November 24, 2002

KM News

Brad Hoyt hosts KM News, a sporadic but on-target newsletter on knowledge management.

Boy, I remember that Merrill Lynch report. Some analyst had overdosed on portal KoolAde. To me, "portal" is still synonymous with "front end." It's a great concept, just not terribly deep in and of itself. Now that the new-car smell has worn off of eLearning, it's obviously a candidate for inclusion in portals.

Among Brad's recommended readings:

Office Behavior: Why Can't We All Just Get Along
Business 2.0
- In this article Tom Stewart talks about reciprocal altruism. This is a very insightful article that every CxO should read.


Standards to Drive Services
eweek.com
- If you are interested in Portals and Web Services this article is for you.


Tools of the Trade
eweek.com
- This is one of the best and most succinct articles I've read recently on the importance of taxonomies. If you are involved in an IM project you must stop and read this article. No it won't change your life, but it just may give you some little insight in the value a good taxonomy brings to the table. I've created large and small taxonomies in my career and the one thing I've come to understand is that you are truly never done with your taxonomy.

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November 23, 2002

Riding Big Bird

In a few hours I'll be flying from San Francisco to Berlin to speak at Online Educa and, frankly, to enjoy the Christmas markets, museums, and sites of the Vaterland and London. While time is short, some things are too juicy to resist. Now that my book on marketing eLearning internally has been published, I am ever more alert to stupid marketing tricks. Take this email. Please.



Your privacy is extremely important to us. You are receiving this offer because you subscribed to receive third-party offers at, itsimazing.com, an affiliated site. If you feel you have received this message in error or if you wish to unsubscribe, please see our remove instructions below. Please enjoy the network and all the opportunities it brings you.

For example, this email invited me to pursue an advanced degree at an accredited university. Now, I've already got all the degrees I have the patience to earn, but others are shopping hard. Let's get inside their heads. "Oh, yeah, I want to earn a masters from that university that sends me Spam, contest offers, and a chance to win a color TV. A school that reconciles respecting my privacy while inundating me with uninvited sales pitches. That's bound to be a prestige school." Duh.


HOW DID I GET ONTO YOUR LIST? At some point you registered at an Internet site, specific newsletter or contest that had a Privacy Policy that stated that they may choose a few partners who will send you valuable offers. RhinoRewards was selected as one of those partners. RhinoRewards is committed to delivering special offers that include valuable discounts and sweepstakes opportunities only to people who want to receive them. If you have received this in error, please UNSUBSCRIBE from future mailings by clicking here and following on screen instructions. Or simply write to us at: RhinoRewards.com, Customer Service, P.O. Box 7045, Delray Beach, FL 33482. You can also review our full Privacy Policy. For any questions or complaints, please contact us at: [email protected] This e-mail message may be a recurring mailing.



Spam is to sharing information as pollution is to manufacturing. Or as grafitti vandals are to granite buildings. It gums up the works. It wastes my time. It hurts the environment. Usually (like DeVry's ad above), it's self-defeating. You want my respect? Don't Spam me.

By the way, SpamAssassin runs on my server now and has been throwing away 80% of my Spam before I ever have to look at it. I get the service as part of the package from my ISP.

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November 22, 2002

Picture outage

Don't tell me. I already know. Lots of images just disappeared from this blog. Other crazy stuff is going on, too. It's related to my changing ISPs. Expect random-fu for the next couple of days.

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November 20, 2002

Sight without eyes

Wired magazine has lost the zest it purveyed in the early days but it still comes up with some zingers.

"The brain doesn't care where visual input comes from. So why not see with a camera jacked into your tongue?" asks Michael Abrams in the December issue.

The fact is, visual information doesn't have to go through the eyes to get to the brain. Our sense organs are mere input devices--wet USB ports. The basic premise, known as plasticity, is that the brain can adapt to new data channels by rewiring itself. It's a short step from there to sensory augmentation and substitution. New devices are extending pilots' perception of space, giving rudimentary sight to the blind, restoring balance to people whose vestibular systems have failed, even enabling orgasms. "A nerve spike is a nerve spike," says Paul Bach-y-Rita, professor.... "The brain doesn't give a damn where the information is coming from."

Now if you've ever wondered about reality beyond the visible spectrum, seeing with your elbow can really get you twisted.

Why not crank up the brain implants to take in radio waves? Use your head as a phone? See in the dark?

Furthermore, can you trust your eyes? Photographs are now a form of fiction. How about what you see when you peer at your dog? It's confusing world. All bits.

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November 18, 2002

First entry on Meta-Time.com

As part of my move from www.internettime.com at Interland (which has outgrown its ability to serve its customers) to www.meta-time.com at AssortedInternet, I'm rebuilding my blogs. This is a test entry.

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November 15, 2002

Knowledge blogs are tough

ev reports that rick klau has written up a great piece detailing his exerience with rolling out a klog pilot at work and it's a mixed bag:


    "At the end of our first month, it's not a slam dunk. To be successful long-term, we will need to expand the number of people with access to Radio as an authoring tool. We will need to define our objectives - with more specificity than simply identifying how we can improve communications. But this was a helpful start - and a good first step to better understanding how weblogs might make us smarter."

