Reading Like a Student [en]

[fr] Envie de lire mieux. Je vais me remettre à prendre des notes, et les publier ici. C'est du boulot, mais j'apprendrai plus.

As I devour chapter after chapter of Here Comes Everybody, I find the intellectual high of reading and learning dampened by the foresight that a few days/weeks/months from now, what I have just read will have collapsed into the vague mushy pile of “what I know”, complete with shortcuts, sloppy thinking, lack of references or sources, incorrect recollection, and confirmation bias.

This has been my in satisfaction with reading lately. Realising that once the last page is turned, my main impulse is “gosh, I need to read this again so I can hold on to what I’ve just learned”. Much as it pains me, I’ve become a lazy and sloppy (yes, again that word) reader.

It wasn’t always so. I read tons of books during my studies. I took tons of notes. There were no iPhones around, no kindles, no digital versions. I didn’t even have a laptop. I took tons of notes on paper. I wrote summaries. I copied quotes. I read to remember, not for entertainment. I was expected to do something with what I had read.

Nowadays, I read freely. I photograph pages with important ideas and stick them in Evernote rather than painstakingly copying quotes (what a time-saver! makes it so easy to find the right page… if I remember what it was about).

I’m not thinking of going to back to copying quotes long-hand (I can’t really write by hand anymore, thanks to RSI, but that’s another blog post). However, I am thinking of taking my reading more seriously: summarising main ideas, taking notes. Only this time around, there is no reason for them to stay in offline notebooks gather dust: I have a blog for this. The fact that I’m strong-arming (!) a batch of MBA students to keep learning blogs during our partial module together is probably no stranger to this desire to reconnect with the “learning in progress” aspect of blogging.

Stay tuned.

Notes from LeWeb'12, Tuesday Morning [en]

I’m at LeWeb’12 in Paris, if you’d missed the news. I arrived late at the main stage, after dealing with the inevitable “badge drama” that shows up on the morning of the first day. (A few of the badges for official bloggers couldn’t be found…) After that I headed upstairs to the official blogger lounge so I could power up a bit and check it out “live”.

I arrived in time to catch the second part of the NASA talk about Curiosity Rover (@marscuriosity). Read Rachel’s live-blogged notes. The video footage of the touchdown on Mars and the reaction of all the people working on it was very moving.

SmartThings. Now that was interesting. (Not that NASA wasn’t but… in a different way.) How about providing a single centralized interface (on your phone) for interacting with physical objects? Obvious example: a light switch. Less obvious example: getting an alert when the liquor cabinet door is opened. And how about adding layers of intelligence so that an event can trigger another? Example: turn the lights on when the front door is opened.

I’m only scratching the surface here, but I’m feeling the same inkling of excitement as when I was listening to the talk on 3D printing at Lift earlier this year. The code is simple, I feel like tinkering. It feels like a playground, like the web felt to me 14 years ago and social tools 8 years ago.

SoundCloud CEO made a great point about the importance of sound, and this vindicates a point I’ve been trying to make since the early days of videoblogging: sound allows you to do something else while you’re listening to it. Video? Not so much. You’re watching video, or you’re not. It’s hard to watch video and do the dishes at the same time. Possible, though. Watch video and drive? Nope. But you can listen to audio during that time. Which makes me think: should I be doing more video, or more audio?

The big surprise of the morning for me was charity: water. I’d heard about it, of course. I’d heard about people giving up their birthdays. But from where I stood, it sounded like another of these American charity/volunteer/cheesy thingies. Listening to Scott’s story on stage though, I’ve been turned. I especially like their 100% model: 100% of donations go towards the “core charity”, and the organizational costs are covered by private donors, foundations, sponsors…

I remember from my brief experience with Wildlife SOS in India that it’s way easier to find people to give money to feed or save the bears, than it is to find people to provide money to pay salaries or a new computer that’s needed for the office. The 100% model helps solve that problem. You need to be good at marketing and fundraising, though 😉

Another thing Scott managed to do is create a strong non-stuffy brand. Charity: water is a non-boring charity — which is maybe why I perceived it as “very American” through the lens of my Swiss values. But actually, upon looking closer, it’s great.

