August 25, 2002

i’ve got to play matchmaker more often. email from wayne:

A thousand thank yous to YOU Jay as the convener of this wonderful meeting of the minds.

Good food, great company, fertile minds, doors floating by in the background, a Vulcan mind meld of kindred spirits. Could one ask for more? I think not!

To return some of the favor and continue to build on the momentum of our original discussion, let me share some thoughts, resources and links:

As a reflection on our meeting and my core beliefs in synchronicity and serendipity as the guiding forces in life, let me share the following:
At any given moment in any population of human beings, there will be individuals who have reached different stages in the developmental sequence. Each will possess a certain store of data and will consequently emit behaviors, which stimulate others who have reached a stage appropriate to respond to them. The product of interaction between such individuals will be certain typical relationships or attachments. from http://fusionanomaly.net/networks.html (not sure of the source/author??)

Any network has two ingredients: nodes and connections. In the grand network we are now assembling, the size of the nodes is collapsing while the quantity and quality of the connections are exploding. These two physical realms, the collapsing microcosm of silicon and the exploding telecosm of connections, form the matrix through which the new economy of ideas flows.
– Kevin Kelly – _New Rules For The New Economy_

**NOTE: You can find these and most other book references available from the Learnativity site at http://www.learnativity.com/bookstore.html

– As a small token of my appreciation to Jay and Bob for their taking the time and traveling to meet, I will send out on Monday a copy of the wonderful book that is big on my list currently called “Architect for Learning” by a new friend and colleague, Phil Palin. For me, this provides one of THE best summaries and gleanings of what I am calling “the principles of learning”. See what YOU think when you read it over and perhaps we can debate a bit here.

– if you have not yet read David Bohm’s works, be sure to add “Wholeness and the Implicate Order” to your collection and do your best to read it on a regular basis.

– Lastly but not leastly, one of my favorites and a work which I think will ultimately become known to be a seminal work in the area of content and knowledge management, though currently it is largely unknown and unused. This is the work of Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi and particularly their book “The Knowledge Creating Company” (see the learnativity link above if you want more info or to order the book)

Web sites:
– if you have not seen it yet, when you have some time (don’t go if you don’t!!) check out http://www.fusionanomoly.net for one of the most fun and engaging collections of links, information, music and ideas I know of. As one with a most serious case of ADD (as if you all didn’t know this about me already by just my speech and behavior) this site is the intersection of heaven and hell for me.
– for example, re the note about Bohm above, check out http://fusionanomaly.net/davidbohm.html

More Reading & Additional thoughts:
Vision Paper:
Bob, Jay and I referenced a “vision paper” that we put together 2 years ago for the National Governors Association and ASTD and a task force they had assembled. Since then, to my surprise and delight the paper has gone on to be heavily downloaded by a broad and very international community. If you are interested in looking at it, there is a summary and a link to the full 50 page paper at

David Gelernter:
– one of the gazillion (a really big number) thoughts that I didn’t manage to get into the conversation yesterday was the reference to David Gelernter and his thoughts on information, data, storage, retrieval, etc. I’m sure you are aware of him from his previous works such as Mirror Worlds (1991), The Muse In The Machine (1994), 1939: The Lost World Of The Fair (1995), And Drawing A Life: Surviving The Unabomber (1998), but it is in a somewhat more recent “manifesto” that I find some of the more useful and provocative ideas. For example, ideas such as the following from a good set of commentary on his manifesto “The Second Coming” which can be found at http://www.edge.org/documents/archive/edge70.html and contains the following:

Problems On The Surface And Under The Surface
27. Modern computing is based on an analogy between computers and file cabinets that is fundamentally wrong and affects nearly every move we make. (We store “files” on disks, write “records,” organize files into “folders” ? file-cabinet language.) Computers are fundamentally unlike file cabinets because they can take action.
28. Metaphors have a profound effect on computing: the file-cabinet metaphor traps us in a “passive” instead of “active” view of information management that is fundamentally wrong for computers.
29. The rigid file and directory system you are stuck with on your Mac or PC was designed by programmers for programmers ? and is still a good system for programmers. It is no good for non-programmers. It never was, and was never intended to be.
30. If you have three pet dogs, give them names. If you have 10,000 head of cattle, don’t bother. Nowadays the idea of giving a name to every file on your computer is ridiculous.
31. Our standard policy on file names has far-reaching consequences: doesn’t merely force us to make up names where no name is called for; also imposes strong limits on our handling of an important class of documents ? ones that arrive from the outside world. A newly-arrived email message (for example) can’t stand on its own as a separate document ? can’t show up alongside other files in searches, sit by itself on the desktop, be opened or printed independently; it has no name, so it must be buried on arrival inside some existing file (the mail file) that does have a name. The same holds for incoming photos and faxes, Web bookmarks, scanned images…
32. You shouldn’t have to put files in directories. The directories should reach out and take them. If a file belongs in six directories, all six should reach out and grab it automatically, simultaneously.
33. A file should be allowed to have no name, one name or many names. Many files should be allowed to share one name. A file should be allowed to be in no directory, one directory, or many directories. Many files should be allowed to share one directory. Of these eight possibilities, only three are legal and the other five are banned ? for no good reason.
Streams Of Time
34. In the beginning, computers dealt mainly in numbers and words. Today they deal mainly with pictures. In a new period now emerging, they will deal mainly with tangible time ? time made visible and concrete. Chronologies and timelines tend to be awkward in the off-computer world of paper, but they are natural online.
35. Computers make alphabetical order obsolete.
36. File cabinets and human minds are information-storage systems. We could model computerized information-storage on the mind instead of the file cabinet if we wanted to.
37. Elements stored in a mind do not have names and are not organized into folders; are retrieved not by name or folder but by contents. (Hear a voice, think of a face: you’ve retrieved a memory that contains the voice as one component.) You can see everything in your memory from the standpoint of past, present and future. Using a file cabinet, you classify information when you put it in; minds classify information when it is taken out. (Yesterday afternoon at four you stood with Natasha on Fifth Avenue in the rain ? as you might recall when you are thinking about “Fifth Avenue,” “rain,” “Natasha” or many other things. But you attached no such labels to the memory when you acquired it. The classification happened retrospectively.)
38. A “lifestream” organizes information not as a file cabinet does but roughly as a mind does.
I have some serious reservations about his absolute views on the fundamental centralization around time as THE storage paradigm, however the points above and most others in his manifesto resonate extremely strongly with me and I have been shaping my work for several years now.

Hubs & Authorities: Hypersearching the Web
I mentioned this intriguing notion of “hubs & authorities” in our conversation yesterday and have attached a copy of the article from Scientific American on this. It was entitled “Hypersearching the Web” by member of the “Clever Project” and makes for most interesting reading IMHO. Please respect the IP and copyrights on this. This is a copy I have paid for and am glad to distribute in the interest of our continuing dialogue, but please don’t distribute further without getting your own copy.

Bob, one of the best summaries of the various work going on with standards in the area of content and learning is an industry report called “Making Sense of Standards and Specifications” or sometimes referred to as “S3”. Of course this is a very biased opinion as I had the privilege to lead a very talented group of people in some Fortune 100 companies who are working to implement these standards. Sponsored by the Masie Center, Elliott Masie’s home base, we developed this extensive report has been put into the public domain and is available at http://www.masie.com/standards/

Next connections:
I look forward to meeting up with all of you at the Learnativity event on the 5th for Learning Objects.
Bob, I’m sure I’ve left out several of the points we touched on and additional references so let me know what these are from your notes or thoughts and I’ll be glad to follow up with you further on these. I’ve put my full set of contact info below for your future reference.

I hope you all left as energized about all this as I did and equally look forward to this being the catalyst for many more fruitful dialogues and intersections in the future.



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