Here there be dragons

These are raw notes. Like, really really raw. Incoherent babbling. I really don’t recommend you pay any attention to them — they’re mostly scribbling and ugly bits and pieces that might turn into something later. This is the ectoplasm that a book might rise out of. Someday. With enough help and feedback from my community. But I’m posting them here to eat my own dogfood and spur myself to finishing.

 Why write a book about working open?

The key deliverable here is not, strictly speaking, a “book.” Rather it is collecting and socializing an emergent body of practise, best practises, specific strategies and tactics that have emerged over the last several years — but that many of us have been developing on the margins, without necessarily being conscious of it. The opportunity now is to bring those early adopters together to share, document and teach those practises to each other.

In the process, I believe we can help the idea and promise of “open” move from where it has primarily sat up to this point — as a theory, principle, and nice idea — towards open as a new and better way of working. One that is more agile, more inherently collaborative, and more responsive to the communities and populations we serve.


“If the past 10 years have been about discovering post-institutional social models on the web, then the next 10 years will be about applying them to the real world.”
— Chris Anderson, Wired

Working Open is about a new way of working spreading around the world.

We want to change the world, but most of us are drowning in emails, have no time to think, and are tied up in projects and products we’re not even sure the world wants or needs .

We want to do less and do it better.
We want to create big, bold solutions to the world’s most pressing problems
We want to create vibrant, active communities around our best projects
We want to harness the power of many hearts and minds to improve the quality of everything we do

Sounds good.  How do we get there?

The Open Manifesto provides a front-row introduction to unlikely movement of entrepreneurs, hackers, and social innovators that are changing the rules of work, and changing the world in the process.

You’ll meet the [example 1] who’s [practice 1].  The [example 2] who’s [practice 2].

Working open is both a philosophy and a set of practical tools to put it into action.  The core tenets are transparency, collaboration,

In this book you’ll learn how to:

* Turn your community into collaborators
* Transform meetings into worksprints
* Reduce email traffic [blarg]

Making it easier for other people to help you. Removing dumb barriers to collaboration and administrivia that make it easier for other to help.
Unlocking new ideas and uncovering blind-spots. Leveraging the power of many minds and souls to test thinking, sharpen plans and spot weaknesses and blind spots sooner.
Go faster, be more flexible, and empower others. Empowering your community to do things, so that you don’t have to.
Helping your best ideas take flight. Putting the wings under the best ideas faster.

From stuff as basic as how we run meetings (and how to make them suck less) to how we think, plan, roadmap, work with others — both within our existing organizations and communities, and beyond.

This book is about how to apply open source wisdom and tactics in your everyday life. To hack dumb rules, unlock hidden potential in your community, and make it easier for others to help you achieve your secret mission and goals.

An unlikely movement is quietly changing the world. From open source software to the world’s first open source automobiles, tractors, classrooms and even cancer research, a global movement of inspired geeks, civic hackers and radical pragmatists are experimenting with whole new ways to work, collaborate and create value.

Their goal: strip away artificial barriers to collaboration. Empower others to constantly make things better. Route around bottlenecks, monopolies and gatekeepers. And ultimately set the soul of work — and our own personal best ideas — free. Work Open tells the story of how they’re doing it. And about how you can begin applying their best strategies and tactics in your own life and work.

It’s not a story about tech. Or about how the web will save the world. (It won’t.)  It’s about smarter collaboration, and experimenting with new ways to work, learn and create value. The Open Manifesto picks up where most theoretical treatises leave off, pushing beyond the technology to collect examples of the specific open strategies and practices that work.

How can we harness the best ideas and passion of others, without drowning in noise and dumb opinions? How do we move past the old models of production and consumption toward participation and empowerment? How can we jettison the overflowing in-boxes and distracting chatter that now fill so much of our daily lives, so we can focus on what’s really important?

This book offers practical solutions, case studies and kung fu from the emerging world of open. Part hackable manifesto, part How-To guide, and part personal journey, Work Open is for anyone who feels like there has to be a better way.

At a moment when the rest of the world feels like its run out of ideas and is stuck under an busted operating system, you’ll meet innovators taking a fresh 21st century approach. You’ll take away inspiring ideas you can begin applying right away, in your own work, no matter what you do. Without having to ask anybody’s permission. And you’ll see how it all adds up to an epic hidden battle for your soul — and maybe for the future of work and Planet Earth itself.

About @OpenMatt
Matthew Frank Thompson is the Chief Storyteller for the Mozilla Foundation, makers of the Firefox web browser and a global non-profit community dedicated to spreading openness and opportunity online. He won a Webby Award for his open Internet campaign work with, and is a founding member of the Toronto Awesome Foundation. His work has been smeared by Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly.

Notes on one-pager

Sample language to consider including:
Why its relevant to the present moment. In a world straining under outdated cultural and economic software, open offers fresh new approaches that insist on pragmatism over
and paralysis, the word an outdated operating system of graft, consolidation and x. And when most of us feel crushed under the weight

Why it’s relevant to how the reader is feeling. Beyond the overflowing email inboxes, top-heavy org charts and hierarchical game-playing that still characterize too much of the working world,  Work Open brings stories of people making practical break-throughs, better karma, and greater openness to new ideas and collaboration instead of going it alone.

Start small. Think big. Work open.
Strategies, tactics and kung fu from the burgeoning “open everything” movement.
Finding patterns in *how* they work, learn, think and strategize. With an emphasis on how we can learn from and collaborate together. The goal: unlock hidden potential. Empower hidden allies, mavens and co-conspirators. Route around roadblocks, gatekeepers and bullies. And ultimately build the world we want.
[less rhetoric, more heart, please :]

“A bible for social entrepreneurs, up-starts and radical pragmatists.” — Jane Doe

Work is broken
What sucks is the dumb ways we make people work.
* we force them to use dumb systems and tools
* we duplicate effort.
* we make it hard to see what other people are doing
* we treat people like consumers or end users. we make stuff, they consume it.
* we contribute a tiny fraction of our best selves. depending on where we sit in an org chart.

We want to work smarter.
We want to do less and do it better.
We want to create big, bold solutions for the world’s most pressing problems.
We want to create vibrant, active communities around our best projects.
We want to harness the power of many hearts and minds to improve the quality of everything we do.
We want to make things better. Everything. Co-operating in the open to do so.

It’s messy and difficult to work with other people — colleagues, partners, end users — to create something of real value in a noisy, crowded world, buffeted by forces often beyond our control and across the staticy fog of distributed collaboration.

Blog post arc

15 ways to work open

Why work open?

Collaboration is our business: the rise of Open Everything
Collaboration is our business: why “Open Everything” is quietly reinventing the world
From the web to the real world
Not just got geeks anymore
Motivation: what’s driving this?

Getting on the same (ether)page: using Etherpad for fast open collaboration
A well written and organized etherpad can move mountains.

Thinking and writing in public: blogging for participation
Make it evergreen. [link to that guy who’s post I read.]
Make most of what you write a “how to.”
What are the best examples of blog posts?
Best templates?
[collect best resources for each]

Work in tickets (no, really): open sourcing the world’s to-do list
I’ve known about the value of working in tickets for a long time now —

Community calls 101: how to make meetings suck less

Putting your desk on the street: 10 ways to reduce mental clutter and make it easier for others to help your work

Building the bacon stack: the 4 ingredients for healthy community participation
on-ramps for participation

Getting to collaborative flow: why transparency feels good
why do people do stuff?
or: why we should stop feeding the monkeys raisins
Getting beyond carrots, sticks and transaction cost
A brief history of human collaboration, your personal secret mission, 
and the snuggle for survival.

The inside-out paradox: why the biggest benefits of open are internal
Open from the inside out: why the biggest benefits are often internal

Designing for participation: why everything should come with a remix button
start with remix example of kindergarten class
Open architecture: Letting a million big ideas bloom
from production and consumption to empowerment models
the tao of HOWTO

Why do people do stuff? open source and the new science of motivation
working open and the new science of motivation
Motivation, work and open:
We need to stop feeding the monkeys raisins
What the new science of motivation tells us about why people contribute.
This is your brain on open: how to

Dances with Hedgehogs: the power of doing less
Do less. Think about the smallest piece first, then build on it. Focus on your sweet spot, instead of burning yourself out or spreading thin.

The Mozilla Effect: Mozilla’s recipe for working open

The fifth freedom: innovation versus consolidation and the battle for your open soul
not so much competing ideologies, as the idea to simply do better.

open vs. closed as the biggest battle
source values and the future
Goliath 2.0: taking on the bullies, and gatekeepers and con-artists.
Goliath 2.0: Are a tiny elite of corrupt assholes ruining America?
Here’s the short answer: of course they are. Wealth is incredibly concentrated in a small number of hands. And according to the data and literature, most of them tend to kinda be pricks.
They feel a sense of entitlement. I understand the nature of wanting to keep one’s wealth. But when you look at charts like this, it’s hard to feel much sympathy — that is: if you care about the middle class. I do, because I don’t think our economy can survive without it.

Goliath 2.0: are corrupt monopolies ruining everything?

Idealistic know-how, ingenuity, and getting stuff done.
The Open Manifesto:
20 ways to work open
Hackable primers for smarter collaboration

Make things better. Insist on the right to continuously improve everything, and to spread that same freedom to others.

[Build better world. Empower others with the freedom to continuously improve. Make continuous innovation a core principle.]

Open black boxes.  Take things apart. Hack complex systems to make them better.

Embrace transparency. Think, communicate and plan in the open. As a way to showcase your commitment to a greater calling or mission, live and work your values, cut out bullshit, eliminate adminstrivia and barriers to working with others.

Think in public. Think out loud. Test early and often in public spaces like etherpads, newsgroups, blog posts and wikis, instead of closed email threads.

Work in public. Etherpad everything. Blog post drafts, planning documents, to do lists, manifestos. It’s an ingeniously simple low-tech way to get stuff done with other people. Open source your to do list. Work in open issue trackers instead of closed email threads. Divide big jobs into bite-sized tickets that make it easier for people to help.

Empower others. Push decision-making and agency to the edges. Engage people as co-designers and co-builders — not just passive consumers or spectators.

Let go. Embrace the fact that others will improve and adapt your own work. Design for it. Plan for it. See it as a great thing.

Build community. Think beyond masses, crowds and markets. Real communities are usually small numbers of real people. Stop shouting at some hypotehtical masses and consumers. Build for small numbers of real people. Empower your mavens. Focus on that small number of cream-of-the-crop community members, activists or fans. Forget crowdsourcing — crowds aren’t smart. Communities of peers are.

Think big. Serve a mission. Tell your story. not just a bottom line. That’s Articulate and serve your mission. Think big. Take on hard, meaningful problems. It’s only real “innovation” or “disruption” if it makes people’s lives better in a real way. That’s the key to inspiring others to help. If you don’t have a real mission and values, why would others want to participate in it? Stop abusing the terms “revolutionary” — if it doesn’t make real people’s lives matter in a real way, it probably doesn’t matter.
Have a mission that benefits others. Have an audacious goal. “Don’t be evil” isn’t good enough — the point is to do good.

Start small. Iterate. Build the minimum viable prototype. Focus  on delivering one complete unit of value at a time, instead of spreading yourself thin. It’s not all or nothing.
[Design for small numbers of real people, instead of some hypothetical mass. Focus on niche collaboration instead of mass communication. Reaching five of the right people is better than 10,000 of the wrong ones. Love is better than fame.] Test early and often.

Embrace agility. Rapid prototyping. Design a little, build a little, test a little. Most projects fail — so fail early. The act of making something changes your understanding of what you’re trying to make. Front load this learning and adapt as you go. Listen to what’s working and what isn’t. Course correct and pivot as you go.

Focus. Do less. Run lean. Instill relentless focus. Focus on the sweetspot where your passion, skills and resources overlap. Have the courage to say no to ideas that fall outside it. Be a hedgehog, not a fox. Focus. Ruthlessly eliminate clutter and distraction.

Design for participiation. Build on-ramps. Optimize your bacon stack. On-ramps, calls to action, celebration, documentation. Make it easier for others to help. Eliminate kruft and transaction cost. Enable self-service. Empower others to help themselves — so that you don’t have to.

Don’t ask permission. Route around Goliaths and gatekeepers. start right away. Waiting for organizations to change takes forever — don’t do it. Take on small things that carry little or no risk. Do stuff and dare people to stop you. Ask forgiveness instead of permission.

Hack dumb rules. Take on bullies and gatekeepers. Every organization, family and project in the world is dysfunctional. Getting something done and solving real problems is *ridiculously* hard. If you allow yourself to be weighed down by organizational yak shavings, politics and passive aggresive game playing, or bureaucracy, you’ll never get anything wortwhile done.

Beware the bikeshed. Don’t get stuck in never-ending feedback loops. Build a benevolent do-ocracy. Reward getting things done, instead of endless opinion sharing.

Punch above your weight. Use transparency, community participation and people-power as rocket fuel and force multiplier. If you’re serving the forces of Good, it’s essential that you tap into that greater power. You’re trying to move mountains — open collaboration with like-minded souls is the only way you’ll get there.

Cultivate leadership. Working open is not “leaderless.” It requires and cultivates more, better and different leadership, not less. Don’t tolerate bullies. Mitigate big egos. They bring everyone down.

Share. Give something away to get something greater back. Give everything a remix button. Unlock the full potential of your work by allowing others to adapt, remix and freely build on it. Use the licensing you need to make this happen. Benefit your larger environment and ecosystem.

Be better. Open wins when it’s better, not just because it’s open. It’s not kumbaya. Focus where idealism and pragmatism overlap.

It’s not all or nothing. You don’t have to flip over to some radically open culture overnight. It’s less like a light switch, and more like a cross-fader. Changing organizational culture is hard — so don’t try.  Start with the easy no-risk stuff. Then build from there.



Freedom and
Agility and open-mindedness is everything.
Your community is all you have.
Hack dumb rules.
Focus on
Be better.


10 (totally hackable and remixable) principles of open

Distill the ethos of the place and wring it into words.

Communicate in public, shareable places.
Use issue trackers. They’re the only way to efficiently get work done with other people. Document it. Scope it. Assign it. CC it.
The goal is useful participation.

Avoid “the unicorn” principle. Once for the, once for us.
Beware the bikeshed.
Do it once. The more you can do in public, the more duplication of effort you avoid. Surman and board slides. STrive for working open as a way to do less work, instead of an aspirational wish that will keep sliding down your to-do list.

Email sucks.

What does “working open” mean?

Write this as a Wikipedia-style definition.

“Working open” or “working in the open” refers to embracing transparency and open source values to collaborate, grow communities of participation. The terms comes from open source software development, and particular ways of organizing such as the use of wikis, module ownership, and an inherent belief in the value of transparency as a way to reduce collaborating cost and push control and innovation to the edges.

Thinking, writing and planning in public.
Testing early and often. Breaking large jobs into smaller pieces. Shipping iterations and prototypes earlier in the process.
Publicly documenting your vision and roadmap. Making it easier for people to see what you’re after. Posting your vision and roadmap where others can find it.
Removing artificial barriers and needless collaboration cost. Cutting out administrivia, beaureacry and artificial obstacles to collaboration.
Hacking dumb rules. Creative rule-breaking. Shucking artificial constraints. Routing around bottlenecks, hierarchies and gatekeepers.
Avoiding passive-aggressive game-playing. Arming yourself against runaway egos, bullies and HPPOs (Highly Paid People with Opinions.)
Sharing. Giving more away, in order to get more back. Growing communities and ecologies along the way.

Why does working open work?
Embracing radical pragmatism. Embracing the sweet spot where idealism and pragmatism meet.
Designing for participation. Thinking through the architecture of participation. Identifying and streamlining on-ramps into your project. Embracing empowerment instead of consumption. Self-service / empowerment.
Finding the right balance of order and chaos.
Embracing value as part of the bigger picture. Being a part of the happiness economy. Giving back to our world and each other. Doing good.
writing in public, open community calls, public board slides and roadmaps, “open filing cabinets,” etc.)
Measuring and feedback. More reliance on data and testing, less gut opinions from HPPOs (Highly Paid People with Opinions).

What are the problems “working open” might help solve?
Drowning in dumb emails. And assorted social media blah blah blah.
Wasted time in meetings.
Duplicating efforts.
Ego, bottlenecks and baloney.
Shipping stuff people don’t want.
Locking stuff away where no one can find it.
Letting the Big Guys push you around. Bullies or gatekeepers getting you down.

Why work open?

Because many of us feel the status quo isn’t working. Both at a personal level, and a bigger picture level. Talking with David, I was struck with the simplicity. “People are seeking new ways of doing things.” They’re frustrated by traditional methods that tend to go slow, or the sense that by the time ideas work their way through various official channels, they’ve lost their mojo or momentum. Or simply died on the vine.

I think this sense of personal frustration and intuition things could be better is mirrored at a bigger picture level as well. We need to update the operating system of the planet, and maybe that starts with the soul of work.

When we pry under the hood of many of the systems the world runs on, we see ever-increasing trends towards secrecy, towards forced ignorance or illteracy, toward consolidation, gatekeepers, monopolization.

The goal of working open is meaningful participation
Working open is a means to an end. The key question is not whether every itty bitty piece of communication or decision-making should be “open” or “closed,” or embracing transparency in its own right. The goal is to instead ask whether it enables useful participation.

How does it help us be more agile? How does it produce visible progress and momentum? How does it help us do good?

The goal of open is:
participation. rocket fuel for smart collaboration.
agility. speed. flexibility. getting stuff done.
testing and rapid prototyping. iterating and refining as we go.
leverage. getting greater bang from limited resources. punching above our weight. momentum.
inspiration. transparency feels good. focusing on a shared mission and goals.

The goal of open is not:
public performance. creating the fake appearance of consultation.
endless opinion-sharing. never-ending “feedback.” bike-shedding.
magic “crowd-sourcing.” crowds aren’t smart — communities of peers are.

“Open is a  willingness to share, not only resources, but processes, ideas, thoughts, ways of thinking and operating. Open means working in spaces and places that are transparent and allow others to see what you are doing and how you are doing it, giving rise to opportunities for people to connect, jump in and offer help — and where you can reciprocate and do the same.” 
–Clint Lalonde

How to move away from:
x – neverending emails
y – passive aggressive game playing
z – jamming people into org charts
y – treating end users purely as “users” or consumers. “We make stuff — and then those other people consume it.”
r – show quick results. even if it means gaming the system. Or bullshitting. etc.

shareable artefacts
experimentation. new tools,
social enterprise. thinking bout hte medium and long term. etc
What is working open?
How do *you* do it?

Alternate working titles
How to work open (take 2): the 10 habits of awesome collaborators

overlap between idealism and pragmatism
make everything better
david vs. Goliath (the slingshot = open)
the onion. making it easy for the people who love you to help you. To give you a turbo boost.

My story: it’s fuzzy, difficult and it works.
why I care about it
*how* people are feeling
set up “how to work open” manifesto
end with the open question and CTAs:
why do you do it?
how do you do it?
who inspires you?

Open as noun, verb and attitude.
I personally find open inspiring because it offers a fresh approach. As Clint Lalonde, “Open is a noun, verb, adjective…and an attitude.”

Working open: how do *you* do it?

[graphic: Make things better]

I joined Mozilla three years ago for one major reason: I wanted to learn how to work open.

I was at a point in my career where I was beginning to doubt the “revolutionary” potential of the internet and technology as a force for good. While it was definitely empowering people in exciting new ways, and making it possible for average people like me to reach large audiences, it seemed like a lot of the work we were doing was mostly just talking at people. We were obsessed with growing big email lists, then constantly trying to get people to do relatively trivial things — like sign petitions (click-tivism), read our stuff, or give us money. We talked a lot about the democratizing power of the web — but it didn’t seem to translate into concrete practice much, or change the way we were actually working.

At the same time, cyber-utopianism was wearing thin. There is no app for that. Worshipping at the church of technology is not going to build the world we want.

I wanted to connect with people that were using the web and social media to not only communicate with people, but actually build things and get stuff done. Collaborating at depth. Engaging people to not just read stuff or click on something — but co-design, collaborative production, so I left my old job and went looking.

[graphic: Firefox]
40,000 people made Firefox
That’s when I came across this statistic in a random magazine article, and in some ways its kind of a single sentence that changed the next chapter of my life:

“Mozilla [in year] has around 400 employees — but more than 40,000 community     volunteers around the world helped build the Firefox web browser.”

How was that possible? Who were those people — and why did they do it? What drove them to contribute their time and energy to building a better web browser? And perhaps even more importantly: how do you do it? How do you create systems and processes where all that chaotic contribution actually adds up to something useful? What strategies and tactics do you employ? How do you do it ways that don’t break a piece of software that more than 300 million people use around the world — and that has managed to successfully compete against Goliaths like Google, Apple and Microsoft?

For me, this was a mystery I wanted to learn from. I joined Mark Surman. Along the way I’ve had the chance to learn from some of the most interesting people on the planet. They’re not the typical Silicon valley types — what’ s unique about Mozilla is that it draws people who care about a mission, instead of getting rich. They’re not just trying to throw around words like “distruption” and revolution and innovation so that they can take some useless product to an IPO and get rich quick. They care about technology as a force for good, and they’re committed to spreading that creative potential to others. More than anything, they’re committed to what Mitchell Baker called a unique way of working. That, more than anything, is Mozilla’s secret sauce, and I’ve spent the last several months listening and trying to break down some of the recipe.

I’ve often felt like a bit of a fish out of water here. Mozilla is an organization of developers and engineers. I mean I’m a geek — but these people know what the hell they’re doing. I’m an English major, for crying out loud. But in some ways, I’ve tried to use that as a guinea pig. We know these kinds of open source tactics can work in technology, but how can we spread them to new audiences and projects? How can we infect the larger world with those values. In many ways, that’s been my role here — and it’s easily the most fascinating job I’ve ever had. And it concides with a larger community and movement of people doing the same thing — thinking about how we take open source values and the principles of “working open” beyond tech to the world at large.

QUOTE FROM SHIRKY: are we just going to leave it to developers, or spread to others?

From the web to the real world
That’s the question I’ve been actively researching and listening for. It’s been inspiring to see the way others are experimenting with this very question. Strategies and tactics that began in open source technology have morphed and turned into prototypes and “green shoots” in the real world: from open source automobile manufacturing, to power generators and industrial implements like tractors, to open science, blossoming open education, open access journal.

Governments are experimenting with using Git Hub to write legislation. Educators are using open educational resources and open online courses. We’re seeing the world’s first open source automobiles, tractors, power generators and submersible robots. There’s everything from open source cola to beer to x.

In other words: people are experimenting with making real things like automobiles and tractors in a way that’s strikingly similar to how Mozilla makes software. Working in open communities, doing x and y. to badass dune buggies on steroids like this:

[video: Rally Fighter]

A force multiplier for doing good
“Everyone is looking for a new way of doing things,” David, doing a pHd that includes a participatory budgeting project for the City of Toronto.
Why do-gooder must work open
If you’re doing something inspiring, something needed, instead of bullshit — you must work open. Not doing so is like carying around a secret jet pack — and never bothering to turn it on. There’s a wellspring of potential knowledge and passion just waiting to plug in, or already working on the same stuff you are. If we don’t design our lives and work in ways that push with this piotential energy, instead of just ignoring it, we’re relegating ourselves to dullness and trivializing our potential impact. The forces of good *need* open as a force multiplier and ways to apply greater leverage against the Goliaths, status quo Big Dumb Businesses, and general force toward mediocre entropy that so much of the working world still operates on. Open is David’s slingshot, and the necessary positive corollary of living in a networked world. We either use our new tech to drown in static and make Walmart’s supply chain more efficient, or we get sroius about changing the way we work to be more collaborative, more in line withtour values, and devoted to delivering more of the world and each other genuinely need — instead of just what some org chart or narrowly definied bottom line demands.

What is working open?
So what is it? [name’s presentation here] does a great job. Sites like opensource way have devoted. I’ve tried to write about it here and here. That initial “How to Work Open” post is one of the most succesful things I’ve written, which suprises me — it seems pretty cursory and incomplete. But I was reminded during last week’s open online course for educators, it still seemed to strike a chord — which has prompted me to go back and try to update and revise it.


In the spirit of great resources like the Cult of Done and others, I’ve tried to create a “version 0.1” draft of “15 ways to work open.” It needs work, and it’s often hard to strike a balance between the values, strategies and tactics of open.

If I had to distill it down, I’d say:

1) The freedom to make things better.
2) Reducing collaboration cost.
Community. Designing for empowerment and participation. Making it easier for others to help you. Focusing on a shared mission or common set of goals, instead of just pursuing your own narrowly defineed self-interest.
Living and working your values.
Building the world we need.


Why does it matter?
And how does it connect to how people are feeling?

Becoming a better collaborator. And focusing more on what really matters.

It seems like many of us are looking for ways to work smarter. And in today’s world, a lot of that is about working smarter with other people. In today’s relationship based economy, collaboration is our business. Our success depends largely on our ability to persuade, co-operate, sell, work with. The idea of working open strikes a chord with people looking for greater pragmatism — but also people who want to live and work their values. Social enterprises, non-profits, or traditional businesses that care about a genuine mission, and take pride in what they do. There’s something about that deeply overlapping mix of both the idealism (transparency as value), pragmatism (agility, earlier testing, more accountability) and an emotional aspect (transparency feels good.) Or as Clint Lalonde puts it:  quote

How do *you* do it?
The really interesting bit is in the knowhow and the culture — not just the technology. That’s the part that fascinates me: how do you do it? Do you publish your roadmaps on wikis? Hold open communities calls on etherpad or IRC? Do you invite your users to freely remix or improve what you make? Who is that small number of superstar community members that rock — and how do you further empower them?

