Alternative Institutions

Management 2.0

There is a movement afoot in the business world that parallels the growing maturity of the internet and Web 2.0. Let's call it Management 2.0. Google is a famous example at the vanguard, notable not so much for its management innovation per se -- many companies are just as innovative when it comes to management -- but rather for its rapid growth, global mindshare and financial success. A Harvard Business Review issue in the winter of 2006 claimed that management innovation -- not technological innovation -- is now the key driver of economic value worldwide. To be sure, management innovation is enabled by new technologies, especially those involving the internet and communication. Following are some of the concepts of Management 2.0, you are encouraged to complete and refine this list. 1. Crowdsourcing With "The Wisdom of Crowds" in one hand and Wired's "Crowdsourcing" issue in the other, businesses and even entire industries are being built on the backs of, well, you…

Dangerous Media

With the massacre at Virginia Tech weighing on everyone's mind, we must look at the causal role that society, especially mass media (including the internet) plays in such tragedies. Much is discussed about the personal influences of mass-murderers, what "lead" them to do horrific deeds. Was it their parents who abused them, the fellow students who harassed them, the lover who scorned them, or some chemical/psychological imbalance that caused them to go off the deep end? What about the easy access to weapons? Clearly all of these factors and more can, and do contribute. But the secret sauce in such recipes for disaster is mass media. Media cannot be divorced from culture, indeed, it is an integral part. It is at once the Greek chorus reflecting society's values, and also is (increasingly) the creator and amplifier of evolving and new values. Editorial media (such as TV and newspapers) have agents in charge of who gets what information. These agents take umbrage at, and often simply…

The New Philanthropy

What I mean by "the New Philanthropy" is the cultural change afoot that is leading more and more of us to believe and act on the belief that we can make a big impact, in our lifetime, with or without large amounts of capital. The New Philanthropy has three classes of people.
Independently Wealthy John Wood is a model example of someone who had accumulated massive resources and lived a full and busy life, but had some experiences that shifted his perspective to the point where he could no longer continue on his previous path. In the old days, independently wealthy philanthropists like Rockefeller saw their role as to "make as much money as possible, and then use it wisely to improve the lot of mankind." John Wood and his ilk believe "what kind of man am I if I don't go face this challenge directly", and to their peers who say they are crazy or having a midlife crisis they respond "wouldn't it be

The Eight Most Powerful People on the Planet

...but weak, indecisive and utterly incapable of true world leadership read the article | digg the article I'd like to make a case for Oprah being in the top 8.  Though she's currently #62 on Forbes' World's Most Powerful Women list, she's one of only two people to make the Time 100 list four times (the other being Bill Gates).  Four people have made it three times (GWB, Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, and Condaleeza Rice). Despite the catchy opening, this isn't a post about lists of powerful people.  It's about how to change the world, right now, and with long-ranging positive impact.  The first step is to watch Oprah's show yesterday about people rich and poor who have found ways to make huge differences.  (I'm sure somebody out there will find an online version of the show and post it in the comments here, but if not, order the show).  The second step is to read this book, written by one of the founding…

Eliminating Political Parties

This is a repost from my MySpace blog, but it really belongs here.

Why Political Parties Exist, Why they are Bad, and How to Eliminate Them

Voting blocs are an emergent property of representative democracies wherein each new voting issue carries with it an automatic right for each representative to vote. In other words, when votes are treated like a continually renewable resource, there becomes incentive for each representative to give away votes on issues they care less about in exchange from something of greater value. When that thing of greater value is money we call it corruption. When the thing of greater value is a promise of future support from an outside agency, we call it lobbying. And when groups of representatives agree on an ongoing basis to trade away votes in exchange for membership, we call it a party.

Once parties exist, they are self-perpetuating. Even if all representatives from all parties were to agree individually that everyone would be better off…