Sunday, December 02, 2012

Augmented Reality vs Intelligence Augmentation

A G+ post from Eric Schrag regarding Augmented Reality, reminded me of an old post I wrote in 2006 pondering Artificial Intelligence vs Intelligence Augmentation. He's question was sparkled when reading my post on Google Paving the Road for Glass.

The question of Intelligence Augmentation (IA) vs Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now a non question, as we see clearly most every new innovation that produces Intelligence Augmentation involves Artificial Intelligence in the form of machine learning, voice or image recognition, etc.

The question there that could remain is: Will in the long term AI surpass IA and become an independent thing that stops serving humans and starts serving its own purpose. I'm not going to go there ... it's too futuristic and it would be a good subject for maybe a long philosophical conversation at the end of a long night ...

Back to Augmented Reality (AR), and Eric's question: Is AR the future we want in products such as Google Glass?

I believe the answer is for the most part the next short term phase of what's coming is Intelligence Augmentation and not so much Augmented Reality.

Intelligence Augmentation is using technology to augment our human capacities in areas such as:

1. extended memory - photo, video, voice and text storing and retrieving by processes much like the semantic free association that happens naturally on our brains.
2. senses, with exo-sensors that are quantified, verifiable, expanding beyond our current sensing capabilities (such as sensors that measure air gas composition and alert for CO, etc).
3. connectivity, allowing us to connect to each other in synchronous as well as asynchronous ways, beyond space and time.
4. context information accessing, information comes to me when I need it, versus me having to search for it (a la Google Now).
5. statistical data - tapping into the anonymous statistics and big data to find trends, patterns and learn (a great example is Google Translation)

I can see particular applications in which AR with specialized visors/HUDs would be possible and would actually make sense. There are glasses such as the I/O Recon Snowboarding companion:

Smith Recon Video from smith optics on Vimeo.

I'm sure there's many other specific applications that will make a lot of sense to use Augmented Reality or even Virtual Reality such as Oculus:

Oculus Rift: Step Into the Game from Oculus VR on Vimeo.

Technology as Kevin Kelly explains on his awesome book "What Technology Wants?" doesn't really die, even ancient technologies stay in pockets. I am a firm believer on every technology on its own place. Give me a tablet to read news/books, a keyboard to type, a big screen to code, a TV to watch a movie, etc. There's room for AI, IA, AR and VR, all on it's own time and space.

In the particular case of AR, it will be harder to do it right than generalized IA, so I expect to see more IA on cellphones, watches and visors before we see any AR done right. If you ask me on the long term though will we be there some day? I believe we will. If you ask me, is Google Glass the right technology to make AR done right happen ... everything indicates it was not designed to do that and for the most part it won't.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Time to mass market accelerating


Really? Walking into a Costco store and seeing the Drone 2.0 is really surprising. I saw this device for the first time less than six month ago, and it's already at Costco by Christmas!












The same happened with the belkin wemo that allows you to control any device plugged into an electrical outlet from your cellphone. I heard about it at a Quantified Self meetup and a few days later it was at Costco.

It used to be a long time between the time I heard of a new tech or gadget for the first time and the time your average non-tech neighbor (or your mom) would talk about it. But that's on the past! Nowadays, your parents will talk to you about the next new thing or startup acquisition before you even read it on the news.




The traditional adoption curve used to look something like the image on the left, going from the innovators in green, to the early adopters in black, early majority in orange, followed by the late majority and finally the laggards (those people always swore they would never use cellphones but know have one and they swore they would not use smartphones but they will be using one very soon).


According to Seth Godin the bell curve is moving, and he proposes a graph that looks more like this, with a huge push by the market and media to get "earlier early adopters".







I'm not completely sure the curve is really deforming as in the image above or if it's just being accelerated and compressed over time. Something more like the image to the left.


In any case, it's amazing to see how fast products and apps are pushed into the market, as well as how fast people "get" this products and market and adopt them.

So, how do you remain cool during these new fast paced times?







Saturday, November 24, 2012

Our New Digital Brain - Resistance is futile

I had the privilege of being a speaker at the TEDxTemecula event October 13th, 2012.

My original idea was to address the future of digital with pervading sensors, context all around us and bionic augmentation of our minds and bodies.

During the process of preparing the talk, one night, in the spirit of TED I opened my mind to the question of "What could be an idea worth spreading, that is unique, valuable and can potentially change the world?".

In the morning I woke up with one image in my mind. It was an image with the evolutionary layers of our human brain, and the connection that we are witnessing an amazing time in the history of humanity: the development of our New Digital Brain.

Image credit: VLADGRIN/Shutterstock + Mauro Canziani

Here's the talk:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RQDr6Wkm5s

Great news keep pouring regarding hardware and software improvements in connecting directly with sensors implanted on our brains. Stanford University just published improvements to their BrainGate2 devices particularly on the software algorithm that drastically improved the speed for cursor tracking with their brain implant on chimpanzees.

