A great article on a cool IM start-up called Meetro. “…Meetro is six guys and an Internet startup crammed into a three-bedroom walk-up.” What a way to start a business! Meetro is actually pretty cool. IM with built-in location awareness. Find people within five miles, 100 miles, and so on. Neat stuff.
Archives for July 2006
A few days ago, I answered the question “what is knowledge?” I’m going to take it one step further, outlining our personal knowledge deficiency, and why we need others to share their knowledge.
To begin, imagine all knowledge could be represented by a circle. What you know is represented as a slice from this knowledge pie. Your slice may grow with education and experience, and the example in my humble pie chart is probably overly generous, but suitable for making my point.
Next, we have what we know we don’t know. This is the knowledge that we know of, but don’t know the details about. For example, I know that when I flip a switch on the wall, a light turns on or off. I know that it’s not magic, but the science of electricity. I don’t know the details, but I’m ok with that. I know that I don’t know how it all works, but I know that someone does.
Beyond the first two slices, and consuming the majority of our knowledge pie, lies what we don’t know that we don’t know (say that ten times fast!). This represents knowledge — truth — that we aren’t even cognizant of. There is a very good chance that someone knows this knowledge, but a substantial part awaits discovery. This represents our opportunity. Knowledge is power, and until we find the secret of omniscience, we need the knowledge of others to achieve more.
Next up, the power of knowledge sharing.
Last Sunday my neighbor Floyd Landis (actually, he lives a few miles from me) won the Tour de France. A few days later, controversy ensued as ICE announced that one of his six tests during the race showed a higher than normal testosterone level. I don’t know Landis personally, and I truly hope he is innocent and exonerated. But I had to love Stephen Colbert’s take on the controversy on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report.
Apparently, my post on knowledge effectively killed all feedback, so today I’m posting just a few quick news items worth noting. I’ll pickup my soapbox tomorrow.
Google has release a great update to Google Talk that incorporates file transfers and voice mail. Yahoo! Messenger 8 for Windows is officially released. The plug-in system is fantastic. And Skype calls to phone lines in Japan are free this Saturday and Sunday. If only I had someone to call!
Earlier this week I suggested that sharing knowledge is a positive action that benefits both the person sharing and the recipient. Steve challenged that statement, and I felt that a proper response was necessary. I’m going to explain why (and when) knowledge sharing is a good thing, but I’m going to do so over a couple of posts.
To begin, I’ll start with a definition of knowledge. Epistemology, or the theory of knowledge, provides a well-accepted explanation that this diagram clarifies.
Simply put, knowledge is where truth and belief intersect.
In other words, for me to claim knowledge on an subject, it must be true, and I must believe it to be true. Of course, it’s possible that I might later learn that what I thought was true was, in fact, false. If such a case were ever to happen (hypothetically, of course), then you would say that I, in fact, did not possess knowledge on that subject. The same is true on a macro level. As we discover new truths about the world around us, previously held views are found to be false.
The three areas outside of the intersection should not be neglected. First, there are truths that we do not believe. We may not know enough to believe them to be true, or we may be skeptical of the reliability of proof. The second area, belief, contains what we either cannot know (i.e. does God exist?) or do not know, but personally believe.
The third area… I’ll go into more in my next post.
I ran across this rather disturbing quote on the web this morning:
“Knowledge is power. Knowledge shared is power lost.”
This is the very argument that keeps people from sharing knowledge — a fear that they will be giving up a portion of their power base. This irrational fear cripples people and prevents us from achieving far greater good.
What is reality? Knowledge is power, and knowledge shared is power multiplied! When I share my knowledge with you, you add your collective knowledge, experience and perspectives and do new things with it. I’m no less “powerful” because I haven’t lost the knowledge I shared. And together, we are much more powerful, able to accomplish more and innovate beyond what either of us could do alone.
All of these mega properties have had recent outages. Where they differ is how they handled those outages and communicated to their community.
Digg’s outage, which I mentioned last week, was brief. They did a decent job of communicating to visitors, explaining that the site was down and that they were working on it, and giving them some lighthearted alternatives to check out while they waited.
MySpace was down twice, ostensibly due to a power outage at their data center in southern California. Hard to imagine an operation that size doesn’t have redundant data centers for just this sort of situation, but hey, it’s the web. They eventually posted a message on their login page informing the millions of angst-ridden MySpacers. Mashable has the details.
Yahoo! Messenger was the other recent outage, down for nine hours on Saturday. What set’s Yahoo apart is that there was no official communication to the millions of affected Yahoo! Messenger users. No acknowledgement of downtime at all. In an age where instant messaging has become a communication lifeline for many, such an outage is difficult. But to neglect to say anything? That’s inexcusable.
Hopefully, Yahoo is listening to its users and learning from this experience.