Hacking Society

Today, from 10am to 4:30pm eastern, USV will be hosting an event called Hacking Society. This is one of our "sessions events" that we do from time to time.

Hacking Society brings together a small group of thinkers and doers to discuss how networks are transforming our economy and society, and what this means for the future of innovation, competition, regulation and policy advocacy. A list of the attendees is here.

Over the course of the day, we will:

  • Discuss how the economics of networks might help solve challenging social and economic problems.
  • Examine how incumbents use their influence over the current policy process to stave off competition from networks.
  • Define a proactive, network-friendly “Freedom to Innovate” policy agenda.
  • Examine how “net native” policy advocacy works and how it can be harnessed to promote a positive agenda as well as overthrow bad policy and bad regimes.

We will record the event and make the audio available live here. We will also be livetweeting the event and invite everyone to join us at #hacksociety. We will make the audio and video recordings available on the web under a Creative Commons Attribution License (their most liberal license).

The format of a USV sessions event is a small group of folks (less than 40) around a big table talking with each other (not at each other) about a big issue that we are trying to wrap our heads around. Because the group is designed to be small, we cannot invite everyone to attend. But we hope that the stream, the tweetstream, and the recordings will allow others to participate in this event, and more importantly take the themes we are exploring forward with their own thoughts and actions. That's why we are publishing the recordings of the event under a creative commons license.

I hope you can listen in, follow the event on twitter, and engage with us on these important issues.

#Current Affairs#entrepreneurship#Politics#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. aminTorres

    Great list of attendees. Sounds like an awesome event, will definitely tune in.

  2. Donna Brewington White

    I didn’t get the full import of this until clicking on the list of attendees. What a wonderfully well-rounded and provocative group. Should be a palpable discussion.There is something very appealing about the idea of hacking society. Especially for those of us who are never satisfied with the status quo.

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      Same for me. I was not very sure, but after seeing the group I will watch the event for sure.BTW, this a weird time for you to be commenting! are you on the road?

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Hi Fernando. No, not on the road. But promised something to a client “first thing.” And his “first thing” is a lot earlier than mine. 😉

    2. karen_e

      I agree, amazing list of people.Donna, marketing here. And you know what that means: nitpicking your word choice and punctuation. Do you mean, “Put me in, coach”? Because right now it reads like you hate first class, you prefer to fly coach.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Nitpick away, Karen! Thank you. It’s better than being ignored. :)Funny thing is that initially I had a comma but this created a “pause” and I didn’t want there to be any sense of hesitation.I have been known to overthink things.

      2. Donna Brewington White

        P.S. BTW, I changed it — especially since in the song lyrics that I borrowed this from, there is a comma. 🙂

  3. awaldstein

    Great topic.I would add culture to the mix. I’ve always thought of culture changing society through networks and communities. From the ground up through a collective behavior change that aggregates in the networks and accelerates societal evolution.Consider adding an agenda item on how to expand this discussion beyond this group. Whenever you discuss topics that are already in play at the street level, the most strategic act forward is to imagine an ongoing platform to extend the discussion.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      “I’ve always thought of culture changing society through networks and communities.”It’s the teaching/learning that occurs around various interests which then gets amplified with said networks and communities.It’s how ideas disseminate.In business terms that’s how marketing works. Traditional advertising puts ideas into your head or tells you how things should be. The new method of marketing being word of mouth, meaning they’re ideas that people truly believe in and support and want to promote or consume and make apart of who they are.Those beliefs can gain traction and spread easier with the online tools now available. The smaller nuanced ideas can be more finely curated and break through the noise, especially when they are of the utmost quality.

    2. Donna Brewington White

      Great suggestions, Arnold — both in adding culture into the mix — it is a vital component, and moving this closer to street level.

      1. panterosa,

        WIth culture though comes Education. And that’s a big fat mess.I’d add that a thing I saw recently on Insight Labs about adoption of ideas. There’s no shortage of great ideas, but a low rate of adoption of those ideas.

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. panterosa,

            I agree ideas are easier and execution is harder. But the sensibility of no adoption stalemate was the lack of desire of change – that people disliked the risks involved in adopting systems they don’t know results on or how to measure. People hate that “exposure” with no data, unless they are on fire startup awesome noeatfriday types of cowboys.

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          3. panterosa,

            I’m not sure that all risks fail, are you? Individually, small group, big society type group, risks are big and small, and daily and one off.’s in timing.I see your point but I disagree on risk taking in this sense – risk exists everywhere, we simply move, divide and share it around. So the question is how to share it wisely, actively, and in ways we can manage collectively and individually.As Mr #BEONFIRE I would expect you to engage and mitigate risk in the pursuit of #AWESOME, as well as advocate that risk taking as a step to making a new, non-duct-taped POS/same old same old type of thing. I would like to believe that is not limited to start up land, but you correct me where I am wrong in interpreting Grimosophy.

    3. fredwilson

      we will do that

    4. William Mougayar

      Good ideas Arnold!

    5. Mark Essel

      Looking forward to boiled down blog coverage of the session. Can’t imagine ever having the time to eaves drop on brain storming sessions.Are there plans to put together a lessons learned? I wonder.



    7. leigh

      not to go all mcluhan on you but it’s the ground vs. the figure that matters. wish the academics would speed up bc the amount of research on culture change bc of the power of networks is minimal at best.

      1. awaldstein

        Please do get Mcluhan on me!Remember this scene from Annie Hall?

  4. John Revay

    Saw Steven Johnson on list of speakers – how was he last night

    1. aminTorres

      It was amazing. If I could sit on it again I would do it. 

    2. panterosa,

      It was great but not long enough. And would have been great to have more questions. I didn’t get called on of the 3 sadly.

      1. kirklove

        I had to rush out, sorry we didn’t meet. I was looking for a Pink Panther, but didn’t see one in the audience. Coffee sometime?

        1. panterosa,

          You missed my fuchsia hair and huge red flower?Yes, I looked for you. Coffee would be grand. maybe pass me your mail on engagio?

          1. kirklove

            Ha. Was a great talk indeed though.Hit me up any time at kirklove at gmail dot com

    3. DanielHorowitz

      He was great. (From memory) High level slides were a) adjacent possible (stuart kauffman) b) exaptation c) diversity d)platforms. These ideas were interwoven with examples/stories about neonatal incubator, birds/feathers, printing press, twitter, video games, and 311. Really good energy in the room (small group) that seemed to be building towards the end. As @panterosa:disqus mentions below, the event/session could have been longer. Felt like things were just getting started when it ended. A lot of people had questions when the event ended. And, I’ll bet they were great questions. Steven gets everyone thinking about this stuff, but the event ends when it seems like people are ready for hours of roundtable discussion.  Luckily, part of that discussion is continuing today. Thanks again. Edited to add platforms Thanks @panterosa:disqus

      1. panterosa,

        Don’t forget platforms after diversity. 311 was the example of that.Yes the group was just getting bubbling when it ended. Which leads to some of the bete noir I hear around AVC about platforms needing to be less broadcast oriented and more engagement oriented.Considering there was likely a high signal and low noise crowd there it’s a pity it ended early. But I agree it continues here.