I expect to see sensors and wearable devices to become the super glue that bring the whole planet alive and super connected in ways we never thought possible before.

I love to hear the reactions which range radically from "wow! supercool!" to "this is scary!" and "I don't want to give out my privacy!" (angry tone).

Let me know what your reaction was!

Friday, November 23, 2012

The magic of NFC

When we started playing with betterize.it - a fun new way to a better you, one new habit at a time - we thought of Near Field Communication (NFC) as one of the technologies that would make tracking things done (or not done) super easy.

After researching a bit, we got our tags kit, built a simple habit/goal tracking android app (new android phones come with an NFC reader included) with the help of Genexus and we headed to the real test: we started to be the guinea pigs.

Personally, I had a few things I wanted to track:

1. My am and pm meditation. My goal was to do a simple mantra repeating meditation at least once day for 15 to 20 minutes, and ideally twice a day. I tagged one of the NFC stickers by my little Buddha statue right behind my meditation space.










2. I wanted to try and drink more water daily, I measured my bottle I water refill all day long and it was 16 fl oz. I attached a little NFC tag to my bottle.


3. With flossing my goal was to be more consistent on at least one daily floss, even when I wasn't too far away of my goal, at this time it was NFC euphoria, so I needed more places to stick my NFC tags!



After programming all the tags with urls matching each of the habits the experiment begun.

What I discovered, surprised me a bit! Not only I was doing the NFC checkins (as betterize.it calls them) very often without almost missing any events, but I was enjoying doing them. I couldn't wait to hear the next "ta-da!!" that the system did every time it read a tag successfully. It was like I found an extra unexpected reward on getting things done.

Here's a 18 seconds vid showing how NFC works for habit/goals checkins:



NFC is pure magic! Seamless, frictionless as could be, we were increasingly excited. We were ready to start our kickstarter project and ask the people: do you dig this NFC habit improvement thing?

There was one problem though, and it was not minor. iPhone did not have an NFC reader. We hoped for the iPhone 5 to include a reader. I mean, it had to include a reader! How could they miss out on this party? But, iPhone 5 came out and the NFC was not a part of it ...

Recently, my friend Jun point me on the direction of these guys:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/flomio/flojack-nfc-for-ipad-and-iphone

At the time I wrote this, they were very close to reaching their goal, and in the process they went from a great idea with bad design to a great cover approach design that made them into a winner. They expect to deliver their NFC reader cover for iPhone 4/4s around March 2013.

A world of possibilities is coming, with everybody on the same page regarding NFC, magic will happen all over with their chance of becoming mainstream. Replacing paper tickets, logins to systems, alive ads, posters in the streets, stadiums that give you media, and all the other good things people will think about when this starts being a reality. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Google paving the road for Glass

Back in July, when I had the privilege to be part of bringing the Full Swing Simulator to the Google IO party I had the chance to attend Google IO as well (Yes, the pic on the left is Sergey playing golf on our simulator at the party). It was an amazing coincidence as I attempted to get tickets when registration opened, but after hitting retry a million times, I couldn't get one.

With 6,000 other people in the room, I witnessed live as skydivers jumped from a plane to land on the roof of the Moscone Convention Center while transmitting everything from their Google Glasses.
It was a historic moment!

For us seekers of all tetchy cool new devices and apps, it was the beginning of a new chapter. But, many people I talked to at the event, were completely unimpressed by all of it. They were saying things like: 

"You can't really do much with those glasses"
"They didn't show nothing really cool"


I guess, part of being on the innovators side of the wave, is to be able like Paul Graham says to '"Live in the future, then build what's missing." or "Live in the future, then build what's interesting". You have to be able to look a new technology and imagine a future world in which everybody adopted this technology and ask yourself "What's possible?".

After the keynote, I was super excited to re-explore every bit of information we got at the keynote and see it through the brand new Glasses.

So, when they were presenting features of browser synchronization, I was thinking:
"Perfect, I have a page on my desktop or cell and I send it to my Glasses."

And as I was exploring Google Now on my brand new Nexus 7 tablet, and it would show the weather at San Francisco for the day and the time in current traffic to go back to my hotel. I was thinking:
"Voila! Google Now notifications popping up on my Glasses".

And the effect of seeing the road to Glasses being paved all the way to its launching kept going. As I enabled Google Goggles on my android camera app, I could see:
"There we go! Automatic notifications of relevant information triggered by visuals, such as barcodes, product identification." Just imagine the future, faces, places, business, objects .. how exiting!

Being ADD all my life I missed all the action when it just happened in front of my eyes. The thought of having a little button on my Glasses that will allow me to DVR to the last 30 seconds and play back or upload to a server the last 30 seconds plus the next 30 ones just makes me high.

