A question I have is whether the pandemic will mean a slow-down or pause in tech-innovation?
Innovation in part is based on serendipity, on the pseudo-random meeting and interaction of people, ideas, skills, capital etc. Those meetings take place in cities for instance, as they are serendipity hubs.
Yet this year I noticed how online interaction tends to stick just to the topic and agenda at hand, and there’s much less place for riffing off eachother’s ideas and suggestions for instance.

Apart from innovation driven by necessity (e.g. vaccin development), would a slow-down be visible in tech start-up founding, start-up funding (maybe not yet, as funding emerges some time after founding so it might be a delayed effect)?

Would there be a discernable impact on a city level?

Are there compensating effects? I’ve noticed that the pandemic in our company and for me personnaly led to more introspection, and meant more focus on developing things, also because there was less activity around us. A reduction of movement, a reduction of social dynamics, but the stillness enabling more action as a consequence.

How would one go about trying to see such effects, and in which data?

After writing 700 Notions I see a pattern emerge w.r.t short, ‘right’ and long ones

Then last week I came across this click-baity posting by Tim Denning, advocating max 200-word posts to reach ‘virality’, while reflecting on my blogwriting pace. Checking the length of my Notions, I looked at the ones that feel just right. Those are around the 200 mark. I suppose they are bite sized enough to not have to make a ‘mental summary’ during reading.

I also looked at other Notions:
Shorter ones are not developed enough, basically stubs.
Longer Notions are mostly not edited enough, either there are multiple notions packed into one, or I’m unclear in my formulation or understanding or both.
The ‘right’ ones fit much better into emergent outlines, where I collate several Notions.

I started calling the optimal notion length ‘Notion Mass Index’, and an NMI of 200 seems a healthy one. (This blogpost has 194 words, the Notion it is based on has 177.)

Can you help me find additional blogs to follow? I am looking to broaden the scope of blogs in my reader. That broadening has two main dimensions: language and geography.

Some specifications for the type of blogs I am looking for:

  • Individual or group authored blogs, not company or organisational blogs. A blog maintained by a research group is an acceptable ‘in-between’ version. The reason is I see blogging as distributed conversations. Companies don’t have conversations. As a result I follow people, not blogs, in my feedreader
  • Some thematic overlap with my interests is needed, something to have those distributed conversations around. Such interests are: making, open data/source/access/everything, agency, civic tech, ethics, digital transformation for all, climate adaptation, knowledge work, complexity, philosophy of science/tech, change, learning

The areas I am looking to extend my blog reading towards are:

  • Indian bloggers, India based blogs in English
  • Chinese bloggers, China based blogs in English
  • EU based bloggers, in Spanish, French, Italian or German languages. Or Spain, France, Italy, or Germany based bloggers in English
  • Middle-, South-American bloggers in Spanish/Portuguese or English
  • Bloggers based in SE-Asia
  • Bloggers based in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South-Africa

Any pointers, or pointers to list- or aggregator sites to explore are appreciated.

In the oil industry it is common to have every meeting start with a ‘safety moment’. One of the meeting’s participants shares or discusses something that has to do with a safe work environment. This helps keep safety in view of all involved, and helps reduce the number of safety related incidents in oil companies.

Recently I wondered if every meeting in data rich environments should start with an ethics moment. Where one of the participants raises a point concerning information ethics, either a reminder, a practical issue, or something to reflect on before moving on to the next item on the meeting’s agenda. As I wrote in Ethics as a Practice, we have to find a way of positioning ethical considerations and choices as an integral part of professionalism in the self-image of (data using) professionals. This might be one way of doing that.

This morning I gave a guest lecture at the Amsterdam University College as part of a course on Big Data mostly (using Rob Kitchin’s book The Data Revolution: Big Data, Open Data, Data Infrastructures and Their Consequences). I talked about open data, open government data more particularly. How it creates impact, the challenges for government in publishing it, and also quite a bit on the pitfalls connected to using open data for some sort of application. I ended on the note that the ethical issues tied to open data usage are also connected to the notion that data is now a prime geopolitical factor. Any choices you make w.r.t. re-using open data will therefore tell the world a lot about who you are, and to which of the geopolitical data propositions you adhere (e.g. surveillance capitalism, data driven statism, data driven enlightenment)

The lecturer I’ve known for a decade or so from open data efforts, and he invited me as well as TU Delft’s Frederika Welle Donker. She and I have been speaking together in various settings before. A combination that worked well again this time I think, my own practice based perspectives in combination with the insights that research provides from approaching in a more rigorous manner the same questions I deal with.

I published the slides and transcript in my new set-up running ‘my own Slideshare‘, and shared the URL at the start of the talk.
This came in handy as this of course was an online event, and convenient and immediate sharing of content makes more sense in such a setting than when doing a talk in the same room as the students.

It has been a while I did such a general introduction about open data. So I spent time yesterday evening and early this morning first rewatching a general talk I gave 8 years ago, and one two years ago, thinking about what are the current developments that are relevant, and current things we are actually working on (e.g. data governance and ethical issues).

Today in a conversation at the IndieWebCamp East 2020 someone mentioned the book Ergodicity by Luca Dellanna. I haven’t decided yet if I would want to read the book, but one thing did stand out: the book is not just available in various e-book formats, but also as a Roam-research graph. This means it’s available as JSON data file, where various parts of the book’s content are interlinked. This allows you to non-linearly explore the book.

This allows you to load the book directly into your note taking environment. If you use Roam research.
I myself wouldn’t want to load someone else’s book sized content directly into my own collection of Notions. Only stuff in my own words goes in there. But I do think it would be a great experience to go through an entire book like that. So I am curious to do something like that, separate from my own vault of notes.

Dellanne claims to have invented the future of e-books, with roam-books, but of course there’s a long history of book hypertexts where links are a key part of the content and experience (Victory Garden an early hypertext novel was published in 1987). Eastgate’s tool Tinderbox also allows multiple types of visualisation to let you navigate through (and automatically manipulate) a chunk of content, and it too is saved and shareable in a XML format. Then again, a Roam-book could be a website just as much, except for the graph view.

He’s now also sending out a newsletter published as a Roam-research file. I can see the appeal, with things like block transclusion and graphical representation. In Obsidian doing something like that would be a collection of small interlinked text files. Which basically is a …. website… you would send in the mail. As both Roam and Obsidian are only viewers. So that might be something, offer a newsletter in e-mail format, as a pdf or as a interlinked collection of notes. Different formats for different viewers. The added benefit is that loading a newsletter into your note-taking tool means you can immediately put it through your own summarisation / processing, throwing out the things you’re not interested in, basing additional stuff on the things you are interested in. Another benefit is that if you use generic link titles (e.g. things like [[Indieweb]]) the newsletter will automatically link to your own mention of that term (and to previous mentions of it in earlier editions of the newsletter). I don’t want to load another project on Frank‘s plate, but it sure does sound like something he might be interested in exploring.