A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bread Crumbs

As an aspiring soccer star riding in the backseat, with soccer moms frequently prying about what my dad did for a living, I learned how to weave and dodge socially, because, frankly, I felt that being asked about what my dad did for a living was a little embarrassing. Unlike other backseat soccer stars, I had no simple answer to offer those who were kind enough to give me a ride to a game, such as "fireman," "policeman,"or even "lawyer." At a young age, I discovered the benefits of a stock reply. I became a pro at editing-out, perhaps, more accurate job titles, such as Revolutionary, or Institutional Design Scientist, which my father had recommended, but which would have attracted unwanted attention. All I wanted when being driven to a soccer game was to be left alone to dream about the rippling of the net!

Molly Chesire's 56 minute YouTube, which lays out many of the ideas and projects my dad has been proposing since the early 1960's, like the books displayed on the round table in her video, has fallen on deaf ears. Based on what I have been reading about remarkable advances in brain research, I suspect that a phenomenon Dan and Chip Heath have labeled, "the curse of knowledge," helps explain why this YouTube cannot compete with superficial messages such as Gangum Style. Honestly, my attention was held by Molly's video for no more than 30 seconds. I felt totally overwhelmed.

Having recently listened twice to the audiobook, Made To Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath, which led me to purchase a hard copy, and which I am hoping to find time to dissect so that I can apply its many insights about communication in my classroom, I recently proposed a short question and answer audiocast format consisting of 2-3 minute audio-only posts called "Bread Crumbs," that my 83 year old dad might use to market his ideas of Binary Economics and Capital Homesteading. Through my proposed "Bread Crumbs" OwnCast format, my vision was for my dad to leave a trail of audio bread crumbs leading 1,000,000 listeners, in Pied Piper fashion, to an event to be held at the Federal Reserve Bank in Washington, D.C., in 2014, on the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Through "Bread Crumbs," I hoped to help my dad use social media to attract 1,000,000 people, hungry for social and economic justice. I even stayed up one night last week until 2 a.m., and used Google Docs to collaborate with my dad and a few key members of the Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ). In the Google Doc, I explained the concept, and drafted a series of 4 questions that he might use to launch the weekly series.

My purpose in proposing a "Bread Crumbs" format was to help bridge a canyon of abstraction, a gap of shared background knowledge that exists between my dad's Einstein-like paradigm shifting concept and a potential global audience, which remains unaware of a simple, but revolutionary idea that dates from the 1950's, which I feel could heal our economy like penicillin, but is in danger of going extinct after my father eventually gives up the ghost.  Fresh with insights from the Heath brothers, and everything I have been able to weave into my teaching philosophy from my initial two "readings" of the audiobook, "The Tell-Tale Brain," by V.S. Ramachandran, I hypothesized, in order for my dad's slogan and logo, "Own or be Owned," to go viral, the tightly wound, elegantly elaborated system for "Own or be Owned" needs to unwound for a  popular audience in simple, short, surprising, practical, engaging stories that a million uninitiated listeners might consume, designed to leave the listeners always hungry for more.

While my dad and others felt that "Bread Crumbs" was an intriguing concept, I have my doubts that the initiative will ever get off the ground, largely because my dad insists that the project be "managed professionally," complete with a production schedule, and launched with a series of 20 questions gleaned from Molly Chesire's interview. In my opinion, it would be far easier to create "Bread Crumbs" posts asynchronously, i.e., without a strict production schedule, or the need for a professional manager.

Since "Bread Crumbs" OwnCasts would be converted to a universal MP3 format before distribution, and since each file, given its small size, would be so manageable, my dad's OwnCasts would be ideally suited for repackaging by professional aggregators after the fact\. Memorable graphics could be incorporated as needed.

The files in audiobooks are always limited to 2-3 minutes. Advertisers limit messages to 30 second spots. The marketers of Bud Light have learned a few things in the marketplace of ideas. Certain ideas stick. Others die. I hope that I am wrong about my assessment that the "Bread Crumbs" will probably never get off the ground, in one form or another, because productive collaboration is such a difficult thing to do.