Sunday, September 15, 2019

A workplace for all of us

We had a problem. The NYDLA grew like crazy over the last seven years. It was a rocket ship experiencing exponential acceleration. Google this:

"When someone offers you a seat on a rocket ship"

NYDLA started out as a tiny association in New York City, focused on fans of the distance learning world. Well, distance learning has morphed into DIGITAL learning, and today, it is just DIGITAL LIVING. DL = Distance Learning > DIGITAL Learning > DIGITAL LIVING.

Ever watch a TED talk? Ever watch a NETFLIX documentary? How about YouTube? Ever use Uber, or stay at an Airbnb or buy anything (or buy EVERYTHING) on Amazon?

Want to talk about Telemedicine or Drones or Coding or Cyber security? How about Peloton or the new Mirror, for at-home live coaching and live personal training?

LinkedIn bought (online education) and it became LinkedIn Learning. And then, Microsoft bought LinkedIn.

There are now 700,000 podcasts in the world and growing. Are podcasts not a version of distance learning?

How long ago was it that you first used Google or Facebook or Twitter? If you stop and think about it, it was only a few years ago that people were not really sure they needed a website for their business. And people were not really sure they needed a cell phone. Now, more than 50% of all Internet traffic is from a mobile device. 

So, in the years since my oldest son was born, the "DL" in NYDLA has morphed more than once. 

And in that same period of time the "NY" as in NEW YORK CITY also morphed into the New York Megalopolis. There are 55M+ people living from Maine to Virginia, that consider "New York" to be their home. I always see people reading the New York Times in LA, but I never see anyone reading the LA Times in New York. It's the Big Apple! 

New York "anything" became New York "everything" as the New York Megalopolis became the center of the known universe. 

Back to our problem: how did a small association like NYDLA go from servicing just a few thousand members to attempting to service the 55M+ people who are living, learning, working, playing in the clouds?

Facebook used "Facebook" to run....Facebook. They used an internal, private version of Facebook to run the company. Well this story is similar that of our friends at Basecamp. 

Basecamp was a home grown tool used internally by the webmasters at 37Signals in Chicago, to work with remote teams to build out websites. 37Signals customers and clients would say "Hey, that's cool....what is that? Can we buy it?" At first, it was no, this is just some tool we made to keep our remote teams connected. Well, over time, that home-grown internal project management tool became Basecamp, the #1 project management tool in the world

Facebook internal staff was using Facebook to run....Facebook. Big clients and customers of Facebook would ask if they too, could have a private version of Facebook for THEIR needs. And over time, this "private" version of Facebook, became Workplace by Facebook

I don't have time to cover the past three or four years of metamorphosis of Workplace by Facebook. Suffice it to say, that if you are in business (of any size) you are going to be checking out Workplace by Facebook. If you are a school, if you are a college or university, if you are an NGO, if you are a public company, a private company, if you are a team of 5 or 500 or 5,000 or 50,000 or 500,000...... you are going to be checking out Workplace. It changed our lives at NYDLA, and I think it will change yours.

Workplace has allowed the NYDLA to service not only the 55M+ people living, learning, working, playing in the New York Megalopolis, but also - Workplace powers global digital transformation.  This past Friday I spent the day at Facebook NYC (where else, right - NEW YORK!) to discuss the future of work, the future of education, the future of global collaboration. (dot net) shall soon be powered by Workplace, basically making the global scalability and growth of the NYDLA community, limitless. I could go on WABC Talk Radio with their new owner, our friend and billionaire John Catsimatidis and tell everyone to "go to NYDLA dot net" and we're good. Workplace can handle anything we throw at it. Workplace could handle a Super Bowl ad, driving traffic to

Worldwide, there are well over 2 Billion users on Facebook. The Workplace by Facebook (private, no ads) network uses the same infrastructure. Workplace SCALES. 

