Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Why do we need a Human Capital Index?

Do you remember the that last time you had to pick a specialist? How did you do it? Did you call friend for a recommendation? Did you call a professional association? Did you research the web? Did you look on the yellow pages? Did you wish you had more time?

If you are one of those that thinks that these problem should have been resolved a long time ago, you will be happy to know that there are some new tools on the web posed to facilitate you next talent search. I will talk about them, how we got there and what the future will bring.

The "Educated Guess" Way

For individuals finding talent in never easy. It is especially hard when it is an urgent matter. Whether looking for a doctor or a plumber, individuals, to this day, have no proven way to systematically find the talent they need. For most, the preferred method ends up being educated guessing based on the advice of friends. In the absence of it, individuals will take on the web and will use search engines to know more. In the end, individuals are ultimately influenced by cost and some type of marketing.

Even though there are a myriad of websites to allow people to review and score the results of the work of others, the reviews tend to be highly subjective. When things work well, people tend to be too busy to share, and so there's a tendency to express negative opinions, which contributed to a somewhat distorted image.

The Traditional Way

For organizations, finding talent is a critical process. Human capital is simultaneously the most valuable and most expensive asset of an organization. Educated guessing is risky but not unheard of. For the most part, organizations have been relying on the combination of resumes and interviews to discover talent. With the internet, the process was significantly simplified and allowed the globalization of talent discovery services.

Résumés, whether online or not, are a low-resolution and unstructured description of people’s skills and expertise. Those who write them can exaggerate or omit facts, and some claims require manual validation by a third party. Because of that organizations have to invest in interviews and recruiters to find and assess talent. All of these processes represent a significant investment that penalizes both the individual and the organization. At the dawn of the knowledge revolution, organizations still relying on the traditional process to identify talent will soon realize that it is too expensive, slow and error-prone to compete in the global “just-in-time-economy".

Using social networks

Social networks are starting to take an increased role in talent discovery. Among them Linkedin is quickly emerging as the dominant player. Besides offering the individual's professional history, it also allows talent seekers to assess individuals' social connectedness, an important factor on today's highly competitive economy. Recent changes on Facebook, making it easier to identify users' interests, leads one to believe that the social Goliath will also be entering the talent discovery business.

There is an innate problem with this type of approach. Even though social networks represent incremental progress over traditional résumés, they were not thought to represent individuals skills and expertise. They were designed to connect people. Even though LinkedIn is trying to come up with new ways to mine their data, finding talent in a social network still requires a lot of human effort. Additionally, the LinkedIn business model allows search results manipulation, which rewards those with the best marketing skills and not necessarily the needed talents.

A new generation of social networks

A new wave of social networks is emerging to address the talent discovery challenge. They are the questions and answers sites. Unlike LinkedIn, or Facebook, these sites are designed to identify experts on specific topics: sites like Quora (started by ex-facebookers), Starckoverflow, Trueknowledge and Vark (a google company). In a way they are all inspired in the Wikipedia model but are a lot more focused on aspects of social networking. Whereas Wikipedia wants to present something to the community that has high quality, these new generation of tools seek to classify and index the expertise of individuals, facilitating their interaction.

Even though these new tools represent a significant leap forward in finding talent, they are unable to respond (in a deterministic way) to a basic question - "How do we know that a given person has the necessary expertise to respond to a given question?" To resolve this issue, these search engines turn to more or less complex computer algorithms that utilize the feedback from the community and the activity of the user, to score and index human capital. Another important factor is that these tools are, at their core, social networks. They are extremely influenced by popularity driven factors. For the most part, there's no way to accurately assess whether the answers given lead to the expected results or not. That reduces their accuracy.

The evidence-based Human Capital Index

The accumulation of skills and expertise (knowledge) is a lifelong process. People become experts on a specific subject because they are exposed to knowledge and use their cognitive abilities to establish their own expertise. A person that has never enrolled into a learning program, or has never been involved on a project, about a certain topic, cannot be an expert on that same topic. The most accurate way to assess individual's expertise is by tracking knowledge accumulation and utilization. In other words, human capital value shouldn't just be the result of answering questions, but the result of a evidence of work and results over time.

As society quickly evolves towards the knowledge economy, organizations and individuals will have to do a lot more than be able to prove their ability to answer questions. They need to be able to demonstrate how they accumulate expertise and how they use it to achieve their results. Simply put individuals need to make their their cognitive abilities more transparent. Without this it will impossible to determine whether the individual is just mere knowledge developer or a knowledge holder.

