Tuesday May 25, 2010

BarCamp Tokyo 2010: 4 Days Away

For those attending BarCamp Tokyo 2010 this Saturday the 29th, I look forward to seeing you soon! If you've never been to a BarCamp, here are two examples of what these events look like from right here in Japan: BarCamp Tokyo 2009 | BarCamp Yokohama 2009. And there is some basic information about BarCamp here and here. BarCamp Tokyo 2010 is just four days away, and it should be a really great day. We'll have some nice donations from some sponsors (multiple servings of food, shirts, stickers, pens, software, and the building itself, of course).

But as Karamoon said in his opening speech last year, BarCamps are basically living human wikis. People make BarCamps. People sharing interesting content and experiences openly and actively in many-to-many relationships. It's all about direct participation. That's the key. There are no special speakers standing on elevated stages lecturing at people safely separated from passive and silent audiences. Everyone engages. Everyone contributes. Everyone teaches. Everyone learns. And everyone picks up the trash.

So, start thinking about what you will present. Or what conversation you'll lead. Or what idea you'll plant. Or what project you'll start and with who. Formal, informal, technical, non-technical, software, hardware, community, panel discussions, debates, photography, artwork, evangelism, marketing, hacking, leadership, activism, internationalization, science, innovation, development techniques, environmental issues, solutions to the world's most difficult problems, health and safety challenges, economics, etc. What ties all these things together is a spirit of doing and building and sharing and that's what community is all about.

We have plenty of time and space for everyone to present something. We have multiple rooms for short 15-minute talks, and a larger room for longer 1/2 hour sessions (or even longer events if needed since the schedule is made up on the spot and must remain flexible). And if you don't actually deliver a talk, that's ok, but please participate by engaging in discussions with speakers and others and in hallway conversations or over lunch or dinner or at the bar afterwards. You could very well find yourself directly involved in a new life changing experience just by showing up and discovering a new project to which you can contribute. Your input is valuable. Your voice matters. The world changes by people doing things at the grassroots level, not from the top down. This is where the ideas come from. This is where the real value is generated. Down here where people do things.

The facilities we'll have for the day are seriously beautiful. Bring your cameras. The views of Tokyo are great. Bring your laptops. We'll have free wireless. Bring your ideas and keep your mind wide open. Also, keep checking the wiki this week for more information and schedules.

NOTE: If your name is listed on the wiki that means you are committed to come. If you can't make it, please remove your name so you give someone else the opportunity to participate from the waiting list.

We are getting close ...

Sunday May 23, 2010

Photos: Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010

Here are about 90 images from the Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010 this weekend at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Ookayama Campus. I saw a bunch of guys from the OpenSolaris, Linux, and Java communities and also the crew from Tokyo Hackerspace. Great fun. Lot of interesting hacking going on in Tokyo, and everyone I spoke with said the community is growing in size, diversity, and quality.

See Make on Twitter here. See Make Magazine here. Also related from the past: Tokyo Hackerspace, O’Reilly Make Tokyo 04 2009, Tokyo BarCamp 2009, Yokohama BarCamp 2009. And don’t forget to participate at BarCamp Tokyo 2010 next week on Saturday May 29th!

Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010
Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010
Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010
Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010
Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010
Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010
Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010
Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010
Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010
Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010
Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010
Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010
Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010Tokyo Make Meeting 05 2010

Here are 320 more images from Tokyo Make 05 2010 from Lem Fugitt (Robots-Dreams).

Wednesday Feb 10, 2010

Who Understands Communities? The Kids.

The 18-29 year olds are different. 'The Empathic Civilization': The Young Pioneers Of The Empathic Generation. And I think it bodes pretty well for the future of emerging international communities of all kinds -- technical, scientific, political, environmental, medical, etc. The article seems focused on American and/or Western people, but I wonder what this generation of kids is like in other parts of the world since culture so significantly affects opinion and action. Regardless. If you want to learn about community you need to get around people who do community. Kids. Oh, and by the way, for those above 40 or so, you don't lead in this situation. You follow. Then after you participate and contribute and earn your way you can lead in your area. But remember, everyone leads and everyone follows. That's what I like about communities. Leaders aren't special and opportunity isn't restricted. The kids seem to know that. Why don't we?

