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Friday, August 21, 2009

Why I am going to Socap09: can we re-invent currencies?

This post was originally posted on the Socap09 blog

I read recently on an essay from Douglas Rushkoff entitled "Economics is not a natural science".
In the article, Douglas reminds us that the current economic system we take for granted is a result of history. It goes back to the middle ages, when people went from bartering what they were producing, and the main measure of value was the amount of food that could be produced from an ecosystem, to currencies based on how much gold where held in central banks. Scarcity was no longer in the ends of mother nature, but rather it became disconnected from it, and in the hands of the rulers of the land.
Since then, currencies has evolved to no longer being connected to gold either, they are just an artificial instrument to regulate exchange within and across nations.

Comes the internet, and another phenomenon appears, that Xavier Comtesse describes in his essay on "Direct Territories": we are now living in a world at the intersection of several and often conflicting layers. There is the geographical layer, several government layers (from local to national), a business layer (the corporation that spans across nation), and many other community layers. With the internet, stakeholders from these layers that typically did not have access to the discussion now can have their voice heard and can contribute to the balance of powers. Yochai Benkler in his book "The wealth of networks" gives very good examples of how this power is being re-distributed, and of the opportunities but also the risks it represents.

Today the economic crisis shows us a world where many people are without a job while there is enough work for everybody if we want to fix the issues at hand. Douglas Rushkoff concludes his essay by saying that "the economic model has broken, for good. It's time to stop pretending it describes our world". So what can we do from here?

- From the internet came the Open Source community, that has shown us how a large group of developers who were not bound by any constraint other than their own desire to contribute could self-organize to build and maintain very complex systems.

- And from history, we learn that it is possible to go around the lack of liquidity in situations of crisis by using our own currency: in 1934, and because there was a shortage of cash due to the stock market crash of 1929, a business man in Switzerland created the Swiss Economic Circle, now called WIR Bank. They started with 16 members, and there are now 62,000 businesses strong. They eventually returned to managing real currencies in 1952, but the system worked well to help businesses out of the crisis in the meantime.

One opportunity at Socap09 is to derive from these lessons and to consider what the ideal currency should be used for social capital markets, that would allow us to restore the right balance for a more sustainable world. I am looking forward to having such a discussion...

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Look for Haute Couleur ad this Sunday 8.23.09 in the NYT Magazine

"Media-Vent™ 8.23.09: NY Times Magazine on Empowering Women"

Look for Haute Couleur ad this Sunday 8.23.09 in the special issue of the NY Times Magazine on Empowering Women

Comment posted on Haute Couleur® at using Reframe It

Friday, August 14, 2009

Echo is nice, but ...

Echo is nice, but until I know better Reframeit is better because it resolves a big issue for commenters, which is that comments should not be something controlled by the original content owner. If we want freedom of speech, shouldn't we be able to comment anything anywhere?

Comment posted on JS-Kit ECHO at using Reframe It

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I also just discovered auto-post from posterous, so now this should go to my Facebook, Twitter, and to my Open Business blog. A blast!

Posted via web from mdangear's posterous

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Google Wave complexity does not come from UI

From What Works: The Web Way vs. The Wave Way at

"But then another task needs to be dealt with - protecting users from the complexities of the platform and helping them find ways of use, here usability of apps and sites built upon Wave must be better than what we’ve seen so far … this messy UX above reminds me of some platforms best forgotten."

Google Wave complexity does not come so much from a messy UI but rather from lack of etiquette. Once you understand the way it works and you start cleaning up your interactions, you are back to a nice and manageable environment. The stability on the Google Wave sandbox is still an issue, but otherwise using it (as an end user) is easy, and the promise that it will be better than email feels very real.

Posted using Reframe It

Top 150 social capital blogs updated

I originally published the list in May 2009.

The list has been very stable. You can find the updated list here

2 new comers in the top 10:
A. Fine Blog - moving up from #16
Social Entrepreneurship - - moving up from #11

Two blogs moved out of the top 10: | Development through Enterprise - moved to #12
Stanford Social Innovation Review : Opinion Blog Entries - moved to #11

If you are planning to go to Socap09, these are good blogs to track...

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Monday, August 10, 2009


From Masum at

"Reputation is a surrogate — a partial reflection representing our "best educated guess" of the underlying true state of affairs. Active evaluation by looking behind surface signals can corroborate or disprove reputations, while indiscriminate use degrades their reliability."

The Halo effect is a factor that will impact reputation and typically will create a disconnection between perception and the underlying true state of the affair. When a company does not perform well on the stock market, it is easy to rationalize that the CEO did not do a good job. The same CEO doing the exact same things in a market where the company does well would be presented as a reference for good management. The good read on the matter is "The Halo Effect" from Phil Rozenwieg.

But if/when we can resolve this problem, then there is a big potential. From the report:

"just as selfish local actions with market incentives can lead to collectively efficient behavior, locally maximizing actions with reputation incentives have the potential for similar guided emergent behavior that exceeds what might have been designed by a conscious planner."

I believe that this is a key element to making capitalism more sustainable. Definitely something worth working on!

Posted using Reframe It

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Internal Evangelist of the Year - by the Adoption 2.0 Council

If you are an "internal evagelist" or know somebody that
contributes to bringing change within your organization, the Adoption
2.0 is launching a "Internal Evangelist" award, here is a great
opportunity to capitalize on the effort...

Comment posted on ITSinsider | Who Will be the “Internal Evangelist” of the Year? at using Reframe It

2009 is the year for enterprise 2.0

2009 is the year for enterprise 2.0, the data keeps pouring in...

Comment posted on The FASTForward Blog » New Study Finds Social Media Becoming Mainstream on Corporate Intranet: Enterprise 2.0 Blog: News, Coverage, and Commentary at using Reframe It

Great slides from Netflix on the freedom and responsibility culture

Great slides from Netflix on the freedom and responsibility culture (thank you to Yves Granger for bringing this up).

This reminds me of Deming who talks in his book "Out of the crisis" about empowering people to do their job by providing them with the right information, and then manage by statistics, only addressing exceptions, things that get out of the standard deviation.

Freedom and responsibility is also what keeps things under control at Burning Man, a temporary town in the middle of the desert where thousands of people show up once a year. No police, no authority, self discipline to keep things under control.

William Bernquist talks in his blog about "postmodern leadership", and it is good to see it is happening at Netflix too.

Comment posted on Culture at using Reframe It