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Colin Lucas-Mudd
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Coastal Contrasts
I am fortunate to live in a particularly beautiful part of coastal California, and to 'commute' to an equally attractive part of North Wales, equidistant from our UK development office and Dublin HQ.

Other than the rain—too much in Wales, too little in CA—the weather, even down to the coastal fog, is really quite similar. The variations provide manifold photographic opportunities. Unfortunately, they are of little value without a camera in hand. Thinks...

Note to Self: Remember to take camera when traveling... Then use it!

#davenport   #northwales  
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2014-05-30
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The Eyes Have It
Oh Deer... The Dark Eyed Junco isn't the only one.

#birdphotography   #wildlifephotography  
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2014-05-30
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OK, What's the Catch?
"It's just not this easy as a rule. Oh well, if someone is dumb enough to leave their nuts lying around, who am I to argue?"

#woodpecker   #woodpeckerphotography  
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2014-05-30
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Peeking Over the Parapet
It's a weak excuse for such a long absence I know. However, it's the only one I have, and it does have the benefit of being accurate. I've been a trifle busy.

OK, maybe the reason is accurate, the excuse... Well, there is none really—there's always time to engage. It's overcoming inertia that's problematic, and building momentum that takes time.

Yes, I'm embarrassed to see that my last post was eight months ago. Worse, that I predicted I would be engaging more regularly. Ho hum. I do gain some comfort from the fact that my primary passion outside of work has suffered too. Until this last week-end I'd only played with my photography toys twice since September. This has to stop.

So, let me start by posting a few pix. I'll start with Simon to make sense of the headline here. Assuming that I can build, and then maintain, momentum I'll post some more. Hopefully, this will encourage me to take some much-needed time off with my cameras and get back to sharing.

PS: Oh yes, for those who remember me from the dim distant past, perhaps I should mention what's been so important that it's kept me away. Work!

Now, although from the early G+ days I have kept my business life separated from my engagement here, the exquisite irony behind my absence deserves an explanation... I've been working with a great team at building an advanced social media engagement, analysis, monitoring, and education ecosystem designed to increase social impact while minimizing time spent. As I say, there's irony!

The past eight months have been spent shuttling between Silicon Valley, London, Manchester, and the +Scredible HQ in Dublin, pulling the pieces together and... Well, and having fun.  

#squirrel   #squirrelphotography   #photography  
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2014-05-30
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An Angel—Or a Peculiar Bird?
Just over the 'hill' and up the coast from the adobe Mudd abode is the pristine coastline surrounding Davenport, CA. Although it can be a challenge to get to the beaches, the cliffs provide some great opportunities for candid bird shots.

These pelican shots are distinguished by the light as the sun disappeared behind an offshore fog layer—lighting the cliffs and beaches, but leaving the ocean in shadow. The individual shown as the cover of this album appears to be trying to prove its one-wing prowess and/or emulating an angel. 

#pelicanphotos   #birdphotography   #wildlifephotography   #photography  
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2013-09-19
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DIY Sushi—Al Fresco
My absence from social media during the summer was driven  primarily by work. Luckily, during this period I've had the privilege of working with great people in the design, engineering, business development, and marketing teams of a fascinating new venture shortly to enter the 'Alpha' launch phase. However, life was not all fun work.

My significantly better half delivered a series of ultimata—using the cunning device of, "There are some nice photo opportunities before we have lunch/dinner."  Eventually I gave in—naturally.

The pix here are distinguished by a particularly obliging otter who went to great trouble to dive for a brick, arrange it on his chest, hang on tight, then dive for clams repeatedly. Having surfaced, he carefully beat the living daylights out of the poor unsuspecting mollusk, then lay back, basking in the sun, and dined. What a life!

#wildlifephotography   #seaotters   #sushi   #photography  
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2013-09-19
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After a long Summer break to get down to some serious work I have finally summoned the courage to re-enter the world according to Google. Step one, update the 25 year-old avatar... Done!