  5. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Empowering the disenfranchised – the elephant in the room.

  6. JimHirshfield

    Awesome attendee list. Wish I could spare 6.5 hours to watch. A highlight reel would be ideal.

    1. John Revay

      Yes 6.5 hrs is a long span, hopefully Fred will blog on this later in the week summarizing key take always.edited to fix typos

    2. fredwilson

      we will produce an edited video of the event

  7. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    Network friendly “Freedom to Innovate” within the realms of IP-law …That sounds really really interesting. Await the audio release.BTW, is there going to be a under developed/developing nation perspective salt mixed in the recipe?

  8. kidmercury

    this is a great idea, i’m looking forward to listening in. here are my thoughts on what is broken. this is what i believe networks must find a way to solve:1. 9/11 being an inside job. the most important one and the one least likely to get discussed. 9/11 is so important because it provides the moral authority for civil disobedience and a non-violent revolution. once a small group of people understand it is morally righteous to engage in civil disobedience and non-violent revolution, they can begin to use internet networks accordingly. 2. even if one is totally committed to being a scaredy cat and ignoring the moral imperative for non-violent revolution, there is also the issue that the world is completely insolvent and owes banksters an impossible sum of money. the US is $15.6 trillion in debt and counting, japan is even more ridiculous and the UK and eurozone are not far off. as any kook can tell you world government will be promoted as the “solution” to this problem. the real solution, though, is debt cancellation and a balanced budget; once you accept that getting that pushed through nation-state legislative mechanisms is virtually impossible, then the real solution becomes virtual currencies and economies. last one holding dollars gets caught footing the bill for all the wars and all the debt. nation-state policy advocacy is broken, but if you insist, legalizing competing currencies, debt cancellation, and monetary policy reform are the ways to go. 3. spectrum is not a scarce resource and the government should have as much of role in allocating it as it has a role in allocating oxygen or colors. there is a theory that societies collapse when they run out of critical natural resources OR when previously scarce resources become abundant and the need for a centralized distribution system — aka government — is thus removed. if we really want to use the internet to hack society, we need as much access to spectrum as possible, and we need to help all the other networking systems filter out interference so that spectrum frequencies can be shared instead of allocated. 4. energy. the prosperity of a society is directly correlated with its access to cheap energy. peak oil is upon us and the only solution that we have the technology and productive resources for TODAY (not something we are close to, or something that might work in a few years) is nuclear power. it’s also emission-free so folks who want to cry about that can be supportive. the power grid of tomorrow is going to be based on modular nuclear reactors all over the world that are connected to solar power systems as well as local geothermal, hydro, and wind in areas conducive to those sources of power. as we all know the internet is the awesomest thing ever but you cannot turn it on without electricity and you cannot have world-changing businesses like amazon and google without access to abundant supplies of cheap power. 5. eventually, we need to go to space. some googlers are starting a company called planetary resources which will be aimed at securing natural resources from outer space. this is a kook field day, and i could go on and on here, but the important thing is that we get the ball rolling on this discussion and educate ourselves about the secret space program so that we have a better idea of what is going on in outer space before we waltz on in. mind-blowing, out of this world (literally!) technology is attained through this route. it is the game changer, bigger than 9/11. 9/11 was an inside job,kid mercury

    1. John Revay

      conspiracy theory – I sometimes wonder

    2. Matt A. Myers

      1) I agree there’s a need to explore it, even if it’s for coming to end conclusions of how it could have prevented – and I don’t particularly mean security-wise, however that could be included in the discussion too. I am more referencing learning basic human needs and learning true conflict resolution, which involves compassion and patients – which both require understanding.2) “last one holding dollars gets caught footing the bill for all the wars and all the debt.”Worrisome that the alternate to that is perpetuated war (which we have now), which no adult wants.3) I disagree. We don’t know enough about energy and the biological effects it has on us. Energy affects our body. The more we pump out even the subtlest of energy, the more pressure we potentially put on biological mechanisms – or even basic fundamental low-level functioning. We just don’t know fully, however there is enough knowledge to warrant concern and caution.Energy != Same as oxygen and colour; Oxygen being a molecule, and colours is something our mind interprets.Also, “societies collapse when they run out of critical natural resources” – we’ll be getting minerals et al from asteroids soon!4) Disagree on nuclear power. It’s going to move to de-centralized hydrogen fuel cell technology. There’s no point in putting billions or trillions into nuclear, when we can just wait 15-20 years for units to be cheaply available for powering houses or smaller.In developing countries this should also take flight, like things with how cellphones have helped development and their economy – because of things like sharing a phone for communication – sharing of power sources or say charging your mobile devices or other will also be shared.5) Sometimes I kind of wonder if I should aim to become Prime Minister – so if any secret knowledge exists like this then hopefully I’d be privy to it. 😉

      1. kidmercury

        hydrogen is an energy carrier (like electricity), not an energy source. you still need something as the source. 

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Hm. You’re confusing me?Are you suggesting you still need the resource to access hydrogen from? 

          1. kidmercury

            hydrogen is a form of storage, like a battery. here’s an article with visuals that may help communicate:http://www.oilempire.us/hyd… 

          2. Matt A. Myers

            Right, and is used when needed and transformed into energy.I’m confused now to as where I may have insinuated it otherwise? Does mentioning “hydrogen fuel cell” improperly describe the process or what I meant?Also, IBM’s working on something pretty awesome:http://www.ibm.com/smarterp…Scroll down a bit for a diagram.Just uses a reaction with air/oxygen to convert into electricity. 🙂

          3. kidmercury

            hydrogen cooperates/competes with electricity as form of energy storage/transportation. just like you need to use solar, geothermal, wind, hydro, and nuclear to create electricity, you also need to use them to create hydrogen if you wish. so hydrogen does not remove the need for nuclear, if anything it requires nuclear in much the way that electricity does. the real question is whether hydrogen is a better form of transporting energy than electricity — if we should be transporting solar/nuclear/etc energy via hydrogen or electricity. from the data i’ve seen i find electricity to be far superior as it is much cheaper and already widely used. 

