Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Opportunity costs

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

So one of my favorite stories/ demo’s I used to do for my new students was that of the “Big Rocks”

I would bring in a large glass vase and then I would place big rocks in it and ask if the vase was full…

Most would say yes.

I would then pour in small rocks and then ask again if it was full.  Some would say yes

I would then pour in sand and ask if it was full.  By then most had caught on and would say no.

And then I would pour in water…

I called it a lesson in priorities. So long as you figure out what your “large rocks” are in life you can fit most stuff in around those “large rocks.” Just remember to put your large rocks in first like family, children, school, work etc.

I think the hardest part for me personally in regards to that lesson is the huge wealth I am surrounded in in regards to opportunity costs.  I can’t help but look at the other large rocks – I took out and placed on the ground.

So many things I can choose to do with my time. And every time I choose to do something. I am choosing NOT to do a ton of other things.

I am at a standoff in regards to the social media world. Email, twitter, facebook – these should all be sand filling around my big rocks. And they are not. Instead processing them have been big rocks in my day. Mainly because of communication issues and others’ demand on my time.

I think what is missing most is an ability to truly prioritize and to accept losses when I do miss emails, texts, direct messages on twitter etc. The biggest opportunity loss is the fact I do not want to prioritize on open government anymore – sunlight is doing fine in that arena. Instead, I want to do Open Banking. It is all I think about. (ok maybe a few other idea pop up :-) but it is sticky!) SO I have traded Big Rocks.  And that means having to dump out all the others and re-sort…

I need to focus on how to make Open Banking happen.


Criticism guidelines

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

these are my internalized rules… pieces stolen from the ether.  Much is focused on maintaining self respect in difficult situations.

How to Criticize

1) try not to criticise period (per How to Win Friends and Influence People)

2) Only criticize when something must be fixed for continued involvement

3) Start off with what is going right in the relationship for you

4) Only talk about the actions and how those made you feel (no personal attacks)

4) Negotiate a win/win solution

5) if win/win solutions are not possible leave quietly

How to Accept Criticism

1) Listen

2) Reflect back to the speaker what you heard

3) Ask what solution they propose

4) Negotiate a win/win solution with the knowledge of their perspective (keep checking in)

5) if win/win is not possible state it that you understand their issue without antagonism and walk away

One thing I realized in regards to writing this is how important respectful negotiations are to these communications.  Without respectful negotiations, criticism is useless.  Only enter into criticism if you think win/win solutions are possible.


“OPEN” really? … I mean Really?

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

So a bunch of people are throwing around the word “Open” lately and I have to admit I am more than a bit offended by its abuse.

I think the biggest irony currently is Adobe’s use of the word considering their PDF’s are some of the most closed items on the planet as far as govt publications are concerned. I think I would be more supportive if they actually OPENED that up.

And of course you have another noxious offender Facebook claiming their API is “OPEN.” Check out Louis Grey’s post of definitions

I purposely stopped saying “TRANSPARENT Government” a few years back even though I had been using the term since 2004. (and had registered just about every domainURL version under the sun) Basically, I realized just having the data available somewhere buried on the site was not enough. It had to be easily accessible as well. So I jumped on the “OPEN” bandwagon. And started referring to “Open Government” instead of transparent government.

But I also found that term to be lacking as well and created a new word for what I wanted. CITABILITY – which goes beyond available or accessible. It has set definitions. It must be citable also. This has a long and fairly well defined history – So it creates a stronger term that is less subject to abuse.  And defines a specific goal.

Add to the term “citability” – the specifications on the website and the implementations being posted to and you have a more enforceable definition. That I am hoping a community of people will support.

Also add in the time date stamp portions and you have versioning and accountability. This makes “citability” goes way past the generalized concept of “OPEN” and creates something specific.

I think we need to be careful about using such fluid terms…

(and since a silona blog post wouldn’t be complete without a reverse navel gazing about how I make be doing the same mistake i am critiquing…)

Which makes me ponder posting a better definition of “OPENBANKING” I want to incorporate the best of OPEN in regards to banking to create EARNED trust.

Time to make a quick ruleset. Since I am inventing this term and all and being one of the first to blog about it. (at least so far as I have found anyhow :-))

Now Adobe… let’s talk about Citability and standards in regards to your PDF’s… I’m sure we can figure something out to not just help you to be OPEN but Citable as well. I know you guys aren’t actually evil in regards to this just monolithic which results in being slow.


mutual data ownership – stop giving away money

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

I was reading an interesting blog post today

Where he basically ponders the loss of control of data… esp in regards to the cloud.

The current scenario of you (individuals, businesses, groups etc) uploading all your information onto the cloud without proper contractual safeguards means that you have no control over your data…

This is why I am arguing we need to have mutual ownership of data. The multiple parties get to have a traceroute of thier mutual owned data. We can see who has touched it and where it has been. That portion becomes immutable (and if the data is important enough hashed and tagged in multiple locations for verification purposes.)

We can then create contracts with these cloud entities about individual ownership and force them to acknowledge our mutual ownership of the data.

Currently you give aware tons and tons of money every day! Why do you think google and facebook is worth Billions? because you GAVE it to them (forever and ever amen.) Every single idle thought, your favorite movies, your friends listing, your best friend listing, your address, your email, your game playing behavior, every thing you would never give a survey or the government – you have given to them AND most importantly SIGNED THE RIGHT TO THEM. and yea honey – that is worth some serious cash because it is some serious power.

We need a Creative Commons style contract for all this data. So that we can create some checks and balances here!

because it gets scarier than Google and Facebook (how can it get worse that a behavioral profile of all my searches?)

well it can become a profile of how you spend your money (credit cards, shoppingcards) which could effect your credit rating (hello thoughtcrime?)

or your gps data (hello ATT – or have we forgotten about them giving everything away without a search warrant?)