There’s lots of books and resources about the theory of transparency and open (open source, the open Internet, transparency and organizational cost, theories of collaboration cost, the commons, new theories of motivation, etc.) etc. But a alot of those resources (all of which I love) tend to leave out the *really* difficult and fascinating bit: how do you actually do it? How do you put it into practise?

I think interesting people around the world are wrestling with these. If you know others or are interested yourself, please add your name to my “Awesome List of People I Really Ought to Interview for this Book About ‘Working Open.’

Thinking about how we work often seems secondary, or like a luxury we don’t really have. So blog posts like these — and trying to maybe eventually turn a bunch of them into a book over the next 12 months — are really just an excuse to ask a question: how do you do it?

Why do you do it? What drives you to experiment with these new ways of working?
How do you do it? What are some specific strategies and tactics you’re using? What’s working? What’s not?
Who inspires you? What are examples of other people and organizations that you think are doing this well?


Why does working open resonate with real people?
For me, the growing popularity of working open connects to something more personal. A desire for many of us to work smarter, embrace greater simplicity, and eliminate much of the noise and static from our day.

We’re working too much. We’re drowning in emails. And now, on top of it, there’s a whole slew of new channels we’re supposed to pay attention to: Twitter, Facebook, Yammer, blog and newsgroup feeds. All of them trying to shove text into our eyeballs at a pace that is fraying our emotional circuits.

Many of us are wondering what happened to our plans to make the world better. Most of the people I talk with say they feel like they’re drowning in emails and electronic communication, leaving them with less time to think.

“Working open” is in part driven by a desire to simplify, empower others and focus on more of the good stuff.

I think it’s a mix of two things. On the one hand, I think many of us feel like we’re drowning in noise and static. Email is broken. In many ways it’s being pushed to do things was never intended to, and so were left feeling overwhelmed. Social media in many ways has made this worse. The number of panels were all supposed to pay attention to now-from Twitter and Facebook to yammer and interest. All of this is craving and desire to focus on using the web and social media to actually get more time. The technology piece in many ways is the easy part. The really interesting and difficult part is culture-the values we work with on the how to. The specific operational wisdom. I think many of us are looking for a way to cut through all that noise and chatter and really focus on smarter collaboration. And were recognizing that that’s not just about installing some new piece of software or some act it’s really about asking more fundamental questions about how we work and changing our practices.

The second piece of what’s driving working open as I think in many ways even more important and more inspiring. And that is a growing desire people have lives and work their values. To see their work not simply as a paycheck and a cubicle but as a way to contribute as a way to make the world better. A transparency feels good in part because it helps us share the parts of our work that we are most passionate about. And it opens up the possibility of finding others who share our mission and share our passions. And tapping into the sense that we are stronger together, and that we are bigger than our place in some box on org chart.

For many of these people, there their alliance is not to their organization or department. They feel committed to a larger mission or goal, and really enjoyed learning from and working with others tackling hard problems or taking out creative new approaches within that space. I think working open reflects a shift towards those values-and a growing distrust of big monopolistic institutions that may or may not have our best interests at heart. And a frustration with org charts, corporare bureaucracy, and varoius game-playing that often goes on within any institution.

People drawn to open our people are often what I call obsessive-compulsive optimizers. They’re people who just can’t help but make things better. They like to understand how complex systems work, play around with them, make them better, leave the world a little better than they found it. And they are ruthlessly pragmatic. These are people who don’t just talk about how things might be better but actively design prototype and build improvements.

Reconnect to my story of self:
Through this process of discovery, rediscovered that passion and idealism.
the disappointed idealist who gets their groove back / gets to focus on passion

As an introvert, it was scary to open myself to others.

in the first chapter: I’m not an expert. I don’t know how to do this. But I’m getting a chance to learn from some of the smartest people in the world. And I’m going out in search of others. Maybe we can exchange tools and best practices together. Maybe it’ll pay off in some ways in the real world. Draft of blog post two:
Open Everything: from the web to the real world

Why an unlikely global movement is quietly plotting to re-design the world
moving from the geeky petrie dish of software and tech to the real world

Work, economics and collaboration. What we can learn apply in our own everyday lives and work.
Open source strategies and tactics aren’t just for geeks anymore — they’re for virtually everyone. Industrial manufacturing, medicine, etc.  Everyone’s using and adapting them now.

moving from the web to the real world

Rally Fighter intro
Meet the Rally Fighter, arguably the world’s most badass open source automobile. The parts are licensed under Creative Commons.

From the web to the real world
What Mozilla did with software, organizations like Local Motors are now doing in the real world. They’re similarly using open source wisdom and tactics to empower communities, work smarter and faster, be more agile, and unlock collaborative power that would otherwise be out of reach.

Open innovation challenges. Community-sourcing production. Tapping into the passion and skills of people beyond the organizations. Embracing radical transparency as a way to go faster, reduce workload and get more done. Erasing the lines in the traditional “org chart.”

Local Motors is doing with gearshifts and hydraulics what open source developers do with code. Practices that grew up in the geeky world of tech and the web are now spilling out into the real world.

“If the past 10 years have been about discovering post-institutional social models on the Web, then the next 10 years will be about applying them to the real world.” –Chris Anderson, Wired

Recent years have seen the mushrooming of — as Mark Surman first coined it — “Open Everything.” From open source software, open government, and open data to open learning, open medicine, and open cities, open has grown up out of the petrie dish of tech and sprung into the everyday world.

From starts-ups like Local Motors, to social enterprises like Mozilla, to non-profits Open Source Ecology quietly building all the component parts you’d need (from tractors to power generators to x) to build a small-scale open source civilization.

There’s open source brickmakers, open source underwater robot drones, and Open Source Beer (brewed by “the Yeastie Boys”), perfected using an open source spectrometer.
Drink too many in that Rally Fighter and you might end up blowing into a shiny new open source breathalyzer

Open organizations like Creative Commons are doing x. MacArthur is interested in open networking to revolutionize learning and education. International development organizations are looking at it as a way to be more responsive and effective, pushing innovation out to the edges and turning the “field” into the lab.

“Open” has gone from something only geeks and software engineers cared about into something actively at work in the real world.  And at a moment when it seems like much of the rest of the planet has been loudly butting heads, it’s working.

How do they do it? Looking for patterns and best practices in the world of open
More than a set of work practises, there’s also a spirit. These are people who can embrace radical transparency because they’re proud of what they do. And what they do is transparently good.
Or as Clint Lalonde put it, “open is a noun, a verb and an attitude.”

For me, it’s a fascinating constellation of diverse people that doesn’t really think of itself as a “movement” as such, and is really only just getting warmed up. They’re a diverse mix of engineers, teachers, librarians, car designers, and inspired geeks of all stripes. They’re civic hackers and idealists, radical pragmatists, and a messy mix of aspirational lefties and Copy Left to Spock-like libertarians who are primarily about choice, competition and user freedom. They’re a fiesty movement of inspired geeks, social innovators and transparency crusaders — one that doesn’t cut across traditional lines, but that does hold growing interest to workers and decision-makers.

What I think we all tend to have in common — (and I say “we” because I definitely try to identify as one of them) is that we are “Obsessive Compulsive Optimizers” (OCOs). People who tend to look at the world around them and recognize patterns and systems around them. These are people who start re-designing the process around them, compulsively taking apart most of that they can get their hands on, and then putting back together again — but just a little different.  To optimize or create something new out of it. That’s what <name> means when he says “Hell means nothing less to optimize.” These people are doers. Many of them are introverts. They’re not as loud — but they’re certainly more effective.

As Gunner puts it: “quote”

We’re trying, I think, to embrace open not only in terms of technology, but also in terms of how we work. From how they assign tasks, to how they think, plan and write, to how they run meetings. In a sense, Open Everything is quietly experimenting right now with ways to update the entire operating system of work. And challenging a whole series of conventional assumptions and ideologies along the way.

The key themes: working in the open, designing for participation and agility. Hacking dumb rules where necessary, and removing transaction cost and artificial barriers to self-service and collaboration. Leveraging the power of many “minds, hearts and souls,”  as Gunner puts it, to produce things real humans want and need. As opposed to products they don’t want that prove to have little lasting value.  To break log-jams, go faster, create greater efficiency and strategically share. Embracing the root principle of “open” and building off the original principles of “open source” — in how we work, build and collaborate. Social innovators, frustrated office workers, anyone interested in focusing more on the parts of the project or job you’re passionate about — and less on the stuff you’re not.
Thinking in public: Etherpads, Wikis and blogging for participation
How to reduce dumb emails, transaction cost and the fog of war
FTW: Thinking and writing in public (or: etherpad everything)
Etherpad as gateway drug for greater openness and transparency and collaboration

Getting on the same page

Why most “collaboration” tools actually suck
In Hacking Work, authors x and y reveal one of the dirty secrets of much of the corporate and institutional world: the tools we have implemented for colleagues to collaborate with each other generally suck, and in many cases, actually make it more difficult for people to do their jobs.

“I don’t Basecamp.” — Mark Surman

Remember: anything requiring log-ins is a huge pain in the ass. It’s amazing to me the amount of time that gets wasted on this. (Mozilla’s Persona is a great way to start solving this problem, by the way.)

Conspire with others.
Use them for meetings
About 90% of our work in some way runs on etherpads.
Recent experience with colleagues, found our obsession w. etherpads odd.
Before that, and still is, wikis.

Pro-tips: Awesome Bar
Use the light colors. The dark ones are ugly and hard to read.
Use the time slider if you need to go back.
White out stuff. Leave it highlighted in other areas.

Warning: Don’t Be Dumb. Should I put my credit card data, location of my secret cache of platinum rubies, and my bank card PIN, Mother’s address, or other sensitive or personal info on an etherpad? Probably not. Think of these as like little whiteboards you can easily send others — anyone could, in theory, see them — though it’s unlikely they could, unless you shared it more publicly, because they wouldn’t know the link. (Though Etherpads can eventually be searched and indexed by Google.)

So what should you use them for? Anything you
to-do lists
talking points

Working in your undies
Get used to working in your underwear. Open iteration: Rapid prototyping, agility and the MVP

The fundamental value of rapid prototyping is that the act of building something changes your idea of what it is you’re trying to make. There are some things you can really only learn from getting your hands dirty, from engaging with the materials and audiences and forcing yourself out of the comfy warm bath of your own mind out into the messy physical reality of other people and things. Designing, building and testing cannot be wholly separated, or moved through once. They have to be a cycle your rinse and repeat over and over again.

Releasing early and often
“If you’re not at least a little embarrassed by what you release, you’re waiting too long.” Fail early and often.

blog post 5:
Working in tickets: open sourcing your to-do lists and shared tasks

Email sucks. Let’s work in tickets instead.

The secret life of tasks
Tracing the life-cycle of a task
Show the process of drafting a press release. On etherpad.
Then take the same thing with Bugzilla.
Or SVN vs. Git.
Or even the decentralized network itself.

Case study: Michael Kohler
For me, this is a great example of why working open works.
We had a clear call to action: make your own guides teaching people how to do something. We created a template, gaver everything a remix button, and released it early — it’s not gorgeous, but it works.
People started doing it! And they’re good. Really good, in fact — better than the stuff we made ourselves. Michael created a teaching guide around something we really cared about, but hadn’t been able to get ourselves yet: creating documentaiton for teaching someone how to make their own app for Firefox OS. BUT — this small success revealed a larger problem: we had no clear documentation on how to share this stuff with others. So what do you do?
You create the documentation. Started a ticket, a colleague had draft documentation done super fast. I gave it a quick copy edit — then immeidately asked Michael to test it. People who report problems are *excellent* guinea pigs for testing the solution. Invite them to test it, and see where they get stuck
Serendipity. For me, this is the process at its best: community calls are great ways to identify eager beavers and the most active potential members of your community.
I don’t actually know Michael’s employment status — does he work at Mozilla, or somewhere else. But who cares? We got awesome user testing, a chance for Michael to share his work. The win for him — in addition to the obvious psychological satisfaction of teaching and helping people — is that his resource can now in turn be remixed, tranlsated and adapted for whole new context he hand’t even imagined. Month later at the Mozilla Festival, we used his same teaching guide to teach a bunch of lit up 12-year-olds how to make apps for their phone. post 6
Community Calls 101: how to run meetings that don’t suck

Let’s face it: most meetings suck. They’re where good ideas go to die, or where various arbitrarily gathered cabals engage in endless rounds of blah blah blah. They’re slow, x, and often feel like the laziest way of trying to do something: let’s get a bunch of stakeholders together and talk at each other — in sequential fashion.

“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of this meeting.”

Even worse for office denizens is the standing meeting — those time sucks that cluster around clog up your calendar like weeds, slowly squeezing off the amount of time you actually have to do anything.

My wife’s colleague said she’d been in “back to backs for days” — endless rows of constant meetings.  The more harried and dysfunctional organizations become, the more pointless meetings they have. “By the time I finish with email and meetings, I don’t have any time left to actually do my work.”  Fun.

Dilbert cartoon: why do our meetings take so long?

Meeting, thinking and planning in public
So how do we make meetings suck less? One of the principles of working open is to replace endless committee and staff meetings with open “community calls” that anyone is free to attend. [another sentence here on what community calls are. The biggest differences:

One of the most exciting things for me about working at Mozilla for the past three years is that we made a conscious decision not to do that. We replaced our “staff meetings” with open community calls that anyone was free to attend. We modeled them after the standing Mozilla All Hands meetings (Mondays at 2pm ET), and various other community calls throughout the Mozilla project ecosystem. Each has their own way of doing things — we borrowed, adapted, remixed and mutate them over time.

[quote from Gunner]

Moving from closed-door gabfests to open sprints
Over the past three years as our project has grown, we’ve spun off a whole bunch of little baby community calls that have each evolved and grown in their own right. There’s no magic — and they’re certainly not a cure-all or panacea. But I think they’re one of the cornerstones of working open, committing yourself to transparency — but also to making more effective use of everyone’s time. Particularly when coupled with a well-organized Etherpad agenda, they become a powerful way to switch from primarily just talking about stuff, through a narrow channel that only lets one person talk at once — to a more open sprint, where key questions, answers, plans and next steps are documented as you go. Smart community calls combined with open etherpad agendas can help you get more done, blast fresh ideas in through community members and unusual bedfellows, and x y.

Community calls
Create a culture of weekly shipping. A cadence for continuous delivery, or weekly drumbeat of shipping slow but steady improvements. OR, when those *don’t* happen, why they’re not happening.

Community celebration, open co-ordination and “working out loud”
So what is a community call exactly? [QUOTE]

Why do it?
Why start a community call, or try to replace conventional closed-door stakeholder meetings with open community calls that anyone’s free to attend?

Self-service and empowering new community, partners and colleagues.
Identify your most active community members and mavens.
Serendipitious encounter.  Let people connect horizontally with each other.
More seamlessly moving to next steps.
Documentation and social media sprints.
Early testing and public reaction.
Less yammer, more hammer.

How to get started
Document your audience and objectives. It’s ok if only a few people come — let them grow over time. (See below in the Pro Tips and tricks section.)

Pick a time and document it. The easiest way: create a wiki page with all the details for the call. You could set one up on your own web site. Or just create a wiki page at “” Include links to your open agendas.

Use an etherpad for your agenda. This now seems obvious to us — but it wasn’t when we started. It allows your to essentially turn your agenda grow and morph over the course of the meeting.  Making the switch from wikis to etherpad — and setting the right culture, tone and expectations around them — was huge for us.  This was an idea I orginally stole from P2PU.

Give people multiple ways to communicate and participate in the call. One of the beauties of using etherpad for your agenda and notes is that it also provides a dead simple form of online chat as well. People can exchange notes, kibbitz, ask questions as they go. This changes the dynamic dramatically — it liberates the call from the tyranny of the vocal track, and further opens the bandwidth for participation.

Invite anyone. And allow anyone to suggest agenda items.

Try to put new community members up front. This was a recent suggestion we adopted from x community call, and we find it really works well. It helps to vary up the voices in the calls, and respects people’s time. You can put more nitty gritty items a little further along.

Turn your completed etherpad into next steps and shareable artefacts. Take bits and pieces and turn them into blog posts. File tickets. Or paste them into wiki documentation or pages in their own right: “our Q3 web site plan” or “draft development roadmap” or whatever.

The thing that struck me once we moved to etherpad for “all-in-one” open agenda — as opposed to a wiki or static agenda in an email or attachement — was that by the end of the meeting, we often had the equivalent of a really good blog post draft already collaboratively written together. It’s still work to clean it up and publish it in cleaner form — but it’s more like a collective document, rather than just a bunch of talk that soon disappears into the ether.

Pro Tips and Tricks
Kat Braybrook is an x and y who’s passionate about open science. “QUOTE ON WHY.” She’s spinning up community calls of her own, and asked colleagues for help. “QUOTE ABOUT A QUESTION OR SOMETHING SHE WASN’T SURE OF.”

My colleagues had a bunch of ideas — and I’ve collected some here. But more importantly, I want to hear about what’s working for you. How are you using open strategies and tactics to make your meetings sucks less? Do you run a community call? Just getting started? I’d love to hear from you.

What’s great about our open meeting / etherpad sprints is that talking, taking notes, making decisions, working out next steps, and then publishing or circulating that information get collapsed into a single process, instead of several.

Dan Sinker advice on community calls:

A few things we’ve learned the hard way:

* Set up a fresh etherpad for every call. “They get *really* big if they’re active, and they start crashing after a few calls. The wiki is useful as a central place, but honestly everyone just clicks through from Twitter.”

* Promote early and often. “We start a twitter drum about an hour out from the call, then remind at a half hour, 10 minutes, and at the start. Always include an etherpad link, as well as a couple teases about what you’re talking about.”

* Get your muting and un-muting right. This is surprisingly crucial — having a lot of people on an open conference call demands that you be able to mute all lines if needed. Otherwise you’ll be treated to a cacophony of brying babies, barking dogs and background chatter, no matter how politely you remind people to self-mute. “Reminding people to mute every few minutes is a pain in the ass, and eventually someone just doesn’t do it and it descends into background noise chaos. Either configure the conference number so that it’s set to join-muted, or arrange for access to a service [like Global Crossings] so you have far more fine-grain control.”

Build slow. “No matter what, it is a slow build. We have 30-40 people regularly on our calls now. It used to be staff, fellows, and maybe 3-5 other people. It took probably six months to build up really successfully. A lot of that was just being predictable: running the calls each and every two weeks, with very few exceptions.”

From Doug Belshaw:

Over-promote each call. Doug Belshaw: “People won’t come if you don’t remind them about it up until the last second. I schedule tweets for this.”
Make sure there’s a single trusted place people can go to find out about the latest call. A dedicated wiki page (like or simple web page (like call) works well for this. (here’s the Web Literacy dedicated wiki page, Webmaker page, and others)
Have a generic etherpad template. To make preparing for each call a bit easier. Here’s ours for the WebLitStd call. And here’s one for the Webmaker call.
Have a standard introduction at the start. Doug Belshaw: “Have a ‘mantra’ that you say at the start of each call (ours is below). It serves two purposes: welcomes those new to a community that might otherwise feel cliquey, and reminds old-hands why they’re there in the first place.
Consider record calls. So that people can listen back to them. You can use Skype + Call Recorder to record the call. Or some services like Global Crossing have this built in as a service.

Prepare people / give them thinking time for the question you’re about to ask. If you just suddenly ask a question and then pause for an answer you’ll get dead air. Saying things like “in a moment I’m going to pause to ask if anyone’s got any responses to X” allows people thinking time.

Use the multi-modal affordances of Etherpad/Etherchat/voice to your advantage. Verbalise stuff that’s going on in the Etherchat, especially for the benefit of those listening later!
Structure the call so it flows. Punt discussions to the next call if there’s a rich vein you’re mining.

I found the pad from our discussion on these topics at the All Hands (, which mentions forthcoming science calls!). To add to the body of knowledge below, two things that have worked well on the badges calls include:

Ask people to mention their intentions for participation when they list their names and info on the pad. These need not be formal (inviting people with “Please add your name / Twitter handle / email address / intention for your involvement in the wider badges community” has worked for us), but it can put people in a thoughtful / purposeful state of mind.

Creating a name or theme for each call as referenced below. In taking a nod from the Slate Gabfest podcasts, we have labeled ours “The ___ Edition,” which can be informational and/or fun, in the case of the post-Clinton Global Initiative meeting call, “The Bill Loves Badges Edition.”

Working in tickets
I’m trying to think of what I found so profoundly satisfying about the experience. I think it’s about the satisfaction in seeing a problem solved that probably would not have been possible otherways. If you give a guy like Humph a well-written ticket, he’ll *solve* it for you lickety split. He’ll CC others on it that he thing can help. He doesn’t have to re-write, or re-scope the ticket — unless it’s poorly written or documented in the first place. He can just add others, who immediately get more up to speed on what needs fixing or has to be done. It creates a shared x or “baton” of work that you can set lose and by extension, allow others to grab onto and run with — without your involvement. When it doesn’t work, it’s just another exercise in email-like frustration. But when it works, you feel like humanity really can crack the code — we can get shit *done.*

Getting shit done on planet earth is fucking hard. That’s why we invented working open. And protecting ourselves from meaningless distraction.

Example of tickets in action
The system works. 🙂
Putting your desk on the street: 10 ways to embrace everyday transparency
Reducing administrivia and making it easier for other people to work with you.

Make it easier for other people to help you.
Eliminate administrivia. Remove mental kruft, cognitive tax and the fried circuits of overflowing inboxes. Route around bottlenecks and bullies. Remove dumb barriers to collaboration. Think, design and build architectures of participation.
Making it easier for people to help you.
The work you do is inspiring. Inter-connectdenss means getting things done and getting more of what we want from life is inevitably about getting more help and collaboration from other people. Particularly where your interest and their own passion and interests overlap.

Open is a means to an end. The goal is not transparency for its own sake. The goal is to work faster, smarter, and more agile.  faster, smarter, more flexible.

The goal is agility. And meaningful participation. Content is no longer kind — meaningful engagement is.

Open communication is everything. Dragging decision-making, documentation out of email threads and other closed-one offs into the light is key. Instead of private conversations, create lasting and shareable artefacts. Private email conversations trap insight and decisions in closed channels that your colleagues and community can’t see or easily put their hands on later. Use etherpads, wikis, public chat, and other open, shareable platforms to avoid duplication of effort, enable self-service, and go faster.

The life cycle of a task
or why it’s so ridiculously hard to get anything done

The Secret
How do i make it easier for the world to get what I want? (The Secret.) a) tell the world, b) design for participation, c) do good.

Working open isn’t for everyone
If you do stuff that you don’t want other people to know about, or work in a job that is fundamentally about the bottom line, ripping people off, or conducting otherwise shady business — this is definitely not for you. Working open works best for doing good.
If you do bad, or do boring, this stuff probably won’t work as well for you.

But if you’re like a growing number of people that see their work as an expression of their best selves — shopcraft as soulcraft — working open can be a way to get more out of what you love about your work most, and — if you’re lucky — act as a force multiplier that helps you punch above your weight. Building the Bacon Stack: onramps for participation

Do an on-ramp audit. What are your major arteries, pathways into the project and on-ramps for participation.  Are they paved and well lit? Is there a compelling invitation or sign? Are the steps for participating clear? Are you celebrating and modeling success? Are you using data to optimize the stack?

Conclusion: thinking through participation design — instead of transparency for its own sake
An author who said that Mozilla was able to marshall millions of people to help build Firefox because of its commitment to “transparency.” That’s true, but by itself it only tells a tiny fraction of the story — and risk being a gross over-simplification or common misunderstanding. Transparency alone produces no magic. You can’t just chuck data or documents over a wall and hope for them to land in the right spot or bear meaningful fruit. You need to design and build these architectures of participation. For me, Jono Bacon’s on-ramp stack — particularly with the addition of data as a fifth element — provides a lens for us to tackle this work. It breaks it into smaller pieces, and can make it seem less over-whelming.

Particularly once visualized — drawn as a napkin sketch, layering over data or numbers as you have it — I’ve found to be enormously helpful. They’re pipes of participation.

You can’t just chuck this data over a wall and expect it to work miracles. There’s no magic in “open.” Setting data free is not enough — we need the connective tissue that links it to action. (And in some cases, lasting change — which is enormously difficult.)

But setting our data and best ideas free is the essential first step. And once we take it, it leads to others — each more interesting than the last.

