Archive for February, 2011


In my job, I hear many executives asking “to shake the tree”. What does that mean ? The temptation to just “Pump-up-the-volume” or let the innovation engine run “red hot” is just around the corner. “Let’s come up with a list of hundreds of initiatives and “tricks”, and we’re done.”

Tick ? Don’t think so.

Before discussing the “how”, any organization should first have a look at the “why”.

Usually, the why has to do with creating a more agile organization, waking up the entrepreneurial spirit, in other words to “un-trap” the creative juices.

And to do so, work is needed at the foundations. It’s about making the organization healthy, fit and un-trapped. This has nothing to do with six-sigma, lean, or other way to improve the efficiency of the organization, the efficiency of the organizational “body”.

What we are talking about here is


the fitness

of the organizational “mind”




The expected outcome of pumping up the volume and the fitness of the organizational mind is a


connected organization,

connected teams,

connected people,

connected values.


With connected healthy internal and external primary and secondary circuits.

In between the “why” and the “outcome” is the “how”: the set of tricks, tools, and processes that enable a connected and innovative organization.

As mentioned above, I can easily produce a list of hundreds of new or enhanced innovation initiatives and that set of “hows” will be the subject of one of my next blog posts called “Pump up the (innovation) volume”.

But first, we must focus on the “why”.

We must make sure

that the roots

of the mind-tree to be shaken

are healthy


Make sure that the “connections” between the people of the organization are open and healthy. That the rotten apples – both people and processes and cultural dysfunctions – are eradicated. That the connections are such that they encourage acceptance.


Acceptance at several levels


Let’s look at a framework for these connections, the circle of acceptance.


All credits for this framework go to André Pelgrims, who is our team coach for team-dynamics. You can read more about André here. Every organization should hire one or more “André’s” to make their culture programs real. (Disclosure: I have no shares or business relation with André, but he was one of the coaches of the Leading  by Being (LBB) program I already mentioned so many times on my blog; stronger, LBB was the reason to start this blog)

The first level of acceptance is being accepted as a person. In our full authenticity. Watch carefully yourself when you meet a person for the first time. What is your screening mechanism: is it respect, space, trust, or something else ? And how much are you trapped in this specific mechanism ? A person that “passes” this initial 15 sec check will be accepted by you as a person. The effect is that person will give you energy.

However, if that person pumps-up its space, trust etc, then that person will start being an energy drain for her colleagues. It happens when people bring into the team the baggage that is not related to work. They don’t even have to talk about it, they bring it unconsciously with them. The art is to be aware of it, in the present moment. And not let it develop as the personal drama. Then it becomes an energy drain. Personally, I need space and silence. If not, I get drained.

“Energy Drains”

The second level of acceptance is being accepted in your role. Only then you can create impact. When people make themselves (ie. their role) look bigger than they are, then we enter the space of

“Power Games”

The third level of acceptance is being accepted as a change agent. Only then you can create a new type of dynamics, only then you have the right to shake the tree. It’s the moment where you don’t have to sell yourself anymore, you are being called. Again, when one tries to show bigger than one is, one ends up with

“Illusion Building”


The awareness of these circles of acceptance are particularly important for innovation teams, who are supposed to keep the fire of innovation burning throughout the organization. Not only the innovation team must maintain healthy connections within the team, but especially in all its relations with its stakeholders. You can shout “change” as much as you want in an organization, if you are not accepted as a person, in your role as innovator, and genuinely being called, you can forget about all the “tricks” you have in your pocket. They remain what they are. Tricks.

Therefore, I prefer to being called as-a-person. The tricks are a bonus. Some people think they have no tricks. I don’t believe that. But even in the hypothetical case that you don’t have tricks, you can still give energy, have impact and being called as a change agent IF you are accepted as a person.


I want to be called as a person

I want to be loved


Recognition is not good enough. Recognition is like a compromise: if I am not capable of receiving love, I compromise on recognition. That’s why a tap on a shoulder, a holding arm, a hug are only relevant if they are real. The animal in us just senses when these are un-real.


So, what does it take to be real ?


In addition of having acceptance at all levels, what else is required ? For me what makes the real difference is the way a person approaches me with a healthy mix of love and courage, combined with an equally healthy balance of guilt, shame, and vulnerability. With respect for primary and secondary circuits.