We could have an NYDLA event "live" on the INTREPID, with 50 people attending in person, 5,000 attending remotely, and 500,000+ watching the archive of the event. Workplace allows for global, unlimited synchronous and asynchronous collaboration and communication. 

Over the next several months, we shall be training and certifying dozens (hundreds?) of NYDLA Workplace "Ambassadors" to empower our members to fully embrace the power of Workplace. Soon, mastery of Workplace shall be like mastering WordPress. It will look great on a resume. 

We expect that many of the members of NYDLA will want "their own" Workplace, just like the big customers of Facebook.

Fantastic! Via NYDLA we shall help them to make their own Workplace experience all that it can be. After all, "NYED-LA" (that's what they call us these days) is Workplace, and Workplace is us.

Google wanted to organize the world's information. 

Facebook wanted to give people the power to build community, bringing the world closer together. 

And now: Workplace by Facebook - because anything is possible when people work together.
Join the 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Starting a Podcast? First Get Messy

Back in March of this year, I did a blog on podcasting. Since that time, it seems like the already exploding podcasting world has now shifted in to supernova mode.

Molly Beck was paying attention.

There is a very good chance that you have an idea for your own podcast. It could be a podcast about sports, or cooking, or business. But you might never take your idea for a podcast and give it life, because it seems too hard. Where do you begin? How do you do it? 

Molly Beck launched, built, and grew Forbes Podcasts. She had the idea that creating and launching a podcast should not be so hard. Why can't someone record, edit, publish, and monetize their podcast, as easy as writing a blog? 

Enter the web-based software that allows anyone of any technical level play with the big guys in the world of podcasting. Think of as WordPress for podcasting.

Molly's first investment round for Messy was led by Randi Zuckerberg, the former director of market development for Facebook. So far, thousands of podcasters have created tens of thousands of episodes using Messy. 

It was August 23rd (16 days ago) that I met Molly Beck on LinkedIn. We then had a Zoom meeting, and yesterday (Saturday) we met in NYC. And just like that..... is a now a member benefit of 

Join the NYDLA - and get Messy as part of your paid membership. Done.  

Whether you want to launch a new podcast or improve an existing podcast, Molly and her team (and her technology) will get it done for you. Anyone can (and should) make a podcast. But most people won't because they are afraid, or they feel like they will fail. 

I remember when people would say: "Do I really need a website?" or "Do I really need a blog?"

In today's world, not having a podcast will be the same as not having a website. The people who get into podcasting now will be the ones that build an audience and make it the centerpiece of their company or brand. members shall now benefit from the platform - and - from the body of work of industry experts like Molly Beck, Randi Zuckerberg, and others. 

Podcasting has gone mainstream. From history buffs, to business experts, to comics, everyone has a podcast these days. But the market is just getting started. There are 165 million podcast listeners and slightly more than 700,000 podcasts being updated all the time. 

Randi Zuckerberg and her longtime business associate Natasha Lewin launched a silly, yet surprisingly dark, family friendly podcast on re-telling classic fairytales, with contemporary themes like politics, gender, and the tech world. 

So: yesterday my wife and I took the bus to The Big Apple for a Saturday day trip to meet Molly Beck (and her Dad). And we met a few people in the "Messy Posse" - people who are rocking the podcasting world via the platform.

As soon as possible (this month) Molly and I will record a "NYDLAcast" and blast it out to the millions in our community. I'll let Molly tell the story behind her company name - but it was not always...Messy. For now (until we get updated) you can just send an email to and we'll take good care of you. 

I'll leave you with a teaser on the Messy name: Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs had messy desks. Just like most other geniuses. 

So if you ARE going to have a podcast - it should be a messy podcast. 

The Posse
(that's me on the couch)

Monday, September 2, 2019

Sounds Laborious

I love words. When you look up the word Labor and find "Laborious" you see synonyms like: arduous, hard, heavy, difficult, strenuous, grueling, murderous, punishing, onerous, burdensome, back-breaking, trying, boring, demanding.