In summary, finding talent is getting easier by the day. However, that alone is not enough for the challenges posed by the knowledge economy. In this new era, it is critical to know what people know, how people acquire and apply knowledge. The individual's human capital index is a combination of all of the three.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

From Information consumers to knowledge publishers

When was the last time you stop to think about:
  • why you need information?
  • where does it come from?
  • how do you consume it?
  • what do you gain from it?
If you haven't done it lately, take this opportunity to do it. It will  allow you to prepare for the changes that will take place as we converge to the knowledge economy.

Phase 1 - Growing the Pie

Up until the early 1980s, information wasn't the big issue it is today.  Things evolved quite slowly from verbal, to print, to audio and to video.  With every new technology, more people consumed information, mostly news and entertainment.

Walter Cronkite informing the assassination of President Kennedy

Phase 2 - The digital age

With the advent of the personal computer in 1975, society enters the service economy. In this new era,  people start consuming information has part of their work. More than an information stream, people are now seeking knowledge streams.

By the 1990s the web goes mainstream and the service economy goes on steroids. This leads to an explosive growth of information.  Yahoo and other early movers take the lead in helping people find information on the web.  However, they fail to execute on the search engine as a radical new idea. In 1998 Google was created.
Google's mission

Phase 3 - Growing pains

The 21st century sees the emergence of another information phenomenon. People wanted to collaborate and share things with one another. They shared it in many formats: text, pictures, videos, links, etc. Some shared original information.  Some didn't. The collaboration aspect gave birth to the web 2.0 phenomenon, and the music sharing business gave birth to the iTunes.

Today information has a huge contribution from bloggers and other small information providers that defy the large traditional information providers.  We get news from our friends that we trust, from social networks in which are constantly plugged into. Newspapers are dropping like flies.  Telecom manufactures and operators continue to see the bulk of the revenue going to the companies that store data.  They are the biggest losers of the information revolution.

Phase 4 - The knowledge economy

We are now experiencing the end of the end of the service economy.  A new era is emerging - the knowledge economy. In this new phase you need to become knowledge consumer and knowledge publisher (developer).  Your revenue will depend on your ability to produce original work, which others (low income humans, and machines) will put into practice.

Remember the four question I asked you in the beginning? We will answer them now as if you were in the knowledge economy:

  • why will you need information?

    You need both information and knowledge to support your original knowledge development.
  • where will it come from?

    Your information and knowledge will come from anywhere in the world, from people that you will never know.
  • how will you consume it?

    You will consume via wireless devices (that have nothing to do with iPads).
  • what will you gain from it?

    A sustainable live.
Do you see any problems with the future? What do you think those are? Can I share some with you?

How will you be able to:
  • identify the discipline you are innately inclined to pursue?
  • find others in your field that are aligned with your ideas?
  • assess if they are qualified or not?
  • increase your knowledge in an affordable and effective manner?
Do you have the answers?

Monday, October 25, 2010

The "Social Network Super Brain's" Immune System

Do you remember the Concorde?
Imagine you were there with your smart phone
What would you have done if you were at the end of the Charles de Gaulle Airport with your smart phone?
  1. Nothing
  2. Call your best friend
  3. Call the local newspaper
  4. Post a message on Facebook
  5. Record and post of video on YouTube
Since you are very tech savvy, chances are your picked 4 or 5. However for the purpose of this post, lets assume you did both.

Would you like to know what would have happen after you had done that? 
      Beginning a Chain Reaction

      By posting the event on social networks, you would have initiated a "social network chain-reaction."
      Social Network Chain Reaction
      Powered by both human and automated processes, the realtime web, would have enabled the information to reach all corners of the world within minutes.

      The Super Social Network Brain Goes to Work

      Human beings are hardwired to find solutions for events they don't understand. Soon after your post, many individuals and organizations, moved by their own interests, would have initiated their own investigation into the disaster.
      The Super Social Network Brain at work
      Since the news cycle is highly competitive, even bad news is good for business. In the absence of any recognized experts, people would turn to self-entitled experts to fill articles and airwaves, until any official news was released.

      The Byproducts of the Social Brain

      From the moment the event was published on the web, until an official solution was presented to the public, many bits of knowledge, without any correlation with the truth, would have been produced.

      This would happen because those the author of the knowledge processed information without having the proper knowledge to do so.  In other words, their were using knowledge (to process information) that had not been proven to lead to negative results. Worst off, it would have been stored.

      Infinity storage
      Wrong information is one of the worst enemies of the knowledge economy. Wrong information behaves like cancer cells because how easy it is to incorporated in other chains of knowledge.  Incorrect knowledge results from applying intuitive analysis to complex problems.
      Cancer cell dividing. Unlike healthy cells that stop being able to divide after 50-60 times, cancer cells continue the process. They don't die.
      The reason is simple. In today's society, there is still a large percentage of the population not engaged in continuous learning. Their ability to keep up with innovation reduces every day.  Without the proper knowledge to process new information, they are led to the wrong conclusions by using their intuitive cognitive abilities.