The Love/Courage mix:


  • I may have a lot of courage when giving feedback to a colleague, a partner, a business partner, etc. But if this courage is not rooted in a feeling of love for that other person, then I end up with “active destruction”, the effect of a dirty forward tackle in football. Many companies have unfortunately a culture of forward tackle.
  • On the other hand, when I approach the person with love but without courage, then the effect of my intervention is one of “passive destruction”, unaware of the emotion

The Guilt/Shame mix



In a very similar way, guilt and shame go together. Guilt without shame is inwards focus. It leads to depression, in a slow and creepy way. Leading to aggression against yourself. On the other hand, shame without guilt is again like the forward-tackle. Not creepy, but blow in the face, active aggression against yourself.

Vulnerability. I have already very often mentioned vulnerability in my blog posts. Suffice to say here that showing vulnerability in the safe primary circuit should be ok. Only works of course if the connections in that primary circuit are healthy.


Illustration by Hugh MacLeod

Secondary circuits. Last but not least, let’s pay some attention to secondary circuits. There is nothing wrong with secondary circuits. On the contrary, they need to exists to feed a healthy primary circuit, to be supportive of the primary circuit. The problem starts with secondary circuits that are NOT supportive to the primary, and even are counter-productive. Those are the rotten apples. But the secondary circuits need to be made explicit. And for a really healthy system, it would be better that many of the secondary circuits’ discussions are held in the primary circuit for the benefit of the whole team.


Our goal should be

to make the primary circuit stronger

than the secondary circuits


and not the other way around in many organizations.

What happens a lot in “shake the tree” experiments, is that one or more levels of acceptance are skipped. Or that awareness about the effects of energy drains, power games, and illusion building are being denied. Or that we don’t expose the right mix of love/courage, of guilt/shame, of vulnerability in our day to day connections. That we start jumping into the “how” before questioning the “why” and the desired outcome.

Therefore, let’s first check if our connections are pure, healthy and real. This is the only possible foundation for a deep change that is sustainable on the long term.

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This post is a fourth in a series on personal digital identity. Part-1 “The unpolished diamond was published here in August 2010 and Part-2 ‘The Digital Identity Tuner” was published here in September 2010. Part-3 “Personal Data Something” was published here in December 2010.

The journey continues. Now we move into Austin for TEDxAustin and SXSW Interactive.

You can follow the livestream here. It’s a fascinating way to spend your week-end and get inspired.


Gary from CLOUD is on stage today 19 Feb 2011 at 4pm Austin time.

Some time ago, I teamed up with the folks of CLOUD, Inc. (www.cloudinc.org), a non-profit technology standard consortia founded in March 2009 and based in Austin, Texas. “CLOUD” stands for Consortium for Local Ownership of Use of Data. I am on their Strategic Advisory Board, together with Charlie Hoffman, Director of Innovation, UBMatrix, a leading provider of XBRL software, Anthony J. Barrett, Senior Vice President, Integration, Walgreens, and Dan Walker, former Chief Talent Officer for Apple and GAP.


The power of people. Connected.

If you have read my previous post on team dynamics, then you may have noticed a pattern developing in my thinking. With kudos to co-thinkers Verna Allee from Valuenetworks.com and Mela from the SWIFT Innovation Team. We had a great synchronicity chat in London, and what emerged was a model for organizing our thinking for Innotribe at Sibos 2011 along the theme of the Connected Economy.


Suddenly, it all made sense. One could zoom into the Connected Economy into different facets such as:

  • our connected companies: this is where we could talk about company culture and new organizational models that do away with the silo construction of most companies
  • our connected teams: how we create healthy team dynamics, how we collaborate, how we realize full potential with social cognition
  • our connected self: acting from our authentic strong self, this is more about personal and corporate values for the next decades. This is also about our Digital Identity/Footprint. The power of people. Connected. What CLOUD is all about.
  • our connected value: new thinking about capitalism, social currencies, financial inclusion, P2P networking, money vs. value, the accounting for intangibles

What we want to do at Sibos and our Innotribe Events is to create ongoing conversations, with the rigor around these conversations, focused around sense-making. But let the future emerge.


