For those who need to understand how the Web is transforming the way businesses work, yada yada yada
Issue: April 10, 1999
Author/Editor: David Weinberger
Central Meme: Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy
Favorite Beatle: John. Duh.
Current Personal Crisis: The US finally goes pacifist, believing no objective is worth sacrificing the life of a single US soldier, and I a Vietnam era pacifist find myself hoping we send in ground troops.
Home page: http://www.hyperorg.com
Contact information: Click here.
1. The KM Impulse: Why do we care?: Beneath the buzzwords is an impulse to understand
2. Knowledge vs. ideas: More differentiation concepts. Thrilling!
Why search engines suck, part whatever: Sun's site, Sun's tagline: Results = 0
Vaguely ironic miscellany: A handful of oddities
Links I like
Walking the Walk: McDonnell Douglas lets the bidding happen electronically
Internetcetera: The Web overthrows the tyranny of the alphabet
Email, Arbitrary Insults, and Suspicious Hacking Coughs: The usual fabulous mail from our readers
Bogus contest: Webindromes
It's a JOHO World After All
I know I said I'd stop touting every stinking place my name shows up (for example, the columns I write for Intranet Design Magazine and KMWorld), but I also said I'd continue noting when National Public Radio runs a commentary because it just tickles me pink. Well, they ran one on April 5 that begins "Windows stinks." How can you go wrong with a thought like that? Unfortunately, because I recorded it over a year ago, there's no mention of Linux and I refer to Windows2000 as NT. So spare me the smug corrections; it should be enough for you to know that I'm humiliated thinking about the dozens of people driving home in their cars thinking, "Jeez, this guy doesn't even know it's called Windows2000? Why the hell is he on the air?"
And the answer is, of course: Beats me.
Besides, it turns out that a glitch cut it off in the middle nationally. Coincidence? You be the judge...
In case you missed the special notice I sent around last week, Chris "RageBoy" Locke, Doc Searls, Rick Levine and I have published The Cluetrain Manifesto at www.cluetrain.com, a call to arms around many of the themes discussed in the hallowed pages of JOHO.
Reaction has been incredible. Really. Hundreds of messages have been coming in from people with stories, encouragement and taunts. The site has been covered by Salon, has been satirized by Suck, and is showing up all over the place. I'm really excited about the reaction.
Please take a look.
Knowledge Management Twofer!
Two Essays for the Price of One
1. The KM Impulse: Why do we care?
KM contains more contradictions than Hegel's divorce case. Maybe we should wonder why.
It's not like you have to dig deep to unearth these contradictions
KM is about collecting know-how from field workers; KM's about broadcasting strategic pronouncements from manicured executives.
KM aims at mining correlations from existing information sets; KM is all about product innovation, buddy!
KM is about publishing and reusing our best practices; KM is about getting competitive intelligence from and for our sales force.
Some of these internal self-contradictions are due to the commercial, nay, venal, nature of KM's origins. It was born as a term without meaning and then, through what Adina Levin of Fastwater, Inc. calls search-and-replace marketing, various companies tried to cash in by defining KM as whatever it was that they happened to be doing. So, KM looked surprisingly like document management in some instances, like consulting services in others, and even like photocopies, scanners and logo-ed ballpoint pens from last year's users conference. And did you collect the complete set of Beanie Knowledge Babies?
But no term even one as virally attractive as KM is strong enough to bear up under this weight of definitions unless something else were going on.
Why do we insist that there be such a thing as KM? What's the impulse underneath it? What do we feel is lacking that we think something called "Knowledge Management" might bring?
On the one hand, the answer is obvious: As more and more information pours in, we feel stupider and stupider. We're not keeping up. The knowable business universe is expanding far faster than our puny brains. So, we need KM, whatever that turns out to be.
But, that's not enough to explain an industry spawning out of mere yearning.
I think the existence of KM speaks to two phenomena further beneath the surface. One has to do with knowledge and the other with management. How neat!
First, our insistence on KM points to our unhappiness with mere information. All the print-outs, all the database dumps, all the nicely formatted reports and spreadsheets with embedded charts are not describing our world to us. It's just not adding up. We have statistics but no understanding. And adding more and more information is only increasing the noise level, not our understanding.
So, we want something better than information. We want knowledge.
