Hacking Society Highlight Reel

Hacking Society is a discussion about how networks are transforming our economy and society, and what this means for the future of innovation, regulation, advocacy and politics.

Two weeks ago, a small group of activists, thinkers, investors and entrepreneurs gathered at Union Square Ventures in NYC to discuss this topic, joined by online listeners & tweeters from around the world.

We are still working on the full transcript, audio recording, and video clips from the event. If you would like to be notified when they are avaialble, click here and leave us your email address. We plan to keep the Hacking Society website live and there is a disqus comment stream there if you'd like to engage in the discussion with us.

In the meantime, here is a Storify "highlight reel" from Hacking Society. It gives a good sense of what was said, who said it, and where this discussion is headed.


Comments (Archived):

  1. DanielHorowitz

    Wow. Can’t wait to read this. Thanks.

  2. William Mougayar

    Very nice recap. Storify is amazing at this sort of thing.I’m sure this isn’t one of those “When all was said and done, more was said than done.”What were the action items take-aways? What priorities emerged that you later discussed with your USV partners? You obviously had some agenda. How did the session help it?One theme I heard you repeat a couple of times is the need for an “early warning system” on policy issues that the online world needs to wake-up for like SOPA/PIPA. Are you planning on helping to implement that?

    1. fredwilson

      early warning systems are one of the action itemshacking campaign finance using the internet is anotherfinding safe havens internationally is anotherall in all, we have about a half dozen things that we are working on

      1. William Mougayar

        That’s great. I think that outcome is really the meaty part.

      2. kidmercury

        international safe havens ftw!

        1. jason wright

          Safe havens – Iceland didn’t tune in (see storify map in blog post) .Probably too busy doing to listen to people saying. Must go and see.

          1. kidmercury

            i think serious investors are best off with a multiple safe havens they can rotate amongst — a common strategy for those concerned about government, but it is a bit cost-prohibitive, especially in the USA. taxes are for poor people who cannot afford the loopholes.

      3. Sander Bijlstra

        (Doubleposting here and at #hackathon to be sure..)Looking from a distance (Amsterdam, Europe) I’m excited to see what you’re doing over there. Especially the mix of high caliber people from diverse expertises.I missed a look outside the US for best practice, though it might have been discussed. One best practice you could take a page from is what is currently happening in a few places in Europe; the rise of pirate parties, and more specifically the use of http://liquidfeedback.org/ ; an open source platform that seems to have found the sweet spot between indirect and direct democracy. In this article it’s political succes (>7% of votes) and workings are described: http://www.spiegel.de/inter… A platform like that with the power of your communities can take the US by a storm say within 4 years, bypassing all traditional channels.MIght be quite possible to incorporate (part of) @lessig ideas re campaign finance into it and built a new thing on top of it. I think if you combine elements of:KickstarterLiquidfeedbackUshahidiEtsySoundcloudDiscussyou’re basically there in terms of platform, then all you need is find enough people to take the official positions (and vote in line with the platform) and work for long term.(guess you’re already working on a variation of the theme, but had to vent my thought)Phase one: a detailed opinion pollPhase two: crowd lobby focusing (existing) civil actvityPhase three: a legit stand alone partyThanks for the good works

    2. JamesHRH

      Beg to differ on storify.

      1. fredwilson

        i have mixed feelings on it. but the embed was there for the taking so i took it.

      2. William Mougayar

        It is what it is. For 5 mins of work to produce a stream like that, it does the trick, no? Is there a better alternative?

        1. JamesHRH

          no. the stream was close to useless, for me. Random.

  3. jason wright

    Isn’t the pooling (concentration) of capital a function of hierarchy, and therefore how can it be ‘successfully’ applied (injected) to a network?

    1. fredwilson

      yes, i am giving a talk this morning called #rethinkVC that addresses that

      1. jason wright

        If networks (people + information + flow) are the future of value creation (and that combination makes it an undeniable), then the traditional approach to investing pools of capital must change or there’s going to be a problem…the pools will be cut off, stagnate, and evaporate.The history of capital is coming full circle. From where it came is to where it will return, to people, atomically, and evenly distributed. A tipping point – is that what I see in the chaos of financial markets?

          1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            seems like you are making big bet on crowd funding. To me … crowd funding sounds like taking the opportunity of the current failed banking system.How crowd funding is going to be different from the currently broken banking system after a decade?

          2. JLM

            The current state of banking in America is one of the greatest impediments to economic recovery.Think of a million cars stranded on an Interstate overpass — all out of gas.Then think of a guy w/ a flask and a thimble passing out gas by the half thimble.That guy — he’s the banker.We bailed out the banks so they could screw us and they did..

          3. JamesHRH

            Balance sheet recession is so bang on – when given the opportunity to do what they were supposed to do with the money (lend) they chose to make their books look better.

          4. JLM

            Government should have required everybody who got assistance to be 85% loaned up w/ in one year.They should fully fund the SBA, increase the SBA loan guaranty to 100% for the top 25% of lenders and provide a small tax credit.Jobs would be abundant..

          5. fredwilson

            i am not really making a big bet on it. i just think we need to pay attention to it and the forces it may unleash.

          6. JLM

            .Looks like a great talk.The crowdfunding mechanism looks like a circus and should be lots of fun.Until a few investments evaporate and then the fun really begins.

          7. fredwilson

            yup. i was asked today in my #rethinkVC talk what the aggregate returns in the crowdfunding market will be. i said they will likely be negative in the aggregate. it will be a lot like going to Vegas to play the slot machines. but at least entrepreneurs will be getting the money instead of casino operators.