Some lessons I learned from this experiment:Just telling people "things will be better" when they don't know that there's a problem is tricky. As mentioned above, weblogs are many things to many people. In our pilot, we started out by simply saying we wanted to see if people found them useful. In other words - we weren't trying to solve a problem.

Reward participation. A number of people stated that they had trouble working blogging into their daily routine - that they had a number of other priorities competing for their time. Not surprisingly, they tended to gravitate to things for which they received recognition. A successful deployment of a k-log will need effective rewards to help reinforce the desirability of participation.


Define what you're looking for. This is related to the first point, but I think it's important enough to discuss on its own. I was surprised at the number of people who understood conceptually what the weblog did but who were still unclear on what they could contribute. People are very used to a fairly formal communications format - and weblogs are highly unstructured. Without a focus, inertia seemed to dominate.

Ensure senior participation. I tend to believe that grass-roots KM is the most difficult to achieve. When a program like this is supported from the top down, people are more likely going to appreciate the importance of the project - and appreciate the connection between the project and the company's overall success. If we are to increase the k-log's success, we will need to involve more of the senior management team.


i've had similar experiences in my more limited attempts to evangelize blogging in a work environment. it's a real eye-opener that will level-set any delusions that blogging will revolutionize knowledge sharing in organizations. it takes alot of persistance and i heartily "second" his recommendations. while rick gives his own co-workers the benefit of the doubt, in many ways, the lessons are no different that those learned in more traditional knowledge management arenas. you can lower the barriers to entry to near-zero and find that most people simply don't want to share for all the usual mundane, institutionalized reasons.

as rick says, you "must have a problem to solve", "reward participation", "define what you're looking for" and "ensure senior participation". and that's just for starters. otherwise it's blank stares and business-as-usual.

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Encyclopedic design tips site

Best of CHI-WEB and sigia-L, Essays on web design interaction usability experience architecture etc

The chi-web and sig-ia mailing lists are two email based discussion groups on the topics of web usability, design and human computer interaction (the later with a heavier emphasis on information architecture).

Sample topics:
Summary of prototype tools
Web UI Prototyping
Web glossaries
Bad websites for u-testing
Windows UI design refs
World/regional divisions
Email acronyms
Internet usage stats
Browser support flowcharts
Good design firms
Web app workshop

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Hoot Hoot


Hoot

by Carl Hiaasen

Normally, I love Carl Hiaasen's books, what with the former governor turned eco-terrorist who subsists on road-kill, the villain with a weedwhacker instead of a hook where his hand used to be, or the theme-park sleazeball trying to peddle a dead Shamu as catfood. Hoot is something else again.

"Has Carl forgotten how to write?" I wondered. "Too much time in the Florida sun?" Hoot is more Jerry Lewis than Dennis Miller, move Bill Murray than John Belushi. Slapstick. Middle of the road. Simplistic.

Only upon finishing the book did I notice that this was Hiaasen's first novel for "a younger audience." An Amazon review notes, "Carl Hiaasen is riding the wave of adult fiction writers down-shifting their word processors to 'Kid Lit' in the wake of Harry Potter."

I find it confusing when an author messes with his brand without informing his customers. How about a big "Kid Lit" sticker to let us know what we're getting?

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Creating a Learning Content Strategy

Creating a Learning Content Strategy


Robby Robson (CEO, Eduworks & Chair, IEEE LTSC Committee)
& Ellen Wagner (Director of Learning Technologies, Learnativity Alliance)

This was the fifth and final session of the Learning Object Forum, a track conceived as a catalyst to forming a learning object community of practice. I’ll recount a few highlights – and encourage you to look at the entire presentation when it goes up on the eLearning Guild site.

The Learning Object Forum builds on the Learning Object Symposium a group of us attended in Menlo Park in early September.


Graphics by Sherrin Bennett from the Menlo Park session.


Why do we need a community? To keep the learning in learning objects. Learning has become a business proposition, described by words like competitive advantage and cognitive capacity. Object orientation is a given but today’s object experts are “only one object ahead of the rest of us.” For design to shape what’s ahead, we better get on it now.


Business organizations need a content strategy that shares the goals of their technology strategy. Scalable, access, improved productivity, durability & maintainability, software that doesn’t suck, and LOTS of value. Software isn’t even usable yet, but our history is short – the Internet has been commercial for only seven years. (Robby jokes that I began with the UNIVAC 1.)


If it doesn’t work for the individual, no WIIFM, it’s not going to work.


Great expectations, great disappointments. It’s cheap to transport content. The hype cycle. The net has democratized learning. The Locus of learning control moved…but where? IT? The Marketing Department? Instructional design became more necessary, but less sufficient. (Because we’re building learning environments which involve linkages to information and people. Googol is the most popular eLearning tool today.)


So… every organization needs a content strategy that spells out concrete
goals.

  • Building new content and reconfiguring old

  • Interoperability

  • Manage intellectual property

  • Customize with local content


Think of content as a commodity: objects.


What do you get for your efforts?


