Two people write on transparency in a way that caught my eye. It was purely accidental that I noticed them both at the same time, but these are the accidents that happen in the time of the aggregator. The first blogger is Derek, and the second is Don Tapscott.

Derek Powazek writes something that everytime I read it, I feel it captures the essence of transparency and blogging:

Dispite my ongoing love affair with the web as a confessional medium, I have been selective with what I share here. There’s plenty that I don’t talk about online. And it can be tricky to decide what goes up, and what gets saved for whispered realtime conversations.

Here’s how I think about it. You should only tell your stories. There will always be stories where other people are really at the heart. Leave it to them to tell those. Tell yours instead. But there’s the catch. Every story we tell is really about ourselves, whether we call it “storytelling” or wrap it in the cloak of “fiction.” We can’t help it. We experience the world as a story we tell ourselves. It’s just the way our brains work. And that’s exactly why storytelling is such good therapy. If you can take something that’s happening to you, no matter how hard or messy or intense, and put it down in words, you can take control of it. If you can tell the story, it’s no longer happening to you, you’re happening to it.

The gift the web gives us is that those words, posted online, can create a bond with other people, and solicit their stories in kind. And when it works really well, that emotional back-and-fourth can create a storytelling circuit that becomes far greater than any individual contributor to it. When that kind of magic happens, it taps into a very deep part of ourselves. It proves that, by our universal stories, none of us are truly alone. We are all of us connected to each other. Just as every breath we take has been recycled through someone else’s lungs, every personal story we have has happened to someone else, too. I find a lot of comfort in that.
Source: Derek Powazek

Wow, what a great description of blogging. Folks are tired of the false sounding professional “brochure-speak” of yesterday. Whether you’re an educator or business person, this conversational, storytelling approach DOES allow you to take control of a story in a way that marketing and PR just can’t. That’s what makes the writing so darn powerful.

Don Taspcott shares that he was listening to someone speak ahead of him. That person shared three points: 1. avoid risk; 2. hire the best people; and 3. focus on your customers.

Avoid risk, hire the best people, focus on your customers. It sounds like safe advice, but Don Tapscott doesn’t agree. He shares (and I’ve excerpted the parts I think are relevant…read the complete response via the Wikinomics blog):

Avoid Risk? from my research companies can avoid suffering loss by being more transparent, by opening up, by sharing their intellectual property and intentionally showing (controlled) vulnerability. That’s what Rob McEwan did with Goldcorp – publishing his geological data and inviting the world to scrutinize it — and he increased the value of his company by an order of magnitude. If he was driven by a mantra of “avoiding risk” he would have shut the company down.

Hire the Best People? Because of the new web, Ideagoras, peer production, open platforms and the other models we discuss in Wikinomics – the uniquely qualified minds to do things for your company may be outside your boundaries.

Focus on your customers? Wrong. This is so old school – do good market research, have good focus groups, treat customers well, build great products and services, give great support, be customer centric. Because of the new web we can go beyond focusing on customers to engaging them in deep and ongoing ways. Consumers can become Prosumers – co-innovating value. Firms can co-create thrilling experiences with customers.

When you consider that our students are engaged by technologies that convey authentic voices, that allow for not just a conversation between two people–teacher and student–but a multitude of learners collaborating online, that “group work” shouldn’t be just about collaborating with the people in your classroom but with anyone that is OUTSIDE the boundaries of your classroom…wow.

But for me, the most important connection to education is that our students and our teachers can both co-innovate value, co-create thrilling learning experiences with each other.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure