Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 Predictions

It's December, it's almost the end of the year, and it's time, once again, to pull out the old crystal ball from the closet, dust it off, and gaze into its murky prescience to see the future as it relates to technology trends and the Web.

Location-based information and services
The rise of GPS and GPS-enabled devices such as the iPhone will propel location-based information and services. While large search engines such as Google are good at finding information from all over the place, they tend to lack the location-based results that we so often need. Expect microblogging to play a role in this sphere.

Location-based content writers, curators
When location-based information and services explode, there will be a need for people--writers and curators--to supply the increasing demand. Subject matter expects and locality experts get active.

Cloud computing (cumulus vs. cirrus clouds or local vs. global)
With Google storing our email, documents, photos and whatever else on its servers, the cloud computing concept and reality are expanding. In many ways, we do not need hard drives to store our files. I predict cloud computing will expand into two areas: local and global or cumulus and cirrus. Low hanging clouds (cumulus) could store the files and apps of small companies, while high clouds (cirrus) could store the files and apps of large or global-sized operations. Once again, I predict Twitter and other micro-blogging tools with develop their own local and global presence, with local focusing on specific groups and global on large, diverse groups (kind of like Twitter).

End of Free
There are many, many free services on the Web - but do any them have a revenue / business model? No one--not even I can argue--with free services, but I predict there will be an end to free. Will Twitter charge a fee, will Second Life, will wikis, etc - I don't know. But expect some serious talk about this in 2009.

Video Video Video
When I think about video, I think excellent education tool. The mumbo-jumbo gonzo videos will always be around on YouTube, but I predict video's educational power will increase its presence.

Collective Build (tm)
The Collective Build (my own little theory) is something I've been thinking about for several months. With all the stuff we're blogging, micro-blogging, podcasting, mapping, communicating, collaborating, community-making, we are building something that I am calling the Collective Build. We're building something huge, and as the tools and apps become more sophisticated, this people-powered, social-fueled Collective Build will start to take shape in 2009.

You've been warned.

Happy New Year, Dear Readers. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Whoa, Nelly! What Will Tech Look Like When We're 90?

During the Christmas holidays, I visited family and friends; like most of you, our family and close friends came together, prepared a large meal, talked about the past year, and, of course, exchanged gifts.

Among those celebrating with us was a short, spunky, Scottish lady named Nelly. Real name Helen, Nelly has one of those rare energy levels that prompt her to hug and sometimes (if the music is right) dance with those around her. Nelly is a bundle of energy. Why else would friends call her Nelly rather than Helen. Nelly, by the way, is 92 years old.

While the gifts were being unwrapped, I pulled out my two digital cameras (a Kodak EasyShare and a HP Photosmart) and began to shoot those candid moments when surprise turns to happiness (or dismay) as family and friends opened their gifts.

In the process of shooting, Nelly looked at the cameras with amazement. She asked to look at one of them, and so I showed her a camera and the viewfinder, which showed her the pictures I had just taken. She shook her head in astonishment. When I removed the 2GB SD memory card from the camera and told her that all the pictures were stored on this tiny little device, I was afraid she would fall off her chair.

When I slipped the SD Card into a nearby laptop's memory card reader and showed her the pictures and printed out a few, she look intently at the images and said with the wisdom of ninety plus years of life: "Aren't they just beautiful pictures. Aren't they just full of memories."

While the technology amazed her initially (the advancements in digital photography, the shrinking size of storage devices, the ease to print photographs), she ultimately understood the real meaning behind the technology: It made picture-taking and sharing (and memory-making) more immediate. The human side trumped the technology insomuch that technology simply made the human experience among family and friends (the picture-taking process, for instance) more intimate, more immediate.

After the evening ended, I thought about those moments and wondered how technology will look like when we're 90 years old. It will certainly amaze us as well, I am sure. I cannot even begin to imagine.

But we can be certain of one thing: Technology will continue to enable us to communicate, create, share, and bond (form communities) with others. How will all this transpire, I can only guess.