          4. Matt A. Myers

            Electricity being cheaper including the transportation costs (and I won’t take into account the energy pollution and waste on transit lines)?You can use a small local solar or wind electricity generator to initiate the production of hydrogen/energy – assuming using hydrogen.Though IBM’s “Air Battery” that uses oxygen/air is a bigger game changer, as air/oxygen is everywhere already (hopefully..).

    3. fredwilson

      you are right that we are unlikely to tread into 9/11 conspiracy theory today but the other topics are very much front and center in our minds

      1. kidmercury

        oh so you guys are going to talk about the secret space program? cool looking fwd to it…..would love to hear jeff jarvis’ take on that hahahhahaa

        1. Mark Essel


    4. Tom Labus

      What’s the hidden space program?Please enlighten so I can add that to my list worry about.

      1. kidmercury

        http://www.secretspaceprogr…it’s not necessarily something to worry about, as there is plenty of good news. but the basic story is that there are two NASAs, the meaningless one that hasn’t done anything significant in decades and the secret one that uses technology far beyond space shuttles — namely teleportation — and is basically a breakaway civilization. there is lots of ominous stuff here, and some stuff so far out it is hard to imagine (keyword: aliens), but i like to focus on the technology since people generally don’t talk about bad news unless they absolutely have to. 

    5. sigmaalgebra

      Mostly the asteroids (closer than Pluto) are in a belt between Mars and Jupiter, but the Google, etc. team is not going for those.  Instead they are going for some ‘near earth’ asteroids that share or cross the orbit of earth.  Their main point is that one good asteroid could double the supply of platinum and related metals. They are also thinking of being a supply of water in orbit; that is, a space station can get a drink of water without lifting it from earth. Maybe.If we can get some really strong rope, then we can have a ‘space elevator’ that can get water, and nearly anything, into earth orbit cheaply and, thus, cut the value of water from asteroids.I don’t see that wind and solar will ever be useful for the electric power grid or any of the usual uses for electric power because we would need storage for the energy generated; even if the wind and solar power were for free, the storage cost is so high that the total cost is too high compared with nukes, coal, and, now, natural gas.Might use wind/solar to purify water or use solar to grow engineered cyanobacteria to emit Diesel oil, etc.I don’t see ‘peak oil’ as very serious: First, the US has access to Canadian tar sands, and they are easy to exploit and enormous. Second, the oil fields in Iran, elsewhere around and UNDER the Persian Gulf and in Russia have not really been developed well. Third, there are many more places in the world left to drill for oil. Fourth, the US is awash in coal and can make gasoline from coal; the price of the old process, especially with help from nuke energy, may be not much higher than our present gasoline price. Fifth, oil and natural gas from shale, via fracking or other means, both in the US and elsewhere in the world, has only started. Sixth, in the US, we’ve worked hard to stop drilling in many promising locations and can start drilling.

      1. kidmercury

        you know there is a theory that extraterretrials came to planet earth because they were running out of natural resources. human beings were created as a slave species to mine earth for them. as an individual who gives that viewpoint some credibility, i think history is just repeating and we will go to outer space for the same reason. but i’m a bit skeptical that the economics of this is going to work at the current time. there is a company called nautilus minerals (disclosure: i’m a passionate shareholder) that is mining the ocean floor for critical minerals, mainly gold and copper. these guys face a huge challenge and i’m not sure they will make it, but space seems almost impossible. the cost of getting there and back will be enormous (mining equipment has to go to) not to mention there are no power plants up there (or at least that is what most would expect!). 

        1. sigmaalgebra

          My guess is that you are correct about “outer space” — the cost is too high. My first-cut guess is, that with anything like current physics, the idea of ‘mining’ a planet in another solar system is totally absurd, for us or ET. We’re talking 4 light years to the nearest star. Quickly get absurd results such as needing rocket fuel with mass the earth, etc.But saying that the Google, etc. team is going to ‘outer space’ is not really fair:  Basically they are staying just in the orbit of the earth around the sun. E.g., they are only going for “near earth” asteroids.To say more about the basic space travel costs, would have to have some calculations about orbits and energy. Such calculations have been highly refined by the space programs for 50 years. I have to believe that the Google, etc. team has at least first-cut calculations showing that the space travel involved is not absurdly expensive. Recall the extensive space engineering-economic calculations by Princeton prof Gerard O’Neill (February 6, 1927 — April 27, 1992).

          1. kidmercury

            sure, that sounds good. it’s a step in the direction of outer space. get a base on some asteroid, then hop over to the moon, mars, etc. 

          2. sigmaalgebra

            I suspect much less than that:  Maybe just have a rocket robot attach to an asteroid and give it a small push to move it to orbit around the earth and next to an occupied space station.  There somehow grab the water and get the rocks to the surface.I doubt they have any plans to go to Mars. There’s no great reason to believe that mining platinum would be easier on Mars than on earth.Maybe the theory is that the asteroids have a lot of platinum group metals but when they hit the earth 5 billion years ago mostly sank to the core along with the iron and nickel.Generally a moon base could make going to Mars, etc. much easier, but a real moon base would, without a space elevator, be expensive.Before I’d go to Mars, I’d want a long list of successful robot and then monkey occupied craft going to Mars and back successfully and wouldn’t leave until Mars was stocked with a huge supply of proven, reliable systems to keep me alive and happy and get me home safely.The radiation shielding alone will be a HUGE biggie and basically needs MASS. Again, for all the mass involved, would want a space elevator (i.e., a very strong rope) and a moon base.Sending humans to Mars is something for politicians to talk about but do next to nothing about. That’s not the only subject politicians do that with.

          3. kidmercury

            @sigmaalgebra i’m not sure i follow….you mean push the asteroid down to earth?

        2. sigmaalgebra

          > i’m not sure i follow….you mean push the asteroid down to earth?Partly I’m extrapolating from the announcements so far, but what I meant was to push the asteroid toward an orbit around the earth near a space station, extract the water, and then somehow get the rocks down to the surface of earth.

      2. kidmercury

        i didnt notice your peak oil beef before; that is a subject i am increasingly fond of so i am eager to respond. first, my all-time favorite link on peak oil and how to solve it: 321energy.com/editorials/en…1. canadian tar sands: run the math on how much you get out of it, how long it will take to get into production, and, most importantly, the net energy (how much oil you get out minus the oil you used to extract). the numbers are not good. 2. yes, maybe there is some massive find that we haven’t made yet. who knows, right? we do know that crude production has plateaued since 2005. http://gregor.us/oil/global… 3. coal? you mean the dirtiest source of energy ever? also, chinese geologists predict peak coal comes by 2035 (i do think coal is a worthwhile investment because of supply/demand imbalance). EPA mandates in the US are also going to hit the coal industry. nuclear is the ticket, though.4. bakken shale fields? gotta run the numbers — they are disappointing. net energy on oil drilling has been in sharp decline for decades now; back in the 30s it would take 1 barrel of oil to get 100; now 1 one barrel gets you less than 8. here’s a chart that’s worth considering: http://media.chrismartenson…5. ANWR and all the other places are unconventional for a reason — because they are sub-optimal in terms of net energy. they will also take years to get into production. peak oil is here; nuclear is the solution. peak copper and lots of other peaks are also quickly on their way — peak fresh water being the most ominous — but fear not! once we make the transition to atomic energy, the cost of energy does down significantly and many resources that are currently not viable to extract from a net energy perspective become viable. it is not that hte world has run out of stuff, rather we simply need to reduce the cost of energy and increase our energy supply to access the deeper stuff.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          I agree we should get Jane Fonda OUT of US decisions about nukes, get some nuke designs we like, which I have to suspect we have long since had, and then DEPLOY them.  If we start to run out of fissionable material, then we can ‘breed’ more from ‘depleted uranium’.  Carter, in another of his efforts to feel guilty, want to be Jesus Christ II, and make a sacrifice by shooting the US in the gut, shut down our breeding facility.  We should start breeding again as soon as we need the results.Carter:  Smart, hard working, and well informed?  Yes.  Sane?  NO!!!Generally the French are a silly people, with some very pretty young women, but are making the US look stupid on nukes.We need to be more clear on the meaning of ‘peak oil’:  The usual meaning is that we’re supposed to conclude that oil is about to run out or get absurdly expensive.  I might be willing to entertain that the current level of world oil production at 90 million barrels per day or so might not increase by much, but I’m not afraid of much lower Diesel, gasoline, or heating oil supplies or much higher prices soon.Why?  In part because we have a deal with the Saudis:  We give them military security, and they give us and the world stable oil prices; Dick Morris claims that the price of oil in gold remains constant.On new, big oil finds, I don’t expect another Saudi Arabia, Iraq, or Canadian oil sands, but Russia is a big place so far poorly developed, likely even poorly explored, supposedly much the same for the Caspian Sea; exploration just started in Burma (or whatever they call it now); Africa is a big place likely so far poorly explored; the South China Sea is getting drilled; etc.  Norway keeps finding one more nice field in the North Sea.  The US has yet to drill off the outer continental shelf.  Apparently there can be more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.  Supposedly a lot of US lands held by the Feds have not yet been exploited.For the cost in energy to extract oil, I’m reluctant to believe that for the Canadian oil sands:  They use big shovels, scoop up the sand, oil, and whatever else, add hot water, let the oil goo float to the surface, then crack the goo into crude for a pipeline.  Not super complicated or super expensive.For shale oil, there’s a lot of activity, but I have no detailed cost figures.  However, the level of activity implies to me that shale with, say, fracking, yields much more energy than it consumes.For coal, my understanding is that the US remains just awash in coal with, say, much of the state of Utah with a seam 20-40 feet thick not far underground.  One reason Japan invaded Manchuria was for its coal deposits; tough to believe that much has been done to those deposits since Japan invaded; I mean, China has been busy with their little red books dreaming of their worker’s paradise and just recently started to get serious about industrialization.That coal is “dirty” I don’t care even a weak little hollow hoot about.  For the EPA’s continuing to attack the US energy industry, the US economy, and the US and please North Korea, Iran, the old KGB, etc., I have to believe that that’s going to come to a sudden, hard stop in January.The history of oil has always been that the world is about to run out, yet somehow we still don’t.  My guess is that, as for the past 100 years, the people talking about how much oil and coal there is still in the ground don’t know and those who know don’t talk.For water, I have no concerns at all:  Much of the US has really nice rainfall and really good supplies of water easy enough to make into very good drinking water.  Some tropical areas are flooded with water with much more than they can hope to use.  Then there are deserts:  Mostly people shouldn’t try to live in deserts!  In some cases it can be okay to live in a desert and get fresh water via reverse osmosis; of course, a lot of energy is needed, but then you did mention nukes.  Of course, many deserts have a lot of sunlight that could be used for making fresh water, maybe even enough for greenhouses. 

    6. Prokofy

       Ah! I see now why this crackpot theory has gotten the legs it has and what forces may be driving it. You think that if you can prove 9/11 was an inside job, why, you’ll have the moral authority for “civil disobedience and a non-violent revolution”. Well, why not just go with your friends at OWS and have a not-so-civil and not-especially-peaceful urban camp-out and disruption of traffic over economic issues from a Marxist perspective? That may do for now, until you can prove 9/11 was done by our own people.

      1. kidmercury

        ah, my good friend prokofy….so good to hear from you. first i would like to invite you once more to call the top in gold, as you’ve done numerous times in the past. you have the added benefit of the market having retraced sharply since $1920 so more are in agreement with you. please take the bait and call the top. please do not associate me with the occupy crowd, it only reflects how little you know about what i espouse versus what occupy stands for. kook and truther are the only labels i assume. as for my favorite subject, 9/11, a subject which i’ve forgotten more about than you have ever learned — literally, i’m not exaggerating with that statement — let me first remind you that there has NEVER been a criminal investigation into 9/11, and FBI chief of investigative publicity, rex tomb, stated that bin laden was not on the FBI most wanted list for 9/11 when he was reported to be alive because the FBI had no hard evidence against bin laden for those crimes. because of this, why don’t you stop mindlessly believing your religion of government worship and present a thesis with supporting evidence? unless you don’t have any……or unless you’re scared……now, any serious investigation of 9/11 observes a few things:past and future — the context of the event. prior to 9/11, we had the PNAC documents, operation northwood, NORAD air games. i’m sure you’re completely unfamiliar with these topics so you’ll need to educate yourself before we can have a conversation. after 9/11, we’ve had non-stop wars, patriot act, homeland security, TSA, FBI agent sibel edmonds coming out on 9/11, able danger files being destroyed, FBI agent colleen rowley saying the investigation was thwarted……and so much more. but i know nothing i say can persuade the willfully ignorant. so believe what you will, we all learn in our own way. 

  9. jason wright

    “hack”, “hacker”, “hacking” – I’m beginning to lose my fix on the meaning and usage of these words. They appear everywhere, all the time, but after the millionth ‘photocopy’  usage…. The title of this post is ‘Hacking Society’. What would be a synonym for ‘Hacking’ in the context of the intended meaning here? I need a fix.  

    1. kidmercury

      informal fixing, makeshift fixing. you ever see the tv show macgyver? macgyver was a hacker.  