And what is knowledge? Why it must be a type of super-information! It must be information so wonderful that it makes sense of the plain old information that's overwhelming us.
Beyond information isn't another type of super-de-dupety information. What we want is understanding.
Understanding isn't another type of information. What is understanding, then? You already know. I'm not using it in any special sense. Information isn't knowledge but understanding.
We think that we can move beyond information and still remain within the realm of managed stuff. But the fact is that information is too petty for us precisely because it's managed. Information is by definition the stuff we know how to use computers to control, sort, and neatly publish.
To make information fit, we have to trim off irrelevant bits of fluff (like, sometimes, its heart, soul, voice and sense of humor). There are good reasons to do this, but ultimately you cannot reassemble a context by reassembling the information you pulled out of the context.
Information is unsatisfying precisely because it's managed.
So, now we decide we need something beyond information, and we decide to call it "knowledge." But because ultimately we're afraid of the vicissitudes of the unmanaged world, we blithely say, "We'll have knowledge and we'll manage it, too."
We thus repeat the mistake that made us unhappy with information in the first place.
Conclusion? If you want to get past information, you have to give up the hope of managing your and others' understanding of the world. Keep on managing your information, but if you want understanding, you have to re-enter the human world of stories, metaphors, myths, perspectives, humor, broad theories and dumb mistakes. Also, you can't do it yourself: all understanding is social. By definition.
Also, by the way, learn to embrace contradiction. It's the only way you'll understand anything ... especially knowledge management.
2. Knowledge vs. ideas
NOTE: I wrote this essay before figuring out the stuff in Essay #1. So there's some conceptual dissonance and wave frequency modulation interference that may result in the loosening of fillings and a peculiar desire to wrap your netherparts in aluminum foil.
Oy, just what we need: another distinction!
I'm just getting awfully confused as "knowledge" gets applied to everything from the relationship of beer and diapers to Aristotle's Metaphysics.
In a sense, knowledge is like data. Before we had data management systems, corporations didn't have anything they called data. Likewise, before we had knowledge management, corporations didn't have anything they thought of as knowledge. But, while it was clear from the beginning what data management systems do, it still isn't completely clear what knowledge management systems do.
As a result, we're all damned confused about this damn knowledge stuff we must have because what self-respecting business would admit, "No, we actually don't have any knowledge. Now can I go back to picking my nose?"
There seem to be several main ways of taking "knowledge." In one sense perhaps the most common because knowledge in this sense is the easiest to manage knowledge is the useful relationship among pieces of information. For example, men who buy diapers at the convenience store also tend to pick up a six pack of beer. Discerning relationships among data is in fact what we used to call "information" but for some reason, we seem to want to call it knowledge if it's up a single level of abstraction.
Another view of knowledge is that it's know-how. Know-how is important and we have a really good word for it: Know-how. You don't have to do data mining to find know-how: you have to gather it from your field people (and others) who have it, you have to check it to make sure that your field engineers aren't fixing airplane wings with Silly Putty, and you have to make it available. In short, this type of KM is primarily a publishing problem.
Then there's a third type of knowledge. This isn't statistical relationships or hands-on knowledge. It's what we call, in English, "ideas." (New motto for JOHO: "English! The First Language of JOHO!" I'm thinking of making up a chiclet and putting it on my home page. What do you think?)
Managing ideas is different from managing the other two types of knowledge. The problem with ideas is having them in the first place, getting someone to listen to them, and then seeing if they make sense. Systematizing this is probably wrong. Rewarding people for having ideas good and bad is probably right. How wrong could you go by providing low-humiliation spots on your intranet where ideas can be spawned, hatched, and squished like the little cockroaches most of them are (um, I mean, acted upon, making your organization into an innovation-driven market leader).
But, whatever you do, keep the three types of knowledge separate in your minds. For one thing, they live in different strata. Knowledge mining is in the province of marketing data wonks. Know-how is in the province of people doing hands-on work with customers. Idea development generally is the job of office workers in various departments.
And, for another, how you "leverage" all three types of knowledge is different: you mine the first type of data, you publish the second, and you encourage the third.
One good way to avoid confusing these three distinct things would be not to call any of them knowledge. Alternatively, we might want to start calling everything knowledge, including slogans, newsletters and the sounds and smells of strategy emanating from the executive washroom. By blurring all these distinctions, your organization can become the knowing-est of all.