          8. bsoist

            Looks great. It would be great if we could listen or have a transcript after.

          9. fredwilson

            they filmed it. it was 20 minutes plus Q&A. will make a good video post soon.

          10. Ciaran

            Looks like a really interesting talk. Your figures on returns match with this report I read about this morning – http://www.geekwire.com/201…Frankly I was stunned. You would never guess, from reading most tech sites at least (I’m guessing that subscribers to FT & WSJ have known this for a while*) that the returns were so (relatively) low. It would be fascinating to read any follow-up you have from this talk, particularly going into your ‘Options’ section in more detail.*Though one would imagine that readers of the WSJ & FT are also the ones controlling the funds, which begs the question why they kept throwing good money after average.

          11. JamesHRH

            Same reason that people by lotto tickets or become addicted gamblers – they don’t care about the money or the have a deep, false belief in their ability to wildly above average (man, are there a lot of studies on how people upgrade their loan likelihood of success….)

          12. JamesHRH

            Numbers never lie.My answer to your question is to focus on being Lead Investors and to build as much value into that position as you can – USV, A16Z & Benchmark all come to mind.All the other money is dumb or dumbish.Placing option investments from a separate USV Possibilities Fund might be a good idea to – but the structure of that VC partner’s working life would be very different from being a Lead Investor.

          13. fredwilson

            i don’t want to buy options on entrepreneursi either want to be all in or not in at all

          14. JamesHRH

            the Forbes article on your talk mentioned A16Z & Sequoia (?) as barbelling it. Sounds tricky.However, PMarcA’s ‘we want to be in the 15 truly important startups that are funded each year and that’s it’ launch statement is likely well served by the barbell approach, no?

          15. fredwilson

            he left out “at any price”

          16. JamesHRH

            LOL – maybe on purpose?That makes it much much more complex, right? So many levels of valuation & other variables…..

          17. William Mougayar

            There is at least 2-3 posts material in these notes :)Is one the options also lower RRR expectations?

        1. andyswan

          Do you REALLY want to live in a world where wealth is distributed evenly regardless of production? Really????

          1. jason wright

            In a crowd funding world production is the function of more even wealth distribution, not regardless.How can democracy survive in a network society as a one person one vote distribution (1:1) with wealth at a 99:1 distribution ratio (the 1% Club)? It has to survive (and thrive), so the wealth distribution ratio must change.

          2. andyswan

            As long as the “democracy” cannot impact distribution of wealth, I see no problem with it at all. Now that we’ve put government in the wealth-distribution business, there are obviously tons of problems that result from the ratios you describe. It’s not a good thing when people can vote themselves to recieve the labor of others. Dependencies run deep. Get the government out of money and you’ll get the money out of government.

          3. kidmercury

            we’ve crossed the point of no return where there are too many people on the government payroll — either as government employees, or social security, unemployment, food stamps, medicare/medicaid, etc. the parasite (government) is bigger than the host. get ready for the black market economy to go into high gear.

          4. andyswan

            No question. I’m looking forward to some high-stakes barter.

          5. JLM

            Well if it’s only me and Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Mike Bloomberg, yes. They’ve got more than me and I want some of their dooda.Otherwise, no.Hey, I can be bought, just not cheaply.The entire notion that “wealth” — the product of after tax dollars even crosses the lips of a politician let alone the notion that it should be “redistributed” makes me want to puke.I admit I am not making much progress on bringing back dueling as a dispute resolution technique. My pitch is just not right.But, hey, caning could work. I would cane any politician who said such nonsense to my face..

          6. AgeOfSophizm

            @JLM:disqusWhat about the bankers that have privatized gains and socialized losses? And all those folks that create their own wealth by insuring that society has a serious problem that only they can solve (think big pharma). What do you do about ill gotten gains, or maybe you think that all wealth is never ill gotten by definition? I don’t take issue with people benefiting from actual contributions to society, I take issue from people benefiting from non-contributions to society. If you agree with me, you necessarily have to redistribute (but maybe redistribution is the wrong terminology here, really should be exacting justice). Until the world gets regulation right and provides appropriate incentives when it comes to negative externalities, “redistribution” should be on the table.

          7. JLM

            “What about the bankers that have privatized gains and socialized losses?”Flogging, caning, tar and feathers? These are all OK w/ me.We are talking about two different things here.If I have made my money — came to work early, stayed late, worked hard, skipped lunch, read an hour per day for 25 years on my profession — and paid my taxes and decide to keep it in a shoebox in the garage — leave me alone.What you are talking about is whether the system should continue to be rigged to allow certain folks to be pre-ordained as winners even when they are really parasites and blood suckers.Those guys will get no sympathy from me.The Obama administration should never have made Wall Street whole and should have demanded that every bank that took assistance was 85% loaned up thereafter.I am not opposed to regulation but think it should be a gentle hand. If you violate the laws then you should have to pay the piper. Not one single banker has been punished for allowing their banks to get wrecked on the rocks. Not one.So I think we are talking about the same thing — justice, consequences but not redistributing the after tax wealth of folks who earned it fair and square in the marketplace..

          8. AgeOfSophizm

            Right on. I think the major issue is here is that we as a society treat all wealth the same, which, as has been proven time and time again, is simply not the case. Some wealth is taken and other wealth is created. The wealth that has been taken should be redistributed (or whatever you want to call it) and the wealth that has been created by blood, sweat, and tears should be kept by the creator. The obvious question is how to go about separating the wheat from the chaff. We can’t even get the most blatant cases of misappropriation right – as you said, not a single banker in jail.