The art of the half finished


Where the event is the middle of a process, not the end-point. Leaving enough room for others to fill in, for ideas having sex. Where humans can get inspired by something else than logic.

CLOUD has been featured as a keynote speaker at SWIFT’s annual Sibos conference in October 2010 in Amsterdam and will be speaking at TEDxAustin on February 19, SXSW Interactive on March 14 and leading a panel at XBRL22 in Brussels the week following the European Identity Conference.


For the Munich KuppingerCole conference, Gary submitted a speaking slot by CLOUD and Co, and we just got the news that the proposal was accepted. I let you enjoy what Gary put together:

In March of 2010, SWIFT’s Innotribe hosted last year’s European eID Interoperability Conference. Peter Vander Auwera, Innovation Leader at SWIFT, and former colleague of Kim Cameron has said this about CLOUD, Inc. in his post on Identity Rights 3.0: "I repeat myself by saying that this CLOUD vision goes way beyond the web of pages, goes way beyond the early thinking on Semantic Web. It is in essence proposing an identity architecture for the Internet. Because the internet is broken. It was never designed with identity in mind."

CLOUD sees the issue of identity as one that goes far beyond log-ins and enterprise management. The issues of identity, privacy, security, data portability and governance are not separate issues but simply separate axes of the same problem.

CLOUD sees the answer to these issues coming from a new language for the Internet, so as to extend the revolution started by TCP/IP and accelerated by HTML. CLOUD’s CTML (contextual markup language) is a language for people. however and not another language for web pages, like HTML.

CLOUD also sees the answer going beyond current approaches like OpenID, which assumes the web paradigm in its log-in approach. Even with the same log-in, my ‘identity’ could change over time.

CLOUD also believes that a multi-dimensional approach is vital. WHO I Am™, WHAT I Am™, WHEN I Am™ and WHERE I Am™ are all axes of my identity and vital to a new language for people and "the identity architecture for the Internet" as Peter said about CLOUD.

Our goal is not to replace other standards nor displace for-profit initiatives but to instead put a new foundation in place for the Internet that makes the approaches to privacy, security, data and identity consistent and architecturally-driven.

We would see our thought leadership keynote (and/or panel) outlining what this paradigm would mean to the future of the Internet and how this new language would not only change the approach to identity but will transform industries from banking to health to education. Our recent post on the WHO I Am™ dimension would provide the foundation for our comments and panel: http://cloudinc.org/?/ecosystems/article/cloud-dimensions-who-i-am.

Suggested Panelists:

  • Gary Thompson, CEO CLOUD
  • Peter Vander Auwera, Innovation Leader, SWIFT
  • Kaliya Hamlin (@Identitywoman), Founder Internet Identity Workshops
  • Kim Cameron, Microsoft Distinguished Engineer and Chief Architect Identity 
  • Vint Cerf or Bob Kahn, Founders of TCP/IP

Some people say we try to boil the ocean. I don’t think so. Why would we limit ourselves to a narrowly defined vision of identity being a federated authentication issue ? Identity and Digital Footprint are much more than that and so important for our being as human beings in a permanent digital reality.


That’s why I am so proud that this advanced vision now get exposure at TEDx Austin, at SWSX Austin, at the European Identity conference, at XBRL, at the KuppingerCole conference in Munich. And we will bring it back to Innotribe at Sibos 2011 as part of the connected self. As part of some new work we just kicked off last week in London.

Some folks give me pushback. They are warned: I am at my best when constrained. My innovation juices then flow at full debit. Then I want to think and work out-of-the-box, no – even better – I want to burn the box.


the optimist in me


The times of being mister nice guy are over. Of being a mediocre optimist, or pessimist, or realist.

We can’t live

with mediocrity



Who is going to stop us ? The better question is: who is a believer and wants to support us? Are you ? Then join is on this digital identity journey and


be your digital self !

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Check out this wonderful RSA animation about Steven Pinker’s “Language as a Window into Human Nature”


Steven Pinker shows us how the mind turns the finite building blocks of language into infinite meanings.

But I looked at this animation and was triggered by how much this relates to how our economies, companies, teams, ourselves and even exchange of value between these entities are fueled by the relationship mechanisms described in this animation.

