[Dave Birch] We’re about to begin another fantastic new experiment to push the Digital Money Forum blog in newer territory. As many of you will know, we’ve been collecting the more useful blog posts together and publishing them as a blook. The blook has proved rather popular (we’re got advance orders for 800 copies for next year’s blook already) and so it set me thinking. If a blook, why not a blovel (another of blogmeister Jane’s experimental ideas). After all, as a technologist I’ve always been aware that it sometimes takes an artist to bring the real insight and understanding. The canonical example in our space has to be William Gibson’s Neuromancer
. Despite working in computing and communications and being deeply versed in the merging technology, when I got half-a-dozen pages into Neuromancer and I got an understanding of now and the future that I could never have obtained from specifications and manuals. Jane’s experiment and the memory of Neuromancer led to me to think about how Charles Dickens (OK, we’re setting the bar a little high, but you’ve got have goals) used to publish his books a chapter at a time in magazines? It occurred to me that we could do the same. That is, why not publish fiction in parts on the blog and then, if it’s any good and people like it, collect the parts together and edit them into a blovel to give out to the forward-thinking individuals who come to the Digital Money Forum? So, a plan began to form, but then quickly went on to the shelf. There’s an obvious problem, of course: I’m not a novelist, so where am I going to find someone who wants to write a novel with a digital money theme and write it well enough that digital money denizens will actually want to read it? Step forward Steve Taylor who — knowing nothing of blogmeister Jane’s experiment — happened to call me and invite me over for a coffee because he was writing a novel with a digital money theme and wanted to bounce some ideas around. Synchronicity! Steve is an advertising and marketing guy of long standing and good company, and I immediately realised that we could experiment together. Hence, the new new thing. Steve is writing a series of business scenarios (called “68”, see below) that use his novel “Pointless” illustrate some thinking about the future. Over the coming year, we’ll publish some chapters of 68 — and see if art can help to illuminate thinking. With a bit of luck, the feedback and discussion will help Steve to drive along both 68 and the accompanying novel and we’ll find some way to connect them and publish perhaps “68” or “Pointless” or both in physical form for the 2009 forum. So welcome to the world of “68: First Hand Reports from the Future of Communications”. Venga!
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