The 100% model and use of “modern” technology (GPS trackers! Google Maps!) means it’s possible to introduce traceability for all their actions. You can actually pinpoint where each donor’s money goes, and nobody feels kind of “cheated” of their desire to make a direct difference in people’s lives because their donation went towards paying for software licenses rather than actually building a well.

No live-blogging, you’re asking? Nope, but definitely pretty much live-storifying of all the coverage provided but the wonderful official bloggers at the conference.

Lift12, Technology vs. People: JP Rangaswami [en]

[fr] Je suis à la conférence Lift12 à Genève ces prochains jours. Voici mes notes de sessions.

Live-blogging from Lift12 conference in Geneva. These are my notes and interpretations of JP Rangaswami‘s talk — best effort, but might be imprecise or even wrong!

lift12 1100288.jpg

So, is technology good or bad?

We need to think about the reasons this technology exists. For a long time, two drives to create new technology:

  • Flying? Perceived need.
  • Velcro? Observation.

Interesting: cooking as pre-digestion or external stomach. Cooked food allows us to have a relatively small stomach for our size.  => wish to speed up evolution.

Technology: we need to evaluate it in context — e.g. Cocaine toothache pills, dentists recommending which brand to smoke..

We’re not leaving enough time to evaluate the impact of technologies.

Interesting: medicine has gone from customer-centric (holistic) to product-centric (treating the illness). Not that much progress with cancer.

We should not just be thinking the technology we have, but about the technology we do not develop. What we choose not to do is also important.

Technology is also pioneering: e.g. Foursquare, mapping the digital world. Pioneers are sometimes ridiculed, or pay with their life (Marie Curie). Innovation seen as positive today did not come without criticism and bad things happening.

Crickets biggest betting scandal figured out by somebody who had all the time in the world to look at hours and hours of tape (and connect the dots…).

Unintended consequences of banning technology (ie, Pakistan and YouTube).

How Target Figured Out Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before her Dad Did.

Sometimes technology is not to accelerate things, but to slow them down (e.g. qwerty — steph-note: wasn’t that a myth? need to check.)

Look at things holistically: pioneers exist, unintended consequences.

Development of the suburbs. Positives and negatives coming out — was television created to produce a generation of couch potatoes? Unintended consequence. Was Google created to “make us dumb”?

Online interactions to augment offline interactions, but from the outside, fear that online is replacing offline.

Photo rescue project. People giving their time and skill to help save other people’s memories.


Technology itself is not good or bad, it is the engagement of humans that decides that. We still get to choose good or bad.

Every economic era has its peculiar abundances and scarcities. Hyperconnectivity is our abundance. How can we create business value from this abundance? What does it mean to have pressure on attention?

Alban Martin, co-création [fr]

Cours SAWI #mcmsla présentation d’Alban est disponible en ligne (deuxième partie aussi).

Maturité de la marque et de l’entreprise vis-à-vis des médias sociaux: échelle.

  1. “canal” remontant non pris en compte; n’écoutent pas (exemple: Nestlé/Greenpeace “Killer” campaign)
  2. médias sociaux inclus dans la veille
  3. l’entreprise réagit à certains messages clés
  4. attitude proactive d’encouragement à la discussion
  5. pris en compte dans les processus d’innovation et de service clientèle

Ecouter, ça peut donner des idées: par exemple la SNCF qui remplace la voix d’annonce par celle d’Homer Simpson en Gare Montparnasse le 1er avril (8 mio de vues pour une des vidéos amateur!) — degré 2.

Lancement de l’application iPhone officielle de Roland Garros par Orange: premiers retours négatifs, trois jours après le début du tournoi! Réactions parfois vives! Mais mesures correctives apportées + les communiquer au bon endroit (directement dans l’app store et où les gens réagissaient, ainsi que dans des écrans intersticiels au lancement). En moins d’une semaine… — degré 3.

Du point de vue organisationnel (degré 4). Equipe SMO: Social Media Optimization. A la croisée de la communication et du marketing. Activités qui ont lieu sur le site de l’organisation et ailleurs.

