Organization Next Workshop Follow-up. The Pat Persona. #e2conf #organizationnext
Pat awoke to a fresh coat of snow. It was an early snow. Otter Creek flowed undisturbed, though many of the rocks Pat could see outside of his big single-paned window sported a fluffy white. The snow made him think of cotton, then snow cones. If only he had some cherry syrup.
After starring out the window for about fifteen minutes, Pat’s phone finally chimed. Well, it didn’t chime so much as play the theme to Star Trek the Next Generation. Pat had a think for early science fiction television. And the theme was his wake anthem.
Not so much timed to his awakening as to the awakening of his phone, several displays around the room started to emerge from their slumber. If someone had walked into the room earlier, they would not have noticed that entire portions of Pat’s room were dedicated to displays because they were displaying perfectly matched paint and texture. But the phone triggered them to reveal their overnight work, and now, next to the big window overlooking Otter Creek, was Pat’s daily schedule. He touched his first meeting, which wasn’t scheduled for over two hours, to see what he needed to know for that meeting. He realized he didn’t need to know much more than he already knew, so he decided it was time to get in some exercise before his shower.
On the wall, leading into the bathroom was another display, this one dedicated to Pat’s health. It showed a steady weight, a slightly elevated level of sodium and a good mix of LDL and HDL cholesterol. Pat removed a couple of dumbbells from a recess in the wall, and started his workout. He wanted to stay in shape, but never really enjoyed it — this was more for his girlfriend and his insurance provider.
In the shower, Pat’s brain synthesized a couple of articles he read, along with a few interviews and realized he had the lead for his next blog. The house was listening. The embedded microphones in the shower perked up when they heard: “Start recording…”
A simple beep acknowledged the command.
By the time the shower was over Pat was looking at the opening paragraph of his post ready to edit, along with a number of supporting references and other material the system thought might enhance the post. Pat didn’t have to search, information found him.
On the dashboard over the hi-rez video display, Pat’s Klout score, a very well respected 69, beamed to remind him what this was all about. The only way Pat maintained market value was to maintain market relevance, and Klout was market relevance. When Pat published, people read—and they took action.
Pat, however, was at crossroads. He had a voice, but he was starting to think about politics more and more. Here was his strategic dilemma: use his voice to help move political thought in a particular direction for the next election cycle, or remain mostly a-political, and continue to be a trusted voice on consumer electronics. There was a big risk in switching to politics, and that was kind of the issue. Once he stepped out of his consumer electronics guru status and started talking politics, his product work would dry up. Product managers would be looking at the politics and not his reach. Becoming relevant to political leaning consumers had proven to diminish credibility in other fields. That’s what the math said.
Thankfully, the next post was on the value of devices in the latest distributed computing architecture, so he didn’t have to cross into politics, at least not real politics. Today he could happily play the analyst and take a firm stand that would equally displease both sides of the argument—but that was kind of his job: rational observer.
By this point, the morning was aging into afternoon and the snow along the creek had given up its solid form, choosing to add its volume to the furry already rushing flush and fast over well-worn rocks, quietly eroding the shallow banks to expose delicate roots for trees that choose to grow too close to the water’s edge.
The phone erupted, as did the walls. Before he could answer, the bedroom had become a war room. A picture of the caller, three feet high, filled one wall. On the other, recent news about Singapore, with particular passages highlighted. On another wall, the latest social graph displayed all of Pat’s connections to the incoming caller, his former colleague, Li, from Singapore. There were many things that Pat wanted to forget about his Singapore engagement, but Li was not one of them.
It turned out to be one of those calls. All Li wanted to do was talk shop, in this case, which companies with recent environmental messages were serious, and which of them was planning an Asian marketing push. Pat’s specialty was helping develop thought leadership and credibility for large company environmental initiatives that really made a difference. Everyone recycles. Pat’s clients re-established Rain Forests. He was big in Latin America. Li wanted the scoop, because she was after a bi-diversity campaign and was hoping Pat could hook her up.
And she knew just how to get what she wanted. It was all about Brownie Points, and with her Klout score of 85, she could still help Pat expand his reach and qualify his followers so the new ones acted on his advice. A few thousand more followers was never a bad thing. Li knew one targeted recommendation and she could deliver those followers to Pat, but first, he had to give up some knowledge he held. The deal, it turns out, was good. As much as he liked Li, Pat had burned out on Singapore and was happy to provide his contact’s information to her, even make an introduction. When Li had the contract, Pat would have the followers.
It may have been several years and half a planet ago since they actually saw each other in person, but Li and Pat trusted each other, which was confirmed again in this transaction. Wiithin a week, everybody had everything promised and the transaction melted just like the snow outside Pat’s window—which had been refreshed overnight by a small storm front passing through.
Pat starred out the window, smiling, and said, “start recording…”
A familiar beep acknowledge the command.
Pat stopped talking and got out of bed, put on a robe, and walked downstairs to the smell of coffee coming online. The displays that Pat ignored as he walked of the room quickly returned to the mottled beige that matched the wallpaper, and as he walked into the kitchen, those walls erupted into informationscapes with his arrival. On the dinette table near a small alcove overlooking the creek, the new post was ready for his edits. Pat started his day at 10am in Vermont, but it could have been anytime, anywhere.
Daniel W. Rasmus
Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.