Hide and Seek and Enterprise 2.0

By John Mancini posted 05-24-2010 11:36


A caveat before starting.

I have been a fan of the Harry Potter series.
I will admit to a certain sense of superiority when encountering those who have never read the Harry Potter books. I enjoyed reading about a world totally parallel to our own, with its own customs and language. I would instantly categorize those who didn't know anything about Harry Potter-ish stuff with the same harrumph of derision that the Slytherins would likely use -- "It figures...Must be a Muggle."
Well imagine my surprise to find out that I, President of a supercool E20-ish association and impassioned blogger and Tweeter, am seen -- along with millions of the rest of you -- as a Muggle.
By whom, you may ask? By Geocachers. 
Never heard of geocaching you say? (
Well up until a few days ago, neither had I. 
Imagine for a moment a parallel universe totally invisible to you...
  • Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. 
  • The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online.
  • There are 1,075,589 active geocaches around the world. That's right. Over ONE MILLION secret objects. 
  • A typical cache is a small waterproof container (usually a tupperware container or small film-sized box) containing a logbook. 
  • Larger containers can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little value.
  • Geocaches are currently placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica.
  • There are chapters and conventions and meetings all over the world of people interested in geocaching.
  • There is a membership organization focused on serving this community. (
  • FYI a "Muggle" is a non geocacher that is in some way preventing you from finding a cache or that knows nothing about the existence of the geocache world.
Not being one who enjoys being left out in the dark on techie stuff no matter how nerdy, I set out, with the assistance of my daughter Erin, to find out what this whole thing was all about.
First and foremost, I found out that GPS-enabled phones open up this "sport" to all sorts of people. Like me. So of course my first step was to find out whether there was an iPhone app.  Voila. 
So then I looked to see of there were any of these mystery caches close by the office. A double voila. 3 within a half mile!
The closest is one called "Lincoln Under Fire" and is based on the route that Confederate forces took during the Civil War in an attempt in 1864 to enter Washington from the North. The average blog reader may not know it, but I am a Civil War nut, so I took this as an omen and set out with my trusty sidekick Erin to find it.
As you can see, we were victorious! And now having entered the world of geo-caching, and now longer part of the Muggle world, we can once again feel safe in our scoffing at Muggles.
Now. Perhaps a bit of an explanation of why I am talking about this in a post devoted to E20 technologies.
One thing that fascinates me about this whole thing (not counting the fact that a MILLION objects could be hidden around me without me even being aware of it) is the merger of back-end content and geo-tagged information gathered from a mobile device coupled with delivery of information on the same device. 
Another is the revolution that is coming in the collision between mobile devices (think iPad and its derivatives and imitators in addition to smart phones) and content. This collision is going to be profound. 
Another will be the impact of the emergence of mobile devices as smart process initiators.
Consider the following...
The Nationwide iPhone app (see image at left)
To paraphrase Cluetrain, Markets [and now Organizations and Processes] are conversations. The addition of an automatically generated geographic dimension to these conversations and processes will be fascinating. 
And to say this like Tom Peters would (I am reading/listening to his current book)....
The combination of 1) geo-tagging, 2) content and 3) process will be big.
Very, very, very, very, very, BIG.
Some of my other posts in this series...

#ECM #enterprise2.0 #E20 #process