Holo is helping to grow a more human Internet — where you control your personal data and choose how your applications work. With Holo, you share your computer’s spare capacity to help others connect to peer-to-peer apps. When people use the apps you host, you can get rewarded in cryptocurrency by the app’s creators. Connect your HoloPort to the network. Choose what apps you want to host. Help take back the Internet.
So I thought I would give some more general information on crowdfunding and the new economic models emerging in the wake of the banking collapse in 2008 which constricted the ability to get anything done if it required a bank’s approval.
There are thousands of platforms popping up which are specific to different types of crowdfunding from the very personal (weddings, medical emergencies), to creative (writers, film, musicians) community infrastructure and local projects (solar projects, school gardens, art or hack spaces) and scientific research projects. Here is a very short list of what is out there.
A successful crowdfunding campaign relies primarily on our social media connections online. While traditional funding is face to face or on the phone – crowdfunding relies on our networks online – and how active we are in those networks supporting other people and projects. The people, businesses and organizations we connect to, share and support online are the same folks who will share our story and celebrate our successes. We are much larger than the 1200 or so people here in the Pine Valley area in Baker County, Oregon. Our personal and professional networks online combined together are very large and our reach is very far when we use the internet to let people know about what matters to us.
Here’s a great article on understanding just how big the extended network of 1000 people might be:
Equity crowdfunding is a method to fund traditional businesses and innovative start-ups. Equity crowdfunding is regulated by the SEC and requires that funders be “accredited.” This simply means that to invest via an equity campaign you must be a sophisticated investor who does not require as much protection. You or you and your partner combined must have a high income and high net worth. More info on accredited investors.
By working together as organizations and individuals in three northeast Oregon counties, and taking advantage of external expertise, we will:
Provide support for local businesses that need investment capital and are profitable or have profit potential, but are not likely to be attractive to angel investors, venture capital investors or commercial lenders
Create options for individuals to invest a portion of their capital within the region
Work together on an economic development project that will increase the vitality of the region and our ability to work together
Their project ChangeXChangeNW is “a resource for communities in the Northwest. Our goal is to bolster local economies by connecting the dots between socially-minded investors and locally-owned businesses.”
Go to their site for details on all of these exciting changes happening. Springboard Innovation is working with NEODD to bring the same model eastward. Contact Lisa Dawson at NEOEDD for details.
Crowdfunding for Projects
Startsomegood focuses on projects with clear benefits and have strict criteria for using the platform.
“StartSomeGood is a peer funding platform for broadly-progressive social impact projects and organizations. While our focus is on social entrepreneurship as a vehicle for creating change we support all forms of changemaking: entrepreneurial, advocacy and activism, community organizing, research and information provision and inspiration.
“Our vision is a world where everyone can be a changemaker, where communities can create the future they want and governance is citizen-focused and responsive.”
“Our goal is to build the world’s best mobilizing platform for changemakers, allowing them to raise the funds, grow the community and gain the skills and contacts they need to make a difference.”
Crowdfunding is a huge topic which we can’t cover in one post so please come back! I encourage everyone to explore what’s out there and what has already been made real via crowdfunding, microlending, crowdsourcing, and equity crowdfunding. Let’s get to work on imagining what is possible!
If you have any questions or would like us to focus on a particular crowdfunding topic in the future, let me know in the comments.
When I was a teenager there were two things I loved art and computers. I ended up going to study art at- California College of Arts and Crafts – now called California College of the Arts. It’s a shame that they dropped the word “crafts” considering the resurgence of American craft and DIY culture and the maker movement we’ve seen propelled by sites like Etsy, Custommade and Maker Faire. I’ve always loved to be around artists, builders and makers who create constantly.
