ASTD COO/CIO Tony Bingham opened the TechKnowledge conference at the Anaheim Marriott this morning with an arresting slide that announced, "Technology is Dead." Then he announced that this was a quote from Larry Ellison, just crazy Larry spouting off again. (Tony presiding signaled the fact that ASTD has yet to seat a new president.) Tony warned us away from pertrusive (pervasive+intrusive) apps.
Michael Rogers, a "practical futurist" from the Washington Post gave us his thoughts on what's next. Kids think the classified ads in the newspaper are dumb; why wouldn't you search for precisely what you're after online? Why pay for a dozen songs on a CD rather than buy the songs you really want one at a time? The next gen expects to have its media customized: TiVo is replacing "appointment viewning."
With MyWashingtonPost, they invested $1 million, but consumers did little beyond customizing their movie schedules. Personalization must be implicit, like Amazon, the result of smart software watching my behavior and accommodating my needs.
People today want to be doing things. They want control. They want tools. Along with the book review, add a button for buying the book.
The browser's fading away in favor of Internet-aware apps.
Wired kids, e.g. in Finland, make fluid plans. "Let's all go to the pizza place now." You can show up in person or virtually (text messaging is as good as being there.)
Ease of use should mean "Easy to Use." Steve Jobs announced the Mac in 1984, saying that Apple was making the computer as easy to use as the telephone. Now our telephones are getting as hard to use as our computers!
The "guru problem" crops up when an expert has a vested interest in keeping his "secret knowledge" secret, i.e. making himself indispensable.
On my first cruise of the four-aisle exhibition, I found a few new items:
Hatsize supplements a web conferencing tool (e.g. Interwise, Centra, WebEx, etc.) with administrative control. For example, Hatsize will set up all the computers with the software and configuration to participate in an eLearning course. Say the course takes a break. Hatsize can return everyone's computers to their last state when learners return.
Pixion is a conference server. One wonders how many of these the world needs. Unlike most of what's out there, you can buy Pixion as either a hosted solution or to run on your own servers. Written in java, Pixion is natively multiplatform (unlike MS Live Meeting.)
TalentSmart is an online interview that assesses your EQ (emotional intelligence) from asking 28 questions. This creates scores long four dimensions: self awareness, self management, social awareness, and relationship management. Then you're reinforced with action plans, goal tracking, sharing results with your boss, and more. They tell me Goldman Sachs has purchased 3,500 units. Unit cost is $29.95. Workshops, workbooks, etc., are extra-cost items. It's an interesting concept; I can't tell whether it's going to change the world. Experience will tell.
Plateau's Ed Cohen considerately warned me away from his wildly popular session on LMS as too elementary. I walked across the hall and caught Kevin Oakes's presentation on getting "A Seat at the Table." This was Credibility-Building 101. From what I've seen in California companies, I agree with Kevin 100%. Being invited into the executive conversation is not an entitlement; it's something you earn by thinking and expressing yourself like a business person.
Kevin quoted Pat Galaghan, who was sitting directly behind me, telling of an audience member who bolted when Pat brought up the bottom line. "I didn't get into training and development to worry about the bottom line."
I was happy to finally meet T+D's Eva Kaplan-Leiserson f2f. She has just had published a couple of items on social software, good roundups of an exploding area of interest. I invited her to join our next Emergent Learning Forum, which will focus on the nexus of social software and corporate learning.
I expect to be writing more about this. For now, I'll offer Kevin's summary:
- Skip the rhetoric. (Normal people don't talk about pedagogy.)
- Understand the business and speak in those terms.
- Act, don't just "align."
- Use technology for a purpose.
- Focus on results. = bottom line.
Totally nutty, the organization of this event. In late afternoon, I wanted to hear Thiagi talking about games and sims. And Sam Adkins, on workflow learning. And Bob Mosher, now with Microsoft. And IBM's Tony O'Driscoll on "challenging conventional wisdom." I ended up in Jack Phillips' session on ROI. (Why schedule all the hot speakers for the same slot?)
Jack's emphasis on results is right-on and his lilting Southern drawl is ideal for putting across a no-nonsense message.
I don't agree with Jack's characterization of intangibles as things that can't or shouldn't be converted to numeric data. Those who read me here know that I consider intangibles such as know-how, competence, and relationship capital more important than physical assets. Geez, I also find that, even thought it's intangible, "opportunity cost" -- the value of what people would have been doing with their time were they not learning -- is often the largest cost of any learning.
ASTD has to think this event a success. They're larger than last year; the expo hall is filling out. The breakout speakers are good. Attendance is up, not down.
Some of the cognoscenti complain that the participants are two or three years off the pace. This is what happens when a technology becomes mainstream.
As I found at my first TechKnowledge event in Vegas a couple of years ago, conferences like this truly serve the membership. It's not cutting edge. It's tried and true.
From my motel, Katella Blvd & DisneyLand
Time for bed. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.......
30 Poppy Lane
Berkeley, California 94708
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