Saturday, 5 May 2018

#ScotRef - How @TheSNP Could Get Back to #Team56

Image result for zombie loyalists
Today there was a Scottish Independence rally on (#IndyRef2/#ScotRef).

Four years ago I would not only have been in the thick of it all because the culture was super positive, but I wrote almost 30 posts in support of the movement, and even wrote these "MP/MSP Ideas for 2016/2019" "If Tech Stories Did Politics" reports.

"The #IndyRef conditions were special! The conditions were special… there was the potential to bring a nation together and could have seen huge changes like our inner cities being unslummed in the way that Jane Jacobs observed that Boston’s North End did and areas of Chicago were re-vamped"  P1 of my MP/MSP Ideas for 2016/2019.

In 2011 Ewan McIntosh wrote in How the SNP is using Social Media to win votes:

"Key to visible online successes has been the large degree of thought given to how online social media activity can be encouraged, listened to, engaged with and, vitally, converted into "offline" action: donate, volunteer, place both votes on 5 May for the SNP"

My first ever blog post A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand, is - As most first attempts are - a mess... but fortunately I have friends like Tim MacDonald who have encouraged me to keep telling the story I felt was worth telling and might have value to others.

Dream Make Over – The Big Clean Up

We’ve had the Big Sort, we’ve had the Big Society maybe we need someone to suggest that we need The Big Clean Up before we have any more plans. We also know that people will get behind this because they already helped clean up in the aftermath of the London Riots.

Also when we watch programs like DIY SOS and Dream Makeover an army of volunteers always come from nowhere when a neighbour has fallen on hard times, and needs some help...all that is needed is for someone like Ty Pennington to act as the catalyst, to lead and co-ordinate the construction.

Our kids and their education is certainly a house that needs and deserves to be put in order, so I would be surprised if there was not the largest army of volunteers standing by to pitch in - whether young enthusiastic new recruits, battle weary veterans, or unskilled but well-meaning militia keen to help make a difference. And you never know, if the “good for nothing NEET” & lost generation see people turning the slum back into a village, they may even join in the clean up. I don’t think it would be long before the "lone nut" would be recognised as a visionary leader. This section of my first post has been reprinted a few times in my blog  including in this post Yes Scotland - How can We Help and Labouring on with #Team56? How to Rebuild Trust When It Is Broken

I was not involved in the flag wavin event today... Because my view today is that most politicians are a bunch of donkeys.
Image result for no donkey shrek
Me at the Polling Stations these days
"Which Donkey am I going to vote for this time!"
However, despite getting a "Meh" reply to some constituency enquiries, I will be voting SNP in the future. This post details why, as well as some suggestions about how the party could get back to the same level as #Team56.

I have accurately predicted every election since 2015, here are two examples:
I predicted these result based on what I saw with the powerful combination of "Network Effects" and "Feedback Loops" that Silicon Valley tech companies use to good effect... which were created with the #IndyRef #VoteYes hashtag being so fun. Man! I must have spent 2 hours a day (At least) laughing at the banter.

In July 2016 I explored Pokemon Go in Education and two rather interesting things happened.

Two MSPs came back to me about the project... One when writing the report, The other was an email that I initially missed (Doh!) but picked up on in June 2017 when doing a follow up with Pokemon Go 12 months on

(I wanted to see why Pokemon Go went from "The future of Education" and hundreds of articles written in 6 weeks to - not very much written about it in Edu).

In 2014 I Voted "Yes" because of the culture. In 2015 - voted SNP again. 2016 - Spoilt ballot. 2017 Labour. 2018 onwards possibly SNP from here on in. The reason? Because of two quick "5 minute favours"

In addition to this... Here are 4 areas that the SNP could be focusing and resources that may be useful

1) "It's the Economy Stupid"
This has already been covered in a post that I wrote in October 2014... so that was quick! Lol
The other side of this is economic decline:
What Have Lobsters Got To Do With Innovaton is well worth a read too

2) Culture! Culture! Culture!
Bill Aulet does a lot in Scotland with startups and his Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast is a *MUST READ* post, as is Dave Logan's Tribal Leadership Ted Talk and book

Image result for dave logan tribal leadership

"Identify your Core Values and Align them with a Noble cause"

Is what the "Stage 5" game changing companies do.I have a number of first hand experiences of what happens when culture is not worked hard on to develop and maintained.