The Tao of How To: writing documentation before you’re ready

RTFM — with no M

“We’re not ready yet.” There are *interim* processes and documentation. Before the walking paths have been paved, they still exist — if you know where to find them. I’m finding that inviting community and end users in sooner can challenge a perpetual “we’re not ready yet” feeling, and often solve with a few lines of copy what people instead might take months to solve with code or built.
Collaborative flow: Beyond fried circuits, over-sharing and information overload

ADD, Email Apnea and
beyond fried circuits and information overload
“Email Apnea” and holding our breathe

The product is us: “trade routes of the mind”
In some ways, moving to electronic communication — moving from the external world and inward, or what Innes called “from the trade routes of the external world to the trade routes of the mind — has created new kinds of collaboration cost — not the cost or friction of struggling to connect across vast distances and synchronous time — but the heat, noise, or grinding gears caused by too much information. Or at least, too much of the wrong kind. This forces us to seek solutions that are not simply about finding new pipes or fiddling with the plumbing — but rather to consider our kung fu, to reconsider some of our motivations for working in the first place, to question the arbitrary nature of the hierarchical or department-driven systems we find around us, and to seek new forms of pracise, new ways of doing things, and whole new forms of gymkata or kung fu.

Real communication occurs seldom. It’s precious stuff.
As McLuhan observed: “quote.” We are constantly in an Alice in Wonderland non-Euclidean space of shifting dimensions and shouted corridor  s, fighting above the noise to make ourselves mutually understood. Living our values: why transparency feels good

“Your community is all that you have.” –Dan Sinker

Collaboration cost: Beyond gears, levers and pulleys
Re-thinking “collaboration cost”
Not just a circuit that information travels through — but more like an ecology of people, and real human psychology
Mechanistic theories of “transaction cost” miss the larger ground. You need trust, you need permission to ask tough questions. We’re not just cogs transacting energy from one gear to another. We’re x and y, trying to feel our way through complex problems and processes.
The soft squishy bits that get stuck in the gears.

Cognitive tax and the enemies of flow
“Cognitive tax.” Collaboration cost. Admin. Red tape. Inbox clutter. Mental static. Noise. Collaborative friction. All the enemies of flow. The swarms of meddlesome fireants that seem to crawl over every good intention, making it harder to actually get done.

Getting to “collaborative flow.”
collaborative flow
a lot of the self-help books focus on you — getting what you want.

but to me, that’s only ever part of the equation. getting what you want (especially today) invariably involves others. and there’s a unique sense of connetion that comes from collaborative flow — the feeling of working to greater purpose with other people.

it’s not kumbaya. It’s grounded both in what’s practical *and* what feels good.
A lot has been written about <<name’s>> idea of “flow,” the peak state produced by a feeling of close connection with a given task. It’s the opposite of “constant partial attention” and perpetual distraction that seems to characterize so much of our life and work these days. It’s a feeling of oneness with your work. The kind of peak state we feel where we’re so focused and “in the zone” that we feel almost unconscious. In other words: the good stuff. The juice. The parts of our job where we feel we’re really nailing it.

(<<name>> writes that this one of the reasons why human beings love games so much — reality is difficult, complex and lumpy, and so constantly denies or interrupts flow. Games are tailor made to produce it.)

we do seek that peak experience, and we’re right to question whether the technologies and processes we’re using in our daily lives and work are producing more of it, or less of it. We can design our systems, dashboards, and workflow to produce more of this — more of what we’re good at and passionate about, less kruft, static, redundant customer service requests, and more focusing on that sweet spot where our passion, skills and resources overlap.

When we design those systems well — not just for ourselves, but for others — we achieve a state beyond individual flow and approaching something more integrated and social. Call it “collaborative flow.” This is the peak state that comes from feeling like not only our work as an individual is in the zone, but that our own work and the work of others is meshing. Overlapping. Adding up to something greater than the some of its parts.

This is another common attribute of positive psychology: “eudamonia,” the feeling of being a part of something greater than yourself. It’s the opposite of alienated labor and atomization. The sense that you’re engaged in a collective effort that is meaningful and worthwhile. That you’re all pulling together, and that your work is serving others — often even in ways that you yourself never imagined.

Again, it’s not kumbaya. For me, I get a particular satisfaction from enabling self-service for others. It can be as basic as writing a great “How To” and posting it to my blog. Or posting the source files for a set of signs, so that someone I’ve never met can grab them, print them, and run with it without having to ask me (or bug me with a bunch of admin emails.) “Enabling self-service” makes it sound transactional, but another term for it is empowerment. Collaborative flow is partly a sense that you’re empowering the people around you, rather than simply serving them. The particular joy of open, of course, are those moments where other people (often people you’ve never even met) take a particular ball and run with it on their own.

As part of my work with Mozilla, for example, I draft a set of “dance steps” for projects: strategy, story, tools, people, prototype. It was meant as a guide for open source software projects — but soon, I started getting pingbacks on it from totally unrelated fields. A college student used the exact same steps to create their own college radio sports show. Another used it to x and y. This is the unique sense of pride and satisfaction that comes from feeling like you’re not only in the zone in terms of your own work, but in helping others achieve that same satisfaction themselves. And again: it’s not kumbaya. It’s as much about a kind of effortless and elegant efficiency as it is more abstract ideals of “helping others.”

Kettlecorn is another great example.

It’s the state that exists when others are actively participating in realizing a shared vision.
I believe it’s a piece that’s missing from much of our lives, driving anomie and atomization,m compounded by self-help and management philosophy books that tend to focus more on mastery over self and others than about serendipitous encounter and empowerment. Collaborative flow won’t just happen if we successfully apply the right mix of time management practices outline in the latest airport book we read, or finally manage to clear out our inbox.  It’s about the part that is shared, and that’s as much about giving up certain forms of control as it is achieving it.

Getting to collaborative flow
participatory economics and the new work
A brief exploration of collaboration cost, getting beyond techno-centrism, and why so many projects fail.
Why does this matter? How can it help get more of what you, your organization or community want? How does open connect to the larger theories of work, collaboration and economics?
A brief history of human co-operation, collaboration cost and you.

Working open feels good. The biggest benefits are emotional. Working open feels better. It eliminates much of the kruft, passive-aggressive gameplaying, time-sucking back-channel and drama. It’s like that dream where you show up at work and suddenly realize you’re in your pyjamas. But once you embrace this fact, you realize everyone else is in their pyjamas, too. Much of our day to day work produces conflict, fear and apprehension. Working open won’t make all that go away, but it will

Do good.  “Don’t be evil” isn’t good enough. We hold ourselves to a higher standard in our own lives. Why not our work?

Benefit the space
Make the entire space better. Think about the broader ecology or web you’re a part of. Don’t drain or poison your network. Grow the total ecology. Not just your tiny piece of it. Think about the broader network your work serves, not just your own tiny part of it. This will benefit you and pay itself back ten-fold.

Benefit the entire space. Think about the ecology of people in your shared space, and act in ways that benefit all. The result will be more / better progress and support and quality of interactions (and transactions) for yourself.

collaboration is our business
“Less yammer, more hammer:” 
a brief history of human evolution and the snuggle for survival

A brief history of collaboration

Transaction cost and the firm

Re-thinking collaboration cost
We talk about “big data” or x as “hard problems” — stuff that’s monumentally difficult or requiring Herculean ingenuity. Collaboration is a hard problem. One that can’t be solved by just the right algorithm or tweaking the right knob. It’s deep, ingrained and essential to renovate and get right.

It was the godfather of contemporary communication, MM, who pointed out that real communication “occurs seldom, if at all.” <<check quote>>. It’s noisy and difficult.

Real collaboration — seeing what others are up to, knowing where to marshall effort, testing and refining, overcoming cultural and language barriers, the fog of distributed collaboration with people spread over time and space, or even in the desk down the hall — is difficult. Technology helps, but only so far — because collaboration is not primarily (or just) a technological problem — it’s a cultural one. Cultural as in values (do we actually value co-operation? or actually reward passive aggressive game playing and constant political jockeying, divorced from real ends?). But also culture in the nuts and bolts practical sense of know how — specific operational wisdom. Assuming you even want to collaborate, how do you do it more effectively? In practical terms, on a day to day level, without frying your circuits or being overwhelmed by the noisy maelstrom that now seems to constantly circle our heads like a noisy cloud.

The fog of distributed collaboration

What’s the goal?
How are we tackling it?
What’s our story?
Who’s doing what?
When? How?
Whoops! How do we adapt / course correct / steer?

The interdependence of today’s world demands / requires it. We’ve wired the place together, but the collaborative software hasn’t kept pace. It’s short-circuiting under the weight of demands it was never intended to handle. It’s like running the Tokyo Stock Market Index or Hubble Space Telescope on Windows 3.1. And if we keep going this way, we risk the blue screen of death for the entire planet.

Empowerment models vs. producer / consumer models
or “give us money and we’ll go do stuff.”

[Why Transparency Feels Good]
Other people as oxygen
They blast fresh air and external perspective into your process.

“productive anxiety” and the ear of the other

Sharing-ism and “communism of the senses”
“Sharing is not simply about morality, but also about pleasure. For most human beings, the most pleasurable activities involve sharing something: music, food, liquor, drugs, gossip, drama, beds. There is a certain COMMUNISM OF THE SENSES at the root of most things we consider fun.” –David Graeber

All work occurs in a network and community — not an org chart.

Transparency feels good: living and working our values
Connecting our values to our work. Hybrid-economics and social enterprise
Part of why the people profiled in this group are able to embrace radical transparency is that they genuinley love and feel good about what they do. It’s the opposite of the sausage-making approach.

Some of open is about letting go. Of excess baggage. Of needless transaction cost. Of static, fear and baloney.
To focus more on the parts of work that inspire us, the parts we’re passionate about. And less of the admin, kruft and static that leave us feeling drained and overwhelmed.
Reducing administrivia and transaction cost
More of the good stuff. Less of the kruft, admin and baloney.
Helping others to help you. Empowering big ideas and make it easy to build off each other’s ideas and work.

At a moment where so many of the dominant cultural institutions deliberate shrink from or block transparency of any kind (from showing the process behind to chicken we buy, to the financial products we purchase, to how our laws are really made) this is a massively refreshing gust of air. It asserts our fundamental right to be treated as grownups, not children. And to embrace a happiness economy that rethinks the logic of both grounding our minds into mush and risking the planet’s future — so that we can produce a bunch of “shareholder value.” wtf?

Many of the people I talk to are interested in, and intuitively speak the language of, social enterprise. They don’t want to separate their values from their work. In the same way spiritual people are unwilling to be christians “just on Sunday,” they’re unsatisfied with separating their life values and beliefs from the 9 to 5. They want their work and entreprenurial drive to add up to something, rather than the arbitrary shareholder value or bureaucratic red tape.

They want to combine the values of non-profit idealism with the entrepreneurial questing of small business. Good intentions are not enough. Neither is the “make a quick buck and run” values that seem to characterize so much of Wall Street and Junk Capitalism. We need new narratives. New ways of working.

And as everyone — from Adam Smith to Karl Marx to Stephen Covey — it’s not just about changing the way people think, it’s about changing the way people engage in economic collaboration and work. If we change the way we work, we change the world.

Forcing questions earlier and more often
Productive anxiety.
[from “Working Open and Productive Anxiety”]
early and often.
why radical transparency works. Collaborative Flow: re-thinking “collaboration cost” in a networked world
how people work together in a networked age The power of small: rapid-prototyping and the MVP

Building benevolent do-ocracy

“the Reps program an inspiring example of a mixo-cratic community (a mix between democracy, i.e. the Council, and meritocracy, i.e. the mentors).”
Dances with Hedgehogs: the power of doing less

Seek relentless focus. Rapid prototyping and the minimum viable product. Running lean. Smart work now is about having the courage to say no thank you to time-sucking distractions and good ideas so that you can focus on the truly great. Our work ethic trains us to say yes to too much, and leaves us feeling burnt out. Working open should enable greater focus, greater self-service for the people constantly bugging you to do things for them.

Dances with hedgehogs: Relentless focus and finding your superpowers Designing for participation: why everything should come with a remix button
the power of modeling and local adaptation

Share. Create public assets and re-usable tools and assets. Foster “adjacent possibles.” Make it possible for people to do stuff with your work that you never imagined. Offer jetpacks and rocket boosters.

Watching kids hack toys.

Thinking small: niche collaboration vs. mass communication

niche collaboration vs. mass communication
Looking through a glass onion
Small is beautiful

The power of thinking small
small numbers of real users
Brett’s reading pre work week on the importance of going small, doing sales, one user at a time.

mass communication vs. niche collaboration

what is media actually for?
mass communication vs. niche collaboration
fame vs. love

Forget crowdsourcing. There’s no magic. There’s been a lot of hype about “crowdsourcing” and Web 2.0, or 3.0, or whatever. There’s no button we can push or technology we can implement that automatically makes us better and smarter. Working open isn’t about magically getting other people to suddenly get others to do your work for you. But we can collaborate and think together more effectively than we already are, and you can make it easier for others to help you in a particular problem, project, or piece of the puzzle you’re struggling with.

What if “thinking small” is actually the key to meaningful impact and scale?
Paradoxically, the best way to ultimately scale big is to begin by going deep and thinking small — then scaling through what Gunner calls “concentric circles of ownership.” We need to start figuring out how to collaborate with small numbers of dedicated people — and then build outwards from there.

Think small: Looking through a glass onion
The part that people skip over in their web and social media strategy are the most crucial: the first two. Your immediate team and the network one or two degrees from them.

Conversation with Kate Hudson
“Designing for yourself.” On the one hand, this seems solipsistic. But on the other its as simple as: “would I eat this?” If you’re routinely shipping food without tasting it, how do you know it’s any good? Similarly, if you make your “end users” some abstract mass, instead of real people, you’re not only likely to fail. Worse, a kind of pervasive culture of connection takes over. You end up debating small choices in the absence of oxygen or real information. Ego and passive agressive game playing fills the vacuum. You end up making things that have no real love or utility. You go through the motions.

What if the real power or potential is at the center of the onion?
Overcoming the design bias of creating for a “mass” or for “everyone” instead of real people.

Empowering your mavens
Working with world-builders: targeting the mavens that will  inherit  design and build the earth

Empowering geeks, mavens and obsessive compulsive optimizers
“Obsessive compulsive optimizers” and the disproportionately large influence of world-builders
The geeks may not inherit the earth — but they will design and build it.

Empowering geeks, mavens and obsessive compulsive optimizers
“Obsessive compulsive optimizers” and the disproportionately large influence of world-builders
The geeks may not inherit the earth — but they will design and build it.

By this I don’t refer strictly to technologists and the tech industry. These people tend to have an exagerated sense of our own impact and importance. I refer rather to the disproportionately positive and influential impact of a particular cross-section of society. The people who actively design, build and influence the systems that the rest of us live in every day: the engineers, libraries, policy wonks, city hall activists, teachers, hackers makers and builders.

If you want to change the world, one way is to try and raise awareness of the general population. The other is to attract a small number of mavens who are disproportionately influential, passionate and already fired up, to increase their collaboration and impact. For scrappy Davids taking on much better resoruces Goliaths, it seems to me a tantalizing strategy, and plays to our inherent strengths. Many social change organiations and non-profits attempt to compete at the level of mass publics — but this has become largely the domain of PR firms and

And also a unique theory of change: that the best way to shape the future is to reach out directly to the people who will design and build it. The small number of designers, builders, process hackers and big picture blueprint artists. Instead of trying to change the world through the glacial pace of consciousness raising or mass opinion, that we can instead work directly with the designers, builders and choice architects who will essential design and build the world the rest of us will live in.
The inside-out paradox: why working open’s biggest benefits are internal
Open from the inside out: why the biggest benefits of transparency are often internal
how transparency makes organizations smarter
the surprisingly internal benefits of transparency

This is the breakthrough “working open” moment everyone has to have at some point: the meaningful realization that the best internal communication is public communication. Every organization, movement or group of people trying to do anything suffers from the same basic challenges: an inability to see what’s going on, pointless administrivia and transaction cost. The cost of getting stuff done gets too high, so we don’t do it. Or we don’t do enough of it to generate the momentum to push a particular boulder past the tipping point so that it’ll start and keep rolling.

When you allow these challenges to slowly smother or suffocate you, you suffer a lack of forward momentum, a loss of faith in the ability to succeed, and people get bored, distracted, or shift focus to something else.

And, more importantly: it’s twice as much work.

The inside-out paradox
A recurring surprising pattern emerges: even though many of us start open projects to enable greater external participation, the biggest and best benefits are often internal. Smarter and better collaboration inside the organization, as well as out.

Take MIT’s open-courseware initiative. Of course, the huge draw was making it easy for learners outside the walls of MIT to be able to access educational resources and experience classes.

But the experiment also paid off in another hugely important way: it made it much easier for instructors at MIT to pay attention to each others work. Professors that had taught “side by side” or in an adjacent classroom for years had never actually seen each other teach. By posting lectures online,

“The best internal communication is public communication.”
That’s how Mozilla Executive Director Mark Surman puts it, and he’s right. Even if you’re not that interested in getting people outside your organization to help, the benefits of open are still enormous. Collaboration cost, “wrangling,” getting people on the same page, clearly defining goals and metrics, getting everyone to pull on the right lever or rope to steer the ship — these things prove to be enormously difficult. Many organizations have implemented internal communication channels to address this goal, whether they’re corporate intranets, mandatory collaboration platforms that many often resist using, or seemingly trivial collaboration cost (like log-ins, duplication of effort) than actually translate into large barriers to adoption in the real world. In other words: people don’t like to use them. They add mental complexity and re-work that busy over-stressed people naturally avoid.

Taking stuff that doesn’t have to be behind a wall and setting it free proves to be a huge internal advantage. MIT could have started some program or intranet to get instructors to pay attention to each others work — but my guess is that it would have failed, the same way so many internal projects fail. Organizations struggle to reinvent the wheel, creating elaborate collaboration platforms to share knowledge and collaborate more effectively. When in fact, the greatest knowledge management and collaboration engine already exists: it’s called the open web.

Open knowledge management: “see-through filing cabinets”
The huge benefit in my own work, in terms of working through open blog posts, etherpads, and wiki pages, instead of closed email threads or intranets or collaboration platforms, is that when colleagues ask me for something or struggle to put their hands on a particular document, PowerPoint presentation, or piece of data, I can often reply: “Google it.”

Looking for that Open Badges presentation Mark gave in Washington? Google it. The files and summary are in a blog post, in Flickr, PDF and keynote. Looking for those goals and metrics we set for next quarter? They’re on a wiki page.

“The biggest benefits are internal”
As <<name>>, a business consultant for x put it, “many companies start these initiatives because x and y. But the biggest benefits are internal.” <<name>> started a consulting project, and insisted on working open. The surprise side-benefit: people from other teams and departments in the organization started showing up. They weren’t on the initial list, and probably wouldn’t have been able to participate otherwise, because they weren’t on the right CC list or occupied a different position in some org chart. But so what? Org charts aren’t the real nervous system of how busy workplaces actually function. They’re an industrial era idea of how firms ought to work, when real communication is always more messy, cross-cutting and wonderfully chaotic. You can either fight or deny that fact, or embrace it. In a way that is often less work and more effective.
Open Leadership

Why working open isn’t “leaderless.” How open can create more and better leadership — not less.

Minimum Viable Bureaucracy
Noon Pacific / 1900 UTC in Ten Forward and on Air Mozilla, a brownbag: Minimum Viable Bureaucracy. Laura Thomson will repeat the engineering management and leadership talk she recently gave at OSCON. Hacker habits: breaking the dumb rules that hold us back

9 ways your brain is punking you.

“I have to get all this other stuff done first.”

Hacker Habits
I was talking to a colleague recently at an ad firm — he said something interesting.
Hackers are first and foremost makers, not breakers. Hacking is about creative rule-breaking — taking short-cuts to solve problems. Solving anything is hard — you have to look for the shorter paths, or you may never get there.

Sharing-ism and People Power: re-thinking “collaboration cost”

[invent a word for the energy, momenutm, renewable resource that is the passion committed people have for a problem with solving.] Why do people do stuff? open source and the new science of motivation

“Hell is a collection of individuals spending the bulk of their time working on a task they don’t like and are not especially good at.” –David Graeber

Beyond carrots and sticks
what the new science of motivation tells us about why real people do stuff

or: why we should stop feeding the monkeys raisins
Getting beyond carrots, sticks and transaction cost
A brief history of human collaboration, your personal secret mission, 
and the snuggle for survival.

Open and the new science of motivation

An economy of square pegs
The inefficiency of the Industrial Model.
The example of the Local Motors automotive designer.

The new bottom lines: Social enterprise and social innovation

The Mozilla Effect: Mozilla’s recipe for working open

Open doesn’t have to mean free
Surman is careful to point out that open doesn’t have to mean free. “The last 15 years we have grown past the idea that open and commercial are incompatible. One of the great things about the Internet is that it is a system based on freedom that has been incredibly successful in creating huge wealth opportunities, for both big and small companies alike. The idea that you can charge for an app, doesn’t mean that the building blocks can’t be open source or based on open standards.”

Community as truth-tellers: uncovering blind spots, HPPOs and no-go zones

Uncovering blind-spots, no-go zones and imaginative failures
e.g., Aza Dotzler (just made it into the urban dictionary)

There’s a million unfinished conversations in any organization. You have to let some of those sleeping dogs lie if you’re going to ever get anything done. But leave too many of them to lie there too long, and they start to fester. Behind lots of the lightning rod moments I’ve had around people yelling at me for working open, there are almost always larger issues and passive aggressive game playing that we all (all of us) play, to some degree or another.

Struck by these “failures of imagination.” Why did economists fail to predict financial crisis? Why did the space shuttle disaster happen?

Of course, some imaginative failures are easier to accomplish than others. There’s often an enforced silence. On a smaller scale, organizations will routinely back and continue to invest in projects long after they know they’re a white elephant; HPPOs and bureaucratic inertia keeps it going.

There are a million good reasons not to have this conversation. Don’t want to offend colleagues who are genuinely doing good work. But the real reaons (as they almost always are) have more to do with internal politics and various forms of game-playing. What’s wrong with wondering whether a better approach is possible? Even if its messy. The alternative is slow motion suffocation. Sure, you might take a few hits in the press, and even lose a pinky or little finger every so often. But what if the alternative is slow suffocation?

When working open goes wrong
Jono’s blog post on Chrome.

Of course, underneath this is a deeper truth: it needed to be done. Agility was key. Chrome had the benefit of starting from scratch, without legacy systems and code to maintain. And more importantly: they had the benefit of working in and inheriting the web that Firefox made possible: a web with open standards anyone (including them) could freely build on, with much greater ease and efficiency. And a world that was expressly design to make it possible for new entrants to get into the space.

The head of marketing at the time came down like a ton of bricks. I’ll be blunt: I think he was wrong. We should leaned into this moment: “This is what makes Mozilla great. We work open — these are the kind of discussions we pride ourselves on. We don’t agree, but we support our community’s ability to say these things.”

It exposes an underlying risk or tension: that in a world of “gotcha” news cycles, and a media-sphere full of shrill, unreflected voices craving constant attention, transparency will inevitably produce moments like these. Senior management will either behave reactively, freak out, and try to impose a chill effect — or they’ll embrace it or at least, except that the benefits far outstrip the occasional costs. Or better: see the costs as opportunities to double down on their mission and openness as a key differentiator in the space.
The limits of transparency: privacy, diplomacy and back-channel negotiation

start with quote from Evgeny Morozov

Not everything should be open. Not all information necessarily wants to be free.
Everything should be as open as possible.

Focusing on the 50% that’s easy and risk-free
The point of open is that these things form a tiny portion — in any given situation — and that we shackle them, impose transaction costs, and needless barriers to participation.

Everything should be as open as possible. Not everything can or should be public. Some things — your credit card, your customers personal data, those racy photos from your last vacation — should remain under lock and key.

Start with what’s easy. Some parts of your work should remain closed. Other bits are easily made public. And another portion falls into a grey area that’s tough to decide on. Don’t get bogged down there — start with what’s easy, the stuff that has zero or no cost or obstacles.

When working open goes wrong
When working open goes wrong

It was the tweet that ate New York City.
The web won’t save the world: cyber-utopianism and its discontents

TLDR: Beyond cyber-utopianism and clicktivism. Collaboration as a hard problem.

Cyber-utopianism and its discontents
My own fear.
Start with Zack Exley.
What I don’t understand is: why are those two things inimical?
the web won’t save us. But smarter collaboration will.

beyond cyber-utopianism

Culture, values and know-how vs. tech
The biggest obstacles aren’t technological. They’re cultural.
<<RESEARCH>>: mine Adam Gopnik piece about cyber utopianism.
The primary obstacles to better and smarter collaboration are not primarily technological. They’re cultural.
Culture in two specific ways: values and know-how. The what and the how.

If you change the way people work, you change the world
From Henry Ford to Karl Marx.

Hierarchy and passive-aggressive game-playing

Shirky: all work is a battle

Eaves: conflict resolution

Mitchell Baker: community doesn’t respond to hierarchicial arm twisting in the same way. If they thing something is baloney, they’ll tell you. Vocally.

I had one colleague who constantly resorted to back-channel. I’d constantly try to keep things on list, and he’d constantly reply with these private messages to me personally.

I hate that. It tends to be more about politics and game-playing than merit. It’s not about whether our edits to his draft made the plan stronger — it was about the fact that he wrote it, that he knows what he’s doing and has a lot of experience, and that he was confident he had it right and didn’t need anyone’s help.
All of which leads to slow-down, lost momentum, loss of trust. I started having those arguments with him in the shower before heading to work — passive aggressive game-playing interrupting my flow.

ADD-everything and the myth of multi-tasking

It’s been interesting to watch technology hopefuls like Tim Wu and Clay Shirkey evolve their writing narrative to tackle the limits and hidden costs of our addition to tech — in a way that doesn’t seem (to me anyway) the least bit hypocrticial or fli-floppy. In our gotcha culture, guys like Morozov love to come in and smack people with a big mallet for daring to evolve their positions over time or open themselves to  nuance and new ideas. But I think we’re *all* on a similar path: we recognize the role that technology can play in creating a better world, while also respecting its limits and hidden psychological and political choices.

The real question that technological innovation begs is: well, ok — but what kind of world do we want. What’s the point? That question is always bigger than tech. Wyndham Lewis was among the first to point out that the *main* impact of technology will almost always tend to be amplification — it will increase or exxacerbate whatever is already happening in a society. A war-like society will likely become *more* war-like. An unqueal society will become more unequal. A money-obsessed society will become more so.

For me, that’s the problem with <name>’s take on the impact technology and the internet is having on hollowing out the middle class: it’s similarly technocentric. It acts as if the internet alone is responsible for broad social changes — while ignoring or weirdly underplaying the much larger imapcts of larger trends. The Internet is destryoying the middle class? Really? What about 40 years of globalization, largely based on trade regimes that liberate capital while (arbitraily) restricting the movement of labor? What about tax policy? What about failures to invest in education and infrastructure? What about regulatory capture and revolving door between industry and regulation? What about deregulation and changes to anti-trust rules, or massive market consolidation? And what about the larger failure: the failure to actually think in a conscious way about a longer term vision or plan? The tooth fairy version I got was that we were going to ship low-level jobs — but they’d be replaced by “innovation economy” and those unemployed factory workers would become “knowledge workers.” Was there ever a real plan to make that happen, or was it just going to happen by magic once all that meddlesome planning was out of the way?

In short: the backlask against cyber-utopianism and technology weirdly often falls victim to the same problem as the cyber-utopians: it overestimate technology.

All of this begs the quesiton: what do we want it to do? The old system has overheated, sputtered and broken. Tinkering around the edges with apps and doodads and collaborative consumption will only get us so far. We *have* to think bigger — the world now demands it.

Build innovation economy.
Collaboration is our business.
Start from the bottom-up.
Collaborative making as the master skill
Re-define value.
Social enterprise.
Green opportunity.
The fifth freedom
the battle for your open soul
Open as a larger battle for the planet’s future. Two competing visions of the next 100 years.

“I’d love to change the world — but they won’t give me the source code.” –t-shirt

Freedom, openness and the future. Prototyping the world we want. Updating the operating system of the planet. Taking on Goliaths, gatekeepers and bullies.

Make things better.
We have a right and freedom to make things better. Become an obsessive compulsive optimizer. Break dumb rules. Insist on the link between making better “things” — x products, daily work, — and building a better world. Make the right to innovate a fundamental freedom and human right.

Roosevelt’s four freedoms: speech, worship, want, fear
Freedom of speech and expression
Freedom of worship
Freedom from want
Freedom from fear
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1941

The fifth freedom: the freedom to innovate. To make things better. To understand how our world works, and to improve it for ourself and others.

This freedom is under attacks. In subtle ways, and in direct ways. Consolidation and monopolies naturally threaten this freedom — they use their size, predatory practises, distorition of copywright and intellectual property, the chilling effect and persection of whistleblowers, regulatory capture and bully tactics to tilt the field to their advantage. As inequality grows, as plutocracy rises, as markets become more and more concentrated, the right to innovate — the freedom for anyone with a big

These he posited as four fundamental freedoms that people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy, going beyond traditional US Constitutional values to endorse a right to economic security  and positing the roots of what would later become the “human security” paradigm in social science and economic development. [Wikipedia]

Stallman’s four freedoms: use, study, share and modify
Richard Stallman, copyleft pioneer and architect of the GPL, the mostly used software license
“Free as in Freedom” — O’Reilly book

[I’ll admit: for me there is a hubris in attaching to much relation between freedom and software. I think it’s a technocentric trap. The same way that assuming TCP/IP necessarily will re-wire social relations. Or that because the network is de-centralized, somehow existing blocks of power will just naturally dissolve. They don’t, and won’t.]

often wears a button that reads “Impeach God”

celebrating “Grav-mass” on December 25. The name and date are references to Isaac Newton, whose birthday falls on that day on the old style calendar.[81]
When O’Reilly publishing published “Free as in Freedom,” Stallman edited it to correct and improve it, publishing free as in Freedom 2.0

Stallman argues that the term intellectual property is designed to confuse people, and is used to prevent intelligent discussion on the specifics of copyright, patent,trademark, and other laws by lumping together areas of law that are more dissimilar, than similar.[71] He also argues that by referring to these laws as property laws, the term biases the discussion when thinking about how to treat these issues.
These laws originated separately, evolved differently, cover different activities, have different rules, and raise different public policy issues.
Copyright law was designed to promote authorship and art, and covers the details of a work of authorship or art.
Patent law was intended to encourage publication of ideas, at the price of finite monopolies over these ideas — a price that may be worth paying in some fields and not in others.
Trademark law was not intended to promote any business activity, but simply to enable buyers to know what they are buying.[72]

The freedom to run the program, for any purpose
The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).

The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Does Silicon Valley care about inequality?
Tackling the 21st century’s most important design challenge

The eroding middle class may be the biggest design challenge of the 21st century. Does technology help or hurt? Do entrepreneurs care?

“Situational Ethics”
Part of a larger question: does Business care about Virtue? Is doing Bad actually Good — as Milton Friedman suggested? Or is doing Good actually Good? Is “Don’t Be Evil” good enough?

“Now we seem unwilling to wait, unwilling to work long and hard, unwilling to see our success come gradually. People want to make it big, make it young, and make it quick. I, me, mine. Social work is out. Entrepreneurs are in. What’s the big growth profession? Investment banking. What’s the favored course of study? The MBA. People do not get MBAs and go into investment banking because they are motivated to help their fellow man….

“We have invented the phrase “situational ethics” to absolve all sorts of social and financial sins. We accept cheating through all levels of the culture, from adultery to income taxes to bank fraud…. Today’s businessmen seem to have hung a sign that says: We Will Lie, Cheat and Steal Unless You Stop Us. They renounce their responsibility to behave ethically, and dare the government regulators to seal off the border.”

They weaken competition and oversight — then absolve themselves of responsibility because the weakened regulators fail to stop them. It’s not even a culture of “survival of the fittest,” which at least would purport to reward fitness or competence or a kind of blunt efficacy. Instead its a culture of vampires, people who have figured out to exploit their social position and job to suck value out of the economy — without ever puting anything meaningful back in. A culture of vampire squids and blood suckers, laughing all the way to the bank.

Open isn’t new

Open is not new: Renaissance science
“The [Rudolphine astronomy] tables are an open source tool, perhaps the very first. The data–and formulas required to convert it into astronomical information—empowered scientists to pursue their own research and observations.”

“He was a magician who revealed his own tricks–so that we could all do magic.”

Even the map of the world, the Mercator projection was a secret,

all of them functioned more like computers than static resources — they were formulae that let you make your own map, or plot the position of things in the night sky yourself.
“Instead of Mercator’s consumers, they were now self-sufficient cartographers at sea.”

Pablo Garcia: “Hacking is a good thing. Hackers ensure we don’t sit still with what we have; they know there’s always more to discover. They extract kinetic energy from the inertia of achievement. We risk stifling discovery when we claim absolute ownership of ideas. We risk our future when we aggressively guard what we believe, often falsely, to be ours. And we risk everything when we persecute the curious and inventive, labeling them as criminals. Let’s restore hacking to its proper place: as a noble tradition dating back hundreds of years, one which kickstarted our modern world.” Goliath, Inc: innovation vs. consolidation
Are a handful of corrupt monopolies ruining everything?

“The long tail has no lobbyist.” –Ben Scott [check to make sure he said this, and wasn’t quoting someone else]

The soul of a new machine.

Set this up later:
“The great ideological challenge of the 21st century will not be left versus right, or the global north versus versus the global south, but rather open versus closed.” — Ben Scott

The Transparency Grenade
Soviet F1 (?) hand grenade
small IRM computer inside + broadband antenaa
when pin is pulled, catches all wireless traffic in region, pushes to server, mines it for JPGs and anything else it can find
linked to map of where it was detonated
hand held solution to lack of transparency in corporate and government environments

“The bigger problem is power.” –Clay Shirky

Innovation vs. Consolidation
Why couldn’t telegraph monopolies invent the telephone?
Why did Detroit kill the electric car before finally embracing it?
Why did Yahoo pass up Google’s search algorythm?
Why isn’t the pharmaceutical industry trying harder to cure cancer?

Why did Yahoo turn down Google’s search algorithm?
The short answer: because it worked too well.

The moments reveal the blind spots in our inherited political and economic mythologies. And hold the potential to slice through the gordian knot of left vs. right that still chokes off too much of our thinking.

What was AOL’s idea for the web browser? What is it for?
Deliver eyeballs to their content. To, in a sense, put users in a headlock, forcing them to consume stuff AOL deems worthwhile.

Why both AOL and Microsoft could not produce a quality web browser: their whole idea of what a web browser is was tainted by a monopoly way of thinking and design constraints. They were incapable of making something truly awesome because they were too invested in an old way of doing things. And so they choked off new ideas.

Similarly, we are held back by HPPOs, would-be gatekeepers, Goliaths and monopolies.

This is an exageration.
On the other: golden rule. Those with the gold, tend to make the rules.

Why aren’t we trying to cure cancer?
Once you begin considering these things, you wonder what else is this way?

Monopolies suck.
Are corrupt monopolies ruining everything?
There’s two types of checks and balances on markets.
Some people think government regulation works best.
Others believe competition works best. Keeping players honest by offering consumers choice, so that if one company sucks, you get to choose another.

What both lefties and righties can agree on is: monopolies suck
They lack the virutes of either.

Big Food
Walmart now earns one out of every four dollars Americans spend on groceries and controls 50 percent of the grocery sales in some cities.

According to a 2007 study [PDF] from the University of Missouri, the four largest companies controlled 82 percent of the beef packing industry, 85 percent of soybean processing, 63 percent of pork packing, and 53 percent of broiler chicken processing.

Big by Design
“If the goal of any analysis of a proposed corporate merger or acquisition was “consumer welfare” instead of protecting small businesses, well, it was a small jump to allowing pretty much every merger and acquisition that came down the pike, since they often led to lower prices and increased “efficiency” in the industries at hand.

He was also influential in convincing judges and the government that “vertical” integration, i.e. the way a company attempts to control its entire production chain, was not inherently anti-competitive. Before Bork, deals and mergers that accomplished this kind of thing were rejected outright by judges. Now, such agreements dominate the landscape — a good example being the harsh and heavily restrictive contracts that poultry processors like Tyson and Purdue are able to foist on chicken farmers.
It was Bork’s legacy that led Obama’s antitrust team to realize there was little they could do to attack current monopolists like Monsanto or beef packers without new laws.
Hacking copyright and anti-trust: feature or bug?
In short: copyyright and antitrust laws originally designed to protect the commons and safeguard a free and open marketplace of ideas have been increasingly hacked by monopolies to subvert and throttle these things instead.

Practises once considered anethma — like vertical integration and runaway mergers and acquisitions that extinguish small businesses — are no essentially rubber stamped under the rubric of “consumer welfare,” which has been equated with lower prices — regardless of the medium or long term well being of consumers or citizens, or the larger overall costs.

In 1960, … Antitrust then was about protecting small businesses.

Antitrust has limited tools. It cannot cure all illnesses in the economy. What it can do is it can protect competition, and that’s it… That’s what it’s about. It’s not about protecting small businesses, and it’s not about attacking big businesses.

Public goods and assets — Infrastructure — is the most vital part.
The web as a public asset
Ask realists what the economic keys to the 21st century are, they’re 3: education, infrastructure and access to capital — from small business loans to micro-capital to venture capital. Credit that allows smallbusinesspeople and innovators to get funding and early support around their ideas, giving them the initial lift or booster rocket they need to get to sustainability.

When we look at the last fifty years in particular, we see two big trends:
innovation on the one hand, and consolidation on the other.

followed by regulatory capture and correspondingly lousy planning and decision-making, followed by
growing infrastructure failure.

I’m not solely blaming the 1% — and much lefty critique is weakened by its relucation to acknowledge our own complicity in underlying systems, and the degree to which the need for pragmatism — to do what works — is always the ultimate basis for any realistic argument. In other words, critique is not enough — we need concrete proposals, alternate models. (*)

In many cases, the solutions and pathways exist. What lacks is the “political will,” that elusive elixir whose precise ingredients often seem to trail off into some inscrutable black box. But underneath is the elephant in the room, the massive obstacle of intransigent and powerful players who fill always resist reform and innovation, because they are massively invested in maintaining the status quo. And why wouldn’t they be? They became fat and powerfully influential by suckling at the status quo, regardless its long-term rightness or wrongness.

A brief word about power and political economy.
Ian Curtis’ is a powerful endeitment of a certain kind of <San Fran> school douche bagginess, the myth of self-regulating markets and an end to all forms of coercive power.
The uncomfortable elephant in the room is: the innovation age has also been one of simultaneous mass inequality. And the similar corresponding truth that rich assholes and corrupt monopolies may very well be ruining the planet, and suckifying everything. That may sound like a cliche, but as <name> writes: sometimes real life writes real bad. The rich really have gotten richer, and the middle class and poor haven’t. In fact, they’ve taken it on the chin.

Wether we will build the open infrastructure we need to feed, train and take care of 10 billion people on the planet.
While one corner of the political and media sphere seems stuck in superstitious squabbling over the debates of the past, making every complex issue a referendum on the size or role of government, the real issue is infrastructure.
In the past, inspired collective action helped built highways, railways, and power grids, invent the Internet, and put boots on the moon.
Can we rally the vision and collaborative effort we need to built the faster, smarter new infrastructure for the 21st century?
Or will we let false debates and a conspiracy of elephants throttle innovation and trap us in the past?
Will the Davids win, or will the Goliaths? If Davids have any shot at all, it will require playing by different rules — and certainly, first and foremost, collaboration. We will *have* to magnify our impact, forced to seek greater leveral, forced to take risks and adopt techniques that

If we don’t open ourselves to the ability for others to take our best ideas and run with them, if we don’t design these systems to be more frictionless, if we don’t embrace transparency not simply as a disenfectant –but as rocket fuel — it seems unlikely that we can achieve anything more than marginal gains and a check and balance on their worst excesses.

The example of Mozilla nad others holds out a nuanced biew of change: you don’t always have to vanquish the Goliaths, you can adopt a theory of change that involved gaining enough market share and leverage to bring them to heel. You can change behavior by attacking where they are weakest:

imagine a bank that x
imagine food that y.
these are cropping up everywhere. Goliath Inc’s achilles heel (not to mix metaphors) is the fact that its products often kinda suck. they don’t taste that good. They’re not that good for us. They’re not run by nice people. We can do better — and open is.

David’s (open source) slingshot
What we do know is that “the web” or technology itself will not provide the slingshot.

Bad is good vs. good as good
If a used car salesman sold you a car with defective breaks, he’d go to jail.
If a financial services CEO sells you a product he knows to be defective or dangerous, he gets a raise.
The “do-gooder” has earned a bad name. Over-earnest, naive.
But here we’re not talking about a commitment to changing the world, or social responsibility. We’re simply talking about taking pride in one’s work. Of the satisfaction that comes from making things you know to be good, of creating lasting relationships, of producing value for the long haul — not just trying to pull a fast one and laugh all the way to the bank. And of being able to embrace transparency as a result.

In Daniel Pink’s book, he talks about these people. It’s like the vampire-ification of our economy. These soulelss blood-suckers have actually created a moral and economic framework where they literally defend their right to sell people products they know are (at best) of dubious value and (at worst) toxic.

Not good enough: the soul of a new century
doing bad is good. in fact, you’re morally obligated to do bad because your only job is shareholder value.
shareholder value has become all about perception. The speculative value of your organization, as opposed to its real value. In a sense, we have massively incented people to behave like amoral snake oil salespeople, instead of as real leaders or stewards or builders. Their job is to make a small number of shareholders rich, cash-out, and then sit on a beach somewhere while the world burns.

See New Yorker cartoon about shareholder value

“Bad is good and big is beautiful”
We accepted that notion, and now we need to update the software.
Need lots of quotes for this section, to make it more about other people’s ideas — not mine.

Consolidation vs. Innovation
But when we really look at the last 30 years, we see two major and unmistakable trends: the first towards innovation — technological innovation, social innovation, entrepreneurial innovation — but the second towards ever-increasing consolidation — more and more influence and wealth concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.

The consolidation spiral
The Prometheus myth.
Or as McLuhan put it, “how can we escape our own ingenuity?” We create tools, the tools (often unconsciously, or without our really knowing it) change our environment — which we then struggle to adapt to.

McLuhan, Wu, Klein, Wright and others have all put their finger on a bug in the operating system of civilization: a cycle of boom, followed by intense consolidation, disparity, trauma, a doubling down on the stuff that got us into the mess, followed by collapse. Whereby the cycle starts anew someplace else.

Wright and Klein offer vital means for not seeing this as simply inevitable, as “human nature,” which many thinkers do. This is to de-politicize it, to reduce it to myth only. Wright points out that consolidation — and what we could call regulatory capture , rigging the game to prevent change or corrective action — is a brutal side-affect of the process. Klein goes a step further, pointing out that powerful interests, in a sense, count on it. Or at least, are almost always the best prepared to capitalize on the very trauma, shocks and failures produced in large part by their own cherished plans and policies. A crisis is a terrible thing to waste, and that’s why there’s small army of think tanks, lobbyists and consultants ready to pounce with a plan whenever they strike.

This is Junk Capitalism or Casino Capitalism metastisized into something even worse: Disaster Capitalism. A strain that can literally feed off its own failure.

The difference, of course, that the stakes get bigger. The cycle continues, but the scale and impact of its effects grow and grow — but the planet is the same size as it ever was. Therein l

The golden rule: those with the gold tend to make the rules.

“Pay no attention to what’s behind the curtain”

Sausage factories, black boxes and gag orders

Media: old and new
To understand the future of new media, have to understand what happened to old media.
Consolidation, commercialism, cost-cutting. The result: “junk food news.”

Vampire dinosaurs must die
We’re at a strange sort of crossroads. One path: let a million big ideas bloom. The other: see that potential squashed by dinosaurs.

Let a million big ideas bloom. Or: bring on the dinosaurs.
Dino-vamps must die.

McLuhan’s message was that nothing was inevitable, so long as we were willing to fully contemplate what is happening.

There is a battle underway for the soul and nervous system of the 21st century.

Updating the operating system of work
The old software — left vs. right — simply doesn’t work anymore.

“Vertical integration” and the vampire headlock
Are corrupt monopolies ruining everything?

RESEARCH: the 30 rock episode where Jack talks about vertical integration.

The ultimate example of shitty vertical integration: MacDonnel Douglas. Sell the planes and materiel to bomb buildings. Then sell the medical services and construction teams to rebuild them. Then do it all over again. Rather than a virtuous cycle, it’s a vicious cycle that can only make sense to robots or spreadsheets.

“VICE” = Vertically Integrated Criminal Enterprise

New York Review of Books, Nov 2010
Google tried to sell their search algorithm to Yahoo, but Yahoo didn’t want it — because it worked too well.

Tim Wu on innovation
Tim’s point about the pitfalls of monopolies throttling innovation rings true at the individual organization level as well. The problem with centralized planning is that it presupposes the future; when in fact, nature abhors illusory prediction and control, and diverse, distributed systems are the norm.

In the same way that the Bell monopoly squashed innovations like the recording machine, out of a defensive / paranoid reaction to protect the business it knew, overly rigid org charts and corporate hierarchies can squash great ideas below.

Beyond junk-o-nomics
This is the epitome of junk models, and junk business — the goal is no longer to innovate and do better, but to deliberately cling to old or outmoded ways of doing things — because a thick layer of short-term money has grown over top of it.
[Junk economics and the disaster cycle]

The “too big to fail” whale
“Too big to sue.” Walmart, in the midst of a class action suit for allegedly not compensating equal pay for equal work, essentially argued that it is “too big to sue.”
Big Media mogul Rupert Murdoch paid zero income tax in two of the last four years [update this fact] — because of huge tax breaks and loopholes created through his mergers and acquisitions. In other words, “too big to tax.”
the auto industry, in bed with a massive energy industry that produced cars that went in exactly the *opposite* of energy efficient. then “too important to lose.”
drug companies, “too big to bargain.”
BP,  a minor player — til it went on a merger and acquisition spree. When promised synergies don’t materialize into growth fast enough, what do they do? cut costs. how do they do it? by cutting safety regulations.
the ultimate, finally, “too big to fail.”
too big to jail.

All of them paint a now-familiar pattern, all examples of the Consolidation Mania, Regulatory Capture, failure, and bail out or rewards for the architects of the failure. Call it the Disaster Virus, a recurring vicious cycle or chronic pathogen that makes the planet sick, until we seem to recover to a degree — only to run a fever yet again.

Like the t-shirt at the rally says, planet earth is the only system that’s too big too fail.

Shopcraft as soulcraft: does business still love virtue?
Milton Friedman, Godfather of the Chicago School of Economics, wrote
In other words: sometimes doing bad is actually good.
We’re reaping the results of that harvest in the economic crisis, which is more than a financial disaster: it’s a crisis of values and of faith in our institutions. It’s not a blip — the operating system contains a killer bug. Call it the disaster virus. It’s embedded in the code of Junk Capitalism, and until we isolate and fix it, the crisis will repeat.

Radical transparency: Bad as good vs. good as good

From CSR to social enterprise: “Don’t be evil” vs. “Do good”
organizational — how do we reduce collaboration cost and dumb roadblocks?
big picture — how do we design and build the world we want? Together.

“Don’t be evil” vs. “do good”
Social responsibility vs. social entreprenueriship
Corporate social responsibilty = “don’t be evil.”
Social entrepeneurship = “do good.”
Vicious cycles and the social enterprise paradox. A virtuous paradox.
In a world of growing market consolidation, oligopolies, market domination, regulatory capture, endemic croneyism and market corruption
the only people who still care about building a better mousetrap are the social entrepreneurs.
Sure it’s about making the world better. But at the same time its about making things that are good, that are better.

You can say — what is good? Sometimes this is hard, and subjective. But can you really argue that tractors designed to break are better than ones designed to work? That abandoning a potential cure for cancer is better than curing it? That a browser that leaks your personal data or exposes your credit card transactions to criminals is better than one that doesn’t? Or that “too big to fail” — essentially, immunity from market correction or any kind of checks or balances — is better than

Pragmatic idealism and pirate democracy
Not progressive. What they are is eminently practical. And good at the same time.
Being new at Mozilla, I was so impressed by the process they used for choosing a new office — even though I didn’t agree with the result at the time. It was like a kind of pirate democracy. I’m often disappointed by the inability of even small groups of people to focus on what’s relevant, to be constantly distracted by bright shiny data-points that don’t really matter, or get.

Open source engineers have a head for process that seems to help them avoid getting sucked down these rabbit holes.

Simplicity and sustainability
The example of the Awesome Foundation

“Where good ideas come from.”
Open networks as idea engines.
Invention as part of a broader ecology.
In the same way that some environments promote more diversity and fecundity than others, we can design systems, cities and economies to encourage more innovation than others.
The innovation economy is the (unfulfilled promise) of globalization.

This is what seems so short-sighted about a neo-populist conservatism: it has no theory of innovation.
It has only a pull yourself up by your bootstraps philiopshopy, but with no sense of what it takes to build it. It’s reductionist. A theory of growth that comes from stripping away all obstacles — instead of investing in the soil.

Arguing with my dad. He was flipping channels one night and came across “Who Killed the Electric Car.” Watching that car crushed in the jaws of that machine at the wrecking yard, we found the place where we both agree. “That’s not quite the idea of free market capitalism I had in mind,” he said. Build a better mousetrap, and the world is supposed to beat a path to your door. Not forcibly seize your mouse trap and pulzerize it into landfill.

False populism, bloodletting and magical thinking
The irony is that there’s a group of angry misdirected crypto-populists who want to burn this stuff down. They’re an angry mob of village idiots manipulated by the very forces they think they are railing against.

Junk economics and the consolidation spiral
or: the junk spiral of consolidation, regulatory capture, junk products, black boxes and failure.

The Disaster Virus

Hacks on capitalism

What are we designing for? Planned obsolescence, or self-reliance?

Democracy as do-ocracy
doocracy, which means an organization in which “you just get things done.”
“builders not breakers”

Black boxes, junk, and “shitty deals”
wrong is right. greed is good. “the shitty deal.”
production of junk.
regulatory capture.
positive polarization.

Michelle Thorne:
Work openly = share process, obstacles, your wins + your failures. And importantly, who influenced& helped you.

Walmart as razor mussel
Roosevelt’s four freedoms: speech, worship, want, fear
Freedom of speech and expression
Freedom of worship
Freedom from want
Freedom from fear

These he posited as four fundamental freedoms that people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy, going beyond traditional US Constitutional values to endorse a right to economic security  and positing the roots of what would later become the “human security” paradigm in social science and economic development. [Wikipedia]

Stallman’s four freedoms: use, study, share and modify
Richard Stallman, copyleft pioneer and architect of the GPL, the mostly used software license
“Free as in Freedom” — O’Reilly book

I’ll admit: for me there is a hubris in attaching to much relation between freedom and software. I think it’s a technocentric trap. The same way that assuming TCP/IP necessarily will re-wire social relations. Or that because the network is de-centralized, somehow existing blocks of power will just naturally dissolve. They don’t, and won’t.

often wears a button that reads “Impeach God”

celebrating “Grav-mass” on December 25. The name and date are references to Isaac Newton, whose birthday falls on that day on the old style calendar.[81]
When O’Reilly publishing published “Free as in Freedom,” Stallman edited it to correct and improve it, publishing free as in Freedom 2.0

Stallman argues that the term intellectual property is designed to confuse people, and is used to prevent intelligent discussion on the specifics of copyright, patent,trademark, and other laws by lumping together areas of law that are more dissimilar, than similar.[71] He also argues that by referring to these laws as property laws, the term biases the discussion when thinking about how to treat these issues.
These laws originated separately, evolved differently, cover different activities, have different rules, and raise different public policy issues. Copyright law was designed to promote authorship and art, and covers the details of a work of authorship or art. Patent law was intended to encourage publication of ideas, at the price of finite monopolies over these ideas — a price that may be worth paying in some fields and not in others. Trademark law was not intended to promote any business activity, but simply to enable buyers to know what they are buying.[72]

The freedom to run the program, for any purpose The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Argument with Beltzner (whom I respect and admire enormously — I think he’s one of the most talented employees Mozilla has ever had.) I made a joke about burning it to the ground.

Like a zebra mussel — an invasive species that comes in, takes over, and slowly sucks more energy out than it puts back in.

To me, this is the fundamental problem: it takes out more than it puts back. And its a Goliath. For me, it’s the Internet Explorer 6 of food and housewares: a bloated Goliath that primarily uses its huge size to x and y. And it offers back only a single benefit: lower prices.

Goliath 2.0
In some communities, Walmart now has up to 50% of the grocery business.

In many ways, that’s by a deliberate (but seldom discussed) design and policy choices. We chose big is beautiful model.

For me, suggesting that the best way to get affordable staples to working families is WalMart is ridiculous. That’s the best we can do? Throw people — mostly the former middle class without degrees — ship their jobs to China, then sell them back cheaper goods — that they increasingly can’t afford? The cycle becomes complete when Walmart accelerates the process of hollowing out a middle class, then itself struggles to maintain market share in an increasingly polarized and plutocratic economy. Is that really the best design we can come up with? Isn’t it ok to want better?

So when I get asked questions like: should WalMart get bigger, or smaller. The answer is obvious.

What is good and what is not good?
This often comes up in the context of social enterprise. Mozilla wants a better web — what do you mean by better?

Everyone should be free to decide for themselves. There’s a word for that: it’s called freedom. The point, of course, is that some systems promote more freedom, choice and innovation

David’s slingshot
It’s not kumbaya: radical pragmatism and benevolent do-ocracy
The stakes: getting more done. Working smarter. Feeling good about what we do.

It’s about a battle: two different versions of what the 21st century will look like.

We want to elevate contributors to partners and co-creators to help shape the program. Not because of “kumbaya” values or a desire to make every single voice in the universe equally heard. There is a goal, and it has a particular vision and theory of change that drives it. The reason to build for participation, and an architecture of participation right into the DNA or conception of the entire projects — is simple: it’s the only way it will work. If the vision and theory of change stand a chance, they must involve other people as co-builders and participants, because it’s the key to scale, and ultimately to having any social impact whatsoever. It’s not kumbaya — it’s the only kung fu that works.

(Mozilla didn’t kill Goliath: got them to become a good corporate citizen.)

Does Silicon Valley care about inequality?

It should. If we care about the ideal of permissionless innovation, this demands mobility and the ability for people to access relatively equal access. How do we reconcile our rhetoric about empowerment through technology — decentralization, pushing power out to the edges, generativity, “flat” structures that are more horizontal, less hierarchical, etc. — with the fact that we are steadily moving towards plutocracy and the disintegration of the middle class?

Jarod Lanier is to be applauded for tackling this. (Though I have to say, I find his diagnosis distrubingly simplistic — suffering from the same techno-centrism that contributed to solutionism in the first place.) And it has to be tackled. I don’t see how we can take the idea of open technology as a force for good without tackling. Look at Mark Zuckerberg and his so-called desire

this is douche-o-vation — the rhetoric of cyber-utopianism that is in fact a bunch of boring douche bags who have convinced themselves there’s something revolutionary about hyping a piece of shit softare (a social network for foodies! Twitter for pets!) or letting other people contribute to their personal wealth for free (you can make apps for Facebook! aren’t we open?) is somehow part of some “revolutionary” enterprise.

The response of Silicon Valley pundits in the New Yorker recently was incredibly telling. When asked to account for this paradoxical trend — more technology power on the one hands, greater inequality on the other — the responses are [metaphor.] The first guy challenges the data — are you sure that’s true? (essentially: flat earth-ism.) The second guy says that money and traditional capital don’t really matter anymore — social capital is all that matters now.

Consolidation versus innovation — real innovation, particularly social innovation and social enterprise — is the fundamental push-pull of our age. We either confront it, lean into it as a hard problem, and situate in a larger context beyond technology, or we risk sticking our heads in the Silicon and solving soft problems simply because they can be solved.

Lanier is wrong to blame the internet. He’s right that technological changes are creating a surplus pool of creative class — but to blame that for inequality is solipstic, naive, and displays a weird incuriousness about the rest of the world that still plagues too many technology thinkers. How can you talk about inqueality without talking about globalization? What has gone off the menu in North America and much of the industrialized world is the whole idea of a non-professional middle class. We don’t like to talk about class, but after the second world war we made it possible for people without university degrees — people like my step-dad, for  example — to lead solid middle class lives. You could own a house, maybe a boat or cottage, etc. That entire sector of the economy has basically melted away. My step dad had a union job making $60k. That’s gone.

Walmart has increased in size 13% from 2008 to 2013 — but it accomplished that growth without adding *any* new jobs. In other words: its retail workplace increased by 0. [Harper’s Index, August 2013.]

Lanier’s point that people are more likely to share or volunteer their time misses the larger point — the industrial era, where the only way to marshall human activity whgich presumed that the only or best way to marshall human activity or collaboration was to stick people into firms, with them sitting in little boxes in an org chart, with a hierarchical structure laser-focused (after the 1980s) on creating shareholder value — was wrong. It’s not the only best way, it’s not sufficiently plugged into human motivation, and it never had a theory about hte complexity and diversity of real “work” in everyday life and public society. The work of parenting, the work of volunteerism, community sharing, bees, etc etc.

The California School
Adam Curtis’ brilliant documentary tells the intellectual history that got us there. The dream of self-regulation. Ayn Rand. Etc.

Enter [Morony.] It’s hard to say anything on this subject that Tim Wu’s brilliant rebuttal doesn’t already. And engaging with him risks seeming a bit pointless — he has manufactured a brand of being the hyberloci professional curmudgeon. His brand is based on saying outrageous things

Curtis’ point is that the dream of self-regulation can be noble (more power pushed to the edges, decentralization) but also naive and doomed to fail insofar as it has no theory of a crucial element: power. Powerful interests and systems develop over time. They don’t just magically disappear because you sprinkle some magic cyberdust on them. Wyndham Lewis’ maxim applies: a war-like society will tends to become more war-like. An unqeual society will tend to be come more unequal. (The opposite may also be true.) Unless we tackle the larger issue of culture (comprised of values, know-how and power), our techno-utopianism will atrophy and become stale. The dream of “self-regulation” becomes empty and shallow when it loses interest in the collaborative and social aspects of freedom. Or when it arbitrarily ignores the role that public investment, shared inftrastructure played in their own success. Even the most ardent Libertarians needs some theory of infrastructure. Including social infrastructure. There are things we can only do together. Creating your own Google bus, your own infrastructure, etc. seems tempting if you’re a new Goliath. But what’s the world you want? I for one, welcome our new plutocrat masters. Are you happy to sip a Latte in your Google Bus as you pass through the neighborhoods of a 99% that is running out of luck?

What we have now is an opportunity to bring the world of work, production and consumption more in line with *real* understanding of human motivation and why people do things, the *real* cost of certains kinds of production and consumption (espeically environmental, and the artificially low cost, the high cost of “low low prices” sluffed off onto tax-payers through externalities). Working open allows us to move beyond the simplistic Friedman-ite software that the world supposedly ran on, and instead open ourselves to new realities and distinct new possiblilities: to re-think what value really is and how it is measured, to bring our work more in line with our values, to re-imagine the kind of world we want, and work actively together to design, prototype and build it from the bottom-up, to question the logic of “big is beautiful” and brute economies of scale in favor of something more local and responsive, and to reconnect with the old idea of shopcraft as soulcraft: embracing transpreancy in your work because you’re *proud* of what you do, and want to share it — instead of just trying to pull a fast one, sell products that you know to bascially be toxic or shoddy (or in the case of [ceo], to sell your customers something you yourself know to be a “shitty deal”).

Building a more open world
To me, this is the fundamental promise of open — to be treated like grown ups, peel away the empty thetoric, tear into the black boxes, and do the hard, specific work of building the world we want. I think we’ve over-invested in the ideologues and media — the really interesting people are the engineers, the educators, the solution-builders. Far from the chattering classes, these are the geeks who may not inherit the earth — but who will mostly design and build it.

Part of that promise is seeing past the limits of technologuy — for me the most inspiring part of what’s happening in open right now is seeing the way it is spilling ebyond technology. The web is not interesting — the world is. The most interseting things that happen online are those that make something happen offline. I always tune out once the web gets treated as some hermetically sealed space that is inherently interesting or important — I’m not sure that it is. It has the potential to be, but that depends on what we do with it. And there are no neutral technology choices — we can opetimize the design and (crucially* *know how* to increase the amount of collaborative potential and opportunity for individual freedom. Or we can make choices that subtly chip away and undermine it.

There are things you can learn from a rigourous engagement with open technology that is bigger than technology. I’m not sure that working open requires a computer. The work we’re trying to do in education, for example, is much larger than simply using technology — it’s about re-thinking some old ideas about industrial-era assessment, and thinking about how we empower and equip people at a global scale and pace in a rapidbly changing world.

These are some hard, real problems. I’d urge my colleagues to tackle them — and to see inequality as the *real* design challenge of the 21st century. Building apps for the plutocracy is not much fun. Let’s redesign the world instead.

Hacking Capitalism
tackling [planned obsolescence] and dumb by design

Communication and surplus capacity
CEO of Zip car
and the idea of surplus capacity.
Apply that to emails and other communications artefacts.
“Communication is hard — so you better re-use it.”

Sharing surplus capacity
„Meine-Spielzeugkiste“, a service that helps parents to unleash the skills of their children in renting high quality educational toys.
See Robin Chase + Zip Car example.
Or documentation at Mozilla.

Make things better
Mozilla is dedicated to “a better Internet.” Local Motors is passionate about making better cars. Open Hardware is about self-sufficiency and a better world. All of which begs the question: what do you mean by “better?”

In some ways it seems self-evident, in others its murky. What does a better internet mean? Mozilla struggled for a long time to answer this question, and came up with this:

Later they focused on making the world you want. Moving form passive consumption to inspired production, moving people from using the web to being makers of the web, building the future you want.

But underlying these qualitative judgments and subjective calls, there’s an underlying engineering idea of what’s better. Beyond the he said, she said of personal taste and politics, there just are some ways of doing things — particularly when it comes to process, x, and infrastructure — that just do work better. Open in these cases isn’t simply a different flavor or one option of many. It’s where the stubborn pragmatism of inventors, engineers, and anyone with a head for complex systems understand that they’re just plain better. And this battle, this undercurrent, runs under the last 300 years of technological and economic development. I think of it as the hidden backstory that’s been eclipsed by the popular mythology of left vs. right. Might vs. right.
Left, Right and Open
What I personally find inspiring and surprising about it, is that many of these open advocates and activists don’t necessarily share the progressive values we associate with activists, or do-gooders, or the Occupy movement — they just want things to work better. And it drives them nuts when it doesn’t. They’re process hackers, compulsive optimizers and inventors. They speak a different language than the progressive activists I’m used to hanging out with. In many ways, they’re more classic libertarian than anything else. But what they bring is know-how and a head for process and complex system that I think is crucial to building the world we want. And if we could connect this hemisphere of the enlightened brain with the energy and passion of something like the Occupy Movement (or populist revolt of the Tea Party, minus the weird intolerance), then watch out.
Lippman’s Gap: open data and democracy’s achilles heel

Toronto’s participatory budget exercise

Can open save the world?
image: dinosaur vs. mammals

We have seen how open versus closed is a battle pitting various optimizers, innovators and world-changers versus assorted Goliaths, HPPOs and gatekeepers (and the attendant sclerosis of bureaucracy, insiderism and endemic soft-corruption).

There is a fundamental right or freedom to innovate. To make better. That our *work,* our passion and skills, belong to us and are one of the most unique things we have to give. So we deserve, we have a right, to not offer it up to just anyone, in the service of just anything.

Asserting the right to innovate — to not have to meekly go begging or constantly ask permission —  is perhaps one of the most important and fundamental of the 21st century. To crack open the black box of law, of machinery, of education, of what we buy and inhabit and live with) and demand the right to make it — all of it — better. And to let the best ideas win, regardless of their source or destination or place in an org chart or dysfunctional hierarchy.

An expansion of Roosevelt and Stallman’s four freedom, or rather, the culmination of all of them into a fifth.

It is a freedom contained within an essential desire, or the better angles of our nature: to improve. To see how complex systems work. To learn from them and from each other. And to improve. To strive. To make things better.

Lipmann’s gap
Postman called it the information / action gap.
Lipmann saw it as the fundamental challenge for democracy and avoiding authoritarianism in the 21st century.

The really hard part is the connective tissue between citizens and solutions. Raising awareness around problems has become easy — almost too easy.


Left vs. right vs. open
Write about Beltzner and differing ideologies — but shared values.
I want to work with people like him. Have a hope that a coup of people like that could take over the world.

Open is not socialism or neo-communitarianism
Come mistake this for socialism. But this is wrong.
3 big reasons: bottom up vs. top down. Cenralized control vs distributed collaboration.
(not as different as might think: national socialism. A handful of key actors collaborate with the state to rig the game, make policy that benefits them at the expense of the 99.9%, etc.

From Big is Beautiful to thinking small
Thinking small in the context of re-localization. Beyond the zombie logic of “big is beautiful, consolidation rules, and all that matters is short-term shareholder value.”
Robin Chase as example of “thinking small:” an economics of abundance instead of artificial scarcity.

A modest proposal / theory of change for makers, designers and radical pragmatists everywhere
“Don’t ever doubt that a few people can change the world…” Margaret Mead
That might be true — if they were engineers. Or designers. Or choice architects or more properly — participation architects. The people who actually design and build the million daily systems that add up to the shape and impact of our daily lives. The architects who design the walls of the maze most of us spend all our time running through.

Thinking small: bridging the inside and outside game
These people, the people capable of bridging the Lipmann gap, the Postman solution deficit. The civil hackers, feisty librarians, unassuming open source superheroes. Give me a thousand of these people, and we can change the world.

We know that new media can galvanize attention and create democratic potential. Tehrir square, to Twitter in Iran, etc. But what’s far more difficult is what happens next.

Two competing visions
I don’t mean in a kumbaya bongo-drum kinda way. I mean that w need to figure out how to feed, clothe and take care of 10 billion people on the planet in our lifetimes. And that doing that will require massive innovation at every level — technological, social and economic. If we stand a chance, we *have* to get better at collaboration, co-ordination, planning, and x. There’s no other way. I think the best way to tackle that is at a cellular level. From the bottom-up, beginning with you. And me. And everyone we know.

There IS another model available to us, and that’s the one we have now. Where we essentially outsource the job to a handful of enormously large monopolies. And they’re quite happy to do the job. They have the benefit of scale, and in many cases “synergy.” Overseen by proceduralism. Managerial democracy.

The problem is, they’re botching the job. There is no incentive for them to innovate or cretae real value. Why do that when you can make enormous short-term profits by rigging the game? The monopolies aren’t evil. They’re rational, the same way a vampire bat or leech is rational: it’s job is to suck blood, not care about how best to serve the long term health of the host.

What we’re finding is that these models of inefficiency are actually staggeringly inefficient. And not actually very good at providing a service. What most of them have done is cut costs, produce large numbers of harmful, toxic or junk products, and hope that most of us are too busy and distracted and overwhelmed to notice or intervene. And to brand any efforts to reign them in or restore balance as red tape, over-regulation, meddlesome government interference, naive consumer griping, etc.

That’s the model we’ve chosen, whether consciously or not. Or rather: it’s the model we’ve uncosciously drfited into and built. The irony is: we’ve done this before. (“All of it has happened before, and all of it will happen again.)

The enemy is not x, or even “big” — it’s how we build in real competition and choice, account for public assets and social value, link “innovation” to social innovation and real value, and how we disrupt markets that aren’t working.

It’s what Mozilla did for the web in its formative chapter — and what others continue to do now.

Can open save the world?
Maybe not. The forces of monopoly may be too great.
But so what? we still have to suck it up. to respond. to respond. To alleviate suffering. And to carry on.

It’s a warm blooded little species surrounded by dinosaurs of enormous size, but little ability to adapt. Getting Started: 5 ways to put working open into practice

Don’t ask permission. Getting buy-in from your bosses or senior leadership is hard. Changing organizational culture is usually extremely difficult (if not impossible). So don’t bother — focus on what you can do yourself, on your own or in small groups, right way. Today. “Permission-less innovation” is the ultimate prize of open networks — the idea that anyone, anwyhere, any time, can come up with a better idea. Insist on this in your own life and work. Plunge ahead, then ask forgiveness if you step on a few toes. But don’t wait for others to give your permission first.

Case studies and examples

“Hell is when there’s nothing left to optimize.” –Tobias Grüterich

“Awesome is open source.” — Tonya Surman, Awesome Foundation

The web as public resource
How the web was won

Unatti’s Story
Email lands in my inbox. “My parents are quite strict.”

Making Mozilla: How idealistic geeks and radical pragmatists saved the web
Mozilla is a perfect example of social enterprise: a non-profit that makes money. It draws its sustainabilty from the fact that it makes products consumers not only like, but also feel good about. Where others have solely a profit motive, it has a mission. And where others exhort themselves to “don’t be evil,” Mozilla takes a different tack: “do good.”

Mozilla as unlikely giant-killer
Technology by the people, for the people
Started in 1998 out of the ashes of Netscape. Then created the non-profit “Mozilla Foundation” in 2003. Firefox has over 400 million users worldwide (think the population of x), and a global market share of around 25 or 30% — a major achievement when you consider it’s a plucky non-profit competing against the likes of Google, Apple and Microsoft. (Can you think of anyone you’d lease like to compete with than Google and Apple?)

Today Mozilla has approximately 600 paid staff spread across 20 countries. But the real story is its massive global volunteer community. About 40% of Mozilla Firefox’s code has been contributed by volunteers. Everyone from x, to y — a x year old boy who filed a security bug and won a cash prize.

How’d they do it? Gen Kanai, Mozilla’s Director of Community Engagement, India sums up it up this way.

Superior products matter
“Superior products matter,” Kanai says. “Without excellent experience and utility, the rest is meaningless.” The mission is core to Mozilla’s DNA, but in social enterprise fashion, outstanding products are the engine for that mission. It’s not enough to be open or to be good — it’s essential to be better.

Pushing decision-making to the edges
Decision-making rests with module owners.
Many decision-makers are outside the official organization.

Chaords: designing order in chaos
“Mozilla is a chaord,” Gen Kanai says, a model of decision-making that resembles computer scientist Dee Hock’s idea of complex systems that exhibit characteristics of both chaos and order. Chaords are designed to yield surprising innovation, through systems that are highly robust and scalable. The best example is probably the Internet itself.

“They keys are distributed decision-making, nodal authority, and ways to route around,”  Kanai says. “You need a high level of agreement around core values, and a recognition that different groups have distinct ways of working.”

Order, Chaos and Chaords
The world as a chaordic system. The world already works more like Git, less like command and control.
With important exceptions, of course. Particularly in relation to power. But it’s more simply to say that chaordic systems are all around us, and largely the norm.
Designing that way can be effective in part because its more in synch with how most of the world already works.

Communication is central
“Communication will happen in every possible way,” Kanai says. “So you need to make sure it’s reusable.” For Mozilla, that often means a surprisingly low-tech mish mash of tools: wikis, blogs and Twitter. The main channels are Bugzilla, IRC and newsgroups. (And the odd telepresence robot rolling around the Mountain View office, though this mostly seems to have fallen by the wayside.)

Kanai’s point about reusable communication is key — creating lasting, shareable artefacts, instead of a series of one-offs.

Sumo, QMO, Army of Awesome
“Our focus now is on making it easier to help others do more,” Kanai says.

“Surprise is the opposite of engagement,” Kanai says.
QUESTION: What does this mean?

Communities vs. Markets
“Communities are not markets,” Kanai says. “Members of communities are citizens, and citizens are more than consumers, bystanders or ‘stakeholders.’”

Kanai [source?]: “The best citizens challenge the status quo, propose improvements and make the conversation richer. They don’t just make products better — they make them what they are.”

Open meritocracy
“The goal is fewer decisions based on employment, and more decisions based on merit.”
“Experiment, try things, and measure where possible.”
“The key is the art of figuring out whether and how to apply each of these ideas.”

Two big problems
Of course, there are huge obstacles to working this way.
“Engaged citizens are noisy,” says Kanai. “They can also be demanding and contradictory.”

Clay Shirky’s favorite bugzilla bug

But is it sustainable?
In many ways, Mozilla is now under threat from its own success. The original goal was to break the browser monopoly and create a more competitive market and choice for consumers. The result is that it is now living in the world that it created, and facing tough new competitive pressures from fierce, much larger players like Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari. Google Chrome surpassed Firefox in market share in <<date>>.

“The goal is not market share, the goal is to serve the mission,” Mozilla’s Chief Lizard Wrangler, Mitchell Baker says. It’s a distinction that speaks to the heart of hybrid economics and the culture of social enterprise. Time and again, you encounter these “hacks on capitalism.” In the early days of the Mozilla project, Mozilla was a success as an open source project — but a failure in the market. But by embracing other forms of value, market success came. The key was that market success was the end goal in itself. The goal was to create something valuable and gather a community of capable people around those values. Giving something away in order to get something else back.

Hybrid economics
What can you give away in order to get something else back?

In many ways, Mozilla is the opposite of a typical business. It didn’t begin with the idea that it could build a huge revenue model around search deals — it just happened.

Noise vs. signal & Yammer vs. Twitter
The pressures of industrialization on the one hand versus open decision-making on the other. Conversation that used to happen in open channels often happens in closed channels like Yammer.

“RTFM — without the M”
That’s how one colleague put it. There is a RTFM culture at Mozilla (Read the Freakin’ Manual) but with one problem: there often is no manual. Or documentation exists, but it’s buried on a wiki somewhere that’s difficult for newbies to put their hands on.

David Eaves survey results.

“This technology could fall into the right hands:”
a people’s history of Mozilla

How can we be faster, nimbler and more focused?
As Mozilla’s Matthew Zeier put it:
“How can we be more nimble?  How can we move faster?  How can we make sure we’re focusing on the right things at the right times?”
The work we do is inspiring. How can we make it easier for others to help us?
How can we constantly test and measure? How can we capitalize on momentum and leverage?

“More Mozilla than Mozilla”
Beginning in 2010, I was lucky to be part of a tiny team of people experimenting with these ideas. At first it felt like we were the scrawny kids getting sand kicked in our face by the branwnier geeks doing the “real” work. But we were scrappy and allowed to be experimental. We knew that one of the core assets Mozilla had, beyond the Firefox brand, was a unique way of working. We set out to emulate that work-style and extend and package it for new audiences. We took what had worked and sought to hack and innovate in small ways to push it further and faster. One of my proudest moments at Mozilla was hearing a colleague describe our way of working as being “even more Mozilla than Mozilla.” We earned a reputation for being nimble. Freed from some of the pressures of industrialization and rapid growth, we were able to take the idea of working open even more seriously, in many ways.

Mozilla’s moment of truth
Mozilla (like any open organization, or any organization period) is not some happy shangrila. Organizations are like families — all are dysfunctional, each in their own unique way.

Working with some members of the Mozilla community can be like working with prickly pears. They care passionately about their tools and communications channels — many of which, despite the fact that they’re all on the open web — can be byzantine, intimidating, and hard to find.

When my team launch Thimble, for example — a new piece of software lauded by Wired and others as one of the easiest code editors they’ve seen — the response from many developers was: “Why aren’t they using Bugzilla?!” — the issue tracker used by the rest of the organization. The response from one developer (Because Bugzilla is a steaming pile of crap”) probably didn’t help much. But it goes to show how even open organizations and communities can seem alien or even unintentionally hostile for new contributors.

David Eaves has talked about this thin skin problem. They tend to attract people with thick skins only. And as Mozilla sought to reach out to new audiences, sometimes those audiences found it hard to feel welcome, know where to go, or at constant risk of saying or doing the wrong thing — without really even being able to put their hands on the manual for doing the right thing.

