Sunday, September 6, 2020

The lure of those Cloud apps; that is until the Cloud fails you

 The lure of those Cloud apps; that is until the Cloud fails you.

Oh boy; when it fails you, it fails you big time eh?

Have you ever been just about to go on line to chat with colleagues or to make your super human presentation and the Cloud simply goes for a walk on you? Yup its happened to me numerous times, and when it does happen it’s usually epic.

There are a growing number of cloud apps that are simply phenomenal in their approaches to offering us ways to create, manage and present our thought processes in the cloud.

To mention a couple of notable’s such as; Notion, Roam Research is clear the cloud based app services are growing at an exponential rate; and they’re damn good. Knowledge management is at the core of these product offerings.

The caveat of course is the fact that most are cloud based and not native to our local drives. This is an issue for many with strict security and privacy processes to follow.

The mentioned apps are rather good at what they do; Notion as a single point landing page for all of your relevant thought processing and Roam Research for some pretty damn impressive researching capabilities with back linking as the strength of their approach. Obsidian of course is the new kid on the block that may challenge even the powerful Roam., due to it being dedicated to being a local drive product and not exclusively cloud based.

I mention these products merely as a snapshot into how knowledge management and mapping has developed in the past few years. No longer are visual thinkers of the past using the mind mapped format to create, manage and express (share) their relevant information and knowledge repositories. A growing number of knowledge workers are turning to the mentioned products that offer a more streamlined and somewhat comfortable linear framework for working at personal, academic and business levels.

What has struck me recently is that a few of my prominent visual mapping colleagues have dropped (yup ditched) their preferred graphical mapping products to be seduced by these new approaches to how we may aggregate data into information, contextualize it and enable it to become a usable and improvable knowledge base. I don’t blame then TBH.

I believe it was Tiago Forte who recently suggested that software/services have as little as 5 year life spans these days as the nature of app evolution suggests products must be developed in such a way so as they can acquiesce to the dominance of newer and more functional products in the future. And this is why these new products are using markup as their textual language within their products. This makes it so much easier to transport data, information and knowledge between products.

Most, if not all of these products (except Obsidian) mentioned though are cloud based; and for me this is an issue of ownership of data, privacy and security. None of which are guaranteed by any cloud products at all. Yes I know, it’s a choice many willingly make, yet I believe we have as a collective been seduced into giving up our privacy to the cloud via some of these excellent and even brilliant apps. The data mining that obviously goes on within this arena is quite disturbing and a reveal of how deep modern app product/services openly and proudly data mine their users personal, academic and business data.

I must admit I am using Notion at this time; yet I continue to use as my preferred graphical mapping, and TBH I get things done just as fast as I would with products such as Notion, Roam and Obsidian.

The things we used to do on our personal computers as little as five years ago now for free; we’re actually paying subscription these days in order to get the same things done.

The Cloud though; when it fails you the shit hits the fan; not so with local based software, and this is where the mentioned Obsidian wins to a degree. Yeah but we all need the cloud now don’t we? Yes to use between devices and to sync and to have at our fingertips all of our relevant data.

I agree; It’s true we really do need and rely upon the cloud sync don’t we; I do to a degree too.

What’s your thoughts regarding these products, their offerings and promises to make our thought lives more effective? The industry that has grown out of these products is phenomenal, impressive and scary at the same time. The courses offered to users in order to get them to a point of mastery (or slavery) of a product is genius marketing and herding at its best.

The second brain claim doesn’t grab me at all, yet it’s also a genius commercial grab. The second brain courses cost a lot of money when you could actually just learn it on your own and become your own expert. Many simply don’t want to do the work of learning and accept the grab on their reliance on having and learning anything in this age instantly. I guess paying someone to do the work for you is the standard these days.

I say; use your own first brain as it’s absolutely free; did you know that?

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Procedure, Process or System: what matters to you?

 Procedure, Process or System: what matters to you?

I recently started using a notable cloud markdown based knowledge management tool. Well in reality it’s a pretty damn good evolution of Evernote that’s evolved way past any users expectations. Dangerously and out of control way past anything expected or imagined.

And as of the writing of this blog post, I’m 4 months in; and still chasing my own tail in a perpetual mind **** of setting up a framework and making no tangible gains of realizing the obvious (to everyone else) of just using the tool.

Yes maybe you’ve come across a most useful product others so successfully use, and you thought; “hey I’m gonna use that too and become more organized and as successful as them”.

And here I am 4 damn months in and none the wiser.

So I’ve pressed the pause button and gave myself a slap on the head and said out loud “What the heck (I used a stronger taboo word) are you playing at guy.

OMG I should really know better; after all I’m the one usually helping others who seem to be trapped in some kind of information maelstrom. What struck me though was that I’d been had by the age old trick of grabbing attention by functions and capabilities. And they’re pretty damn awesome functions and capabilities too; yet there’s just too many to be of any practical use to me, you and everyone else. Synaptic overload was the result.

By way of this experience I realized I was stuck in a process trap, and that process whilst (in reality should be) enabling in the long term a systems approach to the tool; successfully disabled my cognitive realization of the larger system.