  • Easy and quick to modify content

  • Manage at the modular level

  • Simplify authoring and assembly

  • Match content to learner needs

  • Separate content, presentation, and delivery


The picture is becoming more clear.

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November 14, 2002

What is The eLearning Guild?

What is the eLearning Guild?


I asked a dozen people what they liked or disliked about The eLearning Guild’s first Annual Conference in San Diego. Everyone brought up learning from others who were actually doing things. By a show of hands, four out of five people who attended my presentation had seriously implemented eLearning in their companies. The few vendors who made an appearance were unobtrusive and low-key. The program was loaded with entries marked RLS, for “real life stories.”

Compared to a TechLearn or Online Learning, this event was miniscule – a couple of hundred people. When I used to attend industry conferences to promote vendors or scope out the market for them, I favored large conferences that attracted thousands of people and lots of potential buyers. Now that I do more work helping organizations get the most out of eLearning, the size of the event in San Diego seemed just right.

As David Holcombe explained to an audience of members late this afternoon, The eLearning Guild is a Community of Practice of developers, designers, and managers of eLearning. The guru is not on the stage, she’s in the seat next to you. That’s why the Guild’s website is a place where members can keep and share resources (there are 2200 resources online now). The mission is to create a venue for sharing ideas. The Guild sees itself as supplementing, not competing with, ASTD, ISPI, and other organizations.

Statistics: 5300+ members, 4400+ unique visits each week, 3500-4500 journal downloads, 29 issues of Journal, 9 member surveys completed, 4 events serving almost 400 members, 8 months old. And just getting started.

New initiatives include Local Group Directory (keen to support local groups). Job Board. Salary Survey. Guild Technology Guides. Professional Practice Papers. Ongoing Research. Events (face-to-face & online). Certification Programs.

As conferences go, I give this event high marks.

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November 13, 2002

eLearning Guild

eLearning Guild Annual Conference


David Holcombe kicked off eLearning Guild’s first annual conference in San Diego this morning, saying this session differs from other events because it’s for practitioners. There will be plenty of real-life case studies. It’s about learning, not pitching. David, who worked with Elliott back in Ziff-Davis days, pointedly noted that the Conference “is not about me. It’s community, not cult.”

Judy Brown is sitting next to me, taking notes on a tablet PC. It’s about the same size as my little SONY VAIO; it also costs about the same, at $1800. Judy says the handwriting recognition is nothing short of amazing.

Marc Rosenberg is leading the keynote, Reinventing eLearning. Everybody has their own definition of eLearning. To rethink eLearning, we need to rethink learning, blending, access, value, leadership, the training organization, the learner, and ourselves.

We learn all the time but often not from courses. We learn from books, friends, newspapers, experts…many more things.

Learning is an internal process of taking in information and experience. Training is one of many means to facilitate learning. Training’s appropriate when developing meta skills, performance must be automatic, and competence is time-critical. Training’s not appropriate when we’re changing content, not performance, knowledge can be referenced, or when meta skills are applied.

By definition, eLearning must be networked, web-based platform, integrated into a broader architecture of solutions. The architecture includes training and non-training components. The components of the framework:


    1. online training, method is instructional design, builds skills
    2. performance support, software, assist performance
    3. KM, information design, resource for the user

“Blending” is now classroom and online training, interspersed. Marc’s framework includes people (communities) or performance support (which may eliminate courses.) Pulling everything together yields what Marc calls “The Smart Enterprise.”

What’s the role of an LMS now? Rather limited. It can’t deal with KM or performance support. More appropriate, an enterprise portal. The word “My” is the most powerful word on the Internet. Think MyYahoo. I can get what I need to know. The LMS, LCMS, HRIS, etc. is back-office, feeding the portal.


Training organizations must make multi-year investments in eLearning. eLearning will be more independent from traditional training organizations (mainly content). KM must be fully integrated. More virtual organization. Custom and personal. A learning path for everyone. Outsourcing of the entire training effort. Not just B2E (business-to-employee) but E2E, B2B and B2C.

We need to rethink ourselves. What’s our strategy?? Do we have an elevator pitch? Does our approach to eLearning include what happens outside of “the course?” (If not, you’re not going anywhere.) Are we smart consumers?

“That’s just my opinion. I might be wrong.”




Heidi Fisk & David Holcolmbe

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November 12, 2002

Googlism.com

Ask Googlism.com what eLearning is and it will tell you:


    elearning is not knowledge management
    elearning is child's play
    elearning is live ·
    elearning is burgeoning
    elearning is focused on the individual learner
    elearning is the next big thing
    elearning is technology
    elearning is as varied as education itself

