Tuesday Mar 09, 2010

OpenSolaris Community Growth in Japan

The Japanese OpenSolaris community continues to grow. It's now the 3rd largest community in the OpenSolaris world following the Spanish and Indian communities, it's the 3rd most active, and Tokyo is the #1 city outside the United States for sending traffic to opensolaris.org. The community in Japan also continues to diversify as well with general users mixing with kernel developers and globalization engineers. In fact, this diversity is driving the need to run concurrent sessions for beginners and advanced developers and users at community events.

There are multiple parts to the community in Japan:

There is a lot going on. I try to track what I can at this tag.

Friday Feb 12, 2010

Updating the OpenSolaris Participation Page

I'm starting to update the Participation page on opensolaris.org by adding context and pointers to Communities, Projects, User Groups, and Subsites that have published contribution documents. In other words, if you run any kind of group in OpenSolaris and take contributions, I'd like to build out a collection of links so we have one place to send people who are new or who may want to review a variety of ways to get involved. It's quite common to trip over new groups in this community that take contributions that I've never even heard of, so from time to time I intentionally go out looking for this information. And since the OpenSolaris community is distributed across many websites and social networks around the world, I'd like to attempt to collect more ways to contribute that are off of opensolaris.org. But the requirement is focused on contributing. I'm not interested in a massive list of spaces (we already have a million of them), I'm only interested in groups that encourage people to contribute directly to a given project. Send mail to jimgris at sun dot com and I'll update the page if I get some good links.

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.

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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?

Thursday Oct 01, 2009

Extreme Communications

There is good reason why extremism thrives in American political discourse. It works. It really is that simple. Actually, it`s a remarkably effective rhetorical technique and has been so since the founding of the republic. Go back and read the early political debates -- or just take a good U.S. history class -- and you quickly learn that pretty much nothing has changed in hundreds of years of politicians bashing each other in public arenas. Never mind the political party. That`s always been irrelevant when it comes to this behavior. American politicians intentionally take serious issues -- freedom, war, health, money -- right to the edge. Why? To scare people. And, since they have real power over our lives, it works. We get scared. And then we don`t question too deeply. And if we do question, we really don`t do very much about it, right? Instead, over time we become passive and compliant.

The reason I think this way -- it`s just a gut observation, that`s all -- is that if you take away someone`s power to control your life then their propaganda sounds much less threatening. Oftentimes, they just sound silly. Their lack of credibility becomes obvious, and they are much more easily ignored. You can see distinctions in communications strategies when you look at other fields outside of the political/media complex. Many companies, for instance, have found that attacking competitors in public is counterproductive. Customers see right through it, and the practice becomes a demonstration of poor marketing. Also, when you build community, especially across language and cultural barriers, extremist language can easily and rapidly undermine your reputation. Now, the term community has many practical definitions, but in general it implies a distribution of power and leadership, not a centralization. In communities, people tend to be valued for what they do, not what they say. You can see this in many scientific and technical communities. I see it in all of the communities in which I participate. But I don`t see this concept expressed at all in politics. Do you?

This all came to mind tonight after I scanned this article -- The pros and cons of hissy fits. It`s a fun read.

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?

Monday Sep 14, 2009

FOSS.IN Bangalore 2009

I see things gearing up for FOSS.IN in Bangalore in December. I went to FOSS.IN two years ago and really enjoyed the entire experience. And I learned a great deal as well. FOSS.IN was one of the best conferences I've been to. Perfect size. Interesting people. Real community feel.

Also note the excellent blog from Atul Chitnis outlining the changes being planned for this year's event. What seems core to the organizers at FOSS.IN is the concept of contribution. It's easy to get distracted and drift from foundational principles when you grow, but it's great to see FOSS.IN getting the basics right. Participation. Contribution. Doing -- not talking.

See a recent Atul video on just these issues.