  • socialiser le site web
  • installation de modules de tiers
  • campagnes ad hoc
  • relations blogueurs
  • seeding (déposer des messages pertinents aux bons endroits: promo dans communautés clés, participation via commentaires, blog, groupes de discussion…)
  • présence sur les carrefours d’audience (présence pérenne!)

Mais attention, ça débute par la communication corporate conforme aux médias sociaux, afin que le contenu institutionnel circule de façon la plus efficace possible sur les médias sociaux. Bon exemple: Orange UK.

Exemple niveau 5: Orange Tunisie.

R&D, Marketing, Ventes. Communiquer.

R&D: public niche, B2B, start-ups, petites entreprises, freelances, étudiants… via plateformes de coopération et co-création, ainsi que des événements offline. KPI? nombre de contributions, de deals ou partenariats générés, les idées et suggestions…

Deux exemples: Livebox Lab & Orange Partner

Livebox Lab: recherche d’idées de services à construire dessus. Sur la plate-forme sont diffusés toutes les specs techniques de la livebox => un partenaire peut déposer un dossier en comprenant comment fonctionne la livebox. Tri des propositions, partenariat, développement de l’idée.

Orange Partner: communauté de développeurs qui gravitent autour des produits Orange. Attention, pas juste online!

Orange Partner et Livebox Lab sont des sites B2B indépendants et pas médiatisés sur les sites B2C.

Marketing: aussi une petite audience, geeks, blogueurs, technophiles. Beta test, “netnology”, suivi de discussions en ligne, etc. Exemples: Orange Innovation lab (beta-zone, produits presque finis — lab’Orange). Ne pas oublier le monde physique! Conférence d’explication à La Cantine, par exemple.

Ventes: programme e-influenceurs. Relations étroites et informelles avec des non-institutionnels, bâties sur le long terme, qui vont dans les deux sens, et adaptation des outils de communication à cette audience spécifique (“buzz-kit”). Des gens qu’on connaît bien, avec qui on a une relation personnelle.


  1. Analyse du bruit et des communautés existantes: se représenter les acteurs du marché (fonctions, chiffres, audience, positionnement). Faire des recherches pour les mots-clés pertinents dans Google (blogsearch, trends…), Facebook
  2. Il y a forcément un forum via lequel prendre la température
  3. Analyse de l’audience existante ou attendue (portrait chinois?)
  4. Rechercher des campagnes similaires (pour savoir ce qui marche et ce qui ne marche pas)
  5. Fixer des objectifs
  6. Identifier lea bonne stratégie de communication à partir de viral/buzz/influence (combinables)

Oups! 10: suivi des retombées, reporting.

Brené Brown on Vulnerability (TEDx Talk) [en]

[fr] Excellente présentation de Brené Brown sur la vulnerabilité et l'importance de celle-ci pour notre capacité à entrer en relation. A regarder absolument (il y a des sous-titres français si vous en avez besoin).

After a pretty unproductive day watching cars spawn and unhacking my blog, I settled down to watch a few videos I had stuck in Boxee over the last months.

First I watched Alain de Botton, who said very eloquently what I’ve been thinking for a few years now: if anyone can be anything, and we owe our successes to ourselves, we are also fully responsible for our failures, and that responsibility is crushing us and our self-esteem. I then went on to David Blaine, who held his breath for 17 minutes — more scary than inspiring for me (kids, don’t try this at home in the bathtub).

Finally, I listened to Brené Brown’s talk on vulnerability and connexion. It hit close to home, and I took some notes, which I’ll share with you in continuation with my mad crazy live-blogged notes of the Lift conference. But do listen to Brené directly:

In order for connection to happen, we need to let ourselves be seen.

Shame: if people see or know this thing about me, then I am not worthy of connexion.

The only thing that separates people who have a strong sense of worthiness from those who struggle to feel worthy of love and belonging is that those who have this strong sense of worthiness — they believe they are worthy of love and belonging. That’s the only difference.

The only thing that keeps us from connexion is our fear that we’re not worthy of connexion.

Courage to be imperfect.

Compassion to be kind to oneself and then to others.

Connexion as a result of authenticity. Let go of who you should be to be who you are.

