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robertogreco : groupsize   28

Social media moderators should look to the oldest digital communities for tips about caring — Quartz
"Back when women only made up a tenth of the online population, Echo’s user base was 40% female. On its website, a banner read: “Echo has the highest population of women in cyberspace. And none of them will give you the time of day.” Stacy made Echo membership free for women for an entire year. She created private spaces on Echo where women could talk amongst themselves and report instances of harassment. She spoke to women’s groups about the internet, and she taught Unix courses out of her apartment so that a lack of technical knowledge would not limit new users to the experience of computer-mediated communication.

In short, Stacy achieved near gender parity on an almost entirely male-dominated internet because she cared enough to make it so.

For many in tech, caring means caring about: investing, without immediate promise of remuneration, in the pursuit of building something “insanely great,” as Steve Jobs once said. It means risking stability and sanity in order to change the world.

But what Stacy’s legacy represents is caring of another sort: not only caring about but caring for. It is this second type of caring that has been lost in our age of big social.

Moderators are a key part of this relationship. Stacy was a founder-moderator: a combination of tech support and sheriff who thought deeply about decisions affecting the lives of her users. She baked these values into the community: Every conversation on Echo was moderated by both a male and a female “host,” who were users who, in exchange for waived subscription fees, set the tone of discussion and watched for abuse.

In The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier, an early book about online community, Howard Rheingold documents such hosts all over the early internet, from a French BBS whose paid “animateurs” were culled from its most active users to the hosts on Echo’s West Coast counterpart, The WELL. “Hosts are the people,” he wrote, who “welcome newcomers, introduce people to one another, clean up after the guests, provoke discussion, and break up fights if necessary.” Like any party host, it was their own home they safeguarded.

Today the role of moderators has changed. Rather than deputized members of our own community, they are a precarious workforce on the front lines of digital trauma. The raw feed of flagged Facebook content is unimaginable to the average user: a parade of violence, pornography, and hate speech. According to a recent Bloomberg article, YouTube moderators are encouraged to work only a few hours at a time, and have access to on-call psychiatry. Contract workers in India and the Philippines work far removed from the content they moderate, struggling to apply global guidelines to a multiplicity of cultural contexts.

No matter where you’re located, it’s not easy to be a moderator. The details of such practices are “routinely hidden from public view, siloed within companies and treated as trade secrets,” as Catherine Buni and Soraya Chemaly note in a 2016 study of moderation for The Verge. They’re one of Silicon Valley’s many hidden workforces: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter thrive on the invisibility of such labor, which makes users feel safe enough to continue engaging—and sharing personal data—with the platform. To sell happy places online, we are outsourcing the unhappiness to other people.

How did we stop caring about the communities we created? This is partially a question of scale. With mass adoption comes the mass visibility of brutality, and the offshore workers and low-wage contract laborers who moderate the major social media platforms cycle out quickly, traumatized by visions of beheadings and sexual violence. But it’s also a design choice, engineered to make us care about social platforms by concealing from us those who care after them. Put simply, we have fractured care.

The major platforms’ solution to the problem of scale has been to employ contract workers to enforce moderation guidelines. But what if we took the opposite approach and treated scale itself as the issue? This raises new questions: What is the largest number of people a platform can adequately care for? Can that number really be in the billions? What is the ideal size for a community?

Perhaps big social was never the right outcome for this wild experiment we call the internet. Perhaps we’d be happier with constellations of smaller, regional, and interest-specific communities; communities whose stakeholders are the users themselves, and whose moderators and decision-makers aren’t rendered opaque through distance and centralized authority. Perhaps social life doesn’t scale. Perhaps the future looks very much like the past. More like Echo.

Instead of expanding forever outward, we could instead empower groups of people with the tools to build their own communities. We have a long history of regional Community Networks and FreeNets to learn from. A generation of young programmers and designers are already proposing alternatives to the most baked-in protocols and conventions of the web: the Beaker Browser, a model for a new decentralized, peer-to-peer web, built on a protocol called Dat, or the zero-noise, all-signal community of Are.na, a collaborative social platform for thinkers and creatives. Failing those, a home-brew world of BBS—Echo included—exists still, for those ready to brave millennial-proof windows of pure text.

* * *

There is nothing inevitable about the future of social media—or, indeed, the web itself. Like any human project, it’s only the culmination of choices, some made decades ago. The internet was built as a resource-sharing network for computer scientists; the web, as a way for nuclear physicists to compare notes. That either have evolved beyond these applications is entirely due to the creative adaptations of users. Being entrenched in the medium, they have always had a knack for developing social commons out of even the most opaque screen-based places.

The utopian idealism of the first generation online influenced a popular conception of the internet as a community technology. Our beleaguered social media platforms have grafted themselves onto this assumption, blinding us to their true natures: They are consumption engines, hybridizing community and commerce by selling communities to advertisers (and aspiring political regimes).

It would serve us to consider alternatives to such a limited vision of community life online. For original tech pioneers such as Stacy, success was never about a successful exit, but rather the sustained, long-term guardianship of a community of users. Now more than ever, they should be regarded as the greatest resource in the world."
communication  culture  bbs  2018  claireevans  gender  internet  online  web  history  moderation  care  caring  scale  scalability  small  slow  size  siliconvalley  socialmedia  community  communities  technology  groupsize  advertising  are.na 
june 2018 by robertogreco
What is the Right Size for a Group Conversation? | Psychology Today
"Conversations are funny things.

If you have ever attended a large gathering of old friends and relatives whom you have not seen for a while, you may have gone home disappointed that you only got to speak to some of the people you had hoped to reconnect with. Similarly, you have probably noticed that when the gang from the office goes out for drinks after work on Friday afternoon, the large after-work crowd invariably splits up into smaller conversations.

Is there a natural limit to the size of the group that can sustain a meaningful conversation? Recent studies conducted by Jamie Krems and Steve Neuberg of Arizona State University and Robin Dunbar of Oxford University suggest that this may in fact be the case.

In their first study, they approached groups of two or more students engaged in conversations in public areas of a university campus. They asked the conversationalists to report what they had been talking about just before the researcher interrupted them. They found that there were rarely more than four people involved in a conversation at any one time, but what was perhaps even more interesting, they also found that if people were gossiping about another person who was not present, the size of the group averaged about one fewer person in size than if the group was discussing some other sort of topic.

In a second study, they analyzed the conversations in 10 different plays by William Shakespeare. Scholars have long been aware that the conversational patterns in Shakespearean plays accurately reflect the dynamics of real-life social interactions — which is one of the reasons their appeal has endured over time. If this is the case, it would be interesting to find out if Shakespeare applied the “maximum size of a conversation” rule to the characters in his plays. Krems and her colleagues discovered that no conversations in any of the plays they analyzed ever involved more than five characters, and they replicated the effect that scenes in which characters were discussing absent others had on average one less individual involved in the conversation.

So, what is so special about the number four (plus or minus one) when it comes to conversations?

Krems, Dunbar, & Neuberg propose that the size of our conversations is restricted by our “mentalizing constraints,” or the limits on the cognitive demands that we can handle in our interactions with others.

This is all related to what psychologists call our “Theory of Mind,” which is the ability to understand that other people do not necessarily know or intend the same things that we ourselves do; having a functioning theory of mind is essential for successfully managing social life. If two people are engaged in conversation, each must understand what his or her partner intends and what each person understands about the other’s state of mind.