Why search engines suck, part whatever
A search for "the network is the computer" at www.sun.com (using the InfoSeek UltraSeek engine) yields no results).
Vaguely ironic miscellany
Life imitates jokes
According to Nicholas Petreley in PC Week (Mar 1), Software in the Public Interest and the Open Source Initiative are fighting over who owns the "Open Source" trademark.
Top One Sign Your Industry is in trouble
Amie White, senior analyst at IDC, has pointed out that with the resignation of Larry Warnock from Documentum last week, among the major players in the document management industry, there is only one that's right, uno marketing VP: Michael O'Connor Clarke at PC DOCS / Fulcrum / Hummingbird.
And I'm probably going to get angry mail from Michael saying that his company isn't a document management company any more.
Ominous political developments
PC Week (Mar 15) reports that Larry Ellison, at U.C. Berkeley, said he has contemplated running for governor of California. The article says he said he
feels passionately about the U.S. "crisis in education" but shied away from political life: "I am not sure I would like the electoral process."
Oh, Larry, we can guarantee you wouldn't like the electoral process. It involves not only admitting the existence of other people but also letting them vote. Why, it's practically barbaric!
I believe it was Ken Leonard who circulated to interleft, the mail alias for ex-Interleafers, the following comments on Interleaf's press release announcing it had acquired Texcel:
... It has an extremely high marketspeak-to-real-information ratio-it's *truly* amazing.
"harness" - there.
"increases [...] market share" - uh huh.
"power" - yep.
"first complete [...] solution" - oui.
"improved time to market" - sure.
"distinct competitive advantage" - it's there.
Plus the other standards: "revolutionize," "synergies," and, of course, "leverage."
Not to harp on the Cluetrain message, but don't we all want to deal with companies that value our opinions as well as our business? A simple requisite: Know how to listen.
So, here's a recent print ad from Microsoft:
Why is our company tagline a question?
In part, it is meant to be an invitation to you.
In part, it's a question because we really need to know. We don't have all the answers. We make software and we watch you use it. And we've noticed you tend to do some pretty amazing things, some things we never would've imagined. We do a lot of our best work trying to keep up with your imagination.
So, for us, this isn't just a slogan. It's an honest question, and how answer makes all the difference. So, we'll ask it again: Where do you want to go today?(r)
Ah, what humility! Just a struggling software company. They don't have all the answers. We're really much more imaginative than they are. They watch us using their products hmm, a little ominous that. They really, really need us, in a whatever-happened-to-Sally-Fields sort of way.
Only one thing mars the perfect still waters of their post-DOJ sincerity: How are we supposed to tell them where we want to go? There's no URL, no snail mail address, no blow-in card that we can send into whatever never-read butt-dump the product warranty cards go into.
"We're listening. So will you please shut up?"
Links I like
Eric Lundquist's column in PC Week (Mar 15) points us to a site promising to combine Linux and MP3 to provide in-car audio:
What respectable geek wouldn't jump at the chance to commute to the sounds of Linux!
Charles Royal recommends:
This is a "peer-reviewed journal on the Internet" with articles ranging from "Arguments for Recalling WIPO RFC3" to "The Semiotics of SimCity." Its domain is the "Internet and the Global Information Infrastructure." Wait, didn't James Bond smash the Global Information Infrastructure in the 1967 smash "Tomorrow's Never Posted"?
Jock Gill, former Director of Special Projects in the Office of Media Affairs at The White House, writes:
It seems we are helping to develop an alternative to top down, command & control, international development strategies. An awful lot of people, we are finding, think this approach has failed. We are discovering a good deal of interest in our more organic, bottom up, entrepreneurial approach. As we say, Greenstar puts the "dot com" into international development to move beyond local micro credits to global macro profits.
The snapshots are at:
They show solar panels being installed in a tiny village in the middle of the desert. The pictures are moving and provocative in a thoughtful sort of way.
Middle World ResourcesA Compendium of Resources
Walking the Walk
According to the ever-shrinking Inter@ctive Week (Mar 1), McDonnell Douglas has created a system, called "eBid" that allows its parent, Boeing, to receive bids on parts for huge projects.
The system grew out of a Navy requirement three years ago that it have access to specs for parts and engineering documents related to its Super Hornet line of action figures. At that point, the problem was getting access to the various databases, a challenge met by Enterworks. Then, because the manager of that project happened to live in the cubicle next to the people charged with building a bidding system, they realized that they could leverage the existing system to build the new one.