What are your ideas - what will technology look like when we hit 90 years old (God and good genes willing.)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Saturday / Sunday Slide: The Daydream

I discovered a gem of talent over the Christmas holiday: San Francisco-based ambient musician and artist Tycho (real name Scott Hansen).

Check out his music here and his art porfolio here.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Hello Readers,

Just wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, Season's Greetings, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year.

Your blogger in arms,

the DA

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

One Meme to Rule Them All

There are memes, and then there are memes. A meme is a kind of chain letter for the blogosphere without any nasty curses or an overwhelmed inbox of chain-emails, as Walt at Random explains. Someone tags you or serves you a meme and you respond, in turn, following a set of rules.

I have one meme I am working on (I haven't forgotten you, Oza). But I also served myself with a meme, right in time for the new year:

List 15 things you want to do or want to achieve in the new year, even if they sound improbable or unlikely.

Try it, if you like, and let me know what you wrote. Here's what I came up with:

1. Attend the launch of a Space shuttle.

2. Fly to the UK, run across the countryside, and fly back home.

3. Meet at least one interesting person each day and learn something new each day

4. Write a book, or several, and give talks around the world to inspire others

5. Read more.

6. Make music.

7. Participate in something greater than myself.

8. Live boldly and authentically.

9. Sleep soundly at night and wake up energized and alert at 6 am.

10. Find a cool gig on a sunny campus in California next to the Pacific Ocean.

11. Dip my fingers in the Pacific Ocean. 

12. Meditate.

13. Rest the mind and work the body.

14. Travel to Asia.

15. Make awesome memories.

A few weeks ago, I was served a meme by local Montreal blogger Oza Meilleur, who blogs at Oza Meilleur (the making of), but, unfortunately, I still have not started working through it.

While I was thinking about Oza's meme, I started toying with an idea for a new meme, which was partly inspired by a blog post I read on David Lee King's blog. King, who blogs at, er, at David Lee King, is a librarian, musician, writer, blogger, and videographer and seems like a very nice guy. He loves his job and shares his joy through his numerous social networks.

King's meme, or the one he had been served, has something to do with 99 things: Things you had done, things you want to do, and things you have not done and don't ever want to do.

I thought about it, and found myself focusing on things you want to do. That particular one seemed full of possibilities, it was hard to resist.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Doing Business in Second Life: Is Your Digital Archive Open for Business?

When I worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), I learned about a project developed by the World Bank Group called Doing Business, a five-year old project that reviews and ranks government and local business laws and regulations in over 180 member countries and determines which are the best for doing business.

According to the Doing Business blog, which is written by World Bank staff, the World Bank believes that "encouraging business is key to creating jobs and alleviating poverty."

A part of the Doing Business project that caught my attention was that the World Bank had created a virtual community in Second Life that supports the objectives and goals of Doing Business but in a virtual environment. While Doing Business is primarily a real world project, the World Bank is attempting to recreate its success in the virtual realm. In October 2008, the World Bank held its second virtual Doing Business meeting.

At the time, my IMF colleagues were considering whether or not Second Life could play a role in IMF activities. While plans were made to review Second Life further, I started wondering if virtual worlds and virtual communities could have a role in archives.

For those unfamiliar with Second Life, Second Life (or SL) is:

a 3-D virtual world created by its users, also known as residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by millions of residents from around the globe. It offers a platform for communication, business, and education.

Let me know what you think. Archivists in Second Life???

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Friday Abstract: Don't Fear the Archivist, er, the Reaper

I usually do extensive research and perform mental calisthenics to write The Friday Abstract. But, alas, today, I have a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell!

From Saturday Night Live - "More Cowbell"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Self-Interview: Tabloid Edition

TABLOID Reporter: Dave? Dave?

Dave: What the--? I'm sorry, but I really have no time for this. I have to catch my bus.

TABLOID: A few questions for the scandal sheets...enquiring minds want to know...

Dave: I normally don't talk to tabloids...

TABLOID: Whatever...You recently launched a third--yes, a third--blog. The question everyone wants answers to know is: Are you out of your mind? Three blogs? How are you gonna handle the pressure?

