My name is sisyphus

April 19, 2011


Four hours to record a ten minute presentation, I know how sisyphus felt.
Cartoon courtesy of Gaping Void

I’ve neglected this blog over the last few weeks, partly due to travel (A Round the World ticket, followed by a side trip to the US) and partly due to the intensity of some of the work. Last week for example saw me in Atlanta looking at human interactions in irregular warfare for the US Navy. That was followed by two days in New York working with one of the founders of Starlight Runner and their editorial lead on synergies between the transmedia approach they created and SenseMaker® . Watch out for some exciting new projects that will come from that, and you never know it may be Hollywood here we come at some stage! From my point of view, one of the exciting realisations is that when humans start to interact with the large scale micro-narrative databases we create that we get whole new forms of media.

More on that in future blogs, for the moment I want your sympathy

I was brought back to earth with a bump this morning. I needed to record a ten minute presentation on robustness and resilience, linking abductive/nil hypothesis research to power laws and uncertainty. I can do that in front of an audience at the drop of a hat, but it generally takes twenty minutes and recordings made at seminars were not acceptable. So I sat down after an early morning call at 0800 and started to record using the audio facility on Keynote. I finally finished just after midday and the result is loading into dropbox as I write. I expected to run it though two or three times to get the pacing right so that plus some note taking took an hour. I then recorded it and was only 5 seconds over. However attempting to create a quicktime video crashed the mac (too many other windows open) and I hadn’t saved the file so I started again, then the sequence of disasters happened, roughly as follows:

  • Cat leaps onto computer and halts recording at eight minutes
  • I fail to delete the above failure so next attempt ruined
  • Phone rings seven minutes in
  • A Colleague pings me on Skype which I should not have left open
  • Postman knocks on window to avoid walking round house with a minute to go
  • Wife and son have argument in kitchen next to study
  • Car leaves drive just as I am one minute in to the next attempt and we have a gravel drive outside window of study
  • Cat gets up from side of computer and pulls out mike lead
  • Phone rings again (normally we go whole days without people ringing) at nine minutes
  • Perfect recording, but then discover that in dealing with cat I had turned off the mike so that is lost
  • Car returns, that gravel again
  • Loud discussion that might be an argument between wife and daughter in kitchen
  • Argument between me and entire family about noise
  • Courier knocks on window to avoid walking around house
  • Network member phones on my mobile
  • Use “null” when I meant “nil” so start again
  • Cat sinks claws into bare leg attempting to leap onto lap, decide scream inappropriate to recording
  • Ambulance screams past house sirens active (normally a once in a quarter event and no, I didn’t call it to deal with cat inflicted wound)

Then finally, its complete

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The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.

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