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oakland, ca
Director of Innovation for Foundation. My blog:
Interests: Data, A Better World, Social Sector Efficacy
Recent Activity
Nestle is the leading example of the Shared Value movement and Nestle has absolutely produced some great outcomes. In 2009 Nestle applied for a patent of Nigella sativa which is a plant that has been used in traditional medicines for food allergies and particularly for stomach problems. The Nestle patent, from my limited research, seems to be both overly broad and directly claiming a patent over a natural occurring plant. Nestle has stated that this is not the case. This patent application has recently garnered some attention. I read the patent application and it clearly talks about the seeds and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2013 at Conches
Let's say I worked for a home security firm and I wanted to sell my services and so I came up with a gimmick as a way to do that. First, I got a list of addresses. To do that, I went to the phone book and picked one at random (123 Elm St) and then made some educated guess as to what other addresses might be 124 Elm, 125 Elm, 126 Elm, etc). I then went to each of these addresses on my list and knocked on the door and asked them for their phone number. Everyone of these... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2013 at Conches
I spend a lot of time trying to convince people that value is more important than money; that value-first is more important than profit-first; that the thing we call "social" - as in 'social impact' not 'social media' - is in opposition to financial-impact and is more important, more complicated and more difficult to do well. That social-media, to which we give inordinate amounts of attention; that social-media is ultimately little more than just another megaphone in a world with way too many megaphones. (As was recently pointed out to me, this criticism is inherently hypocritical as it is broadcasted... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2012 at Conches
<caveate>Shit. I'm a political junkie. Damn. So many good things to do with my time. I should be running or writing another poem. Crap. I don't know if I have ever written something this wonky about politics (about networks, technology. P2P, copyright, sure! wonkalicious!) And it has to be about Ron Paul :( </caveate> I remember when I was kid watching political conventions (RNC and DNC) where they actually did a roll call vote and there was a running tally. It was even more exciting than the Miss America! What just happened is worth paying attention to. From what I... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2012 at Conches
some things i wish were not taught i am not better for it even a little weaker less hubris, now an effigy of strength i had always assumed that my experiences, when i collected enough, would lead me to Knowledge --------------------------- Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2012 at Conches
This issue is one of those that should not be an issue. That courts are waisting there time and it is embarrassing. I wanted to lay it out as I see it so maybe I can let it go and sleep better. :( There are exactly zero cases of voter fraud that have been documented. There is no voter fraud problem that is being solved. None. This, as John Stewart says, is like a leash law for unicorns. Here is a report from the Brennan Center on this issue. It is therefore exceedingly rational to ask why Republicans (and almost... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2012 at Conches
Thanks for the comment. As for Neuroscience blogs: Here is a fantastic series of articles:
Thanks johnny b. for the comment. I was recently pointed to a great Truthout piece that speaks to this more eloquently than my rant above.
Toggle Commented Aug 22, 2012 on Steve Forbes and His Assinine Article at Conches
Efficacy is a measure of an organization's ability to verifiably do what they say they will do. Impact is to improve the lives of their beneficiaries. Efficacy can be verified, Impact cannot.
Value-First Impact resides in the lives of our beneficiaries Measuring efficacy, not impact, is a social enterprise’s goal. Program Management I.T. is necessary for management. Metrics are outputs and outputs are an artifact of management. Mapping metrics data to performance Measurement informs design. Design infers value. The Ecosystem Measurement should be shared and transparent Investors/funders should want the same metrics as the enterprises that they fund. Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2012 at Conches
Scale-Free Networks African Fractals Emergence Alternative Currencies p2p and network health to replace GDP Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2012 at Conches
Some things I am addicted to Myself Facebook The couch Not exercise Or nature Or alcohol Politics Economics Greed Not compassion Or presence Or beauty Heroism Solutions Insight Praise Work Repair Not patience Not not patience ... My place and history Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2012 at Conches
This was originally posted on the SoCap Blog. Current definitions of social enterprise are based on how social enterprises are like financial enterprises except they are required to create good in addition to revenue. Financial enterprises are those enterprises that are not required to create good. They are only required to create revenue; therefore, it is of course possible that they create bad. Bad is created by a financial enterprise either by design or it is a negative externality meaning it is a consequence of the work but not an intended output. The cost of these negative externalities are largely... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2012 at Conches
This was originally posted on the NeXii blog. Let’s start with the realization that poverty is bad. The hardships of the poor fill heartstring-pulling fundraising campaigns: unsafe drinking water, poor diets, poor education, untreated illnesses, saving cash under a mattress, danger, a roof that leaks, no access to the information we take for granted, and more. These hardships make life more difficult for the poor than the not-poor. But this is not the only reason why poverty is bad. Poverty is also bad because it hurts us all. A very simple logic model for Poverty Alleviation The Theory: Poverty is... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2012 at Conches
So, what about emotion? Definitely this is not likely to be directly parallel because the base act of perceiving or recognizing emotion is so different. But let's make the leap that says there is a spectrum of emotion and emotion is a way to respond to our world. Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2012 at Conches
I believe that America is institutionally racist. I'm white. I claim both my heritage and a progressive political stance. It is often complicated and their are groups that I believe in, that I would like to be a part of, to which I believe I could contribute, that I can't join. I make a comfortable living. I don't know what the cutoff point is for the 1% but I assume I am below it. The actual line between 1% and 99% is arbitrary and in a practical sense, meaningless. 99% vs. 1% is a statement of inequality. Inequality is bad... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2012 at Conches
Originally posted at In 2010 SKS Microfinance went public with great excitement from the financial markets and a hail of criticism from some in the industry. The criticism centered around the idea that profit is NOT a proxy for success and an aggressive focus on growth is bad for the poor. SKS disagreed. The following is from a Forbes article about a debate between Vikram Akula, founder of SKS Microfinance and Mohammed Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, at the Clinton Global Initiative conference in 2010. Akula: Yes you increase profits by pushing up loan sizes and raising interest rates.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2012 at Conches
A repost from It is important that we take the lessons we have learned from micro-credit and apply them to any new poverty intervention. I got to thinking about this after reading an article titled: "Mobile Phones Will Not Save the Poorest of the Poor." In general, the micro-credit industry focused too much on the existence of micro-credit and not enough on the ability of micro-credit to improve the quality of life of the poor. Too many made the assumption that more is better. The difficulties of cell phone use in development work mentioned in the article are all... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2012 at Conches
Logic Models: The purpose of a Logic Model or Theory of Change is to map activities to the world we want to see. I would like to point out two recent news stories that highlight the need for logic models. The first is microfinance in Anda Pradesh. Bad incentives and aggressive profit/financial targets pushed loan officers to poor outcomes. Instead of tying the loan officers actions to specific outcomes in the lives of the poor, they were tied to profit numbers of the orgs that served the poor and there was no clear connection to that orgs financial success and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2012 at Conches
I recently found this short and very compelling video from the Kauffman Foundation on enabling entrepreneurship. It is worth watching and kinda necessary for the rest of this post as critique. Here are my comments... Growth: The approach in the video seems to advocate for a gross measurement of growth as any new enterprise any where which buys in to the all growth is good growth myth. Failure: There is an assumption that "improving" the failure rate of new enterprises will improve the economy which brings up the question about how many of new companies "should" fail? Is the failure... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2012 at Conches
Very interesting article from TechCrunch on the wasted opportunity (my words) of technologists. Look at what we just saw is possible with SOPA / PIPA. We went from a backroom deal that they hoped would sneak through to public embarrassment and backpeddling that killed an otherwise sure thing. The reason why SOPA/PIPA were written has very little to do with pirating (not nothing, but very little). They were written to protect the privileged market position of entertainment arbiters in the face of innovation that makes them nearly irrelevant. (Same idea with Big Oil and alternative energy though not so stark... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2012 at Conches
Another fascinating concept from this book has to do with man being created in the image of God. I always saw this as evidence of God's conceit (or man's conceit in his creation of god). However, a much more interesting interpretation is that if man is made in the image of God then disrespecting anyone is an affront to God, is equivalent to disrespecting God. And murder is sacrilege. We have come a long way from this ancient Rabbinic theology to a world where our religious leaders espouse divine justifications for preemptive strikes in war.
Toggle Commented Dec 24, 2011 on The Golden Rule at Conches
I am reading Karen Armstrong's "Twelve Steps to a More Compassionate Life". I posted a quote from that book to Facebook: Compassion is aptly summed up in the Golden Rule, which asks us to look into our own hearts, discover what gives us pain, and then refuse, under any circumstance whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else. An excellent discussion ensued. The gist of the discussion was about the tactics of compassion. The do-unto-others bit makes sense but is not a roadmap. As Karen Armstrong says in her book, the first question is always, "What do I do next?"... Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2011 at Conches
Scott, it is a great point. I was at a conversation on Occupy hosted by recently. Peter Coyote was there. I was struck, 1) by the fact that he was assuming the position of "elder" and not "actor" and 2) by the fierceness in which he held his ground. A young activist tried to challenge him by saying he and the other panelist were just using the name and momentum of Occupy for their own gain and what did they know anyway, etc. Peter Coyote jumped down this young man's throat, demanding his position and declaring his relevance. I was struck by the interchange. I think the other aspect of this is the difference between elders which infers wisdom and rich/powerful which infers influence. Thanks for the insightful comment.
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2011 on Networks, Relationships and Value at Conches
In my first post on this topic I proposed a list of community based business models and claimed to be able to fill them out with some more detail. Here is my first effort. Traditional, old-school, tried and true, community development. After asking some friends in the community development field about efforts by community development practitioners, intermediaries and funders to generate, recycle, and retain capital at the ground level, here is what I found out. The foreclosure crisis has given rise to a number of coordinated efforts to stabilize communities, that is, to identify those levers (resources, human capital, grassroots... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2011 at Conches