Tuesday Sep 01, 2009

Easing Communications

I'm reviewing Chapter 6 of Producing Open Source Software by Karl Fogel. It's an excellent read. It covers communication on open source projects and how to interact in the most efficient and professional way possible. Also excellent is How Open Source Projects Survive Poisonous People by Ben-Collins Sussman and Brian Fitzpatrick (slides). I view this video every few months to keep sane. I've gotten much better with my online communications in recent years in that I don't get bogged down in flames or respond to attacks anymore, which only leads to being attacked even more. I used to try and respond to everything in an effort to shape a thread or calm people down or deflect unwanted advances. But that's just not realistic. More bluntly, it's a waste of time. And it only distracts you from taking advantage of all the interesting opportunities out there. Instead, I'm trying to focus my communications by engaging more with people who are respectful and open to my efforts. I am trying to protect my most important resource: my attention. It's going good.

Saturday Jul 25, 2009

Community Leadership Summit: Photos

Here are some images from the Community Leadership Summit (CLS 2009 Retrospecitve by Jono Bacon) last weekend in San Jose. I'm really glad I had the opportunity to participate in this event. I didn't have a chance to check out OSCON, which followed CLS, but I think this un-conference style of gathering better fits my interests anyway (see this tag here for BarCamp & other community events events in Tokyo). I hope the photos came out ok ...

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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.

Monday Jul 06, 2009

Community Responsibility and Opportunity

Last month there was an interesting thread developing on ogb-discuss about the lessons learned from the Townhall session at CommunityOne. The conversation died pretty quickly, though, which was a shame. I think it could have led to some good issues being explored.

In a couple of posts in the discussion, I talked about Jono Bacon`s Ubuntu session I attended at C1 and what OpenSolaris could learn from the Linux community in general (actually, we are already learning even if many people don`t realize it yet). I was trying to promote the notion that the OpenSolaris community ought to take on more community building responsibilities and not depend on Sun so much. That was in response to an observation that the "community" was somewhat lacking at CommunityOne. That may be true to a certain degree. C1 was a large event run by a company, for the most part, but it was intended to benefit the community. Let`s take it. It was a gift. I think that too may people are too quick to look to Sun for everything, which is not realistic and only leads to disappointment because expectations are simply too high.

Sun is doing its part (opening code, funding development operations and global community building programs, running conferences, hosting infrastructure, moving engineers outside, etc), but the community shouldn`t expect Sun to build the entire community at all levels, and that`s the impression I get sometimes from some of our list conversations. I have said that the community needs to assert more of its own community building role for four years now, but it never really resonates on list. I`m not sure why. Maybe I`m just wrong, but I think it`s painfully obvious. Just hang out a bit with the Linux community and you see many layers of communities with no single company in the center responsible for building everything. There are many companies and organizations and universities and individuals, and the attitude is very different. And there is no reason why OpenSolaris can`t grow in that direction as well. In fact, it`s already happening. Companies and large organizations are getting involved, and there are elements in the community that are asserting their role as builders beyond Sun -- the user groups. The OSUGs are helping to diversify community building functions because many of them are now running their own events (in addition to their normal meetings, I mean), and they are growing in their own ways without Sun necessarily being directly involved. This is a model on which we should expand.

Building the OpenSolaris community needs to be everyone`s responsibility and everyone`s opportunity, and it needs to be distributed as widely as possible. This is what we are doing in Tokyo, by the 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.

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Monday May 11, 2009

11 Sponsors for BarCamp Tokyo

Very cool to see 11 sponsors contributing to BarCamp Tokyo this Saturday ...


Monday May 04, 2009

The Return of the OpenSolaris Facilitators

Just when you thought they died, the Facilitators have made quite a  comeback on OpenSolaris. Go figure. In fact, there is a new Facilitation Project on the site to implement the Facilitator role, which is actually pretty well specified in the OpenSolaris Constitution. I've talked a lot about this role over the years because I've always seen it as an opportunity to implement global community building operations at multiple levels -- engineering, marketing, project management, governance, whatever. I think I've been alone with that thought in the past, though. I guess my timing was off. In fact, just last year I actually argued pretty strongly to cut the damn thing due to lack of interest. And I did. I cut the role from all the drafts of proposed new Constitution. No one argued to save it. No one even blinked.

