We saw with the pandemic that some organizations that struggled with change, and others that changed quickly

Keywords: business , Charlene Li , Bob Buday , lead , leading , leader , leaders , leadership , technology , people , research , brand , brands , branding , media

[The others, that changed quickly:] They were able to change their minds. These are capabilities that you develop and anticipate you’re going to have to use, versus “Everything always has to be the same.” It’s very fragile, then versus being anti-fragile, where you’re getting stronger with every single time.

http://podcasts.video.blog/2022/01/06/charlene-lis-focus-in-the-last-few-years-has-been-on-how-leaders-must-deal-with-social-media-and-other-digital-technologies-that-force-them-to-be-more-transparent-externally-and-internally [49:30 – 50:20]

I described such newfangled (distributed) networks more than a decade ago when I was writing at omidyar.net — back then, I referred to it as “The Web is PHLAT (pretty hyper, local and topical)” — and you may be reminded that at the time there were analogous popular memes (though the term “meme” at the time was still quite restricted to only fans of Vannevar Bush).

In this vein, you may find it intersting how I am covering a wide variety of aspects of this new interview with Charlene Li … at other sites, e.g. :

Note that the most distributed (i.e., networked) information technology is — hands down & beyond the shadow of a doubt — natural language. All the investors in FAANG companies are going to wake up some day soon to find out that their investments have all gone up in smoke through their own short-sighted stupidity of investing inordinate sums into nothing more than a small bunch of pipe dreams … all leading to nowhere, man!

I have to be able to market my own self and take the fear out of it

Keywords: {0}

I am very grateful of this activity because for once I actually understood the importance of knowing my own worth, and not downplaying any of my achievements no matter how small it is in the eyes of the society. What actually matters is what I think about it and the lessons I have learned from it.


People are strengthening their connections to their close ties, but losing the social capital of their weak acquaintances

Keywords: Gender , Marissa King , Networks , Pandemic , Yale

People are more likely to find a job through an acquaintance because their acquaintances have new sources of information. If we just let our social circles go without reflecting upon them, we tend to end up talking to people who look like us and think like us. The more that we have those same conversations over and over, we all increasingly start to influence one another and think alike. So without these weaker ties, we’re essentially all sitting in echo chambers. That’s why that weak tie is so important — it’s providing new sources of information that we otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to.


Complexity — It’s Complicated … to do Things Right (rather than simply quick + easy — including complex / “advanced” search + networking plans + projects)

The expression “it’s complicated” is perhaps the quintessential embodiment of the kind of insight we need more of now – more than ever. We need to say goodbye to “one right way” and we need to say hello to diversity, variations from norms and differentiation in algorithms.


Promoting Network Effects vs. Promoting Customization Services

Against the backdrop of the previous 2 interludes (addressing various aspects of the present-day consumer orientation towards media), I would now like to return to the issue of how to promote more participation in communities such as those engaged with the WordPress platform. As I noted in ”Inviting, Welcoming, Promoting More Participation”, the vast majority of the community interacting with the WordPress platform does so in a primarily disengaged manner, and the 2 interveneing interludes have underscored the consumer orientation towards ”free offer” mentality which hardly involves any participation, engagement, involvement, let alone ownership in the WordPress medium / platform.

This widespread aloofness and disengagement is – in my humble opinion – mainly attributable to a lack of economic motivations, but in part also due to a very narrow, limited self-centeredness throughout most civilizations today. People are generally unaware of how their own actions impact their environments – the most obvious case of this is probably the ”global warming” problem.

The groundwork for the economic disenfranchisement of the vast majority of the world’s population happened about 15 years ago, when Google decided to disregard (and/or ”completely devalue”) all comments made on the Internet (this came to be known as the ”nofollow” algorithm, and has since then been expanded to many media platforms, perhaps most significantly websites like Facebook and YouTube). Note that at the time Google made this decision, its repercussions were not widely understood (and indeed many people actually applauded this as a way to censor spam). In other words: it is not alone Google’s ”fault”, it was the widespread adoption (of ”nofollow”) among publishers that drove these nails into the coffin of community engagement.

Within a few years, all of the awe-inspiring widespread community engagement of early web-communities such as Digg had all but completely vanished. Today, the vast majority of websites are barren wastelands when it comes to user participation. The very few and very far between exceptions of so-called ”user-generated content (UGC)” firstly substantiate the rule, and secondly are of extremely dubious nature – since most of this content is outright pirated or in some other way fraudulent (e.g. ”fake news”).

It seems that apart from hoodlums selling suckers vast varieties of ”get rich quick” schemes, there is virtually no incentive whatsoever to be engaged in any way.

What might be good ways to incentivize more user participation?

One method very popular among “free market” thinkers is money. I would not rule this method out completely (see, e.g. this question about “paid content”), but there are some indications that money does not function well as incentive (or as motivator) for creative tasks. Also, money seems to have a way of dehumanizing activity and I find such dehumanization might be counter-productive when it comes to promoting participation, social cohesion and / or community engagement, etc.

My proposal to link together the WordPress community has by and large fallen on deaf ears. Apparently, just as very few people are motivated to actively engage with WordPress in general, so also very few people seem to care very much about the wider WordPress community. One visualiation might be to imagine someone like Carl Sagan describe the WordPress project as millions and millions (perhaps even as “billions and billions”) of isolated islands in a huge ocean (the Internet), not really connected in any way other than a common technology (much like a multitude of homes and other buildings built with similar [standardized] hammers, nails, etc.).

In order to promote collaboration among these individual buildings, isolated islands or self-oriented websites, the potential participants seem to need a clear indication of “what’s in it for me?”

I continue to believe that improvements in the functionality of the WordPress search engine’s capabilities could provide very significant benefits to all WordPress users. Likewise, functionalities to promote more efficient and more effective business networking capability among WordPress users ought to benefit every single WordPress user significantly. Indeed: such very powerful and very positive network effects seem obvious to me – I wonder why they do not seem as obvious to (or even to just so much as mildly resonate with) other members of the WordPress community. My hunch is that the vast majority of the WordPress developers believe that widespread adoption is unlikely. In fact, I wouldn’t even rule out that such a collaborative effort might even be unwanted, because developers might fear that such network effects might lead to a reduction in demand for their own lucrative customization services.