This gets more complicated as you add people to the conversation. If you have three people (or stooges) in a conversation, Moe must understand what Larry understands about Moe and what Curly understands about Moe, but also what Larry and Curly understand about each other. Add a fourth or fifth person to the mix and you have increased the complexity enormously. Thus, it appears that when you move beyond four or five people in a conversation, it simply gets too mentally taxing for most people to sustain a prolonged conversation.

And there is a reason why talking about an absent person makes things even more difficult. In this type of talk, you must also be able to reflect on the understanding, intentions, and feelings of the absent person, which cuts back on the number of people we can manage in real time during the conversation. The data analyses in the two studies I have described indicated that this explanation was more plausible than other possible explanations for this phenomenon.

Certainly, other situational factors such as the arrangement of furniture can influence the ease of conversations. For example, although side-by-side seating connotes intimacy, it does not seem to be the preferred arrangement for talking. Studies have shown that side-by-side seating on a couch inhibits conversation in otherwise sociable people, and individuals only choose a side-by-side position for conversation when it was not possible to arrange a face-to-face conversation at a distance of less than 5 and ½ feet.

In other words, if it is good conversation that you are after at the next party that you attend, stay away from the couches.

The fascinating finding that our mentalizing capacity limits the size of our conversations has many implications. If individuals differ from each other in mentalizing capacity, it is possible that having the ability to juggle larger conversation sizes is one component of having good social skills — something with an obvious payoff. Krems and her colleagues also suggest that reading fiction may help us to expand our mentalizing capacity by exercising the ability to follow conversations in literature.

A silver lining for English majors after all?"
groups  groupsize  conversation  2017  shakespeare  robindunbar  jamiekrems  steveneuberg  discussion  sfsh 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Human scale technology — Medium
[video now here: https://vimeo.com/180044030

"Human-Scale – Beyond user-centered design, we need to create systems that are explicitly and deliberately built to be humane. What does this mean, and is it in conflict with existing corporate structures?"]

"To me, the idea of human scale is critical. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that every idea must scale. That thinking is distracting, closes us off from great opportunities, and invites unnecessary complexity.

Turn down the amplifier a little bit. Stay small. Allow for human correction and adjustment. Build for your community, not the whole world.

At this scale, everybody counts. Plus, we get a few other benefits.

Small is simpler. This is good from a pure engineering and design perspective. We strive for simplicity in the structures we build.

Even better, though, small things are more accessible.

You don’t need a full team of fancy Google engineers to build something small. You can be new to programming, or a hobbyist. You don’t have to be born in the right place at the right time to the right parents.

Simpler systems are easier to create, deploy, and maintain.

More people can be the creators and tinkerers, and not just the users.

If you make it small, it’s also cheap to run. You can build a service that supports thousands of people on a $5/month server, or a Raspberry Pi.

So cheap, most likely, that you don’t have to charge anybody for it. With the right architecture, you can run community-size services for less than $10/month, total.

And if this works, we can tackle the issue of incentives.

Not to get all Ben Franklin on you, but if you don’t spend money, you don’t have to make money.

If complexity drops, and cost drops, the community can now build its own systems. Incentives align.

So, it really comes down to this:

Do it yourself. Strip it down. Keep control. Make it for your community. Don’t do it for the money.

And this is where I start to understand what my friend Rebecca Gates means when she says that technologists and designers have a lot to learn from punk and indie rock.

Leave the expensive, large scale, commercial arena rock to Facebook, Google, and Twitter.

We can be The Ramones.

And Bad Brains.

We can press our own records, and run our own labels.

We can make our own spaces based on our own values.

And remember that computing used to be pretty punk rock.

This is the first public computerized bulletin board system, which was set up in a record store in Berkeley in 1973.

In 1974, the year the Ramones formed, Ted Nelson wrote the first book about the personal computer.

It contained perhaps my favorite opening line of any piece of literature: “Any nitwit can understand computers, and many do.”

It was basically a giant zine.

We can reclaim autonomy and agency with the incredible tools we have at hand–we just need to approach it differently."
scale  small  accessibility  simplicity  slow  sfsh  lcproject  openstudioproject  punk  design  web  online  community  theramones  badbrains  scrappiness  diy  values  eyeo  eyeo2016  jessekriss  intimate  safe  groupsize  humans  humanism  humanscale  paulgoodman  efschumacher  ursulafranklin  incentives 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Super Opinionated Power Club 16 -- Live from Open Source Bridge
"Staff at corporations cede their individual autonomy and humanity while working and replace it with becoming a single transmitter in the consciousness of the corporation itself -- my contact could never make a decision, he could only take information and relay it inward. I have been a part of a couple of fairly large group neural networks (corporations) at this point, and seen how a pod grows wary at making decisions beyond an unspoken threshold, even if a few people in that particular group are pushing for something. The Company’s Best Interests hang over everything, even if it’s something that clearly harms everyone in the room (eg: corporate women’s groups who find themselves arguing against the company disclosing employee diversity statistics).

Corporations are not people but they are beings of a kind that use people as a distributed computing network. Each person is a point on the network, capable of very limited autonomous decision-making, with greater processing and decision-making power available deeper in the network with larger groups of people assembled. So, businesses as AI, ho-hum, this isn’t new.

I think and feel that there’s a number for any industry, and once you’re there, that’s it, that’s as many people as your company can have while the people in it are able to stay people while staying employees. I won’t pretend I know what it is for manufacturing, or really anything outside of the software sector, because I haven’t worked outside of corporate IT and computer software development. But once you get to the point where everybody at the company doesn’t know what everyone else at the company is doing...so, like, eight people, at least for me, I have to ask why you need to be bigger. Are you trying to defend yourself and save lives? Did you get called upon by your community to solve a Great Problem of Our Time? Or are you just helping an immortal citizen get a little richer and a little more famous?"

[via/see also: http://feeltrain.com/blog/hello-feel-train/ ]
courtneystanton  groupsize  2015  scale  humanism  growth  corporations  corporatism  size  small 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Feel Train
[http://feeltrain.com/blog/hello-feel-train/

"I am incredibly proud to announce that Courtney Stanton and I are starting a creative technology cooperative called Feel Train. We build tech that creates dynamic and nuanced interactions between humans and computers. We eschew meme generation and instead confront people with their own humanity by putting them face to face with the inhuman. And as of today we're available for hire.

So. We're a creative technology cooperative. I'll talk more about "creative technology" in a future essay, but right now I want to dive into the "cooperative" part. Feel Train is a worker-owned, cooperatively managed company.

A hard limit on scale
I've spent about a decade as a working professional. I've been at at half a dozen companies of various sizes, ranging from a three-person bootstrapped business to a multinational technology company with 5000 employees. I've been lucky: every company I've worked for has been a pretty good place to work overall.

I've experienced a bunch of different workplace cultures and organizational structures but I've never felt comfortable with any of them, which is why we're doing something a little bit different with this new business.

There are plenty of models out there for technical cooperatives, and we wanted to make sure we picked the right one for Feel Train. (For 101-level information on how a tech co-op might work, the Tech Co-op Network hosts an excellent free guide full of case studies.)

One thing that Courtney and I knew from the start in our very bones: Feel Train will never consist of more than 8 people.

This is a hard cap on the number of employees. With this limit in place, we no longer have to pick solutions that scale, because we literally cannot scale. We could have a different benefits or vacation package for every worker. That would be a logistical nightmare at most companies, but we'll never have to keep track of more than 8 packages.

Emotionally speaking, this does wonders for me. I've had plenty of entrepreneur friends over the years. Sometimes I would hear them swear up and down, "I love our company at this size. We're going to grow slowly and carefully." Then (ideally) success hits and it becomes very difficult to say no to the prospect of doing more, and doing so by growing faster than they'd ever planned.

All of a sudden, the company is bigger than they ever told themselves it would be. The work isn't fun like it used to be.

I'm not a better person than my friends. If (ideally) Feel Train is successful, then I know I would say yes to growing it beyond our intentions. With this limit in place, I'll never have to tempt myself.

Worker ownership
I believe that labor is the source of value, which means that in order to run a just company, ownership must belong to the workers and solely to the workers. The question becomes: who owns how much?

In production-based industries (factories, agriculture, etc) there are cooperative models where it's a simple matter of converting hourly labor to percent ownership. If Ayesha clocks twice as many hours as Bert, then Ayesha owns twice as much of the company as Bert.

But measuring labor is tricky in a creative industry. Why it's so tricky is a huge topic outside the scope of this article, but Courtney and I have given this a lot of thought and the best answer we have is: don't measure labor. No time tracking.

This means that, when it comes to ownership, we simply give it away. Ownership means equal say in every strategic decision the company makes: one worker, one vote. This solution absolutely does not scale. I couldn't imagine direct democracy working smoothly in an organization of even 20 people let alone 100 or 1,000. But it'll work for 8 people.

This also means that investment does not translate to ownership. Courtney and I are investing a pretty big chunk of our savings to get Feel Train started, but this doesn't give us any special rights. The next person to join Feel Train, whoever that is, will own one third of the company. My share of the company will dilute from one half to one third, as will Courtney's. Fortunately, we don't have to worry about too much dilution. I can guarantee you that if you join Feel Train you will never own less than one eighth of the company as long as you work here.

This is all just the beginning...
It's a good feeling to help start a company I can feel proud of deep, deep down in my Marxist bones. And these two core principles of worker ownership and non-scalability are just the foundation. Courtney has a ton of thoughts on the management of creative workers, and she'll talk about those in the future. If you're eager to hear more about all this, sign up for our monthly mailing list!"]

[See also: https://tinyletter.com/superopinionated/letters/super-opinionated-power-club-16-live-from-open-source-bridge ]
courtneystanton  dariuskazemi  bots  labor  technology  coding  feeltrain  humanism  cooperatives  groupsize  ownership  marxism  production  directdemocracy  organizations  growth  size  employment  lcproject  openstudioproject  scale  scalability  tcsnmy8  tcsnmy  small  slow  sfsh 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Tomtown ( 8 Oct., 2015, at Interconnected)
"The web is busy now. No bad thing. But much too busy to have a single place to gather my friends around photos, another around status updates, etc. I used to have one community online, and now I've got a hundred. And while I can shard them by app (business on LinkedIn, family on Facebook, my global village on Twitter), it's a lot of effort to maintain that. And it doesn't make any sense.

Until:

Tom Coates invited me to join a little community of his in Slack. There are a handful of people there, some old friends, some new friends, all in this group messaging thingy.

There's a space where articles written or edited by members automatically show up. I like that.

I caught myself thinking: It'd be nice to have Last.FM here too, and Dopplr. Nothing that requires much effort. Let's also pull in Instagram. Automatic stuff so I can see what people are doing, and people can see what I'm doing. Just for this group. Back to those original intentions. Ambient awareness, togetherness.

Nobody says very much. Sometimes there's a flurry of chat.

It's small, human-scale. Maybe it's time to bring all these ambient awareness tools back, shared inside Slack instances this time.

You know what, it's cosy. I've been missing this. A neighbourhood."
2015  mattwebb  ambientawareness  ambient  community  culture  presentationofself  twitter  flickr  slack  tomcoates  email  neighborhoods  scale  groups  groupsize  glancing  jaiku  dopplr  im  instantmessenger  last.fm  openplans  offices  attention  socialmedia  noise 
october 2015 by robertogreco
actually (27 Oct., 2003, at Interconnected)
"Dunbar contends that humans evolved vocal grooming (language) as a more efficient form of bonding. Assuming that our closest ancester, the chimpanzee, has hit the time budget limiting factor, and that our extra efficiency has all come about with the transition to vocal grooming, this means language is 2.8 times more efficient for bonding than the mechanism nonhuman primates use. That is, "a speaker should be able to interact with 2.8 times as many other individuals as a groomer can. Since the number of grooming partners is necessarily limited to one, this means that the limit on the number of listeners should be about 2.8. In other words, human conversation group sizes should be limited to about 3.8 in size (one speaker plus 2.8 listeners)." (Which makes sense if you think about the different qualities of a conversation with three versus four participants. A study is quoted to back this up.)"
mattwebb  2003  dunbar  dunbarnumber  grooming  primates  humans  groups  groupsize  conversation  speaking  interaction 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Small groups and consultancy and coffee mornings ( 7 Oct., 2015, at Interconnected)
"One permanent pattern in our workshop culture:
Best design consultancy tip I know: Don't criticise without offering something better. Called the Ahtisaari Manoeuvre after an early client


Always have something on the table.

Another: Always use fat pens.

Another: It's important to have the right people in the room -- representing knowledge of technical possibilities, business needs, and market insights. But at the same time, the ideal number of people to have in the room is five or six. Any more than that, you can't continue a single conversation without it turning into a presentation.

Another: The one who understands the client's business best is the client."



"There are a couple of things I'm investigating:

1. That a small group is a powerful way of thinking, and of creating action. That repetition matters, and informality.

2. It might be possible to help with strategy without providing original thought or even active facilitation: To consult without consulting. The answers and even ways of working are inherent in the group itself.

My hunch is this: To answer a business's strategic questions, which will intrinsically involve changing that business, a more permanent solution than a visiting consultant might be to convene a small group, and spend time with it, chatting informally."




"Once a week we get together -- a half dozen students, often Durrell, whoever is teaching the course with him which was Stuart before and Oscar now, plus a special guest.

It's just for coffee somewhere or other, on Friday mornings, and we chat. It's super casual, sharing ideas and references, talking about the brief and design in general.

I'm curious about informality.

The lunchtimes at BERG, everyone around the table with such a broad range of skills and interests... and after Friday Demos - part of the weekly rhythm - the sparked conversations and the on-topic but off-topic sharing... this is where ideas happen too. Between projects but not outside them.

And I think informality as part of the design process is under-communicated, at least where I've been listening. So much work is done like that. The students are great at speaking about their work, sure. But mainly I'm interesting in how we induct someone into a worldview, quickly; how we explain ideas and then listen carefully for feedback, accepting ideas back -- all conversationally, without (and this is the purpose of the special guest) it turning into a seminar or a crit.

I think the best way to communicate this "lunch table" work informality is to rehearse it, to experience it. Which is what the coffee mornings are about.

I try to make sure everyone speaks, and I ask questions to see if I can encourage the removal of lazy abstraction -- words that get in the way of thinking about what's really going on. I'm a participant-observer.

Tbh I'm not sure what to call this. Visiting convener? It's not an official role.

I think (I hope!) everyone is getting something out of the experience, and everyone is becoming more their own kind of designer because of it, and meanwhile I get to explore and experience a small group. A roughly consistent membership, a roughly regular meeting time, an absence of purpose, or rather a purpose that the group is allowed to negotiate at a place within itself.

~

These RCA coffee mornings grew out of my experiment with hardware-ish coffee mornings, a semi-irregular meetup in London having a vague "making things" skew... Internet of Things, hardware startups, knitting, the future of manufacturing and distribution, a morning off work. That sort of thing. People chat, people bring prototypes. There's no single conversation, and only rarely do we do introductions. This invite to a meet in January also lists my principles:

• Space beats structure
• Informality wins
• Convening not chairing
• Bonfires not fireworks

I've been trying to build a street corner, a place to cultivate serendipity and thoughts. Not an event with speakers, there are already several really good ones."