Recently I had the opportunity to help a truly talented maker named Barry Crawford of Crawford Metal Works get his massive work – Mechateuthis to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada for the Burningman Festival. It was such a pleasure to help as Barry is from the small town I live in now in Eastern Oregon. His father bronze sculptor David Crawford and his wife and fellow creative dynamo Tori were able to see Barry’s epic metal squid AT burningman in 2015. You can keep up with Mechateuthis on her facebook page . Yes…the giant squid is a she! #girlpower
Google has provided a huge basket of support for Google Apps administrators but the item that I was most happy to find was a Chrome extension called Training for Google Apps by Synergyse (recently acquired by Google.) Training for Google Apps Chrome extension embeds how to documentation and videos directly in the Google Apps interface. If you are in Gmail – you have Gmail training at your fingertips. In Calendar you have Google Calendar Training at your fingertips and so on for each Google App you deploy. This extension has saved my bacon more than once. Training for Google Apps empowers you entire user base to self train and self serve the how tos as they require them inside the applications.
The installation for admins is not too horrible and the trimming down of your support calls is sweet relief to any service provider or Google Apps administrator.
To install Training for Google Apps on your domain – login to your admin panel for the domain and visit the Google Apps Marketplace and follow the instructions.
To ensure that your team has Chrome installed and the Tutorials for Google Apps installed watch this playlist.
These guys are wonderful and create a huge amount of really accessible content on how to use WordPress. The thing is there is so much super helpful digestible training that it’s hard to know where to begin. I refer all my clients there and ask them to sign up on the site. This is a WordPress Beginner Playlist from their Youtube Channel. The videos are not in any particular order so if you go to the playlist on youtube you can just take a look at the over 60 videos in the list to see what’s there – or click on the top left corner of the video player below to see the entire list of videos in the playlist and just watch the video that interest you. This playlist is updated regularly by wpbeginner.
Do yourself a big favor and follow the link above to subscribe to their site, follow them on social media and youtube.
How to videos – creating, editing and optimizing images for the web
I often refer folks to trainings on YouTube as a quick way to get past a place where you’re stuck. It’s hard for a lot of non-technical clients to retain all the information they need to maintain and update their sites but, lucky for us everything you need to know is probably in a video tutorial somewhere.
These are the best tutorials on Youtube covering how to create images for beginners and folks who need a refresher.
This playlist covers:
When to use .png versus when to use .jpg.
What’s the difference between file size and file dimensions?
If you found this useful please consider checking out and signing up for TimeRepublik and gifting me some time! Gifting time on a time sharing platform like TimeRepublik is a great way to “pay it forward.” It’s free and you can probably find all kinds of help for your own projects!
This tutorial is basic to intermediate – and assumes you already have a WordPress site using Visual Composer compatible theme and a live Etsy Shop with items available for purchase.
What is Visual Composer?
Visual Composer is a “page builder” plugin for WordPress which makes composing complex pages easier for non-developers and novices. Some WordPress sites have a page builder installed many don’t.
Use Page Templates in Visual Composer to Save Time
In this tutorial I am showing a client how to use a portfolio template I created for her website here: Ivy Wreden Art. Ivy needed a fast way to add a beautiful portfolio page to her site with a link to purchase each piece on her Etsy Shop – Ivy Wreden Art. None of the plugins available integrated well with her look and feel and so I created a portfolio template page for her.
MONTREAL MEMES FROM THE NEXT EDGE FESTIVAL – JUNE 2015
I could live in Montreal. It’s a city of nestled visual delights and tasty intimate nooks. When I was there in June 2015 for The Next Edge Festival I took a ton of pictures. Going over them now a year later I’m reminded how charmed I was by the place, how much fun I had wandering.
One of the things we did at the close of the festival was attempt to glean all the fruits left, to remember what we wanted and needed to remember from our time together. These images are mine but, the texts came out of a collaborative process. Posting here to remind us all, to remember what we wanted to remember.
Pinterest boards can fuel for your creative and spirit fires.
Pinterest boards are a massively useful tool for people who are visual thinkers, designers, artists, crafters – OR people who need to communicate visually with clients and collaborators. I’ve used it with far flung people who I simply vibe with to communicate our highest intentions and visions – almost as a global intention tune-up process for change makers.
