Listening to Dr. Weinberger twice in one day was like eating at a fine steakhouse, and having to take home a BIG doggybag.  There’s a lot of little aha’s! I wrote down that I know are going to take time to digest…

-        the critical role of voice (he suggested voice and soul are one in the same).  If a corporate site (like MSDN) has no voice of its own, it has no soul

-        groups grow by adding darkness.  It’s the creation of unspoken links that strengthen the group

-        there are major differences between data, information, and knowledge.  My takeaway – how do I provide value, on top of providing facts?  How do I help someone generate information from those facts?

-        There is so much “information” about things that we as a society are on a dangerous path of confusing the things with the information about those things (think of the model of a DNA strand versus the actual DNA itself).

A huge thanks to Dr. Weinberger.  I feel like our little snowglobe has been given a good little shake…

p.s.  I *love* his perspective on DRM…B-)



I talked to two groups at Microsoft yesterday: the Web publishers across all of Microsoft's departments, and Microsoft Research. With the publishers, I talked in a cluetrainy way about the rise of voice and conversation in world that's been dominated by a broadcast model of marketing. To the Research group, I talked about how our insistence in thinking of everything as information (hint: DNA is not information) leads us to miss the importance of the unspoken. (Hmm. Both topics sound rather stupid when I put them like that, and possibly they were.)

During the Q&A at the publishing group session yesterday, someone asked me to expand on what I'd said about why DRM scares me. I had concluded my presentation by talking about the need to resist the Faustian bargain by which we agree to clamp down on voice in order to gain the illusion of control, and that doing so — given the temptation of treating the Web as a mass medium — would require a miracle from Microsoft. So, now I said something (very roughly...I don't have much of a verbatim memory) like this:

When it comes to creative works, we are not "consumers," and we are not users. Rather we appropriate creative works, that is, we make them our own. We apply them to our own context. We get them somewhat right or entirely wrong. They become part of us. That's how how we learn and how culture changes. But that means that creators should lose control of their works as quickly as possible. Obviously, creators need to be be paid for their work, but not for every bit of value they create: You shouldn't have to pay me if you re-read my book or lend it to a friend, even though you are getting more value from my book. Tough noogies on me. A pay-per-use system and allowing artists to control their works much past launching them into the world will kill culture. Further, since publishing creates the public [a point I'd made earlier], building an infrastructure designed to allow that type of control will damage the new public of the Web as well as cripple culture. It's a really really really bad idea, so don't do it.

[Cory made a stir at Microsoft a couple of weeks ago by saying something like this, and, best of all, in that Cory-ish way of his. Dan Gillmor has said something similar. And that Lessig fellow has also been known to touch upon this topic, I believe. Among many many others.]

[Joho the Blog]