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Jerry Michalski at PUSH 2005

Jerry Michalski (geek watcher, former Release 1.0 editor, conversational hacker) is giving a really interesting talk about deviant thinkers – outsiders. He gives us a rogue’s gallery of intellectual heretics, from seemingly unrelated fields and documents their individual heresies:

Psychotherapist Alice Miller: Abuse is epidemic and people don’t believe survivors.

Dogme 95 diector Lars Von Trier: Artifice diminishes movies.

Founder of the Quakers, George Fox: We don’t need intermediation in our relationship with God.

Richard Stallman: We should be able to share software.

Jerry sees a common thread through these outsiders – they’re all pointing to an implicit societal message: “We Don’t Trust You”. We don’t trust you to self-educate, to design, to enjoy authentic art, to minister to one another, to create collective goods or to know things you can’t measure.

Jerry’s interested in what happens when we start from a position of trust – when you believe that you’re dealing with “users”, not “consumers”, when you trust openness to be a competitive advantage, not a threat. Jerry believes that open content, tools and processes aren’t just good business practice, but have other critical values, releasing human energy.

I think Jerry’s insight is a useful one, and I’m interested to see what happens when he’s got some more time to use this notion of deep trust as a way to analyze software and economies… though I don’t quite understand what Jerry means by unlocking human energy…

A question I offered: if these thinkers are united by a belief that we had to trust others, why were they so dogmatic in their methods? Jerry’s got an excellent start of an answer – it’s not healthy – psychologically or otherwise – to be a leader. While the insight about trust is primary, other problems with being a leader make it hard for that leader to trust followers.

Very interested to see where Jerry goes with these ideas.

3 thoughts on “Jerry Michalski at PUSH 2005”

  1. Ethan:
    I was at PUSH today.
    Since reading your blog, I get the power of it. I sat there today watching all of those people on laptops doing various tasks during the presentation. Some doing email, some searching each speaker’s credentials as they spoke, some taking laborious notes-does anyone really look at those later? I also wonder if laborious note-taking impedes one’s listening? I heard so much buzz about “Ethan blogging through the whole thing.” From what I see, Ethan was listening intently, taking notes that may actually be referenced (I did) and clearing your brain of all the things I was thinking, but that were still cluttering whatever gray matter I have left up there. So much blogging is still puffy chested braggery about nothing–and can be–quite honestly–boring. This is good. Keep typing.

    Fascinating. I like your stuff. I like your style. Rock star? Perhaps. I give it you more credit than that. Thanks for sharing the inside of your brain.

  2. That’s very kind of you, Patty – thanks. I’m not nearly as good as some of the great conference bloggers out there – David Weinberger, Jeff Jarvis – who manage to turn out near-transcripts of conferences. But I find it personally useful to take notes at conferences, and hope that notes could be useful in bringing a larger audience to some of the great talks we’re hearing here…

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