Archives For Speeches

Remember tech in 1991?

Jerry —  August 24, 2016 — Leave a comment

Can you scroll your brain back before wifi, smartphones and the App Store? Before the Intertubes, the Web, Google and Google Docs, back to a world of faxes, LANs, pagers, PBXes and early (too early) pen computers?

This talk will help you. In it, in 1991, I went to Lotus Development’s HQ in Cambridge to explain a research service I was just launching called Continuous Information Environments (CIE). Lotus (the makers of 1-2-3, then Lotus Notes) was already a client of our other services including the one I launched a few years prior called Intelligent Document Management (IDM), which was sparked into being by electronic imaging technology but avoided that topic like the plague because scanned documents stored on optical media were so, well… stupid. Oh, the company that hosted all of this research was New Science Associates (hi guys!), an unfriendly spinout from Gartner Group that was later acquired by Gartner.

There are many things to note in this talk aside from my shiny forehead, double-breasted suit and firmly gripped styrofoam coffee. For example, I’m using acetates to present on an overhead projector. Acetates. That blew my mind on watching this talk again. And I don’t mention the Internet until an hour and 24 minutes in, during the Q&A. It was still a locked-away military research network to most of us.

The first three and a half minutes of this talk I’m explaining New Science’s retainer research model, so jump past that if you want to get to the tech. I did get to boast that we were using Lotus Notes to distribute our research. We (New Science) were early with electronic publishing, alongside Patty Seybold’s Seybold Group. (When I joined Esther in 1992 I got to learn to use XyWrite and AMIX, the American Information eXchange, a horribly designed online publishing platform. Two steps backward.)

A few more observations with the benefit of hindsight. At the time:

  • I was a big fan of pen computers, but a pen-less touch interface, the kind that is ubiquitous now, was not in my frame of reference.
  • Most of my examples cited male bosses and colleagues. I learned some gender neutrality later.
  • I laughed at thinking that a small device might have global positioning capabilities, an inexpensive commonplace now.
  • Momenta, my favorite pen-computing startup of the moment, hadn’t blown up on the launch pad yet. (It dosn’t even merit a Wikipedia page; sniff!)
  • At Momenta’s launch event, I sat next to Esther and gave her the CIE white paper. Then we swapped publications. Then (months later) she asked me to join her. I almost said no (thanks for the advice, Dan Miller!).
  • So many company names have vanished into the memory hole!
  • Faxes. Remember faxing?
  • Our focus at New Science was helping corporations use technology wisely, hence so many examples grounded in call centers, insurance claims adjustment, etc. Our clients ran Advanced Technology Groups — back when that was still a thing.
  • I forgot to bring a box of paper copies of our research reports with me. How 1990s!
  • I thought pen computers would be everywhere in five years, so around 1996. The iPhone launched in 2006, with no pen. Sometimes advances take a while to gestate and catch on.

Enjoy some time-travel:

A footnote: When I launched the Intelligent Document Management service for New Science in 1990, I drew this diagram to explain it:

IDM Scope Diagram

Prior to that moment, all the service brochures in our industry (retainer tech market research) were basically bullet points. Gartner, IDC, Forrester, BIS Cap, etc. From that moment forward, they went visual. Everyone needed a conceptual diagram.

And the diagram I use in the talk above is this one, for CIE:

CIE Scope Diagram

Last word: if you squint while looking at both diagrams (and maybe sip some mezcal while doing so), you can see the outlines of the tech world we inhabit today.

The University of Alabama’s College of Communication & Information Sciences invited me to help them plan for the future of the disciplines they cover, from the news to PR and advertising. The sincerity of their invitation bubbled up through the series of meetings we had while I was there.

At the end of those meetings, I gave a talk, followed by four respondents and questions from the audience. You can play the talk by clicking on the image below; the Prezi I used is here.

I wish Dean Nelson and his colleagues the very best in this process. As you can tell from my talk, they have tricky, shallow waters to negotiate, but there is much to fix and reinvent.

What do you suggest to media schools and practitioners?

Design from trust (my Gain talk)

Jerry —  November 15, 2014 — 2 Comments

So much comes down to design. Not just graphic design or user interface (or experience, or interaction) design, or even urban design. I’m thinking Design with a big D, encompassing all the ways we design our world, from the built environment to laws, regulations, norms and software.

Gain is the AIGA‘s business conference. It’s full of designers, mostly graphic, though Design Thinking seems to be pervasive.

This year’s organizer, Nathan Shedroff, bravely turned the usual  agenda upside-down: Rather than being about the business of design, #GAINconference 2014 was about the design of business — and more. Nathan threw down a fun, broad challenge and invited a bunch of interesting people to take swings at it. Including me. You can see all the talks from Gain here; mine’s embedded below.

My goal in this talk was to help designers read the landscapes they work in, to learn to see the hidden architectures of mistrust, then to design from trust.

Here are some of the high points:

  • We’ve been designing from mistrust.
  • There are architectures of mistrust everywhere, hidden from sight by their social acceptance.
  • Pioneers in many disciplines figured out how to design from trust. Mostly, their disciplines ejected them.
  • Architecture is destiny. Design creates architecture. Intent informs design.
  • Designers face moral decisions daily they can’t identify as moral choices.
  • Mistrust is baked in everywhere, breaking society. Most everything needs creative redesign.