And what about seeing a face and having info popup on your field of vision? I know I know them but who are they??? Problem solved! With Glasses, a simple notification can overlay contact information, last time I saw them, how and when I met them, etc. Very cool!

So, when you live in the future you can imagine going from Glasses to Contacts and produce videos like this one:



Project Glasses is just the beginning to restoring and expanding our biological body and brain with our new digital body and brain. Fun times lie ahead!

Of course there will be issues, we'll have to deal with the noise that is being generated massively by all of us and our sensors. We'll have to deal with attention/distraction management. We'll have to design awesome interfaces (maybe on the cellphone) that will talk to Glasses in meaningful ways. 

We'll work our way through all of the obstacles, like we did with many other technologies before, because of the value Glasses (and other wearable context aware devices) will deliver.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Self-Tracking is fun!

The image to my left shows the perils of one of my shortest nights. The red is actually awake time, so it doesn't count much as far as to sleep. It shows I got some light sleep represented by the gray bars, a bit of deep sleep with the dark green bars and very little REM sleep as shown by the light green bars.

This device is addictive! Every morning as I wake up I can't wait to see how my night went on the inside of my brain. In addition, My zeo app gives you a sleep score or what they call ZQ, which for my last night (ZQ: 48/100) was pretty poor, way below my average. The ZQ is a secret sauce mix that gives you a seemingly accurate idea of how your night actually went. It has been very predictive/descriptive of how my nights go (in Zeo's own words).








Even if I have to wear this band every night (I just can't imagine skipping a night and it's been 3+ months so far) I don't even want to think about how I would feel in the am if my data is not there for me. Checking my Zeo App became the very first thing I do every morning when I wake up. But of course, if someone were to tell me that it was like this, before I tried it ... I would have been skeptic too ...



Another device I'm carrying with me everyday is my Fitbit Ultra.

Fitbit, depending on the exact version, tracks your steps, mileage, calories burn (estimated) and elevation climb.
I probably not proud of this, but as you can see on the right pic, I found out that Haloween night was my busiest day for November and my only day I surpassed the suggested goal of 10,000 steps. A lot to improve there I guess ... My relationship with fitbit is different than with the zeo. I almost never look at my fitbit stats, I just wear it almost every day and I let it do its thing. I am aware that it is tracking and I don't like it when I forget to wear it, I have a minimum discomfort of no-tracking, but I don't have a big dependency or goal with it at the time.



I also have a Withings scale, which is not necessarily my favorite device, it is more like my scary device, but it always tells me "the truth" so it's valuable. And it syncs wireless which is awesome and completely pain free.
A few seconds ago, I downloaded the Withings Companion App and will see if it motivates me futher.


For now I just have fun with these sensors, I enjoy peeking into the future and getting a glimpse of how it'll be when sensors conquer things and the world at large (which has been known as the Internet of Things).

Besides goal setting in relation to the tracking, most of us trackers hope that the data might become valuable as new applications provide fun visualizations, extract meaningful relationships and gamify in a way that is interesting or cool in some way.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

You're invited to be a part of a fun little experiment




There's this little experiment I've been thinking about for a few weeks now and I'd like to share it here hoping many of you would like to join me.


This experiment can be done anywhere in the planet, and it only requires a video cam.




I might be onto something anthropological here, as this is the first time ever my brother is really excited about one of my projects. So, we might have Dr. Roberto Abadie, author of 'The professional guinea pig: Big pharma and the risky world of human subjects' (if you're interested on the little mouse looking guinea pigs, this is the wrong book for you), to help us with the anthropological interpretation of this little experiment.

What we would be doing, is interviewing people of all ages and genders asking them four quick questions:

1. Do you believe in evolution?
2. How old is Planet Earth?
3. Do you know the meaning of the word 'bourgeoisie'?
4. What is the percentage of Americans that earn more than $250,000 a year?

These 4 questions are the minimum questions that I can think of that would shed light on the religious/scientific/political/economical mindset of the person being interviewed. Also, I see the potential for cross references between the 4 questions that could shed some extra light. In addition to satisfying our  curiosity on percentages and other data connections on different parts of the US and the world, I think it would be awesome fun to do it and to experience the individual reactions and answers.

The methodology would be very simple:

1. Approach someone and ask them if you can videotape their answer to 4 super quick questions for an international experiment for a web blog.
2. If they say yes, proceed to film the questions and answers. Try to grab the spontaneous answers, expressions, physical reactions and so forth.
3. Once done, ask them if they can sign the release form, allowing Evoluzination blog to post the answers in a video for this international experiment (the form will be provided on pdf format).
4. Send me the videos as you have them for edition and publishing into a web documentary on youtube and this blog.