"My setup was that I believed the answer to the issue would come from the group, that they knew more about their business than me.

Which was true. But I also observed that the purpose of the business had recently changed, and while it could be seen by the CEO that the current approach to this design problem wasn't satisfying, there was no way for the group to come together to think about it, and answer it together. Previously they had represented different strands of development within the startup. Now the company was moving to having a new, singular, measurable goal.

So I started seeing the convened discussions as rehearsing a new constellation of the team members and how they used one-another for thinking, and conscious and unconscious decision making. The group meetings would incubate a new way to think together. Do it enough, point out what works, and habits might form.

~

Consulting without consulting."



"I'm not entirely sure where to take these experiments. I'm learning a lot from various coffee mornings, so I'll carry on with those.

I had some conversations earlier in the year about whether it would be possible to act as a creative director, only via regular breakfast conversations, and helping the group self-direct. Dunno. Or maybe there's a way to build a new division in a company. Maybe what I'm actually talking about is board meetings -- I've been a trustee to Startup Weekend Europe for a couple of years, and the quarterly meetings are light touch. But they don't have this small group aspect, it might be that they haven't been as effective as they could be.

There might be something with the street corners and serendipity pattern... When I was doing that three month gig with the government earlier this year, it felt like the people in the civil service - as a whole - had all the knowledge and skills to take advantage of Internet of Things technologies, to deliver services faster and better. But often the knowledge and opportunities weren't meeting up. Maybe an in-person, regular space could help with that.

At a minimum, if I'm learning how to help companies and friends with startups in a useful way that doesn't involve delivering more darn Powerpoint for the meat grinder: Job done.

But perhaps what's happening is I'm teaching myself how to do something else entirely, and I haven't figured out what that is yet.

~

Some art. Some software."
mattwebb  small  groups  groupsize  2015  collaboration  consulting  vonnegut  kurtvonnegut  organization  howwewrite  writing  meaningmaking  patternrecognition  stevenjohnson  devonthink  groupdynamics  psychology  wilfredbion  dependency  pairing  serendipity  trickster  doublebinds  informality  informal  coffeemornings  meetings  crosspollination  conversation  facilitation  catalysts  scenius  experienceingroups 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Empires Revolution of the Present - marclafia
"The film and online project brings together international philosophers, scientists and artists to give description and analysis to the contemporary moment as defined by computational tools and networks.

It states that networks are not new and have been forever with us in the evolution of our cities, trade, communications and sciences, in our relations as businesses and nation states, in the circulation of money, food, arms and our shared ecology.

Yet something has deeply changed in our experience of time, work, community, the global. Empires looks deeply to unravel how we speak to the realities of the individual and the notion of the public and public 'good' in this new world at the confluence of money, cities, computation, politics and science."

[Film website: http://www.revolutionofthepresent.org/ ]

[Trailer: https://vimeo.com/34852940 ]
[First cut (2:45:05): https://vimeo.com/32734201 ]

[YouTube (1:21:47): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaTw5epW_QI ]

"Join the conversation at http://www.revolutionofthepresent.org

Summary: The hope was that network technology would bring us together, create a "global village," make our political desires more coherent. But what's happened is that our desires have become distributed, exploded into images and over screens our eyes relentlessly drop to view.

REVOLUTION OF THE PRESENT examines the strange effects — on cities, economies, people — of what we might call accelerated capitalism. Set against a visually striking array of sounds and images, 15 international thinkers speak to the complexity and oddity of this contemporary moment as they discuss what is and what can be.

Documentary Synopsis:
Humanity seems to be stuck in the perpetual now that is our networked world. More countries are witnessing people taking to the streets in search of answers. Revolution of the Present, the film, features interviews with thought leaders designed to give meaning to our present and precarious condition. This historic journey allows us to us re-think our presumptions and narratives about the individual and society, the local and global, our politics and technology. This documentary analyzes why the opportunity to augment the scope of human action has become so atomized and diminished. Revolution of the Present is an invitation to join the conversation and help contribute to our collective understanding.

As Saskia Sassen, the renowned sociologist, states at the outset of the film, 'we live in a time of unsettlement, so much so that we are even questioning the notion of the global, which is healthy.' One could say that our film raises more questions than it answers, but this is our goal. Asking the right questions and going back to beginnings may be the very thing we need to do to understand the present, and to move forward from it with a healthy skepticism.

Revolution of the Present is structured as an engaging dinner conversation, there is no narrator telling you what to think, it is not a film of fear of the end time or accusation, it is an invitation to sit at the table and join an in depth conversation about our diverse and plural world."

[See also: http://hilariousbookbinder.blogspot.com/2014/09/rethinking-internet-networks-capitalism.html ]

[Previously:
https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:ec1d3463d74b
https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:9f60604ec3b3 ]
marclafia  networks  philosophy  politics  science  money  cities  scale  economics  capitalism  2014  kazysvarnelis  communication  communications  business  work  labor  psychology  greglindsay  saskiasassen  urban  urbanism  freedom  freewill  howardbloom  juanenríquez  michaelhardt  anthonypagden  danielisenberg  johnhenryclippinger  joséfernández  johannaschiller  douglasrushkoff  manueldelanda  floriancrammer  issaclubb  nataliejeremijenko  wendychun  geertlovink  nishantshah  internet  online  web  danielcoffeen  michaelchichi  jamesdelbourgo  sashasakhar  pedromartínez  miguelfernándezpauldocherty  alexandergalloway  craigfeldman  irenarogovsky  matthewrogers  globalization  networkedculture  networkculture  history  change  nationstates  citystates  sovreignty  empire  power  control  antonionegri  geopolitics  systems  systemsthinking  changemaking  meaningmaking  revolution  paradigmshifts  johnlocke  bourgeoisie  consumption  middleclass  class  democracy  modernity  modernism  government  governence  karlmarx  centralization  socialism  planning  urbanplanning  grass 
october 2014 by robertogreco
The Lives of Children, by George Dennison
[See also Christopher Alexander (referencing Dennison and Paul Goodman's mini-schools): http://web.archive.org/web/20080206191750/http://www.ahartman.com/apl/patterns/apl085.htm ]

"It is worth mentioning here that, with two exceptions, the parents of the children at First Street were not libertarians. They thought that they believed in compulsion, and rewards and punishments, and formal discipline, and report cards, and homework, and elaborate school facilities. They looked rather askance at our noisy classrooms and informal relations. If they persisted in sending us their children, it was not because they agreed with our methods, but because they were desperate. As the months went by, however, and the children who had been truants now attended eagerly, and those who had been failing now began to learn, the parents drew their own conclusions. By the end of the first year there was a high morale among them, and great devotion to the school.

We had no administrators. We were small and didn't need them. The parents found that, after all, they approved of this. They themselves could judge the competence of the teachers, and so could their children - by the specific act of learning. The parents' past experience of administrators bad been uniformly upsetting - and the proof, of course, was in the pudding: the children were happier and were learning. As for the children, they never missed them.

We did not give report cards. We knew each child, knew his capacities and his problems, and the vagaries of his growth. This knowledge could not be recorded on little cards. The parents found - again - that they approved of this. It diminished the blind anxieties of life, for grades had never meant much to them anyway except some dim sense of problem, or some dim reassurance that things were all right. When they wanted to know how their children were doing they simply asked the teachers.