So, now they have an extranet through which the specifications can be accessed and the bids submitted . The manager of the project, David Brown, says "We've taken a process that used take weeks and cut it down to days."
Next step? Have a model Super Hornet knock down the Saddam Hussein action figure. Rrrzzzzoooom! Kaboom! Cool!
Internet World (Mar. 22) ran an analysis by Yahoo Store that has unearthed another way in which the Web is transforming business. In the hardcopy-brick-and-mortar world, getting placed first in the yellow pages increases your traffic, as witnessed by AAAAAAAA Liposuction Unlimited and AAAAAAAAAAAAA Mattress Irons, Co. But the Web changes everything! Here's how Yahoo's analysis of 4,000 stores turned out. (1 = average sales volume for each letter; numbers are appropriate because I'm reading them off an unnumbered graph)
A: .75 B: .95 C: .90 D: 1.1 E: 1.1 F: .95 G: .75 H: .75 I: .85 J: .75 K: .80 L: 1.2 M: .75 N: 1.2 O: 1.4
Q: .65 R: 1.3 S: .95 T: 1.2 U: .80 V: .75 W: 1.3 X: .75 Y: .60 z: .75
Lesson: Rename your "Xciting World of X-Rays Clinic" to "OOOOOO No! It's an X-Ray!"
By the way, the article casually mentions that the analysis dropped the highest-grossing 10 percent "to avoid anomalies caused by particular big sellers," "anomalies" now apparently being defined as "a realistic picture."
Email, Arbitrary Insults, and Suspicious Hacking Coughs
In the previous issue, we chided http://web.uvic.ca/~ckeep/elab.html for being a page that sucks. James P. Stalling II begs to differ:
...regarding this page , ... I have to confess that upon visiting the page I found it to be full of rich literary context, and that the hypertext style employed therein was, in fact, used after the spirit of the original (?) design for hypertext, as espoused by (I forget the poor bastard's name) who did the Xanadu project. Let me add further, that not only did I read more than five pages there, but after having spent some 40 or 50 minutes at the site, I was only able to tear myself away to return here and foist upon you my opinion, which I am aware is at entirely cross purposes with you and the rest of the readership, at least insofar as such opinions of that readership are published here.
James Stallings II signs his missive " No One of Particular Importance to You." Dear, dear James, don't you yet know that JOHO cherishes each of its subscribers infinitely and thus equally? (Which doesn't mean we're not looking forward to Service Pack James II.1 to fix some of those pesky bugs.)
By the way, the Xanadu guy is Ted Nelson. I suffer from a similar blockage around his name and have been known to refer to him as Ted Nugent, which is not just confusing but downright embarrassing.
Marty Heyman, responding to JOHO's diversity tips ("Laugh at yourself. You are a really, really ridiculous creature.") in the previous issue, writes:
Good to know someone else knows how "really, really ridiculous" I am. Validation from any source is welcome.
We're here to serve.
Marty also responds to the special issue about whether virtual or physical things can claim the mantle of "real":
It's OK to ignore the possibility of counterfeits ... as an individual or a group/culture ... so long as we do not value the value. If you value or need proof of the value, where do you turn in the digital age?
You ask yourself "What would Bill have us do?" and then the answer is clear: Wait to pay for an upgrade.
Bob Morris sent in a lengthy reply to Cluetrain. I'm excerpting parts that seem to me to bear on core JOHO issues.
[The Cluetrain Manifesto] seemed to me to violate one of its own expressed principles by valuing form over content in that, in order to meet the number 95, several points had to be expressed several times.
Hey, it's a manifesto, man! It isn't a constitution or a contract. So, ok, we didn't hit 95 totally by accident. But form and content both count. That's part of the meaning of a return to voice (as per the special issue on The Longing). (By the way, in our next issue, we'll run comments on that special issue, including an explanation of what we mean by "return" to voice.)
Certainly the importance of community is at the foundation of most social organization ranging from organized religions to most forms of written law. I see no evidence that making larger communities, or faster communication has provided any more progress than any other schemes toward the goal of Community, which is the sharing of goods and services by specialization.