      Unfortunately, in the times we are living in, we are part of a complex system that has very counter-intuitive behavior.  In fact, as we become increasingly inter-dependent, most problems will continue to grow in complexity, which invalidates our ability to use or innate abilities.

      The Social Network Super Brain's Immune System

      Cancer kills. Bad information does too.

      Purported WMD site in Iraq
      The knowledge economy needs a system that prevents it from being infected by bad cancer cells. For that we will have to develop a system that is able to recognize whether the people producing information are truly qualified to do it or not.

      We need a system to recognize true knowledge from incorrect knowledge, and prevent incorrect knowledge from entering the system.  When it does, we need to fight it, just like biologic immune systems do.

      Friday, October 22, 2010

      "Electronic Market" and "Social Network" Fusion

      Rare thinking people like you already have a clear understanding of the differences between an electronic market and a social network.  Fusing them should lead to a new type of platform with all the benefits and no disadvantages. Right?

      You would be surprise.  That is sometimes not the case. That is also what happens in the natural world. Atoms with nuclei large than iron (Fe) will not dissipate energy during fusion, and will actually absorb energy.
      The fusion of a electronic market with a social network
      See the different approaches from Google, Amazon, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Olexe on their electronic markets and social networks fusion strategies.

      Electronic Markets

      An electronic market (e-market) is an information system, controlled by the market intermediary, where a finite set of market agents (or simple agents) orchestrates a finite set of business processes with the intent of trading of products and/or services.  E-markets  facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers by through the entire life cycle of the process, since it is sold, until it is retired.

      1 - Business Processes

      A basic electronic market can exist with the agents and business processes shown in the table below:

      Agents (both) Agents (sellers) Agent (buyers)
      Profile Management
      Returns and Refunds

      Note: more complex markets include other agents like payers (subsidize or pay on behalf of the consumer -ex: Medicare), accreditors (determine if a provider can participate in the market - ex: Education Providers), certifiers (determine if the the investment of the consumer led to intended results - ex: GMAT), and post-sales service providers (give support to the exchanged item after it was sold - ex: repair shop)

      2 - Communications in Electronic Markets

      Communications in electronic markets use highly structured formats and use a common ontology. This approach enables high level of automation since it eliminates semantic issues from communications.

      3 - Supporting Mathematical Theory

      Electronic markets are associated with  Game Theory. Game theory is the study of decision making among multiple agents (human or software). This theory looks at the interactions of agents as games in which decisions are made to maximize the returns and the outcome is jointly determined

      A lot of research is put into electronic markets prior to their release using Game Theory because better market designs will do a better job of matching buyers and sellers, ultimately enhancing society's wellbeing.

      (Electronic) Social Networks

      social network is human structure made up of individuals (or organizations) called "nodes", which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.

      1 - Business Processes

      Social networks were not designed to implement business processes. A much better term would be social processes. There are two basically processes: one to connect two people, and another one to build affinity by sharing some artifact.

      A way to make social networks richer is by enabling an app platform.  An app platform is infrastructure that offers developers the ability to develop simple business processes (called apps) with great simplicity and agility.

      Apps are social processes that try to promote new affinity points among people with the objective of increasing the connectedness of the network.

      Standard Social Processes Extensions
      App platform

      2 - Communications

      Communications on social networks do not have an underlying ontology and therefore automated understanding is very difficult.  That is one of the reasons companies like Bueda are emerging (BTW, Bueda is a start up from my friend Vasco).

      3 - Supporting Mathematical Theory

      Social networks are associated with Graph Theory.  Graph Theory studies graphs which are mathematical structures to model pairwise relations between objects of a collection.

      Electronic Market versus Social Network

      Item Electronic Markets Social Networks
      EnableExchange Connectedness
      Achieving an outcome that all agreeExchange a function between two people
      Defined RolesYesNo
      Business Processes Finite Infinite (apps)
      Defined Roles Yes No
      Systematization High Low
      Communications Highly structured Ad-hoc
      Common Ontology Yes No
      Game TheoryGraph Theory
      Entropy level Low High
      ExampleMedicaid (HIPAA)
      Low income population wellness                    
      A man and a woman exchange the reproduction function

      Market and Social Fusion

      I don't know if you have been noticing, but the larger electronic platforms are no longer pure players.  Companies that started as electronic markets are now adding social capabilities, and vice versa.

