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OpenBeta: a publishing model.

Update: I’ve attempted to elaborate on the OpenBeta model here.

Image based on original CC BY-NC-SA imaginaryGirl

I want to write a book, but none of the traditional models really appeal to me. Seth Godin puts neatly the opportunities available in The magic of dynamic pricing:

When you produce a physical good like a book, it’s really hard to change the price over time, especially if there are retail stores involved. But changing the price on an electronic good is trivially easy.

So, for example, you could charge $24 for the Kindle edition for the first two weeks, then $15 for the next two weeks and then $9 for the year after that. Once it’s a backlist classic, it could cost $2…

Technology puts a lot more pressure on your imagination and creativity, even in pricing.

I think Godin has missed a trick here as there’s no reason why dynamic pricing can’t be used for physical media as well. Taking the Software release cycle as inspiration and Lulu.com as a method I’d like to expand on the idea of creating an Unbook as understood by Dave Gray. Dave’s creating a book called Marks and Meaning and releasing it as one would with software. As I write this post it’s up to version 0.5.

Whilst I admire the Unbook model, it’s not what I want to use in 2010. Why?

  • An unbook is never finished (but I want mine to reach version 1.0 and then be ‘complete’)
  • An unbook is a community product (whilst I respect the views of my readers, I want to be the author)

So I’m going to call the model OpenBeta. Here’s how it works:

OpenBeta publishing model

I’ll be releasing v0.1 of my upcoming OpenBeta book early in 2010. Want to give it a go yourself? Feel free to use the logo:

OpenBeta logo

(click through to larger sizes on Flickr)

Why do you read this blog?


CC BY-SA Karl Horton

I write this blog mainly for me. Selfish as it may sound, I actually need an outlet for my thoughts and ideas.

That being said, I am interested in what people think of what I write and believe it is important to get feedback. As a consequence, I’d be grateful whether it’s your first or thousandth time visiting this blog, in you clicking some buttons below! 🙂

If you’re reading this via an RSS reader or via email and don’t see a Google form embedded above, you might want to click through!

If I wrote a book, would you buy it?

I’ve been using the excellent What Would Seth Godin Do? plugin for WordPress (which powers this blog) for a while now. It’s a great way to get a message across to readers, differentiated for new and return visitors. New visitors to this blog get a message giving them information on how to subscribe and/or get in contact with me.

Return visitors, on the other hand, get a different message. Recently, I’ve been asking for feedback on the question posed in the title of this post, namely: If I wrote a book, would you buy it? The answers are in the above graph. Interestingly, no-one responded that the price was an issue, nor did anyone state that they would buy anything that I wrote.

Good. That’s as it should be. 🙂

There’s enough people, I reckon, interested in buying something that I write that’s education-related for it to be a worthwhile proposition. I’ve got an interesting publishing model and pricing structure in mind. Subscribe so you don’t miss a post – I’ll be revealing more soon!

PS For those interested in what those ‘other’ answers were, they mainly wanted to know more about the subject before they would decide either way!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas 2009

#blogsilike

CC-BY-SA mrhayata

I’ve banged on long enough about my opposition to the Edublog Awards. So I’m turning a negative into a positive. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Consider the blogs you’ve come across in 2009 that you like.
  2. Write about why you like them on your blog.
  3. Tag your blog post blogsilike and publish it.
  4. Link to your blog post on Twitter using the hashtag #blogsilike

Here’s my contribution:

  • I really like Harold Jarche’s blog (http://www.jarche.com) and his work on the Sackville Commons. Inspirational stuff.
  • I’ve been impressed at the way Tom Barrett moved effortlessly into his new home at http://edte.ch and has set up a really engaging blog. He’s also adapted his blog writing style to be even more relevant and collaborative. 🙂
  • After reading Seth Godin’s book Tribes I subscribed to his blog (http://sethgodin.typepad.com) via email. He is full of good ideas, that man!
  • Some people who attend EdTechRoundUp regularly have begun to blog – people like Zoe Ross (http://www.zoeross.com), Nick Dennis (http://nickdennis.com/blog)and Kerry Turner (http://kerryjturner.com). Not have these three begun to blog to reflect on their own practice as educators, but are self-hosting their (WordPress-powered) blogs. Great stuff! If you want to do likewise, I highly recommend Bluehost to make it a simple, one-click process!

Why not help this become a meme and contribute your own? 😀

Twenty-nine.

Birthday cake

CC-BY-SA Jessica N. Diamond

There is still no cure for the common birthday. (John Glenn)

Usually, when my birthday comes around I’m either ill, disillusioned or frustrated. Well I’m not that ill today, but I’m not too far away from the other two…

If I lived on Mars I’d be celebrating my 15th birthday soon. If I was on Mercury, I’d be almost 117 years old (thanks, Your Age On Other Worlds!)

