Doc Searls's blog

Ten ideas about Ideas

Which has more leverage in the marketplace — A) disclosure or B) secrecy? Which is more supportive of growing markets — A) public infrastructure or B) private platforms? Which is better for inventive entrepreneurs — A) sharing one's great ideas to drive development and adoption, or B) patenting and keeping secret one's "intellectual property"?

I'm sure most Linux Journal readers would answer "A" to each of those questions, plus other questions like them. Yet I suspect that most venture capitalists would rather fund the "B" choices. more>>

Let's do for news what we did for software

There have always been problems with distributing urgent public safety information. These problems show up, over and over, with every hurricane, tornado, flood and wildfire. At this moment in history, problems fall in three areas of responsibility (and, for that matter, responsiveness):

The old official channels (radio, TV, newspapers) are scaling back on live news coverage (or on news coverage, period) The new official channels (web sites and services, "reverse 911") are still, as we've been saying since 1995, "under construction". The new unofficial channels (cell phones, blogs, RSS feeds, phone trees) are still no substitute for the Real Thing, whatever it will become.

Lately I've been thinking about some simple hacks we can do in #3 that will give some needed assistance to #s 1 and 2 as well. more>>

Turning the world I-side out

While huge progress has been made toward "user-centric" identity, I still have problems with "user-centric" anything. The point-of-view is still outside the user. It's still organizational, corporate. If you're "centric" about users, where are you? Right, outside the user. And inside something that's, well, not quite human. Or worse, that's super-human. Not a peer, but a superior.

Think about it: Are you "user-centric"? more>>

Making Peace (and/or products) with Marketing

There are a range of ways that marketing can relate to engineering. At one end are companies where engineering is the core competency and marketing "leadership" is an absurdity. At the other end are companies where marketing tells engineers what to do.

The most extreme example of the former comes from fiction. It's the nameless fictional company that employs the cartoon character Dilbert. In three daily Dilbert strips starting July 27, the character Alice -- a competent, under-appreciated and violence-prone engineer -- relates to marketing people by banging their heads on furniture. In one strip she tells a prospective employee, "I'm going to bonk your head on the table. If it sounds empty, you'll work in marketing."

The most extreme example of the latter comes from reality, and stars in "The Phone Companies Still Don't Get it", by Mark Gimein, in the July 31, 2006 issue of BusinessWeek. more>>

Markets without Marketing

Next Tuesday at OSCON in Portland, I'll be giving a 3.5 hour tutorial titled Open Source Clue Training: How to Market to People Who Hate Marketing.

As I prepare for that, I thought I'd share some of the curriculum I've come up with. I'm looking for constructive feedback, suggestions and Stories From the Real World that might be useful to the tutorial. Here we go... more>>

From 0 to 1 in 100 years

Net Neutrality is a snowball.

That is, it's an idea that started small but grew steadily as it rolled forward, gaining mass and speed as it accreted the passions and opinions of many -- on all sides of the issue. Today the topic is so large and complex that it's hard to find where it began. It has also become so highly politicized that it may sink the telecom reform legislation that carriers have been working on since the last round of reform, in 1996. more>>

Mashing Up a Commons

Is it possible that, for all our talk about The Commons, the Net doesn't have one yet? Or at least not a complete one? more>>

The choice between bad and worse might get bigger

In the last several days a flurry of postings about a new company called piled up in my email box. Technorati finds 163 new posts on the subject. Google's Blogsearch finds 329. (As of 4:30am Friday morning, which is when I'm writing this.) The pile will get a lot higher before M2Z gets off the ground. Or buried under it. more>>

PIcasa on Linux, so far

Last week in New York, I shared a cab with a friend who works for Google. He was the guy who, with permission from his company, gave me a scoop that had to stay embargoed until 8pm Pacific time tonight (Thursday, as I write this), while I was out having an anniversary dinner with my wife.

What the hell, scoops are over-rated anyway. News is news. In this case, news that Google has released Picasa, its photo editing and organizing software, on Linux. That's before they release it on Apple (if they ever do). I believe this is a first. more>>

Localizing the Broadband Battle

If "all politics is local", as Tip O'Niell famously said, can't we say the same about all business? If so, maybe we should start walking our Net Neutrality talk on our own main streets. more>>

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