      Option 1 - Fusion

      1. Social networks are a great way to influence behavior on electronic markets.
      2. Market networks are a great way to leverage connectedness of a social network

      Amazon has been very successful at building a very successful social network on top of their amazing electronic market (I'm a huge fan of Amazon - their are masters on business process management).


      Facebook is on the process of building a marketplace to allow its social graph to sell and buy things. Given the success of Facebook this market will continue to thrive as people start using it more.


      LinkedIn is like Facebook, a social network developing an electronic market. In the case of LinkedIn, the exchange outcome will be to allow companies to hire the best staff they can possible can. Accordingly to the grape vine, they will shortly announce something big in the HR arena.


      I left Google for last because Google is a more complex case.  They are great at everything but have been making a lot of mistakes in the social aspect.  I believe there are cultural aspects to that but I will leave that for another post.

      If you remember, Google started without a business model. They knew what they were doing was great but they came to life when free was the way to go.  It was only after a while that they came up with AdWords. This is in reality, their electronic market. They have a bidding system for ad words.  From there they have been buying companies that had developed social networks, of which YouTube and Blogger are great examples.

      They are well on their way to achieving it and eventually will be able to deliver a unified vision of their portfolio. 

      Option 2 - Ontology based Social

      Certain social networks, especially those like Facebook tend to produce a lot of white noise.  White noise is information without value to the people that produce it (it may have value for other people in the network) that makes difficult to identify valuable  information.

      White noise emerges from the lack of clear outcome previously accepted by its members. From a pure market perspective, white noise reflects  an irrational behavior of its members.


      Olexe defiens an exchange and a communication ontology.  If an agent communicates a help message "HELP" that is understood as a request for assistance by all. This communication adds values for all involved in the electronic market. This approach leads to valuable exchanges and eliminates the white noise, prevalent in certain social networks.

      Friday, October 15, 2010

      Agricultural Knowledge Economy

      This post is the first of a series that will document how different professionals, in different industries, are evolving towards the knowledge economy.

      The objective  of this exercise is to discover the consequences, benefits and potential impediments of those professionals in their on-going transformation from knowledge holders to knowledge developers.

      In doing so, I hope it will be easier for you to fast forward 5 years, and plan the necessary steps to ensure your participation in the knowledge economy.

      Agricultural Knowledge Economy

      • Grown to order,
      • by natural nutrient developers,
      • to maximize human potential,
      • with externalities control,
      • or, precision agriculture.

      1. Knowledge Value Chain

      The agricultural knowledge economy results from the partnership between the natural nutrient developers (ex-farmer and producer), individuals (consumers), and nutritional scientists.

      This partnership forms a knowledge value chain, whose main objective is to increase human potential through nutrition, wih externalities control.

      In the knowledge economy farmers are part of a knowledge value chain

      2. Knowledge Economy Transformation

      The knowledge economy transforms farmers into natural nutrient developers and natural resource scientists.  Their mission is to develop and perfect new ways to adjust physical, chemical, and economical variables to maximize the nutritional results of the consumer, in a sustainable and affordable way.

      Either while developing algae fuel to power a jet engine across the Atlantic, or developing ways to boost the immune system, farmers become a much more integral part of the value chain.

      3. Early Starters

      The agriculture knowledge economy is emerging through the organic and urban agriculture phenomenons.

      Urban agriculture
      4. Challenges

      In this new era, today's farmers need to make an extraordinary effort to develop knowledge. They must upgrade their real life experience, accumulated over generations, to be able to put in place fast-evolving, evidence-based processes, that result in tracking and correcting local parameters and consumer feedback. In doing so, they will fuse the new and old approach to farming, creating the body of knowledge of the new agricultural era.

      The biggest challenge to the agriculture knowledge economy is that old and new are not fusing. If not addressed, older farmers will be excluded from the the high-margin precision agriculture benefits. Moreover, invaluable knowledge will (is being) lost.

      Thursday, October 14, 2010

      Do you know what is "true knowledge"?

      The concept of true knowledge often leads to doubt among the people I come across. The reason is simple. Both concepts "true" (truth) and "knowledge" depend on cognitive processes unique to each individual, and they are interdependent.

      Traditionally, this has been the realm of philosophers.  However, at this critical juncture in time, in which we are rapidly transition towards to the knowledge economy,  it is urgent that you understand true knowledge in the context of knowledge economy.

      In the knowledge economy, having knowledge is not enough.  You need to prove that you can use and develop it to achieve the your intended goals.  That is your true knowledge. 

      In case you don't have an answer yet, you may want to check a previous post about knowledge epistemic systems.