      1. jason wright

         Thanks. I stopped watching television 13 months ago. I’d not seen the show.

        1. kidmercury

          macgyver was on over 20 years ago! i support your non-tv stance though. i recently bought a tv, but it is only for hooking up my computer to when i watch movies on amazon. 

          1. jason wright

            Television is closed, a walled garden.

          2. LE

             i recently bought a tv, but it is only for hooking up my computerYou sound apologetic. There is value (and entertainment) from many things on TV. 

          3. kidmercury

            definitely apologetic…..tv stations and the whole tv networks are obsolete. propaganda systems, tightly controlled…..i won’t get cable for political reasons. i can watch most of the sports i want to watch via internet, and when i’m not able to, i’d probably want to go to a friend’s place or a bar/restaurant and watch there anyway. 

          4. LE

            “propaganda systems, tightly controlled”Isn’t AVC.com the same thing?  Or Hacker News? Or any blog? (In varying degrees of course.) The fact that people can post comments and their thoughts doesn’t take away from the fact that everybody pushes a particular agenda. You think if Paul Graham tells people to go for ambitious ideas that’s not propaganda and self serving to his agenda?  (Which, as I’ve stated in the past, I don’t have any problem with that.)http://paulgraham.com/ambit…Try making a post on HN and going against the groupthink which is shaped by the propaganda. The group will not be happy.”….i won’t get cable for political reasons.”What are  those reasons?

          5. kidmercury

            AVC is not the internet. i don’t like TV for the same reason i don’t like the DNS monopoly government has; it’s too much power consolidation. on the internet i get to choose from billions of web pages. on TV i get to choose from hundreds of channels. orders of magnitude in difference. 6 major companies own almost all the non-internet media you see. the internet is one thing they have trouble controlling. as a kook, i am obligated to include a link to operation mockingbird in this discussion. https://www.google.com/sear…

          6. raycote

            The difference between propaganda and education is whether or not it reflects my point of view.;-)

          7. LE

            AVC is not the internet. i don’t like TV for the same reason i don’t like the DNS monopoly government has; it’s too much power consolidation. on the internet i get to choose from billions of web pages.Fair point, but this utopia you speak of doesn’t really exist. Most people, the masses that are to be manipulated, don’t choose what they read it chooses them. Although I can choose or not to be a member of this community, in the end I’m going to be influenced by what is written here (I’ve found myself becoming nicer reading avc) in which the agenda and tempo is set by Fred even if the idea might be put in his head by a reader.  What is your discovery mode for finding out what to enjoy or read? You’re not doing it randomly you are turned on to things by something else that you read. From what you have determined is a trusted source. I did read the link you provided (kook stuff). Guess what? I think that is definitely possible and makes sense. I’ve long thought that all those journalists in war zones had to have some government spy ties. Same as many diplomats are spys.  I don’t need evidence. It just makes sense that that would be a great way to get people behind enemy lines and gather intel. So it must be happening.I think there are plenty of ways to influence media either traditional or internet. If I was part of a government spy operation I can see forming a seemingly legit company, making it a success (launder some money), gain some fame at which point the media would listen to the success (like they listen to Peter Thiel etc.) and then it could drive it’s agenda.  Come out of nowhere successes are nothing new on the Internet and traditional media loves a overnight success story.  They listen and broadcast the ideas  of people with money.  And so do bloggers.But I do understand your points about the magnitude difference.

      2. Matt A. Myers

        Oh the explosions he could create with nothing more than a paper clip and rubber band..

      3. LE

         MacGyver was  a 80’s hip version of “The Professor” in Gilligan’s Island.They needed to have a “professor” rather than a MacGyver on that show.Would have been to much sexual tension with Ginger for a sitcom in the 60’s.

    2. fredwilson

      fix is the translation. the word you ended your comment with.

      1. jason wright

        Fix Society?…as in engineer it?

        1. fredwilson

          not engineer it

    3. raycote

      Check out this thought provoking global framing of the issue post by VENKAT over at ribbonfarm.com”Hacking the Non-Disposable Planet”I’ve concluded that we’re reaching a technological complexity threshold where hacking is going to be the main mechanism for the further evolution of civilization. Hacking is part of a future that’s neither the exponentially improving AI future envisioned by Singularity types, nor the entropic collapse envisioned by the Collapsonomics types. It is part of a marginally stable future where the upward lift of diminishing-magnitude technological improvements and hacks just balances the downward pull of entropic gravity, resulting in an indefinite plateauhttp://bit.ly/JnVmlj

      1. sigmaalgebra

        ‘Hacking’ is severely limited by its basic ‘methodology’ which is just some intuitive or heuristic approaches built on some simple, classic algorithms.  So, hacking can program some of what we already know how to do manually and otherwise struggles terribly.So, for much more exploitation of computing and networks, we need methodology prior to the software more powerful than the intuitive and heuristic approaches of hacking.



        1. raycote

          Yes the post definitely invokes an immediate desire to repudiate its somewhat nihilistic premiss.My personal resistance comes in the form of repudiating the idea that any technological/social system is non-deposable(too may complex far reaching interdependencies). With or without cataclysmic consequences every thing/process is disposable.As one commentator points out:Almost everything can be thought of its own system, made up of sub-systems, and acting as part of larger systems. All systems at all layers have life-cycles, they are all ultimately disposable, though some die only at rates too slow to matter to most of us.And secondly, I assume that at some point in time we will see the emergence of standardized APIs enabling the recombinant usage of many digital data and processing objects/services.As digital data and processes evolve towards a more cellular-like organic decoupling new complex-system optimization techniques could potentially fashion some sort of round-robbin, successive-approximation, localized-adaptive-incremental-changes across networks of sub-system services that collectively over time continually inch their way, via chain reactive mutually-adaptation protocols, toward refreshing the overall homeostatic fitness of our more global social/technological systems ?Ok that’s kind of clumsy. So I’m probably talking to myself at this point. But that is best verbalization a can muster at this point.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


  10. panterosa,

    This looks fantastic! – I’ll have it as my ‘code music’ as FG says, for the day while I design. I saw Steven Johnson last night and I wish I had had time to have my question answered. The question was regarding Emergence, his book on self organizing systems and gaming, the function it plays now for kids in bringing them into a richer playspace as he described :  At what age do you think you can teach self-emergence and complexity theory to children?Luckily my daughter, PantherKitty, is 10 and already gets Emergence explained over lunch on the beach, as well as AVC topics discussed. It seems Steven’s kids are same age as her and below, so I was curious as to his personal experience plus opinion.Hopefully, the Hacking Society will examine, with Steven, the self-awareness of the networks of the most simple rules each network is using in the context their own emerging and self organizing systems. It takes three rules to fly a flock of birds without a leader. What does each topic’s irreducible components share with other groups? What is successful, and how do they  build that complexity into their interconnected agendas and engagement? Which things are the not aware of/not leveraging and are those the things which will ignite the group to exponential growth?

    1. fredwilson

      i wish steven could have taken more questions last night. did you enjoy his talk?

      1. panterosa,

        I did enjoy it, but was hungry for more. Steven is so up in ALL my spaces of interest, and especially how those spaces intersect, that I wanted to spend an hour afterwards on the intersection of some points he raised plus the points he just brushed over. My brain is wired the way he says networks should be, and I am designing a learning system right now trying to blend and distill all that. #renaissancethinking

  11. Luke Chamberlin

    I’m a little disappointed that @kidmercury:disqus isn’t on the list of attendees. How can you talk about hacking society without him!

    1. fredwilson

      good point. i will try to channel the kid in my words today

      1. jason wright

         I’d pay to hear that translation.

        1. Otis Funkmeyer

          me too

    2. JimHirshfield

      And no @fakegrimlock:disqus …what a shame, what a shame. 



        1. JimHirshfield

          But you always have time to eat a politician, yes?

  12. William Mougayar

    USV- You have a great rolodex.What’s really amazing is that you chose to make this event public and open to all for listening. Other firms may have guarded this type of event as a competitive advantage and kept it behind closed doors.My only suggestion is to keep a global perspective alive during your brainstorms and discussions. Although the US is the greatest source of ideas and innovations, almost everything is interrelated and reflected beyond its borders.

    1. fredwilson

      i will make sure to be thinking globally today. great advice

  13. falicon

    I don’t believe you can hack society because ‘society’ is too broad a topic…with a lot of dedicated effort, I think you can evolve society into something else, hopefully better. But I think like evolution itself, it’s really only done over long periods of time and through specific, small changes…

    1. awaldstein

      Not sure….I think that how change happens today is different, more accelerated, than society changes I’ve lived through previously.Networks can be both the platform and the cause of the change. Both the medium and message if you will. There was always will, always culture that bubbled up slowly. Now that there are platforms, mechanics of networks that can be directed with intention. How you distribute and made access available is indeed open to hacking, open to turning change up a notch.

      1. panterosa,

        What you are talking about in networks changing is in genetics called Lamarckian change – the giraffe’s neck grows with the tree’s growing height. Until it reaches a certain limit. It is it’s DNA changing over a single life span. We of course live like cats now with 9 lives per year. No wonder we are so ADD!

        1. awaldstein

          Am amazing comment. I’ll use Lamarckian I’m sure.

          1. panterosa,

            Use it! Inheritance of acquired characteristics. Also, disused organs fall away, and hence express less.Lamarck fell out of favor but is experiencing a resurgence with epigenetics.Or, if you really want to nerd out then go to phenotype:   genotype + environment > phenotype

        2. Dale Allyn

          Ooh, dredging up my distant past (dressed in cobwebs). Brilliant! Perhaps I should put some zebrafish under the microscope tonight. 😉

      2. falicon

        I think the networks enable change and movements for sure…I just don’t think there’s such a thing as being able to ‘hack society’…first, to me, this is the general idea of a hack:1. You have a problem.2. You have a set of skills and material (that were not designed or learned for the sake of solving the current problem you’ve identified).3. You use the stuff in #2 to sort of fix the stuff in #1 in a quick and simple way….so I don’t know that there is a specific #1 that can be identified with society (there are def. many specific things you can identify within society, but society as a whole doesn’t really have anything that fits nicely across #1 and #2 to be able to enable #3 to happen).I would also argue that without #1 and without putting #3 into action, you can’t have a hack…which to me means, until the moment of action, you don’t really know it’s a hack and can’t identify it as one until such time…until then, you are shaping or defining a movement…you are dreaming of evolving something into something new/better/different…but you aren’t actually hacking anything.Of course that’s just my definition of these things…

        1. awaldstein

          It’s a pleasure to disagree with you.It’s not an argument with your logic, just a different point of view.Society to me is a structure on top of culture on top of community and individual behavior. Government. IP laws. Structures that have been empowered by a culture.I think that we hack society that is no longer as relevant by innovation and creating new structures that change it. Marketplaces change commerce. Kickstarter will change the idea of funding and likewise ownership and control. And communities of interest will shift the power of public opinion.I think of hacking society as changing the code of culture. Writing this comment feels like an action that can help make that happen.

          1. falicon

            I will concede that your last paragraph is probably what Fred means/intends by the label ‘Hacking Society’…but I still call it a movement or a process of evolution…not a hack ;-)Fleeing to Canada to avoid the US draft is a hacking society…ending the war or the US draft is a deliberate decision and movement.overall I think we agree on the intent…and probably even the basics of the path to achieve…just not the terminology we are using along the way 😉

          2. awaldstein

            I concede a friendly standoff and offer a glass of wine sometime as a peacemaking effort;)Ping me sometimes when you are in the city.

          3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          4. awaldstein


          5. William Mougayar


    2. ShanaC

      No, you can. What do you think the anti-bully stuff in a number of areas are for all intents and purposes?A society hack until society changes….

      1. falicon

        I don’t know…to me a hack is a quick work around, generally that flies directly in the face of the status quo…The anti-bully stuff somewhat falls into that category, but I question if/how well it’s working (to me, part of the definition of a hack, is that it actually works)…and I would say that it’s more a movement or the start of an evolution rather than a hack (ie. it’s going to take dedicated effort over time to be effective).I would also argue that only a small group (or even just an individual), generally with little to no power (otherwise they would just use the power to make the change), can actually ‘hack’ something…because they have a need to fill that the status quo isn’t currently supporting…they see a way to ‘break the current rules’ to get what they want done…and so they just do it. They don’t really talk about doing it, they don’t try to define it before they do it, somehow, someway, they just make it work…to me, that’s a hack.Guess it’s just semantics I’m arguing here…but to me, the conversation that is going on is not about hacking something, it’s about evolving and shaping something…and I think that’s a really important distinction to go in with.



      1. falicon

        Good point. I would accept that as a valid hack of society. 🙂

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


  14. Anne Libby

    This is great — a pop-up think tank!  At some point down the road, could you share some of your “how” for a discussion like this one?  It would be great to hear how you make this workable and actionable.Thanks.

    1. fredwilson

      “pop-up think tank”that describes USV Sessions better than anything i’ve ever heard. thanks!!



        1. William Mougayar

          Instatank. Get the domain. LE will help u. Worst case, some oil or car company will buy it from you.

    2. William Mougayar

      I agree. I’d like to see how they moderate/manage the process during the day, how they record items, group dynamics, etc…

      1. Anne Libby

        Exactly. I can think of a couple of topics I’d love to focus on in this way. Awesome.

      2. panterosa,

        I recently saw a few Insight Lab things which were similar. Wish more like that happened, and you could tweet in questions.

  15. laurie kalmanson

    a small dedicated group will always out maneuver the large unorganized masses: the logic of collective actionit’s how lobbyists get laws written that benefit the people who write their checks at the expense of everyone elsethe organizing tools the web offers — built and yet to be built — are changing that math.

  16. Tom Labus

    Someone from the Bloomberg admin would have been a good addition.Lots going on with the city being a tech hub.

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve spent enough time with that crew in the past week!

  17. bsoist

    I might just have to cancel some of my meetings today – or put on some headphones. I’m sure this will be more informative. 🙂 

  18. baba12

    Would Mr.Wilson like to engage the participants to discuss how technology and this concept of networks has eluded the lowest rung of society in every continent. It is one thing to talk of how social media may have played a small iota of a role in the Arab Spring.But by and large the network effect has helped only those who are in the know and access to that knowledge although available with less friction is still a premium product.Also looking back in time, until the Europeans were able to independently find ways to resources and goods from the east, they dealt with the Arabs for centuries as middle men.Fast forward to 21st century and you find that the biggest companies on the internet are middlemen companies like Google, Facebook, ebay etc.These companies themselves don’t produce anything but they make money on the transactions/interactions that others have through them. Is that a innovation or is it just the same old stuff just with newer engines and skin slapped on it.Will Mr.Wilson ask the panel how they see this evolve to be better for society at large or is it more about how it can be better for the “chosen” few.

  19. kirklove

    This is so great. Glad we get to be a fly on the wall. And props for including Yancy. Kickstarter is changing so many things across so many platforms. Good to see that embraced and given the same attention as US Representatives and Academia. 

    1. fredwilson

      i am also excited that Alexis Ohanian, a founder of Reddit, will be there we need doers as well as thinkers in these things

      1. panterosa,

        I’m a fan of his. Would have been fun to have Grimlock.

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

          WHO SAY THEM DIDN’T?

          1. panterosa,

            I listened most of the web cast but heard no crunching. Neither burp after. But what do I know.

      2. kirklove

        I want to say plus one for your doers comment but damn Google has taken the fun out of that expression. Very cool. And cool Steven is on there, too. What a mind he has. Jealous.

      3. ShanaC

        I think bringing in the guys who were part of Electronic Disturbance Theater would be way more interesting. They build the first version of Anonymous’s LOIC as part of protests about Zapastista.Or even the original founders of Housing Works – they were part of the ACT UP protests in NY (if you want to go mild)

  20. DanielHorowitz

    Remarkable group of people. Looking forward. #changetheworld

  21. Dan Epstein

    Great group and topics. I’ll look forward to the highlight reel. I’d also read a transcript or minutes if that’s made available.Out of curiosity, is anyone leading the discussion (like a moderator)?

  22. JimHirshfield

    Fred – This event will surely trigger material for a month’s worth of great blog posts. Take good notes. 😉

  23. AVCReader

    So you guys are going to meet and have a giant collective orgasm telling each other how great and cleaver you are?

    1. Cam MacRae

      Nice hatchet job. (Geddit?)

    2. LE

      Have you ever watched some DVD’s where the crew of a particular movie spends time blowing smoke up the ass of everybody involved in the project? You know the cinematographer talks about how unique and one of a kind the director is, and the director talks about the screenwriter being the best he’s ever worked with on and on? There’s a reason for that. The smoke makes people feel good, releases endorphins,  aids in creativity and gives a special energy. All without drugs and  side effects. It’s an orgasm with no mess to clean up.What’s there not to like?

    3. fredwilson

      something like that

  24. John Best

    This seems like a great way to use today whilst laid up with a stomach bug.

    1. ShanaC

      drink fluids?

      1. John Best

        Sounds like a good plan, my body disagrees. 🙁

  25. ShanaC

    The panel really doesn’t impress me as much as it should. :(When I think of hacking society, I think of Gran Fury, or mid 90s internet art/acitivst/punk groups. A lot of their texts are around, and what they once promoted as radical are now mainstream ideas about how society works.Where are the revolutionaries? Where is the guy that started the tent camps at occupy wall street? Where are the people who changed the way we talk to our doctors? Where are those activisit nun shareholders who promote ethics in investing? Where is the Enron whistleblower? And although I like reddit as much as anyone, where are the actual redditors who organized most of the stop SOPA protests online?To me, these are people who really take the time to hack society. They changed who we are, our worldview.

    1. kidmercury

      brutal diss, but i tend to agree. on the flip side, since this crowd is a bit more homogenous, it will be less exposed at being too fragmented and focused on networks. also, the cyberpunks and others can always tweet or comment or whatever. 



      1. kidmercury


  26. William Mougayar

    Is anyone able to get the audio on an iPhone? I can’t see it on mine

    1. kidmercury

      try going to this URL: http://www.usv.com:8000/live

      1. William Mougayar

        Thanks Kid. It worked after. It hadn’t started & there was no way to tell

        1. Gary Chou

          For some reason, it takes a much longer time to buffer on the iPhone vs on a computer.

          1. William Mougayar

            It was pretty good actually once it got started. I listened to about 2/3 of the program live. Will there be a transcript anyways, or even a rehash of the key soundbites?

          2. Gary Chou

            We’ve got a bit of production work to mix down the audio feeds (we had a team of two sound engineers monitoring the 6 channels each) and we hope to release a transcript and the full feed of audio and video soon.  When we’re ready to go, we’ll blog about it and tweet something from @usv.

          3. William Mougayar

            That sounds great. Thanks.

  27. LE

    Discuss how the economics of networks might help solve challenging social and economic problems.A great way to compete with cheap overseas labor. If you can organize people to work for nothing (which is actually easier than getting people to work for a low wage [1]) you can solve many problems.  [1] People will give their time to a charity at no cost, and a lawyer will handle a case pro-bono before they will charge a low rate of $75 per hour for the same work.  If the wage isn’t appropriate for the work people would rather get nothing and either a) feel good that they’ve helped or b) gain reciprocity tradable for some future return by the other party.

    1. Cam MacRae

      Shadow work e.g. have people pump their own gas, check out and bag their own groceries etc., and other self-service services is a great example of this, although it’s probably not along the line of thought you were pursuing.

      1. LE

         Good examples and similar. Schools are doing this as well pushing off many things that they used to provide to the parents. This includes classroom supplies (physical) as well parents taking on educational activities previously done by the teachers. 

  28. John @ Touch Screen Displays

    Ok, lets see… Taking advantage of the billionaire capability of Google, apparently they have decided, the world isn’t enough to corner the market on… Lets go to space they said…http://www.searchenginejour…Discuss!

  29. Dave Pinsen

    The live audio stream doesn’t seem to work for Firefox. Will check out the recording. Sounds like it’s going to be an interesting conversation among an impressive list of attendees. 

    1. Gary Chou

      Try listening on Chrome.

  30. sigmaalgebra

    * Discuss how the economics of networks might help solve challenging social and economic problems.Response:Generally so far the best way to “solve challenging social and economic problems” is to have a strong, stable economy, have strong families, emphasize Judao-Christian ethics, honor the US Constitution, have government protect people, property, and the country, and have government do no harm.For the Internet, at a low level directly relevant to society, the Internet provides information.  That information is the same as what separates humans from, say, my kitty cat who, as smart as he is, can’t read and is the same as what enabled the long march of civilization over the past 100,000 years or so of human history.  So, such information is very important.In the past, much of our information has been via old media where McLuhan’s “The medium is the message” has severely filtered, distorted, degraded, throttled, and corrupted the information.  From this absurdly low quality and destructive content of old media, the US and world civilization is sailing blind through dangerous waters; thus old media is the worst problem facing civilization.On the Internet, due to the basic freedom of the Internet, much better information is available now with likely much better to come.At one time I subscribed to 22 periodicals on paper, haven’t had a printed newspaper or magazine in years, recently cut off TV, and so far am glad I did.  An Andy Hardy movie in the 1930s was laughing at newspapers, and they seem to be the same now.  I learned about solid information in math, physics, engineering, and software in college, graduate school, and my career, and old media is at best laughable and often really destructive.  Old media:  RIP.A key core to solutions of “challenging social and economic problems” is better information, and the key to that now is the freedom of the Internet.For “networks” beyond the Internet, say, social networks, those are still in flux without clear understanding of what people want or how to provide it.* Examine how incumbents use their influence over the current policy process to stave off competition from networks.Response:The “incumbents” try, but there is a new rule.  The old rule was, never get into an argument with someone who buys ink by the barrel.  The new rule is never do that with a community of 100+ million in the US and 1+ billion in the world who communicate freely at 1+ trillion bits per second.The MPAA/RIAA incumbents tried to use “the current policy process to stave off competition from networks” but “backed into an Internet buzz saw”, that is, discovered the new rule.* Define a proactive, network-friendly “Freedom to Innovate” policy agenda.Response:Here’s the situation:  My computer connects to my Internet service provider (ISP), and my ISP connects to the Internet backbone.  I pay my ISP, and my ISP pays the backbone bandwidth providers.  What I want is a free, open, fast, reliable (DHS, FBI, CIA, NSA:  I didn’t say ‘secure’) Internet, and the people who receive my money want to please me.’Secure”?  I accept that my computer will receive essentially any bits at all from Russia, China, Nigeria, etc.  Fine.  If any such bits cause trouble on my computer, then I will scream bloody murder to Microsoft but NOT to the gumment.  For a ‘denial of service’ attack, I will scream bloody murder to my ISP who will work with backbone bandwidth providers to block the sources; again, gumment need not be involved.Gumment:  On the Internet, don’t go away angry; just go away.  If you do nothing, then you will do no harm.  If I want you to do something, then I will ask, and so far I haven’t.More generally we have in the US Constitution freedom of assembly, speech, and press.  GOOD.  We had some bright founding fathers.So, so far we have a free and open Internet.  Any attempt to change that risks encountering an Internet buzz saw.  Mess with the Internet, and the Internet will mess with you.  And any attempt to mess with the Internet risks the information getting around to millions of people in a few days.  My elected representatives have good reason to suspect that the FAX modem card in my computer works just fine, and it does!* Examine how “net native” policy advocacy works and how it can be harnessed to promote a positive agenda as well as overthrow bad policy and bad regimes.Response:”Policy” generally needs enactment and enforcement by government and courts.  For the Internet now, nearly any such ‘policy’ risks being just a source of wasteful taxes, absurd regulations, waste, fraud, abuse, shakedowns, extortion, blackmail, payoffs, kickbacks, absurd legal fights, grim facts supporting the worst in lawyer jokes, and general destructiveness.If 100+ million US Internet users really need some help from the gumment, then those users will be plenty able to ask for such help.  In the meanwhile, the best “policy” is for the gumment to f’get about the Internet.Also, gumment attempts to ‘mess with’ the Internet will face some serious technical challenges:  First, just by one more level of URL addressing, we can have several Internets with each connecting much the same set of end points.  Second, strong encryption is now readily available and can be widely used if necessary.  Third, there can be various proxy servers, etc.  Fourth, more such technical means can be invented.  The ability of the gumment to monitor, control, filter, secure, or help the Internet is meager.  Again, net, the best “policy” is for the gumment to f’get about the Internet. 

  31. jason wright

    I recognize Fred’s voice.Tech solution required for these type of audio discussions to identify each speaker when they speak.

  32. Cam MacRae

    Well, it turned out pretty great. I listened in until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any more [some time around 4am :)].It would be better next time to have someone handling the live feed subtly announce the speaker as they start talking rather than have the speaker do it themselves as it did seem to put a couple of people off their flow.p.s. I appear to have returned to normal disqus somehow – any other beta testers in the same boat?

    1. William Mougayar

      Same here Cam re:Disqus vintage.

      1. Cam MacRae

        It’s interesting that having switched back I actually find Disqus vintage easier to read as comments and threads are better differentiated. Perhaps it’s only a matter of tweaking the stylesheet.

  33. jason wright

    I listened. Got the impression that Fred’s imperative for getting something done is greater because he is welded to a mechanism forcing change (do or be flatironed), while one or two of the contributors seemed like professional talkers without a ‘do or die’ driver.

    1. William Mougayar

      I agree with your assessment. All participants were pretty eloquent. There wasn’t a dull moment during the conversations.

    2. fredwilson

      “be flatironed”you have a key to my psychescary

      1. jason wright

        f = s ____    t

  34. jason wright

    Duplicate post – ignore.

  35. jason wright

     Incumbents are renting the house on the hill and insurgents must be willing to pay a higher price.

  36. Prokofy

    In other words you will:o discuss how to collectivize society and the government moreo plan for innovation — a contradiction in termso figure out how to beat down any critics who disagree with collectivizationI worry about you, Fred.