Monday, January 19, 2009


As a preacher of non-violence, MLK did not eschew the Bible, a container for violent stories, but with a purpose of teaching, enabling, empowering. For the longest time, this was the only shared soap opera. No one watched Lost.

Likewise in geek lore, we have some scary talk about world domination, making the world work. Our inspired choreography might include subversive action, such as in Serenity, a favorite geek movie.

Glenn was over this morning with new insights from Hamlet's Mill, some of which I attempted to capture on my white board. His Sumerian style geometry (ancient, yet about thinking globally) is a great antidote to my more mundane and workaday Supermarket Math (lots of SQL, lots of stuff about food). But then I've got my spices.

The grid-matrix you see lying on your back, talking about stars, is the same one you might use looking in, at earth from space, for navigation.

The matrix you choose will reflect your ethnicity, plus you needn't choose just one. Sometimes we use LCD triangles for spherical stuff, other times a global matrix of hexagons and pentagons, other times lines of latitude and longitude, with the ecliptic clearly showing (relates to Saturn, not in the same disk as Venus and Mars, more in alignment with our 23 degree tilt).

Either way, we want more outdoor school type activities, more challenges to the body, not just the mind, and yes, under the heading of mathematics and/or computer science why not?

GIS work requires getting out and about, whereas getting all pasty-skinned drinking Jolt under fluorescent lights in some windowless cube farm is not our idea of how to develop one's future job skills, even in engineering.

The CSN idea includes "template shops" where we field test our ideas, plus planned-in rotation among staff. Many of the jobs involve moving between shops, not as an onerous duty, but for those wishing the challenge of broader experience. The Laughing Planet guy said "where do I sign up?"

Back when Nirel's latest incarnation of Schröedinger's Cat was Seattle-based, the idea of trading staff with our Pauling House campus looked appealing, given how short a drive it is. Even easier would be five or six around LA, maybe trading with Portland.

However, some of our shop designs map to wilderness areas, are more into serving weary hikers who've made it to a BarCamp (computers provided, though you might pack in a small one). There's no airstrip here, only infrequent helicopter service. A few full-timers live here year round.

A coffee shop is a place to trade stories, update one another, plus gives visitors high bandwidth uplinking back to their home office, presuming some sort of encrypted VPN.

Airplanes have interesting kitchens in terms of being compact, but that's not to say a CSN kitchen has to be all about storing individualized portions on trays, hot stuff in separate warmers. That might be the delivery system in some research outposts, but usually there'd be more homegrown produce from some Garden of Eden domes (or whatever brand).

Navy ships also have interesting kitchens, suitable for team building experiences.

Recruiting staff for CSN should be easy, once the prototypes work out more of the kinks. The 2012 target for rolling out some of our back office services to a wider public is not a critical bottleneck, just a date to work back from (a NASA style count down, with a critical path implied).

Our message to CSN customers: start building your track records now, start showing us you know how to pick winners, give us a sense of your identity. Vendors are somewhat in the same boat as network game suppliers perhaps using Java, Shockwave or Flash, though some use a thick client design.

"What would I support if I had the wherewithal" is valuable market research information, especially associated with credible demographic statistics, but is also critical information to voters in democratic societies. Where were you on OLPC? What have we to thank you for? This is where politicians will want to shine, in sharing their track records, even if just nickles and dimes (low voltage). Match your walk to your talk, demonstrate your integrity.

Many a political career might start in a coffee shop, especially those designed shops for networking purposes (the "networking salon" idea goes back to at least the 1980s, was the talk in Jersey City when I served as a high school math teacher).

Our CSN CTO has lots of freedom to engage in greenfield development, while others might leverage their marketing experience. Enfranchising around charitable giving is an idea whose time has come. Let people do their own steering, literally vote with their dollars (as they've been doing all along).

Worthy NGOs, get ready for a facelift (a new marketing context), and a lot more dough to play with, if all goes according to plan.