I fundamentally disagree. In fact, I don't see community even vaguely the way you do. What goods and services does the community of Driscoll School parents share? To me, a community is a group of people with common interests. Or, better, a group of people who care about one another more than they have to.
And I think the Web is allowing new types of communities to form. I.e.:
Communities based entirely on shared interests, devoid of the traditional distractions (skin color, gender, age, svelteness, clothing expenditures, big hairy blobs of stuff stuck to your face)
Communities of strangers
Communities with different ways of assessing the validity of what's being expressed (because we don't know the people in these communities outside of these communities)
Genuinely trans-space, trans-culture communities formed as easily as mono-culture communities ... never been possible before and pretty amazing
Of course the Web didn't invent communities! No one thinks so. But it seems just as obvious to me that we're getting a new type of community thanks to the Web.
There aren't fewer people starving or dying anywhere because of the Internet, even though more people know that a large fraction of the earth's population is malnourished and diseased. There aren't fewer species being lost just because we are developing an Electronic Field Guide (www.cs.umb.edu/efg). OK, sometimes this happens when there are local crises. Possibly fewer people died in Tianamen than would have without the net. And maybe that possibility puts a natural lid on the oppressors. But that all pales if you ask questions like why are babies dying in sub-saharan Africa? With the web, it's easier and faster to find out about this but I wonder how many manifesto signatories have contributed to Oxfam /because/ of something they read on the net. And even if they have, the babies are still dying at rates which have not been decreasing on anything like the scale the net has been increasing.
The Web is going to solve the pressing problems of world access to pornography and free rock 'n' roll before it solves world hunger. Of course. But it will also be a force eventually in transforming politics and awareness. Just not yet.
Rob Charleston replies to our article on how the Web may work against diversity:
In most communities, when groups of people band together for purposes that the community considers anti-social, those communities tend to create counter-pressures. That may be as simple as a parent taking steps to limit the ability of their teenager to 'hang out' with other teenagers whom the parent considers undesirable. It may extend to open public action, such as the community uprising here on Sydney's Northern Beaches that successfully resisted the attempted invasion by the Baywatch production company (who only wanted to completely desecrate one of the World's most beautiful beaches for a mere 35 weeks a year !)
On the Web, however, it's much more difficult for community pressures to be brought to bear because of the anonymity provided by the medium. My next door neighbour could be a member of the most disgusting racist group on the Web, for example, but there would, most likely, be no way I'd know that and no way I could express disapproval or censure. The Web can cloak all sorts of activities that, in pre-'Net times, would have brought community censure.
So what can be done about this ?? Not a lot, I'm afraid.
Communities can publicly decry the 'nasties' that pop up on the Web, but the line between freedom of speech and freedom of depravity is so blurred it's indistinguishable.
Whoa! You lost me way back when you said that Aussies were banding together to keep Baywatch away from their beaches. You're talking crazy!
As for the lack of countermeasures, good point. It's yet another example of why the Web isn't strictly analogous to the world as we know it. The clearest example is the attempt apply existing copyright procedures to Web content. The pants just don't fit, fellas.
Tod Fretter takes exception to our article saying that XML will encourage the use of forms. Tod and I went through one round of email in which I explained that I hadn't meant that XML will cause all documents to become forms. Indeed, I replied to Tod, I'd recommend that you use forms if you want to constrain your authors so their work can be automatically processed. Tod replied:
The imposition of a DTD (SGML or XML) is hard. Many companies have tried and failed; writers' resistance can be implacable. As you know, the DTD is the constraining agent. Those of us who cut our teeth on vi and troff to develop our first documents don't see DTDs as constraints. But the WYSIWYG, desktop-publishin', font-manipulatin' whippersnappers who increasingly enter business world as knowledge workers and even as technical writers are empowered as individuals to do what they believe necessary. It's a tough sell to get them to accept a DTD's constraints. A DTD is a strategic tool, not a tactical one. We've found that without visible "attractors" in place, people don't accept SGML/XML easily. At Sun, the docs.sun.com documentation server, for example, has attracted some writing groups who were averse to a DTD's constraints. They are willing to accept the constraints in order to publish their books there. But other writing groups remain unconvinced...
By the way, of course you are right that discipline never works, and people resent having it imposed on them by their tools.
This is the key unanswered question: Which is going to change first, our writing habits or the ability of our authoring tools to do the XML work without forcing us to change our writing habits? Personally, my money is on our habits having to change to meet the requirements of the stinkin' machines. I.e., John Henry always loses.
Bill Zoellick of Fastwater, Inc., points out that the URL I gave for OBI information was wrong. It's now fixed in the web version, and if you want me to fix your email version, please send it back to me, along with $6.95 for shipping and handling. Or, you could simply go to: http://www.openbuy.org/
Bill also is giving JOHO readers a one-time offer to read Fastwater's High Value, Pay-through-The-Nose report on OBI, by the always excellent Lee Fife, available at:
Australian Ron, greatly missed in this pages for the past couple of months, sent a message that differentiated between the Web and the Internet in what struck me as a pedantic fashion. He replies:
... the point *was* a little more than just pedantry. maybe it's just me, but of all the things I use the net for lately cruising the web seems to absorb the *least* of my time.
and there's plenty to suggest that many .au users waste more time in irc than searching for the newest flashy ads on the web. A quick snoop of my isp's users shows most of them haven't even replaced the 'formletter' homepage their account came with. Ask what the internet means to them and they'll tell you 'chat'.
It might be a web-centric world for those with a message to sell, but plenty of people 'change channel' while the ads are on ;-)
Cultural phenomenon? Harbinger from down under? Or is it just that Ron and his circle of friends are slowly withdrawing from human intercourse and soon will be clustered around bonfires hoping to attract UFOs? You be the judge...
Ron weighs in on the question of diversity:
What if we forget the 'diversity of people' and the dreadfully oversimple stereotype that there somehow exists 'like minded people' beyond a narrow context and look instead at a different sort of diversity useful to us all. Diversity of purpose.
If for the sake of argument here, we divide this into two simple cases, diversity of goals and diversity of opinion, we find ourselves entering one of those serendipitous entropy bashers - a win-win situation.
What better way of finding the best way to achieve your Goals than to have a diverse range of views all with the same endpoint in mind. And what better way to achieve a real working Diversity than to have a wide range of goals..
Almost makes we want to say, "You can take your UNIverse and shove it!"
Tom Jennings replies to my question " is counterfeit Monopoly money a possibility?" in the discussion of the special issue on reality vs. viruality:
Sure it is, and it's not even "virtual". It's printed matter, I bet you> could get sued for duplicating it if you tried hard enough. And you can buy things with it, it's just that the scope of the market is sooo small...
Is the Russian ruble real money today?
To which I reply, rather pointlessly: Ok, so can you kidnap yourself? Blackmail yourself? And what time is it on the sun? [The latter question is Wittgenstein's.]
Victor de la Vieter writes:
...I'd like to share my travels over the Web in finding JOHO, as after typing YOHO first - probably distracted by a yoghurt brand here called Yogho Yogho. I went to to YOHO beach resort in Dung (yes Dung) road in Taiwan (http://www.yoho.com)...
Ah, the company we keep! (Sign at the entrance to YOHO off Dung Road: "Please wipe feet very, very carefully before entering.")
Victor then takes the visual traceroute site mentioned in the previous issue way too seriously:
Talking about global feelings, you made me spend a whole evening trying to find slow and faraway internet servers through the http://visualroute.datametrics.com/ site.
So now I know who's behind www.money.ru (some vague fund group, not totally surprising) and that most Philips sites are hosted in the US and lost of useless information more. The slowest sites are nicest to track as you can see which servers have lots of glitches, lose packets (Sprint is quite good at that or make packets make 10 useless steps on one server). A good slow one is http://www.leobassi.com/index4.html of a well-known cyberartist, somewhere in sunny Spain where bits and bytes take a siesta first before slowly moving to your desktop. Great unprofessional animated GIFs too. Very nice site to map if you get there (and a rather good show too). Better first find yourself an exchange 5.0 manual before starting the hyperlink (I did) - after reading through that during the 3478575676, 855 milliseconds it takes to get to leo bassi you may even understand the difference between your global address book and a list of recipients (tell me when you do) and why regular mail does arrive but cc-ed mail doesn't. BTW, on global map I can see all my packets travel speedily through the UUNet pipe under the Atlantic to sunny Spain until they knock on the door of a server department at world-famous Telefonica company where Juan just took a nap after installing UUCP 1.1, accidentally resting on the dusty delete button with his head. Yes I may need a day off.