Saturday Jan 30, 2010

Leadership via Action

So many people claim they lead. Maybe they have a big hairy title or powerful position or know someone special, or maybe they just have lots of cash and feel we should all follow along quietly. There`s even a whole industry of "leadership" with books and seminars and all sorts of guys spinning up what it means to lead. I used to think all that was pretty cool (or interesting to study, anyway), but not any longer. Spotting leadership is simple. Look around the room, look for who`s talking and for who`s doing. Follow the ones doing. Chances are those people won`t bark orders to you, but instead they`ll encourage you to work right along with them and you`ll want to. You see, real leaders don`t duck when things get hot. They don`t get hard to find when things get confusing or uncertain. They don`t tell others what to do, either. They just step up and act because things need to get done. Leadership is demonstrated via action, and anyone can lead because anyone can act. Everything else is chit-chat.

Monday Jan 25, 2010

Building Communities by Building Schools

"We don't want our babies to die, and we want our children to go to school"

That's what motivates Greg Mortenson to build communities because that's what women tell him in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They don't want their kids to die. So to help out, Greg builds schools -- in a region of the world that has known only war and poverty for generations. Hear Greg tell his story to Bill Moyers on PBS.

There are many more videos and articles about Greg and his foundations and books. Just a wonderful story all around. Even the highest levels of the U.S Military are now reading his book -- Three Cups of Tea -- and they are listening to him in the field because he knows more about the culture on the ground than most Americans involved in the battle over there. He's not fighting terrorism, tough. He's building community. There's a difference. The first action is defensive, based on fear, and short term. The second is offensive, based on inspiration, and long term. One breaks. The other builds. But this no hand out from some rich guy in the West or even a government program. Greg is not rich and he built his organization from pretty much nothing. And people of modest means -- and kids with pennies! -- create and drive these programs. Not the rich. Not the governments. In this case, individuals make the difference and that's why it's so inspiring. And the schools have to be earned, too. Educational leadership and resources are contributed from the outside, of course, but things are distributed and managed locally as well. Land is given for free and so is labor. This way the local community owns what they build.

This guys knows what he's doing, and he figured it out in real time. I just tripped over him today, but he's been doing this for sixteen years. I will study him closely. Everything he does represents a repeatable model for building community anywhere in the world for any purpose. Think you can't do something? Think it's too hard? You must check this out. Very cool.

Wednesday Jan 20, 2010

Community Leadership Summit: July 2010, Portland

Great to see the 2nd annual Community Leadership Summit booked for July 17th & 18th in Portland, Oregon. I was at the first CLS event last year in San Jose. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot as well. And I saw a bunch of OpenSolaris people participating by running sessions, too. If you build communities -- which means you run user groups, drive communications programs, create contribution mechanisms, manage engineering operations, host community infrastructure, evangelize the benefits of engaging, or contribute in other ways directly -- then you are a leader (leadership by doing, I mean), and the community would benefit from your experience. This is not a traditional conference where only a select few present. Instead, everyone can present. Check it out.

Wednesday Nov 25, 2009

BarCamp Yokohama: Fall 2009 Photos

Multiple international communities came together for another BarCamp here in Japan last weekend, this time at the Yokohama International School about a half hour south of Tokyo. Back in May we organized a BarCamp in Tokyo, and I think we`ll do more of these events after this Yokohama effort. This BarCamp model for conference organizing is interesting and extremely efficient because it`s a flat structure and distributes tasks widely: everyone organizes, everyone participates, and the schedule is built live on site. Some OpenSolaris guys were there, and we gave out OpenSolaris t-shirts and CDs and other items. The theme for the event was 21st Century Education. Special thanks to kurisuteen for leading. Great event.

