Technology innovation and making the leap from smaller markets


The front page of the IT section in today’s Australian Financial Review sports as its largest story a review of our Web 2.0 in Australia event, titled “Start-ups weave future around social web”. It starts off:

“It’s a dreary Sydney afternoon in early June, but social media consultant Ross Dawson couldn’t be happier. He’s surrounded by the cream of the Australian internet start-up community, who are buzzing as they discuss how the next-generation worldwide web will be built.

Mr Dawson’s Web 2.0 in Australia conference on June 6 was a landmark event for Australia’s internet community, bringing together a host of entrepreneurs who had previously only been connected online.

A couple of years ago, this event would not have been possible because there wouldn’t have been enough people to take part.

The numbers of Australian internet start-ups are booming at the moment as local entrepreneurs join the global rush to build web applications and hope to make a fortune along the way.

“I’m amazed at how rapidly they’re coming out at the moment,” Mr Dawson said. “In the last six months, it’s been a really rich scene.””

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The role of shared corporate language in staff and client communication


The June issue of BOSS magazine has a very interesting piece titled “Lost in Translation”, which examines the role of building a shared corporate language for employees and clients. (The article is currently available online though AFR often takes these offline after a period.) The article quotes me as follows:

“Management consultant Ross Dawson, from Advanced Human Technologies, says there’s good reason for specialists to talk this way. “You have to think about the broader context. When people become specialised they need a specialised vocabulary. It’s useful to get a verbal shorthand. But it can create barriers

to understanding, both within and outside organisations.”

One of the perennial debates in linguistics is whether language is the origin of thought or the other way around. This seems like an odd question to a layperson. Surely it’s a no-brainer to conclude that without thought there can be no language? But there is evidence that changing the way language is used can alter the way people think and then behave. It’s the theory behind neurolinguistic programming, a still-controversial amalgam of linguistic and psychoanalytic techniques designed to improve the subject’s ability to function, usually in the workplace.

Some psychotherapists contend that NLP practitioners try to duplicate their function without their qualifications. But at its simplest, NLP is a technique that asks people what they really mean, to encourage them to think and communicate clearly. It represents what Dawson sees as a kind of harmonising of language across different communities.

However there is another approach to reining in linguistic anarchy that Dawson describes as codification. Codification occurs when a company provides a strict definition of commonly used words and phrases. Take the word “incident”. Does it just mean something that happened? Or does it go further than that?”

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The increasingly tight limits of propriety for bloggers


There’s currently a massive discussion going on in the blogosphere about a series of Microsoft ads in which they asked prominent bloggers such as Michael Arrington, Om Malik, Fred Wilson, and Richard MacManus (the links are to their comments on the brouhaha) to say what they thought the term “people-ready” meant. These were compiled in a site sponsored by Microsoft, which does not mention any products or services, but simply promotes the concept of people-ready.

The controversy was sparked by a brief article on rabble-rousing blog site Valleywag, which starts its piece saying:

“The stodgy old media industry has a rule that newspaper reporters, and TV news hosts, shouldn’t trade on their public trust to endorse products.”

…and goes on to attack the people-ready campaign. I don’t get this. These bloggers are not endorsing products in any conceivable form. They are giving thoughts on a concept. How this could be seen to affect their credibliity is beyond me.

Among other business activities, I am a professional speaker and writer. I’ve written white papers, done webcasts, and given keynote speeches for payment, for among many others Microsoft, SAP, and IBM. At no point in these activities do I ever endorse a product or company. I share my views and expertise, and my clients pay to be associated with these ideas, and to attract an audience who want to get an unbiased perspective on business trends and strategies. The fact that I’m being paid to share my opinions on business and technology issues does not impact my credibility.

The bloggers in this campaign have not done anything that would affect how any reasonable person would perceive their integrity. They have not endorsed anyone. They’ve shared their thoughts on a topic. The fact that some of these bloggers have now shied away or even apologized shows that their sensitivity to potential perceptions is extreme. The degree of propriety expected of bloggers now goes far beyond that expected for mainstream media. That there is transparency and debate on the limits of propriety is good. However it is crazy to say that sharing opinions and ideas is wrong, when these could apply to any company, any product, and any service, and are not linked to any of these.

Prometeus: In the media revolution, experience is the new reality


David Casaleggio, a media and network consultant based in Milan, let me know about an extremely interesting short video he’s created on the future of media. He has created versions in English, as below, and also subtitled in Japanese and Spanish (recognizing the global nature of media markets).

A few highlights in the second half of the clip:

In 2020 Lawrence Lessig becomes the US Secretary of Justice and declares copyright illegal.

Devices that replicate the senses are available, and reality is replicated in Second Life. Everyone has an Agav (Agent Avatar) that finds information, people and places in virtual worlds.

In 2022 Google launches Prometeus, the Agav standard interface.

In 2027 SecondLife becomes Spirit, where people share their experiences and feelings. Memory selling becomes normal trading.

In 2050 virtual life is the biggest market on the planet and Prometeus finances space missions to find new markets.

In conclusion: “Experience is the new reality”.

A nice thought-starter on where we might be heading…

The Singularity and being a geek


Hmmm…. Not sure whether to take this as a compliment.

Cameron Reilly of The Podcast Network and I caught up last week after we both spoke at the Evolve conference. Cameron wrote on his blog :

“Caught a taxi to the airport with Ross Dawson and we had a great chat about the Singularity. Ross looks like an accountant but he’s really a major geek.”

For those who are not geeks, the Singularity is the point at which the acceleration of technology goes beyond human comprehension. Whether and how soon it comes is a fascinating conversation for transhumanists

Video interview of Adrian McDermott, BEA Systems


This one minute interview of Adrian McDermott, Vice President of Engineering at BEA, was made in conjunction with the Web 2.0 in Australia event. The video was produced by One Minute World, which specializes in one minute video content for streaming and mobile devices.

Adrian discusses BEA’s initiatives in applying Web 2.0 in the enterprise. These are also covered at BEA’s new site.

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Complete video of Web 2.0 in Australia event


The recent Web 2.0 in Australia event was a fabulous success. However because it was an invitation only event with space for just 100 people, many who wanted to were unable to attend. Fortunately, the fine folk at Viocorp, one of Australia’s leading Internet broadcasting companies, very generously made a video of all key proceedings at Web 2.0 in Australia, including the panels and showcase presentations, so these are available to all!


Click here for video of Web 2.0 in Australia, hosted by Viocorp.

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Video interview of Ross Dawson, Future Exploration Network


This one minute interview of Ross Dawson, Chairman of Future Exploration Network, was made in conjunction with the Web 2.0 in Australia event. The video was produced by One Minute World, which specializes in one minute video content for streaming and mobile devices.

Ross talks about the seven fundamental characteristics of Web 2.0 described in his recently released Web 2.0 Framework

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Video interview of Richard MacManus, Read/Write Web


This one minute interview of Richard MacManus, Editor and Publisher of Read/Write Web, was made in conjunction with the Web 2.0 in Australia event. The video was produced by One Minute World, which specializes in one minute video content for streaming and mobile devices.

Richard talks about his new blogs Alt Search Engines and, and the state of Web 2.0 in Australia.

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Video interview of Mick Liubinskas, Tangler


This one minute interview of Mick Liubinskas, Chief Customer Officer of Tangler, was made in conjunction with the Web 2.0 in Australia event, where Tangler was showcased as one of the leading examples of Web 2.0 in Australia. The video was produced by One Minute World, which specializes in one minute video content for streaming and mobile devices.

Mick talks about Tangler and its future.

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