I had to remember I’ve used a specific tool for almost 20 years that graphically managed all of my relevant processes supported by procedures. And these processes I managed and improved were part of a system of working I had made standard throughout my knowledge work. It just worked, so why go looking for something new to satisfy my curiosity for new tech.

There was just no need to go looking for another fix to satisfy my need for functions and capabilities. Yet I did fall off the wagon and went looking for a newer, better more attractive alternative.

Yes I was stuck inside a process and disregarded supporting procedures of investigation, and I willingly forgot about the wholeness of the system.

So I want to leave you with questions:    

◙ What is more important to you regarding perpetuating your own system?

◙ Are processes important to your system framework?

◙ And are supporting procedures realized as the drivers of your processes?

Oh I believe you know the answer as I do; Think Wholistic and realize system.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

They’re everywhere and they’re part of the process; Oh my!

 Our graphical formats are in many cases the least of our worries when we deal with clients and their internal issues.

I have a good old belly laugh when I consider the reality that ego plays such a prominent part in how many individuals position themselves within any arena; especially that of our clients who call on our skills sets.

Many of us have been around the knowledge and systems management arena for some time, and there’s stages we all go through in our personal, academic and business lives.
Ego is one of them, and when the dreaded ego thing raises its ugly head, we are presented with a stage that is full of unintended clarity. The script has been written (imagined and planned), the chosen actors are handled into place, and the audience has been pre-conditioned. The outcome is rather scientifically assured

Have you experienced this very same scenario; I’m thinking it’s the same or similar in structure for us all. In other circles the ego is expressed in the proverbial role of the Agent Provocateur. Yes that person whose aim (regardless of agenda and handler) is to enter a group and to cause disruption and eventually the demise of their target by way of deception, false (fake) news and to cause endless useless processes of misdirection so as to make their target and audience unmanageable and rather useless. Then the real agenda unfolds; that of attack, dominance and eventual hostile takeover. 

The outcome is indeed scientifically assured and we see it time after time in every arena we service don’t we? Let’s face it, the media (fact or fake) use this very process so very effectively.

The seed has been planted, the values have been established, the beliefs are manipulated and the thoughts flow with precision. Those thoughts choose an emotional response and ultimately the audience is led into actions that are so (common and special cause) predictable by the provocateurs and handlers.
Yet we as Knowledge Architects arrive at a client’s place of operations knowing all of this probability and potential. Well I certainly hope you and I arrive prepared and have fully profiled our client’s original concerns and needs. Yes there’s more profiling by way of our auditing methodologies employed and applied.

We help people, institutions and corporate; yes that’s what we do at the core of our services as consultants. And we are knowledge Architects who arrive to assess (audit), profile and to create a framework for continuous improvement within our client’s thinking and doing environment’s.
The push back is that resistance to change that’s given stage by the plans of the provocateurs. And as graphical thinkers; we are charged with a responsibility to do our best to achieve a consensus. That agreement status our graphical work wishes to achieve.

Graphical mapping is merely one aspect of our communications skills for sure. And no we are not trained psychologists, (well I’m certainly not); yet we have accumulated so much understanding of the human condition in and through our delivery of procedures, processes and systems. We understand the most important function of any system, and we communicate with clarity towards it. Yes it’s the people for sure. Have you experienced that resistance to change within your client’s environment as you create frameworks for BMS continuous improvement? And how have you dealt with it?

Friday, August 7, 2020

The systems thinking employee: where are they?

Over the years of involvement within visual knowledge mapping/management; I’ve realized a mindful place (mentally, and even spiritually) where I contemplate and apply the continuously evolving mental models of understanding relating to information and knowledge.

And again; over the years I’ve been introduced to quite a few models that overview and detail knowledge base repositories for those who seek to be more acquainted with and practice the tools, methods and mindset of systems thinking.

What has impacted me though recently is the fundamental gaps that exist within the hierarchy of society regarding the understanding, use and sharing of the mindset of systems thinking.

Systems thinking in general is and continues to be the perceived domain of business and in particular corporate business regarding process and system.

The regular person in many cases looks at systems thinking as a set of tools and methodologies (system in itself) for business rather than it being a tool for personal development.

I recently walked through a manufacturing facility with all of its various processes that support their system of operation. I was impacted by the regular people on the shop floor who seem to be performing mundane tasks according to their work process instructions (procedures).

Yet talking to many of the line operators I was struck by their profound and natural understanding of procedure, process and system. They were systematic and systems thinkers.

Yet this profound understanding by line working employees is not in any way tapped by the OEM org or their system of operations. And this got me thinking; how can systems thinking be more formally encouraged and taught by way of clarity of communications within industry; especially for the most important part of any process.....People!

Your thoughts?

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Heads in the cloud and forgotten privacy

Heads in the cloud and forgotten privacy.

A colleague and good friend recently said to me “we’ve come a long way since web 1.0".

Yes we have, and it’s been a journey of gains and losses.