Planet Mozilla
Don’t be afraid to fully paint Mozilla Foundation’s aspirations.
the big picture arc and everything they could become
making as learning. unlocking credentialing and the full learning potential of the web. and in the process, rekindling the Mozilla spirit

Offices in Toronto named after subway stations. Infrastructure. Public infrastructure. The idea that cities, like ecosystem, tend to flourish when certain conditions are met, and that good solid public infrastructure is one of them.
Case Study: Local Motors

Case Study: Open Civilization

Open Source Ecology
elements for tractor, built from local materials. Create spin-off ecologies.
tractor built in Kenya, India, US may look totally different.
faster procurement than purchasing from China, Germany, or States. Break down, don’t have parts.

The Rally Fighter: still the world’s most badass open source project?
The Local Motors “Rally Fighter,” one of the world’s fastest and most agile off-road racing vehicles, and its big “daddy long legs” suspension keeps you safely smiling in the cockpit as you negotiate that next big gut-wrenching turn. [and wipe that nervous bit of happy drool off your chin.]

The Rally Fighter is one of the world’s first “open source automobiles.” Each of the car’s parts was dreamt up, designed and contributed by a community. 3,000 different people, most of them volunteers who had never designed a car before. Spread across 100 different countries. In x different cities. From the door, to the steering wheel in your hands, to the lap belt strapping you in — even the name — were designed and built by passionate volunteers. The parts are all licensed under Creative Commons, and the individual cars themselves are assembled by hand by the cars owners, enthusiasticallly put together with DIY maker enthusiasm like a kit. Everything about was produced through an open process and community, right down to its name and the original idea for the car itself.

“I started to sketch cars not too long ago,” says Sangho Kim, the 21-year-old design student who first drew the Rally Fighter’s overall concept.  “I was always interested in designing something, but I never believed I could actually design a car.” Sanhgo submitted it through an open design competition on When Kim’s design won and actually moved into production to become a real car, he says it “almost gave him a heart attack.”

Making cars the way Mozilla makes software
What was so striking for me when I heard about Kim’s story, and learned more about how Local Motors works, was how familiar their model and ways of working seemed. I’d seen similar patterns and x before — but not for real-world stuff like automobiles, but in the geeky software world of Mozilla, makers of the Firefox web browser, and the non-profit where I’d been working and learning for the last three years.

Local Motors was able to produce the Rally Fighter with approximately x staff working on their payroll. But about ten times that number had some hand in actually making the rally fighter, most of the volunteer hobbyists and enthusiasts who just really loved cars.

Similarly, Mozilla was able to produce Firefox, the browser now used by about a third of the web —  through similar community-powered dynamics. Mozilla today has 7,000 global staff — but more than 40,000 community contributors who each helped build Firefox — from filing bugs, to submitting code, to translating and localizing it around the world. It’s that community that made Firefox what it is today.

The Rally Fighter looks like a child’s drawing sprung to life, or some Mad Max-style dune racer perfect for the zombie apocalypse. But its more than just a badass car;  it’s also a symbol, and a prototype in a growing global experiment aiming to quietly re-design the world.

Include here: gumball rally
Include here: some of the additional research you initally excluded

CTA: I really want to ride in one

Open Source Cancer Research

Everything that is wrong with the world highlighted by this story. (well, almost everything)
— Renee Racine-Kinnear

Creative Commons

Open Education

Open Health
Sarah Bermingham’s work in public health
they have to document everything publicly, including meetings
“it makes me better at what I do. the stakeholders always catch things we missed”

Crisis Commons

Open source urbanism: the soul of a new city
Can “open source urbanism” build a new capital?
meeting with government of South Sudan and civil society leaders in Juba
three quarters of population is under 30
a quarter is literate. very low literacy rates among women and girls.
Juba is fastest growing urban center in world from 2009 to 2011. from 300,000 to 1.3 million.
somewhere in between, dusty provincial place — with little infrastrucutre — to capital of a new country.
and of intense cultural and ethnic differences
city is booming, huge construction. mix of formal an informal structures.
huge advertisements, everything about looking into the future. beer for the future, etc.

“must also provide the framework for a state to function”
“urbanism as a function of state-building itself.”
[some good quotes in here — review video for exact wording later]

structures, sustainaibabilly, collaborative strategies as means for state-building
not in terms of high-tech — but at the ideas that are behind open source and how these can be adopted in new forms of transofrmation.
and also in the spirit of creative hacktivism.
Stallman: hacking is about playful cleverness. creating somethign new out of things that have been broken open.
and about enabling access: access to data, to technology, to knowledge, and public domain info
interplay between government and the public
how do you transfer the euphoria of indepenedence into livelihoods, without relying on donor countries
to create a form of collaboration that is sustainable
creating spaces of exchange, for collaborate, for sustainability, creating scenarios for accountability, transparency, participation in the public process

partner organizations:
iHub [Africa]
Kenya Open Data
[+ Open Oil]
Sauti ya wakulima: “The voice of the farmers”
software: ojoVoz. Android. Lowest threshold technology use. Where the necessity to share data is  high. Project in Tanzania. Farmers are recording images, stories, interviews etc about the effect of climate change on their crops.

H.E. Ambassaor Sitona Abdulla Osman, Republic of South Sudan
based in Berlin

draft bill: “Right to Access Information”
(also media bill — could be good or bad thing)
but challenge is in useful applications of this data.

Ushahidi has been providing concrete examples. Crowd-soucing platform, statistical analysis for trends. Election tracking, crisis management.

The field as lab: Stinky socks and innovation at the edges

Grandest challenge example: pushing out to the edges
The stinky socks.

Building a benevolent do-ocracy
Creating a culture where doing is more important than discussing.
The goal, interestingly, is not to create a space where every opinion is heard.
The goal is to create a community where things get done, a culture of doing. A do-ocracy. Where those who contribute the most and best work, and are the easiest and best to collaborate with, gain natural social capital and influence. And the nervous nellies who always seem to want to stand at the sidelines and split hairs don’t necessarily get equal time. Why would they?

But wait! Isn’t that undemocratic?
It might seem so, if our idea of democracy is a simple majority vote, taken on the basis of everybody opinions. But opinions are not judgments. Where some people think climate change is real, and some people hold the opinion that’s it not.

Anarchy, “Adhocracy” and Do-ocracy
Pete Fein programs Python, rides bikes, does yoga, and wears pants. He also acts as a liaison with Anonymous, but does not himself work on DDoS attacks or crack websites and passwords. Fein gave the opening keynote to Open Source Bridge, “Hacking for Freedom,” which in reality had very little to do with hacking and very much to do with what he calls a “doocracy.”
You can read the first portion of that keynote on his blog. In it, he explains Telecomix, which he describes as “yin to Anonymous’ yang,” and “builders, not breakers.” But what they have in common with one another is that they’re both leaderless and passionate about freedom. They believe in this concept of the doocracy, which means an organization in which “you just get things done.”
they built mirrors and proxies and used IRC as a manual relay to Twitter for Egyptians who couldn’t do so They’ve reused much of this work in Libya, Yemen, other countries, and even at the recent protests in Wisconsin.

“I talk about these phenomenon as being anarchic processes in a way,” Fein says. “That’s a big word to throw around.” But for Fein, it’s not about overthrowing governments. It’s about doing things that are important to you outside of a traditional structure in which you wait for someone to tell you what to do.

He described the successful efforts of Telecomix and other groups as “disorganization,” although I think de-organization might be more accurate. It’s the system where everybody is a volunteer and working on a project because they want to be there. But in a system where nobody tells people what to do, how do you accomplish anything constructively and productively? Fein offered three answers:
Radical openness. Many people think Anonymous is entirely behind a mask, not just when photographed, but figuratively as well. But if you search for “Anonymous IRC,” you’ll find a network you can join. The LulzSec public IRC channel is likewise just that–public. The disadvantages seem clear, but the huge advantage of such radical openness is participation.
“Adhocracy,” which is the words he gives to temporary groups that form simply to go out and do whatever they’re interested in.
IRC, which he called the best example of how tools can be used to enable communication.

Open source fits into this model as a prime example of a do-ocracy. Contributors just want to help, and they want to see results, not complex organizations that tell them what to do. Open groups recognize that those structures don’t matter–what you get done does.

“Social welfare begins at 100 Mbit.”
Piratbyrån, which describes itself as a conversation or think tank advocating for file sharing and for piracy. Hundreds of people marched for Piratbyrån, protesting for what they believed to be their future: “Warez the future.” Beyond that, though, they also demanded 100 Mbit Internet access in their homes with the slogan, “Social welfare begins at 100 Mbit.”


The importance of participation design and choice architecture
This is important, because it’s easy to try something, fail, and then give up. If Wikipedia took that lesson — that the first iterations didn’t work, and thereby proved that this whole “open sourced knowledge and encylopedia” thing just didn’t work — there would be no Wikpedia today. Small differences in participation design can translate into huge differences in outcome.


Super-shelley at the U.N.
Use Shelley as a case study and character. Her information
Information management. Creating products, then thinking about the audience for each.
Opening up data beyond proprietary walls.
“There’s a level of trust that has to happen,” she says.

Rise of the hybrids / Rise of the hybrid mind
Shelley called them dual profile: her Information Management Officers needs to be both gregarious project management types — *and* understand the technological implications as well.

Living Open Source for one year
Sam Muirhead
from the Open Strategies web site:
100 days ago, Sam Muirhead was a Mac-using technological neanderthal who didn’t know one end of a soldering iron from another. Now he’s using free software and homemade soap, and developing open source undies… Sam is writer and filmmaker who is hurling himself into a Year of Open Source – abandoning the world of proprietary products to track down, hack and develop open source projects to address all his daily needs, from cutting videos to chopping onions. He’ll be talking about some of his experiences and what he’s learned from the first 100 days of his open source life.

(shot on an open source video camera)

The Year of Open Source
read about it, never actually did anything.
Talked about it, most didn’t know what open source was.

film and music
clothes research

hardest part finding out what is and what isn’t patented.

Open Oil
Zara has worked for OpenOil since 2010, when she contributed a section on “International Oil Companies” in the Iraqi Oil Reporting guide which was subsequently published and distributed throughout the Middle East as part of Iraq’s EITI candidacy. Professional research interests include transparency and FOI.
Zara holds a BA (Hons) degree in Modern Languages and Cultures (French, Spanish and Arabic) from Durham University in the UK. She is currently blogging for OpenOil at Oil101.

country briefings
(Obama going to Myanmar) questions to ask as journalist
how to read, understand oil contracts
give something away — in order to give something else back

revenue models for post-copyright economy
everything is a remix video series

Fear of being open. People paying too much attention to what you’re doing.
Without understanding that this information already belongs to the public.
98% of revenue in South Sudan comes from oil.
without knowing what the contract says — serious issue.
South Sudan Oil Almanac. Working through peer pressure to make these contracts transparent. So that the Finance Minister knows what revenue is being generated.
Open Djuba: Building an open source city
Three ideals from Peer 2 Peer foundation
requirement of open input by all stakeholders and affected citizens, including outsiders with innovation outsiders

requirement for the accumulated knowledge to be put in a knowledge commons for future use and remixing on other projects

First major event:
Juba — dec 11 – 13
media-and-makers.tumblr. [???]
Doroth Gorden, FOSSFA (“liberation technologist”)

trasparency in governance challenge
empahsizing best-case examples and positive scenarios
Open Government Partnership: Tanzania, S. Africa, others: global peer pressure groups
help overcome “what if the emabrassing stuff comes out”
Tanazania and South Africa providing positive examples

From the Open Strategies web site:
#OSJUBA proposes to apply the means and methodologies of the international Open Source / FLOSS, free culture, accessible technologies and hacktivist communities in creating a vision for the new capital of South Sudan. Building a model to be applied in the broader context of an emergent, transparent and participatory democracy Open Source methodologies also play a crucial role in fusing diverse cultural traditions into existing, established and highly engaged global communities. Their inherent elements of cultural collaboration, grass-roots enterprise and economic innovation are driven by multidisciplinary ideals that have the ability to support and augment the most complex development issues and scenarios including:
crowdsourcing and open access to data as citizen accessories for urban development
transparency models for participation and interaction with policy making in government
resource management, health care and open education methodologies
increased digital mobility networking and communication for freer expression and cultural diversity
new forms of citizen-based, community or device journalism, incl. SMS, radio, data streaming
creating new economies and user-based technologies informed by local knowledge
enabling open peer to peer education formats complementing traditional learning structures
The essential characteristic of the Open Source model is one of sustainability. As economically and politically powerful tools, Open Source technologies, mobile platforms and collaborative data sourcing methodologies now have the ability to be implemented as viable alternatives to tried and often failed attempts at nation building, urban and social development. Given the rise of user generated tools, content and technologies, the world’s Open Source communities are in a unique position to strengthen the basic tenets of free and open expression, investing in the boundless potentials of media literacy, community development and individual enterprise.
EXAMPLE: Home on Demand
Home on Demand employs Open Data to allow tenants and landlords to make more efficient decisions in the property market
cities as a “social network in concrete.” (speaker)

“If you try to make something beautiful, it is often ugly. 
If you try to make something useful, it is often beautiful.”
–Oscar Wilde

Interview List

Cathy Davidson

Connie Yowell: using open to revolutionize learning

Marvin Amori

Jono Bacon

Treehouse Talk

A mystery, a movement a manifesto
Open source
What does it mean to live, think and work open?

1) a mystery
2) a movement
3) a manifesto
(an invitation)

They mystery
why does so much of the working world still look like this:
[org chart]

the best way to solve a problem or get something done is…
put a bunch of people on a payroll
organize them into neat little boxes
stacked them in a hierarchy. tightly control information. locked off from rest of the world.

Good for making widgets. But proves to be really lousy at tackling larger, more interesting problems.

What the problem with it?
what about ideas from people who aren’t on the payroll?
how do avoid crushing or losing great ideas?
how do you collaborate with others organizations and communities?
how do you design and work with a community? Instead of just passive consumers?

My personal crisis
I worked in one of these boxes
for a *great* organization
non-profit. All about the open internet’s power to change the world. Lobbied for positive government policy.

there was just one problem:
we never asked our supporters to *do* anything.
It was the old “production and consumption” model.
And it slowly stopped working.
Everybody and their dog got Twitter.
The space got cluttered with more and more noise.
Many of use were left feeling distracted, burnt out and disillusioned.

So I quit. And decided to look for examples of people doing it better.

That’s when I heard about Mozilla.
open source
4 freedoms
applied those ideas to how they worked
open meetings
open tasks. open workflow.
created a hybrid — part org structure, part community.

David vs. Goliath battle

David wins.

The Movement
Open Everything
instead of this.
without drowning in noise.

a movement.
open source everything

a manifesto
for changing the way people work
and maybe for changing the world as well.

three questions

how do people make things better?
how do davids beat goliaths?
how do you make it easier for other people to help you?

my own personal brick wall
went looking
found mozilla

“working open”
applying to real world
things like cars

they’re making cars the way mozilla makes software

open source tractor
open data movement here in Toronto

we have over-rotated on technology
under-developed *know how*

15 principles

let me know how it goes.

what does it mean to think open, live open, work open?


why does that matter?
freedom. building the world we want.
help. making it easier for others to help. a force multiplier for your best ideas. davids taking on goliaths. rocket fuel for your big idea.

open source

idealistic geeks at MIT

open source

four freedoms:
1) The freedom to run the program
The freedom to study how it works
The freedom to improve it
The freedom to share it

positing collaboration as a fundamental human freedom.
in essence: the freedom to make things better.

that lead to huge breakthroughs in technology.
like Mozilla.

40,000 volunteers

They’re now making cars the same way Mozilla makes software.

[Open Everything]

How do they do it?
Think small. Do less. Work open.
Shut out the noise of the crowded mass — and really embrace the messiness, difficulty and beauty of working together with *real* people. And paradoxically, this proves to be a key precursor to scale; what if “thinking small” — or more accurately: thinking big but starting small — was actually the key to going big? That’s what agile development models, lean start-up and design thinking would have us consider — and they’re probably right.

that has become a battle.

science, research and knowledge
these things are the organs of a healthy democracy.


A question / mystery
a movement

Re talk

A story of open
Working open
A new approach to how people work and collaborate.

Lead by an unlikely but growing and inspiring global movement. Working in new ways.
The big idea is that we can design and build a better world.

Embrace transparency
Agility. Open as means to an end: greater strength and agility.
Participation. Build communities. Expand Collaborative communities. Move beyond the traditional “producer and consumer.” Engage audiences as co-designers, co-collaborators.

In ways that are both more effective and more fun. = awesome
It’s not about technology. The web is not going to save the world. But smarter collaboration will. And is the only thing that ever does.

And I’m curious about you.
Ways that you may be experimenting with similar ideas in your own work.
But also main questions, tripping points, skepticism.

And a mystery: which is: [the big question]. The thing about *you*. Have a big idea, a pet project. How could this help you? And how does it relate to a larger idea of freedom.


I want to start here, with the Rally Fighter
Creative commons parts. Built by communities. Tapping into passion of a small number of huge enthusiasts. Original design submitted by a design student. And its aweseome: it’s incredibly fast. It’s won races like the Gumball Rally. And its incredibly agile — much like the process that built it. Social Enterprise — it’s a for-profit business, but it engages its audience as co-designers.

They’re making automobiles the same way Mozilla makes Firefox.
Firefox was born in [year.] And it was a David vs. Goliath moment for the web.
Internet Explorer was a monopoly. And it sucked. IE6 threatened to break the internet.
Why? Security. Privacy. No regard for standards.
But also for a larger failure: a failure of imagination. And a fundamental difference of thinking in what the web is for. A delivery channel for products. A new way to deliver eyeballs to advertisers. Something to be monopolised. Controlled. Vs. something else: a nervous system for humanity. The 8th wonder of the world. Something essentially owned by the planet, as a shared public resrouce. Part of the commons.

The community that fixed it was a community of obsessive compulsive optimizers. Not kumabaya idealists — they’re engineers. And that’s important. People with skills — not opinions but ability to build. But also: they share a value in the pragmatism of open.
“rough consensus and working code”
“Do-ocracy”: attracting like-minded communities of people with a high capacity for getting shit done.

“Open Everything:” what started in open source is spreading to the real world.
Open Hardware. Open source tractors and power generators. Open source medical research. Open Education. Open data initiatives here in Toronto.
Your work.

“Open Source Civilization”
that most of what the world needs can now be produced from scrap metal and knowledge that they are giving freely to the world.

Ok, so how do you do it?
moving from theory to practice
know-how, strategies, tactics, kung fu
How do plan? How do you assign tasks? How do you measure? How do you run meetings? What do you with dumb ideas? How do you attract and grow the right kinds of communities?

“Working Open” and
10 principles.

Think big.
Start small.
Work open.

Have a mission.  that inspires others. Don’t just serve a bottom line. Don’t just not do evil — wherever possible, do good.

The goal.

Bigger battle for the soul of the 21st century. Updating the operating system of economics. Insisting on the most fundamental freedom of all: the right to make things better. The right to understand how complex systems work, and to make them better. The right to not simply be consulted, but to actively participate. And to see human potential and creativity as the ultimate open source.

The fifth freedom: the freedom to innovate. The freedom to make things better. The freedom to see and understand the systems that make up our everyday life, and crucially: to make them better.

It’s unclear to me sometimes whether this is actually still possible, or whether most humans even want it.

But I do see peoe doing it all the time, around me. And I am inspired by and want to work with them.

Collaboration is our business: the desperate snuggle for survival
Vaillant raises a number of factors more often than others, but the one he refers to most often is the powerful correlation between the warmth of your relationships and your health and happiness in your later years.  In 2009, Vaillant’s insistance on the importance of this part of the data was challenged, so Vaillant returned to the data to be sure the finding merited such important focus.  Not only did Vaillant discover that his focus on warm relationships was warranted, he placed even more importance on this factor than he had previously.  Vallant notes that the 58 men who scored highest on the measurements of “warm relationships” (WR) earned an average of $141,000 a year more during their peak salaries (between ages 55-60) than the 31 men who scored the lowest in WR.  The high WR scorers were also 3-times more likely to have professional success worthy of inclusion in Who’s Who.

But because its better.
Firefox is one example.
Working open is another.

Include Aspiration Tech manifesto

“People with opinions just go around bothering one another.”
- The Buddha

“We’re so connected / but are we even friends?”
— Arcade Fire

Another example
Architecture Commons

The story of Scoobidiver
Crash data
Bugs dupes
4th bug
Engineer responded
3,000 tickets
1,000 fixed
Stable   8 10 hours a day
Also working on sumo
Edited 5000 articles on sumo
Twice that of any other
Tried to offer a job

Thinks they live in France
Male or female?

6 things I learned from DJing for everyday life

If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t serve it
Hypothetical mass or “everyone”
Vs for real people. Beginning with yourself.

How to open source life, work and everything

How to unlock the power of others

Co creation

Brwn journalism and progress?
Theory of change
Medicine: what’s the mechanism or physiology?
We have enlightenment era theories about how things work — and we can’t afford to assume

Adjacent possible / communications vs.
Far possible.
Dialectic pincer movement between them.

How much of hte GDP is lost each year to ego and passive aggressive game playing?

We hear a lot about collaborative consumption. Firefox was collaborative production.

Open is messy.

Open is difficult.

And it works. Open wins. Not every time, but most.

Open is not new.

Collaboration is our business: the case for open economics

Status quo broken

Survival of the middle class
Survival of our environment
Survival of progress. New ideas. Creativity. Innovation.

Open allocation vs. turf and ownership

its not that i have nothing to hide — I value my privacy. Its sacred.

Its that I have nothing to hide in my work

@NZN as example of going deep

“Do things that don’t scale.”

I was in a meeting and one of my colleagues said something really interesting:

“I’m not that interested in mentorship, because mentorship doesn’t scale.”

It’s true — but also for reasons it doesn’t intend.

The Don’t be evil riff
staring into the eyes of your mum on the first day of school, having her

people are going to think I’m picking on Google. I’m not. And I respect Google for a couple of big reasons: i respect that they make genuienly great products. Thats really hard, and it counts for something. And I respect that the spirit of don’t be evil came out of a genuinely good place.

but when you think about it: the dominant logic has been dont be evil, or worse: do.
is it any wonder that the world is fucked up?

The four pillars of new literacy
The four pillars and the defense of integrity
here’s one way to try and get story straight: fiddle with words on a piece of paper.

the other: say something true. Have integrity. Play the long game. Back the stuff that’s true, but not necessarily catchy. The four for us:

literacy. “understand how the web works.” understand how the telephone works. understand how language works vs. the freedom and ability to speak and write, and write *well*.
learning by doing. (we just stick the word “make” in lots of places.
collaborative making. (and the uncomfortable truths that come with it. we’re training people wrong.
by the people, for the people. people power. the public. DIY. or: DIO: do it ourselves. the freedom to imagine, design and build the world we need — without asking permission. that right is our. the freedom to take it. The freedom to be an active cfeators and participant  in our own lives, and in our shared present and future — not just a passive bystander, or consumer, or prisoner of circumstance. the freedom to change our fate, and participate in something shared.

“The world is won by those who let it go.”
– Lao Tzu (via Jeff Warren)

“There is no freedom without privacy. Secrecy, Anonymity and Autonomy are important.”

“We need a ‘view source for democracy.'” –Camille Françoisat at #MozFest

Embracing openness, agility and [passion / awesomeness / rocket fuel / sweet shit / explosive dynamic energy / extra leverage / magic /]

You have three books in you: Working Open, McLuhan’s Kung Fu, and the Sixth Estate
The Sixth Estate is the secret, hiding-in-plain-sight revolution to save the world
White Knights
The everyday heroes. The silent majority of secret superheroes constantly pushing a boulder up a hill, to do their jobs and try, each of us, to make things better — even if just a little bit, when we can.

The Sixth Estate:
the world-builders on whom civilization depends:
civil society, educators, public

Don’t neglect the psychological aspects
Around things like: getting unstuck. Not feeling like you need to solve everything yourself. Etc.

The necessity (and enormous freakin difficulty) of real focus
When you don’t focus early, complexity compounds dramatically.
e.g., failure to pick an audience focus.

Sunlight and people power
Are the only cure.
Our cultures obsession with big numbers has numbed us to the deeper truths staring us in the face.

The financial gatekeepers of who is able to run for office

JP Morgan

Distributed innovation. Is it *just* the Manhattan Project, or New Deal? Do we have to wait for governments to do things? How do we take the kind of grassroots organizing Exley helped pioneer and update for the Obama campaign — and translate it into how we govern? How do we move beyond the delegation model? How do we recognize that government policy is not the *only* way to make change — while still recognizing its importance and making fullest use of it as a lever?

For me, that’s the really interesting bit. It’s not just a failure of technology — but a favor to fully diagnose the problem. Adam has one of the most compelling answers —

Techno-humanists, open source idealists and radical pragmatists

Empowering your unsung heroes, mavens and secret fans

Your best ideas have a career and lifespan you can’t really limit or control.
“When you launch an idea or a fantasy theme or image to the world, it has this tremendous career that you can’t possibly control or limit….”
–Susan Sontag: Harper’s, August 2013, from an interview with Rolling Stone, 1978

Susan Sontag: Harper’s, August 2013, from an interview with Rolling Stone, 1978
“The nature of modern communications systems is that anything can be said, any context is equivalent to any other contest, so that things can be placed in many different contexts at the same time, like photography…. Of course, it allows for a liberty of action and consciousness that people have never had before. But it means that you can’t keep original or profound meanings intact because inevitably they are disappointed, adulterated, transform, and transmuted. So when you launch an idea or a fantasy theme or image to the world, it has this tremendous career that you can’t possibly control or limit. You want to share things with other people, but on the other hand you don’t want to just be the machine that needs millions of fantasies and optics products and opinion to be fed into it every day in order to keep on going. And that’s perhaps a reason one is tempted to be silent sometimes.”

