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DESH 3: Smart Legal Tech on your Wrist
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Awhile ago I wrote that I did not belief in legal technology on your wrist. I changed my mind shortly thereafter but I was haunted by my wavering because: how would it work?

DESH

DESH debuted on June 17, 2013 in “DESH: Your Personal Legal Assistant with Sense.” The idea: a robot that ‘reads’ your legal matter and assists in making intelligent decisions. It was inspired by the rise of personal assistants such as Google Now and Mynd. Google Now tells me if I would encounter traffic wherever I am. Mynd calculates my travel time and notifies me when I should leave for my next appointment. Both need little configuration and run invisibly in the background. I envisioned DESH to do the same for your legal activity.

 

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Loupe (prequel)

DESH actually originated from an earlier concept called Loupe. While DESH is a front-end, Loupe would be the backend. Loupe is a concept whereby the (search) engine would convert any information into a  legal context query. For example, if Loupe recognized an amount or a date it would check the meaning within a specific legal domain. Similar to how Wolfram Alpha calculates data within a certain domain. Loupe rules would be:

“ 10 million” in Competition Law → Cartels = fine

“ 10 million” in Competition Law → Merger = Acquisition Price

DESH (sequel)

In “Seymour: Maybe I Was Wrong About Legal Wearables” I realized why wearables would be especially significant for legal professionals: mobility. I belief legal counsels, like physicians, would travel from client to client with little or no time to pause and do stationary PC work. However, pride prevented me from reducing DESH to a mundane calendar app. I needed it to be this intelligent decision making machine.

 

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DESH (today)

Compromise: its both. Rational: if it were a smartphone app with more screen real estate it would make sense to have it do a lot of fancy #Robolaw. But on your wrist is a different story. While mobile is the starting point, providing simple straight forward data is the max on a ‘watch.’ Apple encourages “light interaction” and describes these as “glances.”

How it works

  1. Launch the app to ‘glance’ your legal activity progress*;
  2. Turn the dial or swipe up to reveal your legal activity in calendar.

*News is approx 75% read, Cases read at 30%, Contract drafting is at 15%. That’s it. Does this make any sense?

This article first appeared on Medium.

5 Confessions of a Trackaholic
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On Sunday, February 22, at precisely 16:44, my Fitbit Flex stopped syncing with my iPhone. I just finished 20 minutes on my elliptical trainer and I was feverishly waiting for my workout to appear…I realized I was shackled and gripped by the fear of losing my metrics. These stats made me healthy and happy so I didn’t want to let go…but should I?

 Fear Zero

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I was a pack-a-day smoker until one Wednesday, after recovering from yet another flu, I decided to quit. I wanted to see how long I could go without smoking a cigarette. Since my brain was a bit preoccupied suppressing nicotine urges I decided to ‘outsource’ keeping track of time to a robot.

Smoke Free keeps track of several metrics, but the most important one for me was: Time. I started with seconds, then minutes which turned into hours, days and weeks. With each new record, my fear grew that these stats would return to zero. That fear kept me going.

Most champions agree: retaining a crown is very different than winning it the first time.

What I learned: my most powerful motivator was not the excitement of achieving a new record but rather the fear of losing my stats.

Meanwhile, another war was raging in my body: Fat. I ballooned to a panda-like 84 kilos. According to every app I used to calculate this I was obese. Then I met this wonderful person who told me a little secret: You can eat whatever you desired and still lose weight…Wow! It’s incredible! I was super excited I found salvation and consciously downplayed what came after…by counting Calories.

Diet Disillusionment

 

tr3I set out to find the perfect robot to help with this minor calorie caveat. Myfitnesspal was the best because it did 3 things right:

  • Have a rich database including some obscure Suriname dishes
  • Was supported by a wide range of apps and services i.e. Argus,Runtastic’s Six Pack andPush Ups;
  • Most importantly: they did not hold my data hostage by playing nice with others.

