#SWGO 2015-001: "The Productivity Mess"

The Conversation Prism - The Zoomed and Cropped Version, focusing "Organizing".
The Conversation Prism – The Zoomed and Cropped Version, focusing “Identity” and “Organizing”. Source: Solis/Jess3.

Welcome to the first essay in the name of

Social Web Global Observations!

One month ago I had a call for action, in a statement form, introducing a general call for global thinkers, doers, readers and writers in the name of “Understanding the Social Web”, from their local point of view. Departing from a feeling that I am convinced I share with many others – the boringness of social media – I progressed with something far more exciting. The awesomeness of the potential to find the Real Big Answers (crediting @harper – Harper Reed – from the referred keynote from the Swedish annual “Internet Summit” – Internetdagarna, 2014), through and with the Social Web at large, through collaborative mind-sharing.

Yes – Social Media is Boring. Long Live the Social Web!

Beyond the potential to leverage the Peace Force called the Internet, now connecting beyond 3 billion people of the world, we need to deepen many of the conversations, to which I find very crucial.

First out:

How we organize ourselves in relation to the “Big Conversation”?

In that introductory piece, outlining a potential structure for the progressing of this joint conversation, I outlined two main dimensions to make some sense on how to facilitate a process of crowdsourcing wisdom – by Geography and by (Web) Service Categories – one posting at a time. As you see – I have given potential room for a three-figure number 2015!

Now, let’s go deeper, in one of the core elements of the unexplored territories – beginning with getting some inspiration.

Live Long and Prosper! The Infinite Ways of Connectivity

"Leonard Nimoy, 2011, ST Con-2". Photo: Beth Madison.
Leonard Nimoy, giving the Vulcan Salute, 2011, at ST Con-2. Photo: Beth Madison.

In Hommage and Tribute to the recently passed away Leonard Nimoy (remembered by and with his curse/blessing of “Being/Not Being Mr. Spock”), let’s recap a core element of the Star Trek storytelling:

“Space: The Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

In this spirit, filled with energy coming from the excitement of this beloved kind of explorative seeking, I beg to differ. It’s not “the” final frontier. It’s one of a multitude of “frontiers” to explore the centuries to come!

Three Facts of Life:

  • There are an estimated number of approximately 100 trillion connections possible in between the nerve cells of the human brain, in a body at large containing a central nervous system of maybe 100 billion neurons
  • The “Verse” of the WWW, connects these individuals in an even larger amount of possible connections through the “Greater Nervous System” in between ourselves – aptly named as stated – the Social Web
  • In the “Sub-Atomic Levels” of microcosm, there is still to infinitely discover, in the spaces where the Quanta Flows

But hold on. Facts?

Let’s enjoy the moment here, with a breathing in and breathing out. Meditate. Reflect. Repeat.

What we talk about is definitely an “Educated Guess” on the first statement.

But: I am absolutely certain only on the last two :).

Baby Universe. Source: W-MAP, Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe. NASA, Public Domain.
Baby Universe. Source: W-MAP, Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe. NASA, Public Domain.

In this space we find ourselves, in between vanity and ignorance, let’s conclude that maybe the hardest part here is to find new ways of organizing ourselves in this hyperconnected world! Where we have a collective cognitive deficit – we do not know what we do not know. Good thing we have some infinite ways to connect in order to understand! And in this process, I believe in the Art and Skill of Listening, rather than (just) Talking and Thinking.

Points stated. Points taken? Who I am to know – if you do not respond? I am there to listen, to the best of my ability, in my facilitating role as SMC Web Editor!

The whole Internet - 16 years ago. The structure is largely the same, the size is exponentially grown since then. Source: Peacock Maps.
The whole Internet – 16 years ago. The structure is largely the same, the size is exponentially grown since then. Source: Peacock Maps.

The Organizing Black Hole

Maybe the most ironic display and reflection of this state of confusion, is the core of that colourful “prism”, who tries to grasp the strands of conversations, and what carries it at the moment. The one with “YOU” and its surroundings. They hide another levels of depths of the App Jungle, if we exclude the conversational tool identities in the prism. It’s not the point and scope of this essay to cover even an entry level conversation on how to “categorize” the apps used to organize ourselves.

