Aula 2006

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!)

Notes on the Talks

Here are some points from the speeches.

Clay Shirky

Short, to-the-point, insightful.

Alastair Curtis (Nokia Design)

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?

Martin Varsavsky (FON)

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?

Joichi Ito

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.