Shannon Clark

who I am, what I do, where else you can find me online and offline

Archive for October, 2006

How many networks is your company a part of?

author Posted by: Shannon on date Oct 20th, 2006 | filed Filed under: my Blogs

From the most local retail store to the largest metanational corporation, every modern company (and organization, artists, or government) is enmeshed into many different networks.

Consider the local café. It serves as a hub of the social networks in the local community, a meeting place for individuals and groups, a social network from which the employees of the store are hired and to whom they build relationships over time.

Like many modern cafes around the world, the local café offers wifi access, as customers open up their laptops and go online they become multiple nodes on the global Internet Network. As they work, send email, chat with friends, upload and download digital content, they do so through the connection the café owner purchased and maintains.

The café serves a variety of locally produced baked goods from a number of local bakeries and serves coffee the owner roasts herself in the back of the café. These form two critical supply chains for the café, one a very local network of bakeries and their daily deliveries, and the other an international supply chain which the café owner is connected to through the regional distributor from whom she buys unroasted beans. Teas, milk, sugar, cups, and other consumables she purchases from yet other networks of suppliers and distributors.

When customers pay with cash their money is first placed into the café’s cash register, then each night into the safe, and a few times each week the money is deposited into the café’s accounts at a local branch of a business bank. When customers pay with a credit card, the card is swiped into a dedicated credit card terminal which then connects to the merchant bank the café works with to check that card for approval. When approved those charges are added to the accounts for the café and on a regular basis money net of fees is paid to the café for those transactions. In short the café is deeply tied to the financial networks for credit cards, banking, and other services. Likely, the café has an established line of credit which was used to set up the café and which may be used as part of the payment processes for the many suppliers the café depends upon.

When the café pays its employees it also sets aside funds for a variety of other parties, federal and state taxes, unemployment insurance, and since the café owner believes in a living wage and fair wages she also provides good if minimal health insurance for her employees. In her state, she also collects a variety of sales taxes on every transaction which she remits to the state on a regular basis.

Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night the café hosts musicians. To market these performances and to build her customer base she advertises in the local independent newspapers. For many years she also paid for a yellow pages ad, though in more recent years she no longer does that, instead she buys some targeted ads on Google and trades with one of her regular customers for help in maintaining the café’s website and presence on and other sites. In all of this promotional efforts she is part of a marketing network both on and offline where she is seeking to gain the attention of new customers, fans and musicians.

And on a prosaic, but important level, the café is plugged into the local power grid, reliant on the local telco for phone (and alarm) services, and reliant on the local transportation grid to ensure that customers can reach the café either in a car or via local public transit.

in short even a small, local café is deeply impacted by multiple interlocking and different networks. And as firms and organizations grow larger they will be impacted by still other and more networks.

MeshForum 2007 will focus on this intersection of networks – economic, technical, social and physical. We will bring together world renowned academic experts, creative artists, and business and government experts who each study and work with in one or more complex networks. Over three days you will learn many new approaches to visualizing and understanding networks and you will have many opportunities to work with your fellow attendees and colleagues.

Draft schedule for MeshForum 2007

author Posted by: Shannon on date Oct 18th, 2006 | filed Filed under: my Blogs

As a further refinement of the format for MeshForum we are considering the following schedule for MeshForum 2007. Feedback and nominations for the speaking slots and workshops are greatly appreciated.

Possible dates are May 15-17, May 21 or 22nd – 23rd or 24th, or over Memorial Day weekend (May 26-28) or May 29-31st. Since Sunbelt this year is in Greece at the beginning of May we are primarily considering the dates on or after May 21st.

In past years the format for MeshForum has been two full days of a single track of sessions followed by a full day in Open Space, with group lunches and dinners. When possible we have had an opening night reception the night before our first sessions.

For 2007 I am proposing the following alternative schedule. This schedule has 8-9 full session slots (~45 min presentations with 15-20 min of Q&A), 8 Interstitial slots (5-15 min presentations) and three lunch workshops, as well as 6 hours of open space in three 2 hour blocks. We would still have group breakfasts, lunches, opening reception and at least one group dinner, possibly two. After dinner we would try to provide space for further conversations.

The proposed schedule is:

Registration opens late afternoon at conference hotel/registration (if at a retreat center)
Opening night reception at 7pm w/wine, locally sourced cheeses and food

First Day:

8:30 AM – breakfast and registration open
9:00 AM – opening remarks by Shannon Clark
9:30 AM – opening keynote presentation (1 hr)
10:30 AM – morning break
10:45 AM – First Interstitial
11:00 AM – second full session
Noon – First lunch workshop
1:30 PM – First Open Space
3:30 PM – Second Interstitial
3:45 PM – Afternoon Break
4:00 PM – Third full session
5:00 PM – Third Interstitial
5:30 PM – break/transit to group dinner
6:00 PM – group dinner followed by open conversations

Second Day:

8:30 AM – Breakfast
9:00 AM – Fourth Full session
10:00 AM – Fourth Interstitial
10:15 AM – Morning Break
10:30 AM- Fifth Full session
11:30 AM – Fifth Interstitial
Noon – Second Lunch workshop
1:30 PM – Second Open Space session (2 hours)
3:30 PM – Sixth Interstitial
3:45 PM – Afternoon break
4:00 PM – Sixth Full Session
5:30 PM – break for group dinner
6:00 PM – group dinner followed by open conversations

Third Day

8:30 AM – Breakfast
9:00 AM – Seventh Interstitial
9:30 AM – Seventh Full session
10:30 AM – Morning Break
10:45 AM – Eighth Interstitial
11:00 AM – Eighth Full Session
Noon – Third lunch workshop
1:30 PM – Third Open Space workshop – focused on our follow up actions
3:30 PM – Closing remarks
4:00 PM – MeshForum 2007 ends