This blog has led to action - make sure to visit the

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Please support Entrepreneur Commons on

I'm not sure if you've heard, but there's a movement of citizens inspired by the presidential campaign who are now submitting ideas for how they think the Obama Administration should change America. It's called "Ideas for Change in America."

I've submitted an idea and wanted to see if you could quickly vote for it. The title is:

Sponsor a structure for entrepreneurs to support entrepreneurs

You can read and vote for the idea by clicking here.

The top 10 ideas are going to be presented to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day and will be supported by a national lobbying campaign run by, MySpace, and more than a dozen leading nonprofits after the Inauguration. So each idea has a real chance at becoming policy.

Can you click here to support Entrepreneur Commons?

And feel free to spread the word :-)

Would you like to rate me?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Top Twitter Social Entrepreneurs

I made it into the Top Twitter Social Entrepreneurs list by Nathaniel Whittemore
Thank you for this honor :-)

Here is Nathaniel's list:

Name - Erik Hersman
Twitter - @whiteafrican
Why You Should Follow - Founder of Ushahidi, blogger at AfriGadget and WhiteAfrican, all around smart guy and great tracker of the African technology and innovation

Name - Guy Kawasaki
Twitter - @guykawasaki
Why You Should Follow - Founder of Alltop, social media evangelist and best selling author on entrepreneurship, tweets regularly with practical advice for traditional and social entrepreneurs

Name - Vanessa Mason
Twitter - @vanessamason
Why You Should Follow - Blogger and tracker about all things global health, international development, and creative solutions to poverty and inequality

Name - Marc Dangeard
Twitter - @mdangear
Why You Should Follow - Founder of Entrepreneur Commons and general advisor to social entrepreneurs

Name - Joe Solomon
Twitter - @engagejoe
Why You Should Follow - Social media consultant working with Social Actions, Joe's Twitter stream is a hub for all online social innovation

Name - VCTips
Twitter - @vctips
Why You Should Follow - An aggregator of great tips for those entrepreneurs who are pitching or looking to pitch to venture firms and angel investors

Name - Jon Gosier / Appfrica
Twitter - @appfrica
Why You Should Follow - Jon's Appfrica project does a phenomenal job keeping track of social technology innovations with ramifications for the developing world

Name - Social Entrepreneurship at / Nathaniel Whittemore
Twitter - @socialentrprnr
Why You Should Follow - Our official Twitter account - get updated about new posts and interesting projects

Would you like to rate me?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Peer to peer lending for sustainable capitalism (in French)

Interview by David Bourgeois, COO of Altik - here

Would you like to rate me?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Direct Territories

After his essay on Direct Economy, Xavier Comtesse is coming out with a new essay (in French for now) on Direct Territories.
Here a summary of the essay:


Territories as defined by government have become disconnected from the ecosystems in which people and business live and work. New ways of communicating have created an additional layer on top of these territories and ecosystems, ultimately defining new territories in which we have to coexist.
These new ways of communicating have also created a culture of participation.
As a result, governments need to reconsider their processes, they need to foster participation and learn to manage collaboration between multiple stakeholders from both the public and private sector. Rather than deregulation, this calls for a redefinition of the role of government, and of the culture we share.


Material - our physical world has evolved:
- For the longest time, territories were an administrative mapping of geographical regions.
- More recently, business ecosystems have appeared in metropolitan areas, and they typically overlap several administrative areas, creating a layer on top of the original mapping, and adding a level of complexity in the management of geographical communities.
- As a result, the administration of the physical space, and the power over what can be done where, is a conversation between multiple stakeholder that are a mix of private and public organizations.
- In addition people and companies are more mobile now than they used to be. This means that there is competition between various regions of the world through the ability of those involved to choose where they go. The conversation cannot be a one way conversation, it requires a participative process.

Immaterial - our life also happens online:
- The latest progress in telecommunication, with ubiquitous access to information enabling telecommuting, is redefining the concept of "community center". People can work from home, they can work while they are on the move (airports, hotels, cafes, etc...), the center is now a virtual place that does not necessarily map to a physical place. Yet another layer has been built on top of physical territories.
- the emergence of online communities, and of online tools to manage the collaboration between users, have created a culture of participation.

New territories - material
Where the material meets the immaterial at the most basic level is in the house, where it is now possible to navigate between the physical and the virtual space, to be in many locations at once. And therefore this is where we should look to define new territories we live in, looking at the use of the space in the house and how it creates new infrastructure requirements to better serve individuals and the community around them.

New territories - immaterial:
To foster the participation that people have come to expect, we need to implement the following:
- direct economy: involving the consumer in the value chain
- direct knowledge: involving the student in the learning process
- direct content: involving the user in the production of content
- e-government: online access to public document and online transactions
- ubiquitous connectivity: wifi or wimax everywhere
- geotags: virtual tags for physical places
- digital spaces: internet cafes, creative corners
- techno-squares: technology in public spaces
- new services: for example digital books allowing shared comments and notes
- Thinktanks open to citizens
- Digital governance: joint efforts involving multiple stakeholders from the public and private sector, managed in total transparency

Meeting these new requirements create challenges on the government side:
- grassroot power vs hierarchy
- bridging the digital gap
- government as a process rather than a solution
- from enforcement to engagement
- re-defining the role of politicians
- measuring intangibles
- re-emphasizing culture

More specifically government must foster participation through the following:
- manage change
- map the various existing layers on top of the new territories
- establish common values
- push for results
- get stakeholders buy-in
- establish a core group before allowing others interested players into the conversation
- favor a pragmatic approach rather than a decision process based on ideology
- share best practices across the various new territories
- measure progress and results

To conclude, the emergence of new territories creates the need for an evolution from democracy as we know it to participative democracy, with an unavoidable overlap between the 2 systems while they coexist, which will create tensions. But rather than deregulation, it calls for a redefinition of the role of government and of the culture we share.
A lot of work still remains to be done and we should be ready for exciting times to come...