AND vulnerability. They fully embraced it. They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. The willingness to say “I love you first”. The willingness to invest in a relationship which may or may not work out.

We numb vulnerability. But you can’t selectively numb the emotions you want, the difficult feelings. You numb everything else too.

We make everything that is uncertain certain. (Control.) We perfect. Including our children.

You’re imperfect, you’re wired for struggle, you’re worthy of love and belonging.

We pretend.

Let ourselves be seen. Love with our whole heart, even though there’s no guarantee. Practice gratitude and joy. Believe that we’re enough.

Thanks, Brené. You can follow Brené on Twitter or check out her blog.

SAWI MCMS: notes de cours module 1 [fr]

[en] Here are links to the notes I took during the first module of the SAWI course I'm directing.

Voici les quelques notes que j’ai prises durant la premier module de la formation SAWI que je co-dirige (MCMS). Peut-être que je republierai ces billets ici par la suite, mais pour le moment, voici les liens:

Thierry Crouzet a mis ses notes à disposition directement sur son blog. Celles pour ma présentation (y compris le Prezi) sont sur le mien. Les supports de cours de Xavier Comtesse seront bientôt mis à disposition.

En fait, je me demande si je ne devrais pas publier mes notes ici (quitte à les republier sur le blog du cours) histoire de faire un peu la différence entre mes notes personnelles et mes interventions en tant que directrice. En même temps, l’idée est de pouvoir ouvrir le blog aux notes des participants s’ils le désirent… Petite question logistique, vos commentaires seront les bienvenus.

SWITCH Conference, Coimbra: Web Today [en]

Running notes from the SWITCH conference in Coimbra. Are not perfect. Feel free to add info in the comments, or corrections.

Hugo Almeida

Machinima. Films made in virtual worlds. A new form of art! Real film techniques in virtual worlds.

  1. choose your virtual world (Second Life, WoW, Sims…” — Hugo likes SL because you can build anything
  2. choose your screen capture software
  3. edit in your favorite video editor

3D mouse to control the camera!

3D world as a collaborative platform.

Project: Hugo looks for a team in SL — no budget! In SL, he looks for artists: Japanese, British, Portuguese, Polish…

scenarios: multinational team

actors: SL avatars, animated by real people — so you need to direct them like real actors

real-time filmmaking: several weeks to make the movie (+production).

Different visions, different cultures: a melting-pot of different ideas.

Budget: 50K for a regular project in this area, but they manage with 300 €

*steph-note: Hugo is talking in Portuguese, but I’d like to know why 😉 — now he shows us a video, beautiful.*

Me 😉

Here’s the blog post about my talk (some advice to freelancers) , with link to my Prezi 🙂

Luis Monteiro

Blogging for a dream. E-mail: “do you want to make a trip to Antarctica?”

  • are you commited to the environment?
  • do you have an urge to photograph penguins?
  • do you have a passion for polar regions?
  • do you have a blog?

For Luis, yes to all these 🙂 — created a blog and got a team together to take part in the competition.

Joined all social networks to be all over the place.

Tough opponents — hate mail/messages! But Luis and his team were also tough 🙂 — with an automatic dashboard.

4 hours per day for 3 months (*steph-note: when I say social media takes time…*)

Has a pretty cousin, and after accidentally showing her on the webcam following his house, he used popular request for seeing her again to get people to vote 😉

“If I get enough votes, I’ll dress up as a penguin in summertime in Portugal” *steph-note: this guy is great fun!*

*photo of Luis dressed up as a penguin playing the guitar near a big roundabout*

It worked out! (And the comments on what he was doing became a bit more positive…)

And they went to Antarctica 🙂 *steph-note: I like the soundtrack on this slideshow, what is it?*

The question: was it worth it? *steph-note: another video clip. wow.*

Blogging every day, he wasn’t the live-blogger on the team for nothing!

SWITCH Conference, Coimbra: Science [en]

Running notes from the SWITCH conference in Coimbra. Are not perfect. Feel free to add info in the comments, or corrections.

José Pereira-Leal

Human genome: internal representation of our building blocks (assembly plan). Reading that “book” is an operation that has been going on for more than 10 years, and is an ongoing battle between public and private initiatives. Thousands of people involved, billions of dollars. Halfway through the process, somebody decided it was going nowhere, and went “private” => do this and make money in the process.