A move this year to a job which gave me 50% extra pay, propelled me into the Senior Leadership Team of a 10-site Academy for 2,800 students aged 3-18 kind of pales into insignificance compared to what others achieved during the time they were 28:

  • Niels Bohr published his revolutionary theory of the atom.
  • George Sand published her first novel, Indiana.
  • Dr. Ludwig Zamenhof invented the artificial language ‘Esperanto’.
  • Thomas Wakley began publishing the journal The Lancet.
  • Bob Marley recorded I Shot the Sheriff

Despite not quite measuring up to these luminaries, I’m not feeling as much of an underachiever as I have in previous years. This is partly due to my promotion, but also due to reading an excellent book entitled Ideas: a History from Fire to Freud. What comes through loud and clear is that the genuises whom we immortalise were pretty much the first among equals. People’s fortunes very much depend upon serendipity. That’s not to say it always involves hard work – that’s a given! :-p

I’m not going to list the things I’ve achieved this year – it’s not helpful, for example, to link to a page showing that this is one of the Top 10 Education blogs in the UK… 😉

Instead, I’m going to set myself some targets. Targets for my 29th year were:

  1. Apply for and obtain a job that means my wife, Hannah, doesn’t have to work. (Hannah’s now doing a few days of supply teaching each month)
  2. Write half my Ed.D. thesis around the concept of digital literacies. (my ongoing thesis is online at http://dougbelshaw.com/thesis – I’ve written around 17,000 words)
  3. Start a new project – either through Folens or independently that brings together some of the ideas Nick Dennis and I have been discussing. (I can’t divulge too much, but Nick and I are in negotiations with a major educational publisher…)

Targets I’m setting for my 30th year are:

  1. To finish my Ed.D. thesis, ready for submission on 1st January 2011.
  2. To start learning to play the guitar (my parents bought me one for my 21st birthday!)
  3. To go running at least 3 times per week.

So yes, I’ll be 30 at the end of 2010. No biggie. 😀

#movemeon book now available!

I’m delighted to announce that the #movemeon (e-)book is now available! I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of the contributors, but especially Stuart Ridout for his amazing help and design skills. 😀

The PDF is available for free download: http://bit.ly/movemeonpdf

The book is available at cost price: http://bit.ly/movemeonbook

Badges to promote the book are at: http://bit.ly/movemeonbadges (no need for CC attribution, etc.)

Google: excellence and diversity?

Quentin Hardy, Forbes:

Your day begins with a wake-up call from your Google Android phone. As you run to the shower, you hit Google News and check headlines, then Gmail. Your first appointment of the day has been moved to a new location; Google Maps will direct you there. Quickly update your expense report–including the printout of that sales presentation using, say, Google Template–and shoot them to the back office in India (in Hindi, if you prefer, with Google Translate). Your boss wants to discuss your group’s contributions to some marketing documents? Lean on Google Groups. You’re not even out the door yet. You have the rest of the day to search for work-critical information on the Web while you’re at the office–to say nothing of snatching a few moments to download a game, check stock prices, organize your medical records, share photos and pick a restaurant and movie for the evening. How convenient.

I love Apple stuff. I love Google stuff even more because it’s free, is often the best solution, and most of the time promotes collaboration and sharing. However, I’m a bit concerned that they could know a little too much about me. Here’s the Google stuff I use currently:

  • Google Chrome web browser
  • Google Apps (personal)
  • Google Apps Education Edition (at work)
  • Google Picasa
  • Google Product Search
  • Google FastFlip
  • Google Maps
  • Google Dictionary

I wasn’t very far away last month from purchasing AlertMe Energy for our house. This uses Google PowerMeter to show how much energy you are using at home. It’s better than the LCD display we’ve got currently, but I was a bit uneasy about it – for the same reasons that I would be about using Google Health.

It’s all very well using the best stuff, but at what cost? All it would take is a government requisition of the data from one company and, if I used Google PowerMeter and Health in addition to the products I already use, they could know:

  1. What I’ve been looking at online.
  2. The names of my family and friends.
  3. Where I’ve been recently.
  4. Who I’ve been communicating with and what about.
  5. What I look like, as well as what my friends and family look like.
  6. My political bias.
  7. How much energy I’ve been using at home.
  8. My health record.

I think that’s too much information to put into the hands of one company, even if there mantra is Don’t be evil.

So I won’t be buying an Android phone. I won’t be buying AlertMe Energy (or any other service that uses Google PowerMeter) or using Google Health either.

I have to say that it’s a potential problem, not an actual one at the moment… I’ll keep you updated.

Further reading:

How I deal with email.

I get quite a bit of email. Even more, now that I’ve pretty much abandoned RSS and subscribed to news sources and blogs via email.* There’s various approaches to dealing with email (e.g.s – Inbox Zero, GTD, etc.) but, for what it’s worth, here’s my ‘system’. I haven’t read or watched videos of the others – they may be similar, they may not. My system (if I can call it that) depends on a GMail-like ‘star’ feature, so may not be useful for everyone:

How to deal with email

* Why don’t I use an RSS feed reader much any more? Getting update via email forces me (under the system outlined above) to read new stuff at least once a week. It’s also rather depressing when you see you’ve got literally thousands of unread items in your feed reader… :-p

Hyperlocality and iterating towards 2.0

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You can’t expect people to go from zero to Twitter junkie in 3.2 seconds. The other day, as I jogged past the local parish noticeboard, I thought, “I should take a picture of that and put it online.”

Somewhat serendipitously, I came across a link to http://hyperloco.wordpress.com. Have a guess what you find when you visit the site? Yep:

Third Place Books, Ravenna, Seattle

This is Noticeboard 1.5. Technology-enhanced, but perpetuating a paradigm.

Whether it’s ‘your job’ to facilitate technology integration or not, remember that there are stages between where people are and where people like you are. It’s easy to forget that you had to go through the inbetween stages too. Although you can learn from others’ experiences, it will be different for you and the people around you.

Remember that. 🙂

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