Can you tell me here how I am doing?

Global Entrepreneurship week - Nov. 17-23, 2008

Global Entrepreneurship week is next week.
I have submitted a challenge - change the world in one minute.
Can you do this?

How am I doing?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The VC model is broken - the word is getting out

Just got this PPT from VentureBeat :-)

One year after I discussed the end of the VC era (see my previous post here), I am happy to report that the word is now officially out, and the following powerpoint says it all. The one issue where help is really needed is Seed investment, and because unfortunately, as I also discussed earlier in this blog (here) Angels are not the answer. I have started Entrepreneur Commons as a way to try to resolve the issue, this latest post from VentureBeat will certainly help build momentum :-)

TheFunded - Canarie
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: investing vc)

How am I doing?

What is a Social Business?

I have seen all kinds of definitions for a Social Business, and often times quite narrow ones specifically focusing on the issue of poverty in developing countries. And while this is important, there are many other issues we need to deal with, and this is why I prefer the broader view:
To me a social business is any business who is focused NOT on maximizing profit BUT RATHER on maximizing Social Capital within the ecosystem it exists in, using the broad definition of Social Capital to be the credibility you have within your community.
I believe that this is the kind of business we need to change the world beyond the focus on poverty and to resolve the broader set of economical and ecological challenges we are facing today.

And to help with the process, I like the idea of trying to come up with an index that would help us evaluate the social capital of people or organization. One simple measure that you can try to optimize (because this is human, we like to optimize things and competition is healthy). I am exploring the idea with the Vindex and there may be other possible options.

In the end, the main issue at this point is lack of focus on the investment side: people know how to invest in general to maximize profit, but when it comes to social businesses, everybody has their own view of the world and their own goals to fulfill and matching demand (social businesses looking for cash) with offers (social investors with very precise ideas of what they think is wrong and a mission to change things) is hard at this point. And it will stay like this until there is a way to focus everybody or enough people involved that the lack of focus is compensated by shear volume (as it is in regular financial markets).

I think the 2nd is what we should try to push for: when people realize that what has gone wrong with the world is because we try to maximize profit, and when they will agree to move to maximizing social capital (=sustainable capitalism), and they start using an index that allows everybody to compare despite the lack of focus from one mission to the other, then we will have a good story to tell.
So if you want to help, get your Vindex now for you and your business and please let me know how it feels to you and others around you working on this as a measurement...

How am I doing?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

From Jeff Jarvis in Dubai: "A fundamental reboot"

From Jeff Jarvis blog:

The environment and sustainability group — which called for “a fundamental reboot” in 2009 — said that the crisis in fuel, finance, and food were “just canaries in the coal mine. They are early warning signs that the system is not sustainable.”

And then:

innovation and creation and invention are the real cures and the real means for growth and I hope we concentrate on them. WEF head Klaus Schwab does address the theme in his closing: “entrepreneurship in the global public interest.”

I like that last bit. It would be nice that these people look into the financing of these entrepreneurs as a way to help them do a more efficient job at changing the world. Entrepreneur Commons is focusing on this, hopefully more will see the need...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Using the Vindex to track Social Capital

Since I believe Social Capital is an important measure we should focus on, I am hoping the Vindex can be a good measure of just that:

If you like the concept and would like to explore further, please create a Vindex for yourself or your company here

Here is mine, show me yours :-)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Top 150 social media blogs

For those interested, my friends at eCairn just released their Top 150 social media blogs list here, ranked based on a relevance formula that mix topic and topology relevance - not crowdsourcing, actual science. It is always useful to see who matters...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Open Government


It’s Your America: Share Your Ideas
The story of the campaign and this historic moment has been your story. Share your story and your ideas, and be part of bringing positive lasting change to this country.

Thank you Barrack Obama for pushing the vision...

Maximizing Social Capital

Building on the train of thoughts from my previous post on Financial Markets and Social Capital, and now that the world has a new US president that has been talking about hope and change, I would like to go back and explore further the value of focusing on Social Capital:
- it grows when you give, rather than when you take, 
- it does not decrease when you use it right,
- it is way more satisfying to build social capital than building capital. This is one of the reason why the Bill Gates and the Warren Buffett of the world get into it after they are done building their huge fortune. Because you get tired of accumulating wealth, but you never get tired of giving and helping (and unfortunately there is no immediate end to the need for it). And then they have come to realize that the world really needs it.

If capitalism as we know it got us where we are today, how about a capitalism where the focus is on maximizing social capital for those involved (entrepreneur, employees, customers, partners, investors, etc...)?