Now everyone warned me it was a bad idea to quit smoking and diet at the same time but in hindsight, it was brilliant. I was literally consumed by thoughts of food for months while battling a nicotine addiction. Under duress, my brain couldn’t multi-thread and was forced to pick a craving. Each time it picked food over cigarettes.

What I learned: Hunger trumps nicotine hands down.

Calorie Cap

 

tr4I hit my goal of 75 kilo in 6 months -losing over 7 kilos in the process by trying to stick to 1470 calories-a-day.

While April- June were pretty tough, I caught a wave in July and headed for a race to the bottom.

Here’s when Fitbit entered my life and gave me a much-needed boost.

I couldn’t stay under 1470 unless I burned more calories. However, I couldn’t precisely track how much I burned with just my iPhone motion tracking. I simply didn’t have it on me all the time.

With Fitbit Flex, I was able to literally track myself 24–7. Without a heart rate monitor, it’s not as accurate but at least it gave me some guidance on burn rate.

Ultimately, it wasn’t the fact that I kept count which helped me achieve these changes but the fact that I had to transform my life to do it. Not only with my nutritional choices, but my approach to life changed. I learned to get comfortable with continuous disruptions of my routines.

What I learned: Hacking Habits should be your habit as well. Dare to try something different every now and then.

Sleep Debt

 

tr5After conquering my demons (or perhaps just silencing them), I turned my focus on perhaps the darkest frontier in tracking: Sleep.

Raising babies reminded me how vital a good night’s sleep is. Better yet, sleep deprivation is equal to waterboarding in terms of effective torture techniques.

I set out to find a method to properly measure my body’s battery levels. I foundSleepdebt to be a simple and straightforward way to accomplish this.

Sleepdebt uses the Fitbit API to pull in your numbers and calculate your charge in terms of time.

However, adding this minor metric to my arsenal of stats finally made me come undone. It meant wearing my Fitbit Flex to bed…shackled in my sleep.

I never wore a watch. My dear old Dad, God rest his soul, always insisted I wear one but Imay never yield. Yet I wore this wristband while asleep so I would not be a grumpy jerk while awake. After 131 days of sleeping with Flex, on February 22, I was finally set free.

What I learned: I’m much happier being Untethered

Unshackled

tr6In writing this article, I made some discoveries:

  • Counting calories actually taught me about nutrition i.e. what to eat and how much;
  • My data is dispersed and siloed across the web, but that’s adifferent agony;
  • Freedom encourages -not inhibits- my discipline.

In my pursuit of self-improvement, I discovered what metrics really matter to me and how I can measure it.

Build, Measure, Learn is not only the cornerstone of any lean startup but eventually for any lean life. We are Born and then we’ll Measure and Learn to stay Lean.

This post was originally posted by Legal Complex on Medium.

Five Stages Lawyers Need To Embrace In a World of Robots
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The Kübler-Ross model describes the five emotional stages experienced when faced with impending death or death of someone. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Similarly, change is an irreversible and unapologetic event. Here are 5 alternate stages for legal professionals to help navigate change in the legal market.

1. Acceptance
In Suriname, a mourning process is accelerated by having a party during and after the burial. It is believed that one should celebrate death. This is taken literally as coffin bearers joyfully dance with the deceased until they reach the final resting place.

Legal professionals aren’t shy about adopting new technology. Just look at smartphone and tablet adoption rates among lawyers in the past 4 years. I believe the pager, cell phone, and blackberry enjoyed similar successes.

5-2

 

5-3However, adoption is not the acceptance of a new reality. The technology examples above just empowered existing workflows; it did not fundamentally change the dynamics of the marketplace. Technology like smartphones, just enabled lawyers to communicate more efficiently not necessarily differently.

We are now in the midst of a revolution whereby the core value of a legal professional(providing legal counsel) is shifting towards platforms, algorithms and data (Robolaw).