    elearning is used by organisations that need to re elearning is not important elearning is utilizing technology to increase the effectiveness and accessibility of learning elearning is critical to it's future health elearning is the key by melanie liew elearning is best defined as the category consisting of training and learning over the web elearning is instructional content delivered over the internet elearning is likely to be found in its potential to provide elearning is giving pharmaceutical companies faster elearning is easy and engaging elearning is the use of digital technologies to equip pharmaceutical company employees elearning is a way for individuals or groups to learn new knowledge and skills using computer network technologies elearning is learning that is supported by information and communication technologies elearning is not only changing how we learn elearning is a dynamic process that provides learners with real elearning is the delivery of instructional material in electronic formats elearning is a powerful learning system that makes knowledge and information accessible to you elearning is a elearning is internet based training and instruction elearning is quickly becoming the ?enterprise initiative of fashion elearning is likely to go and how quickly it may or may not get there that we talk about it our other venues and elearning is a unique web site specializing in online instructor elearning is also significant elearning is a hot new area that leverages internet technologies in the delivery of instruction elearning is today the most important area of research elearning is an emerging industry that utilizes high technology to provide learning elearning is often "self elearning is more than using technology for "just in time" training elearning is web elearning is an effective elearning is great elearning is a social reality elearning is being flaunted as a compelling new approach to quickly and effectively learn these necessary new elearning is teaching and learning via the use of digital resources elearning is going to change the world or at the very least our entire learning behavior elearning is modular elearning is cur elearning is based on branded educational content that is proven to be high quality elearning is not about a fresh start elearning is taking a lot of criticism at the moment and remaining focused on the learner is the key to avoiding ineffective elearning elearning is a key strategy that leading companies are using to stay ahead of their competition elearning is nothing like training elearning is the outcome of a demanding supply chain for knowledge ? some have called this multi elearning is elearning is firmly committed to the view that its credibility with its business partners elearning is underperforming elearning is dependent on having a web elearning is learning elearning is part of the learning process but it would be very foolish to ditch what you do in favour of a technology elearning is fairly thin on the ground elearning is growing elearning is growing as the world continues to re elearning is usually implemented over a network elearning is a cost elearning is pleased to announce the completion of a distribution agreement for its wbt manager™ learning management system with elearning is being embraced by schools elearning is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of such other web elearning is a disruptive innovation elearning is not practical elearning is the convergence of learning and the internet elearning is fun and enjoyable elearning is a journey for every student to acquire the requisite skills and literacy in the digital world that awaits them elearning is a response to the scalability and cost issues of face elearning is the delivery of content via all electronic media elearning is motivating and enjoyable online learning offers more opportunities elearning is the delivery of learning and training using electronic media elearning is set to take off in europe elearning is not to repeat what has been done before elearning is itself not without its problems elearning is clear elearning is found to be a major part of the elearning is not necessarily easier than the traditional classroom learning elearning is flexible and convenient elearning is becoming an essential component to companies' overall business strategies to attract and retain employees
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November 07, 2002

Advance warning

Coming soon, at the Grand Opening of the Internet Time store, a report on Enterprise eLearning. (Yes, this is just a teaser.)

Posted by Jay Cross at 03:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Learning from TechLearn

Most people who attend a conference like TechLearn forget half of what they learned before stepping foot on the flight home. Use it or lose it. That's the nature of the forgetting curve, and most of us just let it happen.

The Masie Center has posted presentations, audio recordings, and some video of the last week's presentations. By hat's off to Heinrich Koenen, the A/V team at the Coronado, and the Masie Center tech staff for putting this material on the web in record time.

I suggest you review the online material -- and get double your money's worth. (Naturally, you should start with Lance's and my Mega session.)

A couple of years from now, all successful organizations will encourage participants to reflect on what they learn at conferences. They'll wake up to the fact that they have been letting valuable content slip through their fingers, never to be recaptured. Today's pioneering efforts, like TechLearn, will be the norm.

Compare the online TechLearn coverage to the artifacts of your last global sales meeting. Ten days later. Are you doing as well as a handful of people at The Masie Center in Saratoga Springs?

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November 06, 2002

Sound trumps sight

Cut on the sound and click the > button.
codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,0,0"
WIDTH="200" HEIGHT="45" id="blogview" ALIGN="">


quality=high bgcolor=#FFFFFF WIDTH="200" HEIGHT="45"
NAME="blogview" ALIGN="" TYPE="application/x-shockwave-flash"
PLUGINSPAGE="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer">


Audio blog is housed here. Plug in a microphone and give it a shot! Jeremy Allaire wrote this app.

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A new kind of software

Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of Science is a mind-blowing book. Not that I've read it -- I'm perhaps 50 pages in, a mere grain in the sandbox of this monster tome. But already I've been overwhelmed as Wolfram explains that every scientist before him has gotten it all wrong, and his notions will revolutionize not only physics and chemistry, but economics, sociology, and psychology, too. (My marginal note to myself: Cojones.)

In a nutshell, Wolfram's thesis is that nature can't be described by a bunch of equations. In the real world, processes interact -- and each come away changed. Algorithms make a better worldmeme. Wolfram posits that just about anything can be explained by the interaction of a few simple programs.

If that's all there were to it, Wolfram might have a shot at surpassing Hawking's Brief History of Time for the least read popular book ever published. But today on Wolfram's web site, I happened upon The New Science Explorer.

The Explorer is software that lets you perform Wolfram's experiments as you read along. Wow! For $65, you can follow the original research. I ordered a copy immediately. Maybe when I retire to a desert island, I'll have time to work my way through all of Wolfram's work. This is the way science should be learned!