      Friday, October 8, 2010

      3 Top Things about a Knowledge Epistemic System

      Every time I use the words Knowledge Epistemic System, I get all sorts of strange reactions.

      There's actually no reason for those reactions.  Epistemic systems are actually quite simple to understand.

      Here are the 3 top things you need to know about Knowledge Epistemic Systems:
      1. What is an Epistemic System:
      2. An epistemic system generates judgments of truth of falsity. 
        They are used in police forensics,auditing,economy... 
      3. What is a Knowledge Epistemic System:
        A knowledge Epistemic System is a system that identifies true knowledge (reliable knowledge).
      4. Why you should about them.
      5. The epistemic system enables the knowledge economy. 

      Monday, October 4, 2010

      Why you need to know about the "end of the service economy"

      One of my main tasks over the past 2 years has been listening to people.  Lately, I get the impression that people are finally realizing that the "Great Recession of 2008" is very different from the "Tech Bust of 2000", or even the "Post 9-11 Slowdown." People are worried. Where should they go next?

      To answer that question, it is critical to understand what is happening. The economy is going through an accelerated structural transition from the service to the knowledge economy.  We are witnessing the end of the services economy. Even though the Great Recession of 2008 was responsible for accelerating the transformation, the true culprit was technology that made outsourcing and automation possible.

      To continue to grow, organizations will have to continue to reduce cost by focusing on core competencies and automation.  Before long, organizations will only employ human capital that represents their core knowlege.  At that time, organizations will have completed the transition to the knowledge economy.

      The reason you need to know about the end of the services economy is because to maintain your current life style, you need to become not only a knowledge holder but a knowledge developer.

      You need to be part of those responsible to adapt your organization to change and innovation. You need to stop applying the knowledge created by others.  You need to create new ideas that others (earning significantly less than you), or machines will execute.

      P.S. - If you don't believe this will impact you, I think you should read this 2007 article from the Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

      Sunday, September 19, 2010

      Did you know there are 5 million jobs vacant?

      Bill Clinton was interviewed on NBC's meet the press this Sunday (09/19/10).  During the interview he made several amazing statements. One in particular caught my attention because it relates with what I have been doing for the past 2 years.

      Like so many others before him, Bill Clinton has (apparently) realized that the challenges posed by the 30 million unemployed people by the 2008 Great Recession, cannot be solved with today's systems.  The sheer scale of this challenge, transcends existing Learning Management Systems (LMS).

      Individuals and organizations need a new system.  A system  that will allow them to do more than acquire new skills and expertise.  They need a revolutionary system that will allow them to:
      1. manages their continuous learning
      2. make them easy, quick and affordable to find 
      3. answer two basic questions: "What do they know?" and "How do they learn?"
      To design such system has been my focus over the past two years.  In trying to answer this answer, I along with others, created Olexe.  The end result was a system that enables the knowledge economy.

      P.S. You don't happen to have Bill Clinton's phone? :-)

      Tuesday, September 14, 2010

      3 Top Things you need to know about the 2008 Great Recession

      Accordingly to the International Labor Organization (ILO):
      1. Since the beginning of the Great Recession, 30 million people have lost their jobs. There are now 210 millions jobless people (world wide)

      2. Long term unemployment is increasing. Jobs obtained following involuntary unemployment, have lower earnings, which is particular affecting highly educated people.

      3. Over the next 10 years, more than 440 million new jobs will be needed to absorb newcomers into the workforce.

      See Dominique Strauss-Kahn's statement (IMF Managing Director) at the 2010 Joint ILO-IMF Oslo Conference: The Challenges of Growth, Employment and Social Cohesion.  It seems "they" are waking up.

      3 Top Things YOU need to know to succeed.
      1. You need to know that this is NOT a slow down

        The Great Depression of the 1930's in the US, eliminated many farm jobs. In the decades that followed, most farmers became industrial workers. More than an unfortunate economic event, the Great Depression represented a structural change in the economy. It marked the beginning of the industrial era.  The Great Recession of 2008 marks the beginning of the knowledge economy. Like the farmers in the 1930s, most of the jobs being lost today, will be permanent.

      2. Your next position needs to be about "problem solving"

        Automation and outsourcing have been collaborating towards transitioning our markets from the service to the knowledge economy.  We started by automating and outsourcing the industrial capacity and quickly moved onto services. The Great Recession of 2008 Services was just the final straw that accelerated the unavoidable. In this new economy, you need to be in position of research and development.  If you don't have it yet, or you are not on a path towards it, you need to start... today!

      3. Learn, Document, Publish

        To survive in the knowledge economy, you need to find a topic about which you are passionate about, and engage in life long (continuous) learning.  As you learn, you will have to document with great detail what and how you learn, so others can easily find you and engage you.  This is the only way you will be able to compete with the other 600 million people competing for a job.
      In case you were thinking that this is too far fetch...(click the link to read the entire article).