No. Let’s begin to conclude, to repeat what I said in January, in the introductory piece:

There are maybe around 30 000 productivity apps in the mobile app stores of Google Play and App Store, respectively. How can we navigate this area? How does the siloizing of the productivity areas of life, and respective supportive apps for note-taking, documents, to-do-lists, project management, time-keeping calendars and habit changing for a better lifehack at large affect us?

"BigBrain" - a very detailed MRI Scan of a brain of a healthy 65-year old woman, still to be explored regards actual neural connectivity. A Task, similar to the HUGO (The Human Genome Project), for a enormous research initiative - BRAIN - launched last year. Source: Via PBS.
“BigBrain” – a very detailed MRI Scan of a brain of a healthy 65-year old woman, still to be explored regards actual neural connectivity. A Task, similar to the HUGO (The Human Genome Project), for a enormous collaborative research initiative – BRAIN. Source: Via PBS.

The key here is the last part of the last question.

Using myself, hardcore, as a kind of “lab rat”, using alot of organizing apps through the course of life, beginning with the pre-WWW analog ones, and coming to “the Now”, with a plethora of the smart-phone carried, I feel strongly that they create equal amount of frustrations, as of simplifications, in life. And yet, paradoxically, as we lead our lives here and now, at least I could not live without them!

And, maybe the hardest part of frustrations, comes from the chaotic Flow Breaking crossroads created by “Brand Vanity”, where I cannot get together The Holy Graal of an App Family living in Confluence, covering all needed for an Agile Life and Doing in a Liquid Modernity. Or as I prefer talking about: “The Flow Society”. All the management teams and owners/influencers of the development of the apps – sometimes trying to include the “user” (sorry for the sarcasm…) gets seemingly all too egocentric, building mental walls to other players, holding “their part of the family of solutions”.


I wonder, oh I wonder:

How do we go from Flow Breaking to Flow Making?

Opening the Source – Opening the World?

I will not pay attention to what apps I use at the moment (to which I have built a functional and absolute dependence to a few…) – that would automatically draw away the attention from my main line of arguing here.

This. Is. Not. A. YAAWN.

Yet – Another – App – Wewiew – Numbifier.

No, let me state my view here: I believe we cannot progress further, without seeing a long-term development: On how to see an open source wave overflow these Branded Egos of Isolationism and Cocky Autocracy.

To twist the Economist John Maynard Keynes famed statement, lets rephrase:

“In the long run, all is open.”

Say what?

Well, here is what Keynes said, in wider context:

The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is past the ocean is flat again.”

His point of critique was towards mainstream economists back in those days, with a view of “equilibrium”, and the fixation with the “Inflation vs. Unemployment War” – saying pushing down the one, you get up the other.

Beyond then, we have gone from a world of percieved scarcities (fixated natural resources), and moves towards a world of abundance, where the frontiers (sic!) of “Work Hacking” now begins to carry fruit. A development we only seen the very small beginning of. Scroll back if you need to remind yourself of the connectivities of brains and global networks, and imagine the so far uncombined of solutions to co-create through our connected billions of spirits at large!

And, so, I see, to be done, with the world of the things, tools and stuffs to get yours done.

Now, I get to the only Brands, mentioned, as a tip of an iceberg, signifying a vast amount of a larger ocean of insights.

WordPress and Wikipedia.

Community-driven and Crowdsourced.

We have megatons and yet megatons of experiences, insights and lessons learnt from these brand stories.

But first and foremost – their organizing!

Their greatest strengths lies within the huge crowd they gather, in all stakeholder dimensions. And this creates resilience, built on generosity and an in-the-making-for-the-greater-good spirit. In short: “We are smarter than Me” (ironically a title of a book, I formally co-authored at the time it was grown out from a pioneering experiment of collaborative authoring at the MIT). I would stretch it further, by saying: “We are wiser than Me”. Smart is not enough!

I leave it there, as a cliff hanger. I will continue to contribute – for myself, mainly via my book series on “A Life In Flow – How to Survive, Live and Prosper in The Flow Society?”.

I hope that you will join me in the co-exploration!

Let’s get it done, shall we :) ?