In essence, Steven Pinker describes 3 relationship types:

  • Dominance relationships. Pretty self-explanatory and what used to be used by primates, but still existing in some companies
  • Communality relationships. The mode is “You share and I share alike”, for example in a couple or between friends
  • Reciprocity relationships. Business like tit for tat exchanges of goods or services that characterizes reciprocal altruism. This is what we do in commerce. Exchanging money or to a larger extent exchanging of value.

But by not saying the things as they are, and mixing up the conventions that apply to each of these relationships, you end of with…




Awkwardness in the relation, in the team culture, in the team dynamics and illusions of friendship and love. In dating – see my prezi on how to make babies – this awkwardness leads to “the anxieties of dating”.

And it really feels awkward when the confused give a tap on the shoulder or hold an arm, skimming the borderlines of trust.




But saying things “as they are”

also means

taking risk,

getting naked with no defense

or fall-back position

in case it goes wrong


That’s why you best do these things with the guidance of an experimented coach. Somebody who can guide and learn you to take personal leadership, daring to step forward, and daring to take care of expressing our own needs. It’s carving in the underlying energy streams under the table, where emotions such as anger, joy, hate, rejection, love, etc live. To discover and get rid of the hidden agreements and closed circles of the past. Nobody likes being rejected or worse being ignored.




Instead of “getting used to it”, we could develop an emotionally intellectual language for expressing our needs. Something like:

  • Trigger: “this specific behavior causes an emotion with myself”
  • Emotion: “it makes me sad” or “I feel hurt”
  • Underlying need that is not fulfilled: “the need to fully contribute value” or “the need for a unique learning experience” or “the need to be respected” or “the need of not being ignored” etc, etc
  • And attaching to this need a “request”, an “invitation”: like “I invite you to fully include me next time”

All this in full authenticity, without manipulation, hidden agendas, power games, and other sorts of obfuscation of the reality.




But something fundamental can change when people meet, when they group in crowds. When they can look each other in the eyes. On a broader scale, think Egypt, Tunesia, Bahrein, etc: when people get together at one place, everyone in that crowd knows that everybody knows that everybody knows.


It leads to the collective power

to challenge

the authority

of the dictator


It’s the story of the emperor’s cloths. And explicit language is an excellent way of creating mutual knowledge.


What if we would start applying

these relationship principles

to our connected economy,

to our connected companies,

to our connected teams,

to our connected self,

or even to our connected value?


This would btw be a great way to organize and thinking and collaborations for Innotribe at Sibos 2011 on 19-23 September 2011 in Toronto.

  • Using the theme of the connected “something”, we could bring in technology topics like Digital Identity, Social Cognition, Big Data.
  • We could also experiment with some non-technology trends related to Social Capitalism, Future of Money/Value, Corporate culture, Where companies invest long term.

But to come back to the main flow of this post: the Egypt principle of mutual knowledge in a crowd also plays at a smaller level like a team.

But here is the paradox and at the same time the risk and opportunity:


No mutual knowledge


maintaining the fiction

of friendship and love.


However, with mutual knowledge and using an overt language you create the potential of having true team-ship and love. But using overt language also means you can’t take it back when it is out there. We don’t have a fall-back position, we are vulnerable.


1 (3)


But sometimes, one needs to pull a tooth. Pulling the tooth hurts, but you’re happy when it’s gone. Likewise, tapping blood may show black blood, and the tapping may hurt, but once the blood had been rinsed, you’re fit again.


When you let go the masks,

show your authentic self,

only and only then

will we be able

to realize

the full team potential


That’s why next week, our team goes on off-site to work on team dynamics. To discover and become fully aware and conscious of relationship types and dynamics, and to double-check whether here or there we don’t need to pull a tooth or to let go some black blood. We probably won’t find anything, but who knows ;^)

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Have a look at a couple of the excellent videos on this wrap-up site about Farsight2011.


I could spent days and days in this space. All my favorites, including Hedge Fund Manager and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Recorded Future co-founder and CEO Chris Ahlberg, journalist entrepreneur Esther Dyson, and many more in one big long session about long term future. Yammy – Yammy !

Search is no longer the simple act of typing words into a text box. New user interfaces and mobile devices are expanding the web into all aspects of daily life, and even changing the way we think. An explosion of innovation has allowed us to dream big about the role of robotics and Artificial Intelligence. And yet the future of search is fraught with challenges. The stakes can’t be higher. Is the search industry locked in a race to the bottom or are conditions ripe for a breakthrough? This question took center stage at a gathering in San Francisco on February 1, 2011 which was streamed live on BigThink.com.