I sat in an office for 12 months and watched a company that I cared a great deal about slowly slide down what Jim Collins terms at "The 5 Stages of Decline"

Stage 1: All the fighting over seats and clapping (And other behaviour that comes with hubris) suggested that stage 1 of decline had been reached.
Stage 2: The Undisciplined Pursuit for More (The announcement of #IndyRef2/#ScotRef in March), and
Stage 3: Denial of Risk (The local election results on the 4th May 2017 and dismissing the result by other parties). 

"A party with such large numbers of supporters two years ago and only 65 people supporting Salmond's Crowdfunder... WOW austerity must REALLY be kicking in!" Data that suggested trouble a few weeks before #GE2017.
I tried to let The SNP know that I spotted issues in 2014, 2015 and 2017 - including at the height of their success two days after the - #GE2015 #Team56 result. My voice and advice went largely ignored.

I could (And have been!) critical... but when you don't know about the importance of culture and see record swings and 56 people's easy to see how and why hubris can take hold. As Jim Collins highlights in his book, one executive asks:

""When you are at the top of the world, the most powerful nation on Earth, the most successful company in your industry, the best player in your game, your very power and success might cover up the fact that you're already on the path of decline." How the Mighty Fall

So this political organisation took a bit of a tumble and lost their way, as many organisations and startups do! A lot struggle/die of indigestion just as a lot die of starvation (Before Product Market Fit has been achieved, culture issues etc etc).

I could take to Twitter and rant (Again I have in the past), or I could try to be helpful and share my experiences.

The SNP are not so long established compared to other parties, so am sure they have not forgotten what it is to be an underdog. They also have a far better culture than the other parties. 

Sure they have people who make mistakes, like the other parties do and/or Westminster MPs expressing concern about not being heard by Holyrood (Makes me feel a little better... Glad it's not just "The People" or "The Public" that get ignored) but they seem more in step with the party goals, where Labour and the Conservative Party seem to span a wider spectrum with ideological ideas.

IMHO With a little advice from Community Managers and Organisational Culture gurus they could do well...and would be better than the shortcuts of buying data and dealing with "cowboys"

I like Jeremy Corbyn A LOT, the guy has integrity! BUT to get all the Blairites and Marxists all singing off the same hymn sheet... seems more of a challenge from a cultural perspective.

Did you know... That Marx was bankrolled by Lion Phillips. Fake news? Or hypocrisy of the comrades?
Or of the Corporation who has psychopathic tendencies (But with no soul to save or body to incarcerate?)

Image result for THE CORPORATION The Pathology of Commerce
What do Politicians and Corporations have in common?
Read Will Black'sPsychopathic Cultures and Toxic Empires
Or Did you know that the free market Rand (Who's work I am a fan of) was on welfare when she died.

Can you imagine how difficult that must have been given her ideology? But sometimes plans... Like David Cameron's speeches about "Aspirational Families" have become Theresa May's "JAMs"

Check your premises kids! Think for yourselves!... Critical thinking.

#WhoIsJohnGalt? What if Atlas Shrugged? Contradictions don't exist? Except after Great Depressions, busts, Credit Crunch's... or when people are nice IRL at work, with their mums and daughters... but Trolls about politics, gaming and especially with women online. 

3) Digital Citizenship
Who remembers the fun of #IndyRef #VoteYes? Who remembers when the culture turned?

Going from people leaving bags of shopping for food banks at George Square... To MPs boasting that a stack of Daily Records were left untouched at Westminster?

When the culture turned... So did most people, including some of my posts.

However, I was fortunate enough that some of the Community Managers I'm connected with had a quiet word a told me they were growing tired of my negativity... I really, really respect that persons opinion, so not my finest hour! (And Ouch!)

i) How easy a trap was this to fall into, when everyone is doing it... including (And in some cases, especially) the supposed "Leaders?"


Let's refer to the creator of Thiel's Law ("A start up messed up at its foundations cannot be fixed" ..because beginnings are special!) and his take on Dot-Com Mania

"Dot-com mania was intense but short - 18 months of insanity from Sept 1998-Mar 2000. It was a Silicon Valley gold rush: There was money everywhere, and no shortage of exuberant, often sketchy people to chase it. Every week, dozens of new startups competed to throw the most lavish launch party, landing parties were more rare.

(NB A bit like Edu launches - Every Child Matters, No Child Left Behind, Big Society, Gazelle, Feltag, Charter Schools/Academies, but few edu "We got every student into college/work" parties, that I can see) 

Paper millionaires would rack up thousand dollar dinner bills and try to pay with shares of their startup's stock. - sometimes it even worked. Legions of people decamped from their well paying jobs to found or join startups. One 40 something grad student that I knew was running six different companies in 1999. 

(Usually, it's considered insane to start a half dozen companies at once. But in the late 90s, people could believe that was a winning combination). 