When I've caught up with the gazillion notification backlog, I may actually find time to write and share. I've missed you all.
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A Matter of Principle—Exposing the Principals
When it comes to having the strength of character, future vision, and true integrity to stand up and be counted, there are few throughout history who have equalled Edward Snowden. His intestinal fortitude, detailed in the Guardian piece below, needs no further commentary. 

"We have got a CIA station just up the road – the consulate here in Hong Kong – and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be."

Having watched the Obama administration prosecute whistleblowers at a historically unprecedented rate, he fully expects the US government to attempt to use all its weight to punish him. "I am not afraid," he said calmly, "because this is the choice I've made."

Good luck Edward. The online community thanks you—the world's governments will too when sanity prevails.

H/T +Thomas Power  

#Edwardsnowden     #whistleblowernews   #internetprivacy  

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Visa Card Limits—Q: When is $500,000 Too Low?
A: When the card is an EB-5 visa. There was a short, succinct, and on point post by +Steve Faktor yesterday on the inequities of the HB-1 visa and the impact on average earnings in the tech sector– http://goo.gl/ivNnP. Steve makes an excellent job of linking the tax code, lobbying interests, and the resultant downward spiral’s effect on education, opportunity, and equity. The post brought to mind the EB-5—a topic upon which I have written before but is worth airing again.

The NBC article linked here provides a good summary of the basis for the EB-5. Also, it makes the point that there are those who, as I, believe the $500,000 investment requirement to be vastly too low. However, the article’s focus is not on the key danger nor the inequity—the types of job being created for those who are already U.S. citizens. Low wage jobs—typically minimum wage. 

In this respect the EB-5 simply sets up the working-class American population as a mirror of those low-wage workers in offshore nations where the ratio of income to cost-of-living is little different. The only difference, in fact, being that the jobs created—hospitality and construction workers—cannot be taken offshore.

The solution is obvious and simple. As Steve mentions in his LinkedIn article, this is something that could be proposed by the team locked in the room with the sandwiches and beverages. Indeed, it would take them all of five minutes before they moved on to the tax code. Raise the limit to $5MM. Exclude all service industries and provide a discount or faster path to citizenship if tech or health related. Cut the red tape. Simple. Of course, the interest’s of the lobbyists’ clients won’t allow it to happen. Sad. 

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Commercial Communities Come of Age—Again
Although long, +Thomas Power's post shared here is worth taking the time to read. Of course, one could always wait for the book that would result from Thomas answering his questions with a couple of paragraphs each, and adding backstories and/or predictions to support his multiple statements. This is where you come in. Comments, suggestions and answers on Thomas’ OP—http://goo.gl/4e0Tn—will provide the necessary material for the book in no time.

As I commented on the original, for my part, I see the community and transaction elements merging—and quickly. We just need an effective barter platform and we’re back to a future defined by the past. As a metaphor, I immediately think of the wool trade in a market town on the edge of the English Cotswolds in the 17th Century.

The toll to cross the river on the town’s bridge is analogous to the ISP’s fee for bandwidth—an intrinsic part of the transaction flow. Naturally, the town would not exist if it were not for the community, typically formed around a river that, in turn, provided additional nodes to the network with the fees going to the ferrymen. The storage barns and depots along the way provided G ‘Drive’, DropBox, iCloud et al repositories, with escrow services, eBay, Paypal, etc., communicating and transacting with London, Amsterdam, Lyon,  Leipzig etc.

Spinners, weavers, and manufacturers—multiple examples here but let’s use paywalled media—added value to raw materials. Think community comment, actions, and activities, generating ‘news’ content to square the circle.

Hmmm, maybe that’s why the G+ logo is square with rounded corners. Thinking ‘different’ in circling the square. The market square? 
+Google evolving from Transaction Company to Community Company

When you study the journey Google have embarked upon you can see Google are evolving from a transaction company based on search and advertising to a community company based on contribution and engagement. The Google-Motorola hardware is designed to make it easier to engage in that emerging community company.

This evolution Google call Plus (+) as in +Google+ launched June 28th 2011. 

Google 1.0 or pre-Plus was 1998-2011. That’s thirteen years. Six years to build an internet business model and a further seven years to optimize it.

