There is an interesting article out of MIT, about a new tiny, quick sensor.
Note to VC Funds interested in alternative energy because it's such an obvious thing: the field is competitive, there are many paths that are going to dead-end, and it's highly interactive with regulatory forces.
Wanna diversify? You should be investing in filtering and sensing technology. Control of microstructure as well as the creation of new types of advanced materials will make these the must-have consumer products of the (20)10's.
Here's a brilliant video describing how to deal with the "is it real or is it memorex?" questions about Global Warming.
In true Generation X leadership style, the argument -- devoid of idealism, only paying attention to pragmatic concerns -- is as follows: Who cares about what scenario is true or false? Who cares about who is right or wrong?
Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys.
The real harm of helicopter parenting: correcting the problems we encounter in OUR generation and forgetting that our children will encounter entirely different ones. Maybe, given what massive foreclosures can do to an economy, not to mention environmental mishaps and other disasters we seem to be one step away from, we should be teaching our children hyper-cooperation rather than fostering hyper-competitive "win or die trying!" attitudes.
Yesterday, I joined an IFTF session on Leadership. During that time, many interesting opinions were discussed, and I realized (again) that I have an axe to grind.
It's all well and good to empower people based on merit, and technology is incredibly disruptive (for those who can afford to use it and who are inherently mobile and change-oriented enough to integrate it into their lives).
However, to assume that newly minted adults are capable of leadership simply because they have strong opinions, strongly held is foolish. Sure, it's something Baby Boomers can identify and relate to, but it's not leadership, it's hubris.
There's a whole decade or two of people who have lived not only with disruptive technology, but with rapid change in volatile and uncertain environments... for 20 years.
More will follow; I'm going to have to break down and take the time to post what I have to say about Generation X and leadership.
(This post was motivated by Jon Swift's experience, as relayed in his post Facebook Declares War on the Blogosphere.)
Sunday morning, and I woke up with an analogy.
Social Entrepreneurialism is (currently) like building a gym. It's great - people can combat everything from osteoporesis to stress, can keep physically fit, and can even meet people and meet up with people to reinforce social community.
Charity is when someone in the gym yells out "spot." The charity-giver provides the little bit extra necessary for the person to finish their set and move on.
Some charity is analogous to the physical rehabilitation work that goes on in the gym: it's not just about a spot. It's about having prolonged interaction that (re)builds range of motion and function.
It's not enough to build a gym and say "go use it!" It's not going to work to say "I'm here to provide a spot if you need it" when there is no gym, or it's the stairwell in the office building.
This analogy rose because of a thread on Cooperation Commons "Is Free Cell Phone Service & Internet a Panacea to the Digital Divide?" While I've said several times that I don't think it's a bad idea, I've also been struck by the disconnect. In this case, the cell phones would be the socially entrepreneurial level. The early adopters will be those who maintain the status quo, just like the early gym members are likely to be people already fit or close to it, and not elderly who need to conserve bone mass, nor children who won't leave the couch.
(Cross-post to IFTF's FutureNow blog.)
I had been co-administering the prediction market for the Open Ex program at IFTF and pulled together a summary for people interested in Prediction Markets. The IFTF market used InklingMarkets.com as a platform.
These ideas are pulled predominantly from the experience of running the market, rather than participating in the market.
During a conversation regarding the troop surge, the Iraq war, the multiple failures of strategy and the lying and deception amidst Bush's belligerent communications strategy of "You're with me or against me," Jon said
Isn't leadership... bringing along a country, NOT chastising those who disagree and making them feel like pussies?
The reason I find that particularly profound is that it is exactly the attitude necessary for leadership or governance in an open and transparent world. If the world is viewed systemically, it seems to me that ultimately there is no "other." If we're fragmented (in the postmodernist sense), then it's our fragmented selves and the disparate areas they inhabit that eventually reform a multiply-threaded community.
I was a participant at on a Yi-Tan podcast, and used this term. Some people asked for more:
As we come of age, we learn to differentiate ourselves from our parents and other authority figures, but we also learn how to reconnect with them. Given major public events, generational cultures often have a pivotal point of shared experience.
Although it’s been said that Generation X has had no such experience, I believe otherwise. The Baby Boomers had Nationalism vs. Jingoism, and Generation X has had Citizenship vs. Kool-Aid-ism.
For the Boomers, Viet Nam was the question: Would you go? Would you NOT go? If you didn’t go, would you protest? Leave the country? What is a hero? Where are your national duties? You may have relatives who served or even died during World War II; how can you oppose your government’s call to duty - is that disrespectful of their sacrifice?
Generation X has had a similar pivotal issue: Will you work in corporation? Will you refuse? How far into your career will you continue to work in a corporation? How long will you stay with one firm in one job? Will you start your own business? How should you support yourself; what role should your livelihood play in your life? What about your family? Where are your obligations? How should you effect change?
The degree to which (US-raised) Generation Xers bought into to the framework of unfettered capitalism is as much a litmus test as the degree to which Boomers bought into the framework of unfettered nationalism. It even has the same polarizing issues: If you’re going to do it, do it right! (Be much more aggressive in Viet Nam; make a lot of money in the corporate world.) If you object to the powerful treating you badly, then you’d better not do the same thing yourself when you have power (“Make love, not war”; “First, do no evil”).
(For those who are unfamiliar, “Drinking the Corporate Kool-Aid” is an expression often used to mean the degree to which an employee buys into the goals and objectives as stated by the executives in the firm they work.)
In Ted Rall's column this week (CHOOSE ONE: LOYALTY OR GLORY) he points out how people in key positions needing to speak up when it makes a difference.
I've said it elsewhere, but after a recent Ten Year Forecast with Institute for the Future, where work was done on citizens' Superhero attributes I was struck by how much it felt to me that the 25-45 crowd was explaining how the world has changed to the 45-65 (plus?) crowd. In other words, it's another one of those Generation X Leadership moments.
If Viet Nam was a litmus test where Boomers thought deeply about the nature of violence within society and what an individuals' role and responsibiity was to themself, their nation, and their world, then adjusting the political world -- in all organizations: philanthropic, corporate, and NGO -- is the purview of Gen X.
Whom are you willing to be loyal to? For how long? Why would you stop? Under what circumstances would you choose to put those you protect at short-term risk because of your convictions about long-term risks?
The section is very accessible to people who are unfamiliar or newly acquainted with the topic and does a good job of creating a comprehensive framework for those who like comprehensive frameworks.
One of the things I like about this approach is that it creates an accessible way for any company to begin thinking about how they deal with key areas of investment. For example, the How HIP Is Your Company? quiz helps people conceive of the areas in which they might focus.
I also enjoyed the graph Driving Profit Through Impact that plotted Revenue against HIP practices, complete with a summary and clickthrough to a scorecard.
I've been doing some work in Prediction Markets for IFTF, and have been particularly interested in the concept of assassination markets: I predict this person will die can be transformed into a price on their head.
The thing that's fascinating is that markets have positivity and negativity built into them all the time. However, with prediction markets, it becomes explicit. A new betting site, BetUs.com, allows people to bet on specific outcomes for global warming.
Will new types of regulation spring up to eliminate the possibility of creating markets in destruction?
As I previously mentioned, I'm of the opinion that we're seeing the struggles to return of an entire Generation that, like the Lost Generation of the 1920's, became disenfranchised en masse. The Diva Marketing Blog discusses the Caveman ad, where he talks to his therapist.
Pursuant to a LinkedIn: Answers question:
What are the available models for sustainability for non-profits?
Think about asset types:
- Social / Political
All organizations are mission-driven; the mission of some is to increase their financial asset base. For-profits traditionally have invoked the intellectual construct "externality" to avoid even thinking about how achieving higher financial weath can be exploitative long term; hence the concept "sustainability."
So first of all, when you say, "For the huge majority of non-profits, fund-raising is an extra-ordinarily expensive way to generate operating capital," you're probably not including the degree to which social capital is also generated alongside financial capital AND how little social capital it costs the organization to generate financial capital in this traditional way. Further,
Are Generation X really surly slackers, trusting no one and grumbling cynically? Or are they (secretly) benevolent?
In the Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Personal Finance Poll of 12/28/06, 94% of 35-44 year olds donated some amount of money to charity (up 5%) whereas 87% of 45-54-year olds did (down 2%).
Well, I tried several times to post a comment to Stanford Social Innovation Review but they're having some sort of server problem. So here are my thoughts on what to do about the concern that Perla Ni raised:
My question to you, dear reader, is this: Who will pay for social services in our country if neither government nor foundations will?
I completely agree that these are key issues, and I have had the same sorts of observations and am happy to see them raised here. I believe that the short answer isn't as horrible as you fear.
As stovepiped as Fremont can be, I'm very proud of the community response to our most recent murder. The hijab-wearing mother of six kids, ages 2-13, was killed walking them to school in a neighborhood generally regarded as safe, and died from gunshot wounds holding the hand of her 3 year old so she wouldn't run into the street.
While people caution against jumping to the conclusion that this is a hate crime, in a sense that's irrelevant: I believe there's a sense that the muslim community is in need of a showing of solidarity (cf. what's going on in the UK) which has led to at least anxiety -- and often outright fear -- that this is a hate crime. The article calls for a day of solidarity with devout muslim women, who are easily targeted because of their dress.
To donate to a fund for the Ansari children, checks can be made to the ``Ansari Family'' at Washington Mutual, account No. 3091558830, and Fremont Bank, account No. 55041477. For more information on ``Wear a Hijab Day,'' contact Melanie Gadener at email@example.com.
It's the real thing. Throw a scarf over your head before you leave the house on Nov. 13.
The paper examines how it is that conscientious parents make school choices. She uses a sample set that is deliberately constructed in a high-choice city, and the subjects all are "choosers," i.e. people relatively actively involved with their kids' education.
Those of you who knew me in 1998 will recall my pronouncement that there would be a clamour for Bill Gates to run for President in 2008. This was before a lot of things happened, but I based it on expectations that environmental issues would be key and people would want someone who had "proven" they could "get things done," ruthlessness be damned.
Well, no need to run; he's become King. The Gates+Buffet philanthropy juggernaut involves giving away $3 Billion annually. While I both agree with and at times outright admire their effectiveness, I am a bit concerned by the precedent this sets: since the Foundation sets policy and accepts RFPs, it's really a top-down structure, and one that isn't representational.
You know... it seems that Boomers are in the news a lot these days, maybe it's because their first cohort is hitting 60 this year or maybe one of the last few, and it's true that there are a lot of Boomers when compared to the generation that preceded them. And most discussion talks about what that initial wave does as it hits the shore.
But the truth is that there's a generation that follows the Boomers, Generation X, that's at least as big. What happens when GenX takes over the secular leadership vacated by Boomers as they enter retirement? Isn't that, also, a story worth telling?
In the San Jose Mercury News today: Professor fights portrayal as supporter of terrorism.
Beinin, a 58-year-old Jewish professor [at Stanford] who supports Palestinian rights, knows he has enemies. Secure in his tenured position at an elite university, he routinely criticizes U.S. leaders for failing to understand why Americans are hated in the Arab world. He decries the humanitarian costs of the Palestinian occupation.
The Ivy League-educated Beinin, former president of the prestigious Middle East Studies Association, favors peaceful coexistence of Palestinians and Israelis, and seeks a solution to the conflict based on the principles of human rights and international law. His work has triggered death threats; one caller said, ``You know what happened to Daniel Pearl. . . . The people who are sympathetic are the first ones to go.''
Crazy American - favoring Human Rights! What precedent is their in our legal system for the idea that people have inalienable rights and that governmental systems should support that?
But without irony: If thought leaders in research institutions can't explore all aspects of human endeavor in an environment that's safe, and if people studying at the top academic institutions in our country aren't intellectually skeptical enough to be able to judge their faculty's teaching with a critical eye, then the United States has truly lost any hope at intellectual leadership.
Here's an old blog entry in Informed Comment that discusses the people in question. Note the persistence of the persecutory activities of this group led by Pipes and Horowitz, and the enormous funding from a single donor for the purposes of harassing individuals.
As a liberal Jew from Los Angeles, I appreciate Juan Cole's exhortation that moderate or liberal Jews need to be as careful that their religious charity supports the secular vision they have as any moderate or liberal of any religion.
(By the way, I'd like to explicitly mention Sourcewatch.)
Someone I met at a DonorsChoose fundraiser when they were up for the Amazon award recently began blogging. She's a 3rd grade teacher in an East Oakland (read: extremely challenging environment) elementary school. She was raised a white suburbanite.
I posted the existence to a blog where someone with whom I've butted heads about "market forces" and their use in the educational context before. He responded positively about the use of technology to facilitate transparency - definitely a point of agreement for us. How else do you help people who have managed to create a relatively safe and positive life for themselves and their families to gainfully -- because it affects us all -- immerse themselves in the often unsafe and traumatic lives of East Oakland 8 year olds?
But it got me thinking: clearly there's a human need when the problems are bigger than I, as a single person, can manage, to look to a higher power, whether that's God, market forces, individualism, communism, equity, or something else. Looking for a -- hopefully single -- overriding force that, once restrictions are removed, will realign the world and make things somehow solve whatever the problem is.
I think that's now the project at hand, Finance 2.0 or whatever it's called: what are the forces that act on the world. How do they interact; what are their components? And how to we parameterize, measure, track, and experiment with them?
It took years for physicists to realize that electricity was related to magnetism, and that vision was related to both; or to understand that classical mechanics was only relevant at a particular scale (much bigger than an atom) and rate (much slower than the speed of light). Now long past that, physics has become math, and the intention is to unify the conceptualization of fundmental forces.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this, other than to note that a force is something that was originally observed, and then in the physical world what became relevant was how the force was mediated. Is financial economics mediated by money? Is value creation mediated by man-hours of labor? Is knowledge mediated by hours in the classroom?
To the extent that physical forces are "potential wells" (think of a ball rolling downhill to the bottom of a depression) are people potential wells in need-space? Needspace would of course be comprised of physical, emotional, social, intellectual and possibly other needs. What mediates those needs (well, money certainly; but obviously less concrete things as well)? Then the next question is what acts on needspace (i.e. cultural expectations, historical need-fulfillment, etc.)
Is this analogy useful? Does it break down too quickly?
I'm trying to find a way to explain what I'm thinking regarding social networks' fractal nature, and how the topology of these fractal social networks is complex. Of course I thought I'd go see what other people have said on this topic, and ran across "Connecting the Fractal City," by Nikos A. Salingaros.
You know how sometimes you run across something and you see that it's so relevant to so many things on so many levels you just can't isolate one yet? Like that.
He does give public policy suggestions, but in the meantime, because I think there's importance here in all kinds of areas beyond policy, A TEENY excerpt:
Let's have a little reality check.
So, as usual in these things, you can't really quite manage to reconcile the terms they use since they're never clearly defined.
The original press release of the report says, "95.5 million users from home of active broadband," 68% of people who have internet have broadband, and "internet penetration in the US" is 74%. Now, first note that it's very ambiguous whether they mean households, users, or home+office; but let's assume they mean users at home, since the data that they specify indicates this. Let's also assume that they say the word "active" meaningfully, which is to say that there's also a non-active segment.
So, given this, that means there are 220.5 million internet users, of which 150 million are broadband internet users. Of those 150 million, 95.5 million are "active" broadband internet users. Keep in mind there are 298 million people in the US.
Now what does that mean?
That means that 54.4 million users have internet but not broadband and 29.5 have broadband but are not active! And that's in addition to the 77.5 million who don't have internet connectivity at home at all.
If you know that the top 10 states in the US have over half the population (55% - California alone has 12%), and you think that "almost everyone I know in online a lot -- and pretty much everyone has broadband" you should realize that you're way on one end of the "active user" continuum!
The other thing they mention in their report is that the average "active" user is now at 30.5 hours per month (an hour a day) of home use online. This means for every 4 hour per day, and 8 hours on the weekend news junkie (or porno surfer or everquest fiend) there are a lot of people who are counted as "active" users who occasionally go online to check email or whatever but who certainly don't live there.
Most tellingly, they point out that internet penetration has stabilized at around 74%.
Well, Stephen Covey ("7 Habits" guy) has a new book coming out. Evidently "nothing is as profitable as the speed of trust."
So, it's not the Attention Economy after all, but the Trust Economy. Why do I say this?
(1) People are bartering, unless they happen to have money -- and sometimes even then. Craigslist, freecycle, titletrader, bookcrossing, and community-cooperative lenders are all examples of barter that have sprung up in trusting environments. In the non-profit world, these are represented by Giving circles.
(2) When there is so much transparency, why do some seek transparency asymmetry, where they disclose little and others disclose a lot? Because they distrust: fearful executives claim privilege to lay bare everyone else because they just don't trust 'em. In response, the privacy-poor don't trust the executives, since they don't similarly show their cards. Soon, you'll know precisely whom to distrust: they'll be the people who are running around clothed at the nudist camp -- the people who are visibly motivated by fear.
(3) While trust is abundant, it is valuable, and something giving you their trust is a precious thing, regardless of the context... unlike attention, which can be unwelcome to the point of seeking a restraining order.
Here's a letter in the Oakland Tribune by the teacher I mentioned when I was talking about the Donors Choose event. She points out that it was heavily edited, but is glad it was published.
Why there's inequity in education
IN MY SEVENTH YEAR teaching at Lockwood, I am glad the issue of inequity in education is finally being recognized, but I think focusing on teacher salaries is missing the greater problem. ("Report: Poor schools get less money for teachers," Sept. 15).