Archive for July, 2010

At this year’s Innotribe at Sibos (25-29 Oct 2010), we have a whole track on “Smart Data” aka “Semantic Web”.

We decided to call it Smart Data is – at least in our industry – the words “semantic web” have ironically little meaning.

I am a big believer of Semantic Web, and always on the look for good education material to help me explain what it is and why it is important.

Here is a video made by Cisco, by their IBSG group (Internet Business Solutions Group). I had the pleasure of recently working with IBSG folks, and I can tell you these guys are NOT the router guys. They are very knowledgeable. I also recently discovered they had a whole practice on digital federated identity and now this one on semantic web.


Some highlights in this video:

Starting (!) from the iPhone App Siri (Siri was acquired by Apple in April 2010), to WiseWindow, the video gives you some teasers on what this technology can do for you, and then moves into a really good and quick tutorial on the standards underpinning semantic web.


The Siri application is about understanding natural language and giving intentional feedback and information back to the user. Watch the detailed video above.


WiseWindows looks into

  • assessing your competitive position
  • most desired features, discovering patterns in conversations and buzz, influencers, etc
  • market sentiment

The speaker also emphasizes the importance of onthologies. Highly relevant in a SWIFT Standards context. With the ISO20022 Standards, SWIFT is already at the core of THE semantic onthology for the financial industry. Fore Semantic web, an untapped goldmine for the emerging future of SWIFT.

The ability to understand natural language and reason about data could improve business intelligence for financial services. In essence, today SWIFT already tags semantically the fields of the standard SWIFT messages. Tomorrow – with our onthology – we could tag ANY information, including non-structured information hidden in PDF’s or Word documents, overlay that information with existing other structured data sources, and offer pattern recognition services leading to deeper intelligence about our and our customers’ data.

What I want to make clear is that this is not only related to the social web. On the contrary.

It’s about data-integration within and across organizations.

Was that not the purpose of EAI (Enterprise Application Integration) and EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) ? The difference is that the above systems are often messaging based: sending (standardized) structured messages from one system to another.

I believe that we are witnessing a paradigm shift

from “sending messages from A to B”

to “publishing linked data”

into centralized or distributed data repositories.

From “sending and storing messages”

to “publishing and subscribing

to linked-data repositories”


The key challenge in all this is to be able to (automatically) tag data semantically. Who else than SWIFT would be better placed to be that semantic quality anchor for the financial industry ?

The video closes with 5 messages for our leaders:

  1. Look for value both inside and outside your core by tapping also into public data sources
  2. Experiment and Scale success. Your innovation team should do proof-of-concepts on this, even if this is not yet foreseen in your product roadmaps
  3. Build semantic skillsets as these are competitive differentiators
  4. Lay the foundation for semantical enablement of unstructured data, like PDF’s, but also images, audio and video sources
  5. Look now at what semantics can do to transform business

I have seen recently from Cisco how they do live-streaming-and-tagging of video for their internal portal. Maybe we should invite somebody from the Cisco IBSG-team to our Smart Data stream at Sibos ?


BTW: Guido Jouret from Cisco will speak at Innotribe at Sibos in the Open Innovation Best Practices session on Thursday 28 Oct 2010. Guido Jouret is Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Cisco’s Emerging Markets Technology Group (EMTG), which is responsible for incubating Cisco’s future billion-dollar businesses.

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An emotional Jeff Bezos during graduation speech Princeton: “it is harder to be kind than clever”

Full transcript here

Every word is important and inspiring. Read and enjoy the full thing, but here are some extracts, mainly the grand-finale of his speech:

Tomorrow, in a very real sense, your life — the life you author from scratch on your own — begins.

How will you use your gifts? What choices will you make?

Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?

Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?

Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?

Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?

Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong, or will you apologize?

Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?

Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?

When it’s tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?

Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?

Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?

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If you have the time, please watch this presentation" How not to be seen” by futurist Mark Pesce. I mentioned it already yesterday in my post “The DJ with the Brainwave Helmet”, but now I took the time to watch the +/- 1 hour presentation.


Do it


It profoundly explains what’s going on in our ever more connected world.