Public: taxpayer money goes into research, research is public, made available, and not owned by a corporation.

Genome: 3G letters (A, C, T, G)– 1 human cell = 1.8m of DNA in a space < 0.00001m. Very compact! Today, we know that less than 5% (probably less than 2%) actually means anything. Each cell reads a different part of the instructions.

Bioinformatics is at the crossroads of biology, computer science, maths, physics… Breakthroughs in computer science (e.g.) can dramatically speed up the process of deciphering the genome steph-note: I think that’s what he said.

Malaria: mass murderer => in the cell of the plasmodium, there are the remnants or an engulfed algae, and bioinformatics predict it should be possible to kill the parasite by using stuff that kills the algae, without harming the host.

For a proposal like that (fosmidomycin) to go into clinical trials, it would take 10 years. With bioinformatics, 2 years steph-note: if I understood correctly.

What else? Breast cancer. We need markers for disease prognosis and response to chemotherapy, and we need to know how well they predict. Approach: take an oncologist and a computer scientist, and data integration tools (bioinformatics) + data. steph-note: something about HLA-G.

Other thing: bacteria who live in human cells. Bioinformatics discovered that these bacteria lack copy redundancy (no spare tires) and we can predict which drugs will kill them.

From academia to commercialisation: need a business-friendly environment.

Archon Genomics Prize.

Monica Bettencourt Dias

PhD on cell biology of heart regeneration.

Cell proliferation. Mutant drosophiles (fruit fly).

Seeing is believing: with a microscope you look at fixed cells, but now it’s possible to actually see live cells. steph-note: photo of jellyfish, reminds me of my trip to the Oceanarium on Monday 😉

Cell cycle. If you lose part of the genome in the process, you can lose very precious proteins. Two important moments for us: chromosome duplication, and mitosis (where it can go wrong from the DNA point of view).

steph-note: Monica is showing us some video sequences of cells dividing, etc. — pretty cool! Nuclei tugging away from each other to separate the chromosomes. tug-a-war!

Centrosome helps distribute the genetic material equally between the two cells.

Interesting questions: How are the centrioles formed, and what is the role of the different structures in development and disease?

SAK/PLK4 is a centrosomal protein needed for centriole duplication in flies and humans. Does SAK-dependant centrosome duplication rely on a template? What happens if there is too much SAK? steph-note: oops, the science has lost me — very interesting but I must have skipped a bit here and there

Of course, all this has a link with figuring out cancer cells…

LeWeb'09: Violet Blue, The Future of Sex [en]

Live notes from LeWeb’09. They could be inaccurate, although I do my best. You might want to read other posts by official bloggers, in various languages!

Safesearch is off!

Future of sex:

  1. instantaneous orgasms
  2. orgasm on demand
  3. sex with robots
  4. virtual sex

Why do we need to speculate on sex in the future? is the present sex so dull?

Instantaneous orgasms

1964, Barbarella. A machine which can almost torture you to death through orgasms.

A patent (more recent, 1999) to use spinal implants to help control pain, and a year ago treating female patients getting her pain treatment… ended up producing orgasms with those implants (by chance at first).

Orgasm on demand

Orgasms on the tap. When you want.

Sex with robots

In SF story. Guy who is getting married but his wife is so boring Mr. Edison makes an android copy of his wife for him.

Andy is 5500 € — high-level android for sale today. All sorts of options. Oral sex option, G-spot, etc.

Historically: treatment of female hysteria — everybody (doctors, nurses) were very happy when the vibrator showed up to relieve them of the hard work.

Virtual sex

Also predicted by SF. MMORPG. Second Life (if they got funding!) – Sex on the holodeck in Star Trek. Very strong role of gaming in sex in the future. Very efficient way to get stuff in the hands of consumers. Having sex in a world where anything is possible.

Virtual girlfriends. If she’s not human, is it cheating? Love plus game (spelling?) on Nintendo DS. Guy who wanted to get married to his AI (ALICE).

