The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

Event Review: What’s next for the World Wide Web? — February 10, 2013

Event Review: What’s next for the World Wide Web?

What: The unique inventor of the world wide web giving a rare speech at Sydney CityTalk
Overheard: “What we do with a computer is only limited by our imagination.”

intro tim berners lee

When I discovered that Sir Tim Berners-Lee was about to give a talk in Sydney, I felt immediately happier and excited. He was coming to Australia for the first time in over a decade. You see, I am not a geek nor an IT programmer. I don’t even know how to code (but this may change soon if I follow the recommendations of Sir Tim). But I am really passionate about the Internet, and how it changed everything, from the way we live to the way we travel or consume. And I knew enough to be aware of the role Sir Tim played in the world as we know it today. For those of you who are not good at remembering names, Sir Tim Berners-Lee happens to be the most important creator alive today. He’s the guy who invented the world wide web, the thing that allows us to surf the web, consult Wikipedia, like a status on Facebook, share a picture of our last meal on Instagram and tweet like crazy while he spoke at a Sydney City Talk on Tuesday 5 February 2013.

crowded house TBL

The atmosphere was electric while the crowd was waiting for Sir Tim Berners-Lee to make his appearance. But first several introductions were made by, among others, Sean Aylmer,the editor-in-chief of the Sydney Morning Herald and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore. The former recognised how the new media landscape was all but recognizable from the 1990s; the latter detailed how the technology revolutionised the way we experience our city, from libraries to public transport.

tim berners lee

When Sir Tim finally appeared, there was almost a standing ovation from the audience of self-confessed nerds, programmers and entrepreneurs. From then, the magic flowed through the room, borne by the energy, wittiness and passion of Sir Tim.

In 1969, when the Internet was invented (not by Berners-Lee, he was only 14 years old at that time), a lot more people were excited about Led Zeppelin and the moon landing than the Internet. 20 years later, in 1989, while working at the CERN, Berners-Lee was frustrated at the crude and cumbersome way the Internet worked. He wrote a memo to his boss about a hint he had that it was possible to create a common language for all computers. His boss wrote in the  margin of the paper: “Vague… but exciting idea”. Berners-Lee received the authorisation to play with his idea and in September 1990, he took an Apple computer out of the box and two months later, the http protocol was born!

This is the first great lesson Sir Tim shared: innovation comes from giving people time to play.

Sir Tim also asked relevant questions: Who controls the Internet? Monitors it? How much power do we give our governments to block sites? As he said himself “Providing the Government with the trust of blocking websites is something I wouldn’t recommend”. As the question of trust is not a simple one, Sir Tim chooses transparency and open access to data. He asks for government and scholars to give full access to data. Data is the source and the more the data, the more you can develop and create new things. The Internet should be a blank piece of paper that anyone can write upon it. The web revolutionized the way we have access to knowledge. But with knowledge come duties. One of them is that every individual has to understand its impact on the web. This means being able to understand the technology, the language its uses. But most people experiment computer as a commodity, an appliance like a fridge and only few will actually experiment with it. That’s why we need more people teaching code in schools.

Coding is not gender-specific. We need more people who code, especially girls, especially in schools.

If you don’t know how to code, it’s your duty to write/blog about how you’d like computers to work or find a programmer who can do it. Sir Tim encourages more people to learn to program and take control of the machines at their fingertips to solve problems. The future is not about predictions, it’s about realising what we want. As expressed by Sir Tim, “Saying what you want is far more productive than guessing. I don’t do predictions”.

global tim berners lee

The second great lesson that Sir Tim taught us is that yes, the web has revolutionized the way we live: it took IT from the fringe to the centre and it also put the power in consumer hands and made technology a lot easier to use… as long as we learn how to use it. Collaboration, transparency, individual responsibility, all are key words to the future of the web: learning to code allows us to make the world a better place. It’s not too late.

What you do with a computer is only limited by your imagination. You don’t need permission to innovate on the web.

The growth in data is exponential. It continues to rise not only because of new applications  but because other devices are coming online. Take videos for example: video is planned to grow significantly over the next five years and this not only due to cat videos. Even though Sir Tim acknowledged: “Cat videos were a very important part of the plan for adopting the web”. The whole web is becoming more and more mobile, which makes the whole web social. It’s constantly reshaping our lives and the way we consume, exchange, communicate. Collaborative consumption models build trails of reputational data that doesn’t exist anywhere else. And the question remains: Who owns that data? Is the Government? Companies? How will the commodification of data affect the growth of the Internet? Recently, the Australian government said it wanted to collect and store data on its citizens for at least two years, for security reason… but, argued Sir Tim, who’s to say that stored data wouldn’t fall in the wrong hands? What about data mining? Or data hoarding? Or even identity fraud? Again, according to Sir Tim, transparency and open data are our best tactics to prevent this from happening. Like the media considered as the fourth estate, the Internet should be free and be like a “fifth estate”.

The third lesson Sir Tim shared is that we have the answers to our own questions. We are the ones who can shape the future, by living today and learning and sharing, we are shaping the world of tomorrow according to our expectations and hopes.

Regarding the future of the media and the dying newspapers, Sir Tim reminds us that the average person, most of us, is overwhelmed by junk information. We want professional guidance. That’s why the news industry should concentrate on the value of the information they’re giving rather than the medium. Good quality content will always be king on the web. People need the profession of journalists, they just don’t want it on dead trees! So the news industry needs to experiment with new business models for providing information online. Content providers are already directly addressing to their public. The new role of journalists and editors will be to make sense of the mass of information of the net. Journalists need to be in the digital space and format people want it…

Impressive panel discussion with Hael Kobayashi, executive director, Creative Intelligence, University of Technology, Sydney, Glen Boreham, chairman, Screen Australia, former managing director of IBM Australia and New Zealand, and chair of the Australian Government’s Convergence Review, Alan Noble, director of engineering, Google Australia & New Zealand, Paul McCarthy, director of strategy and innovation, SIRCA Ltd, Wendy Simpson, chairman, Springboard Enterprises, Rachel Botsman, author and social innovator
Impressive panel discussion with Hael Kobayashi, executive director, Creative Intelligence, University of Technology, Sydney, Glen Boreham, chairman, Screen Australia, former managing director of IBM Australia and New Zealand, and chair of the Australian Government’s Convergence Review, Alan Noble, director of engineering, Google Australia & New Zealand, Paul McCarthy, director of strategy and innovation, SIRCA Ltd, Wendy Simpson, chairman, Springboard Enterprises, Rachel Botsman, author and social innovator

To conclude, if Sir Tim could change one thing in the past, he would take out the two slaches; if he could do something in the present, it would be to ensure complete access to open data. For the question of the future, “What is after the web?” His answer is crystal clear:  Whatever you can imagine it’s up to you, go build it!

About our ambassador // Delphine Vuagnoux is a community ambassador for Sydney. She is passionate about innovation and social change. She is a communications professional at All Together Now and Medianet. You can find her on Twitter: @delphinevuagnou.

Event Review: KPI – Become a Key Person of Influence —

Event Review: KPI – Become a Key Person of Influence

What: KPI event or an introduction to an entrepreneur growth accelerator designed to assist small businesses through a growth phase.
Over Heard: “There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. There are opportunities for everyone.”

Captivated audience
Captivated audience

Last Saturday, the KPI event kicked off 2013 with over 670 people attending the conference at NAIDA in spite of the rain… this big number shows how much people, are they owners of small businesses or entrepreneurs, are eager to learn more about how to make a difference in their industry or even to the world.

The KPI Accelerator programme presents itself like a recipe to follow in order to achieve success in your industry. The motto being to love what you do, to stay authentic and to be ready to spare no expense to make it real… sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

Let’s start the journey with Glen Carlson and Daniel Priestley, our hosts for the day. Glen has an impressive list of professional achievements and describes himself as a startup enthusiast and a fun hunter. Daniel is known for coining the phrase ‘Global Small Business’ and believes that an Entrepreneur Revolution is unfolding. He is  also the best-selling author of the book Key Person of Influence.

