Poor words. As they get more popular, as we give them more love, we also keep trying to shove in new meaning to see if they can take it.
In the technology industry, this happens over and over. Take “cloud computing,” which used to mean something pretty specific and now means essentially “on the Internet” as far as I can tell. Outside the technology industry, take “news,” which also used to mean something, and now is a muddy mess of news/editorial/advertising.
We’ve even been accused of muddying the term “open source” here on opensource.com (a debate I love to have—there are smart opinions on both sides: protect the core vs. extend the audience).
So when I read a recent post by Gartner analyst Brian Prentice entitled Defining & Defending The Meaning Of “Community” – An Open Source Imperative, I was familiar with the lens he was looking through already.
Brian’s argument? According to his post, community used to mean “a collection of people whose defining characteristic is shared participation.” I might add “and a common purpose or vision.”
But now the word community is often being used to refer to any ol’ collection of people. From the article:
[Read the rest of this article on opensource.com]
I love The New York Times, the best newspaper in the world. There is no greater pleasure than sitting out on the patio on a Sunday morning, reading The New York Times, and learning.
I stress the word learning because there are so few places left in our world where true discovery happens. Most of the time, marketers, computers, and even our friends are showing us more of what we already know we like, rather than introducing us to things we have never seen or heard of before.
In the pages of The New York Times, I can be introduced to people, places, events, ideas I would have never found on my own. Every day I read The Times I learn something new. The paper expands my understanding of the world rather than reflecting back to me the understanding I already have.
This is an incredibly valuable service. It is a service that very few media companies in the world still provide (my local paper, the Raleigh News and Observer, rarely does these days, sadly).
Yet, the ongoing conversation about how to solve the financial issues of The New York Times revolves around fixing the business model for newspapers. Most experts say the model is fundamentally broken, and a report released last week by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism doesn’t have a lot of good news for the future of journalism as a whole.
From my vantage point, the answer to fixing The New York Times will not come from exploring a revolutionary business model. It will come from a revolutionary brand, culture, and community model. Let me explain.
If you’ve ever watched a road bike race like the Tour de France, you know the peloton is the big group of riders that cluster together during the race to reduce drag. It’s a great example of collaboration in action. But let’s face it: the people in the middle of the peloton may go faster than they would otherwise, but they don’t win the race.
When it comes to creating and innovating, most companies (and employees) are in the peloton. They are doing enough to survive, but they are stuck in the pack. And if they stay in the pack too long, they lose.
Escaping the peloton is tough. Often, you see a cyclist break away, sprint for a while, only to get sucked back into the main group over time as the pressures of making a go independently prove too much.
You’ve probably felt this way at work. You come up with an amazing idea, one that will change the company forever. But little by little, people—even the well-meaning ones—chip away at its soul, until the idea goes from being amazing to, well, average. You end up being sucked back into the peloton.
After this happens one too many times, you may feel like you want to stop collaborating and try to make things happen on your own. Don’t do it. Even Lance Armstrong could rarely break away from the peloton without his teammates’ help.
Instead, here are three tips to help you escape the creativity peloton without giving up on collaboration.
[Read the rest of this post on opensource.com]
Earlier this summer at the Sasquatch Music Festival, someone captured the three minute video I’ve pasted below. One guy dancing to M.I.A. (we love her!) starts what becomes a massive dance mob by the end of the song. The video became an YouTube sensation, with over 2,000,000 views.
Many folks have written interesting posts analyzing the event (here are a few of my favorites) and at some point you’ve gotta stop analyzing and realize this man just needed to DANCE and maybe the rest of us do too. But before we do that, a couple of observations from the place where open source community-building intersects with Sasquatch guy dance mob-building.
Picture this: You are sitting in a meeting, and someone from another department is beating you up because you won’t go along their vision. They’ve never asked your for your opinion, they didn’t involve you in their process, and now you are sitting there getting railed because you are not sure what they are pushing is the right thing to do.
And then it comes. You get accused of not being collaborative.
You were just a victim of clobberation.
Clobberation [klob-uh-reh-shun] (n)
The art of beating someone into submission under the guise of collaboration.
I first heard this term from my friend Todd Barr a few years ago, and it’s stuck with me ever since.
Especially for us open source folks, who think of true collaboration as something almost holy, getting clobberated is really, really painful. And the hard part? It is sometimes difficult to articulate how someone clobberated you, but you almost always know it when you feel it. You feel anxious, cheated, even guilty.
So what’s an honest collaborator to do?