My First Book, A Board Game and ‘Cloudworker’ on the NYT

by Venkat on October 31, 2008

It’s been a busy week here at ribbonfarm, and it’s ending with a bang. Two news items — my first book project, and a board game — that should interest you, if you’ve been following the evolution of the site. Both were mentioned today in a piece about ribbonfarm by Marci Alboher, in the NY Times Shifting Careers blog. Marci also mentioned my concept of cloudworker, which still needs your votes to displace ‘telecommuter’ in the Plantronics contest. Please go vote for ‘cloudworker’ (once a day until Nov 7), but first read about my book and board game projects.

And to NY Times readers coming to ribbonfarm.com for the first time, welcome! Since Marci writes about work-life issues, I assume that theme interests you. So check out my work-life category, which has plenty of juicy articles on the topic. I hope you like what you read, and decide to subscribe to my RSS feed.

Let’s start with the book.

The Book: Tempo

I am pleased to reveal my first book project (technically, Marci revealed it before I did, so the book was officially ‘soft-launched’ by the NY Times!). The book, tentatively titled Tempo: the heartbeat of decision-making, should be ready by Fall 2009. I am giving myself about 10 more months to finish it. Though the book is related to core ribbonfarm themes, it is entirely original content that you won’t see on the blog (well, maybe a few extracts).

It is currently doing the rounds with a few publishers and agents, in the form of a 10,000 word proposal, comprising a draft preface and two draft chapters. It was exhausting (but very rewarding) work, since writing at ‘book’ level takes about ten times the effort per sentence as writing at blog level. I am currently looking for beta-testers to help me test and workshop material as the book progresses.

  • If you are interested in being a beta-tester, you can sign up here, and I’ll send you a draft chapter to review in about 2 weeks.
  • If you just want to be notified when the book is launched, sign up here. You’ll get ONE email in about 10 months.

Agents/acquisition editors, feel free to email me directly. I have had some inbound interest already, but have not yet made any decisions. The book project’s soft-launch homepage is currently very light-weight, but you can find some additional details there. I’ll add more gradually, since the actual work of writing limits how much effort I can put into pre-launch marketing.

The Board Game: Brandhood

Related to the book is the second project being soft-launched today: an open-source board game tentatively titled Brandhood. The short version: a mashup of heavily-tweaked takes on Monopoly, the Game of Life and Snakes (or Chutes) and Ladders. The goal of the game is to capture the challenges of the emerging Cloudworker way of life.

I came up with the concept primarily as a thought-experiment, to explain some complex ideas related to decision-making for the book (board-game metaphors are much more digestible than technical explanations of Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods). I don’t know yet whether the thought-experiment will make it into the book, but it seemed interesting enough in its own right to deserve some airtime.

So check it out. I’ve set it up as a “crowdsourcing” experiment using Google’s great “forms” features. After you read through the basic premise and meta-rules of the game, you can suggest rules for game play through the form. If there’s enough activity/interest, I’ll elevate the status of the thing from “interesting thought experiment” to “active project.”

I am not sure whether board-game design is simple enough to be crowdsourced this way, so I may tweak the format and try again later, but if you are generally interested in the game concept itself, and would like to join me in trying to make it happen, email me.

Breaking News

Two press mentions in one day! Michael Morisy, a writer for the trade site SearchUnifiedCommunications.com, also covered ‘cloudworker’ today in this piece. Michael’s piece is for a more techie/IT audience, and has some interesting thoughts on the relation between cloudworker lifestyles and cloud computing technology.

Myselfworld December 4, 2009 at 7:46 pm

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