If the video camera option is too intimidating, you don't feel comfortable or it obstructs the experiment, we can completely omit the camera and just record the answers on paper.

The interview should be completely anonymous, but it might be interesting to know the gender the person identifies with as well as the age range.

Maybe the release form can include something like:
Age Range
[ ] 21 and Under
[ ] 22 to 34
[ ] 35 to 44
[ ] 45 to 54
[ ] 55 to 64
[ ] 65 and Over
[ ] Decline

Gender
[ ] Female
[ ] Male
[ ] Other
[ ] Decline

Country:
City:

If you're interested in any way on this project please contact me here or message me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ceci.abadie.

It will be a shared learning experience.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Transforming Health Care through Data

How many of you, when you think of Watson and the epic Jeopardy win, associate it with solving some of the most complex problems of our time? I for one, didn't. I had no idea that Watson is currently being used by IBM Research together with organizations that have complex problems to solve to find innovative solutions, but it makes a lot of sense.

Lori Beer, Executive Vice President, Enterprise Business Services, WellPoint, Inc., serving 34 millions of people is one of the poster child for such an application of Watson.

WellPoint, which mission is "to improve the lives of the people we serve and the health of communities", is currently in a partnership with IBM making history by applying Watson's capacities in an initial pilot for utilization management: treatment recommendation approval.



Health Care industry biggest challenges at this time are the issues of affordability, accessibility and consumer experience. Right now, the customer satisfaction for Health Care is below Airlines, which says a lot of the state of things.

As information doubles every 5 yrs., there are 21M articles in PubMed/Medicine and 1M are added every year. Lori raises the question of how to keep up? what tools could help? And this is how Watson, who reads millions of pages in a few seconds, can have an important role. The reality today is that 81% of physicians report spending only 5 hours or less per month reading medical journals.
The end consumers also have a poor engagement with their own health and the costs involved.
When you have huge amounts of un-structured data, the problem becomes how to know what's relevant. We need ontologies to organize the information and understanding what's more relevant at the point it needs to be used.


So, they set up a small pilot trying to tackle the issue of approving treatment requests from physicians.


Watson lends its capabilities of probabilistic understanding of dense amounts of data, natural language processing and the ability to learn interactively are being used towards the resolution of this
learning to work, in order to digest a vast amount of information and spit out a probabilistic number of accuracy. If the number is below a certain threshold, the decision needs to be reviewed by a physician. The physician looks at the research that lead Watson into computing its output and can discard and re-iterate as many times as needed.

Some of the requirements they had to get out of the way in order to get Watson to work for them, are the issue of single master profile per consumer (all the versions of me who are indeed me) and the issue of getting all the data for a patient organized. which is the holly grail of Health 2.0. Even when nowadays some of your doctors enter your medical history in a computer, it doesn't mean that that computer can talk to other computers even across the same organization. The solution to this problem is the longitudinal patient record and this was the second step in order to be able to feed Watson appropriately.

Watson goes through the same cycle as physicians do (just in a slightly different way :).
First, it goes to medical school, it has to ingest and digest medical facts and policies.

Now, Watson goes on what would be the equivalent of Residency, it's in training. Doctors are looking very careful to the responses that Watson is giving,

Then, as any student, Watson needs to be scored according to the accuracy of its results.

Watson accuracy has major improvement as it learns from its mistakes and re-iterates.
When the score is not so good, the questions are: Does Watson need to ingest more data? 

The teach cycle is crucial, until it reaches the accuracy level required.

As part of the process of testing Watson, a Dr gave his hardest case ever, one which took him years to get to the right diagnosis, and Watson identified the condition amont its top 3 recommendations.

Since the use of Watson, the approval process went from 48 hours to a few minutes. Imagine the value of that as a provider.

The use case #2 for Watson is in Oncology, first int the area of breast and then lung cancer.

The future of Watson in Health Care would be to go into diagnosis, tele diagnostics, genomics analysis, among many other areas. In this industry, all conversations need to consider privacy, security and liability as they reside at the core of Health Care.


Someone in the audience brought up the issue of how people could be fearful of a machine biasing doctors towards certain answers, but when we compare the traditional physicians methods that are estimated to be fact based only in 45% of the cases, it just makes sense to adopt tools like Watson.


Other questions on Lori's and WellPoint's mind are in the area of Consumer Experience where there is so much room for improvement:
How to engage the consumer?
How to have patients think of health as their asset?
How to have apps that bring the connection and deliver information in the point of care as well as follow the customer home?
How to create the next generation customer experience? including the possibility of telemedicine.
The future of Medicine, might be to bring back the doctor to where the patient is at, like it was in the past. avoiding ER costly visits. Solutions such as remote weight measurement alert clinicians of potential issues ahead of time.

Other solutions mentioned were part of the Mobile Health Wallet, that includes electronic id card, QR code, customer service # connects to phone call, voice video chat with point of care, mobile ways to locate nearest in network provider.

