Douglas Crets


Giving Credibility to the Shadow Education System

Comment Ranking System Will Play Crucial Role in Web-Based Curriculum

Fred Wilson

Image by Joi via Flickr

I am pretty sure that deploying a comment ranking system in blogs will have some strong function in a web-based learning world. I made a comment about it at Fred Wilson’s blog, and I think that it represents a piece of the puzzle that will enable blogs to carry some legitimacy.

Disqus is testing out a feature on certain blogs. They may not be visualizing the education web-based curriculum, but I could not help my self from postulation.

The idea is that if you are working in a learning system that uses the social web to link people, you will need comments or badges to link people to their credibility and reputatino in the group. Right now, education is mostly about grades and diplomas, and standardized test performance.

When it moves towards a realtime application of skills to problems that need solutions, blogs will form a fundamental core to linking experts to students, and then student-expert teams that run communities. To get into a community you apply, just as you would to get into college, and the comment ranking and reputation score will indicate your likelihood of acceptance.

I’ve always said that your reputation will be the most important feature of your web presence. You may be the smartest dog in the pack, but if you are always biting others on the tail and trying to keep that bone to yourself, you’re out. Keep that in mind; it will be fundamental in the next few years.

Be nice!


Filed under: Digital Learning, Influence, Tech, , , , , , , ,

Shortcut: Getting Through to People Who Slow You Down

This is an interview with Brian Tolle, author of Shortcut: Getting Through to the People Who Slow You Down.


Douglas Crets: When one first opens your book, the immediate thinking might be that communication alone can solve all workplace problems, but it appears that it’s not just communication that helps the work environment. Can you explain why just talking things out with someone isn’t enough? A lot of built-in HR and internal consulting basically falls to this default “talk it out” setting.

Brian Tolle: Where I have seen increased awareness and application of these styles (talking things out) come up short in improving interpersonal relationships and teamwork is where there are conflicting priorities and/or values among the team members or between the two individuals. And because so much personal identity and emotions are tied up with one’s priorities and values, there are situations where a communication impasse remains. That’s when a higher order of “talking it out” is required and it usually involves some form of negotiation (see Fisher & Ury’s classic Getting to Yes for more on their “principled negotiation” as an example of the next order up of communication clarity). Without some version of negotiation, what I have seen is that, depending on the rigidity of each person’s stand, the only way to break the impasse is through the decision of someone in authority. It’s quick but not long lasting. The “agreement” reached usually falls apart fairly quickly from both parties.

What is the immediate and then long-term incentive for people to read your studies of how different workplace personalities interact and inhibit each other’s sense of progress? Will we make more money this way? Is it a pathway to more innovation? Career success?

So it’s the core question: What’s in it for me to invest in trying this stuff out? Here are the answers I share in my workshops:


  • Increased time efficiency (and decrease in related stress). How many of you have had the same conversation with the same person more than once? Not the best use of your time the third or fourth time around. How much stress is generated with each round of poor communication? Are you speaking their language from the very start?
  • Greater likelihood for innovation and creativity. Ideas get shared, explored, and considered when there are open lines of communication present. This includes both offering and soliciting ideas.
  • Decrease in “churning”, or that sense that one is working really hard and not making the commensurate progress.
  • Achieving results that stick. How many times do we think we got agreement in a meeting, only to find out later that the attendees are pursuing different agendas?


Speaking more broadly, what do you think it is about corporate culture or our culture in general that makes people feel comfortable with approaching work and solutions only through their own personality? I get the sense that the answer to this question is not as obvious as it appears.

What I have seen is that people, as individual contributors in organizations, are rewarded (praise, promotions, etc.) for getting things done and the way they get things done is their preferred way of doing things, which gets reinforced through these rewards. This is fine until they rise high enough in an organization where he/she needs to get things done through others and those others have a diversity of preferred ways of doing things. That’s when he/she needs some guide through the “mystery” of human communication.

Filed under: Influence, Work, , , , ,

Iterate It Till You Make It.

This comment by Mike O’Horo at AVC shows you how thinking about education is important, no matter what indusry you are in, or no matter how long you have been out of the formal education system. But here is the main caveat, there needs to be a way of making lifelong learning easy, measurable, precise, and somewhat standardized so that while education will always be democratic, it should remain meritocratic

Education is a part of any jobs process. You get into a role at a company, you will always want to improve, even if you feel that there are no incentives for you to improve. 

Education as a system loses its formality and turns into a lifelong process after we exit public, or private, systems. that process is inherently informal, and loose. There are so many ways to get that education. For those of us who climb the corporate ladder, learning is essential, unless you are content to just step on others’ backs to make it in this world (a methodology that should not work so well in the world of mainstream rumor blogs and very savvy bloggers). 

We need to safeguard learning, and really incentivize open and helpful systems so that the very best can succeed, and so as many of us as possible can be the very best. 

If you are an entrepreneur, I can’t think of anything more important than learning-while-you-work, or, as the software industry has labeled it, iteration. 

Read the comment below to get the full jist of why education as an informal social system is the future, and the challenges an informal, “shadow” education system faces as it makes it possible for all of us to rise in society. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Digital Learning, Influence, Work, ,

“To Be Heard” To Be in Seattle June 11

A film that is part of a project I am working on in New York City is going to be shown at the Seattle Film Festival in June.  Be sure to check out the trailer for the film.

It will make you think differently about school reform.

To Be Heard: Trailer from Edwin Martinez on Vimeo.

Filed under: Influence, Video, Work, , , , , ,

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