There has always been confusion about where the Facilitators would come from. In reality, according to the Constitution, the OGB should have simply appointed the Facilitators all along. But that didn't happen. So Facilitators came along naturally based on the genuine needs of some of the more active Community Groups themselves. That's fine, of course, but that organic growth wasn't a comprehensive solution initially or even recently, and that led to communication problems between the OGB and the Community Groups -- most recently and most importantly with the low voter turn out this election and the failure to get enough votes to pass the new Constitution we spent most of last year drafting. Although the proposed new Constitution got a majority of votes from the people who voted, it didn't get a majority of the total votes among the OpenSolaris Membership. That means too many people simply didn't vote. And that's a communications problem that Facilitators can help solve.

Facilitators are basically project managers or community organizers or community managers -- pick your term of preference because they are all the pretty much the same thing. OpenSolaris does not have a single community manager or any single leader, for that matter, so it seems to me that the management-oriented functions are best distributed among the Facilitators because the leadership structure of the community is distributed as well. Facilitators can do more or less for their groups based on interest and need, of course, and they can be engineers or non-engineers. It doesn't matter. But there is a minimum level of governance-oriented communications required so the community can function, and that's specified right in the Constitution. It's all very basic stuff. But it's not enough. Let's think bigger than just implementing one Constitutional role. Let's think about how we are building a global community of communities -- not just one community on opensolairs.org. To me, this is a big opportunity for Facilitators -- to help manage the operations on opensolaris.org and then to help connect those operations to other communities around the world. There is no reason why this can't happen because the people on opensolaris.org are already distributed globally, but we don't really view them as global community builders doing local work. Some do it, sure, and those guys are well known. But I'm talking about building a global community development operation with people whose primary role is to build community. Community Organizers, basically. Or Community Managers, if you like that term better. I've always viewed the Facilitators as the foundation of that idea, and I thought that it was convenient that the seed of the idea was actually specified in the Constitution. Otherwise, the perception is that community building operations just rests with Sun exclusively, and I think that's too narrow a focus if we want to grow more rapidly. The community is already too international for it to be centralized around Sun, and that's pretty easy to see living from where I live. I've talked about this on list many times, but strangely, the idea is generally met with silence. Inside, too. That's why I eventually gave up.

Now, personally, I hate the term "facilitator" almost as much as I hate the term "evangelist" so I hope we rename the role to something more substantive in future versions of the Constitution. The word is weak. And that's part of the problem. People were never really interested in it and didn't see it of value, whereas in reality it has always been a needed role in this community. The truth is that we've always had communications issues in the community around governance -- quite literally from day one -- and those problems have not improved much over the years. Granted, the community doesn't experience its previous level of flame warfare these days, but that doesn't mean that communication has improved. It hasn't. What has improved is that some of the core projects have a much more clear focus now, and those guys are generating real results in their projects at their respective local levels. But overall, communication about governance issues and how the community is organized and where it's going as a community is still a missed opportunity. And if I'm being too critical, fine, then let me put it this way: the awareness of this issue is well below where I feel we should be in 2009. Regardless, I can't find anyone who'd disagree we could improve in this area. The Facilitators project is an excellent first step. We've had difficulty implementing or own community processes, so let's get that down and then grow from there.

Sunday May 03, 2009

Photo Directions: Sun Yoga Office

If you come to Sun`s Yoga office in Tokyo for OpenSolaris or Linux meetings or the upcoming BarCamp event, it`s really hard to get lost now. I updated the directions with new text and photos.

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.

Tuesday Apr 28, 2009

Tokyo2Point0 Images in Japan Times

So cool to see an article about TokyoPoint0 in the Japan Times today, and the reporter, Alex Martin, used six of my images to help illustrate the story. Even better. Nice to be part of a growing international web community in Tokyo. All of my stuff tagged Tokyo2Point0 tagged here.

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 17, 2009

Tokyo BarCamp 2009: Date and Venue

Tokyo BarCamp 2009 will be held on May 16 at Sun Microsystems in Yoga. This is very cool. We`ll be taking over the entire 27th floor of the building for an entire day, so we`ll have some stunning views from every conference room looking out over Tokyo. If you are in Tokyo and into open communities and want to make a difference, check out the wiki and come along. Bring your computer. Open your mind. Share your ideas. Participate. And bring a camera, too. Spread the word.
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