All this solutions need to create a space for technologists and clinicians to dialog and come together to provide solutions and Lori has a relevant role in creating this space.

Now, we can think and dream of other areas and ways in which technologies like Watson can help and build a future for Health Care that is affordable, accessible and a great customer experience.


Thursday, October 04, 2012

Internet Activism ... are we there yet?

It's been a long time since Uruguay (where I was born and raised) overcame a military dictatorship. Even at age 15, I still remember the times of getting out to the streets and manifest as the people of Uruguay that we wanted democracy.

Times have change a lot since then and it's great to be in this room with four young activists talking about activism in the era of the internet.

All of them come from different backgrounds but have a common passion for generating movements and using the best tools and technologies available nowadays to do so. Let me introduce you to them:

Sheryl John (Children's Hospital Los Angeles), mostly activism in the open source movement.
Neetu Jain(HP), using technology for grass root projects in India.
Kathryn Minshew (The Daily Muse),  startup providing content for woman career advancement, negotiting raises and a passion for connecting women to the resources they need.
Lina Akiki (Mitsulift group), leader political movement and party in Lebanon

Some of the ideas/points that were discussed during the panel were:

Internet was identified as a powerful tool for communication, cheap and fast for reaching massive amounts of people.

Difference between clicktivism and actual activism. You will find significative more people ready to click/like/etc than the people that will be actually ready to work/donate/take next steps. This seems a clear tendency in all internet, participation follows a pyramid, where participation decreases towards the bottom of the pyramid.

In the middle east (Lebanon), people connected and created a movements that actually changed peoples lives. This political party reaches out and hears to what people have to say and they organically grew through internet and social networks to be 20% of the population.

In corporate daily news environment lost Bonus, thought just her, then realized most woman have the issue. daily muse  created a platform and got women to get organized. help ppl realize that they're a part of a larger problem and acting together gives a lot of power.

The Daily Muse used partnership syndications to provide content and reach a larger audiences starting with Forbes and Yahoo among others to impact the lives of more woman and their work environments. They're currently looking into becoming a recommendation engine, to help people access the information that is relevant to them. The growth was identified to be due to 30% social networks, 30% content and 30%was attributed to word of mouth

One core value identified was in order to build a bigger movement, you have to instill the desire for everybody to be a part so they want to share it and make it even bigger.

Some of the challenges identified by the panelists for internet activism were:
1. The difficulty with authenticity and truth of information, as information can be easily be remixed and misrepresented on the internet.
2. It's easy to get a false sense of support, as you can get many people to follow your movement but you need to consider only a portion will take their commitment to the next level.
3. It's easier to reach the people that want to hear what you have to say, and mostly agree with you and your movement, but it's very hard to reach those that don't agree with you and those are exactly the ones you'd like to reach and educate, etc. It calls for a need to find creative ways to put your message in front of people that are not initially inclined to consume your content.

Talking about new trends: and the future of activism crowdsourcing was identified as a major source of change in the future. Some of the solutions offered were to monitor comments/forums/posts and to always find an alternative way. A great example of an alternative way was when during the Lebanon Revolution Twitter was shut down, but Google offered a voice to text solution that twitted for people and the world kept hearing the truth and live reporting. Other solutions offered were to face the trollers trace IPs, etc.

Kathryn brought up a great way to keep a company loyal to its core values, and the way The Daily Muse did it, was thinking: "If the company was a woman, how would it be?" and defining that woman, giving her values, personality and even character has helped them keep those values going in the mid and long term.

In summary, the main suggestion from the panelists is to chose the right cause, something people have a need for, something deep, bring them value, something that moves them, that is important for them, something they care, and when people want a change to happen, when the right people is creating the influence, then its relatively easy to start a movement, beholding the key message, and trying not to lose sight of that key message that initially brought people together for a cause.

A tailored cause might work better than a generic cause, for instance woman versus unhappy people at work in general, or smart kick ass woman, versus woman in general. This helps involve highly motivated early adopters that are deeply passionate, hooking early evangelists by narrowing focus.
And then, as most things, it's a trial and error process.

In the case of The Daily Muse it was a combination of a memorable name, having a strategy from day one to get people's attention that made the trick.

At the end of the panel I had a chance to talk one on one with Lina Akiki which inspired me greately and reminded me of how all revolutions are the same, regardless of what part of the world or what the cause is, when people get together for a common goal involving human rights and social justice great things happen.

When I think of social activism in the internet and social networks era, I like to imagine tiny lights sparkling in a exponentially accelerated way across the city/country/world. Once there's light, darkness can't exist anymore, and that's the role of social activism and education.


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

What if women were extremely effective leadership communicators?



It is a very special feeling to be in a room full of woman in technology. It actually is completely the opposite of what most of us women in technology experience on our daily work lives.