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

BarCamp Yokohama BarCamp Yokohama

Tuesday Nov 24, 2009

O`Reilly Make Tokyo: Fall 2009 Photos

Monday was a holiday here in Japan so I went to the O`Reilly Make Conference and saw some of my Tokyo Hackerspace friends there -- among thousands of other Japanese Makers. Really good time.

Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009 Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009

Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009 Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009

Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009 Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009

Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009 Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009

Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009 Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009

Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009 Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009

Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009 Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009

Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009 Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009

Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009 Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009

Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009 Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009

Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009 Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009

Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009 Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009

Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009 Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009

Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009 Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009

Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009 Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009

Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009 Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009

Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009 Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009

Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009 Make: Tokyo, Fall 2009

Make Magazine | My photos in Make blog (cool) | Make Conference News Video (Japanese)

Sunday Nov 08, 2009

Make: Tokyo Meeting 04

I have never been to a Make Meeting. Just BarCamp and Hackerspace. May try Make.

Thursday Oct 29, 2009

Success and Failure

Failure as a springboard to success. Nice piece there from Jono Bacon on how to fail gracefully, recover, and move on -- learning all along the way. I like it. Very practical advice for managing projects -- or doing anything, really -- in a community environment where credibility can be earned and/or lost rapidly and publicly. Much of the issue involves just recognizing your mistakes, apologizing, and fixing things so your actions support your words. Works for me. But I think many people struggle with this concept because they wait too long and the issue gets too big and complex. Then they feel they can't back down. Too much has already been said. So, they spin. What I have found is that if you get out there fast and correct things early -- whether it's your fault or your company's or someone else's in the community -- it's much more casual and normal and most people will engage pretty well. Early apologies on the small stuff tend to be more understated and easier to deliver than those bigger ones later on.

Also, Jono utters this gem in the article: "In my experience of working with communities, successes provide an incredible opportunity to learn about our strengths, but failures provide the inverse opportunity to learn about our weaknesses." I totally agree. People have always told me that you have to fail because "that's the only way you ever learn anything" or words to that effect. I never agreed with that. Actually, that notion always pretty much made me sick to my stomach. The truth is that you learn just as much from success as you do from failure -- it's just that you learn different lessons, that's all. You need a balance of both. That's obvious, right?

Sunday Sep 20, 2009

Building by Contributing

I was meditating earlier and I got a great idea. It`s an obvious idea for me, but for some reason it clicked this time when it bubbled up. Maybe because I have an enormous amount of material now, I don`t know. I have some interesting stories to tell and piles of photographs to play with as source material, and I keep generated new stuff all the time. The more I look the more I find.

Anyway. I am going to put together a new presentation about all the people I look up to as great community builders. Most of them I have met and/or work with every day in the multiple communities in which I participate, but some are just acquaintances who I observe from afar and study in detail. And some I have never met but would love to because they are changing the world in important ways that oftentimes go unrecognized. They teach me. They are international and multi lingual. They are young and old. They cut across many industries and disciplines. Some think big and build globally, but even more think small and organize locally -- and many times that`s even more difficult and more important. Some are famous but most are not. And the common thread tying them together in my mind? They all build communities by contributing to communities. They do. They don`t just talk. That`s the bit they get right, and that`s why they teach so naturally by simply doing what they love. This is personal. That`s why it`s powerful. And that`s why I have to tell these stories. Just looking up to people who build community is not enough. We have to learn from these people and distribute community building opportunities among everyone. That`s the only way a community becomes sustainable.

Thursday Sep 17, 2009

Recognizing the Community Builders

It's always nice to see people recognize your work -- even in small ways and especially in the community building business (which is generally not well understood). Sun's employees around the world who build community every day are doing important grass-roots organizing work, and they have a great deal to be proud of. Over the last few years, these people have built global communities using tools such as blogs, wikis, forums, and even entire Free and Open Source development projects. Thousands of employees have been involved, and they have engaged users, customers, developers, and students in virtually every region of the world with a connection to the net. Add to that all the employees who regularly go out into the community and participate at user groups and industry conferences and organize events, and the reach grows even deeper. Line it all up. It's been quite a remarkable accomplishment. I think we should write a book. The people who did the building should tell the story.

