Archive for the ‘value 2.0’ Category

Times are tough for some of us, less so for others. If you’re fortunate enough to have the opportunity and means to contribute to a 401K account through your employer, you may have topped out your contribution around now. How about putting an extra $25 or $50 of that to work for charity, in time to count for this year’s taxes?

More and more charities have easy monthly sign-up plans now, where you can give $10, $20, or however much per month. That’s like, giving up one latte a week and getting a coffee instead. But over the year, it adds up for the charity you’re helping. Maybe you’d find it’s easier to give up something small to help somebody else than to save it for yourself. Or decide you want to give up two tall mochas a week and buy yourself something nice at the end of the year with the fund from one of them!

Anyways– this is on my mind and I figured I’d blog my own favorites list. I try to add one every year or so, so that I kind of get used to it and can do a bit more. And if you’re not in a position right now to give money, just smile at one more person a day and that will go a long way toward making the world a better place, too.

  • Heifer Project International; Provide farm animals, seeds, honeybees, to people, who then pass on the gift locally. A bootstrap program making a real difference all over the world.
  • Grameen Foundation; Micro-loans that enable small businesses and bring people out of poverty. A $10 – $20 loan can do things like enable a weaving cooperative to market directly from their village, or help people fund a local mill to grind grain.
  • International Foundation of Red Cross and Red Crescent; Humanitarian aid for disaster victims. You know about their efforts for earthquakes, floods, and the like, but did you know they also work locally to do things like house and help families burned out in apartment fires? Note that IFRC is the parent foundation; “National Societies” like the American Red Cross organize the work by country. IFRC has an online directory of National Societies by country.
  • Hesperian Foundation; Publishing books like “Where There is No Doctor” and “Helping Children Who Are Blind” in multiple languages. All of these books are available for download via their site, btw.
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation; Defending digital liberties, fighting vote fraud, and so very much more.
  • Amnesty International; Working to free the unjustly imprisoned worldwide, and providing hope to those who have been shut away in some political oubliette for speaking their mind and trying to change things.
  • Doctors Without Borders; Sending medical help where it is needed, sometimes into great dangers, to help people in need. Volunteer doctors, nurses, EMTs, pilots– but they need gas money for the planes, medical supplies, logistics, etc.
  • Natural Resources Defense Council; Working to protect wilderness, wild areas, animals, plants, biodiversity. Not one of those “don’t touch it, we don’t care if you starve” orgs, NRDC works on transitioning communities to ecotourism, sustainable wild harvesting, and giving people economic incentive to preserve for long-term good rather than destroy for short-term gain.
  • Organic Consumers Association; Promoting sustainability, fighting the dilution of ‘organic’ (eg, factory farm confinement dairies fed on organic corn), working with communities on food safety.

There are a number of other groups I support, but they don’t seem as universal or uncontroversial to me, like MoveOn, VoteSmart, Weston A Price Foundation.

Please comment with some of your favorite charities, it’s always great to hear.


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Energized buzzword particles are flying ahead of the ripples in Riemann space of Supernova 2007, Wharton’s little slice of FooCamp Heaven. Fortunately for those of us whose thinking (deep) doesn’t match our pockets (shallow, ah shallow), there’s the Supernova Unconference being held concomitantly.

My contribution to the seed ideas for possible sessions is included below. I hope to have an opportunity to elaborate on this prior to the unconference. I’ll be teaching my IT problem-solving and project management classes at Usenix Annual Technical right before the event, so I’ll be in conference mode anyway. 🙂

The New Network, even in its present alpha form, can make certain kinds of valuable connections and transactions at rates almost too cheap to meter. These value marketplaces are the hidden unpriceable glue that ties social networks and e-commerce sites together synergistically, the way mycelium act as a resource transport network in a succession forest.

Most social networking sites succeed based on these hidden networks, in which the ability to import connections serves as the equivalent of beneficial nitrogen-fixing bacteria in soil. How can we enable emerging Value Marketplaces purposefully, rather than by accident? Even better, how can we enable value transactions in such a way that everyone wins?

Some starting points are:

  • transactions are flexible,
  • interfaces are extensible
  • serendipitous discovery is facilitated (including cross-correlation of data sets)
  • privacy granularity is controlled
  • trust/reputation is inherent

Discuss, please!

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