In 2015 some friends and colleagues who had been getting together virtually wanted to gather in person to deepen our relationships. As we started to talk about what we all wanted to see happen it became clear that words were failing us, that what we we “seeing” we had trouble expressing.
So, we did what many visual and design thinkers did – we created a collaborative vision board on Pinterest. Our aim was an “emergent” experience. We wanted to co-create this gathering collaboratively and we wanted to map that process so we could return to reflect on it in the years to come. So as we started to share what we saw in our minds the event started to take shape in front of us. Seb Paquet, Inma Vp, Julie Bourbonnaise, Hélène Brown, Dorota Mar, Kevin Doyle Jones, David Hood and myself all added pins as the conversation continued over a six month period.
The whole process was an experiment and to be sure there were many windy digressions and false starts – and flat out fails. Of course, those things are to be expected when you are an edgling seeking ways of working together allowing space for the unseen and unspoken to come forth. If you are not making really impressive errors – you can’t really consider yourself living on any sort of edge…eh?
A prolific multimedia artist Ivy Wreden uses Pinterest to not only market her quirky art but, to create a clip file for all her inspiration for her mosaics, batiks and collages. Her boards reflect her aesthetic so accurately. I love watching her spark start and become a creative bonfire.
Her equally creative daughter Keegan Wreden does the same for all her theater design and costuming work as she thinks through a play and a plan. Keegan is about to graduate college with a Theater Arts degree. I took a lot of theater set design courses in school – and have watched Keegan become a serious creative. I *cannot wait* to see what she does post-college. Consider hiring her. She’s an incredibly solid young woman.
For me, it’s both a place to gather beautiful things in a non-physical place so that I can enjoy and admire them without owning them and a place to think through design issues with people I collaborate with on projects by creating “mood boards” and clip files for the project. It’s also useful for gathering cheatsheets, infographics, and video howtos into one handy place.
Getting Started with your Brand New WordPress Site.
When I hand off a site to a new client I always suggest their first stop on the internet by wpbeginner to sign up for a membership and follow them on social media. For fantastic straightforward How To videos on WordPress wpbeginner is the perfect place to start. I suggest all my new clients get an account there first thing. I also recommend the WPLearning Lab channel on YouTube for more advanced users and Udemy for basic free courses on WordPress. The three last videos are on extending your WordPress powers by learning to use Hootsuite a free web tool to help you easily manage your social media accounts from one screen, understanding images on the web and Google Analytics to understand your impact over time. Going through these playlists will take a little more time but, you’ll be ready to level up soon!
Top 10 skills you will need – short video tutorials.
So did you just get handed the keys to your fancy new WordPress website? Are you a little freaked out? NO IDEA where to start? Afraid you will break something? Here are the top 10 skills you will need to get going. Going through the first seven videos will take you about 15 minutes. The last two video links are longer playlists covering more information but, you don’t need those right away.
Do you need something outside of this list? If you have a current Maintenance Plan just submit a ticket. If you do not have a maintenance plan in place consider one! Having a maintenance plan is almost as good as having your own WordPress wiz on staff. If you are a current maintenance client you might also be interested in the FAQ on the Help page of this site.
What is the difference between pages and posts?
How to add a new post and use all the new features in WordPress 4.4+
How to use the distraction free editor to help focus on your writing in WordPress
How to edit images in WordPress.
What is the difference betweenand tags for images?
Timebank – Start sharing and receiving skilled help for your projects.
TimeRepublik timebank connects skilled people offering talents across a large range of disciplines make the platform my first stop when I am in a pinch. The community is friendly, global and enthusiastic about making it work for everyone. You do not need to be a techie. Jump right in and see what it’s about!
What is a timebank?
TimeRepublik is a global timebank which allows members to “bank” time when helping other people in the system with their projects. Members offer their skills all at the same time rate – hour for hour. You can also add a widget to your WordPress site which allows TimeRepublik members to “gift” you time as thanks for the value you provide to them – even if you don’t actually work directly with them on their project.
