My mode yesterday was the very conscious opposite of my usual mode at work, namely “make no plans, forget the clock, see what happens.” As a result I got in the wrong train, arrived at reboot late, missed some lectures, and none of it bothered me in the slightest. At first. In the afternoon a strange sense of guilt developed, and I pledged to myself to put the discipline cap on for day 2 and get as much out of it all as I could.
So far it’s worked. Up 15 minutes before the alarm went off, out on the street half an hour later and more than enough time for trains (the right ones) and a few minutes to sit on the lawn before the first talk got going.
Stowe Boyd started the day with “Flow: a New Consciousness For a Web of Traffic“. Stowe’s a consultant who helps companies build social apps, but more importantly, he thinks a hell of a lot of good thoughts about social tools and their impact on individuals and society. The soul of his talk is a quote from Kenneth Bouldin: “We make our tools and then they shape us,” and the tools he was on about are of course social apps such as Twitter, Flickr, Jaiku and blogs. On the way from the quote to the idea that blew me away he convincingly dissed the Attention Economy, touched on the inevitable “are we becoming a hive mind?”, warned against a coming lashback from the powers that be, and threw out such simple and short quotes (which are regardless sound-bites it’ll take days to digest) such as:
Time is a shared space.
The buddylist is the centre of the universe.
Productivity is second to connectivity.
The simple idea that blew me away, not because it was so innovative but rather because it accurately describes a feeling no one I know has ever articulated but I and many have felt was that social apps are giving us back an age-old tribal awareness. We’re becoming like cavemen who are simultaneously scanning the horizon for signs of prey, cleaning a skin, and chatting the whole time. What and how everyone is doing is becoming priority number one.
Later in the day Stowe held a Micropresentation on “Entrepreneuritis”which stuck with me, due to the not necessarily thought-provoking but absolutely hilarious quote: “We don’t need to do the right thing because we can do the wrong thing reeeeally well.” Sound familiar?
I’m afraid to say I was so flashed by Stowe and exhausted by my thoughts that I listened to but didn’t retain almost any of “Attention: On the Near Future of Marketing” by Marko Ahtisaari , ex Director of Design at Nokia, who’s started Blyk, a free mobile network aimed at 16-24 year olds. Everything’s got to be paid for somehow, so of course it’s free + advertising, but with interesting ideas about allowing the kiddies to choose which ads they want to receive when. I’m sure the talk was exciting (and his all white suit is the fashion hit of the whole conference) but I just didn’t have the brain-space to absorb any more.