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November 05, 2002

Brains, minds and teaching

A delightful, short, breezy introduction to how to leverage the brain to learn.

Interesting research looking at brains of graduate school students vs. high school dropouts (through autopsies) have revealed that the first ones have about 40% more connections than the latter. That the state of learning in the general population is not particularly encouraging, on the other hand, is confirmed by the fact that only 50% of the adult population has acquired formal reasoning skills...




Time is of the essence, especially when it comes to the brain. Our brains go through a natural cycle of rest-activity that lasts about 90-110 minutes. Depending on when you are in the cycle, you may or may not be receptive to the material being presented during a lecture. Attention, the holy grail of every teacher, cannot be maintained for more than 10 minutes at a time, and it always trades off with meaning – you can’t have both simultaneously. People need time to internalize learning, about 2-5 minutes per each 10-15 minutes of learning. All of this points toward some strategies as better than others in both teaching and grading. For example, having students do home assignments or portfolios instead of subjecting them to tests in class significantly improves their response.

If we are in the business of maximizing brain growth, two ingredients are essential according to recent neurobiological research: challenge and feedback. Challenges can be problem solving, critical thinking exercises, carrying out relevant projects, engaging in complex activities. Feedback has to be specific, multi-modal, delivered in a timely fashion, and controlled by the learner to the extent that it is possible. All of this will make for much more engaged and responsive students.



The brain has two major kinds of explicit memory (plus implicit memory, such as procedural and reflexive): semantic and episodic. The diagram (from Gazzaniga 2000) shows the difference: semantic memory deals with internalizing concepts, episodic memory with specific events that are important for one reason or another.

Both kinds of memory are important for learning. Semantic memory is more closely associated with classic “book learning”, it is difficult, and it comes less naturally, probably because it is still evolutionarily novel. Episodic memory is stimulated by novelty, it is very dynamic, and it comes more naturally. The right panels list the kinds of activities known to stimulate semantic and episodic memory.

Concept maps can be used to learn, to think, and to teach. They can be done with simple post-it notes, using generic graphic software such as Power Point, or using special software such as “Inspiration”.

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Exposing Jay

George Siemens has posted an interview with me at elearnspace. Thanks, George.

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November 04, 2002

Visual Thesaurus Update

Navigation has been improved on Plumb Design's Visual Thesaurus. It's worth a visit. You put in a word, e.g. "learning." Here's a snapshot of what you see:

I love tracking a word in this environment -- or even letting it go off on its own, linking one word to the next.

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Spam, spam, spam, spam

LockerGnome Windows Daily is such a handy, well-written newsletter that it's on my short list of push media worth reading. Usually it's chock full of hints and great links. Today Chris Perillo starts with a few words on SPAM that captured my feelings on the matter precisely:

I would like to thank all the clueless companies who sent me junk e-mail this weekend; I now better understand myself and my needs. At the risk of tripping every other lousy spam trigger on the planet by posting this, I need to tell everyone that I don't need: a worldwide voice-VPN solution, a Simpsons talking beer opener, e- Scooters, a quick way to quit smoking, credit card debt information, monthly income using my computer, anything from Publishers Clearing House, a solution for baldness, easy to install cell phone booster, real estate tips, mortgage quotes, fishing advice, a subscription to Women's Day magazine, Stephen King's latest thriller, hundreds of lenders competing for my loan, Viagra, a merchant account, fresh email addresses on CD, glutathione, a free Dr. Seuss backpack, the best-selling and most- proven All Natural diet, fantastic savings on cartridges, Yoga Journal, an HP Optical Mouse, the loan and car I deserve, to unsubscribe by postal mail, the incredible illuminating pen, or free software from Disney. But if and when I need any of these things, trust me - you'll be the LAST to know.
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Is Internet Time dead?

Wall Street Journal
Boomtown
by Lee Gomes

Your 'Internet Time' Is Over, Time to Give 'Slowth' a Try

Here's an excuse in technology nostalgia: Remember Internet Time?

From its origins, circa 1994, the phrase became canonical during the late 1990s. It was used to describe the accelerated pace at which, in a Web-enabled world, all business was supposedly going to be conducted. Business plans, product cycles, big decisions -- everything would be zipping along at a fraction of their traditional rates.

This is your business brain on speed.

Internet Time, along with cousins like Web Time and Warp Speed, became handy phrases to throw into book titles and PowerPoint presentations as proof of savvy topicality. Into newspaper articles, too; The Wall Street Journal mentioned the idea four times in 1996 but 43 times in 2000.

This column, though, marks only the second time the phrase has been used by this newspaper all year. Internet Time's time was short indeed.

In fact, what with the current free fall in tech spending, Internet Time has been replaced by its evil twin: let's call it Slowth.

Faster product cycles? Why bother? No one is buying anything anyway; take all the time you need.

Like New Economy, the term Internet Time was used seriously by some people, mockingly by others. (Back then, you picked your friends by which camp they belonged to.)

People in the former category invariably mentioned it with a celebratory, even reverential, tone. It seems to have never occurred to them that companies were taking two years rather than six months to bring out a new product because that's how long it took to get the new product right.

