George

My last post on this blog was about George Oates and The Commons. I was very excited about what was being discussed in relation to national collections.

I was in the process of writing a post about moral hazard when I received Stephen Downes’ OLDaily with a link to Jeffrey Zeldman’s post about Yahoo laying off George Oates. This is George’s post about Not quite what I had in mind

I am not sure why I was so shocked about news of George’s firing. I think it has a great deal to do with my naive approach to life and my attraction to energetic vibrant people. Seb Chan’s post conveys some of my thoughts and Courtney Johnson‘s comment (on Seb’s post) shares the impact George’s work had.

I know I speak for the hundreds of attendees to the recent National Digital Forum in Auckland, NZ, as well my team members at the National Library when I say that we were all shocked and saddened to hear this news. As very recent members of The Commons, I know part of the attraction of the project – in addition to being able to share our collections with a passionate and curious community – was the generosity and genuine interest George showed towards collecting institutions, and the work she did to bring us together in a new way.

If a blog post can be a lament then this is a lament. I am not making a judgement about Yahoo’s decision. The decision makes it more important for me to finish my post on moral hazard started by accessing Kate Jennings‘ work and its juxtaposition with a technical definition:

Moral hazard is the prospect that a party insulated from risk may behave differently from the way it would behave if it were fully exposed to the risk. Moral hazard arises because an individual or institution does not bear the full consequences of its actions, and therefore has a tendency to act less carefully than it otherwise would, leaving another party to bear some responsibility for the consequences of those actions.

Postcript

Some other posts about George:

Bobbie Johnson (11 December) Now Flickr is hit by Yahoo layoffs

Owen Thomas (12 December) Flickr layoffs could spell a photo finish

Scott Gilbertson (12 December) Yahoo Layoffs Continue

Seeking Alpha (16 December) Microsoft Would Do Well to Hire Yahoo’s latest Flickr Fire

Tyler Hellard (16 December)

Thomas Hawk (17 December) Former Flickr Designer George Oates on Getting Fired by Yahoo

Stephen Downes and Jeanette Winterson

Last week had a double bonus! Stephen Downes shared his video of his talk Light, Agile and Flexible: Collaborating the Web 2.0 Way. The slides of his talk at the Innovations in e-Learning Conference, Fairfax, VA are here. Stephen’s OLDaily post about the talk is here. He observed that it was a “somewhat chaotic presentation (I used the conference backchannel chat again) in which I talk about collaboration with respect to web 2.0.” The Google video made it possible for everyone not at the conference to share a fascinating presentation.


I start each day in Australia by reading OLDaily over a cup of coffee.

ABC photograph
The ABC’s Sunday Arts’ Program televised an interview with Jeanette Winterson and made the interview available as a vodcast (Episode 18, 8 June). I read her Oranges are Not the Only Fruit when it appeared in 1985 and saw the TV adaptation in 1990. The notes from the ABC Arts show introduce her with this statement: “The British Council says Jeanette Winterson is a “writer and controversialist”, apt descriptors for one of England’s leading authors whose forthright ways have characterised her public profile for more than 20 years.”
Like the OLDaily I am finding that the ABC Sunday’s Arts program is becoming an important part of my week. I am delighted that the ABC web site is such a rich resource.

It is great having such visual access to two remarkable characters!