Democracy versus do-ocracy
Democracy isn’t about randomly voicing opinions. It’s about empowering people to design and build the world we want — in an open, collaborative and social way. Balancing individual freedom and the necessity of collective action — and seeing those things as richer and stronger together.

The necessity of infrastructure demands that we do things together. As does the nature of modern work — we live in a networked world, whether we like it or not. The fate of some is connected to the fate of all, and smarter collaboration really is our business.

What we have created is by and large a culture of never-ending bike-shedding — endless opinion sharing, mostly — because of the niche nature of media — people reinforcing what they already believe to be true.

Working in tickets: the email outreach example
working on an email outreach in a ticket. what does it do?
force the process into the open. and reveal places where its weak or broken.

You are the ultimate open source.
You are the source. Your are the font of x, y and z. The ultimate open source is *you*.

“you are the ultimate open source.” — Greg
x is the open source.

Open Food: building awesome food systems

Mental kruft, distraction and collaborative static
“distraction – as the Australian philosopher Damon Young points out in his book of that name – isn’t just a minor irritant. It’s a serious philosophical problem: what you focus on, hour by hour, day after day, ends up comprising your whole life.” — source?

Data is the new oil: who owns the digital version of you?
Verizon chief marketer: “We’re able to view just everything that they do. And that’s really where data is going today. Data is the new oil.”
Focusing on how
How do you do it? How do you build a new world? with all the component parts you need in it? How do we reconnect shopcraft as soulcraft? How do we make things that are good instead of wasteful dogshit? How do we reconnect with others — not just on Facebook, but through our work, our contributions, our labor? How do we share more on a daily basis? How do we find common cause with people we don’t agree with or even necessarily like that much? how how how?

Hybrid economics: giving, getting and sharing
How to turn on your collaborative jetpack
Collaborative community

The battle for work is part of a larger battle for the future of the world
In some ways, the battle in the world of work, for our soul, for the soul of our organizations, and for the larger soul of our respective countries and operating system of the 21st century and the whole ball of wax — is a similar battle. A shared front in some ways.

I’m not sure those battles will be solved through trading one ideology for another. I think we need to re-engage with the nitty gritty of how our work — our labor, our life’s work, how we spend our 9 to 5, what we apply ourselves, and that the old idea that we are what we do and what we make — is key. We need to design and prototype the world and systems we want. We need infrastructure.

Patents and intellectual property run amok
The example of the guy who “patented” podcasting. He never got it to work, and ended up distributing magazines on cassette tapes by mail. Nevertheless, he managed to successfully twist arms to *pay* him for his “intellectual property.” (This American Life)

[quote from WTF podcasting guy forced to pay money.]

We need to make things better, now. The best ideas must win.

The power of engaging small audiences of real people — instead of hypothetical mass audiences
Think small. The power of making things for real people — instead of some hypothetical mass
The beauty of small. The glass onion approach. [please insert better analogy here.]

The problem of scale: starting small. But starting small with real people may be the key to ultimate scale and meaningful impact.

Case in point for me personally: this book. It was only once I reconceived it as a series of blog posts that everything broke open and became exponentially easier for me. I ended up throwing out a lot of what I wrote to start: it all ended up smelling like baloney. Why? Because it had no sense of ear. It wasn’t written for anyone — it was written for some hypothetical mass, and consequently felt like bullshit. It was only once I started writing it as posts I could publish on my blog that it actually started to seem authentic and real. I don’t there’s any accident that many start that way — including my friend James.

My writer friend Jeff says he trties to imagine his own writing as an email to his smartest friends. Something similar happens when you try to think and write in public — your writing gets animated by a clearer sense of purpose. Write, design and build for real people, and you’re much more likely to end up solving

Dumb by design: the trouble with planned obsolescence and monopoly thinking
A lot of systems are diametrically opposed to this. Todd <<name>> has a case study about <<name>>. They created a new tool — and he adapted it and remixed.

Impact at scale versus artisanal prototypes
The problem: how do you get to scale fast? World Bank and others are actually incented to spend massive amounts of money.

This is partly why the success of crowdfunding. But again: do these add up to something that can anywhere match x and y. Kiva ultimately rasied x dollars last year. That’s roughly the development budget of x. How do we 10x these and related efforts?


The problem? These are artisanal success stories. How do we scale them up?

This, it seems to me, is the $10 million dollar question. And a fascinating question of design, engineering, architecture — how to encourage innovation at the edges, connected to an open infrastructure that can scale?

There are current case studies. Everyone cites Wikipedia — but I’m not totally convinced. Or rather: crowd-sourcing (more aptly but clumsily should be understood as “community-sourcing”) information or knowledge is different than community-sourcing production. Some things are harder than others — what works for Wikipedia won’t automatically work for the world.

Firefox offered a

What can you use etherpads for?
Etherpad tips and tricks: have one for /Erika
want to see what she’s working on? Areas where she’s stuck? I just go to Erika — or as simple as typing her name into my browser

Agenda for my check-ins with my boss? They’re always in the same place. /Matt. Updated through the week as I go.

The limits of transparency: is there still a role for back-channel diplomacy?
Evan Morgony attacks transparency. He’s half right — but missing the essentials.
Some is natural. too much is a sign something’s wrong. It’s at best inefficient and at worse, toxic.

The point is not necessarily to adopt some radical, fundamentalist posture — or embrace transparency and potentially useless over-sharing as a good in its own right.

I had a colleague one time who could not do anything on list. Every time I sent a proposal, I always got these back channel messages back from him. This was maddening.

Work in tickets (no, really)
Sample tickets: too many cooks sending a desingers round in circles with a predictably mediocre result

Refusal to care about user experience followed by feet stamping, refusal to state requirements, and ultimately back channel arm-twisting and edicts (followed by repeat arguments.)

Is the price of agility and MVP lousy QA?
One of my colleagues says that your MVP culture kinda drives her nuts. OCD

Is often imperfect QA. Begs the question of how you do quality assurance. Just because you’re committed to driving participation doesn’t mean that all contribution will necessarily be *good* — and communities *want* to participate in projects with good QA. People want to contribute to things that are good — not things that are mediocre or bad.

We’re drowning in noise.
A lot of the web and social media and email actually does is: drown us in noise and overflowing heaps of baloney. (Spam, spork, etc.)

Collaborative flow and “eudamonia:” Why transparency feels good.

Push out of email into shared spaces: etherpads, Google Docs, wikis, tickets. That’s how open source developers work, and in many ways, it’s how everybody should work. And once you switch over, you get hooked and never want to go back. (At least, in my experience.)

Is it easy? Nope. Is it perfect? Uh uh. Is it magic pixie dust that is going to make long-standing power structures magically.

Silicon Valley’s weird blindspot around power and inequality

Story of Community Calls
I wanted to give up. But Mark reminds me: community and co-ordination is best done in community.

Letting people hack in small groups on the part of the agenda that matters most to them.

David Ascher’s point: why not just a You Tube channel. But the key point for me is: attention is scarce. And there’s still something about gathering in synchronous time, for creating a

*ALL* work is done in a community
In a network. Org charts never tell the whole, real story.

Restoring the missing lines in the economic equation.
(This is what we mean by building or benefitting an ecoysystem. Instead of just a one-off or making a fast buck.

Re-thinking “collaboration cost”
In a networked society collaboration is our (everybody’s) business. Smarter, more agile, more win win.
Why doesn’t the old idea of “collaboration cost” or transaction cost apply in the same way?
It doesn’t sufficiently account for human motivation. And the degree to which people want to do stuff versus don’t want to do stuff. It has no way of accounting for the added potential of inspiring people, or the added power of having people volunteer their added passion and time — whether it’s staying late to help finish a project they really care about, showing up at a weekend event to teach someone a new skill, or getting together at a local manufacturing facility to assemble their own car.
It’s mechanistic.
It’s out of date. It no longer accounts for changes in technology, culture

If “science is a wiki,” theworld is an etherpad. A bit messy, chaotic, full of people hacking and occsasionally writing over top of one another. Occasionally breaking when you have too many people — but also beautiful in its brute simpliciy.

But also, at its best, infinitely open to others to improve. To tweak. To make better. Pull the time slider and you see history unfold before your eyes — like a living, breathing thing, or an ant colony of furious ideas and bits of language swarming around itself. A future as yet unwritten. Sure it can be a messy back of the mullet. But maybe raw, get your hands dirty collaboration is ultimately more of what we need right now, as opposed to pretty and polished passive consumption. And refreshingly free of the log-ins, passwords and red tape that often stands between us and the collective completion of virtually any task. The la brea tar pits of admin and mental kruft and cognitive overhead and flack and static and overflowing email inboxes that now characterize most of our working life. About 90% of the Mozilla Foundation seems to run on etherpads. A visiting colleague once joked: what do you guys do when you get home, say “how was your day, honey?” oh, pretty good — check out line 117. He kidded, but later in the same meeting he said: “I like this. I like how you guys run meetings.” He meant because we don’t just talk about stuff — we try to list it and collectively get shit done. Or at least triage a fair chunk of right there in the pad, where all can see. The Cult of Etherpad is kissing cousins with the cult of Done, and I suppose that’s ultimately why those of use who love it love it so much.

I’ve used Etherpads for just about everything. You can to /matt to see what I’m working on or thinking right now. My wife and I started one for brainstorming our shortlist of baby names. I wrote my brief for me investing plan (though of course none of my sensitive stuff like passwords, etc.” Figuring out what furnitue we want to buy on Craigslist, renting cottages with friends,

They’re great for several — but equally great for one or two. If you’ve used Google Docs it’s pretty much exactly the same thing. Except even more stripped down and basic, which is part of its beauty and charm. And more importantly, it has two killer features that make it (in my view anyways) vastly superior:

1) no log-ins. no fuss no muss. No permissions to set, no accounts to manage, no nothing. If someone can click on a link and type, they can use an etherpad. It’s true you *can* set up etherpads with passwords, if you wanted to (and it always bugs me when my colleagues do that, because they’re almost always screw-ups and admin with any kind of log-in) but the main thing is that it pushes work into a single big open white board on the internet.

2) the awesome bar effect. You can *name* your etherpads with a unique address. This makes them ridiculously simple
I’m always kind of amazed when colleagues send around pads like “/6” or “allaskdfja.” Why do that when you can name them x or y?

* 3) “really real time.” That’s what etherpad calls it, and I love it.

(oh wait — you still use an old dumb browser that doesn’t have an awesome bar? you really should consider switching. you’ll love it.)

This one hack has probably changed the day to day of how work more than any one thing. Why?
no more bookmarks. or having to rember what link, document or list is where. Where’s that list of tweets we’re scheduling? Type in “tweets” and boom there it is.
one app for everything. and that one app is: the web. or rather, your browser. Your browswer is where you spend most of your time anyway. So no more switching between Evernote vs. Word vs. To Do list app vs whatever — your whole life is basically just right in your awesomebar.

The down sides of etherpads

hard to find later. Ether pal, etc. Give them better names, and be tidier in terms of how you think.
kinda ugly. Dark colors, mish mash. I personally love that. but some don’t.
not amazing to export.

Ticks and trips

Still, the number one complaint I hear is that they’re too hard to find. Given them an intelligent name. If you have a bunch, chuck them onto a wiki or web page, so you can put your hand on them all.

Shaving the Mullet: turning dirty prototypes into (slightly more) polished pages

What I don’t use them for: personal information. Sensitive data. Credit card numbers. Etc.

They’re also semi-public. Or quietly open. Sure, anyone who has the link “x” could see the three or four cottages we’re trying to rent

Why working and collaborate in tickets can change your life (or if not, your work)
Easier to pass off and delegate.
Weekly tickets.

what would happen if this information fell into the right hands?
what inspires people to do stuff?

the network effect: all work gets done in networks and communities. Not org charts.

From “collaboration cost” to “collaborative flow.”

Everything should include a call to action. What can people do next? What do you want them to do?

“The moral of the story is that if you stand up and fight for what you believe in, you will be happier.” –Dave Meslin

hack on staging. the best way tos tart making something is to just make it.

I was at risk of never finishing this book. Because I wanted it to be perfect. Whcih is really just your ego talking.

Give colleagues the keys
“Every time you need to make a web page, you have to call the waaaaambulance.”

Giving colleagues the keys is disarming. There is something powerful about being able to say: want to drive? and really mean it. not a passive aggressive way (what– you think *you* can do better?) But in an open-hearted and honest way.

Oftentimes they won’t take you up on it. But the fact that you’re *offering* disarms people. It turns them from begrudging critics (the two old guys on the Muppets) into co-conspirators, problem-solvers, or designers alongside you (tapdance on the big stage with Gonzo.)

Do you have to use wise leadership to steer clear of bikeshedding, cat-herding and rabbit-holing? You bet. But transparency and radical colalboration become two new additional tools in your leadership toolbox.

look into Mozilla investments. What’s in there?
This is how our entire system is set up: to feed you soilent green every time you turn around. Buy a hot dog? Guess what: it’s fulla crap. Buy shoes at Walmart? That’s the sweet taste of the middle class cutting their own throat. It’s

Versus the gatekeeper approach.

Start small.

Embrace transparency. As rocket fuel for smart collaboration.

Test early and often.

Empower collaborators.

self-generating projects at the margins. Like GenOpen

Shareable, a not-for-profit web hub that provides individuals and groups with a playbook for how to build systems for sharing everything from baby food and housing to skills and solar panels. “Business has spent centuries making buying really easy,” says Gorenflo. “We’re just at the beginning of making sharing easy.”

The basic characteristic of these you-name-it sharing marketplaces is that they extract value out of the stuff we already have.
Actually, Silicon Valley’s preferred phrase is “underused asset utilization.

Lisa Gansky gave a TEDx talk to an audience of some 300 people in the Fisher Theatre, including designers from brands such as Ford and Lincoln. She asked the crowd what percentage of time the average person uses his car. While a couple of folks mumbled a guess, no one was prepared for the statistic Gansky had at hand. “Across the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe, it’s 8%,” she said. “Which means that over 90% of the time, this thing that costs us a lot of money is just sitting around.”

Awesome Bar Everything
warning” this book can only be used for purposes of good vs. evil.

“Transparent community-based processes promote participation, accountability, and trust.”
–The Mozilla Manifesto

How to work open:
open source wisdom for helping others help you

An example of: “Think small”:
Walkable Neighborhoods
Why walkable communities, sustainable economics, and multilateral diplomacy

From ownership and artificial scarcity to design, execution and agility.

Publish your secret plan.

The psychology of open
Scary side: natural fear of exposure. Fight or flight.
Positive side: collaborative flow. Eudamonia. Living your values.

For me, open is a secret war against mediocrity, game-playing and administrative baloney.

Aaron Swartz
From the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto, unsigned but apparently by Aaron Swartz, July 2008: 

”Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable…. 

Those with access to these resources — students, librarians, scientists — you have been given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world is locked out. But you need not — indeed, morally, you cannot — keep this privilege for yourselves. You have a duty to share it with the world…. 

It’s called stealing or piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn’t immoral — it’s a moral imperative…. It’s time to come into the light and, in the grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public culture.”

Transaction cost and choice architecture
My health benefits — they change the card numbers. Why? Because then instead of being automatically billed,
We get busy. We never get around to it. We’re drowinging in kruft and bullshit
(the success of Apple, in part, is that they eliminate this. Open vs. closed: integration. Amen!)

dansinker Jan 15, 12:47pm via Twitter for Android
Your community is all that you have.
Open branding and products

The paper clip in the jar of salt water
In grade school we did a science experiment with a paper clip in the jar of salt water. You know the one where you dangle a paper clip on a string of dental floss, and soon, crystals start growing on it, soon a whole [city / arc / constellation of

God ball 2.0
see real news interpreted through different scenarios

Financial health

Energy: they’re the most profitable industry ever.
Invest a little bit back so that the planet doesn’t cook.
A tiny surtax. Robin Hood surtax on the most profitable people on Planet Earth.

Giving everything a remix button: the power of perpetual modelling and adaptation

Quote from Surman:
The best internal communication is public communication.

The inside out paradox of open: which is that many of the biggest benefits are internal.

Consultant who works open: “QUOTE”

Focus on awesome. We’re drowning in noise and chatter. Too much of the internet and social media really can be distracting — better to focus on the small slice of the job you care most about, and go all in on that. We’re thin-spreaders. We run ourselves ragged on too many tasks. Better to triage and ruthlessly cull those tasks — especially the ones that, on further inspection,

set up “how to work open” manifesto
Beyond dances with hedgehogs: is there really any there there?

These are 10 hackable strategies
How to work open and influence people
/ the 10 hackable / remixable habits of open communities
end with the open question and CTAs:

(if science is a wiki, the world is (ought to be) an etherpad — messy, chaotic, shared, people o. watch it — these little snakey tendrils of thought. and a crazy writing experiment:

Go deep with a smaller number of people. It’s not about mass communications — it’s about niche collaboration. It’s better to reach five of the right people — than 500,000 strangers who just happen to show up.

Don’t share for its own sake. You don’t need to overshare. And don’t be dumb — don’t post your credit card information, etc. And just chucking data over a wall isn’t necessarily useful. Be conscious of what, how and when you share — you can’t just chuck stuff overboard and hope it lands in the right spot. The goal is meaningful participation with a handful of real others. And not just radical transparency for the sake of it.

(And if you’re still one of those damn email.) Seriously. Log work in bite sized chunks that others can help move forward. Could be issues in an issue tracker, post-it notes on an improvised “scrum board,” or whatever. You can’t fix what you can’t see.

Live your values. Insist on it. Don’t work for jerks. Don’t save your moral compass for evenings and weekends. Make things better. You don’t have to be a naive do-gooder. Shopcraft really is soulcraft. Making things better makes you a better, happier human. Make thing better. tap the sweet spot between idealism and pragmatism.

I joined Mark Sermon because I wanted to understand what it was and how it worked. How do you do it? How do you work successfully with 40,000 community contributors around the world in a way that not is not only idealistic, but that actually works, in systems where the pragmatic and idealistic overlap?

I’ve been thinking and making notes on that over the last several months. What I’ve learned I’ve tried to capture as 15 principles here. It needs to be whittled down. [reference to first blog post.[ [reference to MOOC.] That this does resonate with people.

I’m suspicious of all, self-help books and a pretty suspicious of his certain kind Silicon Valley. The seven habits of smugly overconfident people. There’s no magic in it of course difficult and I often felt like will there is no there there like that I occasionally I keep thinking was real mimesis bookmakers BALONEY MAYBE IT DOESN’T WORK ACTUALLY IT’S A DISTINCTION EASILY HE’S DEEPLY SKEPTICAL OF THE STUFF IS BEING READ EXCITED REIGNITED MY THE PASSION

I think where we are now that we weren’t even 5 or 10 years ago is: a growing number of organizations — both in technology and the real world — developing a common set of practises for *how* they do it.

I’m not trying to breathlessly over-state the impact of these things so far — and I’m definitely *not* a wide-eyed cyber-utopian. By itself, the web won’t change the world. Or at least, it won’t automatically or magically make things better.

if the only people who want to do what you’re doing have to be paid to do it, maybe it’s just not that interesting or meaningful. it’s your force multiplier, your secret weapon, your slingshot.

Use If you’re required to work with a *group* of people, project management by email is like a brain tumour, or trying to fly a 747 via telegram: it’s driving us all nuts.  Email has gotten out of hand.

It’s not about the technology. (Except, of course, when it is 🙂

Publish your secret plan. There’s a small number of people out there right now who are your biggest fans and really want to help you. They can’t because they a) don’t know what you want to do, b) you probably haven’t documented or scoped it very well, and c) they don’t know how.  Write it down. If money was no object, what would you do in life? Have the courage to write it down and post it someplace others can see it.

Work from the inside out.

A unique way of working.
Mitchell tells me that its the most valuable thing they own, after the Firefox brand.
So… what does “open” and “working open” mean? What might it all mean for the rest of us? Why do they do it, and how? Doing it in ways that actually deliver results? And where that Rally Fighter you’re driving — or web browser you’re using — don’t just fall apart or crash?  So if we can now make open cars and the same way we make open software, it kinda begs the question: what else can we make that way?

At a moment when melting down and bailing out, what this diverse global movement offer us? And how might it help you, in your own work and secret, world-changing mission?

If the only thing that matters to you is the financial bottom line, this is probably not for you.

business innovation guy:
ownership is on the way out — it’s all about execution now
open as a way to reduce transaction cost for that execution.

Interview with Allen Gunn

“Art is whatever you can get away with.” — Warhol

what is working open?

why do it?

benevolent dictatorship w. radical transparency

begin internally.

inspiring examples:
how does Aspiration Tech do it?

is there there there?

many hearts / souls

leave the tender moment alone

Attention Economy where ADD deficit scarcity

value proposition + participation architecture + user experience (feel good)

consensus: evil vs. good

not to seem like a religious zealot
lovingly subversive

through openness comes agency and autonomy, etc.

rock stars vs roadies
TED: only response is to applaud
class and privilege

The opportunity cost of one to many
(event context)
opportunity cost of not having conversations
“same math applies”

one compelling visionary
(China suicides)

Dark side of open
true to open principles vs paying rent
doubts are normal to everyone
don’t paint as panacea or just add water
struggle every step of the way
with self, and group
“herding cats on meth”
leap of faith

(example: Mozilla: open mailing list: Chrome kicking their ass)

my own bullshit. jump shark? neckbeards haters think?
my real job:
inspired by Gunner
proud noob.

Massive pivot powered by a small number of stakeholders:
(e.g., SeaMonkey)

Connecting the inside and outside game
no connection between what Ben Scott calls the inside game and the outside game
mass movements connected to a small number of the *right* people
in positions where they can actually do something
design specific solutions, compromises without selling out or abandoning principles.

Don’t forget to include / write about the “Cult of Done” Manifesto

Open fruit: redefining what counts / new approaches to value
using the fruit tree as an example

Open source map of fruit trees (Heather Leson) an Android app that outputs data for edible plants
hacking the nature of value.
If a fruit falls and no one is there to eat it, is that lost value — or created value?

“Rough consensus and working code”
What’s so appealing about this to me, as someone who’s struggled through a million progressive and beaucratic clusterfucks, is the emphasis on rough consensus (which is never perfect) and producing stuff that works.

You can make the case (and I think it’s true) that this is easier with some things than other. You can tell almost immediately if a line of code will break the software, or make it better. Less tangible products and projects are harder to measure. But it’s essential that we try.

The success of both open source software projects but also new insights from the social sciences into how communities and democracy work all point at the importance of moving away from a model of “groups of people with opinions” towards something more “do-ocratic” — groups of people with specific passions and skills, clustered around making, doing and collaborating around a small number of specific tasks or problems they care about most.

Perfecting democracy is not primarily about bringing reality closer to the undifferntiated muck of “public opinion,” regardless of its quality. It’s about empowering smart niches to work in a more harmyonious way. [that sentence is garbage and needs to be redefined.]

HPPOS and hoi-paloi with a never-ending stream of untested opinions are simply not valuable.

Cory Doctorow StoryCamp video
transaction cost / collaboration cost
co-ordination and possibility

Man wears his nervous system outside his skin. — McLuhan

Open Strategies conference

Culture gets developed and spread to others, merely by observing.
Leadership takes a big part. Benevolent dictators. e.g., direct communications style culture.

Rules vs participation design
documentation, HOW TOs, guidance, clarity, etc.

Radical openness vs intimacy
Matteo Cassese

Open Air
“If the air we breathe is considered public, why not that which passes through it?”
Julian Oliver

Wagner: work considered as public treasure. After 1923, like Virginia Wolfe, in public domain. in the cultural commons.

Insect and animal communications as examples of communications through commons, passing through our bodies and everywhere.

a simple hack through terminal showing the stream of hex dump flying through the air
showing what’s passing through our bodies right now

hearing anything in the air that is not encrypted

Open Curriculum: GitHub for the win
“Education has to be about empowering people.”
“learning technology needs to be a hands-on experience.”
providing a safe environment for newbies.
document everything.
work through coaching. not trasitional “teaching”. “coaching on the sidelines”

Ben Scott: the open Internet’s global future
paradigm-shifting moment
every 25 years, main shift in dominat tech of mainstream media
from printing press to radio
radio to cable
cable to satellite
now converge on internet

similar to all: corresponding policy moment
large commercial interests went to capital, made policy in their interest
common moment

with internet, for first time, tech ran faster than the law
before the commercial intersest could shape the
and also: greatest ever tool for organizing public participation in policymaking

how do you get at the table?

outside and inside game
outside game strong in Germany — 10,000 people march on streets against ACTA

“Unfortunately, the outside game is not enough.”
“You can have confrontational moments and battles, but you won’t win.”

“Winning is the only way that we’ll get policies that set the market structure to get the outcomes we want.”