One can't help but suspect that Internet Time was a convenient excuse for companies of the period to sell stuff not fully tested, if not downright shoddy.

Back then, though, who would dare complain? People would suspect you were operating with an Old Economy paradigm, a fatal accusation for any career circa 1997-1999.

In retrospect, Internet Time was actually an amalgam of several unrelated phenomenon. In a few cases, the simple existence of the Internet did, as billed, allow for faster products. If you are making software, for instance, your customers were suddenly able to download new versions as fast as you could put them on the Web.

But most of the time, Internet Time was something else. In the fight between Microsoft and Netscape, usually hailed as the ultimate Internet Time battle, it was the sudden emergence of a big market coming up for grabs that drove the frantic pace. There would have been the same sense of urgency had the pair been making the very first generation of patio furniture.

Mostly, Internet Time was just a euphemism for Bubble Time. Venture capitalists were approving business plans in a single breakfast meeting for the simple reason that they wanted to get in and get out before the roof fell in.

The phrase Internet Time is traditionally credited to Tom Paquin, one of the earliest employees of Netscape. As the story goes, Mr. Paquin, around the summer of 1994, was asking other Netscape employees how long they had been at the company -- and how long it felt they had been there.

A four-month tenure, people invariably said, seemed like a year, maybe two. "Ah," said Mr. Paquin, "Internet Time."

That's how the story usually gets told. But Mr. Paquin said last week there was more to it than that.

The phrase, he said, was initially something of an inside joke among Mr. Paquin and his buddies. (And it was used to describe time perception not, as in its current meaning, time compression.) "Then the marketing and PR people picked up on it," he said.

It may be hard to remember now, but back then, Netscape was at the very center of the technology world. It was, for one, going to put Microsoft out of business. Reporters, politicians, the whole world flocked through its doors, asking about its ways, its secrets.

"Internet Time," said Mr. Paquin, was something that Netscape marketers began offering as a window into the company and its new world. People ate it up.

It may have been one of the first instances of a tech company marketing a form of Internet Exceptionalism. That's the notion that the Internet is a wholly new place where none of the old rules apply. That idea, of course, became the central tenet of the subsequent Internet bubble, and eventually ended up costing a lot of people a lot of money.

Mr. Paquin still thinks that Internet Time is a meaningful notion in the confines of technology. But he says it's not, as boosters tried to claim, the new world order.

Says Mr. Paquin, "To say some guy in the chemical industry ought to be shipping new products every six months -- that's just crazy."

Posted by Jay Cross at 12:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 03, 2002

TechLearn 2002 Summary



On the flight back to California on Wednesday, I pieced together my notes
and photographs from TechLearn. I learn more from an event if I play reporter,
so I invariably shape up my conference notes like this. Then I post them
to my blog. (Here's more information about blogs.)


What follows are my opinions. If you want the facts, download the trip report.

For those of us with nonlinear tastes, here's a Mind Map I created for my own assessment of major themes: TechLearn Mind Map

A visual journalist interpreted all the keynote sessions on wall-sized
murals. Check the Visual Learning Center for more information about graphic facilitation or to reach Eileen Clegg.

Reviews of the two previous TechLearns: TechLearn2000 | TechLearn2001

October 27, 2002


   TechLearn2002
            (Learning)



    More than fourteen-hundred people will participate in tonight's opening
    session of TechLearn 2002 in Disney World's Coronado Resort.







    TechLearn's theme this year is The Futures of eLearning,
    an improvement over last year's Now More Than Ever.



The Limited's Beth Thomas modeled one of the futures of eLearning, making
like a Disney interpretation of Judy Jetson:







eLearning vendors are in such a slump that they didn't stuff many goodies
in this year's famous TechLearn wheelie bag. A couple of pens, an Element
K potholder, a Thinq t-shirt, a DDI pencil case, a 4" rubber bear,
and a stack of cheesy brochures and product spec sheets On the other hand,
the variety of buttons has grown. A few from last year seem odd when taken
out of context ("Bullied as a kidl")








I'm going to head back over to the Coronado. The Learning Showcase opens
soon. I want to catch the reaction to this first in-your-face commercialism
at TechLearn, especially as the kick-off event.




  

   Reflections
on the TechLearn Community            
(Learning)



    The
    TechLearn community convened in Orlando this Sunday through midday
    Wednesday for the sixth time in five years. Why do I say community
    instead of conference or show? Because Elliott Masie and his acolytes
    have created a culture replete with rituals, castes, customs,
    expectations, and entertainment.


    I asked two-dozen people, half newbies and half old-timers what
    they thought of TechLearn. Every one -- every single one! -- said
    TechLearn was the best show they’d ever attended. New people are
    attracted by Elliott’s reputation; his broad contacts are an early
    warning system for the industry. Old hands come to find out what’s
    going on, to sniff out business, and to renew friendships. This
    was my fifth consecutive TechLearn, and I felt like I was returning
    for a club meeting.


    1452.5 people from 37 countries came to Disney’s Coronado Springs
    hotel to pass the talking stick this year. (The .5 is a prenancy.)
    This year’s group was more senior in their organizations, perhaps
    a reflection of budget restrictions on travel for the junior folks.
    About a third were first-timers. A large contingent were members
    of the consortium (whose employers kick in $5,000 a year for membership.)