We are no longer in the Industrial Age; we are in the Ideas Economy and everything has changed.

Being a key person of influence means having a voice within the industry. Influence comes from being a visible, remarkable, credible and valuable person in the inner-circle of the industry you love. Back in the days, what made you a person of influence was the family you were born, the school you went to and a touch of luck. Today, we’re facing a critical change: we came from the Industrial Age to the Ideas Economy and with the development of technology and smart devices everyone has a factory in his pocket. The last five years have seen a huge shift and with no geographic barriers, more and more people are working for themselves and today, your soft skills are what makes the difference.

Let’s be back to the recipe or five-step methods to set you and your business apart:

KPI event 5 steps

1. You need a Perfect Pitch: it’s all about answering the “What do you do?” question. You may have a great product, service or idea but if you can’t communicate its values in a remarkable way, you’ll always struggle. Words have power: they can convey what you stand for or against. “Being able to describe what makes you or your product unique is key to your success. This is called the unique value proposition”, explained Ian Elliot.  Defining your niche can also help you to stand out from the crowd: it’s better to be famous in a small area than being all things to all people. Crafting your brand essence will ensure your business grow as an authentic expression of who you are: the brand essence is the core spirit behind your business. When you’re working on your elevator pitch, don’t forget the customer. Understand him: who is he? what does he want? need? expect? What are his rational, emotional and corporate needs? A satisfied customer is a worthless asset.

Consistency in little things and continuity across all your messages: they are things that matter.

2. You need to Publish your ideas: in the Ideas Economy, publishing positions you as an authority. Andrew Griffiths is Australia’s #1 small business author with 11 books sold in over 50 countries. As he said : “Before I wrote my first book, I was an idiot. After I published it, I was a genius”. Following the success of his first publication, Andrew decided to leverage the power of his book and wrote a second one, then a third… up to eleventh! This gave him a huge competitive advantage in his industry as being an author gives credibility. Andrew explained why publishing makes a difference:

  • It shows that you have information that is valuable to others
  • It sets you apart from other people in your chosen field
  • It also demonstrates that you have the discipline to complete a major project that requires structure and creativity
  • It also shows that you have convictions and are brave enough to back yourself

If you are unsure of your capacity of writing a book, you can start with your own blog, a website, some white papers or even Twitter. Publishing in your industry shows that you are a person to be consulted, engaged, listened to and sought for advice. But unlike Andrew whose business is writing books, you don’t have to write 11 books to get noticed.

There has never been a better time to publish with the new publishing landscape.

3. You need to Productise your values: time is money and as an entrepeneur, making the most of your time and making money is crucial. But regularly people get it wrong by sticking to the OOPS model: Only One Product/Service that makes them dependent in terms of brand, time and capital.To make money, you have to create value. Product and service don’t make money. The product eco-system can change that: for example, Steve Jobs decided to heavily promote the iPod which turned out to be a huge success. This was also the first key entrance for customers into Apple’s world. People were then ready to buy Mac computers. Defining the asset of your product is another way to increase your value: What is your asset? Is it said in your positioning? Can you develop your product or the scale of your product? Multiple products sold through multiple channels mean multiplying your value.

Income follows assets. Defining the assets of your product is what will allow you to earn money.

4. You need to raise your Profile: being good at what you do is no longer enough. You need to stand out and using social media is one of the best tactics to achieve it. In a world where everything can be Googled, you have to do your best to ensure the results that show up are positive and convincing enough to win the deal. Kylie Bartlett shared be sure that your pitch and message are replicated across all your social media; content is the new currency: write, publish, share and syndicate all your content across the web; don’t do social media without a strategy to transform leads into sales; pay attention to your digital footprint, be sure that there is coherence; enjoy social media as it allows you  to meet interesting people that could bring you new opportunities.

When your customers Google you, they want to see a video, updates, dowloads, community and dynamic information.

5. You need great Partnerships: Partnership creates wholesale value. The IRL (Illusion of Limited Resource) prevents you from doing what you want: you think you don’t have enough time or money or people. But there is an amazing network of partners out there ready to give you what you need. As Daniel Priestley said, “There is no such thing as a self-made millionaire”. The beauty of the partnership is that you don’t need to have all things, you partner with those who have what’s missing. Ideas are great but worthless in themselves; implementation is everything. Cathy Burke, the CEO of The Hunger Project in Australia came to explain how she mastered the art of mobilising key resources like time, money and knowledge via strategic joint ventures and partnerships. When she approaches CEOs, rather than saying that the aim of The Hunger Project is to put an end to the worldwide hunger, she explains that it seeks to empower people to resolve their hunger problem. And that changes everything. To explain the essence of the partnership, Cathy shared an african proverb:

If you want to go quick, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.

The KPI event was a great introduction to the 5-step method developed by Daniel Priestley to become the new Steve Jobs or new Larry and Sergey of your industry. Let’s conclude with few words: opportunity is nowhere = now here.

Kpi event

About our ambassador // Delphine Vuagnoux is a community ambassador for Sydney. She is passionate about innovation and social change. She does her best working at All Together Now and Medianet. You can find her on Twitter here: @delphinevuagnou.

Event Review: The Future of Work: Coworking and Collaboration — October 29, 2012

Event Review: The Future of Work: Coworking and Collaboration

Last Monday in Sydney I attend a really interesting panel about The Future of Work: Coworking and Collaboration». It was hosted by Hub Sydney at Oxford St Design Store.

The event focused on the future of work and how the definition of work is rooted in the work place and the organisation behind. The panel, composed of architects, designers and community managers, also discussed how the de-materialisation of work place leads to new ways of working together.

Today, there are different ways we can now work free from our traditional office buildings.

So what will be the future of work, you may wonder?

Firstly, it means stop doing all the work by yourself. In the future, it will be considered as stupid to start your project from scratch as most of the information you need will be available. The idea is to do a by yourself with the help of others, based on the mantra of take and give, i.e. collaboration. Yammer is a perfect example of an enterprise social network service dedicated to facilitate knowledge exchange, file sharing and company collaboration.

Secondly, it means work is based on functional needs. Rather than having a fixed number of employees, there will be more and more of virtual employees, self-employees and consultants.

Josh Capelin created a coworking space in Surry Hills, Home/Work, open to these business nomads or virtual employees. This is not a lonely initiative. The rise of coworking spaces in Sydney highlights the evolution of working: the development of services and entrepreneurship mixed with the notion of sharing: sharing space,  sharing ideas and… coffees!

Besides how many of us grumble everyday about the too many hours spent/lost in the commute? With the development of virtual employees, it’s the flexibility of working hours that expands.

What about the corporate world?

The corporate world is changing with a slow disappearance of fixed desks. Architect and design firms have always been ahead of their time: in the 70s architects started thinking of places where computers will be in houses, long before the first Mac.

Today, architecture and design firms think in terms of how facilitate what people really need to make their business work. Tenants who look for hiring offices need flexibility: it’s more about changing and moving spaces than moving or changing furniture.

Traditional work places are behind the way most of us are working now but large corporate places have started to evolve.

Second Road, for example, provides strategies and implements design solution for companies that suffer from obsolete organisational model. Second Road brings tools to make people apt to work together again, exploring new ways of collaboration.

“Environment does shape how people act. So shaping work environment does shape how people work” explained Alexis Baum, experience architect at Second Road.

I’m really looking forward to the future of work: such inspiring ideas and experiments are already taking place so the future promises to be exciting!

About our ambassador // Delphine Vuagnoux is a community ambassador for Sydney. She is passionate about innovation and social change and a communications manager at All Together Now. You can find her on Twitter here: @delphinevuagnou.

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