Sunday, December 28, 2008

2009 - the year of the Pirate Party

:) - I've never did this before - but now I think I have something to bet. My prediction for the next year is that the elections to the European Parliament will be the tipping point for the Pirate Party. They have two main advantages: the revolutionary brand that would appeal to all the young and rebelious and the politically dissapointed and a ring of very enthusiastic and media-active supporters. With that they can easily become the next 'political fashion' if only they reach the critical mass to become a real option in the minds of the public. And it seems that this is just happening in Sweden - if the Swedish Pirate Party gets into the European Parliament - this will be a big story in all EU countries - and will validate PP as a 'real party'.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Guest blogged at the P2P Foundation blog

An extended version of my previous blog note here was published by the P2P Foundation.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Flat structure

Another factor worthy of more research is the role played by ritual in mediating mimetic rivalry within organizational contexts. We might tentatively suggest that in general ritual seems to direct symbolic and actual violence in directions that further the goals of the organization and which prevents the outbreak of acquisitive mimetic rivalry. For example Ackroyd & Crowdy (1990) offer examples to show that the targets for "practical jokes" in the slaughterhouse that formed the basis of their study were usually hose who were slower and less efficient at tasks than the perpetrators. Discussing the general role of insults in organization Gabriel (1998), argues that this is a political process
that establishes a kind of "pecking order", thus restricting rivalry to the next slot available in the hierarchy. These arguments support the view that mimetic behaviour is ever present in
organizational contexts but that this rarely escalates to acquisitive mimetic rivalry.

from: Organization as containment of acquisitive mimetic rivalry: the contribution of Rene Girard

Compare with 'The Tyranny of Structurelessness'
by Jo Freeman

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Black swan

"Made to Stick" mentions 6 features that make a message viral - it needs to be: simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional and tell a story. Web 2.0 and Black Swan show that there is one more point to it - ambiguity.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Market for Lemons

Just a quick thought - or maybe my interpretation of what Umair Haque writes. Market for Lemons - this is the underlying mechanism of current crisis.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Attention Economy and Mimetic Desire

The comment spam filter consequently refuses me from commenting at Michael H. Goldhaber's blog so I am posting my musing here: I wonder if the "Attention Economy" axioms could be based in the "Mimetic Desire" theory by Rene Girard. I would be grateful if someone copied that to the blog.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Online science

The results of the explosion of easily available articles, according to Evans, is that "researchers can more easily find prevailing opinion, they are more likely to follow it, leading to more citations referencing fewer articles."

Online articles lead to rapid scientific consensus

Hmm - interesting - but what would be even more interesting is how online availability of scientific articles influences not science by itself but how it is applied. I would expect there much more dramatic changes.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Thinking of hosting a 'creating passionate users' 3-day workshop/retreat with a catch--the fee: help build a perimeter fence. Get fit, too!
- Kathy Sierra

Another sign of post-money economy. Physical exercise in a good company - rather an additional benefit then a cost.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

There is no email overload

- there is just less and less other work to do. Machines do more and more of our work - but there is one thing that they still cannot do - it is contact with other people. Computers can check the spelling of an email, compute some coefficients from a complicated formula but still suck at understanding humans and would not read or write that email for us.

Email is our work - communication with other humans is the task that still cannot be automated. That's why I am rather sceptical about the productivity boost of "no email days" introduced in some corporations. I suspect they just don't measure the right things.

All this does not mean that we should do all this human communication work in email - only that currently this is the tool most people use. Perhaps we could do this work in a bit more efficient way if we had a more complete toolbox.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Capitalism, Communism and the mimetic theory by Rene Girard

What Rene Girard shows in his works is that rivalry between human beings and conflicts being the result of it are an inherent part of our nature, independent of any external circumstances, and cannot be eliminated. Adam Smith and other free market thinkers show that some simple rules can make this competition socially beneficial. Communism grew out of the sentiment of injustice of any competition, where there must be losers and winners, and tried to eliminate it but failed to acknowledge the true nature of that rivalry.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


In a universe both deprived of any transcendental code of justice and exposed to violence, everybody has reason to fear the worst. The difference between a projection of one's own paranoia and an objective evaluation of circumstances has been worn away.

Rene Girard Violence and the Sacred

When there are no rules, no authority but violence thinking twice is deadly, preemptive strike as response to the slightest signal of hostility is prudent, there is no time for deliberation. It is either you kill our you are killed.

It is striking how some of our online behaviour repeats this basic pattern. It is not, as it is often explained, that people exagerate emotion in text, it is rather that in some circumstances people start to act as if in the middle of a violent conflict. They don't exaggerate negative opinions, they actively seek anything that can be interpreted as hostile and don't wait for any explanation but retaliate. Of course the other side does the same - this is the nature of a flamewar.

The circumstances change - but human nature stays the same and we still carry in our psyche the most primitive programs. They only need a trigger.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

TechMeme and 'bike-shedding'

The problem with TechMeme is that even though the name suggests it is about Tech - it is really about politics (in Tech). Politics is important, even in Tech, sure - but this only amplifies the importance - while the ideal TechMeme would rely more on meritocracy. This is another example of "bike-shedding" - everyone can talk about the politics - but only a few know the technology and you'll always get more links to political articles then to technical ones.

Something with an anti-bike-shedding algorithm would be the real Magic Meme Machine.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


When I was thinking about starting a business I had the idea of giving away some micro-shares to my online frieds - just to maintain good will from their side. Anyone tried something like that? If done en masse - this could become some kind of 'socialism' - interesting when the negative politics would kick in. Sounds like a cool experiment - the question is how much of bureaucracy this would involve?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Social Filtering versus Social Routing

And in turn, they rely on friends and online connections for news to come to them. In essence, they are replacing the professional filter — reading The Washington Post, clicking on — with a social one.

from: NYT

Filtering is passive - the use of that particular metaphor shows that the old way of thinking is still there. But the text clearly shows that what the 'friends and online connections' do is an active participation in disseminating the news - it is in fact 'routing' of the information.
My old time 'social routing' metaphor seems more adequate here. But my original vision for it was something even more - it was about building software directly aimed at augmenting the social activity of passing the news. It was about sharing, in a true P2P way, of your information filters and sources and helping others to use them efficiently. It was about personal aggregating and filtering nodes connected to each other outputs that would help us, but not replace us, in directing the news into the outputs. Like interconnected but autonomous personal Diggs.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Flamewars and rationalisation (vi versus emacs anyone?)

Arguments of proponents of some particular technology are often rationalisations. People choose one by chance, because they encounter it first or at the right moment or because some other superficial reason. Then they need to invest a lot of their time to learn it and that makes them to feel connected to the it. No one would accept that that deep connection was an effect of pure chance - so they start rationalise, to think up reasons why. And because deeply inside they know how untrue those arguments are - they seek a 'social proof' and start online flamewars to convince others.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A free implementation of Amazon SimpleDB

Here is a tip to Amazon - there should be a free implementation of SimpleDB. I am now considering using SimpleDB for a web application - but I would like to develop it on my desktop computer - without paying Amazon, without even connecting to Amazon. This might be a minor issue - the fee you would pay for developing the application on Amazon web services seem to be very small. But it would be so much more convenient: no fiddling with credit cards, no problems for developers with shaky internet connection and more compatibility with Free Software/Open Source development models where money is always a difficult subject.

For Amazon it would not mean much less income - since as I've said the fee for the development use of the services is rather small - but it would mean many more customers. Perhaps it would also mean some competition - but this would only validate the whole model and make it more suitable for big business which does not like so much dependence on one provider.

Update: Open Source EC2: EUCALYPTUS.