Three big issues:
1) data protection
2) net neutrality
3) copyright

transitioning from old media and infrastructure to new.
nn: old carriers struggling to make money in new age
copyright: copying
the key to building a broad coalition: gathering around a positive vision
fibre optic cable into every home?
make basic wireless internet service free?
want the internet to become an important part of delivefing public services? healthcare, education, government services

think of internet as public service and infrastructure rather than commerical service

look at open internet as key to economic growth

why is the market cap for new companies in Europe is small?
moving beyond the old manufacturing economy?

what are the policies and investment we need to actually make that happen, isntead of just talking about it?

thousands of people working night and day — but have no idea that those debates are taking place?

solve transitional challenges
build a bigger and broader vision. be aspirational.
look internationally. governed by every government and none at same time. “the foreign policy of the internet.” not just root servers, etc — the technocratic business of network administration. instead: values: human rights and freedom of expression in the digital age.

at home, at international level, etc.

outside game tends to be focused on stopping band things from happening
inside game requires long hard work of developing a policy agenda

presenting those proposal to government not as confrontation, but this is a sophisticated and workable proposal. And we are willing to work with you over months and years as you implement those proposals.

A new way of thinking
It’s not just x, but a new way of thinking about y. And about what we want from our lives and work at an urgent moment in history. The web alone won’t save us. But new ways of thinking and collaborating might.

It’s promise: do better. Faster, cheaper, greener than the competition. Winning in the terrain of ideas but also in terms of providing needed solutions to a needy planet.

Participation Architecture
Experience design and participation architecture

Don’t build a platform first
Don’t build the platform first. Build one good thing, end to end.

Collaboration is our Business:
Why living in a networked world forces us to work smarter together.
make this the title for chapter 2

Parking Lot for First Chapter

The problem:

We’re not solving the big issues
We get too many emails.
We waste too much time in meetings that go nowhere
We’re making products that people don’t want
We’re out of touch with the communities we serve. We’re out of touch with our customers.
We spend convincing customers to buy things they dont’ want instead of asking them what they do want

If your job is to create or convince people to buy products they don’t want or need, this book is not for you.
If your work makes the world a more polluted, corrupt, unequal or unhappy, this book is not for you.

This book is for you if:
I want more time to do the things I love.
I love my ideas but I believe they can be even better.

This book is for the social entrepreneur who’s trying to make a living while making the world better

An unlikely movement
global experiment
work, collaborate and make the world more awesome
liviing their values in their work – transparency and openness
new entrepreneurs
strategies and tactics
make it easier for others to help you
hack dumb rules that are holding you back
help your best ideas take flight

Lessons from the front lines of a global movement of hackers,
What you can learn
Social innovators
How the new entrepreneurs are getting ahead by embracing transparency
half your emails
expand your team
expand your influence
ideas lift off
do the work you love while

The 7 habits of smugly over-confident people

Moving up the open ladder
For first chapter:
moving along a ladder from
to contribution and participation
to empowerment and shared control. do-ocracy.

Opening meetings

Hackers as “builders not breakers”

Open prototyping and empathetic design
The role of mirroring in consciousness.
Uttering or outering something earlier in the process exposes us, even in terms of our own internal mental process, to a gust of coneptual / creative oxygen / fresh air. We can see problems in a new light, see the strengths and weaknesses of our own approach earlier. Especially before we lock into a particular solution or functional fixedness.
“How do I know what I think about something until I write it down?”

Simplicity and sustainability

Wikis, etherpads and see-through filing cabinets
Wikis as “see-through filing cabinets.” That’s what <<name>> called them.

Writing in the open: Drafting in your underwear
As I write my board slides, some dude named Dietrich is in there. He’s not editing or suggesting text — just hanging out.
I never could have done that a year ago. It would have freaked me out. There’s stuff in there that’s wrong, raw and just plain bad. David Foster Wallace describes then as these drooling freaks that lurch out of the basement.

Two things happen: I got to clarity of intent faster. Instead of writing “x;asljf;lasdjkf” I wrote stuff like “zzzzzzz.”
Avoid vicious cycle of deadline panic.
Katie’s example: not only did it come late, but it wasn’t what they needed. Refusing to share early drafts (because they weren’t perfect yet)
Takes pressure off, and let’s you relax and focus.

Rapid prototyping: stop futzing with the 20%
You can’t fix what you can’t see: the importance of agile interfaces.
Decisions you can touch. Levers you can use to increase or decrease. To steer and brake.

The limits of transparency
Wired magazine article, June / July 2011
In many cases, like in in India, it simply aids the powerful, instead of leveling the field

“Email sucks:” from broken telephone to shared dashboards and cockpits
Switching from stand-alone documents and email threads to dashboards and public (or yammer-style) is the next evolution.

Mental kruft and emotional kipple
What organizations drowning in data and documents really need is a good (preferably free or low-cost) way to publish, share and search through all that stuff.

Serendipitous encounter
Use examples from New Yorker —
around building 51 at MIT
and myth of brainstorming

Hybrid innovation: The PBJ Principle

But wait! Isn’t there a bunch of stuff we shouldn’t share publicly?
(But wait — isn’t there a bunch of stuff we can’t share? Example x, y, z. Yep. And the answer is: don’t share it. Keep it 100% closed, secret, and under lock and key. The art is in incrementally opening up the other 75%. The stuff that’s easy, no-brainer and low or no-risk. And start getting cheap and easy added efficiency, value and passion out of that.

Drafting legislation with Git Hub
The law also has complex dependencies. Many opinions in ciruclation, need to be resolved to one canonical copy.
New York
Open Legislation — hosted on Git Hub
Utah Code — could be used to further the development of legislation

Canadian copyright debate
Copyright act — citizens draft

Dashboards and steering wheels: Transparency vs. openness
“‘Transparency’ is openness in only one direction. Being given a dashboard without a steering wheel has never been the core promise democracy makes to its citizens.” –Clay Shirky

“Are we going to let the programmers keep it for themselves, or press it into service for society at large?”

“distributed version control system”

Attention economies: Beyond blah blah blah
We now live in a kind of libidinal hyper economy where things constantly compete for our attention. In some ways, it’s exhausting. They’re like a million message virus constantly competing in the narrow petri dish of our collective attention spans.

Content is no longer king. Meaningful engagement is.
I say this, and people get upset. I’m talking about what happens after. When your content works, it inspires a brief but beautiful little flicker to want to do something. Unforatuneyl, in most cases, the architecutre doesn’t actually exist to convert this into smoething menaingul.

Fame vs. love
It’s scary. But its worth it. And once you do it, you won’t want to stop.
Small vs big. Love vs. fame.

Acknowledging valid obstacles and fears
The goal is pragmatism, not fundamentalism, especially when we’re working with new communities and partners with diverse work cultures and backgrounds. Some of the common fears or concerns we hear:
“I’m too busy.” “I want to blog and surface my work more publicly, but somehow it always falls to the bottom of my to-do list.”
“People can be mean.” Opening your work to criticism from others is often scary.
“We’re not ready.” This can be valid. It doesn’t make sense to open your project up to participation and public attention — before you have the tools in place to meaningfully absorb that participation and attention. But while you may not be ready for participation at scale — you probably are ready for some early testing, prototyping, and smart co-building from colleagues. Which takes us to…

Agree on what gear of open you’re working in.
Working open is more of a slider or dial than an “on/off” switch. At a given point in time on a given project, you might collectively agree to work in a range of different gears or levels of open. For Mozilla Drumbeat projects, it feels like we’re often in one of four gears:
For example, anything involving personal data, security, etc.
1) “Not yet.”
SOON. We want to work open — but we’re not ready yet. We’re not ready for widespread attention. Or can’t meaningfully absorb offers from people to help. So let’s wait until we are.
This is a totally reasonable gear to operate in — but can also become a trap or semi-permanent holding pattern. Without forcing functions or test cases, it’s a recipe for going slow.
2) “Open”
Our standard default setting. Working in public spaces like etherpads and community lists, instead of closed email threads.  Sharing signposts, drafts, prototypes and roadmaps on our blogs, etc. The primary goal is surfacing what’s needed to enable smart co-building. If we don’t, not only will our communities have no idea how to get involved — our immediate peers and colleagues won’t be able to help as effectively, either.
At the same time, working open isn’t the same as shouting from the rooftops, issuing a press release, or getting your picture on the cover of Rolling Stone. This gear is like speaking out loud in a normal voice — not shouting or using a megaphone.
3) “Shout it from the rooftops”
Like: “Holy crap we’re releasing Firefox 4!” Or: “We’re ready for the cover of Rolling Stone!” Taking it up a notch to a higher order of magnitude. Participation at scale. From co-builders to more mainstream participants or consumers.
Why is having clear consensus on what mode you’re in useful? Many of us are uncomfortable about the distinction between gears 2 and 3. It’s easy to confuse “working open” with: “let’s tell the whole world about it.”  We worry that saying something in a blog post or etherpad will commit us to things in public before they’re ready. When in fact, those fears rarely — if ever — materialize. And the benefits far outweigh the imagined risk.  Working closed, slow or overly cautious is a silent killer that saps momentum.

Testing and prototyping vs. “asking for feedback”
Testing and rapid prototyping are different from “asking for feedback.” Putting a new design in front of someone and quietly observing how they interact with it is testing. Putting a design in front of someone and asking: “So… what do you think?” is asking for feedback. When you ask for feedback in open channels, you never know what you may get back — people are busy, and can’t always offer thoughtful opinions just because you ask for them.
Random crowds of people offering casual opinions isn’t always helpful. But testing early and often always is. I think there’s a popular misconception that the value of working in the open is that transparency enables the wisdom of crowds to constantly offer feedback and new points of view. I don’t think that’s really it.
The main value of working open is reducing transaction cost, administrivia, and collaborative friction with smart communities of peers. That’s different than over-relying on the casually offered opinions of whoever shows up, or waiting for the crowd to do your work or solve your problems for you.
Feedback is sometimes useful. Testing always is. Testing a new design, draft or prototype, for example, tells you where it’s working, where it’s surprising, and where it’s broken. And while you may not agree with all the feedback you get, you will always learning something from releasing early and often in public.

Building beneveloent do-ocracies and open meritocracies

Ego and loss of control
More often than not, these scary moments have to do with perceived loss of control. We weren’t scared of Bryan because we thought he was going to attack us. (And even if he did, what would the real fall out or actual damage of that be?)

Empowerment and self-service
For me, etherpad + wikis + wordpress pages are like the bailing wire and gaffer tape of participation and collaboartion design. Or the duct tape that seals over cracks and gaps before you have better infrastructure built.

They can suck. Wiki mazes can be a place contributors go to die. Like anything, it depends how well (which usually means how simply) you manage to do it.

EXAMPLE: Avoiding promotion queue overload
For example, million requests to promote x or y through our channels. Staff picnics. QA stuff.  etc.

We looked at fancy tools. Like x. Hootsuite. Groups. A new service called x that lets you submit tweets. The problem: we never got around to implementing them. And once you dig intp then, there’s hidden admin and baloney transaction costs. Plus pricing schemes and kruft to wade through.

What we did instead? 1) created
Added dates.
Shared the link with our team. Plus *anyone* who wanted to promote stuff.
Me and x review each week. Mostly good. Needed to be tweaked, linked to other stuff, etc. But it solved our “feed the channel strategy,” allowed us to string together into larger narratives, sput conenctions — instead of shoving disconnected headlines into eyeballs.

Open meritocracies vs. political game-playing
The opposite of open meritocracies or “benevolent do-ocracies” are often closed, incestuous systems that tend to reward political and statecraft over merit, competence / passion / quality / results.

While they may seem more difficult to create, impractically idealisitc, or utopia, the alternative seems to me virtually guaranteed to perform worse — rooms full of people engaged in varying forms of jockeying for position at the expense of the work — or at worst, having nervous or angry debtates with each other in their heads in the shower.

Why more and better leadership is essential
I came across a book recently called “Leaderless Revolution.” On the one hand, that sounds like a nice idea.
Rapid prototyping
Either wait weeks or months for an expensive product that often doesn’t quite fit the bill. Or start in days, and start open prototyping and testing it, mutating it, and improving it over time.

The advantages of designing and writing in the open
A great example: Lesley’s never-ending (never-delivering) curriculum kit.
The truth was: the broad strokes were already there. It wasn’t perfect, and as a professional educator, Lesley was trained to value caution, rigor and high standards above all. Those are noble (and essential), but what was missing was a certain element of trust: the educators we’re working with don’t need it all spelled out for them. They’re perfectly willing and able to adapt and fill in blanks on their own. In fact, that’s inevitable.

Open mind: the ultimate agility is letting go
like poes sailor on maelstrom.
not the “all good, dude” west coast kind.

from “What’s wrong with the industrial model?”
The “what motivates people” piece
to Goldman Sachs

Getting on the same (ether)page
Sometimes I wished the whole world worked as well as etherpad. We used them to co-ordatine hikes, draft million dollar grant proposals and even (embarassingly) my wife and I used it to name our baby.

“It’s very simple.” I like it.
Working where people already work.
Turning meetings into sprints.
Consensual reality. “Looking at the same thing.”

Avoiding “stop” energy
You’re more ready than you think
One of the things that strikes me in terms of bacon stack is that our documentation is almost always further along than we think — in part because enthusiastic early adopters and team members draft and improvise solutions long before the “official” resource is released.

There’s a problem where your expectations exceed reality — you have an idea in your head for perfect, and are chronically disappointed by the inadequacy of early effort. It’s a natural part of the writing or creating or designing or prototyping process — you’re trying to give birth to something you love, and the early iterations are often these mangled, drooling creatures stumbling up out of the basement that you’re embarassed to let anybody see.

The funny thing is, others don’t see it that way. And make their own.

Long before we had a polisthed version, we had bits and pieces. Improvised, bubbled up. Blog post and links.

Before releasing the official version, there’s nothing wrong with a “coming soon” page with links to what already exists. Especially posts or examples from your community members.
The funny thing is, others don’t see it that way. Andmake their own.

Thinking small: the Black Swans of viral media
Everyone always uses the same examples when they talk about the revolutionary impact of the new technology: Tehrir Square.

Similarly, I work with non-profits and charities that look at the Charles Taylor campaign, and draw the lesson that they, too, should try to “go viral.” (They shouldn’t.) “If they can do it, why can’t I?”

Or the Wikipedia example.

But there’s a few big problems with this:

The impact of social media in autocratic societies is (naturally) different. Democratizing the means of mass communication is of course a big deal in these cases. In freer societies, it’s not. Where people are drowning in opinions and free speech, it isn’t.

What’s really difficult is what happens *after* the insurrectionary moment. You need 100,000 people in the street, and 10 or 100 or 1000 of the right people poised to make real change and carry it over. This is the hard part: the everyday process of creating complex systems, making them more open, agile and responsive. Challenging autocratic structures, gatekeepers and various monopolies. Designing, prototying and building the world we want. Or what Ben calls connecting the outside game to the inside game. We have to think beyond moments of mass attention and get better at the difficult, messier and more complex business of designing, prototyping, building, measuring and refining the world we want. If we want transformation but instead get transactional politics of deal-making and compromise, we have to get better at the transactional part.

Selection bias. Everybody talks about Tehrir square, but nobody talks about Walmart.

The primary effect of technology is to amplify existing trends and power structures. Some get disrupted, sure. But insofar as we keep waiting for technology as panacea, it isn’t going to happen.

Doom and gloom? Absolutely not. There’s things you can learn from an active engagement with technology you can’t learn any other way. And the hybrid

As McLuhan wrote: the interface is where the action is. It’s the interface between culture and technology that’s really interesting, particularly the culture of work and collaboration.

Some things are easier to crowdsource than others. Crowd-sourcing intelligence is different than crowd-sourcing production. Encyclopedias are easier to make than other things this way. And people overlook the design process — it took five tries to get it right.

The main takeaways are:

Stop fetishizing the tech.

HPPOs, bottlenecks and gatekeepers
How many productivity and waste man-hours are lost to egomania and passive-aggressive game-playing? Patriarchal Great Man Syndrome probably costs the GDP billions each year.

Loving subversion and the open underground
Gunner’s tips for working open:
Assume whatever you try is not going to work. Avoid being a tragic openista. Model for success, status quo and failure
Important to have an ethic of loving subversion. Don’t be a martyr. Model the benefits. Build an open underground
Get practiced at thinking out loud well before anybody gives a damn.  Get your “how to contribute” page up early! Any ask that benefits the project. Get into the open groove early
Be transparent about the core group – the “cabal” driving things. Who are they? They MUST be accessible
An open codebase are the “scaffolding” or the bones. Humans are flesh and blood of an open community.
Working in person with core team? Use practices like pausing at the end of every workday to think about what to share

Innovate, schminovate: the trouble with VCs and douche-o-vation
“Constant change, for its own sake, threatens everyone.” –McLuhan
for me the question raised by presenations like Delia’s are: how do we connect this idea of “innovation” to *value*, in a meaningful sake. Innovation for its own sake threatens everyone. How do we connect innovation to social innovation? Innovation that makes the world better, or that make us feel good. Instead of perpetually anxious, medicated, and poor?

what if we don’t want to eat pills for breakfast and give advertisers direct access to our brains?

business leaders like Mitt Romney thought they were leading a revolution, too. The net result was Gordon Gecko, massive deregulation and a financial crisis.

Still see these fresh-faced business graduates, trained to think in the most progressive and innovative possible way — completely divorced from deep-seeded ethical values or a larger sense of responsibility. Beautiful little killers. There is no sense of “value,” in a larger sense.

Beware the bikeshed: avoiding never-ending feedback loops
Immediately agree — and ask for a proposal.
Opions and reported problems are almost never scarce.

Overclocking and creative breakage
But does it work?
The MoFo method
(the airplane at 2 million miles an hour method)
frequent pivots
frank assessment of weakness and stuff we don’t know
a unique leadership style. You can’t be a dick.
(we hired some, and I think it’s caused enormous tension — like a slow but steady CO2 leak coming from the cargo bay.)

Over-sharing and empty performance
Social networks as stage and empty megaphone
“The use of social networks as “stage”
“Feeding channels”

made of curated content. professional. look like we’re always working. or always partying. state or play where people look at us. stock photos of people smiling and looking happy.” (the guy from Open Strategies conference)

vs try to be exactly who you are.
through our differences we become more valuable.

How to care for introverts infographic
more delicate, tender openness

Potential Titles

Work Open: how to hack your job, banish email and (maybe) save the world
/ save the soul of work
/save your soul
Work Open: how to hack our jobs, banish email and (maybe) save the world

Working Open:
open source wisdom for helping others help you

Live Free, Work Open

How an unlikely global movement is quietly changing the world — and what you can learn from them

How to hack work, 
empower your community 
and make everything better

Open source strategies and kung fu from the global movement

Wisdom, hacks and kung fu from the global “Open Everything” movement

Tips and tricks for social innovators from the global open source movement

social entrepreneurs

Inside a global movement
letting the sunlight and air in
Open Engine

“increasing efficiency by ripping the doors off”

How to go faster, do more and work open

How to supercharge collaboration,
unlock superpowers and 
set your best ideas free

The Open Manifesto: How to think small, work open and change the world
The Open Manifesto: How to think small, work open and change the world

The Open Manifesto: How to hack your life, work and everything

The Open Manifesto:
How to unlock your secret superpowers and change the world

The Open Manifesto:
How to supercharge collaboration and unlock your superpowers

The Open Manifesto:
How to think small, work open and make things better
The Open Manifesto
How to start small, think big and work open

How to banish email, supercharge community and rekindle passion for the work you love.

how to…

eliminate email clutter,
empower your community / supercharge community
set your ideas free
help others help you
hack x / hack admin
free yourself from email
change the world

bring meaning back to your work
fall in love with your job all over again
renew your love story for work / renew your love for work
renew your passion for work
rekindle passion at work
rekindle passion for the work you love
rekindle passion for the job

how to banish email, supercharge your community and restore meaning to your work

how to win and have love and inspiration

bureaucracy / admin / dumb obstacles to collaboration
gatekeepers and Goliaths

Bringing back human connection and whole reason you’re doing this job in the first place.
Two-fold process: hacking administrivia. + empowering a small number of mavens.

a book for people working to make the world better —
but don’t have the time.

how to free yourself from [red tape] and rekindle passion for the work you love.
dumb rules
20th century office
how to open source your cubicle
put your desk on the street

make things better
make everything better

let others do your work from
redesign your world / set your ideas free

Branding: = telegraph that this 100% good news. Look at the colors on “I will teach you to be rich,” for example.

Writing journal

Notes for chapter titles
Give each chapter a title that could also be a book in its own right
Make: “Think small, do less, work open” one of the chapter titles

But then I got trapped. I held onto the draft too long. What would people think?

Finding out we were pregnant as the push I needed. Forget perfect. Don’t try to figure everything out. Don’t try to do it all at once. Think small. Figure out how the small number of mavens I’m blessed with (who surprised and touched me with their desire and interest) to teach me. Learn.

Do less. Those big theoretical chapters you’re so in love with? Cut em in half. Do them at the end.

Work open. Publish that first god-awful warts and all drooling idiot baby. Drag it out from the basement and into the light. Go on, do it!

What if people steal it? So what. Great.

My own personal story and calling my own bullshit
— Save the Internet video
and my own personal bullshit. I was reluctant to engage with them. I lacked their technical knowledge. I lacked their Silicon Valley charisma, a certain gene you need to have. I found some of the evangelism and neck beard-ism offputting (people who got mad at me for embedding a You Tube video in something, cuz it used Flash and Flash is Evil)

Swimming in Costa Rica
How I learned to stop panicking and dance with the undertow

Getting my ass kicked. Feeling the humiliation, feeling like a quitter.
I’d like to say I

Yesterday swimming in white water, I slowly learned to get used to it. I found that those waves, so full of sound and fury and the surface, actually felt incredibly gentle if I just took a breathe and ducked beneath them. I learned not to panic when the white water rushed into my face, with all that swirling foam and bubbles that can make you gasp prematurely and suck in a big panicy gulp of seawater. I popped up to quickly scan and see when the next one was coming, felt which way the current was pulling me, felt my arms grow a little stronger as I cupped my hands properly.

In short: I stopped panicing and simply reacting instinctively (which for me, 9 times out of 10, is a mix of good-natured fear tinged with a soupcon of impending panic) and instead listened, observed — and in doing that, and understanding better the action that was buffeting me, I relaxed and my fear and panic slowly dissolved. I even formed a half-assed underwater yoga / exercise routine out of it, trying to slow my breathe, to strengthen my arms with prayer like strokes. (Experienced swimmers would have laughed at me going to such lengths in barley four feet of water. But so what? Swim open, right? 🙂

It made me think of another proverbial swimmer stuck in a vicious riptide: Edgar Allan Poe’s sailor in The Maelstrom. Marshall McLuhan uses that story as a powerful metaphor for the global condition, and our initial instincutal responses can lead us astray — or even propel us towards our own self-destruction.
Clay Shirky is right: work is a battle. Working at anything, especially anything worthwhile, is an epic struggle, a series of alternatining Herculean and banal tasks, all wrapped in the vaporous fog of imperfect information, new experience, and the continual broken telephone of distributed collaboration. It’s natural that we often fight to hold on, to secure, to close, to grasp tightly. Of course we do. We’re human. But maybe like that sailor — or like me dumbly fighting the world’s wimpiest rip tide, contemplating my virtual tombstone inscription — the ultimate strength is in letting go. In observing and understanding the larger currents around us. Swimming with them when we need to, against when we must. And taking a deep breathe, plunge ahead, and enjoy the ride.

Capture the flavor at MozFest
Up-starts. Joyful insurrection. Inspired insurrection. Unabashed making.
(“You’re awesome. Over.” (“No, you’re awesome — over.”)
Some find this cheezy. In that more machismo Sillicon valley world — who gives a crap?
But you know what — their culture sucks. It’s all aggro and HPPOs galore.

How to make your own <name> style page using HTML5
as light-weight as possible

The Hype around Open Innovation and the most common misunderstandings
by Tim Schikora

predicts a plummet, as reality fails to meet with reality.
Open Innovation = 1) tools 2) mindset 3) how people collaborate with each other.
“People forget that it’s still hard work.”

“ownership is over.”
in our networked world, it is almost impossible to really own knowledge, technology and ideas.
e.g., Google and Apple with mobile tech

Open innovation is about outsourcing and cutting costs
“Get everything for nothing.” Makes for great advertising, but doesn’t work. You can leverage resrouces better. But not about cost-cutting.

Usage is king — so you have to use the things you get.

example: Palomar5. Deutsche Telekom. Great ideas out outputs, but never came to life.

Huge systems surround our work. Often complex, very hard to understand.
Systems theory. Understanding (and hacking) systems.

What are these systems made of? People.
understanding people and how to engage them.

systems and people are about psychology and communication.

mindset drives behavior
Stanslaw: book on leadership and values
values form mindsets.

“It’s not just about outside to inside.”

Xerox Parc
When they decide not to take concept to market, given its inventors freedom to work on it on their own.

Partnerships are key to execution and implementation
Ideas are not the bottleneck.

“Excellence in execution wins.”
Without ownership, execution is everyting.
Execution takes way longer than ideation and inspiration

FAQ #1: I get all this, but the mindset of managers needs to change.

Need to re-frame the question — culture change is hard. So don’t try.
Logic doesn’t work.

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *