In this issue:
The CEO Refresher • November 2008
Unleash your inner rhino. CDW CEO Christian Warren describes how Google, Amazon and JetBlue have found success through hard-charging business strategies that can deliver results in uncertain times.
This piece of anthropomorphic comparison between the rhinoceros and corporate entities reminds us that moving forward boldly (rather than hunkering down and waiting out the inevitable) is a more productive tack in tough economic times. It's more than just having a vision, it's not letting those pesky trees get in your way. ( Proffitt)
Scientific American • November 12, 2008
What if you could transmit text directly to the brain? The author explores the possibility that research on neural implants and brain simulations may someday transform our approach toward teaching and learning.
Despite incredible advances in neuroscience, this piece points out just how far we are from getting our Marcel Proust the painless way—as a straight download to our brains. Rest easy, comrades. We have many decades to go before our libraries are transformed to downloading stations for youngsters clamoring after Harry Potter number 69. ( Tennant)
The Telegraph • November 6, 2008
To understand global issues, curl up with a good book. A team of researchers from Manchester University and the London School of Economics says novels provide a valuable source of information and background because of the way they describe the realities of international development issues.
No surprises here: novels have long been recognized as a privileged source of insight into the lived experience of economic upheaval, cultural dislocation and dramatically changed social circumstances. Missing from this article is a reflection on how the changing paradigm of academic publishing is making research more visible and broadly available, increasing its impact not just on scholarship but on public awareness, as well. In the current information environment, "curling up with a good book" requires the reader to detach from the networked social spaces where sense-making has emerged as a dynamic, community-building activity. ( Malpas)
BusinessWeek • November 10, 2008
Why read a book when you can just Google? Management guru Don Tapscott says the New Literacy isn't such a bad thing, and in any case we'd better get used to a Next Generation of readers who view hard copy as passé.
Tapscott's note is one of a growing number of ethnographically-styled reports to readers of one generation about the mysterious behaviors of another, and younger, generation. I'm struck by how often notes like these will describe one or two members of a "next generation" and extrapolate widely from those few data points; sometimes with more hand-wringing than in this appraisal. ( Washburn)
Harvard Business Publishing • November 4, 2008
It's all about CRM. Former Forrester Research VP Charlene Li poses some important questions to consider as you plan your online community outreach strategy. What is your motivation? Who is your customer? Who writes the content? Who pays for it?
It's much easier to set up a community than it is to make it thrive. Before launching one, ask yourself these questions: Who controls (and pays for supporting) the community? Who should interact with (write the blog, run the forum or manage the wiki for) the community? Who is responsible for championing the community within the organization? The answers will depend on your reasons for setting it up in the first place. Whether it's about getting input or providing support, it's best to turn to someone passionate about the purpose. If that person is a young upstart, make sure they've got explicit institutional support, because ultimately it is all about maintaining relationships with your users. ( Erway)
The Economist • November 6, 2008
Life in a post-blogging world. With multiple blogs appearing on every news organization's Web site, early adopters are bemoaning the mainstreaming of the medium. As blogging ceases to be an intimate sharing among a chosen few, it's becoming an everyday tool to manage information.
While I agree with the general premise of this article (that blogging has entered the mainstream), I don't see the blogosphere fading away anytime soon. In the early days of blogging, you had to have access to a server and the ability to roll your own platform (or have a webmaster at your disposal). Now blogging software and services are ubiquitous. Blogging is available to all sorts of small organizations, and fresh voices from the community continue to climb on board and add their ideas and opinions to the fray. There's certainly more to consume, but that's a good thing. ( Proffitt)