Pandora 5.0: Avatar emulates Enterprise 2.0?

So last weekend I was allowed to get away to see Avatar because it was my birthday, and I have to say it was pretty impressive visually. I would call the storyline predictable, but strong enough to support the special effects and definitely worth your while to go see. Strangely enough, while watching, a parallel between this movie and Enterprise 2.0 dawned on me…thus this blog posting..

WARNING: I’ll write this with the best intentions of not giving away significant story points for those that have not yet seen the movie, but if you have any trepidation of spoilers for this very predictable story, maybe it would be best to wait to read this until after you have seen the movie.

So back to this relationship (whether intended or coincidental) between the Pandora moon and Enterprise 2.0:

Avatar takes place on a moon named Pandora, and it is primarily inhabited by wild beasts and the indigenous Na’vi people (the very tall bioluminescent blue people from the commercials). But what is unique about this land is that there is a mysterious connection between all living things, including animals, plants, trees and the Na’vi. The inhabitants of the moon can “bond” with one another to share thoughts and the Na’vi people can “bond” with trees to hear the voices of those that have passed. Eventually we learn that the makeup of the moon is effectively a huge interconnected neural network and all living beings have common anatomy to be able to plug into that network and “bond” with each other. Pandora is one big Social Network, or better yet, an Existence Network.

So, our main character Jake Sculley (who has been “matrixed” into a genetically engineered Na’vi body and dumped into the Pandora wild), uses his newly discovered pony tail with a mind of its own to “friend” his six-legged blue horse and his alien pterodactyl for public transportation. These connections between the living creatures on Pandora, and through the main source (the mother goddess, an all powerful tree named Eywa) are what help the moon thrive and the creatures to co-exist peacefully (except when satisfying their hunger by hunting, but always with utmost respect, of course).

It isn’t that groundbreaking to see how an entire world thriving in a connected environment relates to Enterprise 2.0…even if the connections are biological instead of technological. Differing tribes and species that might not otherwise relate because of space and communication gaps collaborate in peace thanks to a common network. They work together in unison for the good of their world instead of fighting one another for supremacy.

What I really found cool was how the natives of Pandora leveraged the Existence Network to overcome their invaders…money-hungry corporate Earthlings! This is the part where I may be delving into a little bit of a spoiler, so you may want to turn away now if you haven’t seen the movie yet….

Just when it appears that all hope is lost for the Na’vi people, despite their greatest efforts to fend off the superior human military artillery, you know there must be a happy ending, right? Jake (pictured above) pleas to Eywa on behalf of the Na’vi to help save not only their species but their entire world because he understands the power of human weapons. Eywa listens, and calls on her Existence Network of thousands of alien pterodactyls, elephant sized rottweilers and hammer-head rhinos to fight along side the Na’vi. You can see for yourself how that turns out…

Another parallel to the virtues of Enterprise 2.0 was when Jake tamed  and then “friended” the fierce Toruk (a dragon-vulture the size of an F-16) to prove his commitment and skill to the Na’vi people after he had been exiled. Only five other Na’vi had ever tamed a Toruk. Jake’s demonstration of skill and influence over this treacherous animal was enough to gain the respect of the Na’vi people regardless of his position or status. There were going to follow his lead based on his accomplishments as a warrior. Leadership and influence within the network was earned, not appointed in his case.

Watching the movie I couldn’t help but recall the concepts of 2.0-style collaboration were underlying themes to the feel good elements of this movie (although biological connections through a fiber-optic pony tail would be more like 5.0-style collaboration), and the primary weapons that gave the Pandorians an advantage over the command and control humans. Now don’t confuse this blog post as my undying commitment to using the movie Avatar as my “Real Business Use Case / ROI Example” for Enterprise 2.0…even I know better than that. But hey, who really needs extra excuses to write blog posts about cool movies and claim you are talking about work?

For my next post, I’ll discuss how much shorter the Lord of the Rings trilogy would have been if Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee had been biologically networked to the rest of the Fellowship of the Ring…

“It is Time!”

I have little difficulty relating most life experiences to movie quotes, song titles and story lines from television shows.  In fact, I regularly hear famous quotes in my head during daily activities, like “I have made fire!” from Castaway, or “I am the law!” from Judge Dredd, “When will then be now?  Soon!” from Spaceballs, or “You have to be careful with eggs.” from Bill Cosby: Himself.  I rarely, however, choose to recite them aloud at the risk of people having no idea what I am talking about and partly because most of my examples are becoming out dated as my knowledge of current pop culture inversely decreases at the same rate that my children’s shoe sizes increase.

For reasons unknown, quotes from The Lion King always have stuck with me as well.  (Maybe that is because I hear it in the mini-van on trips all the time coming from the back seat?)  For reasons likely known…I remember Timone yelling “What’s going on here!” or Poomba declaring that “You’ve got to put your behind in your past.”  But appropriate for this blog is from Rafiki, the witch doctor baboon that discovers a grown up Symba.  And upon convincing Symba to return to the pride lands to take on the evil Uncle Scar, the baboon declares “It is Time!”  This isn’t much different.

I am not using that title to directly equate my initiation of a new blog with re-conquering an entitled position of leadership (although I am a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson and know that must entitle me to something, right?), but to serve as a declaration that I have waited long enough to start this blog, and the time is right to use this platform for some key goals of mine:

  1. Be an example – Working at a pharmaceutical company brings a necessary set of guidelines to consider when it comes to external communication channels and sharing of data related to the work we do.  But it can be difficult to understand where the boundaries around those guidelines exist, and we shouldn’t discouraged to provide a voice into the Blogosphere and/or Twitterverse if we are so inclined. We just need clarity and examples on how to do so in a manner that protects the integrity of ourselves and our company.  As an internal evangelist for Social Media methods, for my colleagues, I would like to provide an example of treading those waters in a compliant manner but with a voice that is my own at the same time.
  2. Establish an External Network – If my recent engagement with the Enterprise 2.0 Adoption Council has taught me nothing else, it is that having a network of people and information to share with and learn from makes me better at what I do. I have seen that occur in my work environment as well, by creating awareness of my skills and understanding the skills of others through basic Social Networking capabilities, I’ve become a more effective employee (IMHO).  This blog is another avenue to continue to expand that network, become a better knowledge-worker myself, possibly provide some entertainment, and hopefully help a few other people with similar interests along the way.  Also, to walk the talk that I have been  talking, I best do some walking beyond the comfy confines of my internal corporate blog.
  3. Enterprise 2.0 Conference – As I am writing this, I am traveling to the E2.0 conference for the first time, and I plan to come away even more enthused (via the information I take in and the contacts I make) about the work I have ahead of me and the impact I can have.  Consider it my baptism into the Enterprise 2.0 profession, accompanied by a web log of the journey from newbie to ????
  4. Have fun – Innumerable times throughout my life I have secretly wished I could be an author of some sort.  Write a book, be a sports columnist, write a movie, write a television pilot, etc.  Unfortunately my thriving golf career has kept me from achieving those goals…so now at least I have a blog to fall back on!

FYI…I have a Twitter account (@golfinbp) that will continue to be my avenue for raving about my Colts, talking golf and bragging about my children.  But I am starting a second account this week (@TheBrycesWrite) to focus on my professional observations and to accompany my blog.  So if you follow me on Twitter as @golfinbp and are interested in following my Enterprise 2.0 related posts from this point forward, please also follow me @TheBrycesWrite.