Undermining the Idea GateKeepers

Love this interview with LeVar Burton on Building 43 - Communities without Gatekeepers.

We should not be afraid of “more accountability and integrity in our communicating.”

Broadcast media & commercial communication are one-way conversations bundled with sales messages, actors, branding, and entertainers. Often it is marketing made to look like authentic human interaction.

The goal of most mass media communication is to generate revenue.

When you unpack Broadcast media messaging we find it is often a partial hollow representation of human communication. In the age of mass media, companies and large organizations have controlled, or at the very least influenced, the messages that people receive in the broadcast channel.

Mass media messages have been tightly controlled. With revenue protection in mind,  the distribution channel owners and funders have acted as the message gatekeepers. 

No more.

Check out LeVar's thoughts in the video above. He has has been a champion for challenging people to think, discover, and ask "what if?" for decades now.

In the Web 2.0 Social web, we are increasingly able to find and choose messages that make sense and resonate; conversations that enhance our perspective and our understanding. And ironically, it is technology that is extending our authentic conversations beyond our local reach.

The many-to-many Social Web now matches and extends beyond the reach of one-way broadcast media.

More than ever we are able to choose an alternative to the status quo of how we hear, understand, and discuss issues that involve all of us. With broadcast messaging declining and non-commercial communication increasing, we are finding connections with new people and forming new communities – along the way uncovering those things that make us more alike than different. We are able organize around different commonalities and undertsandings. It is here that we are collectively remembering that there is more to life than selling, consumption, and commercial agendas.

The hegemony of the idea gatekeepers is eroding every passing day. And it is in this sharing of stories of being human, Levar Burton says, we have an opportunity for imagination ... An opportunity to say “what if ...?”

We should not be afraid of “more accountability and integrity in our communicating.”

That, friends, is our starting point and ideal worth evangelizing.


Short term growth where the objective is to quickly extract resources or capital is a short sighted dead-end. Let's hope the conjunction of utility computing, the social network, and the rapid conversion to Cloud flatten out the relationships between consumer and business; fostering new efficiencies and tighter collaboration.  A long view of business relationships goes beyond quarterly gains, and monthly quotas, what Rick Schaefer and Rick Cummings teach - It is always a business of people, and not parts.


1. Outcomes, not income. Dumb growth is about incomes - are we richer today than we were yesterday? Smart growth is about people, and how much better or worse off they are - not merely how much junk an economy can churn out. Smart growth measures people's outcomes - not just their incomes. Are people healthier, fitter, smarter, happier? Economics that measure financial numbers, we've learned the hard way, often fail to be meaningful, except to the quants among us. It is tangible human outcomes that are the arbiters of authentic value creation.

2. Connections, not transactions. Dumb growth looks at what's flowing through the pipes of the global economy: the volume of trade. Smart growth looks at how pipes are formed, and why some pipes matter more than others: the quality of connections. It doesn't just look at transactions at the global, regional, or national level -- how much world trade has grown, for example -- but looks at how local and global relationships power invention and innovation. Without Silicon Valley's relationships powering the development of personal computing and the internet, for example, the volume of trade between Taiwan, Japan, and China, would be a fraction of what it is. Smart growth seeks to amplify connection and community -- because the goal isn't just to trade, but to co-create and collaborate.

3. People, not product. The next time you hear an old dude talking about "product", let him know the 20th century ended a decade ago. Smart growth isn't driven by pushing product, but by the skill, dedication, and creativity of people. What's the difference? Everything. Globalization driven by McJobs deskilling the world, versus globalization driven by entrepreneurship, venture economies, and radical innovation. People not product means a renewed focus on labour mobility, human capital investment, labour market standards, and labour market efficiency. Smart growth isn't powered by capital dully seeking the lowest-cost labour -- but by giving labour the power to seek the capital with they can create, invent, and innovate the most.

4. Creativity, not productivity. Uh-oh: Creativity is an economic four-letter word. Why? Because it's hard to measure, manage, and model. So economists focus on productivity instead -- and the result is dumb growth. Smart growth focuses on economic creativity - because creativity is what let us know that competition is creating new value, instead of just shifting old value around. What is economic creativity? How many new industries, markets, categories, and segments an economy can consistently create. Think China's gonna save the world? Think again: it's economically productive, but it's far from economically creative. Smart growth is creative -- not merely productive.

Utility Computing

October 21, 2007 - Sunday
Wandering observations on a Sunday morning...

Computing is moving from something you own to a service you subscribe to. We are witnessing, and are a part of, a transformation in business, society, and culture. This is a fundamental shift in how society is organized that we will look back upon 50-100 years from now as seminal as the printing press and the movement from hand copied texts to mass produced words. The printing press undermined the power hegemons of the church and monarchies. The Information age and Web 2.0 waves are re-shaping existing power structures ... more thoughts on this to come. -- Brian

To put it into context: first review Alaska Senator Ted Stevens and his knuckleheaded understanding of this new world. This way of thinking is dead and doesn't know it yet. Then read this blurb from Nick Carr - this is where we should be focused.


"Ten movies streaming across that, that Internet, and what happens to your own personal Internet? I just the other day got... an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday, I got it yesterday. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially. [...] They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material."



Nicholas Carr, The Big Switch

A hundred years ago, companies stopped generating their own power with steam engines and dynamos and plugged into the newly built electric grid. The cheap power pumped out by electric utilities didn't just change how businesses operate. It set off a chain reaction of economic and social transformations that brought the modern world into existence. Today, a similar revolution is under way. Hooked up to the Internet's global computing grid, massive information-processing plants have begun pumping data and software code into our homes and businesses. This time, it's computing that's turning into a utility.
The shift is already remaking the computer industry, bringing new competitors like Google and Salesforce.com to the fore and threatening stalwarts like Microsoft and Dell. But the effects will reach much further. Cheap, utility-supplied computing will ultimately change society as profoundly as cheap electricity did. We can already see the early effects — in the shift of control over media from institutions to individuals, in debates over the value of privacy, in the export of the jobs of knowledge workers, even in the growing concentration of wealth. As information utilities expand, the changes will only broaden, and their pace will only accelerate.

The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google will be published on January 7, 2008.