CURATION IN THE SPOTLIGHT (+ Kony, Startup Trends, Big Data)


 This newsletter has emerged from a thirty-year habit of mine, which now carries the nifty handle "curation." I started by clipping and then sharing newspaper and magazine articles, moved on to massive PDFs, then a blog with links, and then social media, especially Twitter, which is a festival of curatorial discovery. Now I've come full circle with my weekly posts that attempt to provide context to the flood of fascinating reading that crosses my screen every week. 

My simple effort seem to be striking a responsive chord, but I'm a rank amateur compared to curator extraordinaire Marie Popova whose site and newsletter called Brain Pickings sets a very high bar, indeed -- in terms of the quality of what she finds, and the style with which she shares (curates).

Now, Popova has developed what she calls "The Curator's Code," which provides standards and tools to honor attribution to those whose work you choose to share online. She introduces bespoke symbols for the two essential attribution actions, namely "via" ( )and "hat tip" ( ). It will be interesting to see if the practice catches on, given her influence and credibility. 

"Why Startups Should Curate Content" is a thoughtful post with a self-explanatory title, unusually good in that it comes from the Intigi corporate blog (the company offers a web app that helps sites find, curate and share content).

Speaking of curation, Simon Pulman offers a great catch-up summary for great reading about Transmedia during the past three months -- ranging from links for the current hot-button commercial transmedia projects (John Carter, Hunger Games) down to legal issues for T-M practitioners, and a whole lot more.


In a sense, conferences and festivals are real-time live curation experiences. Combined with decent connectivity and social media, an event like SXSW takes on disproportionate importance, even for those of us not attending -- jeez, at least half of Twitter this week seemed to be about the tech-film-music event, so in deference to the vortex that Austin has become, I call your attention to this mash-up of old media and new: The Hollywood Reporter's interview with Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof and futurist Ray Kurzweil, who participated in a join opening panel at the iconic Texas festival.

One of the zillions of presenters at SXSW Interactive was startup maven and biz-school leader Steve Blank, whose posted his presentation slides: THE STARTUP OWNERS MANUAL. Yes, he's promoting his new book by the same name (which I'm waiting for Amazon to send me.) Still great info.

Another startup visionary, Y Combinator founder Paul Graham, uses a list of "frighteningly ambitious startup ideas" to dramatize his vision of the start-up life. (Examples: new search engine, replacing email, replacing universities  -- you get the idea). "The biggest ideas seem to threaten your identity: you wonder if you'd have enough ambition to carry them through." 


Speaking of Graham, his recent and provocative manifesto called on startups to step up the effort to "kill Hollywood," meaning the old closed business models. The challenge has appeared on Quora, including this interesting post by Gunther Sonnenfeld.

If the startup culture can capture light in a bottle shouldn't it work to launch new enterprises beyond those in high-tech? With the formation of the "Public Media Accelerator, a joint venture of PRX and the Knight Foundation, the focus is "public media," especially journalism, which has been the focus of newly appointed director, Corey Ford, a veteran Frontline doc producer with close ties in Silicon Valley. Accelerators have been created with a focus on women-owned businesses, mobile applications, health care, government solutions, and other categories. Can it work with the notoriously disfunctional public broadcasting sector?    

"Entrepreneurship education is an oxymoron" shouts Allen Gannett's post that proclaims: "Entrepreneuers are Born." Simple premise: You cannot teach people to be entrepreneurs in a typical educational sense, but you can support those who have the passion. Same with artists, actually. 



Seemingly out of nowhere this week comes a remarkably successful social media campaign by nonprofit Invisible Children to focus world attention on murderous African warlord Joseph Kony. While the NY Times did a nice job of explaining "how the Kony Video went Viral,"  the best analysis of the campaign and its implications is Africa expert Ethan Zuckerman's very long post (with many interesting comments). It's worth the read.

Not the least because each day brings new examples (like this one) that show the strengths (and weaknesses) of the social mediaverse we all live in today. It makes me think back to all of the projects, movements, companies, and products I've worked on over the years, especially how they might have been very different had I been able to leverage the lightning fast power of our global social networks. It no longer seems to matter whether the initiator is a team, a company, a person, a nonprofit -- what matters is traction, shareability, and effective understanding of the mechanics of the medium. 


We talk about "big data" driving the future of networked media -- that is, the ability to extract meaning and predict behaviors based upon the existence of heretofore unavailable volumes of data generated by the increased use of media by millions of people. Now comes a superb post by certifiable genius Stephen Wolfram, who turns the lens around with a deep dive into some very granular data generated by a single person, namely Wolfram himself. Most of us have not tracked every keystroke we've ever made, or saved every email since 1989. Wolfram has, and his journey through these aggregate artifacts of his life are really fascinating. 

"I Killed the Internet" is Tristan Louis' beautiful, personal jeremiad against the growth of walled gardens (think Facebook, Twitter, Google, Path), which is strangling the wide-open Internet. This is a topic that will increase in relevance, with tendrils that weave into such issues as identity, privacy, business model strategies, and much more. 

Have you caught "The Stream," perhaps the first, and certainly the most extensive TV series that embeds social media into its program format.  If not, it's worth your time, if only to glimpse what RWW claims is the "future of social TV."

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