There is a well-known slogan in the labor movement: "Unions: The Folks Who Brought You the Weekend."

It might be a slight exaggeration, but this much is true: Unions brought us the three-day Labor Day Weekend that is considered the end of summer in the USA. Unions celebrated the first Labor Day in New York City on the first Tuesday in September 1882. By 1894, they persuaded an additional 23 states to celebrate the holiday. And on June 28, 1894 President Grover Cleveland made it official: The First Monday in September of each year is a national holiday.

Yet today, membership in America's once mighty labor movement is in decline.

  • Most union members live in California, with 2.4 million people in a union. The Golden State is followed by New York, with 1.9 million union members.
  • More than half of the 14.7 million union members in the U.S. live in just seven states: California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and Washington.
  • Men continue to have higher union membership rates: 11.1 percent compared to 9.9 percent for women.
  • In the public sector, union membership rates are highest in local government, at 40.3 percent. Heavily unionized occupations include police officers, firefighters, and teachers. Private sector industries with high unionization rates include utilities, transportation, warehousing, and telecommunications. 
Labor Day started as a protest against shoddy and unsafe working conditions and long hours. But it has also had a long tradition of end-of-summer revelry. By the time the second Labor Day rolled around in New York City, the parks, the shops, and the bars of The Big Apple were teeming with people. 

Today, there are a growing number of regions around the country where there are labor shortages.

Businesses literally cannot find the workers they need to operate their business. 

Labor Day: a day to celebrate the workers who built America and the labor movement that rose up to protect workers from abusive labor practices. And now it is worth noting that we don't have enough labor in our country right now. Some of this results from the strong economy which is 10+ years into an expansion. Some of this results from restrictive immigration policies. 

Regardless of the cause, we have an abundance of capital and a shortage of labor in the U.S. economy right now. 

That makes it difficult to operate a business and even more difficult to expand. And this shall force business to automate. Automation (AI, bots, machines, etc.) can solve some of these issues. I expect we shall see more automation in an environment where capital is available to fund investments and labor is very tight.

SO: we have a choice. Do we want more robots or more people? How much longer should we maintain a restrictive immigration policy? I believe we should have more legal immigration in the United States. We have labor shortages and there are many talented people who would like to come here and live and work. If we are not going to allow people to do the work, then it shall be left to the robots. But the work will get done, one way or the other. 

I am fortunate to know Adam Grant and Simon Sinek

When you meet someone new, don't ask "What do you do?" as this limits what people share about themselves to a job description. Instead, try "What do you love to do?" It ignites and invites people to express their distinctive interests. ~ Adam Grant

Our passion lies deep in who we are, not what we do. ~ Simon Sinek

Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. Labor Day, an annual celebration of workers and their achievements, originated during one of American labor history's most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts. Something had to give, right?

Folks, change is coming. Big time. 

Nature abhors a vacuum. This idiom is used to express the idea that empty or unfilled spaces are unnatural as they go against the laws of nature and physics. 

We have an abundance of capital and a shortage of labor in the U.S. economy right now. Something is going to fill the vacuum of those unfulfilled jobs, either with people, or robots, or some combination of both. Big money will not allow that job and labor vacuum to exist for long. 

Labor Unions are in decline. Technology and automation of labor, especially having robots and AI (Artificial Intelligence) doing repetitive tasks is increasing. Labor Day, first and foremost, is a celebration of the working people who keep the gears of American commerce turning like they should be. 

But the gears of American commerce are moving to the cloud, away from the factories, away from the farms, and away from the mines. I predict that within our lifetime, we shall see a "new" Labor Day.

A Labor Day for robots and their owners. 

After all, where would Luke Skywalker be without R2-D2? 

We experienced the Agricultural Revolution, then the Industrial Revolution, and now we are living - the Digital Revolution. 

And this one shall be the biggest of them all. 

Then: What do you do?

Today: What do you love to do?

Tomorrow: What does your robot love to do?