Monthly Archives: April 2012

Solutions in search of problems: A canary in the startup coalmine

One of the best things about working in the digital consulting business is being exposed to different challenges: startups, new business models, diverse industries, evolving technologies and behavioral norms. It can really be an exciting job.

Sling bits and ideas for startups long enough, though, and certain patterns start to emerge; they fall into two simple buckets for me: promising and problematic. The first bucket holds startups that have winning products or ideas that can probably get to market and have at least a chance of surviving. The second bucket lives on the other side of the tracks: startups with good ideas and smart people, but no differentiated product or market offering. Continue reading

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The Tragedy of the Comments – Part II: In search of solutions

"The same equations have the same solutions." – Richard Feynman (Physics Lectures Vol. 2, Chapter 12)

"In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is." – Yogi Berra

Bad behavior has been around in digital commons for 40 years. The fact that Anil Dash and Nick Denton talked about it this year at South by Southwest demonstrates that, despite everyone’s efforts, the problem remains unsolved. Comments (and digital commons) still suffer from trolls, snarky behavior, bozos, and a general lack of quality at scale.

In a previous post, I showed how one can create a solid analogy between the classic Tragedy of the Commons and what happens in online discussions (or in any digital commons). With this groundwork, the natural question to ask is whether we can leverage real-world solutions to help find ones in the digital world. Continue reading

Posted in Social media, Web stuff | 1 Comment