It makes so clear that your social graph is your most important possession”

No need to further quote, as the full transcript is here.

This guy is super-smart. Follow him on twitter and on his blogs.

Social Graph is also about Sibos 2009 winning project “eMe”, but then on steroids.

Completely revised. Definitely in the vision of Mark Pesce.

With privacy and user control seen in a distributed internet world. NOT one single digital vault, or even several digital vaults. Whether they are “owned” and “controlled” by Governments, Banks, FaceBooks, Googles and alike.

Completely revising the “business model”. Where the value flows to the users, the owners of their social graph. Not to banks. Not to governments. Not to some controlling party in the middle.

The is no “where”, no “middle” on the internet. That’s where we got eMe wrong.

No, we have to revisit the whole concept of eMe along the open Plexus lines that Marc Pesce is describing in his “How not to be seen” presentation.

I will talk to Peter Hinssen, when he’s back from down under. So that we have something to say about eMe at Innotribe at Sibos 2010 in Amsterdam.

Oh, and if you like this sort of stuff, here is another presentation “Dense and Thick” by Mark Pesce at Webstock2010.  As a matter of fact, this presentation is even better, as Mark does a fabulous job in giving us a perspective of the current state of the web, how we got here and where this might lead us. Not just by throwing boring statistical data at us, but with deep insights and with a speaker’s passion that is difficult to match.

Without really mentioning (ok, only once), Mark Pesce is describing a vision of the semantic web that is not push-oriented like Tim Berners Lee, but truly “pulling” us – human beings – in this super-exciting world where meaning becomes explicit and exploitable and can be manipulated (hopefully in the positive sense of the word).

The summary of his talk goes like this:

It may be hard to believe, but we’re only just at the very beginnings of the web revolution. In the first fifteen years (1994-2009), the human world of culture and civilization was sucked into the black hole of cyberspace. Now the real world is poised to follow. Augmented Reality (AR) shows that when we peer through a portal, and look upon the world, it’s almost embarrassingly empty of our annotations. That data is there – the world is the database of itself – but it can’t be brought immediately to hand with a search or a gesture. That’s the next place we will go: we will build a virtual body for the real world, a dense database of everything, both natural and artificial. In fifteen years’ time, we’ll wonder how we got along without it.

This means that the clock has been reset. Everything we thought we knew about how the Web works, what the Web does for us, and who controls the Web is up for grabs, once again. We will see bright shining stars – and sudden, brief supernovas – just as we did in the Web’s early years. The opportunities are breathtaking, the innovations will be flying fast and thick. All of this is now within our grasp.

This guy is a real discovery for me, and hopefully to you as well.

I will ping Mark to check whether he is interested in the eMe update and hopefully lively ensuing debate at Innotribe at Sibos2010 in October.

Might be a challenge, as his intellect humbles me deeply, and maybe he is just not interested in such a mundane conference.

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Found this TED 2010 video via Kurt Vega’s tweets.

From the TED site: “Tan Le’s astonishing new computer interface reads its user’s brainwaves, making it possible to control virtual objects, and even physical electronics, with mere thoughts (and a little concentration). She demos the headset, and talks about its far-reaching applications.”

Out-of-the-box support for facial expressions and emotional experiences, with some sensitivity adjustments available for personalization.

The demo is focusing  on the “cognitive suite”: the ability to move virtual objects with your mind.

And it just costs only a few hundred dollars. Like an iPAD, but it’s a hPAH “head-PAD”

Start mixing this with the ongoing discussions on personal digital identity. As you will notice, the demo starts with making a personal profile for this headset owner. And tuning to a neutral signal, a signal where you’re doing nothing particular, your are relaxed, hanging-out: a but like my holidays at home where I basically don’t do anything particular other than hanging around.

It’s interesting to see that the test is about “pulling” an object forward instead of “pushing”. I may be too influenced by John Hagel’s latest book “The Power of Pull” 😉

The cool stuff starts when the helmet man starts visualizing something that does not exist in real life: making something disappear.