Dave: Out of my mind? No, of course not. Each blog serves a particular purpose., for example, pretty much runs on its own. Not much intervention on my behalf. Just a few tweaks now and then. Thankfully, the blog remains a very good resource. I find something interesting there every day because the content it aggregates is always fresh and relevant.

TABLOID: Horrendous shameless plug. Now what about The DIGITAL Archive? Will your cornerstone blog be tossed to curb like your long line of ex-wives?

Dave: I cannot believe I am hearing you say these things. No, The DIGITAL Archive will remain online as long as its writer has something noteworthy to share.

But at the moment, what I am most proud of is my latest blog venture called Archives*Open, a blog that focuses on how archivists are using technology, particularly Web 2.0, to further enhance and improve public access to and understanding of archival material.

I hope to cultivate a collaborative team spirit with this blog, whereby other archivists can submit their Web 2.0 archival projects that they have recently launched or--and here's a big scoop!--they can submit their own thoughts and comments on Web 2.0 and Archives.

TABLOID: Major scoop! Archivists can also submit their opinions on Web 2.0 and Archives?

Dave: Yes, that's a new plan in order to make Archives*Open a more community-oriented, collaborative space. I welcome input. How would archivists use Web 2.0 in their archives? What Web 2.0 technologies, tools, or ethics would they want to implement, and why? I think it could generate some interesting discussions.

TABLOID: Wait a minute! Wait. One. Minute! Archivists and Web 2.0? You've got to be kidding me?! I bet half of them don't know what Web 2.0 is and the other half who do know want nothing of it!

Dave: I refuse to sink to such levels of cynicism. I know archivists are cautious professionals, analyzing the situation before committing themselves or their limited resources. That's smart. I mean, heck, I think we as a community are still figuring things out in regards to Web 2.0. This is all new stuff! But exciting new stuff, stuff that could change things for the better.

I believe Web 2.0 is a win-win situation, if we are willing to take a few calculated risks. Web 2.0 is not only about technology, it's also about thinking differently, looking at things differently. For Archives*Open, it's about thinking differently about access to archival materials. It's all about giving access to the masses in innovative ways!

TABLOID: Ugh! You have to work on your marketing skills. Listen. I'm still not convinced. I think this Web 2.0 is essentially a fad, like Facebook and Twitter.

Dave: Platforms, like the ones you mentioned, will indeed change or disappear and re-appear with a different look. But the key is what they fulfill: They fulfill the innate human desire to communicate, connect, and build communities. Didn't Seth Godin write a book called Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, about people's desire to form and join a movement, an idea--something along those lines?

TABLOID: OK, Socrates! You're losing me here!

Dave: Nevermind.

TABLOID: So Archives*Open is open. That's wonderful news. Great. So much for if it bleeds, it leads.

Dave: Is the interview over then? Are we done?

TABLOID: One last question!

Dave: No more, please. Out of my way.

TABLOID: Dave! Dave!

Dave: Yes! Yes! I'm right here!

TABLOID: Is it true you dumped Jessica Alba for Jessica Biel? And what's with your obsession with Jessicas anyway?? Hey! Come back! You can't run can out run me but you can't out run the paparazzi!

From time to time, I interview myself. I conducted a self-interview a few months ago which went quite well. It was a sit-down interview, one-on-one with myself across a table on a dimly-lit set with questions and answers in the spirit of an investigative Mike Wallace or a probing Charlie Rose interview.

This latest self-interview, however, was different. I don't know what happened to the previously dignified journalist; he was gone, replaced by some kind of uncooth tabloid reporter, the type who snakes around your favourite watering hole, waiting for you to spill some saucy bit of gossip.

But since I do not drink, I was accosted right outside the The DIGITAL Archive office. Confused and unprepared, walking while talking, I had to react as best as I could when his mic sprung up in my face.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday / Sunday Slide: BBtv Interviews the (other) Digital Archivist

Boing Boing, the technology and tech culture blog, recently interviewed a human rights digital archivist on its sister video website Boing Boing TV (BBtv, for short).

Popular tech writer Xeni Jardin interviewed WITNESS.ORG's Grace Lile, the human rights' organization's digital archivist in charge of organizing and preserving institutional and user-submitted human rights videos and images.

I mention this piece because I was surprised and pleased to see such an influential blog as Boing Boing mention the importance and necessity of a digital archivist in our digital information age. 

Moreover, I was equally surprised and pleased to hear Ms. Lile talk about raising awareness about human rights issues and its history; engaging the public; and soliciting the public to participate online by submitting stories and videos to Hub, an experimental website designed to be a "global platform for human rights media and action."

UPDATE: Grace Lile added a comment and provided the URL to WITNESS' Media Archive Blog.

Thanks, Grace. Check it out.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Friday Abstract: Dee Dee Does Derangement and Description Webcomic

Today, a reader name Dee Dee kindly emailed me some abstract-worthy information that spoke about her foray into the Webcomic scene.

She has created a blog-turned-webcomic about archives. Not too many of those around, which was enough proof for Dee Dee to start one of her own.

The webcomic is called Derangement and Description whose tag line reads: "A crazy little archives webcomic."

In the About section of her webcomic/blog, she explains: "Couldn’t find any webcomics about archives, so I decided to start one. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy making it! Many thanks to Dee Cee, who tells me which of my crazy ideas would make good comics."

The Friday Abstract: Where we strive to uncover the abstract so you don't have to!

Thanks, Dee Dee. (Psst...that's her on the right!)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Archives*Open is Open

I hope I sparked interest with last week's teaser blog post and the teaser tweets I scheduled and sent out throughout the weekend announcing the launch of Archives*Open, a new community-powered blog that focuses on archives, access, community and the Web. It is my--well, actually, our--contribution to Archives 2.0.

Giving Access to the Masses

Archives*Open, whose tag line is "Giving Access to Masses," is a platform for archivists and other professionals in the field to share and promote their Web 2.0 archival projects that focus on 'giving access to the masses,' and in so doing, inspire others who may be considering embarking on similar projects and raise awareness around the community.

I hesitate to write a 'definitive' definition of what is Web 2.0 since it incorporates so many technologies and so many values and ethics. So let's sum it up this way: Web 2.0 (and by association, Archives 2.0) is about using current and emerging Web technologies in innovative ways that focus on providing the public with a more personal, interactive, and social experience with archival materials.1

If you are working on a similar project, it's real easy to share your success stories (or almost got it right attempts): Visit Archives*Open, leave a comment with your name (personal or corporate), project title, brief project description, and a URL. That's all. I'll collect as many as I can on a weekly basis and post them on a weekly roundup blog post.

Furthermore, Archives*Open is a platform to discuss Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS, social networking, social media, etc) and Web 2.0 ethics and values (communication, conversation, participation, relationshipts, transparency, etc) and their impact on the emerging and evolving Archives 2.0 paradigm, which is being talked about constructively and critically in the archival blogosphere.

The Story Behind Archives*Open (for those really, really interested)

The seed for this blog started in late summer of this year (2008) when I was reflecting on my career in the field so far (a kind of reflection kindled by an uncertain future and, ahem, unemployment).

I found myself focusing on--and subconsciously building a new blog around--those areas that I had found most fascinating in the archives and to which I could add a solid voice of experience, knowledge, and enthusiasm.

That area is the area of creating, building, and providing improved, interactive and enhanced access to archival materials using current and emerging Web technologies.

I almost always found personal and professional satisfaction when a project such as an online virtual exhibit, online photo gallery of digitized photographs, or a large-scale portal project was launched and the public was given access to archival materials and responded with keen interest and appreciation for history and our shared stories. I was satisfied, but I knew there were more stories to share and more innovative and engaging ways to tell them.

When self-criticism struck the idea of starting a new blog, I started to doubt. I really did not want to create another soap box blog. But then the many voices in the archival blogosphere began writing more about Archives 2.0 in concrete terms - and the archival community seemed to be embracing some of the technologies and values that were defining Web 2.0. Thanks to them, and now for them, I set aside doubt and proceeded.

While I momentarily thought about converting this blog, The DIGITAL Archive, into something that would suit the needs of what is now Archives*Open, I decided against it because I felt I had established on this blog a satisfactory mix of news, comments, opinions, and observations. And my two readers would have been furious if I had changed formats yet again!

With Archives*Open, I wanted to build a more focused blog that is collaborative and community-driven, meaning that the content would come from both the writer and the community. And by more focused, I wanted a blog with a focus on access to archival materials.


1. ArchivesNext has a list of examples of existing archives/Web 2.0 type projects and websites.

Saturday / Sunday Slide: What's Next on the Web?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Friday Abstract: The State of the Blogosphere Address 2008


My fellow bloggers, distinguished readers, newcomers and loyalists, mobile readers and RSS feeders, I welcome you all to the State of the Blogosphere Address.


Ladies and gentlemen, tonight I am here to tell you that the State of the Blogosphere is strong.


But, I hasten to add, it requires our constant vigilance.

When I look upon this great blogosphere of ours, I see dark clouds of change on the horizon. I see the status quo in peril; I see business-as-usual facing tremendous turmoil.

For there are those in the blogosphere right now proposing Archives 2.0, an ideology that runs contrary to our way of life.

We will suppress them.


Furthermore, there are rogue blogs and rogue bloggers in the blogosphere who are determined to shake up our beloved and guarded status quo. There are three blogs in particular written, edited and designed by one individual.

These three blogs—, The DIGITAL Archive, and Archives*Open—constitute an Axis of Archivists that threaten the very soul of the status quo that we so dearly cherish.

Most of you have heard about the mayhem these first two blogs have caused. Take, for example, a cheap imitation of, its mission and stated goals are to aggregate information and to inform archivists about digitization and digital preservation. This is a tragedy of unprecedented scale.

We will suppress them.


Furthermore, take a look at The DIGITAL Archive, a front organization that takes readers to the front lines of archives and technology and beyond, and boasts provocatively of making things last longer since 2005. Such obscenity has never been heard of before.

We will suppress them.


The worst offender of them all, however, is Archives*Open, a new cabal so sinister it actively solicites contributions from readers—archivists who want to promote their exciting archival projects—and attempts to form community and collaboration – buzzwords for large-scale, global ideological subversion.

Archives*Open must not launch; must not gain support, for even the tiniest of support will embolden our enemies and further the march towards change.

My fellow bloggers: We will suppress th--.

====================== TRANSMISSION ENDS

4 Ways to Be Influential in Web 2.0 or: What Makes Oprah Oprah?

Oprah Winfrey, like Midas, has the golden touch. Whatever she touches—that is, whatever she recommends, supports, endorses—turns to gold. However, unlike Midas, whose golden gift was from the gods and soon ruined his life, Oprah’s golden touch has been carefully crafted over many years and remains an influential force, both offline and online.

Oprah’s influence is fuelled by her media empire’s focus on Communication, Conversation, Transparency, and Branding. Taken together, these forces form public trust and therefore influence.

Thankfully, we don’t need a multi-million dollar media empire to become influential; we simply need to activate and harness the same forces that Oprah harnesses.

By influential, I am not suggesting we become master manipulators. No way, jose! Rather, I believe we should engage people and help them make informed choices. We influence the best when we share and connect our passions and expertise with others.

When Oprah Winfrey endorsed Amazon’s e-book reader, Kindle, the technology press went ga-ga, cautiously hoping that the “Oprah effect,” which has sent obscure novels soaring to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list, would send sales of the e-book reader skyrocketing. Since 1996, Oprah’s Book Club has helped many a tome (and many an author) reach the top of bestseller lists.

While the verdict is still out on the Kindle / Oprah bump, the fact that her endorsement sent shockwaves through the industry and precipitated media attention and speculation illustrates her influential power.

But what makes Oprah Oprah? What makes her so influential?

