Thoughts on Content 2.0…

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On the topic of conferences to go to, Content 2.0 has been on the radar for a while… whilst I’m not going to be going mainly because I’m going to be hanging over from a little hockey trip to France with a drinking problem, it is something that I’m really interested in ;-)

Some blurb from the site – The issues at stake:

  1. Do user generated content (UGC) and social networks pose a significant threat to content created by traditional content producers?
  2. What kind of impact do current trends and innovations have on established business models?
  3. Is Web 2.0 more about delivering a social value or benefit for the consumer and where do brands figure in the connected landscape?
  4. How will the commercial value of content be realised in the future? How do we handle the transition?

There are many points of view, so here’s my take:

  1. Yes, people trust their reliable sources more than thet trust the establishment
  2. Loads, but business is busines, and there is nothing new under the sun – you still need to make a profit from something!
  3. Yes, I think web 2.0 (amongst other things) is all about giving user the power to use and choose, all underscored with better useability. Social value remains to be seen.
  4. With difficulty – let go of your 150 year publishing models. Own the users data, then you’ll get their eyeballs.

If you look at the speaker lineup, there seems to be a lot of weight – all folks who have been there and done that, and I guess that’s the point of the whole event – there is this huge mind shift taking place on the web at the moment (let’s call it Web 2.0 shall we?), where users are being given the power to manipulate and change their content by the techies (call them web .20 geeks – talk nerdy to them), and now business is trying to figure out what role it can play going forward – big companies are notoriusly slow, and it seems that whilst the Beeb is playing the proverbial lead in this grand show, so this conference does come at a time in the UK when it’s needed. It totally sucks being at around 18 months behind the Valley, so I’m hoping that this event, combined with the e-Consultancy Web 2.0 event, will start to create the momentum needed in the UK for change to happen.

As always, I think the benefit of going to conferences is more about the people that you meet and discuss stuff with, rather than what you hear – most of the stuff you can read about at your leisure if you have the time and inclination to do so. So if your bag is figuring out how your business will fit into this new content landscape, then it’s probably worth going to ;-)

Office chaair’ing

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Can anyone recommend a decent well-priced office chair for geeks?

Mine slants back now (guess I’m not as tiny anymore ;-) and makes my back hurt easily by mid-way through the day – no way I want to end up old and a hunchback… Was looking around on the net, and it looks like I’m looking at at least 300 to 400 squid for a semi-decent one!!

Anyone?

Africans leaving Africa is bad for Africa

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Peter has written an interesting post about why skilled people leaving Africa is so bad for Africa

As for me, I’m in the UK because I honestly feel that there isn’t much for me in Africa or South Africa (apart from the sunshine, people and wildlife of course) from a career / business persepctive, that is sufficiently motivating to move back… and even then, my parents have left the home I grew up in, so I really don’t feel like I have a home (or roots) right now – as we speak, I’m sinking roots in the UK, which is precisely what Peter is talking about… There are so many other factors at play – like taking cash home, buying a house, setting up a business or even getting the kind of job/work that would at least be equal to what I’m doing here – that sometimes creates conflicting emotions. One one hand I really want to go home, but on the other hand I’m just not sure the environment is right to do so (and a lot of that has to do with the way the government is dealing with their diaspora…).

Anyways – your thoughts if you’re African?

Anyone going to The NextWeb conference in Amsterdam?

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Apart from the fact that I’ve never been to Amsterdam, I’m really, really keen to go to The Next Web conference happening in July – I’ve been seriously thinking about it, but am not sure how good / how bad / how worthwhile it’s gonna be?

Weighing that up with @Media happening a few weeks before you’re looking at £800 just to get to the two events, with at least another £200 for the trip to Amserdam.

Amsterdam looks cool ‘cos it seems to have more of a venture / business focus, whereas @Media is more about the tech (at least, seems that way to me…) – but I read all the speakers blogs anyways, so am not totally convinced of the value over and above simply being there for the people and the vibe…

Who’s going? Who’s got any comments? Who thinks they’re both worth going to?

Nobody move!

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I think I’ve reached some sort of geek or nerd Nirvana. I know that when my housemates come back from their various days, they’re going to look at me blankly and wonder what the hell I’m on about… and in their defense, what the hell am I on about? I’ve just cleared my Inbox for the first time since I can remember… now, before we go getting all hot under the collar, I mean my Inbox folder, not the !_DMZ folder that I created on the 27th of March 2006, to draw a line in the sand and help me to deal with the more immediate, pressing need of putting food on the table and making sure that I had a place to sleep…

Taking care of first things first…
A while ago I started reading all sorts of things to help me to become more productive – my reasoning was that if I could be more productive, then I could do more, and in being able to do more, I could extract another few ounces from life and hey, work harder!!!

But as I’ve grown a little older, a little wiser, and a little crankier, I’ve realised that I don’t actually want to work harder, I want to work smarter…

Hey, when you die, do you think that you’ll wish you worked harder during your life, or that you’d spent more time with your loved ones, or simply done the things that you always wanted to… like go to Nepal, or take photos at the Running of the Bulls (which won’t happen this year ‘cos Walter and I made a pact to go together, and this year he just can’t make it so we’ll have to go next year) or go watch killer whales frolick in Puget sound before they go killing, ‘um, seals…

The Pickle Jar Theory
See, the thing I’ve realised at my advanced age of almost 29, is that there are certain fundamentals that need doing – like eating and sleeping, which have knock-on needs, like working and living somewhere where you can sleep… – which are more important than anything else…

But this is the problem – since SxSWi earlier this year, pretty much everything has been about keeping my head above water, catching up with sleep, doing client work, getting the laptop fixed, spending more time with my Mom than I have in about 10 years, writing code…. all the big pickles in my Jar of Life, which conversely means that I haven’t been able to deal with the little Pickles, many of which were sitting in my Inbox just waiting to be done…

Hence the absolute delight I’m feeling right now…
In the last two days I’ve managed to go from 152 accumulated unanswered emails in my Inbox folder (those are just the ones that I’ve let be since the 27th March 2006), to 0… and this makes me really happy. The really worrying thing however, is that if I get replies to just a small percentage of them, I’m already going to be hitting an email “answer deficit”! ;-)

But the fat lady hasn’t sung yet…
I’ve still got 398 emails in my !_DMZ folder, many of which will be obsolete by now, but nonetheless; and 33 open tabs in Firefox, which are all waiting blog posts of some sort (the sessionsaver and tab mix plus firefox extensions are really handy folks); so there is still work to be done….

But at least when I get to work on Tuesday morning (we’ve got a long weekend here in the UK) there will only be current emails waiting for me, and I won’t have that sinking feeling of unanswered emails nagging at me whenever I open my Inbox…

So, without further ado, I bid you adieu, to crack on with that !_DMZ folder of mine ;-)