seeking perpetual beta

New! Purchase all five e-books, ‘seeking perpetual beta’ – ‘finding perpetual beta’ – ‘adapting to perpetual beta’ – ‘working in perpetual beta’ ‘life in perpetual beta’- for €29.

After 10 years of blogging here, I have compiled my best posts into an ebook. It’s called Seeking perpetual Beta: a guidebook for the network era. Instead of digging through over 2,500 posts on this site, now you can read a cohesive narrative that covers learning, working, and managing in the emerging network era. This ebook is the result of a decade of seeking, sense-making, and sharing knowledge on the Web.

“the best $25 you’ll ever spend on yourself” – Susan Scrupski

“One of the best purchases you’ll do this year!” – Luis Suarez

“masterful synthesis of 10 years of blogging about networks” – Jon Husband

“Harold knows just how to harness the power of equal, open collaboration in the networked economy.” – Ian Chew

Scroll down to read the introduction and table of contents.

Back on sale by popular demand, seeking perpetual beta is available for $20.


The following essays are abridged and updated posts as well as combinations of posts made over the course of a decade. When I started my blog, I had three categories: learning; work; and technology. Today there are many others, as my professional interests have expanded and changed. My perspective on work and learning has been one of perpetual Beta, which also could be called strong beliefs, loosely held. Alpha is a mindset of pumping out flavour of the month drivel. Beta is more than Alpha, as you have to affirm to principles and actually commit to something, while remaining open to change. I have been observing the signs and indicators of the shift to the network era for the past decade. These articles have stood the test of time, and have been refined and discussed many times in order to be suitable for Beta.

The Network Era

The fundamental nature of work is changing as we transition into the network era. Creative work is beginning to dominate industrial work as we shift to a post- job economy. The major driver of this change is the automation of routine work, especially through software, but increasingly with robots. Valued work is in handling exceptions, dealing with complex problems, and doing customized tasks.

The products of this work are often intangible and not physical. As a result, our industrial work structures need to change. Organizations have to become more networked, not just with information technology, but in how workers create, use, and share knowledge.

The workplace of the network era requires a different type of leadership; one that emerges from the network as required. Effective leadership in networks is negotiated and temporary, according to need. Giving up control will be a major challenge for anyone used to the old ways of managing. An important part of leadership will be to ensure that knowledge is shared throughout the network.

Learning is a critical part of working in a creative economy. Being able to continuously learn, and share that new knowledge, will be as important as showing up on time was in the industrial economy. Continuous learning will also disrupt established hierarchies as no longer will a management position imply greater knowledge or skills. Command and control will be replaced by influence and respect, in order to retain creative talent. Management in networks means influencing possibilities rather than striving for predictability. We will have to accept that no one has definitive answers anymore, but we can use the intelligence of our networks to make sense together.

The shift to the network era will not be easy for many people and most organizations. Common assumptions about how work gets done will have to be discarded. Established ways of earning education credentials will be abandoned for more flexible and meaningful methods. Connections between disciplines and professions are growing and artificial boundaries will continue to crack. Systemic changes to business and education will happen. There will be disruption on a societal level, but we can create new work and learning models to help us deal with this next phase in human civilization. The statistician George Box wrote that, “essentially all models are wrong, but some are useful”. We will never know unless we try them out.

Table of Contents

(65 pages for tablet version)


The Changing Nature of Work
Complication: The Industrial Disease
A Networked Market Knows More
Job is a Four-letter Word
Knowledge Artisans
Working Socially
Figure 1 The Connected Enterprise
Tapping the Creative Surplus

PKM and the Seek > Sense > Share Framework
Figure 2 PKM = Seek > Sense > Share
PKM and Competitive Intelligence
PKM and Innovation
Managing Organizational Knowledge
Training and Complex Work
Narrating Our Work
Collaborate to Solve Complex Problems

Network Thinking
Figure 3 Trust Emerges Through Openness and Transparency
The Connected Enterprise
The Knowledge Sharing Paradox
Managing Automation
Flip the Office
Connected Leadership
Figure 4 Connected Leadership

Figure 5 Organizing Characteristics
Figure 6 TIMN (David Ronfeldt)
Figure 7 Tetrad of a Networked Society


Layout and design by Tantramar Interactive

21 Responses to “seeking perpetual beta”

  1. Helen Blunden

    Well finally after all this time of having your book, I sat down in peace and quiet to read it. In effect, it’s a wonderful summary of the main themes of working in a networked era. It’s a book that I will continually refer to over time as I try to explain the concepts to others. Thank you for pulling all the blog posts together in a cohesive flow of how our work is changing, the PKM model and how to lead and manage in networks. It makes a big difference to reading it this way as opposed to many blog posts.

    • Harold

      Thanks very much, Helen. I hope someday to do the same with PKM and give it a complete narrative (a work in progress).


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