Applications are obvious in virtual reality games, domotica systems, all sort of gesture and thought based interactions, control an electric wheel-chair. In banking it would be nice is I could raise the balance on my account just by thinking about it.

What I do NOT like about it is that the “system” has some built-in leveling system. It makes me think of Jaron Renier’s fantastic rant / manifesto that I mentioned in my previous blog “you have to be somebody before you can share yourself”

Start mixing this up with some of the cool ideas like Mark Pesce’s Plexus which is a quite novel way of looking and using your social graph in a sort of

event driven pub-sub system

where you decide as a user

what you listen to and

who and what you want to share


Sometimes, I think of myself as a disc-jockey (which I was as a matter of fact for more than 15 years starting in the late 70’ies), and I very much like Ethan Zuckerberg’s description of a DJ in this also great TED 2010 video on our distorted world-views.

His talk is basically about

getting you out of your normal orbit, of stepping out of your usual “flock” of people you normally interact with (both on- and off-line).

Around min 15:30, he describes a DJ as a guide:

A skilled human curator, who knows what material is available to her, who is able to listen to the audience, and who is able to make a selection and push people forward in one fashion or another

Of course, I could now make jokes on Faithless “God is a DJ”, and/or refer to one of my previous posts called “We are as gods and might as well get good at it”, but I won’t do that.

Instead, I’d like to share with you the feeling of giving pleasure to my audience.

It’s something I feel while writing these blogs, and it’s a very similar feeling as being a DJ in front of an audience and pushing people forward.

Its has a same sort of stage-fright

when starting a gig,

and the same sort of excitement

when you see your crowd getting


As a DJ, I was doing some quite big gigs for 3,000 people or so, and my following community is not that big yet. But the feeling is the same, and everyday there are some more folks following my tweets. Some more reacting to my blog. Some more getting inspired by what’s on these pages.

So, I just continue doing that, and hope to inspire you to dream and execute your dreams.

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Cross-Posted on SwiftCommunity.net

Last week, Kosta kicked-off the next Innotribe @ Sibos2010.


I am pleased and excited to complement Kosta’s introduction by sharing with you our high-level program for the Sibos week (25-29 October 2010).

High Level program

A good presentation/show has a fantastic start, and great core, and an exciting grand finale. That’s exactly how our Innotribe @ Sibos2010 program is organized 😉

We have a fantastic start: our “Innovation Opening Keynotes: the big tectonic shifts” on Monday 25th from 9am – 10:30

What a line-up of speakers ! We have now confirmed:

  • John Hagel (Author of THE business book of the year “Power of Pull”),
  • Peter Hinssen on “The New Normal” (also title of his new book),
  • Nova Spivack with a long-term technology forecast,
  • Venessa Miemis (28 year old GEN-Y Graduate Student from NYC) who will prepare a talk on the future of money,
  • and a still to be announced very senior banker on tectonic shifts in banking.

Both in content, quality of the speakers, and format of this session, this will be THE not-to-be-missed session on Sibos Monday. We are convinced it will set the bar for any session for the upcoming week.

We have a great core: We have 4 Themes. As last year, we have appointed Innotribe Leaders and VC-Coaches to each of these themes:

  • Cloud: following last year’s Labs, which were focused on the economics of cloud computing, this year focuses on the practical implementation, user experiences, and why it’s important for the financial industry. There will be a specific focus on hybrid cloud models and API’s.
    • Innotribe Leaders:Jacqui Taylor (ex-BACS) and now building Google Apps with FlyingBinary and Sungard
    • VC-Coach: Sean Park
  • Mobile: the emergence of mobile payments, especially in the worker’s remittances area, and the role of banks.
    • Innotribe Leaders: Jonathan Bye (RBS) and Ville Sointu (Tieto)
    • VC-Coach: Matthaus Krzykowski (Venture Beat)
  • Smart data: how to capitalise on the power of semantic web technologies to enable greater intelligence for financial institutions.
    • Innotribe Leaders: Wells Fargo and Nova Spivack
    • VC-Coach: Eghosa Omoigui (ex Intel Capital)
  • The Long Now: this series of interactive workshops will engage in long term scenario planning for the financial industry.
    • Innotribe Leaders: Chris Skinner and Sean Park

The line-up of speakers, face-to-face panel members and moderators is stronger than ever before. This will be the subject of subsequent Innotribe @ Sibos2010 blogs.