It’s not a faster way of drafting an agreement, it’s accepting the fact that you do not ever need to draft one.

Acceptance of the new reality should be a feast: a celebration of the fact that thetedious & repetitive have died and made way for the joy in legal work.

2. Trust
My faith in technology is derived from a belief that it has saved my life. Yet faith alone may not suffice in winning the hearts and minds of legal professionals. We’ll need evidence that robots can do a better job before we trust them.

Proof is mounting that platforms (crowdsourcing) and algorithms outperform humans in predicting legal outcomes. However it’s not like IBM’s Watson has already passed the multistate bar exam and is now a licensed attorney.

Legal work isn’t a chess match or an equation, but a complex nuanced construct of emotions in text. And herein lies the problem: the sheer amount of ambiguous texts.

 

5-4Due to data overload, it has become humanly impossible to find justice without the assistance of algorithms.

With Predictive Coding we have effectively conceded that the days of manually reading through stacks of documents have come to pass.

Trust in technology can be derived from either faith or evidence. However, in trusting legal technology, we may have already passed the luxury stage and ventured into necessity. Ultimately, we may not have a choice but to trust robots.

3. Mobility
I read this inspiring story: ‘Barefoot’ Lawyers Teach Ugandans Their Rights.’ It seems 97% of lawyers serve a population of 2 million people within the capital. The remaining 3% are left to serve a population of around 36 million in the rest of Uganda. In order to alleviate the travel burden covering an area of 241,038 square km, Ugandan lawyer, Gerald Abila, uses volunteers and a range of technologies like social media to educate and provide legal advice.

I’ll compliment Gerald on embracing technology to bridge the gap and his story highlights a fundamental principle about legal work: it is most effective if served in person. Mobility is the cornerstone of the legal profession. It is one of the main drivers of technology adoption among legal professionals.

If only the mobile tools were as good on the road as they are at home. I have dedicated most my writing in the last 4 years on this subject. I even went as far as to declare the death of legal research on desktop. I believe the cause of this imbalance has many factors. A root cause may also lie in the very nature of legal professionals (see stage 5).

4. Simplicity
#Robolaw: A World Without Law elaborates on the necessity of simplicity. Driven by the rise of digital currencies, the world is moving towards a frictionless reality – one where simplicity is handsomely rewarded and complexity is not welcome.

Yet, any legal framework is built upon barriers. The law revolves around setting rules and exceptions. Its goal is to avert risk and minimize misunderstandings. It is there to protect us from ourselves.

Nevertheless, legal products, and services need to become as clear and simple as a hand Shake. Actually, it may become invisible, even in the event of disputes. This future is more likely to happen if we let robots do the negotiations and dispute resolutions- just like we will trust them to drive our cars. We may only need a notification or a glance.

5. Adventurous
In the search for simplicity, one characteristic will truly serve us: experimentation. There are penalties for failure in every profession; in some the consequences are far more severe than others. However, I believe this new era is giving us a license to try new stuff. This era of relentless change has set us free from a stigma of dumb and has opened a world of daring.

One time a customer, a jetsetting lawyer, had an extreme request. He wanted me to create a product only he would use, custom made and tailored to his needs. I told him I could not because I couldn’t justify the costs versus return. I stated that if we had more customers like him I may be able to justify it. He said, “No, I hope there aren’t any. I want to be unique and my calling card is using these special tools.”

By now, you may have guessed what he asked for. He was clearly a risk taker and dared to be different.

My best friend and godfather to my youngest is a physician. He’s my reminder: I am allowed to dare & fail. Some really do not have that luxury.

Seymour: Maybe I Was Wrong About Legal Wearables
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Maybe I was wrong about wearables because I needed to go beyond my comfort zone to see what’s around the bend. I too easily settled for limits. Seymour is the project name for one of the ideas that took shape during the Innovation Tournament and while it’s a technical challenge, it may not be entirely without merit and here’s why.

