Bootstrap Institute
6505 Kaiser Drive
Fremont, CA 94555

Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2000 11:24:56 -0400

Mr. Rod Welch
The Welch Company
440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111 2496

Subject:   Educating KM Engineers and Customers


[Responding to your letter on Septebmer 20, 2000...]

First off, Rod, your letter truly is a celebration of your method of collecting and building on pieces of information collected over time and from different sources. I found your analogy with accounting striking. An accountant's job isn't done until every last penny enters into a final balance sheet - even if, perforce, it must be put in a rubric called "sundry.".

When it comes to KM in schools, it strikes me that accounting has yet to make it there. This may explain that most people, no matter what they like others to believe, have no clear sense how to deal with their finances. Earning and spending are so much a matter of happenstance. And the same, it seems, goes for learning and applying it. And analogous to advertisers trying to make us spend money by appealing to our emotions, there seems to be also an ongoing appeal to use our knowledge in a similar vein, for happenstance ends. I guess this way of putting it may be a little simplistic.

At any rate, I understand that you have disciplined yourself to every day spend time with SDS to keep on building it into a usefully functioning personal knowledge repository and I have wondered from time to time if I myself -- nor to speak of others -- would be able to do that, to become a thoroughly disciplined accountant of information so as to derive superior benefits from it.

As you may or may not know, I am trying to get an educational colloquium off the ground with the ultimate objective of having young people better prepared for THEIR future in times of accelerating pace of changes. You will find a draft program at , but be aware that the whole thing has been moved up a year, for the Fall of 2001. The program aims to look at the psychological and the digital side of things, and on both sides distinguishes between the personal and communal. Doug's emphasis is on networked knowledge management; yours is on personal KM.

Actually, I had your work in the back of my mind when scetching the program

It has bothered me for years now that this distinction between the personal aspect and the communal aspect of things has not yet been clearly accepted by the world at large when people write and talk about computers. We find PCs, i.e. "personal computers," to be part of networks! And softwares are insufficiently defined as being for personal or for communal use. (Come to think of it, we hear national anthems played at the Olympics where athletes achieve personal goals!) What this paragraph ought end up with is stating a need to take a hard look at our everyday efforts in the light of the manifold social circles (individual, family, relatives, school, army, work, parents, citizen, etc.) we belong to and the different faces we present in each of these circles. In some of these circles, the aspect of us that is valued most is sponteneity, in others it is discipline. Sponteneity and discipline seem to make an uneasy mix, so much so that the persons one may have worked with for decades are totally different from the ones their family members and neighbors know.

Reading your letter again, it is clear I am not telling you anything new. But when it comes to introducing KM in our schools, the portal we have to go through is the approbation of curriculum designers. We need to know more about how they think, how they function, their context. That is one of the lessons I learned from working on that colloquium.

Sorry, this is no ultimate reponse yet!

On a private note, I recently had a bit of a health warning that cautions me to take things a little easier. Nevertheless, I hope there will arise an opportunity for me to see you actually showing how you use that obviously remarkable system of yours.



Henry van Eyken

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