We just opened a Web-Storm on Innotribe.com to collect your idea on these 4 themes as we build up towards October. We will feed-back these ideas to the Innotribe Leaders before the actual Labs in Amsterdam. Check out www.innotribe.com

In addition, we will have 2 Masterclasses Innovation, we have invited the 5 leading software vendors for innovation management tools, and we’ll have an update on eMe (winner of last year).

We also teamed-up in a quite significant way with our colleagues from Standards and Technology. You will notice on the Sibos program a number of interactive sessions that have been co-designed with Innotribe.

The exciting grand finale: the best of the Innotribe week comes together on Thursday 28 October 2010.

  • We start with “Pitch your Innotribe Lab”, a competition between the best idea teams that were formed during the Labs throughout the week, in front of the buyer’s panel. 5 minutes pitches with Q&A by the SWIFT Buyer’s Panel, with input from our VC-Advisors. They compete for the Sibos2010 Innovation Award. Last year’s winner was eMe. Who will it be this year ?
  • Right after, we’ll have the “Open Innovation Best Practices”, with again a staggering line up of Heads of Innovation of Banks, and thought leaders from other industries on Open Innovation
  • To pump up your adrenaline levels, we’ll close with a real Start-Up Competition, where we have invited some of the start-ups and great idea teams we met throughout the year. They will pitch in front of a real VC-Panel.
  • And who knows: last year’s Innotribe made it to the final plenary closing of Sibos. We know this year’s Innotribe @ Sibos is even better and The Long Now seems to be positioned in pole-position.

Some elements to spice it all up:

  • All the Innotribe @ Sibos2010 sessions will be supported and facilitated by a team from The Value Web.
  • The Long Now and the Grand Finale will be supported with live streaming and interaction technologies (more news to come in the next weeks)
  • We will be at 3 locations:
    • The Innovation Opening Keynotes in Conference Room #1 aka “the box-ring”. We’ll make maximum use of the interactive features of this room;
    • The Interactive Workspace: a special built space in the middle of the exhibition centre that will host all the other Innotribe sessions; the design of that space is just awesome.
    • The special Innotribe corner on the SWIFT Stand that will host the R&D sessions, including the results of some SWIFT proof-of-concepts.

Let’s start the conversation:

Innotribe is organised by SWIFT Innovation with the support of financial institutions, vendors and innovation leaders.

In the true spirit of less push and more pull, we encourage you to engage in a true dialogue with the Innotribe team. We look forward to seeing you in Amsterdam.

The Innotribe team






Twitter: http://twitter.com/innotribe

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It’s holiday time, and I have reduced significantly my blogging, reading RSS feeds, tweeting, mailing, etc

Time for hanging around, some biking, some good food, and… a good book. If you want to follow what I am reading, check-out my page on Goodreads.

For me, a good book is one that leaves you puzzled, that makes you think,


that re-calibrates your perspective,


that is a pleasant read, that has depth.

“You are not a gadget” by Jaron Larnier is such a book. I discovered it thanks to a tweet of my friend Paul, who reacted to one of my enthusiastic Singularity tweets. The title of this blog post “You have to be somebody before you can share yourself” is very early in the book, and captures its essence.

Jaron Larnier was listed on The 2010 TIME 100 in the Thinkers category. His Wikipedia entry is here.

It’s a great read if you are in your over-enthusiasm mode about  computationalism, the noosphere, the Singularity, web 2.0, the long tail, the hive mind, the global brain, crowdsourcing, collective intelligence and all the other buzzwords and trends and all the rest. It gives you some solid pushback and sound criticism.