Here we are within web 2.0 and V3 knocking at the door and chomping at the bit to get going in the race for dominance and a piece (if not all) of our data. Quantum Computing? Yeah that’s gonna be the game changer, and it’ll happen in my lifetime for sure.

It has been a strange and curious journey hasn’t it? We’ve arrived (currently) at a point in time where generational many younger folk just don’t understand us older users of traditional UX/UI and our bemoaning of ownership rather than subscriptions. Yeah the younger generation are (or have been) so conditioned into actually believing that everything is a subscription and data protection and privacy is a thing of the past.

I use a lot of legacy software products; yeah we call them apps now. The kind of products that you actually downloaded and stored (archived) the installer exe. Oh I know; that is just so last century now eh. I actually used a 10 year old version of MS Office up until a few months ago before jumping all over Corel WordPerfect Office suite, Only because the interface was rather old school and the exe was and is reusable. It actually kicks Micky soft’s **s.

Haven’t you noticed or realized; what we used to do for free maybe even as lately as 5 years ago, we now subscribe to? For this getting older guy involved in some pretty damn interesting projects; it’s a challenge (read curse).

And then there’s the hardware. It’s changing at an exponential rate. Jeez; hard-drives are even becoming old school.

The cloud though is a real challenge for me. Yes I use it extensively, yet I must continually remind myself that There is no cloud (a crafty name), it’s merely someone else’s computer (server). Yes we tend to forget this don’t we; and we’ve certainly been conditioned into believing this arrangement is okay and actually a convenient arrangement.

I recoil in pseudo shock when friends and colleagues shriek “F**k I’ve been hacked......Again”. I basically give them a show of emotional support and kinda psychologically coach them into a nice place where they can recoup their mindset and reform their use of and understanding of the beautiful cloud that has metaphorically F****d us over since it’s inception.

Yes I’m cynical when it comes to willingly offering up data to the cloud that is unashamedly data-mined by developers who get us to download, use and abuse (by subliminal means) and add our private and sensitive data to what has been termed Free for Personal use products.

I mean, what part of F*****g stupid doesn’t that scream at you? Some products are so enticing that we jump all over them like a dog on heat and make some kind of pseudo psychological love moves on them.
The numbers following some of these actually awesome products are impressive. I recently was enticed by a product that took me a little over two months (yup) to eventually set up that suited my ways of creating, managing and exchanging (sharing) information and knowledge.

Then I had to stop myself and ask the question I have been advocating all along and never even thought of following my own advice. Yes I forgot (WTF) to ask the developer all about their data protection and security arrangements. I did ask them.......and got silence.

So my head was in the clouds (and also up my own **s), because of my stupid lack of process. I was seduced by an awesome (it’s still awesome) product that could have (and maybe still have) the potential to change my knowledge management practices. I believe the product can still add to my knowledge work, yet that data security and privacy thing has stopped me in my tracks.

Caution and discernment for sure when we choose to add software (apps) and cloud (someone else’s computer) arrangements for our data. BTW: That awesome product/service I use? I connected with the developer who gave me this answer “If you’re not happy using our product; don’t use it, we’re not forcing you to use it are we?”.


Enough said eh; end of.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Monetizing your knowledge:

Monetizing your knowledge:

This is going to be real short, and it’s a kinda gripe.

I recently had a comment here at Visual Mapper Blog spot by someone who preferred not to identify them self. I decided not to post their comment as it is, in my opinion, rather disingenuous to anonymously take without giving.

The comment was in response to the article titled; “Mention the $$$ value of Visual Mapping and people magically listen”.

The anonymous person (or bot) asked “How do you monetize your knowledge via Visual Mapping?”.

I use a few visual mapping products that have impacted my work over the many years of involvement within the mind, visual, knowledge mapping arenas.

This particular product/service has delivered a way for me to monetize my knowledge work in order to create a direct and indirect residual income.

The product is TheBrain: not only has it enabled me over the almost 20 years of use to become a more effective graphical knowledge mapper/manager; it has enabled me to work with my clients and colleagues with absolute clarity.

The efficacy of your knowledge work that encompasses your business models are essential. TheBrain slowly but surely became my virtual office, a place where I go to create relevancy, manage effectively and share (exchange and monetize) my knowledge frameworks.

TheBrain software/service has become integral to the ways I create and build my database of information and knowledge. It can indeed be the same for you.

If you care to investigate the power of this ever evolving product; you’ll more than likely discover the ways you can monetize your information and knowledge via the “Make Private” and packaging functions within TheBrain functions and capabilities.

The anonymous won’t be getting a more in depth answer here within this short post. I do however encourage that person, and anyone interested; to investigate TheBrain to discover via the process of learning; that monetizing their information and knowledge is relatively easy using TheBrain software and cloud services.

I would be glad to privately discuss this reality with you; that is if you identify yourself and begin meaningful dialogue.

Point of disclosure:
I have comp access to the mentioned product.
I do not sell nor have any commissions from the developer of the mentioned product.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

A note about moderating comments at this blog!

I'm happy to moderate and post your comments on one condition.

At least identify yourself for clarity of potential involvement.