Kluster ?

This is pretty out there, but perhaps finally a great way to harness the intellect of social networks.

A group called Kluster have started an online community for people who like to tackle projects and solve problems. If you have a great idea you can submit it to the kluster group and other members of the community can add to the idea until it becomes a fully fledged product. Along the way those members who contribute earn kluster dollars. If the idea is realised those kluster dollars can turn into real cash.

It’s being used at the TED Conference (starting today in California) to create a product, from idea to prototype, in four days.

The idea was started by a 21 year old entrepreneur, Ben Kaufman . He used to make iPod accessories, and his mode of operation was to get the shop owners and users to solve problems – like, what product he might design next, and how he could improve current products. Move that idea to the web and you have a new start up.

Great idea, everyone wins.

Death of the Joneses

Well, another good idea bites the dust. Joneses Real Estate has gone into voluntary liquidation.

I wrote a post here several months back on the Joneses. It seems that any alternative to the commission sale model on selling your house is doomed to failure. Which is a pity as there is a market for it, perhaps not on the scale that the Joneses began with.

So, Real Estate agents rule the day, with their huge commissions – once again we have no choice.

Webstock 2008

WebstockI’m exhausted.

What a great two days – I was overwhelmed by many web aficionados who passionately presented a myriad of topics: from the history of Open Source, to becoming “Unstuck” to “Managing Design” to “Web 2.Odium”…and more. At the end of the first day I was having difficulty remembering all the speakers I had seen.

The big out-take of the two day event was that we can all have different ideas of what the web should be, and how the web should behave, and that none of those ideas are right and none of those ideas are wrong.

For the proponent of web standards there is always someone with an equally valid argument that web standards are wrong (or that they don’t exist even).

And so we all need to learn to make websites that serve the audience…this should be our mantra (and it is at Click Suite ). Who is the audience? What do they want to get from this website? How can they interact with this website that will give them the best experience possible (based on their expectations)?

Some websites need to be text based and easily searchable and scalable and non-hierarchical; other websites can have graphics (or god forbid, Flash) and be immersive and experimental. It all depends on your intention and the audience requirements. It’s quite simple.

Some highlights:

  • Fireside chat with Sam Morgan – he was candid, and funny, and engaging, and appeared to have not let the trappings of wealth turn him into a horrible person…
  • Damian Conway – a mad Australian with a very wicked sense of humour, and a attractive wife (you had to be there). He spoke on Web 2.Odium in a delivery filled with irony…it was very entertaining…
  • Michael Lopp on managing design, from the perspective of Apple . Of course, Click Suite is not on the same scale of Apple, and Michael’s projects extend over years rather than months (or weeks) but some of his thinking could be translated into a smaller business model…I particularly liked his idea of “The Pony Meeting” – more on that perhaps at a later date…
  • Tom Coates on ‘Designing for a Web of Data’ – I found his insights into the wealth and value of creating and capturing as much data as possible very interesting…
  • Russell Brown from Public Address and Hard News fame – talking on the value of content, and immediacy, and ending with some interesting insights into the placement of online banners…
  • Peter Morville , an ex librarian who as an Information Designer made a living helping improve the navigation and interaction of websites but is now more interested in the ability to find that information. There’s no point having a website if it, and the information on it, can’t be found, and this is too often ignored…

Some not-so-big highlights:

  • Kelly Goto , who gave us a psychotherapy session on how to get ‘unstuck’ – I had high expectations but was ultimately underwhelmed. Surprisingly though, I went to her website and found an amazing repository of resources and links, so all was not lost
  • Jason Santa Maria , who gave us a lament on why design for the web doesn’t reflect the telling of stories, and how it should. His storytelling examples he used were all print based, and the web example he was most excited about was a series of photographs (www.noonebelongsheremorethanyou.com ). I couldn’t help thinking if the author had built a more traditional site she would have exposed herself to search engines and meta tagging and quite possibly have generated more revenue…

But, I don’t want to end on a downer. The value I got out of it was that it made me think, and reflect, and question why we do what we do in the manner in which we do it.

It’s all good fun. And it is so worthwhile.

A big, big thank you to the Webstock team for making it happen.

Airport Security and terrorism

Hijacking at Christchurch AirportThe incident on Friday involving a knife, a Somali woman, and a small aircraft highlights the absurdity of airport security in New Zealand.

Why has the differentiation existed between the smaller planes that fly between regions and the jets that fly between the main centres?

I’m surely not the first person to notice that regional flights are NOT secure. I’ve been in the front row of an aircraft traveling from Wellington to Nelson and have been almost able to physically reach out and touch the pilots.

Perhaps security is in direct correlation to the size of the plane: small turbo-prop aircraft equals minor damage on impact with engine with loss of tens of lives, compared with Boeing 737 inflicting far greater damage with greater loss of life.

Perhaps airports need to consider changing how they process travelers. Instead of having an X-Ray machine and security on every gate why not have one central entrance-way to all gates where security is performed.

It’s not just the regional airports that don’t use X-ray machines. Any regional flight out of Wellington and Auckland have free and unfettered embarkation of flights. It’s probably the same in Christchurch, Dunedin and Hamilton.

The CAA can’t pick and choose who deserves to be safe and who doesn’t. It’s either all or nothing.

Artwork by Skinny

Sugar gave me a set of acrylics for my Christmas present. I’ve been saying for ages it was about time I started painting again. So with the receipt of this gift I really had no excuse.

The last time I had dabbled in painting it was using industrial grade canvas stretched over a frame knocked together with four x two wood, and a whole swag of Resene test pots. This time I went to Gordon Harris and bought a canvas and some smaller brushes and set to work.

The result: A wood pigeon, based on an illustration of John Gerrard Keulemanns from the 1888.

Keruru, Wood Pigeon artworkThe work is for sale. It measures 61cm x 20 cm. Anything above $675.00 will secure this for you.

TVNZ and Tame Iti

I watched a very strident Mark Sainsbury on Close Up tonight defending himself and his programme over the giving of petrol vouchers and motel accommodation to Tame Iti and his extended family.

Sainsbury got hot under the collar about it – in fact I’ve never seen him so defensive, or willing to do battle. At least his energy over this matter was a refreshing change from his normal sleepy and incoherent demeanour.

But, the issue still remains. Should TVNZ have stumped up with these vouchers and accommodation.

The facts are these, admitted on air by Toi Iti (Tame’s son).

  • The family had always intended coming to Waitangi for the celebrations
  • Tame Iti had always intended coming to Waitangi for the celebrations.

The question to ask is:

  • Why did TVNZ need to pay them petrol money and offer them accommodation if they were coming money or not?

It makes a mockery of TVNZ and Mark Sainsbury’s protestations. Reading between the lines I would think that TVNZ wanted to ensure that Tame Iti and his whanau were at Waitangi in the hope that they would bring some controversy with them and hand them an exclusive story.

As it was all we got was a face to face on the Waitangi lawn with Toi Iti and his wife, rekindling the romantic memories of when they first met at Waitangi eight years ago. No need to pay petrol, or accommodation for that.

Sorry Mark…the Iti whanau got a free trip – you got diddly squat!

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