          9. JamesHRH

            Chris Dixon has a great distinction – creators v extractors.The biblical rhetoric was not against savings / banking, it was against traders, no?

      2. ShanaC

        was that recorded?

          1. ShanaC

            thank you @wmougayar

    2. andyswan

      Concentration of capital is also a function of the concentration of talent, passion, risk-taking and hard-work. Wealth is created and destroyed, not static.

  4. Rohan

    Is there a recurring meeting planned where the follow up actions etc would be brought back to the table? (i.e. how do you plan to discuss actions taken?)Would the same group/core group be back? (i.e. how do you plan to ensure continuity on topics while ensuring something is done?)Or is this intended to be more of a – ‘discuss and execute in your own way’ meet i.e. more about ideas and discussions?Sorry if this was mentioned elsewhere/is obvious. I’m sure the discussion was great. A quick look at the reel was interesting as well. Be interested to know what happens after all of this..

    1. fredwilson

      no, no, yesthis was largely done as a way to help USV think about actions we need to take but i am sure that many who attended walked away with their own action items

      1. bsoist

        as did many who listened in, I’m sure

  5. bsoist

    I listened in on the discussion live, and it was fantastic. Fred, you mentioned not calling a group like this together more than every 2-3 years. I know why you said that, and I know acting on what you discussed is better than more discussion, but I felt in part like you were just getting started when it was all over.

    1. fredwilson

      the next one we do will be about something entirely different. what we need to do on hacking society is stop talking and start acting

      1. falicon

        Hear, hear!

  6. John Best

    Looking forward to the audio.

  7. leigh

    “Internet is a belief system” jumps out at me as a great comment. Probably more of a way of thinking as well — networked thinking — a hard thing for many people to wrap their heads around bc it really does change everything once the light bulb goes on.ps. great inclusion of storify — even better then the entire transcript

    1. Matt A. Myers

      This goes well with the “More people are considering themselves citizens of the internet” comment/tweet.

    2. Nick Grossman

      yeah, totally — that’s from this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011… (among other places)And brad picked up and riffed on it here, pre-sopa.Both have been very inspiring for me

    3. awaldstein

      So like this idea. Do try to live it.

  8. Varun Shetty

    this post has given me a ton of new people to follow on twitter and a wealth of new reading to tackle – thanks for sharing this.my big fear is that insurgent networks that have disrupted traditional ways will inevitably seek ways to entrench themselves and block new insurgents. let’s hope that doesn’t happen.i was thinking on the subway about how glorious open APIs are. in what other industry to companies just say – “here, build off of what we created so that we can make something better” – i think it’s so unique and refreshing. it’s that thought that makes me believe that this inevitable entrenchment won’t happen (and moves like Twitter’s Innovators’ Patent Agreement)

    1. Nick Grossman

      Re: that fear — we actually discussed that a bit, though it doesn’t show up clearly in the tweet stream. I think the question of how to support sustainable, healthy network ecosystems where users have the ability to vote with their feet is critical.

      1. Varun Shetty

        Yup, the ability to vote with your feet is critical. The important antecedent there is the prevention of artificial barriers to entry that keep out challengers.

    2. fredwilson

      i totally agree with you

    3. JamesHRH

      Actually, lots of industries.P&G is a good example. So is GE.Merchandizing in movies is another.Any company / industry that actively uses a distribution channel to sell of service hard goods is another.

  9. kidmercury

    it seems like people actually believe the US government can be reformed to make all the problems go away. lol…..knicks have a better chance of beating the heat…..15.6 trillion in national debt. how’s that get resolved?assuming people continue to do absolutely nothing, it means a bunch of US assets get handed over to some world institution (probably UN) as part of a way of reconciling the debt. here is a highly recommended article from yesterday: http://online.wsj.com/artic…that’s wall street journal, btw — totally mainstream, kook ID not required.what’s missing from revolutionary movements like hackingsociety is sufficient political will. fear not though, that is what poverty is for.oh and unfortunately i see no mention of organizing around ron paul. i know that’s scary, because once you go paul you’re one step away from being a full blown kook — 9/11, aliens, moon landing, jfk, rfk, etc. the whole nine. but no other presidential candidate is going to veto CISPA and all the other crap, and no other candidate understands the UN/supranational threat. that no mention is made of paul only shows there is insufficient political will, and that people are still concerned about ruffling feathers. no worries though, more will awaken to what is needed as the economy continues its natural decline. courage is the gift of poverty.9/11 was an inside job,kid mercury

    1. JLM

      The constant call to pay attention to our national debt is like the mood music in the background in a movie. Your reminder is a real service to mankind.As the danger point arrives, the music gets more ominous and deeper and darker.Think of Jaws and the shark is creeping up on you in a pinstripe suit — well cut, vested, blue shirt w/ white collar, French cuffs — and she intends to bite your freakin’ head off with the national debt.Right now we have not a single American leader who is actually doing anything about the national debt and that bitch is going to bite our heads off shortly.You cannot owe more than your GDP and go out on date night.Chile has a national debt equal to 6% of GDP — it can be done. It must be done..

      1. Cam MacRae

        From the outside looking in, current political debate in the US is largely innumerate, and neither party seems willing to address this issue. In some sense we get the politics we deserve, but in this case the American people are being robbed blind of a debate that is unquestionably in their national interest.

        1. JLM

          Unfortunately, what we are getting is just words. Both parties are pigs at the trough.We have nobody who is willing to do without.Everybody wants stuff and the government is the provider of stuff. We are becoming a lazy, indolent, greedy, entitled people.Worst thing is that a minimally competent numbers/business guy could go through the org chart and the numbers and balance — not reduce, balance — the budget in less than a week.It would take walking the cat backwards to a time when we did not have some departments but it could be done.You could slash the Pentagon budget by 50% by just delaying — not cancelling, just delaying — multi-generation weapons systems.We are not talking about dulling the tip of the spear in any way.We don’t need to be spending money today for a fighter that is not required for 25 years into the future.There is not a threatening air force in the world who could hang with what we’ve got right now for that period of time.

          1. Cam MacRae

            Exquisite then that so long as the nation wilfully continues it’s merry march down the path of pain, many, many will do without.

          2. JLM

            The greatest pain in this debacle is the wreckage visited upon our collective sense of national self worth.A man without a job is a man whose dignity is shattered. When he is a head of a household, the entire family is damaged.We are defined by our work and when you cannot put bread on the table, the anger fuels desperate bad acts.My heart breaks that I do not have the resources to employ every single unemployed person in America. Because I feel their pain.I once had a military unit to which was attached almost 100-150 soldiers awaiting their final appeal at the Court of Military Appeals for felonies. Very serious felonies.I could not figure out what to do w/ them to keep them out of trouble, so I ran them 10-15 miles per day, had them march out to the ranges where we were taking out old explosives and removing stumps — with manpower on a steel chain, no equipment — and worked them as hard as I legally could. Everyone was asleep by 8:30 PM and I never had a real problem with them.One young soldier lost his appeal and was handcuffed headed to Leavenworth for 25 years and came to see me on his way out.He said to me that if he had worked as hard as I made him he never would have gotten into trouble. I believed him as he had become such a good soldier I had literally forgotten he was a convicted felon.We need our work to define ourselves.The pain is already here, the challenge is to work through the pain and rekindle the American spirit.It will take some toughness but the sons of tigers are tigers and it’s time to stop screwing around and get back to work.Debating nonsense about dogs and eating dog is not going to get us back to work..

          3. Cam MacRae


          4. JamesHRH

            ^10You just described what is wrong with Western penal systems.My father – the criminal lawyer & max security penitentiary hostage negotiator (just to validate the following statements) – used to say that you should have every possible defence before the law at your disposal……..and then, if you got convicted, it should be humane, heavy, manual labour 6 days a week.The current set up is a, in his words, ‘a Life of Crime finishing school at its least beastly; a complete jungle of predation at its worst.”

          5. JLM

            When I had the experience I noted above, I was only 26 years old but had been a company commander three times. I knew how to run a combat engineer company. I loved it.I was thrown for a loop when these felons began to arrive. In consultation w/ my First Sergeant we came up with the idea of draining every single drop of energy from these guys and literally working them into peaceful slumber.I used to run w/ them most of the time and endure much of what they endured.When I was out inspecting their work, I would always ensure they had lemonade and apples and fruit to eat for a snack. I would make sure they had cigarettes to smoke.I would visit w/ them — always armed, mind you, and careful not to allow them to have a shovel or a pick or an axe — and concluded that 1/3 were good kids in the wrong place, 1/3 were influenceable by their comrades and 1/3 were the embodiment of evil.Even the bad to the bone crowd could be controlled if you just worked the snot out of them. But if they had any energy, game on.It was a marking experience of my youth and one where I spent a lot of time w/ my Dad (retired Command Sgt Major) and the First Sergeant trying to figure out how to deal with it.I am still a student of that situation and I constantly learn something in reflection.Your Dad’s comments are just another lesson.

          6. JamesHRH

            I was hoping your fraction would be more 45 / 45 / 10.What an experience at 26.

          7. Tom Labus

            That was bloody great!!!Lewis and Clark mapped the entire width of the country and were only 40 miles off. With all the tools with have now we should be standing on Mars waving back.But our renaissance is at hand with natural gas, manufacturing moving back to the US, our energy power will be full blown shortly.

          8. Tom Labus

            In that great movie Dave, Kevin Kline had his old accountant come to the WH to go through the “budget” and rip out all the bullshit. He arrived in this beat up old jalopy to the front gate of the WH.I think he did it in one all nighter.

          9. JLM

            Who knew we would one day need the wisdom of Hollywood to run the damn country?Ooops, I think we are already doing that? Just the wrong Hollywood crowd..

          10. ShanaC

            So why aren’t we exactly?

          11. AgeOfSophizm

            The million (or multi-billion) dollar question!

          12. JLM

            Sorry, now it’s $16.5T, but who’s counting?Nobody.

          13. ShanaC

            *headthunk* gahhhhh

        2. ShanaC

          A lot of people are in general innumerate. And the amount of people who are numerate and can express those numbers into a story/letters, is even smaller.

          1. Cam MacRae

            Sure, but you cannot afford your political debate to be innumerate when you have $16tn national debt.Most of that debt will eventually be forgiven for there is no real prospect of it being repaid, but at what cost to the nation?We’re entering the Asian century, which is all very exciting, but we (and especially WE who dwell on this very large, sparsely populated island) need the US to continue to cast a very long shadow – very hard to do so from your knees.

      2. fredwilson

        elect mike bloomberg president. he would fix it.

        1. JLM

          It would be very, very difficult to overlook a Bloomberg presidential candidacy. While I know he has been a Dem >>> Rep >>> Ind, he is a damn good politician with a solid base of business experience. He is a big thinker but more importantly a big doer.He would be an excellent VP candidate for Romney. Of course, I doubt he would want to play second fiddle to anyone.He could likely deliver New York to the Republicans. Thereby determining the election’s outcome in a single blow..

          1. fredwilson

            he is an entrepreneur, the definition of which is “cannot work for anyone other than themselves” πŸ™‚

        2. JamesHRH

          I must be in a bad mood today.I think Bloomberg would be a terrific President; I am just not sure that it would make much of a difference.I am more concerned that the US system of government has crossed the Rubicon.When Obama started playing inside beltway baseball, he missed a gigantic opportunity to change the culture of DC – he just lacked the vision to BBQ every self serving, deal making, ‘totally not interested in the public good’ jackass on the Hill.Rahm Emmanuel was the worst hire he could have made – he went totally opaque when he should have gone totally transparent / new sheriff in town.The POTUS should have a web site that lists 5 things he is trying to implement for the good of the country and it should have a live feed detailing how every member of congress is thwarting what they are doing.

          1. JLM

            The problem is that Candidate Obama was never really the guy who you describe.Read his books, it’s all in there. He told us exactly what he wanted to do and now he has tried to do it.And he is not very good at governing. He is a brilliant candidate. Hell, even I love him as a candidate..

          2. JamesHRH

            I have said before that the last half of the phrase ‘Yes We Can’ is ‘Because We Have a Great Plan.’It funny – he is awesome at the bottom up stuff; Axelrod turned him into a dynamite top down, optics & message campaigner, they just never put the meat between the bread with a strong governing group.Who should have been his Chief of Staff?

          3. JLM

            Easy, Erskine Bowles — he was CofS for Clinton and wrote the definitive report and has a solid business background.Plus he is a Southern gentleman, smooth and slick as snot on a glass door knob.Can you imagine a worse pick than a prick like Rahm Emanual from the Chicago machine?.

          4. raycote

            Where is the meat in the top-down button-up sandwich ?Love that metaphor !

          5. Timothy Meade

            My big question is simply, “where’s C-SPAN 4 with 50% of cabinet business (that can be openly broadcast)”?

          6. Timothy Meade

            My big question is simply, “where’s C-SPAN 4 with 50% of cabinet business (that can be openly broadcast)”?

          7. Timothy Meade

            My big question is simply, “where’s C-SPAN 4 with 50% of cabinet business (that can be openly broadcast)”?

          8. raycote

            Now that would be a long read πŸ˜‰

      3. Tom Labus

        The Simpson Bowles Report on Fiscal Responsibility or their sub title: The Moment of Truth.Sitting there waiting.http://www.fiscalcommission

        1. JLM

          It was a very good report — everyone’s ox got gored — and it was ignored in a fit of adolescent hubris by an inexperienced and narcissistic President.It was the work product of adults given to a bunch of teenagers who just wanted to “party” without acknowledging a day of reckoning would be coming..

      4. LE

        “Chile has a national debt equal to 6% of GDP”I think it’s closer to 9% (according to the CIA factbook). But more importantly how can you make a comparison between Chile which was a military dictatorship until 1990 and the US?

        1. JLM

          You are completely right — 9% — and have more current info than I had. I was wrong at 6%. Thank you for correcting me.The point, however, is still the same. 6% or 9%If Chile can do this, we can do this.I like Chile because its flag is quite reminiscent to the Texas state flag. Look at it.I think Chile might really be a colony of Texas and why the hell not?.

          1. raycote

            Didn’t that 9% come at the cost of many innocent lives ?

          2. JLM

            Do tell, how so?Chile has not had a dictator for 22 years.I am not endorsing any mischief in Chile, I just don’t really know.I am not standing for anything other than their 9% of GDP national debt.,

        2. jason wright

          A delicious irony – a military dictatorship at the behest of….the CIA, and I also assume therefore 9% is the right number.