As this is my first Grace Hopper Celebration, and one of the first sessions I'm attending, I just take a few minutes to breath deeply and feel the excitement and exhilaration of being surrounded by all this wonderful powerful women in technology. 



I love the name of this session: What if women were extremely effective leadership communicators?
When you start by asking a question you open up to all sorts of possibilities.

Linda Apsiey (Microsoft) and Ann Dorga (The Pink Genius) embarked us on this exploration to answer the question: What does an effective leader really look like?

Authenticity to your core values is one of the main pilars of their building of an effective communicator. ILinda and Ann started by sharing their own values, such as: family (with the motto of stay together and nobody is left behind), seeking truth and meaning, the value of serving, loyalty, love for learning and love for freedom (Ann's company mission is to free the leader within each of us).

They then moved on to their next question: How to make communication effective?
And they proposed that values are at the core of great leadership communications. Values drive our  behavior. If we can as leaders become conscious of our values, which drive our behavior, then we can communicate better. Leadership communication is about the person, the vision, the character and the ability to bring other people and connect them along with that vision.
Do we have the courage that takes to stand high and verbalize who we are?
What if your character, competence, vision and  our connection were crystal clear?
Great examples of people that clearly transmitted their values and embodied this personal messages were the Dalai Lama with his message of Compassion and Martin Luther King with his message of Social Equality.

They also mentioned Fran Allen,  an American Computer Scientist and pioneer in the field of optimizing compilers, as an example of a woman that early on balanced her family and career. Fran said that the industry was more women friendly in the past than it is today, after the influence from Engineering.
One of Fran's phrases mentioned: "I see my career as standing on a wall... one is seing new possibilities and the other is building new products"

We then moved on to do a group exercise. We first identified our values, we reviewed what those values represented and then prioritized them. After that, we closed our eyes in an attempt to connect with our right brains and our feelings and we came up with one word, one feeling that we got at that time thinking of us embodying those values we identified.

As as example, Ann shared her values of family, loyalty, truth which represent love and truth and when she imagined living her values she felt joy.

The basic message is when you communicate into alignment with yourself, and others, you can then have other align with you.

As an example of what it means to be connected in the 21st century, they showed a video of Tiffany Shlain. I totally recommend checking her out, her TED Talk is one of my favorite. Someone in the audience noted how Tiffany stablished herself as a human, making a personal connection, then as a woman and mother, and then shared her passion. 

In summary, Ann and Linda's message was that effective leaders communicate with authenticity, connecting through their values, engaging their audience with their 5 senses and in a competent way.

Time for all of us to reflect on our core values, on how we would feel when our life and our communications embody those values and to get our messages out to the world.



Sunday, September 16, 2012

Kevin Kelly at Quantified Self 2012 Conference

As the perfect finale for the Quantified Self 2012 Conference Kevin Kelly not surprisingly delighted us with an amazing talk.

I say not surprisingly, because coming from the person that best studied and captured technology's evolution over the last years, one can hope that he nails down the future of it ...

I was prepared to be impressed but never to be blown away!




These are the main key points that Kevin Kelly touched base on the talk are this:


Extended Self and Exo-Senses

The Self, a concept that like many others appear so natural to us, is actually relatively new. Note to self: Watch BBC documentary: Century of the Self. (similar to the concepts of credit and debt, among other that are more recent than we think).
The Self, not only is new, but it's a process, it's changing and evolving.
Quantified Self is furthering the evolution of the self.
We're also evolving Quantified Self into Qualified Self as in having a physical sensation as a result of a quantified event occurring to one of our Exo-Senses. The example referenced an experiment with a belt that buzzes in the area of the belly pointing North. Eventually, the person develops a sense of North that seem to be integrated to the regular senses, like a subconscious notion of North, not consciously associated with the buzz and the device.


Kevin mentioned some of the Exo-senses Properties:

  • Sharable
  • Verifiable
  • Malleable
  • Intelligible


I'd like to add to that list:

  • Distributed
  • Accelerating Evolution
  • Outsourced
  • Statistical (Big Data)
  • Quantified+Qualified


The Measured Century and Data Explosion

That which can't be measured can't be tracked.
New things to measure, New things to better.

There are accelerating trends of measuring, new instruments, new scopes (telescopes, microscopes, etc). There are billions of sensors on a modern city.

The amount of data we're producing is uncharted territory for humanity: Zillionics!
We don't dispose of tools to manage, and I add filter this volume of data.



The metaphor proposed is that data is measured in the same units of volume per second as nuclear explosions. But this would be a perpetual, (accelerating I'd add) explosion.

Big part of this data we're producing is Dark Data. It's not connected or linked in any meaningful way.

