ZPURPOSEZPAST FCBIO   Session: 77 Minutes



Session: 77 Minutes

Both Eyes Open:
I saw yesterday that both the “Wake Up Call” section and “Theo’s Corner” need changing, and they need changing because a few of my core ideas have fundamentally changed in the opening few days. This is a good thing because it means that “Zero” is working, for it is sole purpose is two-fold, firstly to kick-start the new day and secondly to serve as closure to a decade long online journey. “Wake Up Call” was a connection to the One Dlog of 2004. It also connected to my admiration of the work of Marshall McLuhan, who suggested among other things, the value of probing, of using aphorisms and axioms and look at the artist, because it is the artist (he suggested) that often picks up on or is clued into major shifts in the winds of change).

Theo’s Corner was relating how theology and religion is built into our life, with or without our own conviction or belief. I could go on to discuss how a 1956 ammendment turned “In God We Trust” into the national motto of the US, how the Martin Luther’s 95 Theses inspired the Cluetrain Manifesto or even question how the coaching and some who go through the HR door is unambivalent about entertaining new age ideas – but yesterday I asked the most important question of all which SO WHAT? If I can’t answer the So What? question then it is not process but simply more dogma. So that is the first lesson here – respect all faiths but don’t push it up other people’s throats. Secondly, McLuhan’s aphoristic approach does work, but one has to think like McLuhan and there lies the problem, only a handful of people actually do – so why pursue something that is best done at the personal level and is otherwise open to considerable misunderstanding.

Having already formulated in my mind what I wanted to express in Theo’s Corner, I will continue with that today and then on Monday switch this section over to “Inspiration Point”. People like McLuhan talked about the Tetrad, of which one aspect is what is retrieved. One of those things McLuhan touched on was the retrieval of the “tribe” mindset and the issues “identity” being things that we must probe and examine in the “electric age”. So if I know that, then again, why do I end up preaching rather than probing.


So “Both Eyes Open” is how I should begin my day, not “Wake Up Call” – and especially when the skills of meditation I need should be focused solely on my business and future work plans, rather than abstract aphorisms or axioms. What I have remind myself is that stuff which goes beyond the point of self-reflection and that can’t meet the SO WHAT? Test, needs to be taken out. This meant to be a practical journey of practical change, and the biggest irony of trying to be awake to the world is dealing with matters such as sleep, and this I did do so at Po Bronson’s site. I don’t like waking up at 5am in the morning but it is a part of the new way forward for me, this is what I committed to, but not out of blind allegiance. This path must keep moving me from awareness to intelligence – and not just into the motherly arms of a felt loyalty.

The Host:
I will take the opportunity to thank Kevin for making a connection. The only connection to “My contacts” that I am making directly is to Lynne D. Johnson. People are welcome to connect, but connection isn’t my personal priority, finishing off the last 1/10th of this online journey is and then beyond that, it is settling into a life, which both is about watching all my kids come of age and working with my business partners to develop an organization that fits our own values and which represents what should be the best years of our life.

The Infomating Gadfly:
Oh Yeon Oh 2004 talk at the Berkman Center is worth a revisiting, especially in light of how the US political process is shaping up in 2008 in comparison to the conversations about the South Korean political process in 2002. He is the founder of one of the first notable citizen media sites OhMyNews. He visited the Berkman center in 2004, and though Business Week in 2006 questioned the economic viability of OhMyNews and could not make a link with the US 2004 elections, that isn’t true today, for six years after the Korean experience, this election cycle is beginning to see an amazing influence of the web on the political process. I remember a young Korean called Change1 setting up a home page at GoingOn. Nobody came to his page and I guess he had abandoned it thinking no one would, but two weeks later I wrote a piece there, but what Chang1 did not notice is that this one posting attracted over 4600 views – and I know where those came from intuitively – that must have been the OhMyNews crowd.

Da kine Media:
The one thing that I must always remain alert to my own life is not to become superficial. That does not mean that I come to the world as some serious dewd, but at the personal level that I do retain some semblance of seriousness, balanced by character development. The two best video’s I have seen that portray superficial culture at all of its glorious nothingness are one’s by Sound Garden and by the very forthright and straight to the point – Alanis Morrisette. This is not a jab at what others believe but a reminder to me of always getting back to the basics.

Theo’s Corner (to be replaced by Inspiration Point on Monday):
Martin Luther’s great act was pinning of the 95 theses on a church door. This was also the inspiration point for the 1999 writing of the Cluetrain Manifesto. With its under-current theme that markets are conversations, the manifesto portrayed a calling to corporations that traditional boundaries will increasingly fail to keep out the human voice because of the emergence of human voice liberated by newly emerging intereactive technologies.


This manifesto was basically annoucing the coming tsunami of change in the way we communicate and work. It was a great privilege for me to be a signer of that manifesto in 1999, before the Cluetrain rebels sealed it for prosperity. I remember at the time the sheer intensity that it unleashed and this led to a topica list, where the Cluetrain discussion continued for several years.

When I signed this I was totally out of depths and barely comprehending at any level what I was actually reading. I just grit my teeth and jumped into the Cluetrain topica community, but I was pleasantly surprised that fellow Manifesto signers treated me with utmost respect, and I realize they did so because I was talking in the language of the Cluetrain, in a human voice. Instinct knew that this manifesto was about freedom but over time I came to realize the sheer brilliance of the statement “markets are conversations”.

A lot has change shortly after that, for one thing, Brand You was launched by Tom Peters – which completely changed the trajectory of my online journey and create an urge in me to express myself as a “brand”, which has it happens has stuck around with me to this day.

