The Model Doesn’t Work Without Content

The model doesn’t work without a base of content.

And since quality is subjective (it always has been) and quantity is overwhelming (it has been ever since Google pushed the argument of search to its logical conclusion), the only considerations in online learning that matter are the ones based on the efficacy of the content you’re offering.

But, when building a model for online learning, too many educational institutions are trapped in the Industrial Revolution conception of content, consisting of lectures, tests as performance measurements, grades as a “stick,” accreditation as the “carrot” and conformity as the ultimate goal.

The Industrial Revolution education model works well with accreditation (“Will this get me my degree?”) and supports the creation of graduates with minds that aren’t focused on the skills that matter for the future (“soft” skills) and instead are focused on reinforcing doing things that no longer have much value to organizations:

Like hiding from responsibility and accountability.

Like placing blame when a project or initiative fails.

Like competing in a race to the bottom on price.

Like sacrificing personal ethics for a public paycheck.

Like working for organizations and in industries where professional decline is considered the “norm.”

If the model for your educational organization’s online learning experience doesn’t feature robust, peer-to-peer learning opportunities (projects), “speed to market” dashes (short time frames), high quality student participation (we don’t take everybody because we are neither “massive,” nor all that “open”), and technology as an assistive tool rather than a crutch (email as a messaging service rather than a time waster) then your model of online education and learning will resemble every other model of online learning currently available.

And then you’ll attract exactly the kind of students that you have attending your brick and mortar institution.

But maybe that’s the audience and consumer your educational organization wants to attract, recruit, retain, and ultimately graduate.

But if it is, please be clear on that focus in your organizational head when building the content model for your online learning experience.

[Contributor] New Content: The Future of the Internet


Contributor – Alexander Plate
Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexanderBGault

It’s no surprise that the internet has drastically increased the amount of content, of any kind, that people with access to it consume.

In the past 2 years, 90% of the worlds’ content has been created and shared via Internet based platforms. That means that every book, movie, and television show from the nascence of humanity to 2013 accounts for only 10% of the worlds’ content today.

Who is taking in all of this content?

Where is all of this going?

There are many platforms, and nobody can really know what they all are. New platforms are created and revised almost daily, and so many come and go without a real following that they’re only a memory in someone’s server banks by the end of their first month.

Here, we will talk about 3 main platforms: YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Youtube is a Google-owned video sharing website, where people upload self-made videos to their “channel”, or profile, and gain “subscribers”, or people who will get updated on the videos posted. YouTube has proven to be one of the most important platform for internet content ever created, and this is shown by how much content is uploaded to it.

There are 300 hours of video content posted to YouTube, on average, per minute. That content comes in the form of vlogs (video blogs), original music, short films, and personality-driven videos and channels. YouTube has become, to the new generation, what television was to the older generations.

Now, instead of sitting down to one 45-minute show with four commercial breaks, people sit down to multiple 6-8 minute videos with only one ad per video. This actually has increased the visibility of advertisements to these watchers, as now, instead of only four or five commercial breaks where people lose their focus after the second ad, if that, now people are seeing a shorter, more interesting, advertisement, and there is only one per video, two or three for the longer 40-50 minute videos that sometimes appear.

YouTube’s gives viewers a sense of connection with the content creators, because in most circumstances, the video was written, filmed, edited, and advertised by the person performing in it. There are very few channels with multiple people, and those that do have multiple people generally have all of them in front of the camera lens as well, giving a sense of familiarity between the viewers and the creators.

The next big platform we’ll talk about is Twitter. Twitter is referred to as a micro-blogging platform, in which people create text or image based content and share it to an ecosystem of other people doing the same exact thing. Twitter has power by virtue of its simplicity. You don’t have to create and design a personalized homepage, there is only one design that everyone, from the most followed person on the platform to the newest person to make an account.

Twitter allows posts of at most 140 characters, including spaces and punctuation, so most posts, or “tweets” are somewhere between one and two short sentences. The image side is relatively similar, and the max amount of photos you can post is four. The platform has power as a connection agent between a creator and their audience, and is used by every popular YouTube creator with an active account. Presidential candidates have been using it since, in the US, the 2012 election, and individuals use it to connect with their friends, but strangers as well.

While the older generation likes Facebook for its long form capabilities, and its basis on connecting people to their already-existing circle of friends and family, the younger generations enjoy Twitters openness, as anyone can see an account and its tweets, unless that account owner has set their account settings to private, and its short-form simplicity.

Finally, there is Tumblr, known as a social blogging site. Tumblr functions similarly to both Twitter in that it is a blog platform where those that follow you are not necessarily people who know you. Twitter rounds out the group of content types we have listed here. YouTube functions for video, Twitter for short text, and Tumblr works very well for images and longer text. Through a system of tagging posts, where you give a searchable subject to a post that anyone can find, and reblogging, where one blog decides to post your content (appropriately sourced) on their own with the click of a button.

Tumblr is not as popular as Twitter or YouTube, however, and in some ways is exclusionary. Many blogs on the platform are very progressive-thinking, and more traditional individuals occasionally find themselves as the target of abuse on the platform for fitting into the “patriarchy” or being “cis-normative”, or unaccepting of those individuals that to not identify as either male of female only. Despite the faults of a relatively small, but very vocal part of its user group, (which exists on both YouTube and Twitter, but with far less success), Tumblr is a powerful way to connect to your niche groups, and appropriately tagged posts on the platform can reach millions of eyes.

The internet of today offers more ways that one can count to give and receive content. Individuals can use it to boost their own careers and build a brand, and companies can use it to revolutionize their methods of advertising and reach a whole new audience. But to effectively use these tools, you must recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each platform, and optimize accordingly.

Alexander Gault-Plate is an aspiring journalist and writer, currently in the 12th grade. He has worked with his schools newspapers and maintained a blog for his previous school. In the future, he hopes to write for a new-media news company.

You can follow Alexander on Twitter here


[Opinion] Ok…So Ad Blocking is Here…

Ok…so ad blocking is here….

From browsers to mobile hardware, the drive is on (whether from the creators of ad blocking software or just from us all talking about it now) to empower consumers of content to block advertising they don’t want to see via software based means. This advertising, small and large web publishers argue, is part of a fundamental principle of mass media, going back at least a century. The principle comes down to a deal, which—like many deals—can be renegotiated and changed to reflect shifting values and principles:

We (web publishers) create content without charging you for the creation of that content, and in exchange you (the content consumer) give us attention and we charge a third party, the advertiser, to put ads in front of, and around, our content.

This same deal drove the development and growth of platforms, such as television, radio and newspapers, and the development and growth of content on those platforms, for the last 100 years.

But, the Internet was supposed to be a different content delivery platform.


Apparently not.

Now, consumers—instead of just choosing to ignore interruptive ads like they always have (and because measuring audience engagement is difficult (but not impossible) there are more intrusive, interruptive ads, not less)—content consumers are choosing to block everything.

Seth Godin wrote with hope fifteen years ago about permission marketing. Cory Doctorow writes with abandon about the anarchy of the web. But both of those writers and thinkers assume a fundamental point about most content, whether it’s on the internet, on the radio, on television, or in a magazine or newspaper, that must be written down and repeated out loud:

Most content on any platform isn’t good enough, interesting enough, relevant enough or entertaining enough, to act as the glue binding the audience of content consumers to the content creators in a “revenue for value” exchange based relationship.

This is why there are millions and millions of cat and baby videos on Youtube, but only a few breakout “stars.” This is why Vogue magazine (or Burberry on Instagram) will be fine with ¾ of their magazine content (or their social distribution feed) being ad space, but Mother Jones or The National Review might just wither and die with ad blockers. This is the reason there are 152 million blogs on the Internet, publishing 1.3 million pieces of content a day, but no blogger has risen to dominance on the web in 15 years.

Thus advertising.

There are a few ways out of this bind, but before we get to that, the question of “What kind of internet do we want to have?” must be answered. We (and we are including ourselves in this group as a content consumers) have not answered this question in any kind of meaningful way. Content consumers have to be a part of the conversation before the endpoint of plopping and advertisement in front of our eyes is reached. Content consumers (to build trust and get their permission) have to be engaged in the building, creating and disseminating of a product from start to finish—or not at all.