Tuesday Sep 15, 2009

Building a Brain Machine

If you want to build a Brain Machine, go to Tokyo Hackerspace on Sunday. Information here. You know, I could really use a Brain Machine right about now. You?

Saturday Sep 12, 2009

Tokyo Linux User Group 091209

Some images from the Tokyo Linux User Group (TLUG). Really good technical meeting on Saturday and nomikai later at night. About 50 people came by to hear Zev Blut on using the shell effectively, Alberto Tomita on the upcoming Japan Linux Symposium, and Matthew (Karamoon) on Hackerspaces.

Tokyo Linux User Group 091209 Tokyo Linux User Group 091209

Tokyo Linux User Group 091209 Tokyo Linux User Group 091209

Tokyo Linux User Group 091209 Tokyo Linux User Group 091209

Tokyo Linux User Group 091209 Tokyo Linux User Group 091209

Tokyo Linux User Group 091209 Tokyo Linux User Group 091209

Tokyo Linux User Group 091209 Tokyo Linux User Group 091209

Tokyo Linux User Group 091209 Tokyo Linux User Group 091209

Tokyo Linux User Group 091209 Tokyo Linux User Group 091209

Tokyo Linux User Group 091209 Tokyo Linux User Group 091209

Tokyo Linux User Group 091209 Tokyo Linux User Group 091209

Tokyo Linux User Group 091209 Tokyo Linux User Group 091209

Tokyo Linux User Group 091209 Tokyo Linux User Group 091209

Tokyo Linux User Group 091209 Tokyo Linux User Group 091209

Tokyo Linux User Group 091209 Tokyo Linux User Group 091209

Tokyo Linux User Group 091209 Tokyo Linux User Group 091209

Tokyo Linux User Group 091209 Tokyo Linux User Group 091209

Tokyo Linux User Group 091209 Tokyo Linux User Group 091209

All of my TLUG photos here on Flickr
All of my TLUG posts tagged here: http://blogs.sun.com/jimgris/tags/tlug

Wednesday Sep 09, 2009

BarCamp Coming to Yokohama, Japan

Excellent to see BarCamp Yokohama being planned for late November. I will surely participate if I am in town. The event will be held at the Yokohama International School, so education will likely be top of mind (as it should be). We held a BarCamp in Tokyo back in May. This is what it looked like. Hugely successful conference -- organized by the community for the community. All BarCamps are slightly different, so it will be fascinating to see BarCamp Yokohama emerge its own way.

Sunday Sep 06, 2009

Tokyo Hackerspace Open House

I stopped by the Tokyo Hackerspace Open House today in Shirokanedai. Really nice day to welcome a new community of hackers, builders, and artists into existence. This space, which is a two story house in Tokyo with a backyard, is a welcome distinction to a virtual world filled with distributed digital networks. Tokyo Hackerspace is local and quite physical, and it grew out the community activities at Tokyo BarCamp in May. It`s very cool. Go to the site. Join the mailing list. Stop by the house. Get involved -- physically.

Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609

Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609

Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609

Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609

Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609

Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609

Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609

Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609

Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609

Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609

Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609

Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609

Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609

Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609

Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609

Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609 Tokyo Hackerspace 090609

See some videos from Masafumi Ohta here. He`s the OpenSolaris dude on the bike right above.

Tuesday Jul 14, 2009

Community Leadership Summit

I'm heading to the Community Leadership Summit this weekend in San Jose, California. Jono Bacon's gig. I'm looking forward to meeting many others who build software communities around the world. I know and respect many of the people planning to attend, so it should be great fun. And it should be a hugely valuable experience, too.



I have an agenda in mind for my time. It's only a weekend, so I need to probe some issues as deeply as I can. I'd especially like to explore how software engineering and user communities are built across language and cultural barriers. That's the biggest deal for me since I live the issue every day and I believe there are big opportunities involved.

Other stuff: How/why do some communities seem to emerge organically (do they really?), while others are built using significant resources and sometimes face big challenges in the process. How do you manage around community dependence issues while investing resources? I know it's not popular to discuss, but I'll be asking people about competitive challenges they face while building communities. Over the years, many have told me that communities shouldn't be competitive (companies compete and communities cooperate, right?), but I've come to question and largely reject that line. I can point to many cases where it's absolutely true, but I also have lots of painful experience demonstrating that it's a lot of BS (I think it depends greatly on geography, culture, placement in the community, and politics).

