The Kaplak Manifesto


I seek out your messages and products on the internet
If I find your stuff intriguing, important and useful
I help promote your stuff where I go

If you like what I do
If you want to encourage me
If you want to support my work
you can leave me hat money (i.e. kaplak) in return

Or you can help me get my message out too

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The 95 Theses and The Cluetrain Manifesto Anniversary Blogging Event

The Cluetrain Manifesto celebrates it’s 10th year these days. I never read it in it’s entirety, but it’s one of those books that just keep popping up over and over again. It’s written with a clearheaded, crisp and prophetic style, which demands attention, and if you’re the least bit interested in what happened and is happening with the internet, and how it affects our lives and businesses, it’s one of those books you have to read – at some point in your life. It’s freely available on the web, and there’s an anniversary edition coming out next month, so now is a good time, if you’re like me and haven’t already dived into it.

I was recently encouraged to sign up for a blogging event in which 95 bloggers each write a post on the same agreed date, April 28th, about one of the “95 theses” claimed by the book.

The Cluetrain Manifesto’s 95 theses is a clear reference to the 95 theses written by Martin Luther in 1517 and nailed to the door of Wittenberg Castle Church. Luther’s theses led to strong reactions. It gave voice to the discontents with the Catholic chuch, which were felt by high and low and sparked what later became known as the Reformation and several long and bloody European religious wars.

One thing that was key to Luther’s and his co-conspirators’ ability to appeal to and gain widespread support for their cause was the printing press. Invented around 1450 by Johann Gutenberg and others, it helped spread the ideas in pamphlets and books wide and far, with unprecedented speed and reach. The reformators had in the printing press a tool which helped mobilize support for their ideas in a new way. The churches and monasteries with their preachers and preservers of knowledge no longer poessessed the privilege of filtering information for the people. The monopoly was broken.

As much as there are differences between the media revolution in the 15th and 16th century and the electronic media revolution of our times, the reference is not far off. Like the printing press democratized information streams and made ideas accessible to people who otherwise would be prevented from receiving them, so do the digitally networked information economy connect people and offer access to unfiltered information. The exchange of utterings and data takes place on a truly unprecedented global scale, and we don’t know the true implications of what is going on. We are living it. Everywhere, the internet abolishes the filters of publishers, editors, executives, distributors, news reporters, politicians, dictators and others engaged in preparing our filtered digestion of news, entertainment, knowledge and ideas. The monopoly has been broken again.

Let’s just hope the next two hundred years won’t be as bloody as the two hundred years which followed Luther’s theses.

All the 95 theses of The Cluetrain Manifesto can be found here, but I had to pick just one for my Tuesday post. I picked this one :

93. We’re both inside companies and outside them. The boundaries that separate our conversations look like the Berlin Wall today, but they’re really just an annoyance. We know they’re coming down. We’re going to work from both sides to take them down.

Read my post on this thesis here : When The Garden Walls Come Crumbling Down – Or what would happen if Facebook went GPL.

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When Words Are Not Enough

The web is awash with shocking images – terrible, shocking images of dead children. Of what is happening in Gaza, right now. I don’t care about the political mumbo-jumbo, it doesn’t interest me. But I do care about what other people are doing to each other. What crimes can be committed when people sign off their responsibilities towards their fellow men and replace it with loyalty and servitude to false concepts, institutions and leaders, which cowardly hide behind the rhetorics of concepts and words.

A friend sent me these pictures on Facebook – similar pictures can be found all over the web. Here, here or here. Here. Or simply here.

There were a few which spoke to me deeply. A father (I assume) carrying his dead child away. A kid with his head just above the ground. Corpses of burned children. I am a father myself. It doesn’t take much empathy to understand what kind of unspeakable atrocity is committed here. I have little to say in words except it makes me sad – and furious at the same time. I blip’ed about it here, and that’s just one insufficient way to express how I feel. Words are insufficient.

I try to avoid watching the news. I don’t really like to be spun into the web of politics and juggling of concepts which is what’s going on in television-made reality. I like the internet, where I can obtain the information I need when and where I like. A friend can always share news with me, in many different ways, if he or she deems it important for me to know. Or I can stumble upon things, I wouldn’t otherwise know about. I can be reached.

Today, these images made me think about how images like these can now reach us in a way they couldn’t a mere 10-15 years ago. They’d never make it past the editorial room of the television news, never make it into prime time tv (for good reasons). But they tell the unmasked truth of whats going on. Killed children, dead babies, smashed families… what goes on in every war, no matter how pretty or political it looks on tv. And what needs to reach us and anyone else with influence and just the slightest sense of responsibility. This can’t go on in the 21st century.

I can’t help the feeling that all my work and interests are shallow, when faced with these atrocities. This goes for my work in Kaplak, as well as my hobbies, such as playing strategy games and developing computer game scenarios.

That’s until I remind myself, that the reason I do what I do, is to facilitate this kind of exchange of information. I am reminded of Clay Shirky’s ideas, of what creates a group, and what makes group action possible : shared information, and a platform for interaction. That we develop technological architectures, which enable the decentralized access to and distribution of information, which may operate fast, can easily be used and adapted, and which enable mutual connections between otherwise disconnected entities. Now we have wikis, the blogosphere and we have Twitter. But we need even better tools to facilitate these exchanges of information, and in order to coordinate advanced and complex operations between peers. This is what we do. This is what we’re taking our first few digs into.

I recently blip’ed about the German patriotic song Die Wacht am Rhein, a song which has roots in the Prussian expansion wars of Bismarck 1864-1871, which was also immensely popular in Germany during the two world wars. I want to create a Civilization II scenario on Bismarck’s wars and this forging of the German national state. As a way to explore this our in many ways most recent history, on the birth of the modern European national state – on the iron, technology and blood spilt in this process. The kind of history taking place right now in Gaza is not new. These kinds of atrocities are not new. But gone are the days of romanticizing war and dressing it up as patriotism. Gone are the days when images such as these could be kept away from the public eye. And come are the days, when atrocities in one distant corner of the globe can reach the rest of the globe with the speed of fiery lightning. And hopefully, it will make an act such as this much harder to enact without the world acting against it. If we don’t, it could be our children, there, dead in the ruins. In a way it is.

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