this week’s podcast, some years ago I was involved in a process management / performance management initiative at large telecom company. I headed up the process management effort within product engineering and development and was working with my counterpart in performance management from HR. She and I were putting together a presentation for the senior team. I suggested we close with three slides I developed on my own, which made the business case for effective process and performance management. I demonstrated how these programs were worth a significant amount to the company in the form of employee productivity and retention. My colleague’s response: “Do you think we’ll have time for that?” I said yes, well we have to make the time, that this is what the senior team was most interested in. Above all, they wanted to know what kind of return on investment they would…

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usainupset

Weekend developments at the  2011 Track and Field World Championships in Daegu, South Korea provide some keen insights into the power of transparency. The big story Sunday was the 100-meter final — not the race itself, but the fact that superstar Usain Bolt was disqualified on a false start. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has repeatedly changed the rules on allowable false starts over the years. At one time, every runner could have one false start in each race with no penalty. Later that was reduced to one total false start allowed per race. Today’s rule is that no false starts are ever permitted. That’s a pretty harsh rule, driven by logisitical and commercial concerns. It’s hard to keep an event on schedule when mutliple false starts occur. An event that is hard to keep on schedule is one that is hard to fit into a TV time…

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stevejobsapple2

At National Review Online, Nick Schulz waxes elegiac about the career of Steve Jobs, describing him as “America’s Greatest Failure” and noting that “Glory is sometimes born of catastrophe.” It may be a distinctly American practice, to write eulogies at the end of a career rather than a life — and here’s hoping even the career eulogies are premature, that Mr. Jobs finds a path to recovery from his illness and achieves another comeback or three before any real eulogies are written about him.Read More…

manfromthefuture

All through human history, people have sought ways to create a persistent record of themselves. Warriors and adventurers would strive to accomplish great feats in order to be remembered in legend and song. Kings would commission sculptors and painters to preserve their likeness. More recently, celebrities would hire ghost-writers to pen stylized renditions of their exploits. Today, we all cast an increasingly long shadow in the digital world. This has given us the best opportunity yet to create a persistent record of our lives. In some ways it almost feels as though we’re creating a digital version of ourselves. Is that the direction we’re heading in? To discuss that question, we are joined by no less than the Man from the Future himself. About our guest: Stephen Gordon is an attorney based in Shreveport Louisiana. Stephen is a blogger, broadcaster,  and futurist. He blogs at The Speculist and he is…

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facebookvideo

Helen A.S. Popkin at the MSNBC Technolog has a rallying cry for our times:

Let the Facebook video chat fear mongering begin!

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frozenchicken

I bought a new plan for my mobile phone earlier today and had an interesting conversation with the customer service rep about what the word “unlimited” means on my unlimited data plan. (I’m still not 100% sure.)Read More…

googlechina

It wasn’t that long ago that people were making snide remarks about Google’s motto, “Don’t be evil,” in light of their all-too-cooperative relationship with the Chinese government and its rather vigorous attempts to keep people from reading things they ought not to be reading. Now the tables have turned and Google, which moved its Chinese operations to Hong Kong a while back and stopped cooperating with government requirements for search filtering, is getting snide comments — and not-so-thinly-veiled threats — from the Chinese government: “Google shouldn’t engulf itself in the international political war as a tool for political gaming,” said the commentary, written by editor Zhang Yixuan. If there is “any change in the international atmosphere, I am afraid Google will become a target to be sacrificed by politics, and also will be discarded by the market. Taking a hard line against Google represents first a face-saving measure. The PRC…

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Picture 1

Every heard of AirBnB.com (Air Bed n Breakfast)? Forward thinking, start-up entrepruneur Brian Chesky has created a service that bridges the gap between travelers and ‘spare bedrooms’. Anyone can become a hotel for the night and anyone can book a room, with the only middleman being the website. That transparency has earned Chesky a $1bn valuation as he is raising $100m to fund the huge growth he is seeing. This is how airbnb works. Interesting that many tech savvy investors and even travel businesses passed on this investment as they didnt think people would want to offer their spare bedrooms. BUT Chesky’s bet paid off as airbnb has grown at over 800% per year since and has booked over 1.6m rooms. Transparency = $Read More…

Linkedin

If you put a $100 note in your sock drawer in 2001 it would have been a better investment than if you had handed that same $100 to Steve Ballmer at Microsoft in return for his stock. Today Mr. Ballmer would have handed you back $96 and you would have looked at him in disbelief – “aren’t you Microsoft?”. Now jump in your time machine and go back 10 years. Take your $100 note out of your sock drawer and hand it to Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn). Today Mr. Hoffman would be handing you $90,000 – “Thank you LinkedIn!”. Now Microsoft is much, much bigger than LinkedIn (today) and they do not compete at all. Microsoft has gone through its huge growth period and generated its millionaires but what happened in the last decade? One obvious difference between the two companies is their position on Transparency. LinkedIn is pure…

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