Enterprise 2.0 Camp: David Sean Lester

David Sean Lester is leading a session on Communication 2.0 (I think), or the use of digital media as an inherent part of Enterprise 2.0. He has a nicely prepared presentation with lots of lovely graphics, but his presentation is a bit stilted and he tends to read directly from the slides (reducing his own value in the presentation), plus there’s some superfluous video and audio clips interspersed, and I find my attention drifting during a lengthy clip about the alphabet. Aside from the inherent weirdness of someone who entitles himself with three names, Lester doesn’t seem to be at all comfortable leading the session.

This was supposed to be an unconference format, yet we’re all silent gazing up at a multimedia presentation (except for a short hands-on game of scrambled scrabble). And because we only have one room and this is a somewhat noisy multimedia presentation, there was a decision not to run a concurrent session so we’re all here…

Lester’s thesis on the alphabet was thought-provoking: how the alphabet has become embedded firmware rather than software, whether that’s good or bad from a creativity standpoint, and how switching from the printed word to multimedia tends to make us return to the spoken word. [He uses the term “digital media” or “digital bits” instead of multimedia, although technically the electronically printed word is also digital media; what he’s referring to is visual and audio digital media.]

His ending point informs us (no real surprise) that his company can help you to bring this vision to your own company, although it’s completely unclear by the end of the presentation what exactly this vision is. Their website claims that they do things such as “multi-session interactive facilitated learning experiences” and “visual map design of corporate brand activation model” for their clients. This is communication?

2 thoughts on “Enterprise 2.0 Camp: David Sean Lester”

  1. Sandy, unlike you, I thoroughly enjoyed David Sean Lester’s presentation. I thought it was a perfect example of the effects of digital media. We either felt captive or that it was captivating depending how our brains were wired. It sounds like your left-brained, engineer type world was totally disrupted by this non-linear presentation. And, maybe that is the point.

    It sounds like you weren’t sure what the presentation was about. I thought David was pretty clear about the ideas he was presenting and that he was not presenting a vision as you say but probing ideas with respect to the effects of digital media on enterprise 2.0. A full description can be found on the conference website here, http://enterprisecamp.org/node/10. The presentation was a fascinating blend of media and it appeared obvious that a tremendous amount of thought and work went into putting it together.

    For some reason you thought this was supposed to be an unconference type format event. I didn’t see that anywhere on the conference website. In fact the agenda, topics and speakers were posted weeks ago on the website.

    Whenever I see ad hominem attacks on the speaker, (in this case his name) it tells me that you don’t have anything constructive to say. You found the use of video clips from “McLuhan’s Wake” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0391328/ superfluous. How anyone can say that Marshall McLuhan is superfluous to a discussion on the effect of communications on the enterprise is beyond me. Maybe it’s his weird name.

    Even more surprising is that you describe yourself on your blog http://www.blogger.com/profile/7483101 as: I’m a “technology catalyst” with a 20-year history of software design and systems architecture in several technology areas, particularly business process management and enterprise architecture, combined with a “deep understanding of business environments and how technology can impact them”.

    Someone who is so interested in “how technology can impact business environments” should have been very interested in this topic. You are undoubtedly very good at shaping technology for your clients. This presentation was about how technology can shape and impact our environment.

    The discussion on the alphabet was an example of how the use of text has shaped our very world. Without text we don’t have written laws, constitutions, the bible etc. As much of the new digital media has the same effects as speech, we need to understand the implications of this. And, this does not just include visual and audio digital media as you state. It also includes the electronically printed word as well. Text becomes speech as it is transmitted faster and faster. For example, internet chat and live blogging are closer to speech than they are to the written word. As much of our new media are electronically printed words, we need to understand the sociological implications of this.

    Admittedly, this was a complex topic. I know David would have like to have had more time to explore some of these ideas. Judging from the discussion immediately after the presentation, there were many people who felt more captivated by it than felt held captive as you did. For me the most useful discussions came after we had lunch when six of us went for coffee including David, Mark Kuznicki, Robin Lobb, James Walker, Gilles Roy, and me. The discussion went on for over an hour and David displayed his deep understanding of this topic. As he made point after point it becomes clear that he has a tremendous intellect which ranges from technology to philosophy to psychology and more. In fact after listening to him, you can’t help but think how does one man know so much, and this question actually came up.

    And lastly, your sarcastic comment about David’s mentioning of his business at the end of his presentation, which was barely more than one slide with a logo, his name and contact information, was totally disrespectful. Especially since you don’t seem to understand what he does. His was one of the most understated promotions I’ve ever seen. For someone to travel hundreds of kilometres, spend hours putting a presentation together and for no compensation, you would think it would be O.K. to mention your phone number?

    Anyhow, that’s my 2.0 cents worth. Sorry for the long rant.

  2. Mark, if you think that calling my brain “left-brained, engineer type” is an insult, think again. After talking with me at lunch that day about the recent issue of insufficient women speakers at technology conferences, and obviously doing enough research into me to find my Blogger profile, you could have come up with a more compelling put-down than that. 🙂

    I also found the discussion on the alphabet fascinating, as I related in my third paragraph. Since these were live blogging notes (I publish at the end of each session, in part so that those who aren’t at the session can get a bit of a snapshot from my viewpoint), they are rough and are only my first impression without a lot of analysis.

    I also travel hundreds — even thousands — of kilometres and spend hours to put on presentations, and I never use self-promotional slides in my presentation. Regardless, I have plenty of people who stick around after my presentation and are interested in what I do.

    By the way, I didn’t say that Marshall McLuhan is superfluous, I said that the use of his video clip in the context of the presentation was superfluous. Huge difference, at least to us left-brainers.

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