Thursday, 7 March 2019

Pirate Code 2.0, Misfits, Well Beings... And #DigCit

It's International Women's Day today. 

This is a day that four years ago, through being connected with Sarah Thomas (@SarahDaTeechur) and her #SXSWEdu Minority Women in Tech #DigiDiversity session, I connected with some people that I might not otherwise have met, who helped me to continue supporting the first international #DigCitSummit.

Her #SXSWEdu session saw me connect with Declara CEO Ramona Pierson and VP James Stanbridge (@Stanbridge)... and led to my first paid role as a Community Manager.

Being connected with James and Ramona meant that I was able to remain involved UK Digital Citizenship Summit in 2016.

A question that I have posed to James since then is:

"What is the value of an introduction?"

As someone who many in my network tell me I'm a great connector, seeing how some of the introductions I've made have had an impact, reflecting on my involvement with 'Connected Educator Appreciation Day #CEduAD... and having just read my Mind Time Connector profile, this remains an unanswered question. 

A lot has changed since the 'First Pirate Council Meeting' that established this event and my closing remarks.


However, if we look at the past we can see that some of the rocks that were hit were not only predictable (Perhaps even inevitable)... but can also help inform what the future of Digital Citizenship and how the Wild West of the Internet will either 

1) Get settled or 
2) Become a ghost town as people move elsewhere.

(Laugh all you like at the second point but before you do... Ever heard of Ames or Inktomi? Or take a look at Friends Reunited, MySpace, RedditRevolt, Blue Note Jazz post-Nora Jones etc).

My last post, Biz Stone's New Rules, included examples from Stewart Brand (@StewartBrand) and Larry Brilliant's (@LarryBrilliant) early online community 'The Well' and looked at Digital Citizenship along with Twitter founder Biz Stone's (@Biz) 'New Rules' from his fantastic book Things a Little Bird Told Me.

This post looks at some articles and books that I've read that confirm their findings through the projects and movements I've been involved with... as well as how digital citizenship and collaboration today appears to be following the trajectory of the Well Beings' experiences.

I've been involved with a few movements with loose informal collaboration with people I met by chance encounters and shared interests online.

I hope some of these experiences might help some of the Be More Pirate (@BeMorePirate) groups out there... Even the misfit crews!

Image result for misfit pirates

My closing comments with one of these movements was completely, totally and utterly inspired by The Well's mantra of You Own Your Words:
#DigCitSummitUK Closing Remarks.

In addition to this, the first thing that I
always do before collaborating with anyone (Whether in a formal or informal capacity) is ask: 
  • Does this organisation know what their core values are?
    (If you're ever in an interview ask the interviewer/CEO/HoD what their ideal employee looks like and assess how much they then waffle... How can you excel if your line manager doesn't know what excelling in the role they're hiring for looks like?)
Since 2014/5 anyone I've 'collaborated' with have indeed had their core values on their website... but, as part of the learning curve, these values turned out to be nothing more than cat posters.

Some of these organisations went so far as to make financial agreements and other assurances... but were broken. 

Try calling people out on this on social media and/or to explain things from your perspective and have people see you being the one in the wrong?! 

"So you said you'd pay me for my time... But didn't, and I'm the unreasonable one? Really?"

Well f**k off social media and the 'Fake Friends' you find there! Little wonder growth for these platforms has slowed!

As I highlight in my last post, it was actually heartening to see the reaction on social media with Brendan Rodgers making a career it highlighted how unreasonable & illogical social media has become. 

"You traded immortality for mediocrity. Never a Celt. Always a fraud" Was the banner at a recent game

This from fans about someone that some football commentators are suggesting 

"Will be up there with one of the greatest managers in terms of Celtic's success he brought the club"

In the last few weeks on social media there has also been misfires with: 
  • Bebe Rhexha losing control of her fans and asking for calm with people trolling her dad
  • Lady Gaga's loyal fans trolling Bradley Cooper's ex-wife
  • The Tory party and the racist facebook supporters page where MPs apparently have links to them.
  • Trump on any given day and any given topic.
However, if we return to The Well and resources like Marc Smith's (@Marc_Smith) 'Voices from The Well' and Howard Rheingold's (@HRheingold) experiences, they highlight that encountering takers/fakers online is not new.

In his #OctTribe NodeXL presentation Marc Smith highlights that there are some neighborhoods online that you may not want to visit.

My hope is that the next project I work on will be a neighborhood that the Takers/Fakers won't be wanting to visit 'Here Be Dragons' for that group is what I hope the NodeXL map will say. 

But how to deal with and internalise a couple of projects that, while they did get results (And others benefited from)... but either it was the wrong people or the core values and mission didn't quite stand up to a @BeMorePirate adventure and #NewPower storm? 

Just after I read Be More Pirate (@BeMorePirate), the book New Power was recommended to me.

During the inaugural New Power Virtual Gathering (at 7:29secs) last July, the authors highlighted that New Power is like a muscle:

Q) When you’ve thought of giving up… what have you done to hang in there?