Business Intake made Easy 

I once attended an Intellectual Property audit for a niche software company to support their Intellectual Asset Management. We had an extensive paper questionnaire and preparation meeting to ensure our visit would be fruitful. The goal was to get as much of the questions answered without making the client feel like it’s an inquisition. When we arrived, it was a bit chaotic and nobody managed to get all the answers. We left with boxes of documents to help us finalize the form.

Modern day logic would dictate we would need some kind of database for the intake. Even better if it was a mobile app with just a checklist and we could divide the load across the team during our visit. It would help if we already had information pre-populated and we just needed to fill in the blanks. Looks good on ‘paper,’ right?

Well I believe in the last decade, our process thinking has resulted in convoluted systems. We used the wishful add-on: “it should be easy to use and intuitive” like a sprinkle of angel dust to make the core product usable. Assuming the core product, the database, iswhat it is all about. No, it isn’t because nobody can use an empty database or worse – outdated data. So the time of laborious data entries should be in our past.

Seymour, See, Save, Share

I suspect wearables will play a major role in this space. Wearables will be the fastest way to grow any database simply because data entry will be more convenient. Forbes reported this as the first useful Glassware and seeing their video, you might agree:

“Sullivan Solar Power …developed a Google Glass app that gives its field technicians “volumes” of electrical system data in a hands’ free, or close to it, manner—which I would imagine to be a welcome delivery mode for someone wrestling with heavy equipment on a rooftop.”

Being fed real-time contextual information in situations where it’s slightly awkward to break out the laptop and do desktop legal research seems extremely powerful. Only consuming information might not make it ‘killer’ for me but if you can combine it with creation it will be close. A quote from this Glass wearing president and creative director:

“…The thing I use it for the most is taking notes. I tap it and say, “Take a note,” and then a microphone shows up and it will accurately dictate everything I say for about 30 seconds. And then when I stop talking it sends it to Evernote. At the same time, if someone else is using Evernote, they can send the note to me and it will appear in my screen.”

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First Look: Evernote for Google Glass

This maybe farfetched, but the possibilities of having a checklist as Glassware and just ‘nodding’ off the list would be quite cool. Better yet, just tapping your wrist will be even cooler:

Tick off checklists for groceries with the Pebble, which syncs to Evernote, for a hands-free shopping experience. Evernote Reminders are supported, so you’ll always have your notifications and to-dos close to you.

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Evernote on the Go: Introducing Evernote for Pebble

If we just infuse the right legal context into these workflows, we can even make legal research fun again. Shopping for groceries is not that different from shopping for Intellectual Property, it can only be made more pleasant by the tools we use.

Going off the grid

There was one little caveat with wearables, actually any internet connected device: its needs an internet connection. Well maybe not. Let me introduce you to “Wireless Mesh Networking.” This enables device to device communication in a free-form, non-internet dependent way. And that’s almost perfect for having wearables talk to our phone – or each other. It’s one of the best kept secrets in the latest iOS 7 and what Google is betting on to extent wearables and even home automation.

Last year I just had a name and a notion. Now it’s slowly making sense and Seymour is my reminder to keep going beyond the bend.

 

It’s A Rebirth, Not A Reinvention of Law
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 You may have noticed a steady stream of stories surrounding the law and its need to reinvent. But actually it’s specifically targeted at the need to modernize the practice of law and the business model, which gave rise to a $300+/- billion empire. The law itself is complex and will stay that way for awhile – as long as human interaction and perceptions evolve. Yet, it always has been about solving consumer and business problems, not legal problems.

Reset Your Priorities for Clients 

I discovered an interesting graph in a survey done on Law Firm Knowledge Management Priorities. As the author duly noted:

 “The one consistent finding (and this is true even before 2012) is the respondents keep expecting (hoping?!?) to spend time on client-facing KM system but then do not.”

Another study went even further with an extensive dissection of law firm technology and found some astonishing figures in terms of investing in efficiency. When asked: What software does your firm use for experience management/tracking? 82% said: None. In the previous year it was 62%. These numbers conjecture thoughts of inward thinking.

However, one of reason lawyers choose to publish books, blogs, and tweets is to expose their expertise to drive new business. To get in touch with and track potential clients, measure reach, and effectiveness as counsel. Above all, hone their ability as problems solvers.

Revolutionize Your Relationship with Clients

Sometimes the solution might be as simple as creating new alliances with your customers by providing a better network to access legal expertise. Or just a promise to continuously improve your service by adopting industry standards for efficiency. There are way too many links to articles that discuss the evil of the billable hour and the persistent of lawyers to seed Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) to generate more revenue. I believe it has tarnished the trust in this noble profession of being without prejudice.

 Reboot Your Focus on Client Problems 

A simple handshake might suffice instead of a 23 page contract with 14 page addendum because no contract will ever absolve you completely from any litigation. Yet, these tendencies have fueled an $88 billion latent market of DIY legal services. A market which is dynamically upscaling to the fortunate who can afford counsel. Even spawning innovated apps which bring us back to the humble beginnings: to solve real world problems in simple and clear language…and shake hands.

The Power of Privacy and The Value of Confidentiality
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Google’s Vint Cerf, who is recognized as one of “the fathers of the Internet,” stated “Privacy May Be An Anomaly.” Historically, he is right in some context. We used to bathe in the open and wore less and more revealing clothes in the past. Some won’t mind going back to those days but ever since humans acquired the ability to communicate it always had the option to do it in private. Moreover, confidentiality is the corner-stone of several business sectors such as Health, Legal and Finance. So the question is: as a professional, who will you trust?

 

Privacy

Snapchat – a service that provides self destruct photo messaging – turned down a reported$3 billion offer from Facebook. Whatsapp claims to have more users than Twitter and handles more messages than Facebook. Bear in mind that Twitter and Facebook are free and Whatsapp is not*. In Asia, Wechat and QQ combined rule the messaging airwaves with more than a billion users. All these social messaging services enable users to communicate much in the same way we use email and SMS. Better yet, social messaging challenges the connections we make by phone, email or SMS. A recent study by industry-analysts Informa indicated that by the end of 2013 OTT (Over The Top) messaging traffic should be twice that of traditional SMS texts, topping out at around 41 billion messages sent every day (compared to 19.5 billion sent via SMS). More importantly: I believe services like Snapchat are popular because they simulate a sense of privacy traditional communication use to provide.

 

trust3Confidentiality

One might suspect that the push for more privacy is driven by an older more conservative demographic. Actually, it is quite the opposite. Recent studies revealed teens are fleeing social networks while elders, the only growing group, are encouraging them to stay on and broadcast. So if those who share scatter, but the spectators multiply, it is likely that privacy backlash will lead a ‘Trust Revolution’. This is already evident in the legal industry were legal tech experts predict ‘security awareness’ to be among the top priorities for law firms in 2014. To be specific: maintaining confidentiality of client information will be the top priority for law firms according to this article. This is especially more pertinent where professionals rush to the clouds out of convenience. Thus the question is: who can you trust?

Trust

In a previous post, I touched upon Apple’s fingerprint technology as a valuable breakthrough which might have far-reaching implications in how we communicate. Imagine securing not only your phone but all your documents with a fingerprint instead of passwords orproperly identify parties you communicate with and have them sign with their hands instead of a John Hancock. While I’m truly grateful I’m still hesitant to completely place my faith in any one company that either needs to lock me in or lure me to reveal information for ads. Free is very attractive but my soul is priceless and I value a whisper among the trees as much as shouting from the rooftop. As a legal professional, I can imagine doing business with a company that understands my needs. As a Wolters Kluwer employee, I will always strive to secure the trust our customers place in us.

 

*Whatsapp is a subscription service.

Meet Bondrew: Our Future ‘Freestyle’ Lawyer
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Freestyle Chess is a competition between humans, who are allowed, like in correspondence chess, to make use of any technical support for selecting their moves. Basically it’s an interplay between human intuition and computer calculating power to arrive at the best course of action. What if we had such advance algorithms similar to the chess paradigm, how would these system assist lawyers in picking legal strategies? And who would likely use them?

Freestyle
I’ve always been intrigued by the question how lawyers would use technology in the future. This interesting view of the future which mentioned the freestyle chess analogy reminded me once again: the future is already here, it’s just in camouflage. But to really understand the future of the legal profession I’d first needed a profile of a human (Who) using this advance technology and then look at the technology (What). I’ll will restrain myself predicting When this might happen.

Bondrew
Bondrew grew up somewhere in South America and has traveled the world. He is still always on the go and has never touched a desktop computer or worked in a traditional office. He received his law degree while attending an Technology & Law e-Curriculumof two years by following courses via MOOC* on his smartphone. He has never met his professors in person, yet managed to graduated “top of his class”. He majored in Advance Legal Networking which teaches the ability to leverage technology, peers, digital and tangible sources for legal solutions. He also passed the Litigation Predictions Bar** which automatically makes him eligible to litigate in all online jurisdictions***.

Future
He is not a lawyer in the traditional sense by any stretch but a trader and trafficker of legal information, in short a law information broker in a modern sense. He is adept at leveraging sources for information with technology and thus adds value to his legal practice. He’s able to scan the legal needs, deficiencies and risks of his clients and propose solutions in a matter of milliseconds. By continuously running simulations andquantitative analysis on different legal scenarios, he is able to adapt, predict and communicate his legal support in real time to clients.

Tools
Now if this is a possible future, which tools would he need? I’m hoping he would use the following:

  1. Zepp to network and connect legal sources to legal needs,
  2. Desh to update his legal practice and documents,
  3. Monocle for researching purposes,
  4. im·merse to assist with scanning and intake of new clients and predicting outcomes.

I’m wondering what Bondrew does in his spare time because he spends just 28 hours a week managing and growing his practice…

*A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. MIT, Stanford among many other esteem universities around world deliver them. read more here: http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses

**Litigation Predictions Bar: by running digital simulations on actual and anticipated opposing counsel arguments one can predict in a non-jury civil law system, possible outcomes. It is a technique of preventing litigation and refining agreements. However, similar to chess, you’re also able to run actual litigation proceedings and be judged or settle them.

***I admit, it’s easy to fantasize about ODR but as a recovering lawyer it’s still hard to imagine a border less legal market.

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About Failure And How Technology Saved My Life
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I believe technology will not doom us but quite the opposite. It will not only save businesses, industries even but also lives in unexpected ways. This is a story of my failure and how a simple piece of tech saved my life and set me on my current path.

 

failure1I recently took a quick trip back to my birthplace and was accompanied by my 4-year-old. Much to my astonishment she asked me to visit a school because she was interested in seeing how children learned in Suriname. I went to the nearest primary school but as expected she got cold feet. As a substitute I decided to drive past my old high school and give her my experience. Needless to say I gesticulated on the highlights and conveniently left out all failures.

Later that night I was catching up on my reading and came across this article: There’s one key difference between kids who excel at math and those who don’t. It triggered a traumatic flashback of my high school days which I seem to have suppressed. When I first encountered math it did not excite me. I could not relate to it, I found it useless. I might have projected this during class which initiate a horrible response from my teacher. He basically said: you will never learn math, you’re stupid!

Now imagine the impact of this statement on a 12-year-old. While I tried my best to prove him wrong on the stupid part, he completely ignored me all through high school. I failed miserably at math since day one and it caught up with me at college. I was at a point of failing out of school entirely with my only option to join the military. Not an attractive career choice given the fact that a very bloody civil war was raging. As a last resort I sought help from an experience math tutor.

On our first meeting my tutor tried to grade my math level and was amazed I got this far in school without some basic math skills. After a couple of lessons he was on the verge of given up on me when he finally asked why I found it this hard to grasp math. I told him I could not see any real world implications for math. He dedicated the next lesson given me examples of why math is fundamental. I still wasn’t convinced and then he got a brilliant idea: he gave me a scientific calculator to try out some of the math problems I needed to pass my exams. Up until that point it was only pencil and paper, working out each problem manually.

It took two school board meetings and several visits from my parents to convince the school I had not cheated on the tests. They found it inconceivable that I went from no math skills to A+ grade on college level math in 5 months. The school board posted 2 teachers permanently at my side during both my final exams. I passed and the rest is history.

Now how did the calculator help? first, for some odd reason I could better visualize how the problems should be solved using a calculator. I got so proficient at it that I was showing my tutor alternate ways of solving math problems. Second, I just enjoyed punching in keys and seeing results instantly. It was like magic.

Analyzing in hindsight, I was probably reverse engineering the problems in my mind and then running simulations on the calculator to find the correct answers. Due to the speed of the calculator I could get answers quickly and assess intuitively which one was correct. After looking at many results at a quicker pace gave me the ability to spot the right ones over time. That is how I was able to find alternate ways to solve problems. Not much different of how I later did legal research.

So subconsciously I might have already known the answers but I needed the computer to back me up. The calculator was my bicycle of the mind and it inspired me. I hope to offer you the same ride.

Happy Holidays!

 

CYOS Divergence: How The Growth of Apps Bolsters The Complex
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Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has taken root. In 2012, 38% of CIO’s expected to support personal devices. Now 82% of companies allow it and it’s posing new challenges for IT because along with these devices come a lot of new services in apps. All beguile you into accepting a new habit and immerse you. This has giving rise to the ‘Connect Your Own Service’ (CYOS) trend and its unintended consequences: a world more complex and disconnected which threatens to submerge you. Here’s why:

A Fog of Apps 
A glimpse into my computer life 2007-2013 :

  • I have downloaded over 900 apps in 6 years, a trend likely to accelerate due to the lowering prices of apps. Imagine doing this on a PC without running into a nasty virus and a tremendous bill.
  • I have journeyed through multiple operating systems and migrated from desktop to mobile.
  • I have moved most of my information into the cloud and choose software based on their cloud support and mobile clone.
  • I took approximately 7800 pictures and videos. The only category my wife beats me hands down.
  • Privately I’ve stop emailing anyone under the age of 70 and
  • I have shared more with my inner circle between the ages 14 and 70 than at any moment in our lives.

I have undoubtedly generated more data personally and professionally and…it’s liberating yet suffocating.

Say my name!
Each app or service I use will most likely ask me who I am. I will either have to remember my name(?!) from a previous encounter or make up a new and even sillier name. And then comes the dreaded password requirement which needs to be so strong its impossible to remember. I know there’s an app for that but my parents already gave me a name at birth and happily counted 10 little passwords. One company has smartly recognized this fact and hopefully I’ll try it this Christmas. Even though it isn’t infallible and can be hacked by my 4 year old, it’s far better than remembering 900 passcodes which are unbreakable with brute force attacks by global distributed networks. As beautifully presented in this dynamic visualization I suspect no company will ever be entirely safe from breaches.

A Forest of Data
Now the above doesn’t bother me as much as the disconnect between these services by creating silos. In previous posts I’ve mentioned losing information much to my chagrin. I’m already working on solving the bridge of cut, copy and paste and integrating tasks in a single workflow. But ultimately my aim is to dwindle the number of 900 apps. The disparate manner and ambition each service exhibit to solve my problem while struggling to incorporate my larger environment concerns me. Because I find they mostly ignore the context and intent I might have in harvesting and handling all my data and associated analytics.