Everybody should have known that the mania was unsustainable; the most successful companies seemed to embrace a sort of anti-business model where they lost money as they grew. But it's hard to blame people for dancing when the music was playing; irrational given that appending ".com" to your name could double your value overnight"

ii) How typical is this of online communities?
During one of the many Media and Culture Committee meetings with Social Media sites one comment was:

"I would be ashamed to make money the way you did" David Winnick.
  • But what do MPs do to curb their own supporters if/when they get snarky and abusive?
  • Why did the SNP not manage to keep the super buzzing 2014 #IndyRef momentum going?
  • Because they didn't understand how the network effects and feedback loops worked?
  • Because they, quite rightly, took the weekend off post #IndyRef result and did not expect the chatter to continue?
  • Because they were too slow to respond and others sucked all the fun out of it leaving the angry politicos?
  • How many MPs who felt this disgust stopped using these services?
Harassment is happening everywhere in gaming, comics and I'd love if the content of the video below is what was taught in schools (The kind of thing that Microsoft's Yammer - still love that #Cmgr playbook they've got! And the #EdTech50 Ecadets/GoBubble does too)

Image result for president rosenberg 2011 commencement speech

I've just re-read the Epic Saga of the Well and we see the same kindness that the IndyRef foodback left as well as the vicious attacks between members.

"When Isaac, a much-loved teenager, couldn't afford to attend the private school of his choice, people chipped in to help his mother come up with tuition. When Mike Godwin, an outspoken member who was not universally liked, lost his worldly possessions in a moving-van fire, friends and foes sent him books from their own libraries to replace his lost volumes. It began to dawn on people that this was the sort of thing that happened in a small town. The response to need in this community, at once inseparable and separated by worlds, became extraordinary. When one member developed a liver disorder in New Delhi and fell into a coma, a group was organized, within days, to line up the blood-filtering equipment needed to save her life, then to have her flown back to a hospital in the US. One Well Being described this as "love in action."

A little bit later this same space turned viscous at times.

"But online, he went on the attack. He began visiting the conferences she went to, and he sent her vicious email. "It was a constant bombardment, all of it bile," 

There was also the same issues with community Vs corporate in this space, just as Facebook is facing today.

I feel extremely fortunate to have read about The Well and The Life and Jane Jacobs' Life and Death of Great American Cities and love how the chaos of the city creates order like this:

"When Jimmy Rogan fell through a plate-glass window (he was separating some scuffling friends) and almost lost his arm, a stranger in an old T shirt emerged from a bar, swiftly applied an expert tourniquet, and, according to the hospital’s emergency staff, saved Jimmy’s life. Nobody remembered seeing the man before and no one has seen him since. The hospital was called in this way: a woman sitting on the steps next to the accident ran over to the bus stop, wordlessly snatched the dime from the hand of a stranger who was waiting with his fifteen-cent fare ready, and raced into the Ideal’s phone booth. The stranger raced after her to offer the nickel too. Nobody remembered seeing him before, and nobody has seen him since"The Greenwhich Village of EdTech

A more recent, and personal example of this, is of my friend and former colleague Ramona Pierson, who was hit by a drunk driver when out for a run.

"The car that ran over Pierson sliced open her throat and ripped her chest apart. Her left leg became entangled in the wheel well when the driver began furiously attempting to flee, and by the time the car finally spit her out, Pierson’s heart and lungs were fully exposed.

One passerby massaged her heart with his bare hands, while another ventilated her collapsed lung and opened her windpipe with a couple of Bic pens" From Near Death to Silicon Valley CEO

I will be forever grateful to Sarah Thomas, Shell Terrell and Cori Coburn Shiflet for introducing me to Ramona via their Minority Women in Tech #SXSWEdu presentation.

I hope to "Pay it forward" by supporting projects like Microsoft's #DigiGirlz YouthSpark program, Bloodhound/Oracle's STEM education projects... and anything that James Stanbridge is working on wherever and whenever possible.

The reason for me re-reading and re-exploring the Well Beings? Because Culture Community guru Scott Moore shared this article with me:
Why Good People Turn Bad Online and I can see some trends.

For starters compare The Well's:
"Forty years from now, The Well may be remembered only dimly, or not at all. But it will have left behind a lasting imprint on our culture, as we will be left with the lush promises it whispered into our ear."

