Yesterday, I went to listen to the public speeches that were part of Aula 2006 – Movement.
I read on the blog of Visa Kopu (an ex-colleague from nine years ago) that Clay Shirky and Joichi Ito were going to speak in Helsinki. I decided to go and listen, but I didn’t know exactly what this Aula thing was, except that they had had Lessig come and speak before. I was a bit surprised to see that in addition to the speakers, there were other A-list bloggers in the audience. It turned out that in addition to the public part, there is a by-invitation Aula gathering and that’s why they had come to Helsinki. Ross Mayfield has written about that side.
The event was hosted by Marko Ahtisaari and Jyri Engeström (and made possible by their personal connections).
(Oh, by the way, be sure to check out the video of Lessig’s Aula speech from 2004 if you haven’t already. The issue is very important, and the message is very well delivered. Moreover, the video is the best-produced video of a public speech that I’ve ever seen. If you’re making videos of speeches, watch this one and learn!)
Here are some points from the speeches.
Screenshot of the most popular SourceForge projects (ranked by downloads directly from SourceForge)
The difference in download counts is huge even inside the top half percent.
Picture of a long tail shown. “Long tail” not said. Subtle.
The press got in wrong. Most open-source projects are failures.
Failures have zero downloads and one guy.
The open-source ecosystem can try everything. The cost of failure is borne by individuals on the edges.
Inevitable flukes of success.
You don’t know which ones: Linux also started with zero downloads and one guy.
A commercial entity cannot support the kind of failure rate that an ecosystem can.
Fight between the ecosystem and MS.
Can this kind of trying stuff be applied to things other than software? Yes.
First application: Meetings of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses and Slashdotters.
Great success: Stay-at-home moms.
Wouldn’t have done if it was known in advance that the service is for stay-at-home moms.
Extracting the successes and only optimizing for them would take them away from the ecosystem. The moms also belong in other groups.
Short, to-the-point, insightful.
Design more than just style.
Nokia enables people to socialize media. Nokia is not trying to own it.
Share the love of the product.
Designers have a responsibility to both the people and the Corporation.
Guy in the audience: People referred to as “consumers” not right.
This was a corporate image pitch. How does responsibility to the people manifest itself? How will Nokia drive participation by the people and sharing when the network operators their media partners have a top-down, consumer-emits-only-cash mindset?
At home you are rich with connectivity.
Outside home you are begging for Wi-Fi.
Donate Wi-Fi at home, roam for free.
FON: free roaming. VodaFON: no free roaming.
Finns can get a FON router for €5 (plus shipping & VAT, which wasn’t said). Still only €25 (plus shipping & VAT, which wasn’t said) for others.
Funded by Google & Skype.
Based in Spain.
You can’t disconnect your laptop at home and take it to work, because you are downloading Lost.
Solution: The router is a small Linux box. A BitTorrent client fits in 300 KB. Let the router do the download. Manage the router from work.
50000 Foneros needed in Finland.
3G will be better where there are more trees than people.
Those who don’t contribute to the infrastructure are “aliens” and have to pay.
Is FON a movement or a company. It is a company.
If you are obsessed with security, you shouldn’t be using Wi-Fi. Or the Internet for that matter.
This was a company pitch. However, for a company pitch, it was excellent. The speaker presented his message like a stand-up comedian doing a shy guy routine. Great performance! It was a sales pitch the audience wanted to listen to.
It’s interesting how socially acceptable the Lost use case is, but didn’t FON notice the MGM v. Grokster ruling?
Things start as hobbies.
“Bubble 2.0 is here.”
Web 2.0 is always on. Web 3.0 is having downtime. (Second Life was down.)
The dichotomy between the “cyberspace” and the “real world” more American than Japanese.
The Internet is part of the real world.
Closet WoW players attend dinners.
WoW blew the fan on his previous laptop.
WoW was demoed on a Mac laptop. (I had thought this was Windows-only stuff.)
Monochronous days (planned meetings) and polychronous days (chat, WoW).
WoW guild voice backchatter in home stereo speakers when cooking.
People could leave Skype open but they don’t because they think in terms of phone calls that begin and end.
WoW is like a new golf. People come to hang out and talk on golf courses. Or actually WoW is like the new church. (Clearly, the church referred to here is a church where the members of the congregation actually speak with each other as opposed to a service where people are alone together, listen to the sermon and go home.)
“AKMA is my priest” (on WoW)
A rainforest of add-ons to WoW despite WoW being very proprietary. Most of the stuff demoed not from Blizzard.
WoW players are used to being always-on. They will expect a similar UI elsewhere.
People who aren’t into it not going to get it. For example, people who don’t use computers just don’t understand the Internet. A U.S. senator who wanted to hand the Internet over to ITU had never used a computer! (Now that is scary.)
WoW with the add-ons the most sophisticated project management system.
People pay to play: $15 per month.
Guild leaders people who are good at communication.
People are important. Guild members love each other. Will drive inter-state to help. Much more social bonding than in old MUDs.
People are so important that Everquest players are willing to bear the switching cost to WoW to be with their group when part of the group starts moving over.
Ito mailed WoW discs to different people. The conversion rate was 100%.
Two people have had to leave the guild for serious addiction issues.
Selling game stuff for real money against the WoW TOS. According to a top Blizzard designer (American), this is to make the players equal in the game world. The Chinese don’t see why the rich people shouldn’t be better off in the game as well.
I think I understood the point about always-on multimodal communication, game world social groups and how it all works better when the game is there as opposed to the similar UI applied without the game fun. Still, my initial feeling was that I don’t want to spend my life in a game world like that. So perhaps I understood the point only superficially but didn’t really get it.
Going on eight-hour raids in a game world doesn’t seem healthy. At least if you are playing Civ alone, you can take breaks any time without having to be there for the other players. And even without games we spend a lot of time with computers. Going to a golf course and to a church is at least time away from the keyboard. Based on talking with others later (f2f), I wasn’t alone thinking along these lines.
However, I do think that the threshold for moving from text IM to voice should be lower. In fact, I have previously badgered friends and colleagues into using iChat instead of IRC for longer discussions.
Later in the evening, there was a gathering at Club Ahjo in the basement of Klaus K. It appears that Ahjo has became the place for gatherings of this nature: it is also the venue for Open Tuesday. The music was interfering with conversations somewhat. When the point is that people talk, I like the Open Tuesday way of not having a DJ.
During the day there were surprisingly many people in the audience who I have met in the context of study, work or hobbies. They didn’t come to Ahjo, however. It was nice to talk to people who I hadn’t met before.