Thankfully Martin Luther didn’t really think about what this meant to his “brand-you” before stepping up to the Church at Wittenberg, for if he had, first of all, the bishops would have accepted it has a survey-form solicitation instead of ignoring it and thus reducing its idea virus power, secondly the 95 Theses would never have been written because Martin Luther’s brand consultants would have never agreed on the wordsmithing; and finally he would never have personally agreed to their tag line “Staying Alive after a Ninety-Five Jive”.

Web 0.0 Picks:
An increasingly important subject area for me is economics and how economists think. It is true that I have reservations about disconnected nature of economics to actual human life, for one cannot measure the world by models but by existence itself. Yet it is also true for me that economists provide a kind of thinking that does keep rational discourse and critical thinking on the map – in a world where we must also equally develop the capacity to think like Daniel Pink suggests, with our right brain.


Two sites that caught my attention last year are AGORAPHILIA and PURPLE MOTES . The latter is created by Dennis Galbi, who interested me simply because the level his thoughts are expressed at was great observing and also his use of blog carnivals to channel viewpoints. I have overrun my alloted time for Zero today but today at least I feel like I have got back on track, rather than the lost soul that spent 74 minutes yesterday wondering what the heck it is I think I am doing.

Blast from the Past:
In October 2002 I had concluded what I thought was a “4 Year Journey”. What I had was a 4 year plan but what I got to discover is that emergent thinking trumps plans – which sits at the heart of any continous improvement effort – which should be, I can’t explain today because if I have done this right, it will be all different by tomorrow. That does not mean that our life becomes one of continous speed, because learning does not work that way. Looking back at this 2002 entry at FC, it still contains echoes to what it is I am doing today:

From: Ma.rk
To: 1998-2002

From the beginning I saw my participation with Fast Company a 4 year affair. In 2000 I wrote in a post called READ THE MAGAZINE that outlined some of my thinking and there are other postings in the LEARNING CONFERENCE that talk of my experimentation in this arena.

That 4 year period is nearly up, and these final flurries of thoughts are a way to cap things off. I am pretty thankful that no one at FC pulled the plug on Fasttalk Forums while I was using them.


The only question that matters right now is

What have I really achieved after 4 years on these forums and has it fundamentally changed me as a person?

The ultimate achievement after 4 years apart from being a part of a profitable business created in this very same room I am typing this, is the creation of a proprietory personal management/philosophical system. An iterative process that is now personal to me and which provides a creative tool as well as a benchmark/guiding tool. That particular system which is my “SF” System works for me because it has been designed by me for me. It is probably way beyond the comprehension of most people so it adds nothing to share it with others who merely have a passing interest.

How these forums changed me as a person?

By allowing me to paint my thoughts, splash them here and there and provide me the time, space and opportunity to study those very thoughts and to question my own words via the resulting ripples. There has been some key learning above all being my tendency to figurativley punch ideas in the nose and then wonder why that nose bled. More than that I am one of the few people who never gave up on the new economy idea, it is the new economy that gave up on the new economy – from where I sit and view the world, things are very different to 1998 – my way of life is different, the way I interact in work processes is different. I don’t need someone tell me that there is no new economy when I am sitting in the middle of it, involved in it day by day and watching it’s emerging and iterative creation.


As for what I call myself on these boards, It does not really matter one iota whether I am “MARK ZORRO” or MA.RK. What matters is the nature of the idea, the beauty and ugliness of self-examination, the simplicity, the incorrectness, the validity, the power or irrelevance of the idea. It was never about wrong or right, good or bad answers. It was never about mere opinions, it was about that examination (and occassionally apology when it went past the limits of individual tolerance).

I supported these forums in my own way, maybe I lived by my own rules, maybe I got under people skins when I did, maybe I pissed off people who were so busy into examining what I was writing that they forget their responsibility to themselves. I have always made it clear on these boards that this is an experimentation. Not to prove anything to you. A 4 year journey. My journey to which you are a temporary witness. The latter style I adopted of having a MEMO style ie TO: and FROM: – this was my way of saying that it is an impersonal response, not a personal one. No one ever sends an organizational memo to their spouse, friend or family.

What I had was a four year plan. It has been four years. I have advanced, I have grown. When I began these forums, Fast Company put forth a description of the kind of person that they said might show up in it. They had high hopes for some electricity to occur, some fireworks, some great original thinking, some enlightenment and of course a variety of different thinkers – as well as to create a new form of community. I delivered in that respect, a lot of my ideas came free spirited from my own thinking, not some textbook, not a rehash of someone elses words – mine, no one can say that it was not original, they can call it boring, they can call it confusing, they can even call it simple, that’s all fine, it is the study of what my words mean that had the most powerful impact in the last 4 years,

Would my life be different if there was not an FC Forum or I had not picked up a yellow covered magaine in the Spring of 1998. For sure. A spark occurred then, a possibility awakened in my mind that I could change, that here was this Webber and Taylor guy that had some spunk and juice about them to put this novel kind of magazine out. It turned out that Seth Godin shoiwed me that someone had my number. His presentation at a CRM conference explained how FC caught a particular segment and got them hooked. I never saw myself as someone who swam with the pack. How the heck did FC manage to fish me out. The pleasure here is to see me throw myself back in the water, from whence, like a Salmon returning to where I once came.

Of course there were some unfortunate moments, none more so particular than the aardvark who sent me the most crass marketing type letter for my FC subscription renewal. I just had to throw that back in his face. I knew then that the subscription people outsourced on the sales side of the magazine had no understanding of customer relationship management. In that instance the customer spoke.


Good tidings and thank you FC for the past 4 years.


Not for Video
Not for Audio
Not for Comment
Not for Fashion
Not forever…but to reach Zero