1. Communication (connect x 1)
Oprah is a born communicator, a talent she has fully utilized. Whether you like her or not, it is clear Oprah can communicate and connect with her audience.

How are you communicating and connecting with your audience? Do you engage your audience, your clientele, or do you pass the opportunity by at any chance?

We do not have to be professional speakers to be communicators. All we really need is the desire to share our passions and expertise in order to connect with others and fulfill their particular needs.

2. Conversation (connect x 2)
The Social Web enables conversation. It is now a 2-way street between content creator and content consumer, between product maker and product user, and on and on it goes.

How are you conversing with your audience? Are you reaching out to your audience where they assemble, especially online? Are you cultivating the 2-way street of conversation?

We have Web 2.0 tools at our disposal. Blogs, for example, are perfect for engaging an audience and starting a conversation, thus building connections and community.

3. Transparency
Oprah is transparent about her life almost to a fault. We know about her childhood rape, her struggles with weight gain, her relationships, and her personal ups and down.

By being so transparent, which is in fact another way of being honest, Oprah reveals her vulnerabilities and thus opens a door for which her audience can enter. She reveals herself in order that her audience can step inside her world and experience her travails, hopes and dreams.

How are you being transparent?

Now, I am not suggesting we air our dirty laundry or toss out the skeletons in our closets for our clients to view.

But in our professional lives, while serving patrons or researchers, working with our clients, are we being transparent, are we being honest with out audience? Are we inviting them into our working world in an effort to share our experiences with them?

Here’s an example illustrating what I mean: I once had a peculiar experience when I visited a rare books library. I was a complete amateur in rare books, not knowing a single thing. I asked the librarian behind the desk that I wanted to know how old books had been bound in the past. It was part of a research project. “What do you mean by ‘old books’?” he asked sarcastically. “There is nothing here but ‘old books.’”

I felt irritated, dismayed, and worse, unwelcome. I don’t know if this librarian was attempting some kind humorous joke or simply acting like an intellectual snob. Regardless, I never returned to that library after that incident.

Are we being honest and transparent, and are we inviting people to share in our experiences?

4. Branding
Oprah maintains a strong and consistent branding across all her media, from her television show to her magazine (guess who’s on the cover each month) to her website.

Why brand?

Because proper branding allows Oprah to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

It is unnecessary to say Oprah Winfrey anymore. One need only say Oprah, and that’s enough. She is easily recognizable, and her audience knows her and easily distinguishes her from other popular TV talk show hosts. The letter “O” and “HARPO” (that’s Oprah spelled backwards), for example, are powerful branding images.

What kind of brand are you building? Does it reflect your professional values, your institutional values, your department values? It is easily recognizable? How are you imparting it to your audience? Does your branding help distinguish you from others?

However you decide to brand yourself, your product or service, or whether you are building a brand for your department, insure that it clearly identifies you and distinguishes you from others.

Influence 2.0
The end result of practicing the previous four items is influence. Influence is based on trust, which is built on open communication (respect), conversation (2-way exchange), and transparency (honesty), with the final touch, branding (personal identification), acting as the seal of approval.

The road to becoming influential, that is, engaging, sharing and connecting with your clients, is a process of communication, conversation, transparency, and branding.

In a Web 2.0 online world, this is Influence 2.0.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Follow the Floss: Dentistry and Entrepreneurship 2.0

A dentist—yes, a dentist—is an excellent example of Entrepreneurship 2.0.  In our social web, social marketing, and information (over) abundance age, Entrepreneurship 2.0 is about creating something simple, specializing in a given area, providing a needed service, building a community around your area of specialization, and connecting with your community.

In other words, Entrepreneurship 2.0 is: SIMPLE, a SPECIALIZATION, a SERVICE, building COMMUNITY, and CONNECTIONS.

I had a dentist appointment two weeks ago, and my dentist, who I have known for as long as I have had teeth, performed an operation called a Soft Tissue Graft, whereby some skin from the palette of the mouth (the roof) is removed and placed along the gum line to slow and hopefully stop gum line recession.