*(steph-note: this is starting to get a little creepy for me)*

Japanese guy with a robotic wife, loaded with tons of software, including facial recognition *steph-note: didn’t get the name* — sensors on her body, can recognize touch or tickle… But won’t have true emotion or soul.

Promiscuous new friends, uninhibited sex. Beware though of mad scientists who base their artificial intelligences on their own brains before having therapy first.

Designer sex experiences

As people are less inhibited, we’re seeing lots of dissatisfied and more sophisticated sex consumers. It has to be good for the environment, etc, and stylish.

“Je Joue”, British company, body-safe materials, rechargeable, made to mimic the human tongue, learns from the user. Plays back the patterns that you used. Toys that learn from you. Reading heart beat, body temperature etc. or even brain waves as feedback.

Virtual hole. World domination plans! It’s actually a very well thought-out plan. (Check it out.) Goes all the way to virtual bodies and the whole immersive gear, headphones and goggles.


Porn, sex toys and sex info online have been a commodity. Companies want to move in the space and make money. Hackers want to create toys and have sex with robots (etc.) — The distribution chain has been disrupted. Specially for women (empowerment).

1 in 3 porn consumers online are women (distruptive!)

Imagining sex in the future is a way to explore one’s ideas and fantasies about sex. It’s a blank canvas on which people can paint. Sexual hopes and dreams.

Update: check out Violet’s post about this talk on her blog.

TEDx Geneva: Xavier Rosset — 300 days alone on an island [en]

Xavier Rosset — 300 days alone on an island

Alone on an island, with a swiss army knife and a machete. He’s from Verbier. Extreme snowboarding, finished 2nd in 2005. Quit pro snowboarding but wanted to keep traveling. What’s the opposite of me? He likes mountains and is very social => idea of spending 300 days alone on an island.

Back to nature, and survival, and a search for himself.

Took him 14 months of preparation to realize his dream. 2nd September 2008, on a plane to head to his island near Fiji.

Initially, day-to-day survival. First started collecting coco-nuts so that he would be able to drink. First coconut? 40 minutes to open it. In the end, 30 seconds.

Night? sleep, but not under a coconut tree. On the second day, he lost his camp. He didn’t have much initial information about the island before going there. Did take some information about food before leaving. Coconut is a great laxative, he learned very fast. Snails. Crabs. Mangoes. Oranges. Lemons. Was given some fishing line and 20 hooks, and a lighter. They saved his trip.

Built a shelter. Took him three weeks and two tries to get a waterproof shelter.

He also hid his watch, wanted to lose the perception of time.

10 days after his arrival, his motivation completely plummeted. Depressed, what am I doing here? Realized he wasn’t as strong as he thought. Visitors on the island! A few hours with people from Norway on a sailing boat. They were in a hurry, but Xavier didn’t know what that meant anymore. He was ready to give up.

After 75 days, he decided not to do the 300 days. It seemed so long. 150, instead. Missed his family and relatives. He felt much better with the idea of being half-way through. Found a new motivation: sleeping, because he’d dream about his family. Being alone gives you the best freedom of the world, only limits are imagination.

Christmas: called his family on the satellite phone. Very hard. They were all there. His first Christmas without his family.

30 days later, end of January, 150 days. But it wasn’t a real victory. He was used to his lifestyle, managing it better. Wanted to be able to say he had done what he set out to do. So he added 50 more days, 200.

Water: he used 3-5 litres of fresh water a day. In Switzerland, we use 160 litres a day. He washed himself three times with fresh water. Another definition of drinking water.

End March, he really wanted to quit… but two-thirds in… He started becoming more active. Built a bench, explored. Started feeling confident because he could see the end.

Initial end plan: his best friend would come and stay with him for two weeks. He didn’t really know when it would be. Sat on a rock waiting. Very emotional when he arrived. Jumped in his arms, end of his loneliness. Lost 18kg, but did it. Stayed with him a little to socialize him again 😉

First thing Gaël told him: “hey, you missed the world economic crisis!”

Departure: sad to leave the island. It was his home for 10 months. Another adventure was going to start. Going back… arrival in Geneva. Lots of people. They came for him.

All that can get in the way of your dream is the fear of failure.