Thinking about (and learning from) Jay Cross

jay_aboutJay Cross died last Friday. Most people who’ll see this post know of Jay already through his books, his many-fold online posts, Twitter, his Facebook stream or some other channel he’d try out.

I never met Jay in person, but about ten years ago, I signed up for an online “unworkshop” he was offering, so I could learn more about things like blogs, feeds, and what people were calling Web 2.0 tools.

The unworkshop was a bit messy and bumpy. At times I found it frustrating, and at times I think Jay himself was puzzled by the reactions of some of the participants. He and I had a few side discussions about that, and I was impressed by his receptivity and willingness to at consider points of view different from his own.

Prior to the unworkshop, I’d known a little about blogs but didn’t see how they’d relate to me. Jay had each participant start what I now think of as a sandbox blog – just a little place to mess around – to try things out for ourselves, to learn by doing.

Most were as you’d expect tentative, because most participants hadn’t had blogged before and weren’t sure what they write (or how they’d manage what they’d written). Even so, this activity got me thinking and free-associating about my preconceived notions.

As a result, next month Dave’s Whiteboard hits its tenth anniversary. That may have happened eventually, but it happened when it did because I’d met Jay Cross.

(I first wrote “virtually met,” but that marks a bigger divide than I want to have. I absolutely believe face-to-face meeting is ideal, but I’m pretty sure that the way Jay connected across time zones and distance wasn’t too far removed from the way he’d connect across a table.)

Here’s just an example of the kind of thinking Jay was doing as recently as last week. The image links to his Internet Time Blog.


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