Archive for September, 2009

Life Resource Planning System

September 1, 2009

Media companies are struggling. This is not new, this is not news. But this crisis accelerated their dilema.  Since the first Webbrowser was distributed Media companies are looking for new sustainable business models.  This is difficult in the economy of “free”. Especially around media content. The whole story and how it evolves is blogged about by Jeff Jarvis on Buzzmachine.

Since 1999 Google demonstrates what bussinnss models are working. I want to add on a global scale. Today 50% of all newspaper readers are channeled through Google (search).  But is Google really the answer on the local scale ?

The strength of local companies is not the news, it is the strength of knowing the local environment. The future is not the advertising in your news that you sell it is a complete different model in my opinion. It is a very localized kind of “google” or even more. You let google do what google is best at and you do what you as the local embedded organization could do best for the people in your region.

What local people need is an urban resource planning system, a life planning system or a personal resource planning system. Making it easy for them to organize their lives based on the communication, on the news they receive from their network, from the web.

What do I mean ? As a media company you could provide the services that would support such resource planning.
Example: You write an article online about a restaurant, a theater play, an event that will take place  and offer the reader to immediately reserve the ticket or the table in the restaurant out of the article , have the date entered in teh personal calendar, have the bill send or the ticket automatically paid,….

What ever local information y0u provide you organize the follow on processes for the reader. Whenever needed you link to available online systems (example what is provided by google) or build a hosting service for local applications that support very local needs, offer iphone, igoogle apps or gadgets that support the follow on processes.

To take it a step further for all the smart phone or mobile computing device users each house or location could provide information whenever you come close to these locations based on your GPS position tracked by your smart mobile device.
There are plenty of examples: you assign tasks to locations such as get medicine from the pharmacy on the way home, or buy bread at the bakery when you pass by in the morning or return from work. As soon as you come close to the location your smart mobile device will notify you of the open tasks related to this location.
Or you drive into the city and the device will tell you where the closes parking is and how many spaces are available.
Or you visit the town as a tourist and your device will offer you information on historical buildings that you pass by during your visit or it will tell you about events going to take place in the building – be it a cinema, theater, restaurant, etc.
There are hundreds of possible location based services imaginable.

Even interpersonal based services could be developped. Such as a birthday reminder once you get close to a person you know and you are connect with…

The other opportunities are around collective learning or collective smartness. One way to learn is to benchmark against others – I created an example around Linkedin: How attractive is my Linkedin Profile – The Benchmark Study ? You could benchmark your energy costs or benchmark other information where you profit from sharing these information with others to have more transparency for yourself in order to make decisions. Other opportunities are around transport. Whenever one gets into a traffic jam by sharing this information other drivers coming into the city will take a different route. Again plenty of services are imaginable.

In principal these services will need to be open and free. I cannot imagine a paid or subscriber model for the majority of these services. Income could come through  referral, coupons or advertising. There are plenty of places in these services where one could place adds or get referral fees. A number of these business modells are described and calculated at:

To build such a system it could be done in cooperation between large and small players. For example computer users could provide space on their computers to support hosting of data and applications, anyone could provide content and anyone could provide samll applications based on the open standards, etc…. There only needs to be a decent model around sharing of the income generated through this system.

The best way to understand these new possible business models is to pilot them. I have been involved in pilots of the interactive television beginning of the 90s. From such pilots you will quickly learn what a user would expect from these systems and how likely they will succeed in the market place. At that time it became apparant that the technology, the costs of the system will not meet the users experience and value expectations . And as you know interactive television did not turn into a sustainable profitable business.

Ideal places for these pilots could be New York, London, Tokyo or Zurich.
Zurich has an ideal setup. It is one of the wealthiest cities, it is very international, it has a highly developed media industry, it is a major banking place, Google has its European and Middle East and African Headquarter in Zurich, Ebay has an office in Zurich, Yahoo is in Switzerland, there is the ETH and there are plenty of high tech companies in and around Zurich.  And very important the major Telecom companies such as Swisscom are located in this city. Besides a very well established communication network Zurich could additionally explore the transfer of data via the electricity lines. Zurich would be well set for a pilot and could likely beocme the smartest city on earth.

