Don’t feed the dinosaurs

This cartoon, from Hugh MacLeod, sums up much of my work over the past few years:


My focus on open source software & business models as well as informal learning, puts me outside many established business and education hierarchies. That’s why I recently left our local learning industry association. I’ve made several recommendations on what I think our strategy should be, such as Rx for NB Learning and The relevance of the learning profession to little avail.

As a “meteor salesman”, it would be better to focus my attention on the gazelles instead of the dinosaurs. Supporting established industrial business models and trying to change hierarchies from within just doesn’t seem viable, especially in this Conceptual Age, as once again, Hugh shows with concise accuracy:


Thanks to Hugh for these additional two thousand words.

3 Responses to “Don’t feed the dinosaurs”

  1. Ben Watson


    I’m sorry to hear that it sounds like you have left LearnNB. Open source with regard to learning faces a lot of resistence especially in the enterprise market if only because of the prior investments in buying commercial solutions. Likewise informal learning struggles from the reality that not everyone is equal when it comes to sharing their knowledge as the quality varies. Here at Thomson NETg we use open source in our solutions but then build a picket fence around our users to make sure that they are authenticated before accessing the content and collaboration options. It makes the buyer happy (the company re security/accountability) and the user happy (validated or refeered content/collaboration).

    Somewhere I hope a happy medium will appear that reduces the cost of investing in learning while ensuring that those that build effective learning solutions can profit from it. If anything, the small market today for eLearning creates expensive solutions as you basically only have 2 levers to play with – price per ‘unit’ and the number of ‘units’ sold.

    Wikipedia just forked and is looking to create a moderated version called Citizendium. Something to think about?

  2. Harold

    Thanks for your comments, Ben. I hope you’re enjoying the southwest 🙂

    Thompson’s approach seems to be very pragmatic and makes business sense. As an independent operator, I’m a bit further out on the edge 😉

    Yes, I’ve heard about Citizendium, which appears to reinforce existing hierarchies of institution-based expertise – the “experts” get to choose the other experts. With Citizendium’s constraints on publishing, I don’t think that it will be as successful nor as useful as Wikipedia, though.


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