If This Then What?
This problem has not gone unnoticed nor unexploited by others as even legal professionals have wandered into the cloud with Dropbox (58%), Google Docs (43%) and Evernote (23%). This is also reflected in their use of popular productivity mobile apps. However, these services only store my information but do not connect to my workflow. Moreover, they most likely ignore the intent of legal professionals. Now in order to get a handle on this divergence I starting mapping out my own information network and how it all connects based on how I use it. And then visualized my intent as a legal professional.

 

cyos1

 

Nowadays most services support some connections while some purposely block each other. I used RSS trickery or just simply emailing the service to connect my information. Lately I’m able to use smarter services that ‘cook up’ better connections. IFTTT is such a service which use “recipes” to help me reconnect. Even notable publishers like the NY Times have been getting in on the action. Its getting better but its less than ideal so my search continues.

 

cyos2As featured in DESH I would imagine creating rules such as: IF I receive news on Copyright Transfers I would

  • THEN save it to Monocle OR
  • THEN add a reminder in Zepp to email my client. OR
  • THEN update documents.

 

cyos3I have spend the first 26 years of my life learning, I’ve noticed spending the rest struggling to keep up with all I have learned. The internet serves to be an engine of convenience by connecting not diverging and we should continue to support that goal.

The Death of Legal Research on Desktop
570 269 Raymond Blijd
I hear them…these voices all around me…whispering: they will never do legal research on a smartphone, the screen is too small! How can lawyers or any knowledge professional do research on a mobile device? These voices weren’t whispers 2 years ago, they were loud and clear and drove me to write about it. Mobile consumes and desktop creates, no if and’s or but’s. Now several events hopefully will exorcise these faint yet persistent notions and help us embrace our enlightened reality.

Extinction
While Health and especially Finance went full throttle in mobile, driven respectively by pure need and speed, other business markets have been slower to adopt. Yet, this anxious stance does not reflect reality: PC shipments will only be 20.6% of the total market of smart connected devices. Tablets are forecast to overtake PC sales entirely this Christmas. By 2017,total traditional PC devices are expected to drop to 13%, while tablets and smartphones will contribute 16.5% and 70.5% respectively to the overall market. Those that cling towards a PC oriented design strategy will face extinction just as the operating system and software needed to run it.

death2


Man your Stations!

These whispering spirits are often accompanied by the argument: Legal Professionals are different. Legal professionals spend between 40-50 hours on computers. Yet, they spend only 15 hours (30%) on research. Now here’s my question: if 70% on computers is not spent on research, than what are they doing? I presume emailing, drafting,scheduling or reading the news? I haven’t gotten my hands on studies to confirm this. But if so, do you really need a desktop for those “non research” activities?

Read/Write/Research
The answer is No, emailing doesn’t need desktops anymore and drafting is slowly but surely going mobile. This entertaining post asks lawyers to share their iPad home screen. I wasn’t surprised that a word processing app was pinned to their task bar. I can imagine that formatting in MS Word still is a challenge on any screen but its not impossible. Moreover, at the rate of consumer innovation we are just a few swipes away from full-blown word processing on mobile. That leaves us with just those 15 hours chained to desktops (or laptops). Now, why do these voices persist? Because designing legal research is still a challenge on small screens.

Exorcism 
Legacy that goes all the way back to the shift from print to online has left walls we cannot see beyond. While the consumer tech broke down barriers and completely conquered businesses to the point of being unethical in some cases. Signs of changing times have shown the wait is almost over. In all corners of Wolters Kluwer we are rethinking and redesigning research on any screen size and in all environments.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I started drafting this post in Simplenote while waiting for my car to get repaired. I copied it to the WordPress app to add links and formatting*. Links I saved while reading the web on my tablet and smartphone in Pocket. No desktops were harmed during the making of this post. So I hereby say farewell to my ghosts.
*Due some technical difficulties and app design issues formatting was finalized on desktop, but at least I tried 🙂