      P.S. - Unlike government, the entrepreneur community has long picked up on this topic.  New systems were already built to allow you to develop, aggregate and publish your knowledge (Olexe). All you need to bring... is a dream!

      Sunday, August 8, 2010

      3 Top reasons you need to STOP putting money aside for college

      Stop putting money aside for college

      Here the top 3 reasons why:
      1. Bill Gates is onboard - The internet has come of age.  Today it contains vast amounts of high quality information, including the content of many of the top colleges in the world.
      2. Bill Gates at the Techonomy Conference on August 6 2010 (video)
      3. Significant change is imminent - Between 2000 and 2006 Medicaid costs went up 62.6%. Higher Education tuition increased 63.4%. State budgets only 17.6%. Society is open to revolutionary solution(s).
      4. Protests at UCLA about the 32% increase in CA tuitions
      5. Startup community is busy at work - The education problem has been attracting many entrepreneurs (including yours truly) that see the great opportunities in this chaotic situation.
      6. Olexe is creating the business metaphors of the knowledge economy

      In summary, unless you or your kids need to go to college in the next five years, I would strongly recommend you invest the money otherwise.  If you want an advice, I would suggest you save the money for your kids' first startup. That will become your retirement supplement.  Pretty cool hey?

      Thursday, August 5, 2010

      3 top reasons why Google killed Google Wave

      It's official. As of August 4th, Google is pulling the plug on Google Wave .  Accordingly to Google that was due to lack of interest.

      First things first.

      Do you know what a Google Wave REALLY is?

      Google Wave is a knowledge aggregator. A knowledge aggreagator is a system that records and archives reflective events (what happens when you think).  The objective of the knowledge aggregator is to establish individual or group knowledge foundation.

      A knowledge aggregator is like a dam but instead of collecting water, from one or more rivers, it collects your ideas.  Instead of a large body of water, a knowledge aggregator creates a body of knowledge.

      Top Three Reasons why Google Killed the Wave

      Since Olexe also creates knowledge aggregators, I decided to investigate what was really behind Google's failure.
      1. The product was not ready when it was announced to the world - I got my Google Wave invitation from a person that had attended the 2009 Google IO.  I was anxious to understand what Google Wave was all about.  After joining, I couldn't believe it.  The product had some "nice to haves" but was missing "deal breaker" features. One that really surprised me was the inability to get notifications of when people changed waves.

      2. Google forgot to define the value proposition - Google called the Wave a 3Ps system: program, protocol, platform. Google wanted to create an ecosystem of apps developers and providers that would put the entire world into collaboration overdrive. Do you see the problem?  They didn't create a system that "would double your income in six months". People go to school because they want jobs.  People use Facebook because it's fun. Google delivered technology (the easy part) and forgot to define the value proposition (the difficult part).

      3. They didn't live up to their own expectations - By the end of 2009, the blogging community had already picked on the negative vibes.  While some kept playing to the doll drums, projecting huge success, others where starting to see the obvious. When Google finally made the platform available to the general public, in May of 2010, the excitement from the previous year was all gone.  They started strong and ended in shame.

      People don't want more technology. People want to enjoy their lives.

      Even though the people behind Google Wave and Google Maps were the same, the results couldn't be further apart. Anyone gets a map. Few get a knowledge aggregator. In the end that what failed was Google inability to make a business case for the knowledge aggregator.

      Saturday, July 24, 2010

      How immune is your organization to mass retirement?

      Were you born between 1954 and 1964?  
      • YES - move to paragraph after the graphic.
      • NO -  continue here.

      Those born between 1945 and 1964 are named "baby boomers" (boomers) and they represent 76.4 million people. In case you don't know, every eight seconds, there's a new boomer who turns 60. Chances are he/she works in your organization. 

      When talking about boomers, our brain often makes huge mistakes.  The biggest of them is to think that all boomers are people that know nothing about computers and/or the benefits of social networks. Let's face it.  Steve Jobs was born in 1955.  He is now 55!

      Generations from 1900 to 2000+

      As the generation that took us to the Moon, and invented the internet, retires, those staying behind need to resolve an emerging problem. How will organizations exchange knowledge from those that have it (knowledge holders) to those who need it (learners), in an easy and affordable way?

      After the 2008 recession, many stopped worrying about this problem.  However, organizations cannot underestimate the seriousness of the situation, because most of their institutional knowledge is undocumented.

      It was to solve this problem that we have been working for the past 2 years on a knowledge exchange.  We call it Olexe - Open-Learning EXchange Engine.  Who said retirement would be boring... or just golfing?

      Saturday, June 19, 2010


      I always write my posts thinking about you. Today I didn't. My apologies.

      Nunca parou de duvidar.

      Nunca parou de pensar.

      Nunca aceitou "nunca".

      Wednesday, June 16, 2010

      Do you remember the books you read in 2007?

      I know what you are probably thinking. Three years is a very long time. Maybe this will help you. Three years ago this month (June 29th), Apple started selling the iPhone. All over the world, people waited for hours in long lines to get one.

      In case you find yourself continuing to grasp for the books you read in 2007, then stop and read this blog post.
      In the knowledge economy you are what you know; in other words knowledge is money. The books you read are one of your biggest sources of your knowledge. Not knowing what books you read is the equivalent of not knowing what stocks you own.

      While financial institutions over the past 10 years became experts at aggregating financial assets (financial asset aggregation),  when it comes to knowledge aggregation, things are only now emerging.

      Those who are already aware to the concept of knowledge aggregation are using Personal Information Management (PIM) tools such as Google Notebook, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr and Evernote. Unfortunately, PIM tools are to knowledge aggregation what hybrids are to transportation. They are just a step on the way. PIMs are not goal-oriented which is paramount for successful knowledge aggregation (more about this on a coming post).

      Bottom line: You need to start documenting the books you read, and all other learning events in the pursuit of your goals (knowledge aggregation).  Doing so could (will) play a critical role in your next promotion.

      P.S. - Olexe is a platform that allows true-knowledge aggregation.

      Tuesday, June 1, 2010

      Why is "knowledge aggregation" so important?

      It has been almost 6 years since I created my first company - M2MSys.  M2MSys' mission is to bring to organizations the ability to adapt automatically to change.  A combination of sensors, feedback loops, decision engines and business processes.

      As you so well know, "revolutionary concepts" hate recessions. As soon as the market hits the skids, customers returned to basics. The 2008 recession has stolen the ability to dream from our customers.

      Why is "knowledge aggregation" so important?

      M2MSys ideas are still as fresh today as they were in 2002.

      "Knowledge aggregation" is what you do to preserve all your ideas so they are not lost, and you can continue where you left off.

      Are you aggregating your knowledge?

      Monday, May 31, 2010

      Do you have a mission critical job?

      Could you accidental trigger a chain of events that could seriously affect (negatively) a large number of people?

      If you can, then this post is for you.

      We all make mistakes. The only things we can do to mitigate this certainty is to: 1)increase our knowledge on how to detect events that can lead to disastrous consequences, and 2) become an expert on quickly addressing situations set in motion by catastrophic chains of events.

      If knowledge is the only solution to mitigate the risk of a catastrophe, do you think that the "knowledge records" of those people with mission critical jobs, should be of the public domain?

      The knowledge economy is slowly changing society. What each person knows is increasingly becoming of the public domain, especially if a person has a mission critical job. The ability to assess each individual's "true knowledge" - what the person can prove to know -, in a way that respects the individual right to privacy, will be the next big social challenge.

      Are you getting ready to document your "true knowledge"? Sarah Palin wasn't.

      Do you want to take control of your "true knowledge", or do you want Google to do it for you?

      Sunday, May 30, 2010

      Why will "high unemployment" continue to be a reality?

      Have you been wondering why news about "continued high unemployment" have been so prevalent on the news?

      If you did, this post will interest you, and it will allow you to better plan your future.

      Do you know what “technological unemployment” is?

      The term was coined by John Maynard Keynes (1883 – 1946). He was a British economist  who advocated government intervention to mitigate the adverse effects of economic recessions (the methodology the US is using to get out of the current recession.)

      Mr.Keynes alluded to the fact that in the pursuit of profit, corporations seek to reduce cost, by replacing human labor with machines. His point was that over time, the pace of innovation would not be sufficient to find new ways to use labor.

      Today we know that is not the case. The knowledge economy has no shortage of innovation. Society experiences "technological unemployment" because new technology creates demand for skilled workers and reduces demand for unskilled workers. Those without skills face longer and longer periods of unemployment and over time are pushed to a lower-wage sector of the economy.

      Bottom line: As long as the innovation increases, "technological unemployment" will continue to grow.

      So what should you do? You need to do three things:
      1. continuously increase your knowledge (develop)
      2. document your knowledge growth (aggregate)
      3. allow others to find your knowledge (publish)
      P.S - It was to help people develop, aggregate, certify and publish their knowledge, that we decided to found Olexe. Olexe is an open-learning exchange, where people and organizations can exchange knowledge, in a structured and certified manner. Olexe is a true knowledge platform, that minimizes the effect of technological unemployment.

