Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Saturday, February 15, 2003day link 

 How to get together
picture One of the fields of interest that most captivates me is how people get together in useful ways. That might sound very vague to some, but that is in part because the vital components of 'how people get together' aren't apparently known. There's no widespread technology or fundamental protocol for how a group activity forms from the bottom up. How some people notice that they share a certain *something*, and they then organize themselves such as to allow that *something* to emerge further, and they figure out what they actually want to do, and how. And then they do it.

There is quite a bit of a system for it when it comes to business ventures, companies, or any venture where one party comes up with the money that makes it happen. Even if nobody has the money, there's a pretty clear approach. You write a business plan, which includes deciding what you're going to do, who's going to do it, why it's a good idea, and what resources you need to do it. And then, typically, you'll try to convince somebody to provide the funds for doing it. And, if you succeed, then either you start doing it, or you make a new plan for what you really want to do. Either way, the money flows in a hierarchical way which supports a system of somebody above you telling you what you ought to do, and you feeling compelled to do it, because the money is good and you need it to eat and pay rent. And you use contracts money to sort of tie the pieces together. That system has proven itself to work, even though it has faults.

I don't think what I'm interested in will boil down to business plans and financing and who's the boss. Although maybe some of the pieces are partial answers. What I'm looking for is what will help it happen where there's noone clearly in charge, and no clear source of funding, and therefore no obvious hierarchy. And if hierarchy isn't really desired. I'm looking for how a grassroots group comes together. I'm looking for how free people, who don't feel an urgency to sell their soul, but who have a desire or a passion, or who see a need - how they come together.

If the desire or the need is strong enough, and the situation at hand is clear enough to everybody, self-organization might happen instantly and effectively. If millions of people love watching Farscape on the Sci-Fi channel, and they suddenly cancel it, thousands of those will feel strongly enough about it to do something about it, and the task is sufficiently clear that they can self-organize. And they did.

I suppose I'm looking for tools that will facilitate the clarification of what we're talking about, what we might agree on doing, and how we're open to doing it. If the need is not perceived as an emergency, and the task isn't already very simple, we will have to negotiate each step, and remain in alignment all the time, or each of us will just go back to doing something else we find compelling.

I'm looking for a language or a protocol or a tool or a metaphor that helps a matching process to happen. Kind of like how an antigen has very specific receptors that will make it physically match together with certain kinds of things that it is meant for attaching itself to, and it won't fit with other things. I'd like some ways for people to become more clear on what receptors we have, so we can better fit our receptors together where they fit, and not waste too much energy on where they really don't fit.
[ | 2003-02-15 14:12 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

picture No problem getting together here. Peace demonstrations everywhere this weekend. Biggest ever. A million people in Rome, 1.3 million in Barcelona, 2 million in Madrid, 250,000 in New York, 1 million in London, 1/2 million in Berlin. And this time it seems totally impossible to keep it out of the U.S. media, so I think even Bush might catch it on TV.
LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - More than six million demonstrators turned out across the world on Saturday in a wave of protest supporting international leaders in urging the United States not to rush into a war against Iraq.

From Canberra to Cape Town, from Karachi to Chicago, people from all walks of life took to the streets to pillory President Bush as a bloodthirsty warmonger in the biggest demonstration of 'people power' since the Vietnam War.

The largest outcry against war occurred in the European countries whose leaders have vocally supported Bush's position at the United Nations....

[ | 2003-02-15 14:45 | 1 comment | PermaLink ]  More >

 Live from the Blogosphere
picture Nice event this evening in L.A. Chinatown. Actually the first face-to-face blogging event I've been to, now I think of it. Nice to shake Doc Searls' hand, and nice that he knew who I was and everything, him being pretty much the BlogFather. Xeni Jardin was the MC. Susannah Breslin of Reverse Cowgirl fame was the main motor behind this event happening in the first place. Her blog is an always entertaining read about porn and stuff. Mark Frauenfelder was there. The BoingBoing blog he created is, as it says, a directory of wonderful things, and before it was a blog it was a zine, and Mark was also involved with Wired. Evan Williams is the creator of Blogger, the most famous and used blogging program, with more than a million users, supposedly. He announced that his company Pyra Labs has just been bought by Google. And he demonstrated audioblogging by having an accomplice hold up his cellphone, which recorded what was being said and automatically posted it in a blog. Heather Havrilesky writes Rabbit Blog and is a journalist. Tony Pierce writes busblog and is a really funny 'normal' guy. Afterwards we hung out at Hop Louie's Pagoda. I met Allan Karl whom I just met virtually yesterday in Joi Ito's conference call. I talked for a while with Skip of eardrumbuzz who's doing very cool things with video sharing in his apartment building. All around a very pleasant evening. Except for that the pictures I took didn't turn out very well.
[ | 2003-02-15 23:59 | 0 comments | PermaLink ]

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