The first way out of this bind is by crowdsourcing content development. There are some sites on the web that do this well; there are many more that do it badly, or not at all. Crowdsourcing journalism, entertainment, and other forms of content may lead to less ad blocking—and higher revenue—rather than more by content consumers who feel emotionally invested in the product.

The second way out of this of this bind is by creating more subscription-based platforms. For subscriptions to work, there must be a consideration (and a careful one at that) by the web publisher about what kind of content is being created. Long tail philosophy should be ruling with brand-based content, but many are still stuck in the 1950’s. By the way, this is the only way that data gathering, analytics and implementation based on the data is useful as a tool for content creators and publishers, as well as the incorporation of micropayments via cryptocurrencies. Don’t believe me? Ok. What’s in your Netflix queue right now? And have you paid for a reSnap recently?

The third way out of this of this bind is by rethinking distribution systems. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Google and Apple are going to war with each other to decide who controls the ad space of the mobile phone screen and the app walled garden. This war has to be fought (I guess) but thinking of these platforms less as content delivery systems, and more as content broadcast systems, would free many creators from the false choice of “Do I or don’t I put an ad in front of my content?” Email and RSS feeds circumvent broadcast systems and go directly to the audience content creators want. This is also the reason that creators on Meerkat and Periscope who are live streaming events (and their lives) are going to have trouble monetizing their content if the platform ever has to respond to the vicissitudes of Wall Street shareholders.

The fourth way out of this bind is by rethinking all the assumptions underpinning the web. The Internet has moved over the last 25 to 30 years, from being a niche communication channel to a worldwide, glorified telecommunications delivery system. What if the Internet shifted from being a global mass bullhorn, to being an individualized, personalized content delivery system? Mobile phone, tablet and app development is pushing the Internet in the direction of this development, but frankly, not far enough. Which is where blockchain technology really comes to the forefront.

The fifth way out of this bind is for content creators to make conscious choices—and stick to them—about how and where to monetize their content with ads. We are not naïve enough to think that advertising will disappear; there were ads broadcasting the services of prostitutes painted on the walls of buildings in Pompeii and Ancient Rome. However, when everyone can publish (but not everyone will publish) everyone has the choice to run a Google ad (or not) in front of specific content, they produce. We run ads in front of The Earbud_U Podcast, but not on the HSCT #Communication Blog, for a reason.

Ad blocking will not be the end of Internet publishing, nor will it serve as the death knell for advertising on the Internet. By defaulting to the opposite of these five alternatives to advertising on the Internet, many content creators will wither away, and die, on the web.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT:

[Strategy] 0 to 1 for the Peacebuilder

In every industry, there are zeros and there are ones.


Zeros have the advantage, because they understand something fundamental that all of the ones who follow them do not: Innovative thinking, processes, relationships and much more, lead to dominance in the marketplace of ideas, products, processes and services. Peter Thiel, the venture capitalist, wrote about this phenomenon in his book [link here] Zero to One.

Don’t believe us?

Well, there were a lot of car companies before Henry Ford took the assembly line process apart, and re-engineered it, piece by piece. That was his “zero” innovation.

There were a lot of search engines before Google came along and developed an algorithm so that a consumer could search the Internet like a dictionary and that businesses could buy words and terms in auctions. That was Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s “zero” innovation.

There were a lot of (and there still are) gourmet chefs before Gordon Ramsey, Anthony Bourdain, and many others came along, each with their own innovative approaches (“zeros” all) and offerings for the marketplace.

In the field of peacebuilding, there are a few zeros, people who have innovated “outside of the box” in their approach and philosophy around building a peaceful world: Kenneth Cloke, Christopher Moore, Bernard Mayer and a few others, such as William Ury and Roger Fischer.

The next zero in the world of peacebuilding will be the innovator who accepts and integrates the digital landscape into peacebuilding, from content creation to platform building to gaining client’s trust through the use of data gathering and implementation tools, the field of peacebuilding—conflict resolution, mediation, arbitration, negotiation, diplomacy—must move forward in the digital world.

