Thought for the day…

30Jan08

If you click on my del.icio.us link next to this posting (or somewhere on the main page if you’re coming from elsewhere) you’ll notice I’m using this again. I toyed around with this bookmarking service a few months ago, and then went dormant. Anyway, my recent addition to this is a wonderful idea I’m going to steal from my son (the source and scourge of many great ideas): combination words.

My son is learning about combining two words to make something new and different (e.g., the some + thing in this sentence). Philosophers and Germans have been doing this for a long time. When your operational language doesn’t have the right word or phrase, take two common words that help describe or articulate your thought, and presto a new word or phrase is born. Computer Folk have been doing this for a while it seems, particularly in the strange world of databases. Sure this is partly out of necessity and partially a stylistic marker (systems graffiti, if you will – speaking of new phrases), and this trend has crept over to the world of the Internet as well. Perhaps even borrowing from popular music (I’ll keep my own thoughts on this to myself for now) and hip-hop culture, consider the mashup – even del.icio.us.

I just read Gary Hamel’s latest blog on innovation, and that got me thinking as both reading and Hamel are apt to do. The hacking he’s referring to is his golf game. BUT when I saw the title in my mind hacking = computer/digital. I’ll omit the ontological, epistemological, and philosophical theories taking me from Point A to Point B in this information search. What I expected to see and read was an article connecting innovation (that’s his schtick if you’re not familiar with Hamel) with some aspect of data mining, business intelligence, or competitive intelligence. Now, someone out there has probably already made this analogy or coined the concept of information hacking – I don’t consider this redundant. Here are a few examples 1
2
3
4
5.

What I’d Like to See in a Definition of Information Hacking: A Preliminary Stab at Defining Information Hacking

I said this is not a redundant expression in my mind (as of today). What do I mean by this? And is there something there? See my earlier rant on the problems with defining information. I’ll leave information as open as possible with the exception of equating information with knowledge. For now let’s keep those two terms separate – although I may come back to spin this off as knowledge hacking! First, hacking is the act of gaining access to something or some place without appropriate permissions. I’ll intentionally delete the various reasons for hacking, but I think it can be simplified to trespassing. Information, for simplicity’s sake and my time constraints, is any tangible asset that can be observed – not necessarily a physical artifact, document, etc. OK, now I’m wrapping myself back to rearticulating data mining or business/competitive intelligence. Maybe this is no more than that – a hipper, sexier way to describe data mining. Oracle may not go for the hacking angle I’m working on, but maybe there are some legs in this idea…somewhere.

Thoughts?

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