A Tour of my Neighborhood
One of the great things about weblogging is that not only do you get
a chance to hang out with fantastic fellows, but you also get to pick
them one by one to build your personal dream team of informants.
The people listed in the sidebar on the left give me so much that I
thought it would only be fair to acknowledge this and explain how
they make a difference in my thinking and actions. Even though I did
not know most of them until recently, these people have probably become
the ones who influence me the most.
Hopefully I'll be adding a few more names every week until I've been through the whole list.
With a weblog
Walter Chaw is writing the most entertaining and instructive series of movie reviews that I have seen.
Paul Cox brings mathematics and common sense together each month.
Lilia Efimova does a lot
of excellent thinking about learning and illustrates her points with
very relevant observations from her own work. Her writing is
Rusty Foster founded kuro5hin a
few years ago. The success of this site is a prime illustration of
the fact that, given a well-designed structure, a self-regulated online
community can produce excellent quality material and discussion that is of interest to a wide audience, resulting in a publication that rivals centralized-control sources.
Jim McGee is one of the pioneers out in knowledge logging
land. He understands a lot about the individual experience of knowledge
work, about the interaction between people and organizations, and
regularly digs up or comes up with insights and wisdom on how change
happens in organizations.
is my role model when it comes to thinking clearly and
explaining carefully issues that are difficult to see through. The
job he's done in terms of structuring and channeling the information
flow for the Free Online Scholarship movement is simply outstanding. Peter also deserves credit for inventing the fascinating Nomic self-amendment game, and for teaching Mark Pilgrim about logical rudeness.
Jon Udell is
largely responsible for the existence of Seb's Open Research. Of all
the people I know, he's probably the one who is the most capable
of looking at technology issues from several people's points of view,
synthesize an integrated description, and communicate it in a lively
manner. I learned a lot from him about the dynamics of
collaboration. In addition, Jon is a first-class forward
Phil Wolff's brain is
obviously on hyperdrive. He spends a lot of time thinking about the
evolution of blogging, most often from a strategic standpoint. He also
keeps tabs on blog numbers.
- He can see far, and with a wide angle.
- I suspect Vision is his middle name.
- He's good at making up post titles.
- He's not that good at making up blog titles. ;-)
- He likes bullet lists a lot.
Without a weblog (how I wish they did)
is perhaps the person I know who has best articulated and shown by way
of example what it means to think about design in a fundamental way, to
see the most basic elements of an architecture and perceive how they
fit together in a harmonious whole. His insistence on embracing
simplicity and listening attentively to humans' needs and
longings strikes a deep chord with me.
Andrew Odlyzko writes very well-documented and coherent papers on the evolution of communication.
He warned against the impending telecom bubble burst back when people
were claiming outrageous rates of Internet traffic growth. He's not
afraid of using historical precedent that dates back centuries to
reason about the implications of the current networking revolution. And
he wrote the memorable Content is Not King. He has the nagging habit of being right.
Steve Lawrence helped build the kickass CiteSeer (ResearchIndex) academic paper harvester/search engine/citation analyzer. Plus, he gave me a cool Google t-shirt.
is the archetype of the outsider music artist in Québec. Although he's
best known for his irreverent tone, he has written many songs that
question conventional thinking and challenge us to act more like humans
and less like robots.
was an American journalist, publisher, author, philanthropist, public
servant, scientist, diplomat, inventor, and revolutionary. He didn't
patent any of his inventions (which included bifocals and an efficient
stove), so that the most people would benefit from them.
investigations into problem-solving as a human activity were a jumping
board for much of my thinking about how we are driven to find and share
knowledge for progressing towards a goal, and what strategies are most
effective in this regard. Two fundamental insights of his that I try to
always keep in mind are
- Use analogy. "The kind of problem suggests the kind of solution";
- Consider thinking big. "The more ambitious plan may have more chances of success".
Here's a map of what I have called my creative network:
4/22/2006; 12:27:07 PM.
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