So, let’s say I am good at crowdfunding coaching and I offer 1 hour coaching to everyone on the TimeRepublik. And let’s say Jenny is a massage therapist who gives an epic rub down. Jenny wants to crowdfund for a new workspace for the year in a collaborative wellness center in Lisbon, Portugal. She needs to raise $1,000 USD to be able to enter the arrangement.
I answer Jenny’s request and let her know I’d be happy to help. We have our Skype session and she credits me an hour for my help. I’d like a back rub – but plane fares make this unworkable because I live in Oregon – so I search for a logo designer instead. Confused?
As much as I would like a back rub, what I really need now is a little help with a client project, a fresh logo! So, I use the time I earned helping Jenny with the crowdfunding project to find and request help from a logo designer with a great portfolio on TimeRepublik. I find Ella who is a Inkscape master with a stunning logo focused portfolio.
I contact Ella. She creates a logo that works perfectly…I credit Ella an hour (or however long she requests). Ella uses her banked time for a violin lesson from Rami down the block from her in London…and so the goodness goes round and round the globe.
Because we are trading hours but, not directly – those hours can go into an escrow or kitty or “bank” account. I can use my positive balance of hours for whatever I need – assuming I can find a person with those skills on TimeRepublik. You can search locally as well if you prefer to work with people closer to home.
It is a fantastic community. You won’t regret signing up – I promise. All normal security precautions apply though. Check people out before working together or giving any personal details. Work with people who have full profiles that link out to multiple social profiles and spaces on the web. Give recommendations for great interactions so the best folks get the recognition they deserve.
It is incredibly fun to look around and imagine how many cool things you will be able to accomplish, learn or create!
What could you do if you just had a little help?
Remember you don’t need to be a techie or a design wizard – all kinds of skills are represented on the platform. Do you make a mean mac and cheese? Maybe there’s someone in need of a home-cooked meal on TimeRepublik. Maybe you are a great cook who needs a website to promote your fledgling catering business…or some help designing packaging for your brand new hot sauce. Who knows? All I can say is be bold – offer your GIFTS.
Do I need a website to use TimeRepublik?
No, but it’s good to have your social media profiles set up and looking good. I also recommend using About.Me as a hub for your online profiles. Here’s my about.me page. The thing I like most about it is you can feature a large picture of yourself and links easily to all the social media spaces. We all respond to faces and I think About.Me does a great job of humanizing the web.
How to set up the TimeRepublik widget on your Self Hosted WordPress site
COLOR IS LIKE A CANDY STORE – COLOR PALETTE GENERATION
Finding an a fresh and fitting color palette for my client campaigns and projects is one of the earliest parts of my creative process. Good design depends on editing and elimination. Color is like candy though and when I first arrive in the candy store – my first feeling is unutterable joy and anticipation…my third feeling is complete overwhelm. Nausea can result from me staying in the store too long sampling the wares.
There are other palette generators out there but, none of them have the simplicity and gorgeous aesthetic of coolors.co. It’s fast and very easy to learn and use. There’s a tiny link at the bottom of the page – tutorial. Use it if you get stuck.
It’s certainly geared to web designers with it’s prominently displayed hex values but, the interface allows all sorts of saves, collections, manipulations and display options.
My current project is in need of some Scandi freshness. So I’m playing around with these ranges.
So – is your palette working for your project? Does it say something clear about what you are here to do?
Does it convey the mood you want your customers to have when interacting with you and your project or services? Can you eliminate two or three colors and still give that feeling? Less is more in most cases…unless you are going for tropical riot…or a candy factory.
RIOT IN A CANDY FACTORY
So what do you think of my Scandinavian Cool Palettes above? Does one stand out?
Love them? Hate them?
I’ve long talked about a rule I have tried to live by for making choices about work. I have not always lived up to this goal but, it is what I ask myself before taking something on, “Am I going to spend eight hours paddling in the wrong direction, and spend the time I have after work trying to undo the harm I did during the day. Or am I paddling in the right direction all day?” How do we manage to live, experience coherence in our lives – and find “right livelihood,” AND make a living – in an age where so many systems conspire against it?
When people depend on you, the tangles become tighter. Detachment? Not possible…for me anyway. Purity? Problematic too.
@Anandwrites gets at this in this great talk he gave at the Aspen Institute in 2015.
Anand Giridharadas is an author and New York Times columnist. He writes the “Admit One” column for The Times’s arts pages, and the “Letter from America” for its global edition. He is the author, most recently, of “The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas,” about a Muslim immigrant’s campaign to spare from Texas’s Death Row the white supremacist who tried to kill him. In 2011 he published “India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation’s Remaking,” about returning to the India his parents left.
The opening of our festival started with some intimate ice-breakers and intentions. And the result of that work was this “found” poem which was captured by the amazing Lisa from Lupuna – who along with Juan Carlos helped us all to come with deep intentionality to our time together.
This is the clear bell that started the weekend for me. She gathered all of our collective words into a poem that solidified our intention and presence to each other. The original poem doesn’t seem to be online.
I’m not good at asking for myself. For everyone else – a breeze! If there is such a thing as Karma, then surely I am here to learn how to ask for help. It is the hardest thing.
I’ve been working since November 2014 on something I, very much, want to happen called The Next Edge Festival.
Since 2009 I’ve been very isolated in this tiny town. I’ve been living through the things I care about, and the people I connect to based only on the things I care about, lots of that happens around people in The Next Edge facebook group. That community that had formed organically around things “that matter” are getting together in Montreal this June. I’ve been doing what I can to make it happen from where I am, which is very far away. But, it’s happening! It’s really happening!
It’s happening at the same time as a send off for a man who was my brother. My brother with all that implies, all the trouble and the buried bodies, the laughing mostly though.
(Metaphorical bodies to be clear…) I’d like to do both. And that means a swing down NY way, via Coney Island in June after our gathering in Montreal.
If I can’t that’s OK. Montreal should always be enough, it’s enough just to meet the crew that is doing the doing that needs getting done to make The Next Edge Fest happen but, it would be nice to send Johnny off good and proper, too.
Having recently reviewed options for membership site plugins I landed firmly in the MemberPress camp.
It’s a terrific plugin. It’s easy to understand, well supported and very critically – well documented.
What does MemberPress do?
From their site:
MemberPress is a WordPress membership site plugin that makes it easy to charge your users for access to content and digital products such as software and e-books.
MemberPress will give you the ability to confidently create, manage and analyze membership subscriptions and digital products. In addition to these powerful abilities, MemberPress will allow you to grant and revoke access to posts, pages, categories, tags, feeds, communities and digital files based on what products your users have purchased or subscribed to.
Which payment processors does MemberPress work with?
PayPal Express Checkout
PayPal Website Payments Pro
Authorize.net (AIM & ARB)
There are other options out there of course. I would also recommend taking a look at Cart66 which I will review in the future.
Here’s a playlist I compiled for a client. If you have additions I should make post your suggestions in the comments below!
(Update – This contest has ended.)
We need your help! We are doing a re-design of the brand logo for the Local Food Challenge 2015 and we have 6 finalists and 8 directions. New ideas are fantastic as we try to refine this concept. Which carrot appeals to you most? Which has the most sense of fun and engagement. Which makes you want to take the Local Food Challenge in 2015?
Here’s the winning design by Red Logo – who was a pleasure to work with by the way!
Local Food Challenge Carrot by Red Logo on 99Designs
What I learned using 99designs.com
The most important things I want to convey is this – designers are professionals who have spent time studying design. A logo is one of the hardest things in the field to do well. Your logo has a huge impact on your project or business and you will live with it for a long time. It’s critical that you get out of the way of the pros here. Hard I know! Some feel that good design is just a “matter of opinion.” But, just like medicine, design has specialties. Logo design, is like neurosurgery – one wrong move and you’re not there anymore.
And you certainly don’t trust yourself to do your own brain surgery even if you’re the best!
For some clients it is simply out of reach to get a logo done the usual way. The Graphic Arts Guild prices logo and full identity design packages in the tens of thousands of dollars. “WOW” you say! Well, when you think about how a logo and identity package functions it makes sense. A logo represents you out in the world everywhere you go. It is ubiquitous. If a commercial runs ten thousand times – an actor who is in it gets paid every single time.
So, if you are using a design contest site like 99designs – know – participation is a gift to you from professional designers.
Here are a few pointers for running a design contest on 99designs.com.
Don’t underestimate the time it takes to manage a contest. It can be very time consuming. Contests run 7 days. A lot of time goes into managing the process, gathering and giving usable feedback and communicating the results.
Use social media to get feedback but, try not to be pulled in too many directions. Everyone has opinions, you need to be true to your vision.
Have one person manage the contest. Allow that person authority to make final decisions fast – stay available if you want to be heard.
If you are that person – spend time writing personal invitations to designers you like to submit to your contest. Just posting the contest and sitting back will not get you good results.
Respect the designer’s time. Asking for a hundred revisions isn’t nice when you are getting so much value at such a low price.
Give detailed and specific feedback. Vague instructions mean too many iterations for design contestants.
Be grateful when good designers are willing to compete in one of these contests. It’s not a great deal for them money-wise.
Be sure to give them credit and thanks – every designer that enters is really doing you a big favor by competing in the first place.
Need Help with a Design Contest?
If you’d like help running a contest from an experienced design pro – get in touch!
Crowdfunding Strategy – Understand the Crowdfunding Campaign Pattern.
Out this way in Eastern Oregon, Gene Shackle and the good people that put on Baker City Pub Talks invited me to speak on crowdfunding to small business owners in the Baker County region of Eastern Oregon. I cover the basics of crowdfunding, realistic time-lines, how to make real connections with people online and a few strategies to make sure you hit the target you set for your campaign. I cover why people give with voices from successful campaigns I’ve run and how to avoid some of the predictable potholes along the way. There is a brief Q and A at the end.
Update: Our Mecathuethis campaign – raising money to get a giant metal squid out to the Nevada desert made it’s goal in under 26 hours using my strategy and campaign process.
Baker PubTalk® provides a safe and open environment for new entrepreneurs to meet with fellow entrepreneurs to talk about business ideas and to network with funding and support services. For more information about Pubtalk – Contact Gene Shackle.
I’ve thought a lot about timebanking and timebanks. I tried to start one a few times in my tiny town. I still hope it happens. But, it seems there is an informal one that has gone on for a hundred years without tech. No records are kept, memory suffices. That’s why no one really thought we needed a system out here. There is a system in place embedded in the life of this tiny town.
Still the idea of a timebank fascinates me. I found a global timebank recently called Time Replublik. I started to test it out today. Almost instantly I found two talented gentlemen willing to take a few things off my overfull plate. A composer responded first, Flavio M. living in Rome, who is willing to trade some of my hours for some music I need for a project. His style is splendid and just what I am looking for and he’s incredibly gracious in email. And Marius Gheghici of Sligo, Ireland who will help me with a technical bottleneck holding up one of my volunteer projects, also gracious and warm and most helpful. Doers who give…my kind of people!
Having this experience so immediately makes me want to give back as soon as I am able in a way that makes a person’s day the way Flavio and Marius just made mine.
Timebanks Serve Everyone with Skills To Share – Not Just Techies.
What do you have to give? What do you need? There are so many kinds of gifts and so many ways you can make someone’s day measurably better. You don’t need to be a technical whiz or a composing genius! Just someone with a gift. That gift may simply be time. Take a look at all the ways people are giving of themselves and of their time on Time Republik. And of course, TimeRepublik works just as well as a local timebank given their geo-local features and mapping. If you are local to Eastern Oregon please be sure to find me there and connect!
I’m struck lately by how fast the world is spinning. People who are a bit older feel it more intensely.
I moved from a place with no seasons to a place with four which also added to the sense of the hours flying by.
Without kids I don’t have that other strange measure of watching a baby become a man or woman seemingly overnight, but every parent I know says that’s how it is. Time is precious and fleeting. When someone gives you theirs it’s truly a gift and one not to be taken lightly.
I take nothing for granted. I hope you don’t either…time is whizzing by!
Disclosure: I get extra time in my bank when you use those links and sign up. But, be sure I will give back – and put any hours I gain to very good use.
I started out as a young person wanting to be a photographer. I met my best friend working at our summer job at Marine World, on the SF Bay peninsula because we both brought our cameras to work one day. Pat Mazzera and I have been besties ever since. She went on to become a pro and I wandered through many many fields. I still shoot sometimes with my low end camera but, not seriously, so it’s feels good to see some photos I took a while back make their way into the world.
At another phase in my wandering years, I wanted to be a woodworker or a set designer or something involving building things with my oddly wee hands. I admire people who can make beautiful things out of metal and wood. Kert Lorence, whose shop is just round the bend from here is one such crafty fellow. He was kind enough to let me take some pictures while we had a few beers in his enviable shop a few years ago. He’s ended up using them on his website. So have a look!
If you need a beautiful thing made out of wood – give him a call.
When I heard about The WeLL in 1991, I ran out and bought a modem. I don’t think I really knew what it was but, I knew I needed it. I probably read about it in Wired. I was just out of college in 1990, with an English degree that took me too long to complete, half an art degree, Gen-X Are a Bunch of Malingering Ingrates headlines in every print publication and zero jobs on the horizon.
I was lucky to have been raised by parents who got technology. My dad was a broker who would later bring start-ups to market, while shaking his buggy whip at the day-traders and quants who were taking all the fun out of trading for him and my mom was one of those lady programmers you’ve probably never heard of – a computer. She worked as a bookkeeper and taught herself programming so she could write programs to eliminate the tedious parts of her job. She’s a hacker. This was before we heard tech was Boy Town and girls needed to stay OUT! She didn’t know any better. I was lucky too, also not knowing better. Being the first kid (not girl) on my block to have a computer…I was a net native.
Soon after I started lurking on The WeLL, I realized this wonderous new internet thingy was going to need a humanized interface, that my humanities education was not a waste after all, that my artistic talent was applicable and that I had actual gifts to bring to this work. I had work to do. I started studying user interface design and multimedia, visual communication. The WeLL article in Wired was the ignition of a life-long interest in imagining, working with and hoping to help form a human-centered global culture. If I had to hang out with deadheads to get there it was a very small price to pay. (I kid, I love you guys!)
Fred Turner here traces the previously untold story of a highly influential group of San Francisco Bay–area entrepreneurs: Stewart Brand and the Whole Earth network. Between 1968 and 1998, via such familiar venues as the National Book Award–winning Whole Earth Catalog, the computer conferencing system known as WELL, and, ultimately, the launch of the wildly successful Wired magazine, Brand and his colleagues brokered a long-running collaboration between San Francisco flower power and the emerging technological hub of Silicon Valley. Thanks to their vision, counterculturalists and technologists alike joined together to reimagine computers as tools for personal liberation, the building of virtual and decidedly alternative communities, and the exploration of bold new social frontiers.
One of the interesting reads to come out of that early phase was The Cluetrain Manifesto. Though I have developed an allergy word “manifesto,” which causes my neck to tense up, my shoulders to touch my ears, my chest to go concave, my eyes to turn to slits and my feet to propel me backwards and away. I read it anyway.
A few of the authors Doc Searls and David Weinberger are back with another massive missive that captures the soul extinguishing disappointment many of us old ones feel about the net too often and it points to a way out. The rallying call reminds us of that big blue sky, new dawn, new day idealism we all felt then and it stirs the will to retake the net, at least for me and hopefully for you too.
The tongue is in the cheek and it is serious as a heart attack at the very same time. Nice trick, that.
Being a fan of Walt Whitman, I like how it begins.