OD on me

The Guardian asked me to finish off their Future of Journalism series of lectures and discussions with a talk about the 10 questions we should be asking now. Talk about intimidating. These people are asking and answering questions about the future better than any news organization I know. But I never pass up a chance to visit with folks at the Guardian, and so I went and tried to come up with my list. They videoed it and I can’t imagine why anyone with a life would watch 90 minutes of me but in case you are on a desert island with internet access (can I come?) here are parts one and two (not embeddable, sorry to say). For those with lives, here’s a blog write-up of the session. And here’s my Keynote:

: OD on me X 3: Good god, I’ve been translated into Norwegian. By the way, other posts are going to be translated regularly into Spanish. There’s no escaping a blogger’s blather.

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  • I’ve taken the liberty of translating your keynote into norwegian. I belive your questions translates into any business who needs to get an important message across – and not only for media organizations.

    BTW, I have no life and watched the video….

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  • At about minute 34 of the first video, you talk about circles of trust. Glam was your example: Neil the shoe blogger refers you. If you’re good, then great. But if you’re a “blithering idiot,” then that hurts Neil’s reputation. It boils down to this: “you recommend people, and if you recommend idiots, then you are thus an idiot.”

    Okay…I’m with you. I’m very much with you. But you’re only talking about sticks. What about carrots? There must not only be a downside to recommending idiots; there must also be an upside to recommending geniuses. So what does Neil get out of recommending the genius who adds to Glam’s bottom line?

    Now, I don’t doubt that there’s a great answer to this question. If you recommend great people–because you have great taste–then you deserve more trust. Maybe that means Glam’s more likely to serve your posts on its main site. If your posts are served more often, or more prominently, then your revenue from ads is higher. Of course, money’s just one option; there are other incentives for sure.

  • Josh,

    Great angle. In an Amway (Ponzi) economy, then Neil would get a cut of what I product.

    But this is a gift economy. I think there are sufficient rewards for Neil without that kind of complex payment structure. Neil does me a favor. I’m grateful to Neil. I send him traffic. Neil feels good. Neil brags about finding good people. The more Neil finds good people, the more quickly the next people he finds are integrated into the network. That kind of thing.

  • I dig the gift economy. And I agree. But the point, and maybe this is obvious, is just that, if you’re in the Guardian’s position, you want to think about what positive and negative incentives you need to try to put in place in order to make your community work. There’s got to be some downside risk to vouching for jerks or numbskulls, and there’s got to be some upside chance of real benefit for pulling great additions into a circle of trust.

    That’s definitely NOT to say that those incentives can’t exist as coins in the realm of a gift economy. But, from the perspective of the Guardian again, a gift economy won’t necessarily come to characterize a community they try to build. Or, in other words, if Neil is a great guy and does you a favor, you won’t necessarily feel grateful and return with golden links pointing in his direction. The ethic of the link isn’t a law of nature. It’s a culture that must be nurtured, and the Guardian’s got to know that.

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