In the 1.0 period I am excluding the Orkut, GoogleSocial and Buzz experiments. All of these were attempts by Google over seven years 2004-2011 to appreciate and respect the concept of a community company. Even great companies of our age like Google may find it difficult to build a community company.

Those seven years 2004-2011 were critical to Google’s own development. I suspect most organizations may have to go through a similar experimental period as transaction people bump into and sometimes conflict with community people. We all know conflict (while painful) leads to growth. We also know some people inside Google love Plus while others remain unsure, sitting on the fence. The fence sitters are likely the transaction people (show me the money). Community is by no means obvious behavior. Community behaviour is the inverse of transaction behavior.

Google the community company thus begun in 2011. Google 2.0 or Plus.
I really like the concept of plus (+) and in time I think other companies will call their own evolution from transaction company to community company “plus” also.

All companies, governments, educational establishments and municipals will evolve communities as extensions to their brand and wider reach of their intention and purpose.

Community company’s do not replace transaction company’s.

Community company’s enhance and extend transaction company’s.

There might be a perception in the market that a community company is somehow non-financial or flakey or not real and only real transaction company’s make money. This is not the case. A community company is a complementary extension to a transaction company. A community company may in time be worth more in the marketplace than the transaction company that birthed it. I think we may even see community company’s acquiring their transaction company parents. That in itself is a weird sentence to write but I know it is a coming. It is a sense I have.

Transaction companies have a product that you pay for before consuming.

Community companies have a product that you consume first and pay for later (in ways various).

Transaction company’s are closed selective controlling (CSC).

Community company’s are open random supportive (ORS). 

You can talk more on ORS in the leadors community:

https://plus.google.com/communities/102351823564702266781

The transaction company is task driven.

The community company is relationship driven.

Community companies provide a free service and somehow figure out how to make money from your attention and engagement. Monetization might be through the (big) data you give to them through your engagement and content contribution. Monetization might be through the attention you give as an audience.

The transaction company is a product company.

The community company is an attention company.

In this new connected world “Attention is The Product”.

“Attention is The Product” was first said to me in 2004 by +Ronald Wopereis. Attention has fascinated me ever since.

http://www.sunzu.com/articles/the-value-of-attention-37427/

Ronald believes that in the future post 2020 we will trade in attention. Attention itself will be a marketplace traded like a commodity. Again I sense Ronald is right yet I do not quite understand and am keen to see what you folks post below on this thread.

The transaction company is typically focused on its profit and loss account.

The community company is typically focused on its balance sheet and the value of its intellectual property and more deeply its intellectual product.

The transaction company is focused on scaling through distribution.

The community company is focused on scaling through licensing.

The transaction company seeks salespeople and dealmakers.

The community company seeks changemakers and content producers.

Neither is right, neither wrong, they are simply different.

The transaction company is an institution.

The transaction company requires institutional thinking.

The community company is a network.

The community company requires network thinking.

I suspect right now 90% of companies are transaction companies and 9% of companies are experimenting and transitioning the birth of their community company’s. The birth of a community company requires a skilled team of community people.

1% of companies I suspect are already community companies. 

Who are these companies? 

Do you think you know one or two of them already?

How do you think they have been funded?

Can you name them?

If so please add them below so I can study them, their intention, their process and their journey.

The question in directors’ minds is whether they can transform their transaction company into a community company or whether they need to start a separate new community company.

Transaction companies are buying (internal) social software in an attempt to become community companies.

Examples of social software might be:
http://www.salesforce.com
http://www.yammer.com
http://www.jive.com
http://www.webex.com/social/
http://www.lithium.com
http://www.bazaarvoice.com/
http://www-03.ibm.com/software/products/us/en/ibmconnsuit/
http://www.moxiesoft.com/solutions/socialknowledgebase.aspx
http://www.drupal.org
http://www.joomla.org

and of course the currently donation free and advertising free

http://plus.google.com

which for some transaction companies may make the perfect intranet. 

I’m unsure whether these purchases will actually make those transaction companies become community companies. In reality the above social systems are often replacing email and make the transaction company more efficient and likely more automated with its engagement across multiple social platforms. The transaction company seeks the automation of all (social) processes ad workflow. This makes for a more efficient transaction company but it does not make it a community company. No.