    How do Elliott, his wife Cathy, and his partner Stan, pull this
    off?



    • Elliott instructs the “faculty,” i.e. all presenters, in
      their three roles. First, they give their presentations – as
      free of jargon as possible. Second, they are to raise the level
      of enthusiasm. Third, if they see some forlorn soul, they are
      to introduce themselves, get this person engaged, and introduce
      him or her to others.

    • An energetic faculty member (this year Beth Thomas took on
      the role) leads orientations to get people in the mood, to create
      a safe space, to encourage camaraderie, and to have fun.

    • The agenda is chock full of breaks, social events, table
      exercises, and entertainment to encourage schmoozing. People
      have a choice of buttons to wear as conversation-starters. Seating
      is round tables, not rows of chairs.

    • The content is top-drawer. Now that eLearning is more than
      a dream or a pilot, organizations are presenting real case examples.
      It’s exciting to see the major strides many organizations are
      taking.

    • Vendors are present but are kept in check. Some of us feared
      that Advanstar’s commercialism might tarnish the atmosphere.
      It turned out that the small expo hall was quite contained,
      appropriately occupying the space where the resource center
      (filled with PCs in prior years) had been. Years of practice
      running thousands of events have taught Advanstar the ropes.
      Their professionalism showed in their unobtrusiveness.

    • And of course, there’s Elliott himself, larger than life.
      (Joke!) “Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and
      me? E-L-L-I, O-T-T, M-A-S-I-E.” Get this. At the entrance to
      Disney MGM, Elliott, Cathy, and Advanstar’s Joe Flynn shook
      hands with everyone attending TechLearn.


    Another tradition: Booz Allen’s Mike Parmentier, assisted by
    his former colleagues at ADL, prepares a trip report summarizing
    the entire event. I don’t intend to reinvent the wheel. Besides,
    with as many as 25 concurrent sessions, it’s impossible for any
    one individual to take part in more a small fraction of the show.
    Download the trip report
    for the facts. The Masie Center is working away right now to post
    presentations and streaming audio; I'll note when things start
    to appear.


    Here on the Blog, I’ll add color commentary, opinions, and a
    few photographs.




TechLearn
Photos            
(Learning)



    A few mementos. I'll add more after I get some sleep.




    If you can't afford the Coronado hotel (or don't feel comfortable
    sleeping in a place that's patrolled with Disney stormtroopers),
    you could stay 10 minutes away, in Kissimmee, for $35/night.




    Dave Barry and Diane
    Hessan
    comparing Miami and Boston.





Cathy, Stan & Elliott




An ominous twist: Joe thanks the Supporting Sponsors before welcoming
the audience.




The Raspyni Brothers, phenomenal
jugglers and terribly funny comedians, explained that they had worked
with the Masie Center to select this year's presentations from among
hundreds of submissions. They presented their TechLearn Top Ten List
of the worst of the rejects:






Eileen Clegg interpreting
the keynote graphically.




Lance Dublin and I gave the first presentation Monday morning. This
is what the presenter sees. The left and right monitors display what's
on the big screens; the center monitor is what's on your PC. We were
more than pleased to have 15% of the participants turn out for an
8:00 am presentation -- and not fall asleep. The presentation was
based on our new book,
which we saw for the first time later that day.


 



October 31, 2002




   The
Book            
(Learning)



    When Elliott encouraged everyone to read. Zealous participants went
    to work on it immediately.










Lance Dublin's and my book, Implementing eLearning, had just arrived
from the printer.



It sold out! More about the book here.


Am I happy about this?



Does a dog have fleas?



November 01, 2002


   TechLearn
2002 Objects            
(Learning)


    Things that struck me as worthy of repeating:

    1. Blended Learning is velcroed together. You can't buy it whole. You design it. Hire a content gatherer.
    2. You must, must, must develop a learning strategy. How long should it be? Thirty pages or a dozen PowerPoint slides.
    3. Dave Barry. DisneyWorld in a hurry: Take your money and throw it over the wall. More realistic: Wait in line, then throw your money over the wall. | Watch The Exploding Whale Video.
    4. ROI is a lot more complex than generating a number. Sometimes you don't need it because it's so apparent. Who bothers with the ROI of air conditioning? Of email? Of loving your child?
  • The guy to the right? I believe he is in the Air Force. Or was.
  • Elliott's instruction to faculty: "Pretend you're at a big wedding and the two families don't know one another. When you see someone who's not engaged, introduce them to others."
  • You think you having training needs? Home Depot builds a new store every 40 hours. A new store houses 200 employees who must be able to explain 40,000 products.
  • Steve Kerr, then at GE, was the first Chief Learning Officer in the world. He was hired as Chief Education Officer. He asked Jack Welch if the company should have 2 CEOs. Welch immediately made Kerr CLO.
  • McDonald's operates 30,000 outlets in 128 countries. They train 1.5 million people a year. Elliott asked the first thing they'd tell him if he were a new employee. The answer: "Shave." The eLearning portion of Hamburger U is led by this "ethnically neutral" character.
  • Could learning have prevented the shenanigans at Enron, Andersen, World.com, Tyco, etc.? Paul Hersey says you learn ethics in the family, not on the job. At Enron, at most ten people lied. The remainder were among the most innovative, pioneering, hard-working people in the nation.
  • Tough times teach good lessons. Acknowledge your current emotions, but be aware that you're going to be glad for those lessons later on.