We didn't give tests, at least not of the competitive kind. It was important to be aware of what the children knew, but more important to be aware of how each child knew what he knew. We could learn nothing about Maxine by testing Eléna. And so there was no comparative testing at all. The children never missed those invidious comparisons, and the teachers were spared the absurdity of ranking dozens of personalities on one uniform scale.

Our housing was modest. Ile children came to school in play-torn clothes. Their families were poor. A torn dress, torn pants, frequent cleanings - there were expenses they could not afford. Yet how can children play without getting dirty? Our uncleanliness standard was just right. It looked awful and suited everyone.

We treated the children with consideration and justice. I don't mean that we never got angry and never yelled at them (nor they at us). I mean that we took seriously the pride of life that belongs to the young - even to the very young. We did not coerce them in violation of their proper independence. Parents and children both found that they approved very much of this.

Now I would like to describe the school, or more correctly, the children and teachers. I shall try to bring out in detail three important things:

1) That the proper concern of a primary school is not education in a narrow sense, and still less preparation for later life, but the present lives of the children - a point made repeatedly by John Dewey. and very poorly understood by many of his followers.

2) That when the conventional routines of a school we abolished (the military discipline, the schedules, the punishments and rewards, the standardization), what arises is neither a vacuum nor chaos, but rather a new order, based first on relationships between adults and children, and children and their peers, but based ultimately on such truths of the human condition as these: that the mind does not function separately from the emotions, but thought partakes of feeling and feeling of thought, that there is no such thing as knowledge per se, knowledge in a vacuum, but rather all knowledge is possessed and must be expressed by individuals; that the human voices preserved in books belong to the real features of the world, and that children are so powerfully attracted to this world that the very motion of their curiosity comes through to us as a form of love; that an active moral life cannot be evolved except where people are free to express their feelings and act upon the insights of conscience.

3) That running a primary school - provided it be small - is an extremely simple thing. It goes without saying that the teachers must be competent (which does not necessarily mean passing courses in a teacher's college). Given this sine qua non, there is nothing mysterious. The present quagmire of public education is entirely the result of unworkable centralization and the lust for control that permeates every bureaucratic institution."



"For the twenty-three children there were three full-time teachers, one part-time (myself), and several others who came at scheduled periods for singing, dancing, and music.

Public school teachers, with their 30 to 1 ratios, will be aware that we have entered the realm of sheer luxury. One of the things that will bear repeating, however, is that this luxury was purchased at a cost per child a good bit lower than that of the public system, for the similarity of operating costs does not reflect the huge capital investment of the public schools or the great difference in the quality of service. Not that our families paid tuition (hardly anyone did); I mean simply that our money was not drained away by vast administrative costs, bookkeeping, elaborate buildings, maintenance, enforcement personnel, and vandalism (to say nothing of the costs hidden in those institutions which in a larger sense must be seen as adjuncts to the schools: houses of correction, prisons, narcotic wards, and welfare).

Our teacher/pupil ratio varied according to need. Gloria handled up to eleven children, ages five to eight. At least half of her children were just starting school, and were beautifully "motivated," as the educationists say. Motivated, of course, means eager, alive, curious, responsive, trusting, persistent; and it is not as good a word as any of these. They were capable of forming relationships and of pursuing real interests. Every child who came to us after several years in the public schools came with problems.

Susan Goodman, who taught the next group, ages eight to ten, usually had six or seven in her room. Two of these were difficult and required a great deal of attention. They got the attention, and they were the two (Maxine and Eléna) who of all the children in the school made the most spectacular progress academically. In a year and a half, Eléna, who was ten, went from first-grade work to advanced fourth; and let me hasten to say that Susan, like the other teachers, followed Rousseau's old policy of losing time. ("The most useful rule of education is this: do not save time, but lose it.") Eléna's lessons were very brief and were often skipped.

The remaining children, boys to the age of thirteen, had come to us in serious trouble of one kind or another. Several carried knives, all had been truants, José could not read, Willard was scheduled for a 600 school, Stanley was a vandal and thief and was on his way to Youth House. They were characterized, one and all, by an anxiety that amounted to desperation. It became clear to us very quickly to what an extent they had been formed by abuse and neglect. Family life was a factor for several, but all had had disastrous experiences in school, and with authorities outside of school, and with the racism of our society as a whole, and with poverty and the routine violence of violent streets. They were destined for environments of maximum control-prison in one form or another. How they fared in our setting of freedom may be interesting.

Some pupils, as Dr. Elliott Shapiro points out (Nat Hentoff's Our Children Are Dying is about Elliott Shapiro and the children of Harlem), require a one-to-one relationship. I worked with José on just that basis. At other times I took the boys in a group, or Mabel Chrystie (now Dennison) did, or they were divided between the two of us.

Even in so routine a matter as forming groups, the advantages of smallness are evident. We all knew the children fairly well and were able to match teacher with child. Gloria had had a great deal of experience with younger children, Mabel with specialized tutoring in the city system and with problem children in a free school setting. I had worked with severely disturbed children; and Susan Goodman, who had never taught before, came from a family of teachers and naturally asked for the children predisposed to studies.

Yet the final composition of the groups reflected the contributions of the children themselves. They, too, had a hand. And here is an excellent example of the kind of sructuring that arises when the wishes of the children are respected. Two of our most difficult pupils, Maxine and Vicente, actually placed themselves; and the truth is that we teachers could not have improved upon their solutions. ..."
georgedennison  small  tinyschools  minischools  paulgoodman  education  openstudioproject  learning  children  lcproject  1969  groupsize  classsize  teaching  christopheralexander  apatternlanguage 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Small is Beautiful | Henderson Hallway
"Recently in my Global Issues class, our learning community looked at E.F. Schumacher’s notion of Small is Beautiful [http://www.ee.iitb.ac.in/student/~pdarshan/SmallIsBeautifulSchumacher.pdf ]. We read his infamous essay and watched the film below created by the National Film Board of Canada on his idea. What he suggests is a rethinking of the prevailing trend that unfettered economic growth is essential to the development of the species. We have had great discussions related to ungrowth, systems thinking, and the idea that we are all connected to every system and species on this planet.

Democracy Now! recently interviewed Elizabeth Kolbert, the author of a new book entitled the Sixth Extinction – a book identifying how humans are causing the largest mass extinction since the fall of the dinosaurs. Our investigations over the last few days got me thinking about my role as an educator and how I am to foster learning communities, not just learning environments, where learners can find opportunities for transformation that can address the issues raised by Kolbert and Schumacher. I find this even more challenging given that I am teaching the Global Issues course as an online course.

Small Is Beautiful: Impressions of Fritz Schumacher by Donald Brittain by Barrie Howells & by Douglas Kiefer, National Film Board of Canada

I have started to read at great length about how to create learning communities that are transformative from a virtual platform from the likes of Richard Schweir and Jay Roberts. Both of these scholars have really impacted my understanding of how we can foster ecologically literate communities. Thomas Steele-Maley and I, over the past year or so, have had critical conversations about how to develop these virtual communities, for which I am eternally grateful.

[video]

What I am beginning to understand, much like Schumacher did, is that vibrant and vigorous learning communities, whether online or face-to-face, need to be small, based on connectedness, and the transformation of knowledge. I love the way Jay Roberts puts it:
So, bring on MOOCS, bring on distance learning, flipped classrooms, and blended education. Use this new Gutenberg moment to supplement and highlight what transformative teachers have always done best– curating high impact learning experiences for the students in their care.

