Saturday, August 26, 2006

Here we go...

As Manager of Information Systems for a mid-sized manufacturing concern* I am charged with maintaining technology as well as keeping up with technology. As I have previously posted (see below - "The IT staff Leaves at 5 PM") my expectation is 24x365^2 where ^2 is the time and effort put into keeping up with technology.

I am always on the lookout for the "better mousetrap" and I think I have found one. How I found it is in-and-of-itself a great Internet viral 6-degrees-of-separation story. Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away I encountered a social-networker entrepreneur, Joi Ito. Joi engendered a community forum to explore social networking (#joiito) and the many assembled. Great and small (like me) we gathered and shared, laughter and tears, joys and fears. I listened. One day somebody mentioned Hugh at GapingVoid and how great his business-card-back cartoons were. So I go to check out the no-nonsense-cut-the-crap-speak-your-mind observations and I am hooked. I needed daily fixes. (Thanks Joi.)

Then his "How To Be Creative" weasels its way into my psyche, into my subconscious. I am taken with the thought of hard work, integrity and "Ignore everybody." The first two I can identify with thanks to my father who instilled in me the great dictums of the Protestant Work Ethic. The last, but not least, is the true liberator. Be free to go, look, be, taste, feel the world not as others would but as you would, as I would. True freedom. (Thanks Hugh.)

Amid all of Hugh's acerbic observations and glasses of wine is a mention of a guy and a "Thingamy" ... What ever the hell that is... Says Hugh, "What's interesting is that he's building software that actually allows companies to replace hierarchies with "something better"." So off I go in search of this Thingamy... And I read, and I follow links and I read and I follow links and I finally determine that Thingamy is most aptly named. It defies pigeon-holing, categorizing, labeling or defining.

So all of that happened, figuratively, the day-before-yesterday. Yesterday through the wonders of Skype I got to spend some time with Sigurd Rinde, the principal architect of Thingmay. I can say that I still don't know what Thingamy is...HOWEVER, I can say that I know it has great potential. I know because the man I spoke with is not hampered by the traditional encumberences that force a project into a given mold.

In truth I do know what Thingamy is. Thingamy is a knowledge container system. Not just any old static written-down knowledge but living dynamic open-for-business real-world working knowledge. What is very important about Thingamy is that the container is designed by the knowledge. In most, if not all, existing systems the container defines the contents (knowledge). If what you know doesn't fit into one of their containers/boxes/compartments then it is not valid. If it is not valid then it is not important to your process. If it is not valid then you do not know it.

This is the paradigm shift that I have been searching for. This is the "better-moustrap" that I have been seeking for some time. "What's interesting is not that Sig thinks thinks traditional corporate hierarchies (including the marketing department) are inefficient and should be replaced with something better." says Huge. This is the very essence of "^2" that I demand of IT.

On Tuesday next I will get to spend some more time with Sigurd via Skype and RealVNC. He has offered to show me a demo of Thingamy that he developed for a Bicycle Factory. This is of particular interest as I am, as previously mentioned, the MIS for a mid-sized manufacturing concern. To date one of the major software problems we have encountered it the inability of existing software packages to properly contain the knowledge of our business. It is my great wish that Thingamy will change all of that.

Tuesday will tell...

* Mid-sized manufacturing concern - is a privately held, family business that I do not speak for.

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