More: Where is the line distinguishing building from natural evolution? And who defines the difference? On governance issues: Do you start out building with governance in place or let it emerge naturally over time? Do you build a top-down governing system, or let structures bubble up from the bottom when (and if) they are needed? And how do you resolve governance vs development methodologies? How do you measure growth or quality or whatever else you're building? What are the distinctions between building community from the platform of a major corporation vs building community while actually living out in the community itself? How are community development and engineering operations implemented differently around the world? How is community actually defined differently in various regions? Those are some of the issues I'll be poking.

And finally, I'd really love to see how people feel about the issue of "leadership" in communities. That's the name of the conference, after all, and it's an issue we've wrestled with on OpenSolaris forever. My opinion on leadership has evolved greatly over time, but I'm clearly moving in a specific direction lately and feel much more comfortable asserting my view on leadership.

A Community Builder who Never Quits

Grace Lee Boggs puts things in perspective quite nicely in this interview with Bill Moyers. It's all about building community and empowering people to take control of their own own lives, instead of looking to some leader somewhere to provide for them. Real change -- change for the good, anyway -- starts down at the grassroots and forces movement above. Not the other way around. And when economic and governmental structures break down, that's no reason to give up and complain and get distracted, it's simply a reason to rebuild and focus on self sufficiency and distributing power so it can be used to actually help people. That`s how some people feel in Detroit. They are acting. They are building. They aren't giving up and leaving others behind. And at least one of those community builders is 93. Ninety three. Feeling down? Call Grace. She knows no other way.

Friday Jul 03, 2009

Upcoming Events: Linux, OpenSolaris, Web 2.0

I hope to check out three community events in Tokyo in the next week or so:

- 7/10: OpenSolaris User Group: ZFS and OpenSolaris Security
- 7/11: Tokyo Linux User Group: Network Security and ZFS
- 7/13: Tokyo2Point0: Cloud Computing and Lightning Talks

The timing is good, too. Canon called. They fixed my lens.

Monday Jun 29, 2009

Tokyo Hackerspace

I've been checking out the Tokyo Hackerspace gmail list for a few weeks. Looks very interesting. The project grew out of some discussions at BarCamp Tokyo a couple of months ago, and I spoke to Karamoon about it at the OpenSolaris community event this weekend. In a world of ever expanding global digital communities, it seems like a nice idea to have a very local a very physical space to hang out in and hack on things that need hacking. Global and digital are fine, but local and physical are needed too. For info, check it out on the wiki.

Tuesday May 26, 2009

BarCamp Tokyo: Fall 2009

The planning for BarCamp Tokyo Fall 2009 is starting now. I'll be on the organizing team again. We have more time. We're going bigger. And better. Should be cool. Check back often. And if you are in Tokyo you can get directly involved. What's cool about BarCamp is that, quite frankly, no one is special. Instead, everyone organizes and everyone presents. Everyone is special, actually. Everyone has something to contribute.

Sunday May 17, 2009

BarCamp Tokyo 051609: Photos

Amazing day at BarCamp Tokyo all day Saturday and well into the evening. I got home totally exhausted. This event was wonderful because it was organized by volunteers, the corporate sponsors were interested in supporting the community, everyone cooperated and participated, the talks were diverse and interesting, the venue was cool, and we filled the place with about 100 people from many international and Japanese communities in Tokyo. It`s all about the community. And the community led in every way. Over time we should continue moving in this direction and mixing among as many communities as possible. Tokyo is a very large hub in the global community, no question about it. More here on BarCamp Tokyo.

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

BarCamp Tokyo 051609 BarCamp Tokyo 051609

Saturday May 02, 2009

Wanted: T-Shirt Sponsors for BarCamp Tokyo

The planning for BarCamp Tokyo is coming along nicely. I see over 100 people signed up to attend, and there is a lot of buzz about who will present during BarCamp on May 16th. The venue is all set, too. There are six sponsors so far: O'Reilly, Opera Software, Sun Microsystems, Tokyo2Point0, Sapphire Interactive, Fujimamas. All of us organizing BarCamp greatly appreciate the efforts and resources those sponsors are contributing to this community effort. However, there is one last item we need sponsorship for: T-Shirts. This is a big deal. We need a shirt to wear. And we are really looking forward to creating an original BarCamp Tokyo t-shirt that blows people away and makes sponsors proud to be involved. I'm not talking about some half-baked design just to have a shirt. I'm talking about something with some style. Something beautiful. Something everyone wants. Remember, we are building an multi-level international community in Tokyo -- a community of communities that calls Tokyo home but reaches right around the world into well-established and emerging markets and interesting new communities. In other words, it's big. Heck, Tokyo is big enough, but that's not big enough for us. Tokyo = Global.

So, there you have it. There are sponsorship opportunities open for companies to get directly involved in BarCamp Tokyo and contribute to some cool shirts. Interested? Check in with Karamoon (here, here, here). Or leave me a comment here. Or mail me at jimgris at sun dot com.

Sunday Apr 26, 2009

The Distinction Between Power and Leadership

Interesting talk from Marshall Ganz about building community and distributing leadership. At the 13:10 minute mark of the video he talks about the distinction between power and leadership and how in voluntary associations you can`t rely on political or economic coercion to get people to something. You can`t substitute power for leadership. Leaders of volunteers elicit cooperation by tapping into the shared values of the community, and that`s a much more challenging exercising than dictating orders with threats of force to back you up.

This quote at the 14:15 minute mark sums it nicely: "It`s very easy, if you are in a place where you can fire people if they don`t do what you want, to kid yourself about why people are collaborating and cooperating with you. It`s very easy if you are in a place where you can put people in jail if they don`t do what you want. When you are operating in a voluntary setting you don`t have those options so the burden of leadership is much greater because you have to elicit voluntary collaboration, cooperation, engagement, motivation, commitment, etc. So, in a sense, it`s sort of leadership on its own without the props that are often available to us to exercise authority in organizations."

Friday Apr 10, 2009

BarCamp Tokyo 2009

There is a BarCamp being organized in Tokyo. Cool. I am looking forward to participating. If you are in Tokyo and will be around at the end of May, go to BarCamp Tokyo 2009 and jump in. I have never been to a BarCamp, but I think the Tokyo community will end up running an interesting conference locally that also extends internationally.

Wednesday Apr 01, 2009

Looking for Leaders in all the Wrong Places

Really good article about leadership from David Rothkopf in the Washington Post the other day -- Where Are the Leaders? My favorite quote is this one right here: "Everywhere you look, it seems that the men and women in positions of power are receding. The closer you look, the smaller they get. Once there were titans running the financial and business worlds, lions of the legislature, great statesmen astride the global stage, individuals who weren't just victims of history but who bent it to their wills. Or maybe it's just that people in the rearview mirror appear larger than they really were."

Yes, I do think the rearview mirror distorts our view, but I also think the current crop of leads out there is poor at best. And I disagree with the presupposition in the article (and in most of these articles) that leadership is only for leaders. That`s what keeps us always looking up to the special people for answers. Leadership is not just for leaders. Leadership is for all of us. And just because our so-called leaders turned out to be obviously so small, that doesn`t let all of us off the hook for our own laziness to take responsibility for our own lives. I mean after all, we believed those guys, right?  That part is our problem, not theirs. Don`t look up for leadership. Look in the mirror. Weave that notion into the article as you read it. I think it works.

Thursday Mar 05, 2009

The Stories of Community

Why Stories Matter: The art and craft of social change -- "Learning skills and practices is not like learning a formula; it’s more like learning how to ride a bicycle. You can read 10 books about it or listen to someone lecture about it all day, but how do you really start learning to ride a bicycle? You get on. And you fall. That’s how you learn practices. That’s how you learn organizing." -- Marshall Ganz

Nice article from Marshall Ganz on using the power of story (four specific levels of stories, actually) to engage people and build communities that drive change. Story telling is as old as it gets and remains probably the most effective way to deliver information that resonates. Here`s a little Ganz video, too. Good stuff.