As opposed to MOOCS and giant groups of learners, I feel from my perspective that my online learning communities need to be intimate and small. We need to know each others history and create a collective identity while respecting each other as individuals. I am just on the beginning of my quest, but would love to hear what other educators and student have to say."
education  learning  groupsize  matthenderson  thomassteele-maley  globalissues  globalstudies  efschumacher  elizabethkolbert  bighere  smallnow  bignow  longehere  extinction  mooc  moocs  donaldbrittain  barriehowells  douglaskiefer  virtualcommunities  onlinelearning  distancelearning  flippedclassrooms  blendedlearning  2014  small 
february 2014 by robertogreco
He’s not there – notes from “Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Product”s by Leander Kahney | Magical Nihilism
"‘In America, on the other hand,’ Milton explained, ‘designers are very much serving what industry wants. In Britain, there is more of the culture of the garden shed, the home lab, the ad hoc and experimental quality. And Jony Ive interacts in such a way … [he] takes big chances, instead of an evolutionary approach to design – and if they had focus-grouped Ive’s designs, they wouldn’t have been a success.’

If the education system in America tended to teach students how to be an employee, British design students were more likely to pursue a passion and to build a team around them.

‘As an industrial designer, you have to take that great idea and get it out into the world, and get it out intact. You’re not really practising your craft if you are just developing a beautiful form and leaving it at that.’

I can’t have people working in cubicle hell. They won’t do it. I have to have an open studio with high ceilings and cool shit going on. That’s just really important. It’s important for the quality of the work. It’s important for getting people to do it. – ROBERT BRUNNER

He wanted a ‘small, really tight’ studio. ‘We would run it like a small consulting studio, but inside the company,’ he said. ‘Small, effective, nimble, highly talented, great culture.’4 Setting up a consultancy inside Apple seemed in line with the company’s spirit: unconventional, idea driven, entrepreneurial. ‘It was because, really, I didn’t know any other way,’ Brunner explained. ‘It wasn’t a flash of brilliance: that was the only thing I knew how to do.’

In 1997, English contributed photos to Kunkel’s book about the design group, AppleDesign, but he also worked with a lot of other design studios in the Valley. To his eye, Apple seemed different. It wasn’t just the tools and their focus; the place was rapidly populated with designer toys, too, including spendy bikes, skateboards, diving equipment, a movie projector and hundreds of films. ‘It fostered this really creative, take-a-risk atmosphere, which I didn’t see at other firms,’ said English.

Brunner also made about half a dozen of the designers ‘product line leaders’ (PLLs) for Apple’s major product groups: CPUs, printers, monitors and so on. The PLLs acted as liaisons between the design group and the company, much in the way an outside design consultancy would operate. ‘The product groups felt there was a contact within the design group,’ Brunner said.

Brunner wanted to shift the power from engineering to design. He started thinking strategically. His off-line ‘parallel design investigations’ were a key part of his strategy. ‘We began to do more longer-term thinking, longer-term studies around things like design language, how future technologies are implemented, what does mobility mean?’ The idea was to get ahead of the engineering groups and start to make Apple more of a design-driven company, rather than a marketing or engineering one. ‘We wanted to get ahead of them, so we’d have more ammunition to bring to the process.’

In hindsight, Brunner’s choices – the studio’s separation from the engineering groups, its loose structure, the collaborative workflow and consultancy mind-set – turned out to be fortuitous. One of the reasons Apple’s design team has remained so effective is that it retains Brunner’s original structure. It’s a small, tight, cohesive group of extremely talented designers who all work on design challenges together. Just like the designers had done at Lunar, Tangerine and other small agencies. The model worked."
jonyive  apple  design  robertbrunner  teams  small  engineering  howwework  education  mindset  experimentation  markets  appledesign  collaboration  workflow  groupsize  2014  uk  us  academia  jonathanive 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Experimental Jetset: Interview / Studio Culture March 2008
"Q: Can you say how you divide up your workload between the three of you?

We are not really big football fans, but we once saw this interview with legendary player Johan Cruijff in which he explained the concept of 'Totaal Voetbal' ('Total Football', or 'Total Soccer'), and that was really inspirational. Total Football is a system where a player who moves out of his position can be replaced by any other player from the same team. So the roles aren't fixed; any player has the ability to be attacker, defender or midfielder. When you think of it, it's a very modernist, modular system. It's also very egalitarian, very Dutch in a way. There are certainly parallels you can draw between Total Football and Total Design, Cruijff and Crouwel.

In short, our ideal is to stay away from fixed roles. When dealing with stress and deadlines, we sometimes fall back into certain roles, but we try very hard to avoid that. Our intention is that the workload is divided equally, and that each one of us has the same set of abilities.



Q: Are all decisions taken collectively?

Yeah, absolutely. But it's not that we officially vote by sticking up our hands or something. Decisions are taken in a very organic way. The fact that there are three of us might have something to do with that. If two persons agree on something, the third person usually just tags along. So we always move in a certain direction. There are never two blocks of people standing against each other.



Q: My understanding is that Experimental Jet have no employees. Do you ever envisage a time when there will be lots of Jetsetters? What is attitude towards recruitment policy?

In our 12-year career, there have been quite some moments in which we could have chosen to expand, to employ people; but we have made a deliberate choice to stay small. We know many designers of our generation that have chosen another path; studios that started out with two or three people, and now employ 10, 15, sometimes even 20 people. But we have always resisted to grow in such a way.

We never really understood the point of expanding. As we see it, the reason we exist as a studio is because we have a singular aesthetic/conceptual vision, a very specific language we speak. If we would employ people, this would mean we have to force this vision upon them, that we have to oblige this people to speak our language; we would certainly not want to do that. We don't want to pressurize people into speaking our language. There's already too much pressure in the world as it is now; we don't want to add to this whole system of stress and alienation.
We could also leave these people free, and let them develop their own language, but what would be the point of employing them then? Let them start their own studio if they want to speak their own language!

As it is now, we get offered more assignments than we can handle. We simply don't see that as a problem; we're not megalomaniacs, we don't have to design everything. If a client offers us an assignment while we're busy working on something else, we simply try to direct this client to another small, independent studio. Ultimately, this whole model, of all assignments being done by a lot of different small graphic design studios is much more interesting than the model of all assignments being done by a few large agencies.

If we see two posters in the streets, we would prefer them to be designed by two different small design studios, instead of one large agency. It's as simple as that.

We do realize that there are more and more clients who feel that their project is so special that is should be handled by a large agency. But we think that's nonsense. We really believe that all projects, no matter how large, could in principle be handled by small studios. That's the whole point of printing, of mechanical reproduction: that something small, something created by just a few people, can be blown up to something really big. That's the beauty of it. That the starting point can be small.

A few decades ago, it was not uncommon that the whole graphic identity of a museum would be created by just one single designer. It should still be possible. A nice logo, a monthly invitation, some brochures, a couple of iconic posters, a basic website: what else do you need? The reason why it all became so complicated is because there exists now this whole new layer of marketing- and communication-people who are more or less creating work just to keep themselves busy. So instead of efficiently designing good-quality printed matter, you are now wasting days discussing the order in which the sponsor logos on the poster should appear. That is indeed a shame. But the solution of this should not be the design studio growing, but rather this whole marketing sphere shrinking.

Q: What about interns? Do you have a policy towards giving internships?