(Peter Thiel at Farsight 2011 in “How to end the Google monopoly”)

Some quotes from Thiel:

  • You need a 35% market share in search to make break-even
  • The core problem is how to cut down the massive fixed costs
  • Until you solve the fixed cost problem, you have a natural monopoly
  • Underestimating fixed costs is a mistake that I intend not to make twice
  • I am not so much focused on the revenue side, as I am on the cost side
  • Everybody can do the front-end and the revenue with it
  • 5-10B$ yearly cost is the barrier to entry
  • Microsoft is probably the only company with the capital resources that can compete with Google at this moment in time.

Or have a look at Salim Ismail, Executive Director, Global Partnerships, Singularity University, talking about The Future of Privacy.


  • Computing is getting exponentially faster, smaller, cheaper, better
  • Our assumption is that these new technologies can scale at global level
  • Turning our lives more and more into an information property
  • From Discover to Aggregate to Process
  • Retrospective vs. Prospective search
  • Quantified self, Health Data, Sensor Networks, Internet of Things
  • Total explosion of information

About total explosion of information: I also invite you to watch the video of Hasan Elahi’s talk at the Lift11 Conference this Feb 2011 in Geneva, at about the same time as this BigThink Farsight 2011 Summit. The title of his talk is “Giving away your privacy to escape the US Terrorist watch list”;

he is in essence explaining that

by releasing

an explosion of information

about his where-abouts

he makes it impossible

for these authorities

to make sense

out of this massive set of data



The intro is a bit long (but worthwhile to set the scene) but if you are short in time, jump in as from minute 8’30…

  • To be formally cleared, you need to be formally charged
  • A very unbalanced relationship: I give and I give and I give, and I don’t get anything in return
  • They have the ultimate authority, I knew who was in power, and you turn to very animal primal instincts of survival
  • And in my case, survival meant co-operate
  • And I decided to put everything public

Here is where the video gets mind-blowing: as from minute 12’30

  • I wrote a little code that would track me all the time
  • It’s kinda bizar seeying yourself as a pixel
  • Every flight I have been on since birth
  • I am ok with giving you every bit of my data, but you have to do some work to digest it
  • My financial records are public
  • All my calls
  • There is an independent party (bank, phone company, etc) that is verifying that yes indeed I was there…
  • I have taken this to a level of absurdity, of detail, that I leave such level of detail about my life, that I live a rather private life.
  • After you do the analysis of all this detail, you actually get very little in return.
  • Having a little information about somebody is very dangerous as it can be mis-contextualized
  • You can’t delete, but you can bury it in an explosion of information
  • Or to conclude:

This is another way

of getting back into control

of your identity

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SOFA stands for SWIFT Operational Forum Americas, a yearly event targeted at a typical operational audience. This year’s SOFA is on 8-9 March 2011 in NYC. The theme for SOFA 2011 is “Defining the next generation of financial services”.


marriot marquis NY


Innotribe is SWIFT’s innovation initiative. Innotribe’s mission is ‘Enabling Collaborative Innovation’. Part of our activities includes events: existing SWIFT events like Sibos and SOFA, third party events like CPA in Canada and EPCA in Europe last year. It usually translated into a “special” session, with lots of professionally facilitated interactivity.




With Innotribe events we have the ambition to “unpack” stereotypes, myths and hypes. These Innotribe Events are an energizing mix of education, perspective, collaboration and facilitation. Our success factors for this new type event are organized along the following three axes of “opening-up” our traditional ecosystem: audience, content and brand recognition.

So, what’s up at SOFA this year ? We have two things going on:

  • At the end of day-1, yours truly will give the presentation “How to make babies” a strong metaphor for SWIFT’s Innovation Framework. Prezi version of this presentation is here. Tip: set sound “on”
  • At the end of day-2, our innovation team will animate a Special Session “The New Thinkers”

Building on the Innotribe @ Sibos tradition of exploring “Tectonic Shifts”, this Special Session will be an energizing mix of education, new perspectives, collaboration and facilitation.