I am not going to do a book review, but my experience of the book was like there were 3 stories interwoven:

  • How technology is limiting our potential and who we are on-line. This of course resonated a lot with my work on Digital Identity.
  • Our communication limitations. He has a great chapter on how cephalopods have the great ability to “morph” and how one could use “visual” communication and another dimension of communication, other than language. And how humans in virtual reality environments quickly adapt to a body with tentacles. Intriguing !
  • The notion of “neoteny”: humans are born as fetuses in air, and our brain is being developed during childhood. Lanier compares this to a newborn horse that can stand on its own and already possesses almost all the skills of an adult horse. Humans – in modern civilizations – have an artificial, protected space called “the classroom, the extended womb”.

Neoteny opens a window to the world before our brains can be developed under the sole influence of instinct.

A similar concept related to neoteny – “generativity” – comes back in another great read Firms of Endearment: How World-class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose.


This is a book about

the pragmatic role of

love in business


It’s about the epochal change into the Age of Transcendence. The dictionary defines transcendence as a "state of excelling or surpassing or going beyond usual limits."


The second event is the aging of the population. For the first time in history, people 40 and older are the adult majority. This is driving deep systemic changes in the moral foundations of culture. Higher levels of psychological maturity mean greater influence on society of what Erik Erikson called "generativity"—the disposition of older people to help incoming generations prepare for their time of stewardship of the common good

The Firms of Endearment book in essence talks about a new form of capitalism that is not only focused on profit and shareholders’ value, but on value creation for all parties in a company’s stakeholders’ ecosystem.

Joran also has an opinion on capitalism when he says:

Visiting the offices of financial cloud engines (like high-tech hedge funds) feels like visiting the Googleplex. There are software engineers all around, but few of the sorts of topical experts and analysts who usually populate investment houses. These pioneers have brought capitalism into a new phase, and I don’t think it’s working… capitalism in a digital future will require a general acceptance of a social contract

He is also calling for “so-called AI techniques to create formal versions of certain complicated or innovative contracts that define financial instruments” and that setting standards for these could be facilitated by “a cooperative international body” that

would probably have specific requirements for the formal representation, but any individual application making use of it could be created by a government, a nongovernmental organization, an individual, a school, or a for-profit company. The formal transaction-representation format would be nonproprietary, but there would be a huge market for proprietary tools that make it useful. These tools would quickly become part of the standard practice of finance

What a great potential for my employer SWIFT ! We are indeed a full-blown cooperative international organization with our roots in financial services.

In essence, Jaron Laniers’ manifesto and rant is about “The deep meaning of personhood is being reduced by illusions of bits”.

That should make us reflect deeply on how we want to engage as human beings in an on-line world, how we define digital identity in the relative and the absolute, and be very vigilant that we don’t loose our potential in our technology enthusiasm.

For me, the prospect of an entirely different notion of communication is more thrilling than a construction like the Singularity. Any gadget, even a big one like the Singularity, gets boring after a while. But a deepening of meaning is the most intense potential kind of adventure available to us

Finally, I also found some consolation to deal with my 3/4 Life Crisis. The following quote always helps:

If you are young and childless, you can run around in a van to gigs, and you can promote those gigs online. You will make barely any money, but you can crash on couches and dine with fans you meet through the web. This is a good era for that kind of musical adventure. If I were in my twenties I would be doing it. But it is a youthiness career. Very few people can raise kids with that lifestyle. It’s treacherous in the long run, as youth fades.

My blog is my “adult” way of doing gigs online.

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Have a look at this stunning gesture based interface with character Milo. First of all, it is more than gesture based. Milo also reacts to voice intonation, movements, etc

It is difficult to assess how much of this is a word-by-word script, or how much real interaction is going on here.

The most stunning effects are:

  • The women trying to capture goggles that thrown by Milo
  • The women moving the water with her hands
  • The women handing over a piece of paper, that gets scanned and taken over by Milo

It gives a sense where we are heading. Imagine this on your iPAD. My conservative guess is this will be real within the next 5 years.

This is very similar to what Oblong is doing with gesture based interfaces. See my previous blog on Oblong here. John Underkoffler indeed also said 5 years before this hits any PC.

Oh yes, in case I forget, Oblong will be at Innotribe at Sibos 2010 in the Smart Data track.

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