Data wants to be linked (reminded me of the big question: What does technology want?) or used (as in entropy which is used energy). This is naked data. Not related to other data, not yet valuable.


The Overturn of Ownership and the Era of Access


Data is the new oil, and the new gold. But, there's a difference: data is digital. Copies are free.
Gold is either had or given, data is both.

Ownership is overturn on a world of ideas and data.
Data adds up when given away, it doesn't subtract.

Ownership is slowly but surely replaced by Access (rent).
Access is better than Ownership on this new economy.

Metaphor with Letters and Words that belong to the Commonwealth. The more relationships you add between letters, you add value, form words, and then phrases and books. There's value there.
There's rights and duties. But, eventually, it'll go back to the Commons.

We are in an era of increased transparency. Data personalization and transparency are directly correlated. They just can't be de-coupled.

As we want more value, we'll continue moving into transparency. A notion I explored before here.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Nexus Q Party


For my daughter's Nicole 12th Birthday (girl with the troll tshirt and red shoes), we had a special highlight: Nexus Q, a device to queue a stream of movies, music and youtubes to the TV that we got just out of the Google I/O oven.

It actually worked exactly as it was supposed to work. It was great fun! I was cautiously optimistic for the outcome of the Nexus Q on a party with only one control. I thought that might be a limitant factor, but it turned out to be perfect sharing the Nexus 7 as a controller. Kids were taking the lead and waiting turns for the only device we had with the Nexus Q app on it, which might have made it more focused, although I'd love to try with multiple controls.

Google seems to have developed a good grasp of social TV with Leanback, Hangouts and Nexus Q which might make them pioneers on the TV mobile disruption. It looks like the TV revolution as far as seeing something different on the TV set while you watch TV will for sure include mobile (cells, tablets, ultrabooks, netbooks, notebooks).

In other words, we're going from this:


to this:



As I watched the kids interact tonight I have a few thoughts:

1. Obvious one, it'll be important for Nexus Q to have older androids Nexus Q app and iOs. I'm sure it's being worked at.

2. It would be cool to have an app that allows kids to draw on their own app and share it to the TV layered to the youtube or whatever they're seeing at the time, just hangout pirate hat style.

3. If you pair your android/iOS phone with your Google TV, you should be able to have apps that behave in a Nexus Q kind of way, sharing common streaming.

4. Remote parties with youtube viewing should be a hit as well. On Hangout you can share youtube viceos although I haven't tried yet, it seems like it should be great fun for the kids.

5. Both for remote and live streaming parties there should be a myriad of simple sharing gaming options that would add great fun, such as Draw Something for groups, Complete the phrase (in which each player adds a word to a collective phrase), etc.


Sunday, May 06, 2012

Disintermediation - Open Company

A couple of years ago, I wrote about disintermediation in light of the first clear example of this tendency: amazon and the book industry. At that time it was clear too that the music industry would be next.

Disintermediation:
Shortening the distance between Producers and Consumers


Industry after industry we are seeing the signs of disintermediation as links in the chain for increasing numbers of vertical markets get smashed one after the next.

Books - This industry as one of the first in the disruption, went full cycle with amazon self-publishing services.

Music - With podcasts and songs markets, this one has no way back. Superstars like Justin Biever launching his career on youtube. Or, websites like SoundCloud: share your songs!

Videos - Netflix or youtube, ustream or video between me and my favorite or discovery indie movies, performers, documentaries.

News - Is mentioning The Huffington Post enough, besides most news coming from our social networks feeds?

Games and Software - If you're a software maker, with the application markets even for the web browsers as in Chrome, the distance from developer to user is becoming really tiny.

Apparel Printing - At Threadless you can submit your designs, vote and get voted into production as well as buy original creations.

Education - So, how long before Coursera, already bringing the best of Universities to the world, becomes available to independent teachers? How about Khan Academy or TEDEd?

Loans - Microfinancing changing the way people in developing countries get loans.

Agriculture - Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). In my small town of Temecula, we have the awesome service of Harvest2U, bringing fresh local organic produce to your home.

Workforce - MTurk: need someone to fulfill a task? simple as submitting it to MTurk. Oops, did I mention amazon one more time? More qualified labor? Find freelancers all over the web, there are 35 skills listed on eLancer and many other similar sites as well.

The list goes on and on. Besides all of these examples, when it comes to finding a product or services provider in any area of our life, we'll do what were trained to do, either ask our friends on social networks or google it. In this way, the interweb (as my daughter Nicole would say) itself becomes the shortest distance between Producers and Consumers.


What's in the middle between the Producers and the Consumers?

The simple answer is that the only last thing between Producers (P) and Consumers (C) is mostly Software (S). Sometimes more than just software, more like Platforms, like in the case of Apple Market, Android Market, Facebook, Amazon itself.

I believe this layer of software between Producers and Consumers (S) (P)(S)(C) will become increasingly thinner.