It would be so awkward having an intern in the studio. We really feel we have to do everything ourselves: DIY. To have somebody do all the 'dumb' work for us would make us feel terrible. For example, if we come up with a solution that forces us to spend days and days on kerning, we feel we have to do this kerning ourselves. We came up with the solution, so we have to suffer the consequences, even if this involves days of boring work. (It's probably a calvinist guilt trip, disguised as a socialist work ethic).

We are glad that the graphic design department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy doesn't require any internships. In fact, we dislike this whole notion of giving students a taste of 'the real world', as we simply don't believe there is such a thing as 'the real world'. The world is for students to shape, not to adept to. Or at least, that is how we think it should be.
Four years of study is already quite a short time. There's a lifetime of work after that. Why not dedicate those four years fully on investigating new models of design practice? Why waste a couple of months on investigating already-existing companies?

Maybe internships make sense in the context of other disciplines, but in the case of graphic design, we really like the idea of students entering the field of graphic design without any preconceived notions about it. It worked for us, so it might work for others. (But then again, we sometimes speak students who really liked their internships. So we might be completely wrong).

Having said that, it really breaks our heart to receive all these portfolios daily, from students asking for internships. We wish we could help all of them. We know their schools require them to do an internship somewhere; we wished this wasn't the case. Most of these people are really bright, their portfolios look really good; it's a shame they are required to beg for an unpaid job. It's humiliating when you think of it."
studioculture  experimentaljetset  2008  via:tealtan  openstudioproject  glvo  graphicdesign  design  small  growth  groupsize  internships  howwework  horizontality  diy  collectivism  partnership  tcsnmy  lcproject  organzations  soccer  football  johankruyf  totalfootball  totaalvoetbal  egalitarianism  futbol  sports 
december 2013 by robertogreco
The Curse of Bigness | Christopher Ketcham | Orion Magazine
"Small groups of people prove to be more cohesive, effective, creative in getting things done. In the 1970s, the English management expert and business scholar Charles Handy put the ideal group size in work environments at “between five and seven” for “best participation, for highest all-round involvement.” Alexander Paul Hare, author of the classic Creativity in Small Groups, showed that groups sized between four and seven were most successful at problem solving, largely because small groups, as Hare observed, are more democratic: egalitarian, mutualist, co-operative, inclusive. Hundreds of studies in factories and workplaces confirm that workers divided into small groups enjoy lower absenteeism, less sickness, higher productivity, greater social interaction, higher morale—most likely because the conditions allow them to engage what is best in being human, to share the meaning and fruits of their labor…"
gandhi  buddhisteconomics  buddhism  energy  efschumacher  competition  paulgoodman  alienation  charlesperrow  representativedemocracy  profits  goldmansachs  standardoil  gm  innovation  committees  efficiency  standardization  corporatocracy  corporatism  economics  louisbrandeis  gigantism  growth  decentralization  human  humans  community  communities  biology  nature  size  2010  christopherketcham  toobigtosucceed  toobigtofail  power  howwework  howwelearn  hierarchy  groupdynamics  inclusiveness  inclusion  cooperation  egalitarian  egalitarianism  democratic  collaboration  management  alexanderpaulhare  tcsnmy8  tcsnmy  morale  productivity  neuroscience  social  scale  bigness  creativity  charleshandy  openstudioproject  lcproject  groupsize  cv  small  inclusivity  inlcusivity 
august 2012 by robertogreco
The Setup / Julian Bleecker
[Julian reads my mind.]

"The dream setup is a studio that's a short bike's ride from home. In front would be a cafe that the studio would run in a haphazard way — sometimes someone from the studio might pop around and decide to make coffee for patrons. Sometimes you'd just have to turn people away. But the cafe would also be a bit of a literati cafe, so people would come by and read and write and talk and use as a meeting place and to teach little "Public School" style classes on anything and everything. There'd be books and a bit of a lending library. The only thing between the cafe and the studio behind it would be a bit of glass wall and a door. The studio would have a proper cooking kitchen (no microwave and robot coffee — real cooking) and a long family style table to accommodate 15 or so — that's what experience tells me is the maximum compliment for a well-oiled, creative, functioning team of designers/makers/builders.

In back would be a 40 foot x 40 foot pitch of back garden with a fire pit, outdoor kitchen and a wall where we could show movies all year round in the California evenings. Attached and visible through a wall of sound muffling glass would be the shop. A big shop with CNC machines, clean room, electronics assembly and fabrication, hand tools, finishing tools, cutters both material and laser and a 3D printer that wouldn't be fetishized but used to compliment proper designing and making."
coffee  thesetup  california  design  making  edg  srg  kitchens  reading  books  publicschool  thirdplaces  cafes  libraries  groupsize  cv  glvo  studios  lcproject  2012  julianbleecker  thirdspaces  openstudioproject  usesthis 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Meetings Are A Skill You Can Master, And Steve Jobs Taught Me How | Co.Design: business + innovation + design
"one of Simplicity’s most important rules: Start with small groups of smart people--and keep them small. Every time the body count goes higher, you’re simply inviting complexity to take a seat at the table…

Over the years, Apple’s marketing group has fine-tuned a process that’s been successfully repeated, revolution by revolution. Project teams are kept small, with talented people being given real responsibility--which is what drives them to work some crazy hours and deliver quality thinking. Because quality is stressed over quantity, meetings are informal and visible progress is made on a weekly (if not daily) basis.

Every company wants to maximize productivity and cut down on unnecessary meetings. How they go about it, though, can vary widely. At Apple, forming small groups of smart people comes naturally, because in its culture, that’s “the way we do things here.” Sometimes companies try to “legislate” productivity by offering up corporate guidelines."
groupsize  collaboration  thinking  responsibility  qualityoverquantity  2012  tcsnmy  complexity  small  simplicity  productivity  stevejobs  apple  management  meetings 
june 2012 by robertogreco
How One Kitchen Table in Brooklyn Became a School for Coders - Steven Heller - Technology - The Atlantic
""We modeled it after our ideal teaching environment," Pitaru says about the genesis, "which means we only take as many students as can fit around our kitchen table (a maximum of five, because the small number is ideal for group-thinking). The seating arrangement is important, as we all get to talk and look at each other rather than face a big projection on a wall."…

Participants are FIFO or first-come-first-serve. As for instructors "We love having guest instructors mainly because it allows us to become students and learn something new," Pitaru says…

Pitaru was recently contacted by someone who wants to open a Kitchen-Table-Coders in London. "Trademarking doesn't worry me," he says. "I'll be flattered if due to our efforts, more kitchen tables are used for learning code, and happy to help anyone who wishes to do so.""

[See also: http://kitchentablecoders.com/ ]
hacking  iphone  processing  workshops  stevenheller  davidnolen  amitpitaru  kitchentablecoders  deschooling  unschooling  discussion  conversation  groupsize  tcsnmy  pedagogy  teaching  development  roundtable  learning  coding  slow  humanscale  small  brooklyn  nyc  education  lcproject 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Nintendo's Miyamoto Stepping Down, Working on Smaller Games | Game|Life | Wired.com
"What I really want to do is be in the forefront of game development once again myself," Miyamoto said. "Probably working on a smaller project with even younger developers. Or I might be interested in making something that I can make myself, by myself. Something really small."

[via: http://kottke.org/11/12/shigeru-miyamoto-to-step-down-at-nintendo ]
nintendo  shigerumiyamoto  small  scale  humanscale  organizations  2011  cv  howwework  howwelearn  meaningmaking  gaming  videogames  edg  srg  glvo  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  audiencesofone  teams  groupsize  slow  simplicity  simple 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Matt Jones & Jack Schulze, “Immaterials” on Vimeo
"Matt Jones and Jack Schulze will explore a cross-section of recent and ongoing work from BERG, examining how the design of products and services comes from working intimately with the materials of your domain, even if they are intangible—like radio or data."