When implementing social software the transaction company is typically focused on ROI like productivity gains, travel and entertainment savings and deeper employee engagement (happier staff). All three are internal measures. All three directly benefit the transaction company.

Q: How do they benefit the end user customer?
A: Most likely through reduced errors.

For a community company to emerge from within a transaction company the internal social system must be connected to an external social system where all stakeholders can engage. When I say all stakeholders I mean employees, future employees, shareholders, competitors, customers, suppliers, municipals, schools and colleges.

I think in many ways Google have already birthed this community company with Plus and yet despite this internally at Google many Googlers remain nervous about using Plus as I suggested earlier preferring only limited profiles or no posts (afterall they are at work). This is about confidence and trust in unfamiliar territory. Community is unfamiliar territory for most people because most people are transaction people. That’s how we’ve been brought up.

The GooglORS (Googlors) are still to emerge. By Googlors I mean those who think community in other words in an open random supportive way (ORS).

Perhaps an external team of open random supportive folk will evolve the internal Google to be even more “plus like” (not sure “plus like” is even a phrase).

Evolution from closed selective controlling (CSC) to open random supportive (ORS) needs to be gentle, non-intrusive and take time just like a garden cannot be forced to grow faster (even when you have the knowledge of what to do). Remember most people do not wish to change however tech savvy they are being short of time and comfortable with what they are already using.

The first part of the process in building a community company is to have the conversation internally about a community company.

Next it’s time to discuss a strategy for your community company. Is it to be evolved internally or is it to be done externally in a new company perhaps in a new building next door or down the road?

Then it’s time to discuss who would lead and form the team to build that community company.

What skills will be required?

What funding would be required?

Where will this capital come from?

Will capital come from the transaction company, new shareholders, sponsors, unknown stakeholders or donations from the community itself?

What kind of community will be built?

What will be the intention of this community?

How will this community gain attention?

How will this community retain attention?

What intellectual property is likely to emerge?

What intellectual product is hoped might emerge?

How can intellectual product be monetized in other ways?

How much time will the community be given to be born?

What software systems will be used?

Will the community company be connected to the transaction company?

How will these software systems be connected to the transaction company?

Who will be trained internally?

Who will be trained externally to be part of the community team?

Who will prepare the content?

Who will prepare the editorial calendar?

When will a pilot community begin?

How will we know a pilot community is working?

What measures will we use to define success, knowledge, insight, connections, users, contributors, license fees?

How will we scale up if (when) it works?

What’s the role of the transaction company in the community company, engaged or at a distance?

How will we support transaction people on their journey into the community?

Do the transaction people ever have the desire to be involved in the community company?

Who will we use to value our community and place a monetary (financial) value on its progress?

What’s our long term goal …for the community company to acquire the transaction company or vice versa?

Will we one day spin off the community company or will we one day combine these assets under one roof?

Questions, questions, questions.

This is the journey of evolving from transaction company to community company.

It is a journey Google are on which I admire them hugely for and it is a journey many companies have to follow so it makes sense to document and learn from Google’s experience. +Google+ is a living breathing case study with almost thirteen hundred people involved internally plus a team of external suppliers. 

The best approach is to have a week by week, month by month, quarter by quarter plan of milestones you would like to achieve (ideally) so you can get a sense of what is possible and what is not. Remember there cannot be a right path there can only be the one you choose.

Where do you begin now?

The best play to begin is to begin by joining a community you are attracted to, find out if it works for you and see why it does or does not. There are plenty on Google+ and if I might recommend one to you it would be Conversation led by +John Kellden a Swede.

https://plus.google.com/communities/109257599738414342408

Then ask your employees which community actually holds their attention and why? Study those communities and understand exactly how they capture and hold attention particularly those communities that have done so for many years.

Now it’s time to return to your transaction company Boardroom and commence the conversation:

"from transaction company to community company …"

...are you ready with your business case in one hand and your adoption strategy in the other?

Good luck. Tx
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