There are people—pioneers really—who are making the jump, from Colin Rule to Jim Melamed and even Giuseppe Leone and David Liddle. But it’s not enough.

The distance between the first mover, the zero, in the marketplace and the one, the first follower, is huge. For an example of how huge, remember that Yahoo existed well before Google and now, in both market share and influence, it is light years behind Google.

In the field of peacebuilding, the zero who innovates first to the marketplace on the building of a more peaceful world, will be light years ahead of whoever follows them, or whomever they overtake who believed that they had first mover advantage initially.

Want to find out more about the process behind being becoming a first mover in the peacebuilding marketplace?

Then download the FREE eBook from Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT), The Savvy Peace Builder by clicking the link here.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT:

[Podcast] Web 3.0 – The Earbud_U Minute

We need to figure out what kind of Internet we want to have.

The business model currently funding and pushing the growth of the Internet is based upon monetizing a base of users who come to a project and use it for free, or for a nominal price.

The user takes advantage of the content/service/process for free. And, as a result, the user is so enamored with the content/service/process that they keep coming back over and over again, building a trust based relationship with the creator/creators of the project. Subsequently, in order to fund the project, there are hopefully so many users that an advertiser has no choice but to put advertisements in front of a group of eyeballs with whom the project owner has built a relationship.

This is the model underlying Facebook. The nominal fee model (a subscription-based model) underlies LinkedIn, journalism models, ecommerce platforms and other content/service/process platforms.

Web 2.0 is what everyone is talking about now, but Web 3.0 is really, where the Internet has to move to.

Web 3.0 is beyond just the Internet of Things. Web 3.0 is the Internet as Everything. Web 3.0 is the Internet waging active battle with the last, sticky remnants of the world built through the assumptions of the Industrial Revolution.  This is a world created around the rules, laws and policies, created by politicians and people to keep the common democratization of the Internet out of the hands of the common people before the Internet.

Here’s a question: Why is it that there aren’t any internet connected roads?

It has nothing to do with technological innovations such as creating concrete that can communicate with strips on the road. Or with computer chips that can talk to your car. Or signs and traffic signals that talk to the road, the car and each other.

The reason there aren’t roads that are intelligent is not a smart car issues, no matter what Google Cars would have you think.

The issue is really laws and regulations.

Laws are the last bastion of the Industrial revolution world that have yet to fall to the unending sweep of the Internet. We see the beginnings of this with our current thrashing around privacy, data, and “who owns the future” (either you or a corporation) but once we settle all of this we will have new business models that will allows the Internet to be truly “baked in”.

Then, once that happens, the sky truly will be the limit.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT:

[Advice] Changing Our Approach to Distribution

Content distribution is hard.

Changing Our Approach to Distribution

Really hard.

Here’s why: It’s really difficult to research content, write content and edit content without a commensurate plan to “get it out there.”

Here at HSCT, we looked at the distribution part of creating content as secondary to the problem of generating enough content to actually be of value in the virtual space that we occupy.

As we have learned more and more about the process of writing, we have had to learn more and more about distribution systems. In our estimation, for the conflict consultant, seeking to make a dent in the conflict space, there are a few distribution mechanisms for getting attention (and eyeballs) on their content:

Social media—Everyone knows that social media is a place of content curation and content creation, but many people (not B2B/B2C brands) don’t think about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or even Pinterest as being 2nd party distribution mechanisms.

Email—Everyone knows that email isn’t “sexy,” but it keeps right on moving along. Email as a method for B2B content distribution drives around 4% of all traffic to the HSCT blog, with over 75% of that traffic being new visitors.

Curation Options—Many peace builders (and other content creators) don’t focus on curation tools such as Flipboard and StumbledUpon, as well as Quora.  There are also secondary content creation options out there from and LinkedIn publishing.

The “dark” Web—Sharing of articles, reposting and republishing of articles into private newsgroups (yes those are still around) and chat rooms (yes, those are still around as well) can be powerful connection drivers for the development of a peace builders’ content. We have found this is a growing area for our content, our approach and connecting people to our philosophy and business model.