“The failures are sometimes more important than the victories… use it to refocus. Do you go back to core values… or get de-motivated? Chase those storms… Being grounded in the community. You know, the collaboration. Think about those kids in the cave. Those kids got through that because of that solidarity and that sense of community. Those New Power models, when done right really enable and that can get you through those periods in the wilderness” Jeremy Heimans

"It feels like a very big defeat if you try something new and it doesn’t work out… We all have defeat after defeat after defeat…New Power is like a muscle you have to strengthen it again and again and again, and that’s how you become more resilient" Henry Timms 

Workplaces, Coffee Shops and Neighbors 

So defeat is to be expected and the previous two movements were simply workouts. Fine! 

Next... Compare life online with life offline and IRL. 

Sit in any coffee shop on any given day and you will hear people talk about friends, former friends, 'frenimies,' colleagues, neighbors talking about others behind their backs.

Open a newspaper on any given day and you'll read about the current US President bad mouthing someone; or the splits that exist in the UK Conservative and Labour Parties... some going so far as to leave to play TIG

Why on earth do we think that online is going to be any different?! 
If/when disagreements or different narratives crop up with people who have collaborated through loose association/affiliation the past (In education this could be with Twitter chats or organising Edcamps/unconferences) then, as Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil points out, it's no wonder there's something of an adolescent period... Especially if there was little/no digital citizenship taught in school.

"We’ve had thousands of years to hone our person-to-person interactions, but only 20 years of social media. 

“Offline, we have all these cues from facial expressions to body language to pitch… whereas online we discuss things only through text. I think we shouldn’t be surprised that we’re having so much difficulty in finding the right way to discuss and cooperate online.”

As our online behaviour develops, we may well introduce subtle signals, digital equivalents of facial cues, to help smooth online discussions. 

In the meantime, the advice for dealing with online abuse is to stay calm, it’s not your fault. Don’t retaliate but block and ignore bullies, or if you feel up to it, tell them to stop.

If social media as we know it is going to survive, the companies running these platforms are going to have to keep steering their algorithms, perhaps informed by behavioural science, to encourage cooperation rather than division, positive online experiences rather than abuse. 

As users, we too may well learn to adapt to this new communication environment so that civil and productive interaction remains the norm online as it is offline.
“I’m optimistic,” Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil says. “This is just a different game and we have to evolve.” 
Why Good People Turn Bad Online

My issue with collaborating with people online has not been one of bullying but I have felt up to questioning their words Vs their action and have encouraged the takers/fakers to stop - online and in private communications!

So it has involved a good deal of fakery, whether people saying one thing... but doing another and/or simply being 'Fake Friends.' The data suggests this is affecting collaboration everywhere online.

The data I've explored suggests my experiences are not isolated... and the impact could be significant with issues like educators and burnout.

The difference as far as I'm concerned is that I am willing to exercise some #NewPower muscle - as well as the New Power Value of 'Radical Transparency' - not to be intentionally controversial, but as I have a feeling this is will be a necessary skill  if 'The Wild West of the Internet' is going to get settled. (More on this in the next few posts). 

As far as the future of digital citizenship and online collaboration is concerned I found myself (unsurprisingly given who the author is) agreeing lots to this statement... And the entire article!

"Community forming - Twitter is not a community, but it's an ecology in which communities can emerge" Howard Rheingold via his fantastic Twitter Literacy: Knowing How to Use it is Key

I can't help how others react but I can decide how I choose to react to their actions and behaviours... and my #NewPower 'Radical Transparency' and #BeMorePirate rule breaking muscles are developed enough to not 'play nice' by quietly move on... only to hear about others who fall into the same trap (And hope that I'm able to deal with the consequences!)

At the same time I am learning all the time and have to accept the challenges that appear to come from being one of Myers-Briggs #INFJ's... which truly is an insane learning curve!! 

The books and articles I've read have helped lots recently (old and new) last night I read Adam Grant's (@AdamMGrant) 'The Creative Power of Misfits'

"Gather some people together to give their frustration a voice. Put them on offense, not defense, by asking them to attack the problems they see. And then invite them to run with their best ideas" Pixar's Brad Bird via Adam Grant.

There are a number of ways that I hope that all these experiences and articles will come together.

Adam Grant's article is full of rebellious Black Sheep, Misfit Pirate types... Which brings me onto a huge lesson I learnt from Sam Conniff Allande's (@SamConniff) book 'Be More Pirate' when I read it last May:

"In the workshops we run, the second stage is where things really get started, we break into crews and a sense of mutiny begins to fill the room. Making new rules can be complex, but that's not where we start; the first thing to do is get a crew to choose the one rule they collectively most want to break, and then begin the task of remaking it. 

In this challenge, we've seen things get pretty heated; crews fight, split, re-form and commit to actual rule breaking there and then. We find when you really reconnect with that rule you know needs breaking, and actual alternatives begin to emerge, with a crew ready to try to change them, pirates begin to get serious.

So, to give you your own taste of the challenge in the sessions, please take a few minutes to answer the following question:
  • If you could break any rule, what would it be? And how would you remake it?
    For Me It Would Be: Get educators to collaborate beyond the 4 walls of the school more.
IWD2019 Eureka Moment (via Adam Grant) ...With a dash of Be More Pirate's Make Shit Up!
This post was written and published... Then I was looking for a quote by Suffragette Lucy Stone in Adam Grant's book 'Originals' for International Women's Day, and was reminded that Lucy formed collaborations and alliances with other marginalised groups - like ethnic minorities and the temperance movement. 