Example of a generic personal resource planning system. In this case it is proposed subcriber model, which I believe will not be sustainable or attractive to most users.

Example of a hyperlocal news site: was just aquired by MSNBC.

Recommended  Readings:
Jarvis, Jeff: What Would Google Do?
Tapscott, Don: Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
Udell, Sterling: Beginning Google Maps Mashups with Mapplets, KML, and GeoRSS: From Novice to Professional (Beginning from Novice to Professional)


Key Learning from Toastmasters History

September 1, 2009

firstofficialtoastmastersclubThe Best way to share with you my key learning as Toastmasters is by looking at the history of Toastmasters

And I hope the history of Toastmasters will enlighten you to follow your vision – it all started small.

How did all start?

It began with one man who initiated Toastmasters and a few members and now Toastmasters has more than 500 000 members worldwide.

This is Dr. Ralph Smedley who had the idea of Toastmasters. Dr. Smedley was born in 1878 and graduated from Illionois Wesleyan University in Bloomington in 1903.

He became the Educational Director of the YMCA in Bloomington and realized soon that his young men had a need for speech training. And he also learned that with a speaking class, literary or debating society he would not attract them.

He settled on the idea of a social club meeting weekly devoted to practice in short speeches, debates and some work in chairmanship.

The first meeting was held on March, 24 1905. It started of with the dinner which was prepared by the participants and followed by speeches limited to 5 to 6 minutes. The subject was chosen by the speaker. Criticism was given by the older men and a critical discussion among the members, who also expressed their opinion. A rotation of duties for each meeting was established for members taking turns at presiding and speaking.

Very shortly the members noticed a prompt improvement in the speech and as well as in the leadership skills which spelled over into the other clubs at the YMCA

Key Learning’s:
1) Effective Learning is learning by doing and improving through continuous practice and evaluation in a social fun environment.

Why is the official birth date of Toastmasters is October 22, 1924 at the Santa Ana YMCA in California ?


Between Santa Ana and Bloomington Ralph Smedley moved several times to take on duties at other YMCAs. Each time he started a similar club, but as soon as he left, the club died down.

In Santa Ana he was approached by outside people who wanted to start a similar club. This led Ralph Smedley to write a manual on how to organize these kind of social learning events.

Toastmasters started to grow quickly as it was a simple idea put to work in a simple manner.

Key Learning’s:
2.) Easy to use (first principle) – a simple idea, put to work in a simple manner but if you want something to sustain you need to document it for others. Ralph Smedley also realized this when looking back in his biography.















Dr. Ralph in the 1920s

How did the Toastmasters System evolve?

It was only with the Toastmasters club number 15 in Santa Ana that a new feature the so called Table Topics which are impromptu speeches by members were introduced.

A few years later the first competent communicator curriculumn than called speechcraft was introduced.

Key Learning’s:
3.) Once the fundamental principles are there every else will follow. An idea never starts perfect !!!

The future of Toastmasters ?










This is the world headquarters of Toastmasters connecting now over 500 000 members world wide and growing.

When Dr. Smedley was asked why he never turned his idea into a profitable business, he replied: “I would rather be rich in friendship than in money”.

On June 11 we Toastmasters in DOW joined together in a virtual meeting. Most of Toastmasters in DOW realized that we are spending more and more of our time in virtual teams and meetings and therefore see the need to practice virtual communication and leadership and we can all do this by applying the principles laid by the founder of Toastmaster Dr. Ralph Smedly.

The Final Key Learning’s:
4.) Network your way to your dreams and visions and never stop learning and adapting to the changing environment.

Learning is effective when it is learning by doing and improving through continuous practice and evaluation in a social fun environment even if it virtual.

Furhter Reading:

The Fastest Ways To Learn Any New Language

%d bloggers like this: