Every couple of months someone asks me why I haven't written up my thoughts about the current and future trends in social software, blogging and syndication as part of a Bill Gates "Think Week" paper. I recently was asked this again and I'm now considering whether to spend some time doing so or not. If you are unfamiliar with a "Think Week", below is a description of one taken from an interview with Bill Gates

I actually do this thing where I take a week and I call it "Think Week" where I just get to go off and read the latest Ph.D. theses, try out new technologies, and try and write down my thoughts about where the market is going. Things are going fast enough that instead of doing one think a year, last year I started doing two a year. And that’s one of the most fun parts of my job. So, you know, not only trying things out, but seeing how the pieces fit together and thinking ahead what kind of software will that require, that’s a big part of my job. And I get lots of great ideas coming from the people inside Microsoft, whether it’s sending e-mail, or meeting with me, and it’s important for me to synthesize that and so there’s a lot of thinking that I’ve got to do. And, you know, that’s fun.

I have been balking at writing one for a few reasons. The first was that it seems like a bunch of effort for relatively small return [the people I know who've written one first hand got the equivalent of a "virtual pat in the back"], the second was that I didn't think this topic would be interesting enough to get past the layer of VPs and technical assistants that probably screen these papers before Bill Gates reads them.

After thinking about this some more it seems that I was wrong about whether BillG would be interested in this topic given his recent endorsement of blogging and syndication. I still don't think much would come out of it but I've now see myself bursting with a lot of ideas about the current and future landscape of blogging and syndication technologies that I definitely want to write something down anyway regardless of who reads it. If I write this paper I plan to make it available online along with my other writings. The question is whether there are any folks out there interested in reading such a paper? If not, it is easier for me to just keep notes on the various ideas and blog bits & pieces of the ideas as I have been doing thus far.

So what do you guys think?


Saturday, May 22, 2004 6:00:05 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Go for it. Writing a paper or business plan that is intended to get others up to par on your ideas is the best way to streamline your thoughts and give you a better and clearer understanding. Plus if they truly are good ideas, the paper published on your website will do more good than notes stuffed in a word document somewhere.

Just a thought…
Michael Dwan
Saturday, May 22, 2004 6:40:04 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
What have you got to lose?
Saturday, May 22, 2004 7:00:42 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Time spent on working on a ThinkWeek paper is time not spent doing other stuff. It's time indoors when I could be out in the summer, it's time away from working on RSS Bandit and it's time away from working on hanging out with friends.

Saturday, May 22, 2004 7:01:26 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I've helped write a couple, one of which made it and one of which didn't. And yes, the only direct result is a virtual pat on the back. But you also end up with a "position paper" that can serve as a single reference, rather than a scattered collection of ideas. And as Michael said, the very act of writing a coherent whole often improves your thinking.

I'm meant to be writing another one this week. Want to trade proofreading duties? :)
Saturday, May 22, 2004 9:32:16 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
"The question is whether there are any folks out there interested in reading such a paper?"

Sunday, May 23, 2004 3:40:52 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
In my mind, having a "position paper", as Jonathan called it, is the real reason why you should write it. I've been reading your other writings on this site (which by the way seems to bob up and down like a cork in the bottle), and I believe you have a pretty good knack at producing papers of such class. "Think Week" thing is just a motivator.
Sunday, May 23, 2004 6:46:09 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
+1! The fact of having it all clearly explained in one place is incentive enough. The potential for the "virtual pat" is just icing.
Sunday, May 23, 2004 9:24:44 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Absolutely looking forward to reading such a paper. Not only for a single point of reference, a lot of folks who work in enterprise software would be interested in understanding what blogging/syndication means for enterprise communications rather than person-to-person communications.
Anupam Singh
Monday, May 24, 2004 3:29:44 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

In keeping with the finding by economic psychologists that fear is a better motivator than greed, you may want to include a section -- or even foreground -- the full potential of blogging, syndication, OSS-enabled blognet search, etc. to disrupt MSFT.

Toward this end, you may be interested in my business plan for a provider of customized lifelong learning and career services (CLLCS). Not long ago, after the plan was circulated within Microsoft, I received the following e-mail from Randy Hinrichs, Manager of the Learning Sciences and Technology Group at Microsoft Research:

"Frank, you are a good man. Have you thought about joining this team? Your only alternative, of course, is venture capital. But their usual models require getting rid of the 'originator' within the first eighteen months. With Netscape it took a little longer, but you get the idea."

In relation to MSFT, the plan is just brutally disruptive...

The current version (~80 printed pages) is online at http://www.go-ogle.net/businessplan.html

An excerpt:

The earliest internships will focus on Go_Ogle's leading-edge technology for searching social networks, which is also a 'must-use' in corporate turnarounds.

We will market our interns, suppliers, intern employers, Go_Ogle and OSG [i.e. my company, The Opportunity Services Group] through profitable comedy programming, online and on television. The initial television program -- The Secret Life of Windows of Opportunity -- will center on the comic plight of OSG's CEO: like many men, he wants to succeed in my professional life and also be the best boyfriend, and later husband and father, he can. In his case, achieving this balance:

* is complicated by the magnitude of the stakes in the early CLLCS market.

* will be further complicated by OSG-affiliated actresses and models, who will routinely employ their beauty, their charms more generally, and the latest innovations from the burgeoning sciences of enhancing desirability, to make a favorable impression on him.


As MySpace.com and Friendster already have (lesser) TV shows in development, I am trying to expedite by pushing MySpace to embrace my approach.

For details, see the Better MySpace TV! Group (http://profile.myspace.com/users/3748393) I started at MySpace.

In particular, note the models in the Membership section ;-)
Monday, May 24, 2004 3:49:18 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I'm sure it will be an interesting paper to read. In the long term, I think it's more important to have your vision on this topic than another round of cool features in the already cool RSS Bandit.
Monday, May 24, 2004 5:59:27 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
"the current and future landscape of blogging and syndication technologies "

So what do you see?

Now you really have to write it.

Monday, May 24, 2004 11:47:53 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
go ahead!
Monday, May 24, 2004 12:41:30 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
You are going to leave it up to Scoble?
Tuesday, May 25, 2004 10:12:34 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Go for it. Having a clear paper is worth more than a scattered collection of postings.
Wednesday, May 26, 2004 2:21:16 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Dare, definitely. You're already a leader (like it or not) in the space by starting RSS Bandit and your continued involvement. I would definitely like to see your ideas written down as I believe it will really spark discussion.

I have alot of ideas (http://haacked.europe.webmatrixhosting.net/archive/2004/02/18/201.aspx) where the space might go, but not having others to bounce these ideas off of, I don't feel they are as well formulated as I'd like them to be. I'd really like to see what your thoughts are.
Saturday, June 5, 2004 12:58:24 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
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