[Diagram at 16:33 mark reminds me of my interest in audiences of one.]
design  materialsim  jackschulze  mattjones  weakties  dunbar  dunbarnumber  materiality  audiencesofone  berg  berglondon  immaterials  smallgroups  groupsize  stongbonds  2011  data  comics  michelgondry  time  radioactivity  touch 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Environmental psychology - Wikipedia
"Roger Barker…created the field of ecological psychology. Founding his research station in Oskaloosa, Kansas in 1947, his field observations expanded into the theory that social settings influence behavior. Empirical data gathered in Oskaloosa from 1947-1972 helped him develop the concept of the “behavior setting” to help explain the relationship btwn the individual & the immediate environment. This was further explored in his work with Paul Gump in the book Big School, Small School: High School Size & Student Behavior. One of the first insightful explanations on why groups tend to be less satisfying for their members as they increase in size, their studies illustrated that large schools had a similar number of behavior settings to that of small schools. This resulted in the students’ ability to presume many different roles in small schools (e.g. be in the school band & football team) but in larger schools there was a propensity to deliberate over their social choices."
rogerbarker  smallschools  groupsize  behavior  environmentalpsychology  paulgump  bigschools  schools  social  tcsnmy 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Twitter and the Dunbar Number - Rob's posterous
"As a reminder - Here are the Lego Blocks of the science of human groups. From these precise grouping you build the best performing organizations.

As with Lego, there is nothing random about how best to organize human beings. All well functioning organizations use these groups and they avoid the "Dip" - you will see the "Dip" below.

8 The Circle of Intimacy (The section): where you intuitively communicate as a great sports team will - 15 the dangerous nowhere group that you must either go back to 8 or rush to 34 from - 34 the ideal compound group (The platoon) - 89 the ideal large team - 144 The maximum unit where all can know each other to use trust rather than rules."
twitter  robertpatterson  communities  organizations  socialmedia  groupsize  dunbar  community  psychology  learning  knowledge  business  capacity  sociology  social  hr  leadership  administration  management  tcsnmy  lcproject  classsize  dunbarnumber 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Robert Paterson's Weblog: Fixing Education - #The Social Environment is the Key
"The average class size is 12. This is in the realm of conversation that has an upper limit of close to 20. It means that many clases are about 8 which is the ideal human social design for conversation. When groups are over 23 conversation is impossible. There are two many possible connections.

Yes smaller classes are better. But reducing a class size from 34 to 26 achieves nothing. The Zone is 13 or less with 8 being best. Not a matter of opinion just as the laws of gravity are not a matter for debate either."
groups  groupsize  dunbar  dunbarnumber  schools  education  learning  conversation  robertpatterson  teaching  social  environment  resilience  empathy  lcproject  tcsnmy  socialresponsibility  connections 
october 2010 by robertogreco
John Sculley On Steve Jobs, The Full Interview Transcript | Cult of Mac
"He felt that the computer was going to change the world & it it was going to become what he called “the bicycle for the mind.” It would enable individuals to have this incredible capability that they never dreamed of before…

What makes Steve’s methodology different from everyone else’s is that he always believed the most important decisions you make are not the things you do – but the things that you decide not to do. He’s a minimalist.…

Normally you will only see a handful of software engineers who are building an operating system. People think that it must be hundreds and hundreds working on an operating system. It really isn't. It's really just a small team of people. Think of it like the atelier of an artist…

[Japanese standards are just different than ours. If you look at Apple and the attention to detail. The “open me first,” the way the box is designed, the fold lines, the quality of paper, the printing — Apple just goes to extraordinary lengths."
apple  business  stevejobs  mac  design  interview  size  groupsize  teams  managment  focus  minimalism  johnsculley  organizations  tcsnmy  computers  efficiency  via:kottke  japan  muji  experience  packaging  management  administration  lcproject 
october 2010 by robertogreco
kung fu grippe: Episode 27: Missionless Statements
"In this special episode, Dan Benjamin talks with two of his heroes, Merlin Mann & Jeff Veen about independence, free thinking, email, productivity, & changing your game."

[There is more here (on shared values, innovation, organizations, management, entreprenuership, change, etc.) than my notes reflect—all worth the listen.]

[Video also at: http://5by5.tv/conversation/27 ]
dunbar  dunbarnumber  groupsize  classsize  productivity  management  administration  tcsnmy  lcproject  jeffreyveen  merlinmann  danbenjamin  email  communication  leadership  problemsolving  technology  enterprise  independence  freethinking  gamechanging  time  small  slow  ambientintimacy  relationships  understanding  efficiency  human  humanconnection  campfire  offhtheshelfsoftware  values  organizations  groups  sharedvalues  culture  failure  innovation  cv  risktaking  risk  freelancing  motivation  danielpink  meaning  autonomy  drive  missionstatement  vision 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Edward Hall: The perfect group size = 8-12 - Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals)
"Fortunately, something is known both empirically and scientifically about the influence exerted by size on groups and the effect of size on how the groups perform. Research with business groups, athletic teams, and even armies around the world has revealed there is an ideal size for a working group. This ideal size is between eight and twelve individuals. This is natural, because man evolved as a primate while living in small groups…Eight to 12 persons can know each other well enough to maximize their talents. In groups beyond this size, the possible combinations of communication between individuals get too complex to handle; people are lumped into categories and begin the process of ceasing to exist as individuals. Tasks than can’t be handled by a group of eight to 12 are probably too complex and should be broken down further. Participation and commitment fall off in larger groups — mobility suffers; leadership doesn’t develop naturally but is manipulative and political."
37signals  business  collaboration  productivity  psychology  groups  size  groupsize  tcsnmy  edwardhall  management  process  small  scale  humanscale  lcproject 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Social Loafing in a Co-operative Classroom Task - Educational Psychology: An International Journal of Experimental Educational Psychology
"Social loafing refers to the tendency for individuals to reduce their own personal input when performing as part of group. This phenomenon may be problematic if it exists in educational contexts, given a current emphasis on group collaborative classroom activities. The present study investigated whether social loafing existed in a collaborative educational task, employing groups of three and eight participants. The results indicated that individuals working within the smaller groups were more productive than those working in larger groups, consistent with the social loafing hypothesis. Future research should determine whether the detrimental effects on students' collaborative performance attributable to social loafing are justifiable in terms of gains accrued in other (e.g. interpersonal) domains."
socialloafing  research  groups  groupsize  collaboration  classsize  education  learning  tcsnmy  teaching  2000 
june 2010 by robertogreco
apophenia: Twitter is for friends; Facebook is everybody
"My guess is that if Twitter does take off among teens and Dylan's friends feel pressured to let peers and parents and everyone else follow them, the same problem will arise and Twitter will become public in the same sense as Facebook. This of course raises a critical question: will teens continue to be passionate about systems that become "public" (to all that matter) simply because there's social pressure to connect to "everyone"?"
socialsoftware  socialnetworking  twitter  youth  teens  danahboyd  facebook  socialmedia  privacy  groupsize  saturation 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Subtraction: Great Numbers, Not So Great Design
"it’s my belief that you just can’t get great design out of a design agency with a staff larger than a dozen or two." - There's that 12-15 person threshold again.
khoivinh  design  groups  collaboration  work  groupsize  productivity  creativity  administration  management  leadership  focus  business  small  innovation  happiness  simplicity  freelancing 
may 2008 by robertogreco

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