Monday Feb 23, 2009

Alinsky to Obama: Organize! Organize! Organize!

I`ve been catching up on my Saul Alinsky now that we have a community organizer in the White House. I was never much inspired with Alinksy, although I certainly appreciate his place in American history. When I read his stuff I just feel dirty, sort of like plodding through Eddie Bernays and his propaganda or Machiavelli and his lessons for princes. But all that is reality in power politics, and many of those guys articulate some wonderfully evil and practical tactics to gut a variety of opponents in just about any situation you`d find yourself in. If that`s the sort of thing you want to do, anyway.

It`s interesting, though. We oftentimes hear that you have to fight fire with fire, and that`s probably true in some cases. But what about the exceptions? For instance, I never get that dirty Alinsky feeling all over when reading Ghandi or King, and those guys were certainly grand community organizers fighting bad guys too. In fact, they were probably the two most effective community builders in modern history. I wouldn`t put Alinsky in their league. Ghandi and King inspire. Alinsky manipulates. Ghandi and King transcend and transform. Alinsky fights. Both views are probably necessary at various points in a great struggle, but I prefer to focus a tad more on the positive and not so much on an Al Capone street fight in a dark and dirty Chicago alley. But that`s just me.

Sanford D. Horwitt, an Alinsky biographer, writes nice piece about what the so-called father of community organizing would say to President Obama today (Alinsky would be 100 this year). I guess Obama studied under some of Alinsky`s guys for a bit. So, what`s the fatherly advice on building community? "Barack, remember what got you here ... Keep your eyes on the prize and keep organizing, organizing, organizing!" That`s not surprising. And it`s good advice. But it will be interesting to see if Obama can follow it, if he can keep his obviously well honed community organizing skills up to date from the perspective of living among the power establishment that Alinsky was always fighting. That`s where Obama sits now, after all. Will it work from way up there? To me, this is what makes the Obama presidency fascinating.

Also of note is Obama`s view of Alinsky himself. It`s far more expansive view than the narrow minded Alinsky pitched. Check out The Agitator: Barack Obama's unlikely political education for a lot of Obama`s views of Alinsky. I like this bit right here:

"Alinsky understated the degree to which people's hopes and dreams and their ideals and their values were just as important in organizing as people's self-interest. Sometimes the tendency in community organizing of the sort done by Alinsky was to downplay the power of words and of ideas when in fact ideas and words are pretty powerful. 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, all men are created equal.' Those are just words. 'I have a dream.' Just words. But they help move things. And I think it was partly that understanding that probably led me to try to do something similar in different arenas." -- Obama, 2007

In other words, community organizing isn`t always about going head to head. It`s not always about cutting people down. It`s not always about taking power away from the powerful (after all, what do you do with the power you get? Will it corrupt you as it did them?). Sometimes community building is about, well, building. It`s about inspiring. Liberating. Leading. And it`s about distributing power, not centralizing it. It goes far beyond words, too.

Friday Jan 23, 2009

If I can help ...

To my friends and colleagues caught in the RIF yesterday, please keep in touch and let me know if I can help in any way. At the bottom of this page are all of my contact points and networks, so ping me to connect. Also, it's encouraging to know that many Sun employees are extending offers of support to those impacted. Communities are transcendent. Stay connected so we can help each other. To me, that's the real value of building and contributing to communities.

Monday Jan 12, 2009

It Starts in your Heart

Some nice bits in here about community from Chris Pirillo -- How Community Works: Past, Present, and Future. My two favorites: community starts in your heart (not in your tools) and leaders grow naturally from within the community (you don`t necessarily have to start out with leaders already in place).
About


Search

Archives
« April 2014
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
   
       
Today
Bookmarks

No bookmarks in folder