Thursday, May 1, 2008

More Memories from Peter's Talk

I remembered two more things about Peter Brantley's talk as I was downtown waiting for my bus home.

The first was a very simple example involving whereby you find and buy products sold on Amazon using a mobile device. Pretty slick and pretty simple.

The second thing I remembered was another person Peter mentioned, and quoted during his presentation: Jan Chipchase (great name!). Jan's blog Future Perfect "is about the collision of people, society and technology, drawing on issues related to the design research that I conduct on behalf of my employer - Nokia." What Peter seemed to really like about Jan's work is how he travels to so many Third World places where the technology and the tools are used really hard and where its all boiled down to basics and priorities.

Peter noted that he used to be really careful citing all the web sites and blogs in his presentation, but that he doesn't do it any more. All he needs, he said, was a few pieces of the metadata, not the whole string. I think he's right. As I've poured over my memory from his talk this morning little bits and pieces keep popping up, and using those bits and pieces I've been able to reconstruct a lot of his presentation and note the significant items here. So here's another example--the one thing I couldn't remember, but really wanted to, that was driving me nuts--taken from a slide and story that I remembered Peter sharing this morning, a story from Jan. I couldn't remember the whole quotation, but I remembered some key words: Lhasa, rickshaw, Yak Hotel. I plugged those into Google, along with Jan's name, and I found the quote. Here it is:

A fortnight later and I’m huddled under the awning of a cycle rickshaw parked on the fringes of Lhasa’s Barkhor Square. The driver of the rickshaw is patiently explaining how Tibet has changed during his lifetime with a cheery demeanor that belies both his scant winter trade and his likely disposable income. It’s close to midnight and the traders selling incense, herbal remedies and prayer wheels to the devotional have left hours ago leaving the square deserted save for a light dusting of snow and a descending mist. A muffled ring tone can be heard under layers of clothes and he pulls off a glove, reaches into his coat, draws out a RAZR - his wife wants to know when he can be expected home. He drops me at the delightfully named Yak Hotel and cycles into the night.

I may remember more of Peter's talk, but I think I've squeezed out the most significant stuff. It's about people, communication, collaboration, and priorities. Now it's time to log off and go watch the last installment of "Carrier" on PBS. If you haven't had a chance to watch this, check out the web site for full episodes and clips. It's a very, very interesting documentary about life on board the U.S. carrier Nimitz.

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