Here at HSCT, we are using all of these methods. Our strategy is simple: Keep learning and researching, keep writing our articles, keep distributing our perspective and keep growing through distribution.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT:

[Podcast] Earbud_U Episode #6 – London Ladd

Earbud_U Episode #6- London Ladd Children’s Book Illustrator, Entrepreneur, Speaker, Man of Many Colors, Valiant Warrior in the War on Art



Illustration and the arts are not hard to understand. But we have fetishized the artist and his work process, when, in reality, most artists are just as normal as everyone else. They have conflicts, disputes and experience frustrations in working with clients.

London Ladd is an illustrator, entrepreneur, speaker and much, much more. We met this man on a missions trip to Oklahoma in 2013 and we have kept track of his changing career as he has morphed and changed his approach to art, life and business.

The author, Steven Pressfield was right, there is a war on art, but it’s not fought in the way that we think it is.

I think that London is trying to mount a forward action in the war on art….

But let’s be clear…

The war on art begins with the distractions and interruptions of everyday life that cause people to avoid doing their best work and serve as excuses for not getting ahead.

The war on art begins when artists, creative people, engineers, supervisors and others begin to believe that inspiration comes only at special times, rather than when the butt hits the seat.

The war on art begins when anybody stops following their long-term guiding principles, in favor of a short term payday.

But London is winning his own war on art, but in his own way, with his own tools and in his own time.

A man of many colors, indeed…

Connect with London Ladd via his website:

Follow London Ladd on Twitter:

London Ladd’s Agency on Twitter:

London Ladd’s Work Process: Man of Many Colors Video

London Ladd’s Painted Words Blog + Portfolio:


Check out his images on Facebook:

Check out the interview below the blue panel, or download it via Soundcloud, coming soon ->

Download the Latest Episode of Earbud_U!

[Opinion] Build Your Own House

When living in a house that someone else has built, there is always a sense of something that could be better, roiling around underneath the veneer of “being comfortable.”

Walking around in that house, the renter (or person paying the mortgage) always notices nails sticking out, annoying rough edges and corners of door jambs and knobs, cabinets that are the wrong height and colors of the walls that are “off.”

But, most people put up with those irritations in a house, because…well…it takes a lot of technical—and emotional—knowledge, to design your own house, to your own specifications, that’s comfortable for you.

It’s the same thing with the houses that we have built on top of the virtually property space of the web: social media platforms, apps, websites and many, many other items.

Too many clever people in the web space complain too much and too loudly, about the houses they are paying rent to live in. And as clever as they are, they are not picking up a pen, a ruler and sitting at a slanted desk, to design and build something of their own.

In order to develop the web past where it is now, we need more clever people building houses, versus renting houses.

And the amount of real estate is always expanding…

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT:

HIT Piece 03.03.2015

I am ready.

It’s time to start building something bigger than myself.

The first e-book is coming along, as is the first traditional book, the first leadership program and the first systems design program for organizations.

The first season of the podcast is here, the second season is coming along and the first presentation to a room of over 100 people is coming in the summer.

The first webinar project is coming, the first multiparty project is coming.

And yet…

I have been insecure and lethargic since October. I have been struggling to identify if any of this is working. I don’t know if I am running to avoid failure…or running to embrace it.

What do you think?

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT:

[Advice] Work – Life Integration

The engaged, consultant maximizes her time, so that she is working on her business, rather than in her business.


This is the difference between a job and an entrepreneurial venture.

Or even, dare I say the difference between golden chains and a golden ticket.

There are spaces between responsibilities to family, meetings, and other gaps in our lives that can be maximized for the greatest level of productivity.

But that’s not work/life balance.

That kind of balance is not attainable.

There’s only maximizing as much productivity and gaps as possible, and then hoping for the best.

The work of an entrepreneur is to minimize the level of risk in her project: To codify and commoditize the process, the product and even the productivity.

Work/life integration is more attainable than work/life balance, which is the Holy Grail of all entrepreneurial ventures.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: