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April 15, 2007


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Kevin Jones

I agree Phil. we entered our xigi project and Ive been getting more involved with this group. i like their approach. here is where someone could comment on xigi, with links to other comments. comments are another way that the voting works. it's deeper and more qualitative, but it all has weight in the system they are building. as you say, it's really a conversation.


Thanks, Kevin. I voted for xigi among other projects.

Lucy Bernholz

Great post. As a board member of CompuMentor (techsoup and netsquared) this makes me very proud. Thanks


Thank you, Lucy, for your leadership.

Leo Romero

Thanks for the insight Phil. Didn't realize we were on the watershed, but now that you mention it, I see that we are, and are happy to be there. Best regards; Leo Romero, Community Organizer, NewsTrust

If you still have room in your ballot, please vote for us: http://www.netsquared.org/projects/proposals/newstrust


Thanks, Leo, interesting project. I did find room on my ballot.

Leo Romero

Thanks Phil!

marnie webb


Thanks for your thoughts on the NetSquared project. We appreciate them.

The conversation has been a huge challenge. We are trying to balance a vote and the chance for resources with the central idea -- that getting people together can be a prime way move projects forward -- but for it to really happen you have to get real resources involved.

We've learned a lot this year -- a lot about how to do this better. This post helps us make sure that we don't lose what worked.

Tom Watson

Great post - you may well be onto something here. As you say, the money may not be huge - but the conversation....the participation...I gotta think about this.


You have given us a hill to rally round. That in itself is a very big step. To see forprofit people, tech people, and people with indepth experience in the nonprofit sector all involved, is quite inspiring to me. I hope you draw the eye of enlightened funders.

Phil the Sore

:: smooch! :: :: smooch! :: :: kissy-kissy! ::

I'm going to be sick, definitely.


A metaphor: Just like Austin's Northloop Blvd. is home to a gaggle of ecletic small businesses, the NetSquared innovation awards is home to a cluster of relatively small, meaningful projects. People stroll by and can't help but notice the others! :)

Indeed, democracy is more than voting. It is deliberation and participation.

JJ Commoner

NetSquared is a small thing, but could be the visible rallying point for something very big.

Just wait till "they" re-do the Intertubes, whether through legislation, DRM or other means. There's a reasonable chance yet that democracy as such will be doled out for us not on our terms ... same as it ever was.

Deliberation and participation are just great, until it gets too close to the bone.

Honestly, do not want to dampen enthusiasm nor momentum ... I've followed Netsquared for a while and believe it is very promising.

Phil knows my core beliefs pretty well, and how I view the opportunities and challenges offered by the Web. It's just that this democracy thing is really quite threatening to the way things currently are.


Yes, we are close to the bone, when we talk about deliberative democracy, because clearly we don't have it in electoral politics today. Whether the internet works for us in the future or is intentionally fixed to make it more like broadcast channels will depend on whether we use it to do more than converse and deliberate.


What is really cool is how many great projects that got listed. That some handful will get a financial boost is even better. Looks like it is very open ended, how much for each project for how long.

Isn't this far enough from the mainstream to develop without much notice and take the public stage over a very short period. The reason the topic of remaking democracy comes up is that there is a sense of a collection of projects that individually may be interesting but not a revolution add up to the possibility of something more. Sustained strategic funding of a constellation of open projects could make all the difference in creating a technological, social and financial foundation for an entirely new economy. It could make all the difference politically as well.


Yes, and lets hope some venture funders are cruising about thinking of how they might have a disproportionate impact with a relatively minor social investment, and even make some money if things go right.


Cursory glance, seems the featured projects are about "helping the vulnerable."


That would be most of us.


Yeah. I am a member of the anti-genocide constituency. I'm also opposed to lawn darts landing on my foot.


A notable exception is GrassRoots.org, but generally I agree, the selections are generally a disappointment. Not really much to rally around.


We appreciate Phil's post and this discussion. This post by Mark Bolgiano, former c.i.o. of the Council on Foundations (and now c.e.o. of XBRL U.S.) really came close to expressing our hopes and intentions for this project:



Thanks, Daniel, blogged it.

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