Nowadays Apple can get away with a 30% cut on every app sold, and every song sold. But for how long? When you're the last chain link in the chain, how much more can you hold the weight?

Which brings me to my next idea: Open Company.

Open Company

Here's a thought, if the only thing separating Consumers from Producers is Software, what would happen if we add in to the mix the Open Source Movement? And the answer is: Open Company!

As much as I admire and respect the Open Source Movement, I always felt that it was missing something. And I believe the something is a stronger ideology. Plus, the ideology of fighting against the big microsofts doesn't really have so much cohesion at this point, the market is diversified and software now are little applications residing on big platforms.

This is the perfect opportunity for the Open Source Movement to play a fundamental role in democratizing our economy. Our fear based tendencies could lead us into thinking that it's scary, as most of the time new paradigms and change are scary for most people.

On the other hand, we could bet that one more time, as it happened many other times with the industrial revolution and other paradigm change times of humanity before, the new paradigm will bring a renewed economy, a freshened source of new ideas, it will trigger innovation into new levels and it will generate a new level of sustainability that brings us as a society to a more just and fair society. As it has been demonstrated multiple times, fairer societies have the highest indexes of individual and group happiness, so it should be all good.

How will desintermediation evolve:

I can think on three two ways disintermediation will evolve:

1. Thinnest P2C layer ever, driving prices down for Consumers and maximizing profit for Producers. Open Source movement could be a big part of this process, saving the people of the "claws" of the big platforms or driving somehow their costs down. I can see this happening at the same time that some young hacker will hack alternative peer to peer star shaped networks for security and privacy issues with cheap distributors processors.

2. Cooperatives could re-emerge on a time when if someone wants to do something, they will need a team that involves technology and systems. Maybe a website will allow for discover and management of this unlocalized, global, cooperatives, where say a software person, plus a person that knows all about x, plus an accountant, plus a marketing person, get together and found their own startup online, without ever seeing each other's faces.

3. The first two are Open Company oriented, the third is smart private players in the industry that become platforms themselves and thinner the software layer. One great example of this is Valve's company experiment on driving prices down and increasing sales in higher percentages, maximizing profit at the same time than reducing costs for consumers, as a clever alternative way towards fighting piracy.

It remains to be seen exactly what shape and forms could Open Company take. I leave it as an open question ... just another thought in the collective mind.

Betting on the next iPhone

In the same way there's coke versus pepsi fans or New York Yankees versus Red Socks fans, there's iPhone and android fans.
I am an android fan, a publicly declared one. I've written about it and publicly spoke about it too.

So, the question is, how come I'm waiting and hoping for the next iPhone? 

 On one side, there's a feeling I'm having, and this moment is reminding me very strongly of what happened back in 2007, when I blogged about the ipod comparing it with a pda cell phone and hoping for apple to do something smarter a few days before the first iPhone was launched.

There's multiple arguments why my hopes are up for the next iPhone: 

1. I'm hoping and betting that the next iPhone will give up on its two worst limitations:

  • First, the tiny screen. They just can't continue to torture users with this tiny screen. Anybody that used a larger android phone knows what I'm talking about. They need to explore larger display options for cellphones and I'm 99% sure they will.
  • Secondly, the one button. I know, this sounds impossible, but I'm strongly against the main central unique button. I believe the next iPhone will let go of the button and replace it with static soft buttons on the screen. I would love to see at least two main buttons, Menu and Return. Again, as an android user, I can't understand and I get frustrated on my iPad with not having the return button and having no other standard for such a basic feature that is central to all interactions with the device. 

2. Innovation on the mobile market has been stalked for the last 3+ years. Most innovation is coming from the apps layer, but almost none from the OSs or hardware, with the exception of siri which seems yet green. There has to be a new wave of innovation coming soon and if I had to trust one of the two companies (Apple or Google) to make a big innovation leap, I will bet on Apple. The only interesting thing coming from Google we saw on the latest times, has been Project Glass, which is for now just ... a project. Small confirmation of how slow android is moving, is the launching of the Samsung Galaxy S III which was designed entirely by lawyers to avoid patent trolls.

Once the rest of the players slowly but surely get out of the league, such as with LG not having any future plans for Microsoft cellphones, it is clear where the big battle is.


On the other hand, some of the newest android devices such as Razr Max are getting better user reviews than the iPhone4s.

If this was a chess game, the next move is on Apple's side. It remains to be seen as a spider organization when they lost their head ... But, still, if I had to bet on an Engineering based company or an Art based company at this moment, because of the type of innovation we need, I would bet on Apple.


We'll have to wait and see, I'm prepared to be surprised either way, but I got a feeling ...

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Three Productivity Tips

Some time ago I shared three productivity tips I use on my daily Project Management job:

Dealing with the small, with the big and the important