Yes, Victor, in my experience, napping is not only cheaper than therapy, but works faster, too.
Michael O'Connor Clarke the last remaining marketing VP in document management unearthed the following academic article:
"Designing Semi-Confusing Information Systems for Organizations in Changing Environments" Hedberg, B. & Jonsson, S. (1978)
I've spent my entire life involved with systems that are only semi-confusing. No wonder I have this vague feeling of dissatisfaction and this perpetual hunger for something "better than this".
Oh, that's easy to fix. Just reposition your company as a knowledge management company.
Whoops. You've already done that. Sorry, man, I had no idea...
Chris "RageBoy" Locke writes, with his usual charm:
Dear Dr. Weimaraner,
We were about to congratulate you on your first EGR-reference-less issue in many months. However, we did a quick search on your HTML source just to make sure, only to discover that you have hi-jacked our copyrighted, trademarked, patent-pending name to wit: RageBoy in your META tags.
Our lawyers will be in touch.
You can, of course, avoid all this unpleasantness by resuming your usual plugs for our World Class ezine.
Don't flatter yourself, RB. If you read a little further, you would have noticed that I also have Ivana Trump, Mark Spitz and "No Panties" in my META tags simply because I enjoy imagining the expression on the faces of people searching for those terms ending up at JOHO.
But, at your lawyers' insistence, I have removed the reference to "RageBoy." I have replaced it with the phrase "literary butt flames," and expect I'll draw precisely the same traffic.
Jon Pyke reports the following:
I just received a URL suggesting I go take a look at a document, download it and print it - the clever bit was that at the bottom of each page it tells me that "This document is printed on recycled paper" - how does it know ? :)
The site, which Jon has asked to remain anonymous, is that of a respected consulting firm industry analyst types that would hunt Jon down for humiliating it in public.
But, hey, Jon, aren't we *all* printed on recycled paper, man?
Bogus contest: Webindromes
For some reason, in the previous issue I got started on palindromes, words or phrases that read the same backwards or forwards (you know, like most mission statements).
So, here are some web-related palindromes. As is usually the case with this genre, you have to do some fancy imaginative footwork to dream up a context in which you might actually utter these phrases, but I leave that to you:
O, get eBay. Ya bet ego.
Era web, beware
Stare, Web. Be we rats.
404! PAGE BE GAP! 404!
GIF for Eve, ever of fig
Turn off URL, ruff on rut.
Oh, OJ, e-Kato o, take JOHO
[a plea to OJ and his virtual pal Kato to subscribe to JOHO]
Now it's up to you - uot ot pu sti won
Mickey Allen responds to our call for mission statements with the following odd comments:
We actually have Two Mission Statements on our website
1. "Try holding your breath for as long as it takes the Website's home page to load." (That's why we don't have images - we could not afford the litigation !)
2. "A wise man does not play leapfrog with a Unicorn"
Oookay, Mickey. Put the keyboard down verrrry slowly and come out with your hands above your head. We're here to help you.
And so the great ship JOHO pulls into port, its mission accomplished but still not understood. Please place your hands over your ears as we emit the fearsome bellow of hot air and odious noise that announces our arrival oh, wait, that is JOHO. Until next time we set sail...
The following information was found trapped at the top of my washing machine when I ran some issues of JOHO through it.
JOHO is a free, independent newsletter written and produced by David Weinberger. He denies responsibility for any errors or problems. If you write him with corrections or criticisms, it will probably turn out to have been your fault.
Subscription information, or requests to be removed from the JOHO mailing list, should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no need for harshness or recriminations. Sometimes things just don't work out between people.
Dr. Weinberger is in a delicate nervous state, but if you want to send positive comments to him, his email address is email@example.com.
Dr. Weinberger is represented by a fiercely aggressive legal team who responds to any provocation with massive litigatory procedures. This notice constitutes fair warning.
Any email sent to JOHO may be published in JOHO and snarkily commented on unless the email explicitly states that it's not for publication.
The Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization is a publication of Evident Marketing, Inc.
"The Hyperlinked Organization" is trademarked by Open Text Corp. JOHO gratefully acknowledges Open Text's kind permission to use this felicitous phrase.
For information about trademarks owned by Evident Marketing, Inc., please see our Preemptive Trademarks™™ page at http://www.hyperorg.com/misc/trademarks.html.