Richard Giles’ talks about Ray Ozzie Amongst his Top 5 Speakers at O’Reilly’s Emerging Technology Conference

This is the next interview in the continuing series of Computing Canada’s (CC) Blogged Down (BD) which is featured here “first” in the Canadian IT Managers (CIM) forum.

In part 2 of this blog series, we continue our talk with Richard Giles, an industry leading authority and pioneer in blogging, podcasting and new media (Web 2.0). Richard is also the founder of Clique Communications.

Today I put this question to Richard:

Stephen: Name your top five favorite featured speakers, and what specific and useful gems you took away from their talks. What will be the impact on business?


SPEAKER 1: Danah Boyd, (a PhD student at the School of Information (SIMS) at the University of California, Berkeley).

Gems: Danah looked at some of the current social networking trends online, but came at it at a very user-centric point of view, which I think in today's web world can be a very fresh perspective.
Her main focus was designing through embeddedness, and she summed it up in 8 key points:

  1. Passions is EVERYTHING.
  2. Protect from burn-out.
  3. Diversify your staff.
  4. Enable and empower, don't control.
  5. Do not overdesign!
  6. Integrate designers and customer support.
  7. Stay engaged with the community.
  8. Document cultural evolution.

Impact: Many companies in the technology industry are creating roles with titles like Community Manager. Their main focus is to stay in touch with the company's community, so that they don't lose touch. No more corporate walls. In fact Danah seemed to suggest taking the next step and immersing the whole company in "customerness" (my word).

SPEAKER 2: Charles Armstrong

Gems: Charles is an anthropologist. He spent 12 months on the Isles of Scilly, and set up a social entrepreneur consultancy to ensure he was part of the culture, not just an observer (sounds like immersion in "customerness" right). He discovered that semantic triggers activate relaying behaviour.

Several major points:

  • The further away two people or groups are in a social network, the higher the threshold the relay behavior is.
  • Electronic information systems are crippling useful social mechanisms.
  • Collaborative scoring is good in groups of experts, but not in heterogeneous groups.

Impact: His company, Trampoline Systems, produces a "a technology that helps groups of people connect, collaborate and manage large quantities of information." It looks like a fascinating system, but the main business impact is the way the Internet is now changing the way we collaborate. In some areas the result is closer to a small Island community than a dispersed global population.

SPEAKER 3: Amy Jo Kim

Gems: Her theme was to encourage greater use, or addiction (my word), in services by using gaming concepts. For example:

  • Collecting
  • Points
  • Levels (like World Of Warcraft)
  • Feedback (Karaoke Revolution)
  • Exchanges (like gifting)
  • Customization (game characters or web page look and feel)

Impact: People love playing games, and applying it to a business can make a customers experience fun, or even addictive.

SPEAKER 4: Jeff Han

Gems: Jeff presented his research into a physical user interface. He'd developed a table that reacted to gestures, really similar to the board in the movie Minority Report. You can find a video of the technology at

Impact: I spoke with Jeff at an evening event, and his next focus was on creating real tactile responses. He was explaining this to me as he was moving and flipping cards on a coffee table. I got a real sense that he aims to make computer user interfaces as simple to use as every day objects, not by inventing a new alien device.

SPEAKER 5: Ray Ozzie

Gems: Ray demonstrated something he's currently calling liveClipboard. It eventually enables a web user to cut and paste details between online applications. For instance, if you see an event on a web page that you'd like to attend, it should be as simple to copy and paste into your calendar, and the two applications will provide the right information in the right fields.

Impact: If Ray gets his way in Microsoft, we're going to see some very intuitive applications begin to populate our computers. Rather than us work around their features, the features will work around us.


In the next blog, Richard will discuss which sessions were the most useful at the Emerging Technologies Conference and which five technologies will have the greatest future impact.

I also encourage you to share your thoughts here on these interviews or send me an e-mail at

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Thank you,
Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P.

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