If you’re a designer and you’d like to take a swing at this Design from Trust thing with me, please get in touch.

Thanks, Nathan, for one of the best after-speech Q&A sessions ever! (starts at 22″)

April and I had a blast in San Diego at the wonderfully organized and run Sustainable Brands conference. A big part of what made it special for us was getting to give the opening keynote, which set the tone for the event.

SB14 went for three more days, during which many people started great conversations with us by telling us how the talk had affected them.

Our topic was trust, starting from the observation that many of the institutions and services we take for granted these days seem to have been designed from mistrust of the average person. It’s so common as to be mainstream, but once you know to look for it (for design from mistrust), you see it everywhere.

Our talk (a tag-team talk, minus the Mexican wrestling masks) is available online now. (Note that there’s a four-minute pre-roll ad from Unilever, so now you know how far to skip ahead if you don’t want to watch it. It is moving, though.)

Last week I was in Switzerland, first to run the “Future of the Customer” workshop I described earlier (and will return to), then to attend and speak at LIFT14 in Geneva.

At LIFT, I dove into many of the topics that bubble out of the Relationship Economy: the language of advertising, minding our Commons, seeing the big picture and DFTBA.

Here’s my LIFT talk, plus some Q&A after:

Here’s the Prezi I created for the speech.

This year I’m going to be putting the Relationship Economy’s ideas to work in many ways.

The debut event is a day-and-a-half-long workshop I’m running at the GDI — the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institut — an excellent think tank based in Zurich. The workshop will run all day Monday, February 3, and end with lunch on the 4th.

The online description is in German, but I’ll be running the workshop in English. In case your Deutsch isn’t what it used to be, here are a few more details about what we’ll cover.

Consumerism ate the world. It didn’t just change consumer products and entertainment. It changed the way we relate with one another, the way large organizations treat us and even the way we see the Earth — and not all for the better. That consumerist model peaked some years ago, when there were still only a few TV networks and newspapers weren’t falling like flies.

Now we’re in uncharted waters, where a strong point of view on what this big shift is about is really useful. Even better is a strong PoV that has explanatory power looking back at history and out to the future. The Relationship Economy is just such a point of view, and one that is humanist and optimistic to boot (though very messy in the near term). In this workshop we will apply the thesis to that most fundamental area: customer relationships.

Along the way, we will address chewy questions such as, “Are we trustworthy?,” “What are our new sources of value?” and “How is power shifting?” Guests with their feet on the ground in different industries will offer case studies of their experiences. We’ll run through several exercises together. And we’ll wrap up with what to do going forward, to thrive in this emerging Relationship Economy.

If this sounds interesting to you, please sign up here. If you know someone who ought to be at this workshop, please let them know. It’s the best way to strengthen relationships.

Brainstorming a learning platform

Jerry —  September 27, 2013 — 4 Comments

In August I spoke at Catalyst Week, a terrific brain- and heart-blending series of talks and events that are part of the Downtown Project in Las Vegas (more here). The topic for August’s Catalyst Week — they do these pretty much monthly — was education, so I decided to give a speech that would build on the TEDxCopenhagen talk I gave a year ago (here’s a full-text transcript).

Half my Vegas talk summarizes and crystallizes the talks that went before, in order to clear the decks enough to do some serious brainstorming. Of course, there was precious little time left for that brainstorming, so I’d love to continue it here.

On to the new talk:

Jerry Michalski visits Downtown Project Las Vegas from Downtown Project LV on Vimeo.

If you didn’t post a video to YouTube, you can’t alter it. The machine translation of the TEDx talk I gave last October about education is awful, so I listened to my talk and transcribed it. Aside from saying “so” and “let me” too many times, it ages well. Here’s the full text:

What If We Trusted You – transcript

Go back in your minds to fourth grade. Put yourselves in fourth grade and I am your teacher, if that doesn’t frighten you too much. You are in my writing class and I’ve given you a poetry assignment.

So, you’re actually writing. You’re in the flow, the words are pouring out of your fingertips, you’re really happy. You’re in that place where you’re making something beautiful…

And then all of a sudden, the bell goes off.

Like, what’s up with that? What do we all know is going to happen right now? What’s the next thing that’s going to happen? You’re going to put down your pens, and you’re going to go to math class, right?

Continue Reading…

The talk I gave a few months ago at Rebuild21 got me invited to speak at TEDxCopenhagen, which was a terrific experience.

A few days have gone by and our talks are now online. Here’s mine:

Rebuild21, held recently in Copenhagen, had a pretty ambitious goal: reimagining multiple sectors of the economy, all in two days.

I was pleasantly surprised, first by the open, smart, skeptical and foresighted approach the first few speakers took in tackling the financial sector — Richard Kelly and Jem Bendell — and then by the equally smart, inquisitive, friendly folks attending the event.

Sofus Mitgard and his crew created a special environment (nice hosting, Lori!).

Sofus asked me to do a short keynote on rebuilding education, one of my favorite topics. Here’s that talk:

And a few more resources:

  • The panel that followed my talk
  • A brief interview that Lori did afterward
  • The Prezi I created for the talk
  • All of this, linked in my Brain

Thanks for a memorable and very useful conference.