Our goal is to stimulate the generation of new ideas by bringing together a powerful mixture of audience members and by enabling freedom of discussion – allowing the conversation to take the participants into any and all areas that open up on the day.


We believe strongly in the potential

of unexpected encounters,

and the magic that can happen

when people from

different background

are brought together


So the innovators and change agents of our industry will be invited to join the SOFA audience (and also to join us in Toronto for Sibos 2011 in September), and we hope this will foster exciting new discussions between them and the traditional SOFA attendees.


skyscraper lunch


Ideas do not typically come out of the blue. Rather, they are usually variations of existing ideas. Sometimes, simply looking at a familiar idea from a different perspective can spark a new idea or the combination of existing ideas to achieve new goals and create radically different value propositions. All the topics we propose to discuss during this Innotribe Special Session at SOFA are also potential subjects to explore in Toronto – but we are looking for your feedback to tell us if these are the right ideas to stimulate your creative thinking!

Presentations from five great modern thinkers will culminate in an interactive exchange between the SOFA audience and the speakers, led by Innotribe facilitation champ Mariela Atanassova. The audience will be able to drive the discussion according to the themes that most interest them – ensuring everyone will have an opportunity to collaborate in the innovation we hope this session will stimulate.

Here are The new thinkers:

Venessa Miemis
(http://emergentbydesign.com/about/): Free agent, Master in Media Studies at the New School, NYC, futurist and digital ethnographer, researching the impacts of social technologies on society and culture and designing systems to facilitate innovation and the evolution of consciousness. Venessa will update us on The Future of Money project (world premiere at Sibos 2010) and The Future of Facebook, a new research project sponsored by Innotribe as Corporate Patron.




Douglas Rushkoff (http://rushkoff.com/bio/): thought leader and provocateur. Author of best selling books Cyberia : Life in the Trenches of HyperspaceLife, Inc, and Program or be Programmed (all Amazon Affiliate links). Doug will give a talk about New Capitalism, and introduce his latest project on a Summit he is organizing in NYC on 20 October 2011 called “Contact”. Contact Summit will seek to explore and realize the greater promise of social media to promote new forms of culture, commerce, collective action and creativity.




Brian Zisk: organizer of the Future of Money & Technology Summit in San-Francisco (www.futureofmoney.com). Brian will summarise the findings of the Summit that took place on 28 Feb 2011. Psssst ! If you still want to go to Brian’s event, go the the registration page at ttp://futureofmoney.eventbrite.com/ and use the discount code “Innotribe”.




Stowe Boyd (http://www.stoweboyd.com/ ): probably THE authority on Social media, Stowe is a Social Philosopher and Webthropologist from NY. His work focuses on social tools and their impact on media, business, and society. In 2011, Stowe is focused on a new line of research: Social Cognition. This research is co-sponsored by Innotribe, and we hope to share the final results at Sibos 2011 in Toronto.




Kevin Slavin (http://about.me/slavin): also from NY, Kevin is founder of AreaCodeInc (recently acquired by Zygna, the undisputed leader of Social Games). Kevin will talk about the New Future and “Those algorithms that govern our lives” – including our personal finances!




(picture from Dave Gray’s blog)

For the interactive part, we will organise the session around the organic growth aspects of cities. I have written about this before in my post “How to make babies”, and recently there was a fantastic post by Dave Gray on “The Connected Company”.  We invited Dave to SOFA as well, but he unfortunately could not make it.

Dave’s post is a fantastic post – and as far as I am concerned – one of those game changing post already for 2011, and I will definitely come back to it later.

Dave for example says:

And today, thanks to social technologies, we finally have the tools to manage companies like the complex organisms they are. Social Business Design is design for companies that are made out of people. It’s design for complexity, for productivity, and for longevity. It’s not design by division but design by connection.

He is also author of “Gamestorming, A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebrakers, and Changemakers” (Amazon Associate Link)



Looks like the book is very much about the principles that our team applies for interactive session design.

And gamestorming

is exactly what we’re going to do


during this special session


What: Innotribe Special Session at SOFA 2011, NYC

When: From 2-5 pm on 9 March 2011 at SOFA (http://www.swift.com/events/2011/SOFA/index.page

Location: Marriott Marquis, Broadway, NYC

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