440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111-2496
415 781 5700

July 19, 2000

03 00050 61 00071901

Mr. Joseph M. Ransdell
Associate Professor
Department of Philosophy
Texas Tech University
Box 43092
Lubbock, TX 79409 3092

Subject:   SDS Project Development by Academic Community

Dear Joe,

Thanks very much for rolling up your sleeves and tackling the beast, aka SDS and Communication Metrics. Glad to hear the design of SDS has aided understanding, and helped you get up to speed, reported on July 17.

Mary Keeler sent a warm note yesterday, commending your work, and skill in porting theory to practical application.

First, some housekeeping.

It greatly expedites thinking about issues and fixing mistakes, to have specific references to the record that illustrate problems, or require correction. I know that often there isn't enough time, so this is just a reminder to provide, when time permits, the date, time and line number, or a direct link quoting stuff that needs attention.

I agree with your point today that meaning drift occurs in writing and in verbal discussion, and that building and maintaining shared meaning is a complex problem that requires a holistic solution.

Your point on Monday about secrecy is another complex issue that requires specific treatment for marketing. For 99.99% of situations the larger problem people and organizations face is secrets from themselves due to disconnects in the human mind. What happened in the meeting, the phone call, the email, in the contract, etc., is not a problem of hiding information from others, but rather a challenge to discover relevant connections that have become commingled and overlooked in time to avoid disaster and exploit opportunity.

By now, some of the questions in your letter on Sunday, have been answered by reviewing POIMS and NWO... Please let me know, if anything from that letter is still pending (see Action Items).

Here are some big issues...

  1. SDS seems to be a fundamental advance on alphabet technology by adding a dimension of time to traditional processes for creating information. This combination (integrating time and information), together with subject identification (which is not shown on the web) comprises a breakthrough, which, for convenience, we can call Knowledge Management.

    This breakthrough may leverage the alphabetic mind, offering a means to lift civilization by lifting the capacity to think, rememberer and communicate.

    We need critical review and conversation in publications and professional events that permeates into the business world. This might be done by pursing formal publication of POIMS and/or NWO...

  2. Communication Metrics is a branch of KM that saves time and money, as reported by USACE. This seems to comprise a management science. We could call it KM or Communication Metrics. The point is that it takes tools, procedures and leadership, as explained in NWO... Technology alone is not enough to get the job done. We need to develop a new discipline and work role for communication, similar to the accountant role for finances.

    We need to grow awareness of this opportunity and to sharpen the capability. One part of the process is teaching Communication Metrics and Knowledge Management, proposed for the Wharton School of Business on May 23, 1995.

    On November 21, 1999 I wrote a letter explaining why formal education is needed on this matter. A letter to Doug Engelbart on March 1, 2000 makes the same point.

    Philosophy might be a logical place for this to take root in the university, because the training is already open to the problem that needs to be fixed. If this could occur using a curriculum proposed earlier as a starting point, it would make philosophy more obviously relevant to peoples daily lives, and provide a direct means to impact daily work.

  3. We need studies to establish cost and benefits of adding intelligence to information using Communication Metrics, discussed with University of Santa Clara on October 12, 1995.

    Senior, retired people might be a good place for such a study, or pilot test, to take place, proposed in a letter to Henry van Eyken, through Doug Engelbart's colloquium at Stanford on March 17, 2000.

This is an ambitious agenda, reflecting your observations the past few days.

I am working on making the technology easier to use. We need help getting the infrastructure stuff going in education and studies. The SDS record on the web helps with this. We need more people, like you, contributing. I would be willing to provide the SDS program free of charge to you, in exchange for your help on this other agenda, per above.

You need to be aware that initially, it would be a struggle. For one thing, your computer would need to be configured with multiple partitions c - h. You would need training and orientation to get going quickly, and I cannot afford to come to to Texas to do that. If you would like information about the level of effort to learn SDS, call Wayne Wetzel (406 444 6722 or send him a letter at He learned SDS pretty much on his own.

Right now the entire effort is Rod Welch. Opportunities may be opening to make a business out of SDS with SRI, LANL, Intel..., but these are only in a discussion stage. There is no record indicating anything will materialize anytime soon, which means I may be selling apples before too long. On the other hand, the record does seem to show that SDS has somehow chanced onto a fruitful path for civilization. Whether SDS and Com Metrics will bloom in my lifetime, or await a future confluence of enabling forces, is unclear.

In any case, even if you don't decide to come aboard, I want you to know how much I appreciate the effort you have made to understand this work.



Rod Welch