Not all of these alliances worked out as the values, ideology and methods for affecting change differed greatly... Some had a negative impact on Stone's reputation as well as the momentum of the movement.

But she eventually succeeded when the movement formed alliances when the values were aligned as well as the mission.

A topical IWD2019 example from history about the importance of getting the 'Core Values,' 'Pirate Code,' as well as the mission, purpose, manifesto 100% right!! 

"Adam Grant labels this tendency of change agents to fight each other as the narcissism of small differences" via @RebelsAtWork Rebels at Work and the Narcissism of Small Differences

It is precisely the minor differences in people who are otherwise alike that form the basis of feelings of strangeness and hostility between them. Sigmund Freud

I was also dealt (Yet) another blow earlier in the week... (I REALLY don't know how many more I can take!!) but, for the third time this week, an article shared by Adam Grant helped - which highlighted the huge difference a kind word can make. 

Scrolling through the #IWD2019 tweets and it's full of people who took a stand for what they believed in and faced resistance. So just like #IWD2015... #IDWD2019 *Just Might* have made ALL the difference!

Which brings us nicely onto another question that Be More Pirate asks and, as students are set to break the rules on the issue of Climate Change on the 15th March, an example that they might like from Biz Stone.
  • When did you first stand up to Power? 

    For me it was:
    1) Telling an employer his company was in latter stages of Jim Collins '5 Stages of Decline'
    2) To tell Matt Hancock and Nick Boles that FELTAG wasn't going to achieve it's goals
Be More Pirate for Kids  
Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone... and The No Homework Policy
All three of my kids have now stood up to authority and for any rebellious young Pirates and/or any Twitter addicts out there here's a conversation that Twitter founder Biz Stone had as detailed in "Things a Little Bird Told Me" (Chapter 13):

"Matt was loading his backpack up with books. I was dumping all my books from my backpack into my locker, not to be seen again until the next day.

As I closed my locker and it was apparent to Matt that I had no books, not to mention a backpack, Matt asked me how I was going to do my homework.

"Oh" I said "I have a no homework policy"

Matt looked incredulous. He laughed nervously. "You're joking"

"Matt," I said, having a little fun with him. "This is America. We can do whatever we want. Freedom. I have a No Homework Policy and it's great.

I shut my locker with unusual emphasis and headed to lacrosse practice, unencumbered.

I wasn't against rules per se; I just liked to look at the big picture. Staying up until 4am wasn't realistic. Something had to give.

Other questions that Be More Pirate explores includes:

  • Who out there would you most like to take down?
    For Me It's: Lost in the Ghetto 
    (Jane Jacobs and The Well shows us how)
  • What principles, values or ideals are you willing to fight for?
    For Me It's: Using Core Values to Find a Brand's Voice
  • Who is the scariest, most difficult, controversial or provocative audience for your story?
    For Me It's: The Political Classes... So many Edu initiatives and still we have this situation?!
So, as the inaugural Be More Pirate meet up took place last month, I hope my taking the time to detail some of these experiences and sharing these awesome links might prove of some use with their #BeMorePirate 'good trouble' star wars style rebellions.

The rest of this post... For no reason in particular ;) Includes Sam Conniff Allande's suggestions for his Pirate Code 2.0 from Be More Pirate. Give and Take's Manifesto is worth a read too.

Article 1 – Make Shit Up
Article 2 – Business Plans Are Dead
Article 3 – Make the Citizen Shift
Article 4 – Take Happiness Seriously
Article 5 – Adopt the New Work Manifesto 
Article 6 – Embrace Diversity to Raise Your Game

Article 1 – Make Shit Up
All captains and crews profoundly expect, respect, celebrate and appreciate the art of strategically, structurally, intuitively and instantly making shit up. Not irresponsible imaginings, reckless reimaginings and certainly not false or fake news. We champion creative solution finding and positive problems solving based on available facts, the moment of opportunity and the power of practiced intuition. When indecision is not an option, when change is constant and nothing is normal, we’re proudly comfortable to rationally and rapidly develop, test and implement solutions on the spot. We learn from our mistakes, even if we don’t celebrate them, and use them to make making it up better.

Article 2 – Business Plans Are Dead
We challenge a century old static format as the best structure for the fluid future of our organizations, projects, dreams and schemes. We believe in motivating manifesto that makes clear our vision and we follow a concise but responsive roadmap with agile measures of accountability. We believe in collaborative ‘working’ and adaptive formats that are regularly used and reviewed in collaboration with not just the whole crew but even our customers, beneficiaries and stakeholders, to openly evaluate success, failure and future scenario planning. No captain will produce a ‘plan’ for only a narrow audience, or a moment in time, only for it to gather dust in an inbox ignored or unused by the crew.

More predictable -> Less Predictable
Profit -> Purpose
Hierarchies -> Networks
Controlling -> Empowering
Planning -> Experimentation
Privacy -> Transparency

Article 3 – Make the Citizen Shift

It’s time to evolve the human race beyond the mindset of solely a ‘consumer’ and the dangerous, destructive and limited relationships it has created. We will perform a forced reset on the language of consumerism that in turn will help us to develop more interesting, involved, interactive, mutually respectful and naturally more beneficial, respectful and rewarding relationships between our organizations, our audiences and finite resources of our world. All pirates undertake to advance the evolution of the idea of ‘the citizen’ as the dominant defining thought of our audiences and communities, and of our future.

Article 4 – Take Happiness Seriously

We take happiness seriously, and give deep happiness the place and importance it deserves. We see happiness as a strategic driver for success, productivity and creative output, but also as a strategic objective in and of itself. We do not believe happiness is a nice-to-have, we believe it is a need-to-have. We make happiness a starting point, not just an end point; we use our intention to achieve happiness to inform the decisions we make, the environments we create and the projects we undertake. We endeavour to measure, manage and share the proof we accumulate that happiness is symbiotic with great work, great impact, great relationships and greater effectiveness. We do not conform to a one-size-fits all happiness, nor expect to be happy every day, but accept and respect the right to make happiness the goal.

Article 5 – Adopt the New Work Manifesto
We demand to love work, we demand to lean as we work, we demand to be proud of what we do and demand to have the tools and support to give us every chance to do it well. We demand that our work make us and the people in our community better, not worse, we expect to be rewarded for our creativity, to establish friendships, fulfillment and knowledge and the financial compensation we are worth and expect this to cover our needs. We want life/work balance, not the other way round. We intend to live up to the promise of technology, efficiency and flexibility. We commit to understanding our own inner engineering for effectiveness and refuse to submit to conditions, clocks or cultures that don’t get the best out of us. We expect the people and organizations we work with to involve us in created the core values and that we then align them to a “Noble cause.” We will break the tyranny of emails, meetings, to do lists and any other anachronistic trappings of an old way of working, if they don’t work for us, and we won’t stop until we’re judged on our output, not input.

Article 6 – Embrace Diversity to Raise Your Game
We believe diversity of thought, background, experience and understanding is a driver of competitive advantage, creativity and productive cultures. We who desire to create projects, products, content and campaigns for the future, know the importance of reflecting the future we want to see, one of interconnected, collaborative, communicative, creatively colliding cultures. We commit to recruitment that opens doors to more than the usual suspects, we will go the extra mile to find the talent that might not have found us. We commit to accepting we all have prejudices, and then commit to challenging them, along with expanding our own filter bubbles and stretching our unconscious biases to breaking point.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Biz Stone's New Rules

This post looks at Digital Citizenship a few years since writing a post suggesting that 'swarms' of educators could help with some of the toxic conversations and some of the fantastic lessons learnt and resources discovered via the early online community The Well.

In March 2015 I published a post called 

This was before finding out about and reading Katie Hafner's book about The Well. 

Last year Community Manager and org culture guru Scott Moore (@ScottMoore) shared this post, and I saw that my ideas from a few years ago were not far off the mark: 

Before starting any new projects I always revisit some of The Well's resources. Last December I re-read Howard Rheingold's (@hrheingold) book 'Virtual Communities

At the end of July 1992, Flash Gordon reported that Elly was in a hospital in New Delhi. In a coma. She had severe hepatitis and reportedly suffered liver failure.

Within hours, people started doing things in half a dozen directions on their own initiative. The raw scope and diversity of the resources available to us by pooling our individual networks was astonishing. People who had medical connections in New Delhi were brought in; airline schedules and rates for medical evacuation were researched; a fund was started and contributions started arriving. Casey used the net to find a possible telecommunications site in New Delhi where they could relay information for Frank, Elly's ex-husband, who had flown to Asia to help with what was looking like a grave situation.

After a tense few days, the news made its way through the network that she did have some liver function left and might need access to special blood-filtering equipment before she could be moved. Within hours, we knew how to get such medical equipment in New Delhi and whose name to mention. We knew whom to call, how to ask, what it cost, and how to transfer funds to get Elly delivered to a hospital in the San Francisco region. "It gives me goosebumps," reported Onezie, as the topic unfolded on the WELL. "This is love in action."

(Did you spot similarities with this 'Love in action' with the potential that the post-vote Scottish Independence #The45 movement had for a week or so in 2014 when food was donated to food banks etc).

When reviewing Howard's book I discovered Marc Smith's (@Marc_Smith) 1992 college dissertation 'Voices from The Well,' which is not only awesome... but seemed extremely relevant to life online today. Whether looking at 
  • Early online communities like The Well
  • Data with informal education collaborations like Edcamps 
  • My own experiences with projects and movements 
    (I found Brendan Rodgers experiences with Celtic heartening regarding some of my experiences
  • The world of politics
    Steve Bannon and Donald Trump, May/Farage's Brexit or Salmond/Sturgeon's #IndyRef),
  • Reading books like New Power, Be More Pirate (@BeMorePirate) or Twitter Founder Biz Stone's (@Biz) 'Things a Little Bird Told Me'
#DigCit and Politicians 
The world of social media and digital citizenship has clearly changed since Twitter's early SXSW appearance... some are calling social media today 'The Wild West' of the internet.

During the 2015 UK general election politicians where throwing their hands up saying: 

'What can we do about it?' 

When they are responsible for education policies!! Lunatics! 
(David Cameron's words about his Education Secretary... Not mine!)  

Today politician's line regarding social media is their favourite game (Blame!) and

'Tech Companies need to do more'

When some of the people responsible for the tech companies who need to be doing more are former politicians like Nick Clegg, I don't fancy the 'Wild West of the Internet's' chances... Do you?

I think you'd get more answers from 

2) "Identify the right core values (Or Pirate Code 2.0) and Tribal Leaderships 'Noble Cause'"

3) Add people like Ivan Humble (@NewDayStarts) and brave educators like Justin Schleider (@SchleiderJustin)

...And you *JUST MIGHT* have the kind of solution that would prevent the kind of extremist recruitment that radical groups employ and rely on and - some would argue - that the political classes have created!

For no reason in particular ;)... The rest of this post includes the 6 points that Biz Stone considers in the 'New Rules' chapter of his awesome book 'Things a Little Bird Told Me'
  • We Don’t Always Know What’s Going to Happen
  • There are More Smart People Out There Than in Here
  • We Will Win if we do the Right Thing for Our Users
  • The Only Deal Worth Doing is a Win-Win Deal
  • Our Coworkers are Smart and They Have Good Intentions
  • We can Build a Business, Change the World, And Have Fun
We Don’t Always Know What’s Going to Happen
If we think we know what will come next, we’ll fail. Instead, we need to leave the door open for unknown developments and surprises. Some of Twitter’s most popular features – hashtags, @ replies, retweets – were by and large created by users. We didn’t know they were going to emerge. By being open to the unknown, by not forcing our will or vision just because it was ours, by watching what people were doing and looking for patterns, we were able to build a service whose function matched the way people wanted to use it.

The core element of this assumption is humility. Just because you work for a successful business doesn’t mean you know everything. As individuals and as companies, we see our fortunes rise and fall. Neither success nor wealth makes you omniscient. The ability to listen, watch, and draw lessons from obvious and unlikely places breeds originality and growth.

There are More Smart People Out There Than in Here
This assumption also speaks to a core humility – don’t think you’re a genius (even if your business card claims you are). But it also considers the sheer fact that, at the time we came up with these assumptions, there were forty-five people in the offices of Twitter and six billion people outside its walls. It was an absolute truth that there were more smart people outside than inside.

What this implied was that we shouldn’t look only internally for answers to challenges. I instructed our employees to look elsewhere. Ask people. Look around. Research. Keep a level head. Don’t think you’re so great. Don’t assume that we’re the only people who can solve our problems. Should we build a data centre, or has someone already built a better one?

There are corollaries to this belief. Your first idea isn’t always the best. Your idea isn’t always the best. Our group’s ideas aren’t always the best. It’s easy to agree with this notion in concept, but it’s much harder to swallow your pride when you have to let go of an idea you’ve championed. I wanted our company to acknowledge and appreciate those sacrifices as much as we applauded the great ideas.

We Will Win if we do the Right Thing for Our Users
I don’t love the word users, because it sounds so software-y, but the Twitter staff was pretty software-y, so I was speaking their language. I wanted them always to keep in mind what would make the service better for the folks who used it. It was the positive spin on Don’t Be Evil. Every time we made a decision about what to add, change, or take away from the product, the big, simple question was: Does it make the experience better for people?

After I left, Twitter acquired Vine, a mobile video sharing service. I thought it was a great acquisition. If the question is: Will this make the service better for people? The answer is obviously Yes – sharing videos through Twitter makes it more fun, more engaging, and easier for people to express themselves.

Often, when product managers are hashing out whether a product should do a certain thing, if they can’t come to a decision, they make that thing a setting that users can turn on or off. But this is wishy-washy. We know – all developers know – that more than 99% o people just leave the settings on default. How often do you go to your TV settings and increase the contrast? Making a feature optional is like throwing it into the junk drawer. You’re keeping it, but it’s essentially useless and lost. Instead, it’s our responsibility to decide what makes the most sense. If we’re going to build it, let’s use it.

The place where companies most frequently lose sight of what’s best for their customers is when it comes to monetization. Should we make ads 50% bigger so we can make more money? It makes the page ugly and hard to read. Is that good for users? No. Should we split our company into two separate buildings because we can’t afford one building? It leads to confusion and poor decisions on the product end. Is that good for our users? No. Should we deceive the users into clicking on an ad? Obviously not. Should we trick our users into clicking on anything? Hell no! These can be tough choices, especially if you really need the money. But there’s got to be another way. Creativity is a renewable resource. Don’t sell out your product. Keep thinking. Consider whether the average person is going to benefit. Measure every decision against that requirement.

Our failure surrounding the release of our platform for developers in 2007 is a perfect example of this. If we’d kept the user experience foremost from the start, we would have saved ourselves, users and developers a lot of trouble.

However, when we launched sponsored Tweets, we did it right. Our ads were monitored by an algorithm that used starring, retweets, and clickthroughs to measure how interested people were in a given ad. If an ad wasn’t getting a positive response, it could be pulled. This meant we could give our users ads they liked. Ads were good for our users, because if Twitter made money, then Twitter would continue to exist.

The Only Deal Worth Doing is a Win-Win Deal
There’s no such thing as a good deal in which one party gets the short end of the stick. Deals are like relationships. We want deals that are going to last. I’m not just talking about acquiring another company. I’m talking about partnering with another company, or divvying up tasks within your group, or getting married. Think of the toll that derivatives took on this country in the mortgage crisis. Derivatives are a zero-sum game -  when one party wins, the other loses. There’s no net benefit. It’s win-lose. This is of course oversimplifying, but generally markets rely on gains and losses. However, in a business deal, if the terms aren’t mutually beneficial, a short-term win will turn into a long term loss. You lose that company’s faith in you and its willingness to do another deal. You lose your colleagues willingness to stay late and help you out on a deadline. To some extent, in every deal your reputation and your business are at stake. Think of it like scuba diving. There has to be equal pressure inside and outside your body, or your lungs and eardrums will start exploding.

Kevin Thau, a colleague at my current company, Jelly used to run all things mobile for Twitter. While there, he did all the deals with the carriers. He recently got a message from someone who runs a major mobile carrier in the UK. It said, “I don’t know what Jelly is, but if you want us to pre-install it on our new phones, call me,” Nobody gets that kind of thing unless they have a history of doing fantastic deals together.

Another example of this would come later, when I left Twitter and started Jelly. Two of the people who helped me develop the idea left their company to join me. One of them happened to be on his company’s list of engineers they couldn’t lose at any cost. When the engineer told them he was leaving, they offered him the moon regarding stock and salary. They told him he could work on any project and have any team. Then one of the most important executives from Twitter joined me. I didn’t set out to poach anyone – it happened by accident – but when this happened, Dick Costolo, Twitter’s CEO (And my friend) had a professional obligation to meet me for a drink and chew me out.

When he was done busting my chops, I said, “Can I offer you a little advice?”

He said, “Oh, geez. What?”

I said, “If you have a list of people that you don’t want to lose at any cost, don’t wait until they quit to offer them more money and more stock options” He agreed. Then we ordered another round and made up.

Our Coworkers are Smart and They Have Good Intentions
This is the fifth assumption I presented to our employees at orientation. I made up an example: Imagine there’s a guy named Scott in marketing who lays out a plan for a product you’re developing. He says it will take three months to execute. Three months later, the product is ready to launch, and Scott comes forward with a different, scaled back plan. It’s not as good as the one he presented to you. Instead of assuming that Scott is lazy or a stupid jackass, why not go up to him and introduce yourself? Hi, I’m Biz. How can I help?

You don’t know how it all unfolded. There were certain turns in the road, decisions that had to be made. You went through the same process with the product you developed. It was supposed to have features w,x and y, but now it has x and z. You had to pare it down, but you’re still proud of it. You don’t want Scott to think you’re an idiot, either. In big, unwieldy companies, everyone starts looking like an idiot at some point.

The unknown is scary. That’s why a caveman would rather not walk into a pitch balck cave. Who knows what might lie ahead? He opts to throw his spear in first, or to bolt. In a business scenario, this fear manifests itself in the assumption that your colleague is doing it wrong. Communication is equivalent to flicking on the anachronistic lights in that pitch black cave. This is especially true when you’re the CEO. If investors and board members don’t hear from you, they get worried that you’re doing a bad job. And they’re not going to come down to the offices to design a new product. The only power they have at their disposal is to fire the person in charge.

As Twitter grew, we had to go on faith, assuming that our coworkers, who had all gone through a careful hiring process, were competent and driven. Maybe Scott is a jackass – hey, it happens – but that shouldn’t be the assumption. Maybe we would live in an environment of overinflated optimism, but people shine when you give them the benefit of the doubt.

We can Build a Business, Change the World, And Have Fun
It may sound like a lofty goal, but I want to redefine capitalism. What better place to start thatn in my own company? Traditionally, companies are driven by financial success. But I want the new world definition to include making a positive impact on the world – and loving your work. I want to set a higher bar for success. If any one of these three tenets is missing, then you shouldn’t be considered successful by your own terms or those of society. I told every incoming employee, “Here’s a new bar. Let’s reach for it.”

Evan and I were now running an incredibly successful company. We could have sent the new employees who joined Twitter to HR and called it a day. Or we could have said “Welcome to the amazing world of Twitter. We’re awesome. Good Luck” We had a different approach. The company culture was introduced to our newest employees as one in which we listened to one another and the people using our system. New employees saw that we cared about the approach they took not just to their work, but to one another. They realised that we weren’t all about the bottom line. Not only did our new employees have an introduction to what the company was about, but they also learned something about their leaders. We were level headed. We had theories about not being arrogant and selfish. We weren’t jerks. These things matter. The whole of this orientation was greater than the sum of its parts.

Monday, 14 January 2019

What Do TheSNP/IndyRef/Yes have in Common with Lego?

In August & September 2014 I became interested in Scottish politics because the cultural conditions of the SNP/IndyRef/Yes movement was something special.

When those cultural conditions changed... so did my support.

On the 19th September 2014 (The day after the #IndyRef result) I published a post asking

As far as The SNP was concerned, I wasn't wrong!

With 11 years in government, the nasty Cybernats... as well as the Alex Salmond Vs Nicola Sturgeon non-#SNPCivilWar, this post highlights how and why all this is both understandable, and perhaps even fixable.

Is it the beginning of the end for SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement, as the Scotsman has suggested in an article at the weekend?

Or could the various crisis situations see the SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement become the Lego of politics?

NB: SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement are referred to as one and the same in this post... a distinct advantage when high in the opinion polls, but muddies the water when things are not going so well.

Donald Trump Vs Alex Salmond Vs Nicola Sturgeon
Remember when Trump and Salmond were good buddies and they were falling over themselves with compliments and favours? Remember how that all changed because of the wind farms?

Or what about Salmond Vs Sturgeon... let's all laugh about the tragic situation where someone who has either

1) Done a lot for Scotland and/or
2) Has been as big an egomanic as Trump

I waver between the two myself (But recent events suggest the egomanic option)

Regardless a deteriorating relationship between a mentor and mentee and colleagues is a sad development.

On my website I have as one of my core values empathy, so if we are all so keen to judge the actions of others' let's try to put ourselves in Sturgeon's shoes re any meetings that breached the 'Ministerial Code' 

Who WOULDN'T have held a meeting with someone that they owed so much to? 

I can't imagine a scenario where not having such a meeting would only become a bad idea with the benefit of hindsight.

And let's say, for arguments sake, that the content of one these 'It was SNP party business/ScotGovFM meetings' was around

'Hey can we maybe just drop the whole thing?'

And the answer was 'No' how much more integrity does that demonstrate Vs the kind of thing that has happened with Blair's Iraq War... Cameron disappearing after his Brexit shambles + Farage, Boris & Gove?

Equally, Sturgeon putting herself forward to the inquiry, looks like doing the right thing under a terrible set of circumstances.

You can easily see how the attempts at transparency might get punished, when far worse appears to get swept under the carpet.

How many of us have not fallen out with a colleague at work?
How many neighbours are former friends but the relationship has soured?

It's a tragic set of circumstances on a personal level, for the party and for Scotland (because of the distraction with getting on with the day job) AND given the national feeling of hope that existed 4 short years ago (Well LOOONG years in our case, but you get what I mean)

And yet people celebrate it on social media, even SNP/Indyref supporters... talk about addicted to drama!

The good news for those people with Westminster and Holyrood is they are at an advantage compared to their English counterparts, they get to air their views on Theresa May's Brexit and Salmond Vs Sturgeon... Yay! Scotland gets two dysfunctional parliaments not just one... Lucky us!

The Cybernats!
There are two REALLY! REALLY! significant dates as far as I can see things (Based on my experience and interests) for The SNP/IndyRef/Yes movement.

1) The first is the night of the September #IndyRef result... The night the BNP came to town to 'Celebrate' the #NoThanks result.

2) The weekend of #GE2015 and the photo under the Forth Rail Bridge and the following days with clapping in Westminster etc... Success was affecting the culture.

The 'No Thanks' crisis was a huge #IndyRef2/SNP opportunity and the 70+ Yes Scotland accounts meant that the infrastructure was in place to chase the 'NewPower Storm'

But the Yes Scotland team wanted to 'take their time and do it right' which was entirely the WRONG thing to do!!

"You can still dunk in the dark" went viral and "Won the Superbowl"

Often left out of the story is Oreo has a 15 person social media team ready for this kind of rapid response...'storm chasing' requires infrastructure to do well" New Power

By the time they woke up, others had seen an opportunity and used it for personal gain... and in doing so poisoned the well.and gifted the SNP/IndyRef/Yes movement with a massive headache, something I had the pleasure of experiencing this weekend.

I shared the same kind of data that I spotted
  • The weekend of #GE2015 that suggested the SNP had hit the first stage of decline
  • Prior to #GE2017 when Alex Salmond's campaign crowd funder did not reach the £4-5,000 target and asked before the election if this meant he might lose his seat. #GE2017 & How the Mighty Fall
Here were the observations that I shared at the weekend
The result of making some data observations? 

The Cybernats who claim to be supportive of the SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement did nothing to help the cause they say they care about.

People unloaded on the "Wow! How the mighty fall" Tweet, so I elaborated on what I saw... a weekend of Cybernat notifications followed. Few people asked me to explain my position of:

1) The SNP has done nothing for us... our experiences with our SNP MP/MSP Vs our Labour MP

2) With Brexit being such a mess... how do we know that #IndyRef would be any different?

3) Infighting Salmond Vs Sturgeon looks like it's going to turn real nasty... real fast!

4) We have had 11 years of SNP rule and the 'Hope Over Fear' goodwill of 2014 is on the wane

Do I trust a party that has botched their own procedures when investigating one of their own to successfully implement IndyRef and/or do I have 'Hope Over Fear' re issues like currency after the brexit shambles? 

I can't say that I do! 

Is the Brexit issue the SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement's fault? 

No, it's Westminster and the Tories/UKIP's... but that's the backdrop that IndyRef2 will play out against 4 years on.

NOW! There is the issue of Brexit which highlights very well that Scotland has no voice in Westminster... so in theory, it should be 'clean up time' for the SNP/IndyRef/Yes movement. But that's not where we are.

But on the flip side of this is the fact that Westminster have had the whole Brexit shambles so could EASILY apply the same kind of hard ball that the EU has with Brexit, thereby drag the Independence divorce bill out so long that people say:

'I've changed my mind... let's have the 'People's #IndyRef Vote' and #IndyRef3'

If the goodwill and momentum was where it was at in 2014 then calling IndyRef2 with the Brexit vote tomorrow would be inspired... With the infighting + the data above + cybernats. Calling IndyRef2 at the moment = not a good idea!

IndyRef 2014 never went over 40% until the last 3 weeks of the vote... what caused this? 

The 'Network Effects' of the #VoteYes online momentum fueled the 'Feedback Loops' offline and the rallies grew and grew and grew in the last 2 weeks.

The network effects and feedback loops have gone... as #GE2017 as well as the weekend's #SNPActive highlights this.

Culture! Culture! Culture!
Based on what I can see the SNP/IndyRef/Yes movement has had the same issue with two different groups... Something that a conversation with Community Management experts like Rachel Happe, Kelly Hungerford, David Spinks, Marc Smith, Howard Rheingold and others might have been able to help with.

Onboarding New Members in a way that articulated and preserved the culture

1) Their 100,000 members in 2014
2) New MPs after GE2015

How significant could missing this out be? 

Look at the reports re: How the party is splitting... the 'old guard' loyal to Alex Salmond and the new crop of 'progressives' who are on Sturgeon's side.

Could Lego's example help with this even at this late stage in the SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement 3-4 years on after it's highest level of support?

Lego & Mads Nipper
Companies die from indigestion just as often as the die from starvation... they grow too fast. My observations are that

1) Indigestion, was definitely an issue  

2) Not understanding the 'social proof,' 'network effects,' and 'feedback loops' that led to 45% as opposed to Westminsters expected 30%+ and 

3) Not having an onboarding process that integrated the old SNP die hards with the new recruits (See the Nora Jones Town example too... IMHO it could easily read as the before and after 2014/5 SNP story)

In situations like this what to do? 
How about what Twitter Founder Biz Stone recommends?

Look for the Bright Spots!

When my kids became interested in Lego I marveled at the innovation ...and had no idea that the company came close to bankruptcy because it lost it's way. Thank goodness for dissenters like Mads Nipper!

Lego is also cited as an exemplar case study in making the transition from Old Power values to #NewPower in Henry Timms and Jeremy Heiman's book.

"Today, every person who's hired into the LEGO Group's Billund operations gets a tour of the small brick building where Ole Kirk and his family lived. There, they learn of another bedrock value of the company's founder "Only the best is good enough"

The motto grows out of the days when LEGO still produced wooden toys, Ole Kirk's son, Godtfred - who worked at the company since he was 12 and would eventually run it - boasted that he'd saved money by using two coats of varnish instead of three. The deception offended Ole, and instructed LEGO's future CEO to retrieve the toys from the train station and spend the night rectifying the error. Today a plaque with 'Only the best is good enough' graces the entrance to the cafeteria at LEGO's Headquarters" Brick by Brick

Lego employees also all have a bowl of Lego bricks on their desk... the reason? 
To remind them it's all about the brick. Why is that? 

To ensure that they don't lose their way like they did in 2001

"An animated, energetic executive who can be strikingly candid, Nipper was not shy about voicing his distress. 'Duplo was the second-strongest toy brand in northern and central Europe after LEGO... And we in all our wisdom decided to kill it' Nipper observed

In 2002 the infighting boiled over. Nipper and three other heads of the company's markets got a call to report to a suite known as 'the firing room.'If you were employed at LEGO and were summoned there, chances are you'd be unemployed when you left.

For months Nipper and the three executives had continued to press their case against Explore... The dissenters were delivered an ultimatum if they didn't shut up and loyally support Explore they would be asked to leave"

In 2004, when LEGO was deeply mired in financial crisis. Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen might well have been tempted to banish the bearer of such relentlessly negative news. Instead he offered Nipper a promotion: head up marketing and product development.

Nipper believed that LEGO had to become far more adept at letting customers help the company determine what the market wanted, instead of executives deciding what customers should want.

But all Nipper knew when he took the call from Kristiansen was that he was about to shoulder a weighty responsibility. As the overseer of all of the LEGO groups product lines, he would be the point man for resetting the company's direction" 

So, just like my post from 19th Sept 2014... Is the best still to come?

Will it my observations since #GE2015... That the SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement will continue to slide down to stage 4 & 5 of decline that Jim Collins details in How the Mighty Fall.

Or will they be like Lego and there be a book called How The SNP/IndyRef/Yes Movement Reworte the Rules of Innovation in Politics and Delivered FREEEEDOM.

It would appear that both possibilities exist... perhaps one more than the other at the time of writing.

And if it was to go down to 'Stage 5?'

That would be the time and effort of thousands of people 3-4 decades of work which did not achieve their goal. 

I've worked on projects where there wasn't much to show for it at the end... it's not a great feeling. 

Are you a cybernat who vehemently disagrees with any of this and/or want to be a troll? 

No problem! He's my post written in your kind of language and debating style: 

But before starting your trolling bull shit please note that: 
  • I am a floating voted and will be wavering between Sturgeons' SNP and Corbyn's Labour
  • Westminster's stance on Scotland re: Brexit is a concern, so Yes for IndyRef2 does have it's merits... But the Brexit shambles and SNP record in government over 11 years does not instill much confidence in the negotioation/implementation... Feel free to convince me.
  • My main interest is in education and 30,000 teachers demonstrated against the SNP's administration and are considering industrial action.
  • The areas of deprivation do not appear to have improved any in the last 11 years
  • I have accurately predicted every election since 2014
  • Your antics on social media are doing no favours in winning the other 55% to your point of view