...And with the Mosaic Science article
"Our human ability to communicate ideas across networks of people enabled us to build the modern world. The internet offers unparalleled promise of cooperation and communication between all of humanity. But instead of embracing a massive extension of our social circles online, we seem to be reverting to tribalism and conflict, and belief in the potential of the internet to bring humanity together in a glorious collaborating network now begins to seem naive"

Are there answers to be had? Check this out:
Christakis is looking not just at how popular an individual is, but also their position in the network and the shape of that network. In some networks, like a small isolated village, everyone is closely connected and you’re likely to know everyone at a party

“If you take carbon atoms and you assemble them one way, they become graphite, which is soft and dark. Take the same carbon atoms and assemble them a different way, and it becomes diamond, which is hard and clear. These properties of hardness and clearness aren’t properties of the carbon atoms – they’re properties of the collection of carbon atoms and depend on how you connect the carbon atoms to each other,” he says. “And it’s the same with human groups.” 

Christakis has designed software to explore this by creating temporary artificial societies online. “We drop people in and then we let them interact with each other and see how they play a public goods game, for example, to assess how kind they are to other people.”

Then he manipulates the network. “By engineering their interactions one way, I can make them really sweet to each other, work well together, and they are healthy and happy and they cooperate. 

I feel there are similarities to this and my #DigCit Vs Trolls I'm a Student Friendly Educator post and some of these ideas... And know a few people who could help out with this if the good and the great in Scottish Politics was interested in exploring.

"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. Talk to family or friends about what’s happening and ask them to help you. Take screenshots and report online harassment to the social media service where it’s happening, and if it includes physical threats, report it to the police"

Or is it a case that any problems that have taken place online are merely a symptom of IRL issues? Address the gender pay gap and Technologies Man Problem and you'll fix the internet?

4) Create Zombie Loyalists
Because two MSPs engaged with me in an authentic way (ie the elected representative with an actual reply, not "Join the party" (2014 response when I tried to help), not a "Keep up the good work sonny" email, not a case worker... the actual MSP.

I don't think the engagement was hugely time consuming for them...just a couple of emails here and there. The workload for one of those MSPs must be seriously challenging because of portfolio they deal with... If anyone had a reason not to take the time to reply, they would have had a very good one!

Was I always a fan of these MSPs? One, yes... I've liked them since our first meeting.

The other? No! Sent emails criticizing them on two issues in the past, one of which the "Sorry not my problem" affected us a great deal.

But the more I spoke to people the more they said "No, you're wrong... got a lot of respect for their work"

In Hug Your Haters, Jay Baer says that converting detractors is worth it's weight in gold... check out Jay's "Hatrix,"

...So turning a #VoteYes advocate who became a detractor is possible... it's possible to turn "Haters" into #ZombieLoyalists... MSPs just need to take a chance and connect. Zombie Loyalists and Hug Your Haters both fantastic books!

Anyway, both MSPs have made a connection and the result is that I'll be voting SNP even when I don't always rate my local representatives too much, for good reason I think too...One enquiry went unaddressed for 2 years despite me following up a few times.

Next Stages
If it was me? Well I'm aware of Maslow's comment:

"Iall you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" but, at the same time, as the Collaborate as If Scotland Depended on it post highlights

"The scientists most likely to solve a problem were the ones you’d least expect to be capable of solving it. “We actually found the odds of a solvers success increased in fields in which they had no formal expertise” even more interesting gem: a full 75% of successful solvers already knew the solution to the problem. The solutions to the problem in the study – many of which, recall, had stumped the best corporate scientists in the world after years of effort – didn’t require a breakthrough, or additional brainpower, or a more talented scientists attention; they just needed a diverse enough set of minds to have a go at them.

...And Jane Jacobs didn't go to university either, self taught! And a critical thinker (Snowden: "The answer to "fake news" is not censorship, but critical thinking")

With the UK EdTech scene thriving and a few Scottish people, organisations and companies, including Glow, who were included as part of the Jisc/EdTechUK #EdTechUK50, Digital Citizenship being an issue and call centres jobs soon to be in trouble due to the bots.

Perhaps having an EdTech and Education based social media incubator to help this fledgling sector?

There are no Community Management jobs in Scotland and only a handful of companies go to events like BETT and ISTE, could this be quickly and easily changed?

Could this be a Low Cost/High Impact 

Image result for Professor Coe's fantastic "High Cost/Low Impact Vs High Impact/Low Cost model;

Is Scotland's problem really that it lacks talent, as was suggested at a Scottish Learning Festival keynote a few years ago?

Few 4-5 Star companies on Glassdoor in Scotland and only one with HQ that was part of Glassdoors top 100 UK workplaces.

Hmm... not sure about that one! The data suggests otherwise.Perhaps I should make plans to move to Chicago?

Image result for marshall field building chicago
Think and Grow Rich?

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