There is a reason Sandy Pentland calls datamining on gps data “reality mining.” Because there is NOTHING more revealing that is being gathered on you today… and nothing worth more money!

take ownership! get paid for it! sue for damages when it is stolen or misused!


The Importance of Brave Monkeys

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

So I want to talk about a pattern I see in the world…

All of these numbers are completely pulled out of my head and there are no scientific studies that I know of… so buyer beware! just trying to attach and estimation…

It seem like 1 out of 10 people is what I call a “brave monkey.” I loosely define brave monkeys as the kind of monkey that would touch the obelisk in 2010. They are the novelty seekers in the world that are willing to try to things without knowing what will happen. Sometime many people in the world ask them “Why would you want to do that.” And the typical answer is pure curiosity…

So in the land of electronic media… there are few things that can kill us. Previously evolutionarily speaking we didn’t want too many brave monkeys because unfortunately brave monkey often die for their curiosity. So I believe we need a higher percentage of brave monkeys in our new safer world.

But how do we help people be more brave? esp in an online situation where risk is diminished?

I think the best things to do are:
1) make sure to always reward people very publicly
this sets up a system for scared monkeys to go and see what people have done correctly
2) Create very clear examples for scared monkeys to follow – I find with these best practices… you can convert 1/3 of the scared monkeys to be braver monkeys
3) There are brave monkeys out there that are good teachers – make them role models
They become living examples of best practices

and most importantly 4)
The more I do this life thing… the more I am on Dale Carnegie side – don’t criticize individuals.
All it does is force people to defend themselves (and puts the in lizard brain – and none of us are smart when we are being lizards…)
Only talk about things or actions that are wrong not people. If you can talk about it without calling out an individual – you have done a good thing!

We don’t want to hurt brave monkeys! even when sometimes they aren’t smart monkeys – we all make mistakes.


3 tweets about Data ownership

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

1) How can you tell when you do not fully own the data? when people can lie to you about it :-) #dataownership #openbank

2) How do you know data is mutually owned? When at least two parties are needed to verify it as true #dataownership #openbank

3) I am amazed at the people/businesses who are offended at the idea of “mutually owned” data then complain about “false” data

I wrote these as simple ways to explain the concept of mutually owned data. It seems there are many people who feel that data is like an object and only has one owner.

I think most data is created and is actually more like a child with parents. Those parents have responsibilities to the child data they create. Good parents understand accountability and citability. Bad parents let their data roam around abused and used and often corrupted :-)


Open Banking, metrics and money

Friday, September 25th, 2009

metrics metrics metrics

With an openbank I get to prove a concept with the most old fashioned metric there is – money…

for what is money than the most generally accepted metric?

I want to educate people about the ownership of their data. No better way than to attach it to their money.
Show them that Data is the new money.
No better way to prove to businesses that people care than to make alot of money off of it.
No better way to get other banks to follow suit than to take money away from them.

yep I am a bit of a more pragmatic gal these days…


Open bank proposal and women

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Doing more research on my Open Banking proposal (due in less that a week) and I am noticing many females coming to sisterly similar conclusions. This is very odd to me coming from the world of computer programming and gaming as well as politics. There just aren’t very many gals…

I also have thought of the banking industry as nothing but men… and yet these new concepts are all being reflected in women’s work. I’m not gonna preach but that does say something to me and makes me feel oddly happy and confident to see so many new sisters.

Kristin Moyer at Gartner

Cate Long at Riski

Kate Niederhoffer at Dachis Group



back from burningman

Friday, September 11th, 2009

And I have much to think about…

The biggest issue is me needing to be a bit more heads down for some of my work. it is an issue of priorities… and time…

I have been doing way too much, for way too long, for way too little money. It is simply not sustainable.

I thought long and hard about what matters most to me and what my CORE goals are…

It is hard to leave something I have worked so hard on for 5 years. But it is time to retire the Transparent Federal Budget and to rethink the role of the League of Technical Voters.

I think the time is now for the OurOpenBank. It is going to mean a drastic change for my work/social sphere. And I have to get up to speed on some topics I never really thought I would study. But it is important and my new priority. I have seen way too many signs of the dangers up head.

Just like when I saw how to run political campaigns in 94, MMOs in 98, and transparent govt in 04. It is time. Mutual ownership of data is the next thing and the only way to have true control over an ever changing fractionated identity.

I believe an open bank is the best way to go about this.

I know this will disappoint some people and I am sorry. But I am not sad that I have worked on these projects for the past 5 yrs and I did change the way some very important people saw possibilites. I mean when I started everyone told me I was nuts and yet I was able to reach and exchange ideas with some amazing minds.

I am not stopping on my mission to make the world a better place. I simply feel like for a time I got caught in the details without remembering the fundamental reason I started doing Transparent Government is the first place.

I started because of concern for the individual’s pursuit of happiness. I started because of my concerns of loss of privacy and social structures. I started because I perceived a dangerous inequality. This is a continuation of that story. It is more linear than just the concept of “government” this is going to hit people where it hurts the most – money.

I will start again here.


podcast w Phil Windley from is up

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Phil gets me to talk about steps 4 and 5 for the openbank as well!

And jokes about this week being @silona week at itconversations :-)

now just need to write up both my posts for O’Reilly Radar! and then no geek alive can miss seeing my picture on the two topics of Citability and OpenBanking!

also some reference links from things I talk about…

and I guess I should put something up at and .org since I own them but not yet I think… I will make them point here for now.