  • Here's a view from the stage of several hundred people at 8:15 in the morning, attending our keynote announcing our new book.
  • Take a deep breath. Again. Again. You are what you are for an instant. Then you join a long line of Previous Me's. Be thankful for the gift of what the Previous Me's have taught you.
  • Flipcards: The most cost-effective training technology in the entire show.
  • Write a personal development plan for your career. Find a coach. Be a coach. Get a mentor. Manage your strategic relationships.

  • Registration desk at Lance's and my hotel.

  • You had to be there to understand playing the Sumo phone.
  • Should TechLearn move? First we shape our habits, then our habits shape us. Would a change of venue bring a breath of fresh air? In the comments section below, suggest where you'd like TechLearn to meet in the future. It should be in the U.S. but not in a big city.

  • Mike Parmentier presents the TechLearn sharable Trip Report. Describing Eileen Clegg's visual journalism, he said, "She captured not what we said, but what we meant."
  • M-I-C (See you real soon), K-E-Y (Why? Because we like you.), M-A-S-I-E. Not meant in a derogatory fashion. The Mouse made an immense impact on the world, too.

    Posted by Jay Cross at 08:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    November 02, 2002

    The Airline Trail

    Stan Malcolm has been photographing the Air Line Trail, a railroad straight as an arrow from Boston to New York. The right-of-way is now a beautiful state park. Stan's album of photos over the course of a year is inspiring. Go ahead, take a look. And then settle back for thirty minutes of bliss as you click through the collection.

    Posted by Jay Cross at 10:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    November 01, 2002

    Grokker

    Grokker

    Grokker builds precise and detailed knowledge maps containing visual cues and relationships between the data. The map itself contains powerful metadata that vividly describes the “nature” of the data collection. The Grokker product enables map generation and the ability to collaborate, extend, edit, delete, save, and share any attribute or subset of the map

    Posted by Jay Cross at 08:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    TechLearn 2002 Objects

    Things that struck me as worthy of repeating:

    1. Blended Learning is velcroed together. You can't buy it whole. You design it. Hire a content gatherer.

    2. You must, must, must develop a learning strategy. How long should it be? Thirty pages or a dozen PowerPoint slides.


    3. Dave Barry. DisneyWorld in a hurry: Take your money and throw it over the wall. More realistic: Wait in line, then throw your money over the wall. | Watch The Exploding Whale Video.

    4. ROI is a lot more complex than generating a number. Sometimes you don't need it because it's so apparent. Who bothers with the ROI of air conditioning? Of email? Of loving your child?

  • The guy to the right? I believe he is in the Air Force. Or was.

    1. Elliott's instruction to faculty: "Pretend you're at a big wedding and the two families don't know one another. When you see someone who's not engaged, introduce them to others."


    2. You think you having training needs? Home Depot builds a new store every 40 hours. A new store houses 200 employees who must be able to explain 40,000 products.

    3. Steve Kerr, then at GE, was the first Chief Learning Officer in the world. He was hired as Chief Education Officer. He asked Jack Welch if the company should have 2 CEOs. Welch immediately made Kerr CLO.

    4. McDonald's operates 30,000 outlets in 128 countries. They train 1.5 million people a year. Elliott asked the first thing they'd tell him if he were a new employee. The answer: "Shave." The eLearning portion of Hamburger U is led by this "ethnically neutral" character.

    5. Could learning have prevented the shenanigans at Enron, Andersen, World.com, Tyco, etc.? Paul Hersey says you learn ethics in the family, not on the job. At Enron, at most ten people lied. The remainder were among the most innovative, pioneering, hard-working people in the nation.

    6. Tough times teach good lessons. Acknowledge your current emotions, but be aware that you're going to be glad for those lessons later on.



    7. Here's a view from the stage of several hundred people at 8:15 in the morning, attending our keynote announcing our new book.

    8. Take a deep breath. Again. Again. You are what you are for an instant. Then you join a long line of Previous Me's. Be thankful for the gift of what the Previous Me's have taught you.

    9. Flipcards: The most cost-effective training technology in the entire show.

    10. Write a personal development plan for your career. Find a coach. Be a coach. Get a mentor. Manage your strategic relationships.


    11. Registration desk at Lance's and my hotel.


    12. You had to be there to understand playing the Sumo phone.

    13. Should TechLearn move? First we shape our habits, then our habits shape us. Would a change of venue bring a breath of fresh air? In the comments section below, suggest where you'd like TechLearn to meet in the future. It should be in the U.S. but not in a big city.



    14. Mike Parmentier presents the TechLearn sharable Trip Report. Describing Eileen Clegg's visual journalism, he said, "She captured not what we said, but what we meant."

      Posted by Jay Cross at 06:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack