Where to Go from Here


Even with a myriad social networks, apps, and tools to record, share, quantify, and (let's not forget that) populate with something, blogs are still a powerful tool.

It's powerful in at least two ways:

  1. it allows you to publish your ideas and stories in one place, with the ability to back up the archives, own the domain, both literally and topic-wise. It's your turf, not a space where you sharecrop.
  2. it enables you to create a direct presence where you can develop context over time, attract readers, build an audience, shift from one place to another in both the conversation and through platforms.

This is where business and technology meet.

I've been thinking ever since I got back from my sabbatical from social networks when I was with family running away from earthquakes that I do miss having more discussion here. The whole connecting of ideas and people is valuable when sufficient attention is directed in the right places.

Plus, we need to discover the good ideas and that is done best with conversation. It was Brian Driggs who's been reminding me of that lately. There are many kernels waiting to be popped — for energy to be used to turn them into something — in the comments to this recent post about comments.

Maybe you have tested and followed through with ideas you discovered in the process of engaging in dialogue here. Have you made those happen?

I've used this blog and my work in building the social network associated with Fast Company as a lab to test ideas for years. Some of it I shared here, much more I shared with colleagues and clients.

As I think about where to go from here, it occurs to me that this is a good direction, to motivate more discussion around how we're finding our way in the more complex backdrop of the new reality of work. We're grappling with several issues:

  • truth filters, semi-processing of news (the nutrient is taken out), and the weakening of mainstream media in its investigative capacity (see for example this discussion about the topic of Tom Foremski's post about looking into the commercial implications of changes to search algorithms on Google+)
  • collectively managed attention, attention channels, and commerce infrastructure with their intended and unintended consequences (which affect us)
  • diminishing concentration of high-energy pockets, those resources we can mine both in ourselves and in our physical environment

I realize this is a temporary meeting space. We can use it better to address mental models straight on and how we go from discovering new ideas and nurturing a culture of innovation to following through and testing ideas selected in the past, as Brian said in his comment. 

As well, I see a renewed desire for building community — or returning to a space where to build that energy we can apply to turning those ideas into business. Much of that energy has migrated to online chats and time on social networks.

Dave Winer recently asked "What happens to your users' tweets, blogs, podcasts, check-ins, discussion threads, Scrabble games, photos when the companies go out of business?" That's the technical question for you (with an emotional undertone, of course. It's your stuff.)

The business question I ask is: are you using your energy to build a business you can sustain over time? Are you using the tools to close the gap between the promises you make and those you keep or just to paper over that distance?

The answer is the same in both cases, and it's not the opposite of the question: keep your promises. Invest in the tools that do. Build a business that does. We have choices.


We've been at this, you and I, for quite some time. Relationships do take time to set. We're in a new phase now where we need to negotiate if what we're discussing are the real issues, and figure out what works.

We need to rehearse those ideas constantly. Alain de Botton says ideas don't get off the ground until they have a collaborative context as good host (paraphrasing).

This is how talk can change our lives. It leads to connections.

(It is the same kind of opportunity at hand for businesses and brands, by the way.)



Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.

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