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Transparency

For October the topic we'll be discussing is "transparency" and the closely related topics of "secrecy" and "surveillance".

On the government side, I'll be using the books "The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State" by Share Harris and "Top Secret America" by Dana Priest & William M. Arkin.

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On the business side, a lot of people are saying transparency is good in business -- where executives intentionally make public a lot of the internal working of their business -- starting with the Cluetrain Manifesto in the late 90's about having "authentic" stories to sell.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cluetrain_Manifesto

See:

Open for business: transparency in the digital age
http://www.prescientdigital.com/articles/web-2.0/open-for-business-transparency-in-the-digital-age/

5 Ways to Make Your Business More Transparent
http://mashable.com/2009/09/30/business-transparency/

Social Business: Transparency is Good for Business
http://www.cmswire.com/cms/social-business/social-business-transparency-is-good-for-business-012736.php

More transparency needed from Chinese tech vendors
http://www.zdnet.com/more-transparency-needed-from-chinese-tech-vendors-7000005617/

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And, getting really radical, this is just out from Harvard Business Review: Why radical transparency is good business. It's about a company called Qualtrics that decided to make detailed performance review information on every employee available to everyone else in the company on a weekly basis -- or even on a minute-by-minute basis, as they improve the software.

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/10/why_radical_transparency_is_good_business.html

On the flip side, here is a recent article in Forbes that includes a case that too much transparency can be bad for innovation.

"Earmarking significant money for idea generation is challenging for most businesses because of the accountability and financial transparency required by financial analysts, shareholders and employees -- an ingrained 'what will you do for me next quarter?' reality."

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2012/04/30/why-great-ideas-fail/2/

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I don't know if you heard about Glaxo Smith Kline's recent promise, in response to Ben Goldacre's scathing book (Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients), to publish all the results of all its drug trials.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/pharmaceuticalsandchemicals/9603294/GSK-pledges-transparency-on-drugs-research-data.html

Ben Goldacre's response (basically boils down to: who cares what you promise -- promises are broken, actions are what matters).

http://www.badscience.net/2012/10/gsk-have-promised-should-we-trust-them/

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Our friend Phil Bowermaster runs a blog (with Chris Twyman), "Transparency Revolution", devoted to transparency in the business world.

http://www.transparencyrevolution.com/

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What: Boulder future salon on "transparency"

Where: Boulder Public Library MAIN BRANCH. 1001 Arapahoe Ave

When: October 27th 2012, 2:00-4:00pm

See You There!

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