      Monday, April 26, 2010

      Are bus drivers knowledge workers?

      What do you think bus drivers are:
      • blue collar workers
      • knowledge workers
      • other
      Before we look at the answer, read the following real story.

      An handicap bus driver was getting a person an a wheel chair onto the bus. Unfortunately for the person, the driver forgot to secure the wheel chair. Half way through, the person was projected forward, landing face first on the pavement. Seeing that people who knew the person were approaching, the driver left the scene.

      The managers company were furious and fired the bus driver. The bus driver, hired an attorney, and filled a wrongfully termination lawsuit. As unjust as it may sound to you, the bus driver won the case because the managers were not able to demonstrate that the bus driver had received the necessary training.

      After reading this story, what do you think about the question at  the beginning?

      In the knowledge economy, ANY worker is a knowledge worker. Knowledge is knowledge. Society has to be able to resist basic human snobbery, and accept that knowledge emerges from ALL professions.

      Saturday, April 24, 2010

      Why do you need to write a blog?

      You would not believe what happened at the Innovate-Educate / NMSTE Conference 2010. In a room packed with k12 teachers, and to my absolute surprise, I made a statement that caused an intense emotional reaction. Before I tell you what I said, let me tell you, what is behind my statement.

      In 1617, Descartes published the book Discourse, which"...sketches out the metaphysical underpinnings of the Cartesian system". In it, he writes "I think, therefore I am", later refined to his well known "Cogito ergo sum." Setting aside the extraordinary importance of the expression, the reason this book is so important, is because Descartes uses it to explain what was his thought process to reach his amazing conclusions.

      In a world of interdependent people, where recessions become global events, it is no longer enough to say "you know it".  Society needs to know, "how you got to know it". In the knowledge economy, what you know and how you think.  are equally important.
      "I will never hire a person that doesn't write a blog."

      Do you know why the teachers got so emotional? Because they have the hardest of time, making their students write.

      P.S. - It was amazing to see the teacher's passion at the conference.

      Tuesday, April 13, 2010

      Why haven't you reserved yet?

      Do you make a living by selling what you know?

      Have you reserved

      If you didn't, then this blog is for you.

      Every company is online these days.  They took the lead in the early 90s. The web as matured and it even has a new name - the cloud. With the tools now available, the cloud is able to welcome organizations and individuals - that is YOU.

      In case you need 3 strong points to overcome inertia, here they are:
      1. If you don't do it, someone else a lot less qualified than you will - next time your friends google your name, it's the other person they will see first.
      2. It shows you as a person in line with the times - having a shows commercial intent and presents you as a person of your time. Do you remember when you didn't have a cell phone? An email? Well... domains are next.
      3. It makes you different... for the better! - It goes a long way to have others send you an email like It's like getting to a meeting with stylish business cards and impeccably dressed.
      The cost is $10/year. I suggest that you do it for 10-15 years.

      What are you waiting?

      Tuesday, April 6, 2010

      ONE thing you need to know about your knowledge privacy

      Do you sometimes feel uneasy about the amount of information you have about you and your family on social networks?

      How are you coping with this uneasiness?
      1. Doing nothing. You believe this is part of a new era.
      2. securing. You only share with VERY close people.
      3. loading light. You are there, but with talk-show information.
      4. leaving. You don't think it's worth the risk.

        (right answer at the end)
      A social network is like your local Starbucks.  When you go there (and sit) you go for coffee and to meet friends and family, to read, to create, etc. You go there to learn. Social networks are spaces of learning, where you exchange knowledge. This takes me to the blog title the one thing you need to know about knowledge privacy, and to your answer above.

      Right answer: 3

      You should only share the knowledge (photos, notes, etc) you would feel safe sharing in all Starbucks in the world.

      Doing nothing will put you at risk. Securing gives you a false sense of security. Leaving works against you.

      Saturday, April 3, 2010

      Do you know HOW you learn?

      Do you know how YOU learn?

      Thought my entire student life, I learned pretty much the same way.  The only thing that made me realize whether or not I did a good job, was the final grade.

      Today, when I look back, sitting on years of experience as a process re-engineering expert, I cannot stop from saying how wrong that looks.

      Do you agree that learning is the most important process of the knowledge economy?  I'm sure you said yes, which brings us to a huge problem... we just don't know how we learn! Solving this problem will not differ from so many processes that society has successfully re-engineered in the past.

      As a society, if we want to lead the knowledge economy, we need to understand a lot more about everything related with learning. However, by engaging the individual we achieve phenomenal results a lot faster.