Getting Started

bjorn-karlsson

The core of Cortex City is an idea that for some reason chose me to be its host1. While not a novel idea in any sense, it’s still young enough to fit inside my head2 and big enough to create massive energy that makes it impossible to ignore. So the situation quickly became critical – an idea that won’t leave my head in combination with a mind that seems to have broken free from logical reasoning3. Left with little choice, I knew something had to be done. That something was getting started with Cortex City.

There are three key domains that are critical for this initiative, and they all travel along a timeline that don’t allow for much lag:

  • Tools and technology. There has to be a solid foundation for Cortex City to be built on, otherwise its citizens will not have a nice place to live4.
  • People. A city without people is dead, and worse, the idea (which I still haven’t described) is extremely dependent on the right people in order for it to transform into a dream.
  • Content. The required fuel for starting an intellectual fire – I have to look for ways to innovate, create passion, demonstrate power, leverage prestige, build trust, create mystique, and sound the alarm5 – all at the same time, in order to trigger people to visit Cortex City. Because I feel, deep in my heart, that people who come here will want to stay and the chosen ones will become citizens.

As you probably know, I’ve decided to use my latest writing project, Corporate Citizen, to bring initial content to the city. It also makes sense because Cortex City is the perfect home for characters in the book, and the topics around CII (Continuous Incremental Improvement) and corporate citizenship are great for Cortex City. And when it comes to people, well, 94 amazing specimens have already joined, we’re recruiting, and I expect thousands more are on their way here as we speak. We do need a lot of citizens because there’s much that needs to change in the corporate world, many who need to contribute, and even more who need our help. So with an initial population, valuable content to publish, what about technology and infrastructure?

Tools and technology

Fortunately I have white fingers6 and plenty of help from Rowland, otherwise Cortex City would already be lost in the jungle of too-many-options or struggling with mixing the cement. Here are some of the choices we’ve made so far, and some of the actions that anyone would do well to plan for as they embark on a journey like ours. Take a deep breath…and here we go.

Cortex City’s IT infrastructure comes from a large hosting provider where we’re part of the Linux (Ubuntu with Apache) and MySQL clusters. On those we run WordPress with some plugins (Akismet, Google AdSense, Google Analytics by Yoast, Google XML Sitemaps, MailChimp for WordPress, Share Buttons to AddToAny, Theme My Login, Twitter Follow Button, WP-PostRatings, and a few others). Some custom PHP coding has been done, and a few tweaks to the WP theme. We have joined Google AdSense and Amazon’s affiliation program in order to fund some of the running costs for the site. To reach our audience better we have started a Twitter account  (link at the bottom of this article), a Google+ page, a YouTube channel, a Facebook group, and a LinkedIn group. We have attached the site to Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to provide statistics on traffic and usage. We’ve connected with Google and Bing for optimized site crawling and indexing based on our automatically updated sitemap. The Cortex City site has been equipped with registration and subscription support to enable extra value to our loyal citizens, plus of course extra stickiness so we can keep them here. All of this…is pure infrastructure. Available to anyone, but accessible to few because of complexity. The hard stuff is not about getting these great tools in place – it’s selecting which tools and components to use, understand what is available and important, and learn how to make everything play together with everything else. In other words, it’s a ton of fun!

With these things in place we are able to slowly and quietly open the gates of Cortex City. We’re carefully letting the population grow with the first great pioneers joining us and becoming integral parts of the city. This is the beginning of a fantastic journey, and the feeling right now is not that we’ve accomplished much – but that we’re getting started. Can you feel it too, how each of these three domains are starting to push the others forward? It all begins now.

The idea is humming happily in my head, content for the moment about its progress towards a dream.

Bjorn “The Mayor” Karlsson

Footnotes: 

1. If you thought that ideas were created out of nothingness in your head, well, think again7 (scroll down to see the footnotes of the footnotes). With the limited associative and cognitive powers of our brains, it’s clear that an external stimulus is required. And I’m not talking about alcohol or hallucinogenic substances, I mean something much more ethereal.
2.
 It would seem that a rather large skull in combination with untraveled synaptic passages creates a good environment in which ideas can easily live for years before they suddenly stumble upon thoughts and memories.
3.
 Of which my choice to become a farmer and an executive in a global software company simultaneously is perhaps circumstantial evidence, but trust me when I say it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
4.
 Think sewage, for example.
5.
 All of these seven topics can be further explored at www.howtofascinate.com.
6.
 Just like green fingers for plants, white fingers are ghostly digital (hah!) movements across the keyboard, usually with surprisingly good results based on luck rather than competence.

Footnotes of the footnotes (that’s a first)

7. If you don’t believe in recursive reasoning, stop thinking about it. And if you prefer endless loops, which a lot of people seem to do, just go back to the beginning of this sentence.  

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