Before you wretch, let me explain that the operation was successful and is not as heinous and gory as it sounds (at least, what I experienced was not as heinous and gory as it sounds). But with four shots of Novocaine in the mouth, I was feeling some facial discomfort and overall disorientation, so my dentist suggested I rest a while in the chair while he prepped his next patient in the other room.

As I lay there, feeling no pain in my mouth but feeling everything around my mouth as something fat, bulbous and bulging, I looked away from the window that looked upon the downtown Montreal skyline, closed my eyes, and started thinking about the field of dentistry.

There must be hundreds or more dentists in any large city, each one practicing their trade. For me, I was inside a small dentist’s office in a large, non-descript medical building in the heart of the city, hearing my dentist prep his next patient (and the next and the next, day after day, I imagined, making a decent living, I’m sure, thank you very much), and I sensed that what was around me and in particular with dentistry was the future of entrepreneurship. 

The ideas began to gel as my mouth began to thaw, and I mentally penciled down five concepts:

The first key concept is simplicity. Today it is almost too easy to become overwhelmed with information and technology. From businesses large and small to professionals in academia and government institutions, the rage is on: more of this and more that, more information, more stuff, creating in turn a kind organized chaos.

Yet, in the face this mad complexity, there stood my dentist in his blue dental scrubs inside his simple but functional office, assisted by his office assistant and oral hygienist, his tools, and his list of (satisfied) clients. That’s it. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated.

To be a successful entrepreneur today, whatever you choose, buck the trend and keep is simple! 

The second key concept is specialization. While keeping it simple, my dentist also specializes in, well, dentistry. While he has interests and hobbies in other areas, like anyone else, he makes it his duty to become the most informed dentist he can be. That’s a no-brainer, I know. But far too often entrepreneurs take on too many areas, never really becoming a specialist.

Find an area that sets afire your passions and specialize.

The third key concept is service. I believe we live in a service-oriented, knowledge-based society as opposed to a manufacturing-based society, which was the case only a few years but now is quickly fading thanks to manufacturing giants in Asia. We provide a needed service to people. My dentist provides a needed service, not necessarily a likable service, but a needed one all the same.

Now this is one case where the dentist example falls short because a dentist provides a specific and dare I say uncreative service. He works on people’s teeth. Ho hum.

You need to use your imagination and creativity to determine what service (what is currently missing out there, what gap can you fill?) you can provide that is needed by society, while keeping it simple and becoming a specialist.

Community and Connections
The fourth and fifth key concepts are community and connections.  They fit together like hand and glove.

Before I departed from the dentist’s office, my dentist talked to me about post-surgery care (what to do, what not to do, what to eat, what not to eat, that sort of thing). He also took a few extra minutes to explain to me what he had actually done.  I thanked him for taking his time to explain, and he said, rather excitedly, “I like teaching, that’s why I’m giving presentations nowadays to dentists of all levels.”

He also mentioned that he had been dabbling with a website idea, a blog, and online continuing medical education services and resources because there were many dentists seeking such services online. That’s what solidified the fourth and fifth concepts. Community and connections.

You build a community around your area of specialization. This can be accomplished online with the many tools and services in existence on the Web. Moreover, you need to connect with your community and find ways to help them connect to what they need (your product, your service, your knowledge, your skills, etc).

In short, Entrepreneurship 2.0 can be condensed into five key concepts: simplicity, specialization, and service; furthermore it includes community building, that is, building a community around your area of specialization, and helping people connect with the information, knowledge, etc that they seek.

So next time you visit your dentist, think about Entrepreneurship 2.0, rather than that nasty needle.

UPDATE: While drafting this blog post, I came across marketing guru Seth Godin's blog in which he elucidates a little more on the concept of connections. Do read it.

about the author

I am an information professional, researcher, and writer with over eight years experience in the information services field with experience in information and communication technology.

I have a B.A. in History and a Master's in Library and Information Studies and working on a Web and Multimedia Design certificate.

I believe that empowering people with information can enrich lives and transform the world.