    2. raycote

      Spoiler Alert – Here comes my broken organic record again :>))In my view the internet as a belief system is all about cultivating its potential for constructing an organically distributive democratic control substrate.To be effectively sustainable any network based economy must, at the very least, implement organically distributive value equations. Using this as a key network-economy design template generates a manifold prosperity catalyst for all companies, for all industries and for the over all economy. This is not just because it lubricates the morale, the trust and the goodwill of all participants at every level but more fundamentally because it mediates a gestalt cyclical-equilibrium between and across investment, production and consumption flows at every level.Finding ways to implementing this key biological-cheat-sheet attribute of organic homeostasis, global synchronization across a network of asynchronous sub-system-dynamic-equilibriums, represents a watershed opportunity/challenge/roadblock to moving forward with network-economy based reforms to social commerce. We need to focus on developing an organically integrated approach to social transaction costs.Under network conditions the exponential increase in flux-density exchanges between and across all social, political and economic institutional sub-systems inescapable plunks the whole world down into a new PLATFORM, a new STAGE of organic level social and economic interdependent complexity.Denial is not and option.We have opened PANDORA’s network-effect.The existential realities of organic level complexity wait for no MAN.There is no turning back.We are all-in whether we like it or not !The only real question LEFT is whether we are going to allow ourselves be dragged across the rough and tumble bottom feeding terrain of pure organic trial and error or whether we will proactively intercede and apply the power of human cognitive imagination to grease the transitional skids.To be sure single celled life forms had no choice but to make that rough and tumble journey of pure organic trial and error, inching their way into the promised land of collective organic-consciousness. A collective organic-consciousness that provides each and everyone of us with the hubris to wonder around projecting our persona as if we were simply and effortlessly Ray or Fred. Millions of years of evolutionary effort just to bestow upon us the blessings of high level cognitive self-awareness. Collective respect for that hard won evolutionary beachhead of cognitive-superpower and a basic sense of introspection about our privileged position in this evolutionary totem demands that we make every effort to stand on the shoulders of that privilege and proactively exploit our abstract cognitive endowment to short circuit our own journey into that mystic level-up.Ultimately it is all about rewriting the social-contract and its enforcement rules such that they revolve around the new realities of organic-level social complexity and interdependence.Rewriting our entrenched mythic-mind value systems as they apply to the distribution of wealth, power, education and control needs to reflect our new organic-network-economy interdependence. The sheer complexity of that challenge mandates visionary political leadership powered by a democratic apparatus unfettered by special interests financial interference.Democratic governance is a mechanism intended to focus the collective will of the citizens(read shareholders in that top level freedom enterprise we call democracy)Corporations are not citizens they are democracy’s employees. Most importantly it is the sovereign right and responsibility of citizens to define the framework for implementing capitalist institutions and to do so in ways that the citizenry feels most effectively serves their needs.Yes I am a committed capitalist! because I believe it is fundamentally an organic organizational fabric that best integrates that penny in the currency of all human affairs, self-interest!But within a democratic-rule-of-law context corporations as institutions are hired to do a job for the citizenry. That job is to optimize the standard of living for the citizenry(read Shareholders) that hired them. If you sabotage the profits of your employer for your own personal advantage you get sacked. Citizen have every right to, and must, start to reassert democratic control over corporate defectors.STOP THE PRESSES – TIME TO HOTSPOT – THE REAL BOTTLE NECKA COMPLETELY CORRUPTED POLITICAL APPARATUSELECTION REFORM – ELECTION REFORM – ELECTION REFORMIt all kind of reminds me of that movie where the fate of the world rests on someone coming up with a dime. Similarly many US political leaders feel they have a mandate to nickel and dime the whole system to death.VOTE – Organic Process Literacy – VOTE OFTENMeme us all up Scotty !

  10. John@PGISelfDirected

    1. I’ve got a number of people to follow in Twitter. 2. My faith in the Internet is back! πŸ˜€

  11. JLM

    This was obviously a great intellectual exercise and well done..

  12. andyswan

    The good news is that the action part is very easy:Everyone resume producing value according to their own self-interest and passions. We’re all hacking society every single day. Make it a good one.

  13. Ciaran

    It looks like a fascinating day and a stimulating conversation. I accept the fact that the aims were good, and that it’s not meant to be a club, but my fear is that it doesn’t sound like there were any contrary opinions in the room.I know that Fred doesn’t rate him (and I’m not his biggest fan either), but I think be challenged by the likes of an Andrew Keen would force more in-depth analysis. Or even a Nicholas Carr. Whilst Twitter obviously tends to truncate things a lot, it feels, from this distance, that there were quite a few empty slogans pumped out.It would be great to flesh out exactly what people think “the internet is a belief system” is meant to mean and what people are expected to do about it. Personally, I think it’s a slightly idiotic statement (sorry, but I do) – kind of like saying “electricity is a belief system”.I’m guessing that for most average people (in the developed world at least), their belief is that the internet is their way of sending email, Googling, poking on Facebook and getting films and songs for free. I’m sure that there’s a different view on this in the middle east and Africa, but I couldn’t see many people who looked like they were from those parts of the world in the pictures.It’s a great thing to start, but frankly I think the stated aim of ‘discussing the conflict between networks and hierarchies’ set the whole thing us as being too esoteric from the start.

    1. raycote

      I read “the internet is a belief system”to mean –> Organic Process Literacya paradigm outlining the recurring themes and dynamics that apply across all complex living systems including social systems. Network dynamics which can be implemented without limit to organize new distributive social structures.

      1. Ciaran

        Like I said, a tad esoteric! :)I think it’s great that people are having such high minded discussions about the net, but still think, in agreement with @jameshrh:disqus, that for most people the internet/web is about getting free music and chatting on Skype.It’s important that the web is kept free, but I also think it’s important that the discussion isn’t entirely shaped by vested interests. There’s a lot of talk here about beliefs, but many also believe (for example) that taxes are part of a contract with society, something which most big web companies (in common with most big companies full stop) don’t seem to agree with.*A little dose of pragmatism and practicality wouldn’t hurt this discussion.*I’m not trying to start a discussion on the rights and wrongs of taxation, rather to suggest that those who often shout loudest about web freedom, do so from a position of self interest and don’t shout as loudly about issues that don’t directly affect their bottom line.

  14. JamesHRH

    I am going to be the sand paper here, I guess.Networks on the Internet are different from Rolodexes, in terms of their structure, how?The net is a belief system is laughable. Facebook reflects the core of society – that belief system is not hacking much of anything. They like ‘life = high school’ & have zero interest in change.When I sit in the parent room at the swimming pool & tell the affluent, well educated people there that I post on Twitter, they give me the ‘freak’ look.You are waaaaaaaay ahead of the herd & talking mostly to yourselves.

    1. JLM

      When everyone comes from the Internet crowd and is already of a single mindset it is difficult to find the intellectual rigor or breadth of thinking to challenge the assumptions.Having said that, most change is driven by a very small group and this could be that group.When you have all hammers in the room, every problem looks like a nail.What happens to this new brave world when the power goes off?.

      1. JamesHRH

        Funny you should use the hammer analogy – I was going to say: ‘ when you love hammers so much it hurts, everything looks like a nail ‘.I do believe that change will be accelerated by using the internet.I also believe the Stewart Butterfield / Albert Wenger statement that the internet will impact human civilization on a par with the domestication of animals.But this idea that the internet itself is owned by a certain set of beliefs & that it can only be used in a certain way (bottom up, crowd-whatevered) is myopic.

        1. JLM

          I have a one eyed Shih Tzu who is offended by that domestication of animals comment.He knows he could run the country on a very simple premise.You don’t please him, you get no dog cookies.Sometimes when I want him to do stuff he will stand there until I give him a cookie and then he complies immediately. He is constantly conducting recurring training with me.Sometimes when I displease him when shearing him, he will bite me very softly as if to say — warning shot, big fellow.Then he will bite me very, very hard as if to say — one warning only..

          1. JamesHRH

            I was talking cows, sheep, goats & horses – most small dogs and cats are not domesticated, as you ably attest.

        2. ShanaC

          I believe that, (internet and food husbandry) I already see parts of that happening.A humongous part of life is how we handle communication and information, it is what teaches us about food husbandry. When suddenly that information is everywhere and nowhere,you create interesting sets of issues.

      2. fredwilson

        this was not entirely an internet crowd. they were washington insiders, academics, etc

        1. ShanaC

          still very heavy on certain types. It would have been interesting to throw in an activist in the group, or someone in anonymous in a mask.

          1. JamesHRH

            or a welder

          2. Luke Chamberlin

            Or someone from Kenya who runs the local fruit and vegetable market with their cell phone.

          3. ShanaC

            better would be the architect of the voter fraud checking systems in africa. Or the guys behind the text message alerts for the Orange Revolution (for those of us with a longer memory)

    2. kidmercury

      i appreciate your brutal disses here, though i disagree.1. small groups bound by the same ideology are needed. getting everyone to agree is impossible. does this group have the right ideology? i doubt it, as i don’t think any conversation about political reform that ignores 15.6 trillion in national debt and growing is useful. 9/11 is the only real issue, but since most people are too scared to touch that, national debt is a better issue to focus on and one that cannot be ignored either. it will impact the internet, investing, and regulation.2. internet is a belief system. i’m growing increasingly convinced that the business model for social networking will resemble the business model for churches/temples/etc. the ecosystems we choose to participate in will be a reflection of our beliefs and values. for instance, i love companies that give their customers value deals and have an ideology of customer service, which is why i’m an amazon patriot. people with low self-esteem who need to buy expensive products to feel fashionable may on the other hand be apple fanboys. either way, it is the beliefs, or values, that are driving internet networks.

      1. JamesHRH

        As for point 2, that is your belief, not the internet’s belief.And you prove it with your last sentence – I am a complete Apple user. I share the belief that I will pay a premium for higher level experiences. I do not miss PC life in any way. Happy camper because of aligned beliefs.And, your plural use of networks is also key: networks service customers who share attributes. Pinterest is to Tumblr as living in the burbs is to downtown.Despite the absolute success of each network, only a handful of networks have crossed the chasm and become broad mainstream services (FB, Li, Twitter). All the others serve a niche network of users with a shared belief system.The existence of FB as the Monster of all Networks also undermines your argument. The internet’s biggest success does not share the values espoused by you or the ‘internet belief system’.The sheep win, thru sheer numbers.

        1. kidmercury

          yes no doubt fb is the biggest and is not dependent upon beliefs. but because it is not dependent upon beliefs is precisely why it will go the way of myspace and friendster, which were also not belief/values-centric. the one world internet we have now, in which everyone gravitates to the same network (i.e. twitter, fb, etc) is only an illusion, much like the impending doom of world government in the nation-state system. both will give way to localized communities centered around beliefs.

          1. JamesHRH

            In a word, nope.Big & broad will always exist. Niche will too.The internet is redefining the scope of big & broad / niche.

          2. kidmercury

            yes, big and broad will always, exist, but it will be built bottom up rather than top down. meaning it will be built by a bunch of localized, belief/values-centric communities working together. so it will have beliefs at its core.

          3. JamesHRH

            Agree to disagree.

          4. raycote

            Cellular evolutionary schema would seem to be on your side.Ulam Memorial Lectures – 2011 – David KrakauerCognitive UbiquityThe Evolution of Intelligence on EarthA broad overview of Intelligencepresented asNested layers of locally-cognitive niche-behavioursPart 1 – http://bit.ly/K0WPOAPart 2 – http://bit.ly/JctZzBPart 3 – http://bit.ly/KDXnPD

          5. raycote

            I think your your right about “localized communities centered around beliefs” or shared interests and goal.These will ultimately form the distributed cognitive sub-net social functions that interact to form what Andy Clark describes asnontrivial causal spreadthis characteristic occurs whenever something we might have expected to be achieved by a certain well-demarcated system turns out to involve the exploitation of more far-flung factors and forces

      2. LE

        people with low self-esteem who need to buy expensive products to feel fashionable may on the other hand be apple fanboys.Could you explain this thought further?

        1. kidmercury

          lol i’m mainly just trying to provoke apple fanboys, there isn’t much of a deeper thought other than that. πŸ™‚ but i do think that apple has done an outstanding job of marketing — of creating a brand that customers can use to express their beliefs. i think niche social networking companies will be even more belief-centric, so that your membership/patronage will clearly reflect your values and what you stand for.

          1. LE

            I was actually more interested in the “people with low self-esteem who need to buy expensive products to feel fashionable” part of that sentence.

          2. kidmercury

            i was probably exaggerating a bit in an attempt to provoke the iCult, but i think, in a very broad sense, people often tend to use materialism to compensate for inner emptiness. i.e. they don’t feel good about themselves so they buy something that they think will make them feel better about themselves. i suspect some people like the idea of owning apple products (or any glamorous, luxurious company, for that matter) because it helps them taste the success and popularity of apple.

      3. ShanaC

        Despite dealing with some people who are protesting a protest banning the internet – I don’t think the internet is a belief system. I think it encourages more secular types of mysticism and belief systems, which is wholly different.

      4. Luke Chamberlin

        “i doubt it, as i don’t think any conversation about political reform that ignores 15.6 trillion in national debt and growing is useful.”You assume that net culture is interested in protecting American sovereignty, and I don’t think that’s the case.

        1. raycote

          You assume that net culture is interested in protecting American sovereignty, and I don’t think that’s the case.True but shouldn’t the sub-net of American citizens be ?The network-effect does not exclude cognitive niche activities.

          1. Luke Chamberlin

            I see net culture as separate from American culture. There are many Americans who are a part of that culture, but when online I think they operate from a different mindset. That’s not to say that no one online cares about the debt, but it’s their American side caring, not their net side.Laws like SOPA/PIPA and the FBI wrongly seizing domain names will only increase the divide.

        2. FlavioGomes

          Indeed…I feel more like a citizen of the world than a current sovereign

    3. ShanaC

      yes and no- something I found interesting about the internet (particularly linkedin) is the amount of people who don’t realize they have a tertiary network until it is visualized. Your generic rolodex doesn’t really allow for that.

    4. Luke Chamberlin

      Spend some time on github, collaborating or discussing problems and solutions with strangers, browse Canv.as for a few cheap laughs and maybe remix a few memes, hang out in turntable.fm and get some new music recommendations, then go to Stack Exchange’s “English as a Second Language” site and try to help someone who is learning your language.There’s a distinct common culture in all those places, even though the people on those sites come from all over the world. I think it’s definitely the beginnings of a common net culture, and I don’t think cultures can exist without a common belief system. So for this reason I agree that there is a belief system out there.I don’t think it exists in every corner of the net. Your Facebook example is a good one. Facebook is the Walmart of the web.

    5. FlavioGomes

      James…I can tell yer feelin a little down today. But take comfort in knowing that you are ahead of the curve. I suspect within the next decade that the affluent you speak of will slowly but surely lose their relevancy.

  15. Tom Labus

    Recruit a few well placed legislative aids who know the ropes in DC for your early warning system.Better than being nuked at the last minute.Is it me or is Disqus re loading Fred’s post a few times before you get to comments?

    1. JLM

      Yes, something is wrong when you scroll down. Same problem here in ATX which is BTW #1 in job creation in the whole US. But I don’t want to brag.

    2. JamesHRH

      Storify issue – be glad you are not trying to comment via an iPad. Mine was having spasms.

    3. obscurelyfamous

      Storify loads on scroll.

      1. Tom Labus

        That’s true but everyone here considers you guys the gatekeepers of this community and everyone looks to you to maintain the quality of that experience regardless.

        1. obscurelyfamous

          Sorry if I’m not catching some sarcasm, but to clarify — I’m just explaining that what you’re describing is Storify just loading in new content as you scroll down. It has nothing to do with the rest of the page, let alone Disqus.

          1. Cam MacRae

            I think Tom is saying that you guys are so important to the community that the first reaction when something is wrong is to look to you. You didn’t miss any sarcasm, but I think you did miss some flattering remarks πŸ™‚

          2. Tom Labus

            Yes, Cam.Thanks for the clarification. That was the intent.

      2. ShanaC

        it scrolls forever…..

      3. fredwilson

        Whats your opinion on load on scroll vs a load more button daniel?

        1. obscurelyfamous

          I think load on scroll is fine, even great, if an application controls the environment. If you’re working in an ambiguous environment, it can become quite hairy. Load on scroll assumes that the user wants to see more content when she scrolls down. That can’t be assumed in a case β€” the user may actually need to get to the bottom. That’s why the Storify thing felt annoying to me.I’m a fan of maybe doing it once automatically, and asking for a click afterwards.

          1. fredwilson

            yup. i removed the storify embed from that post this morning for that exact reason. it is annoying.do you think load more on scroll would work well for disqus embeds?

          2. obscurelyfamous

            Playing around the idea of doing it only once. The way I described it could work for us, but pure scroll loading won’t work because the user expects to get to the bottom (they can also see how much content is left via the browser’s scroll bar).Surprising people in magic causes delight, but surprising people with UX causes a loss of trust.

          3. fredwilson

            i agree with that

          4. Cam MacRae

            Would it be possible to make disqus load on scroll if the pointer was within the bounds of the disqus thread?

  16. Andy

    I love the use of the word “thinkers”, as if a “thinker” is a certain class of people.

  17. Dave Pinsen

    Luigi Zingales’s comment about competition reminds me of this comment on “escaping competition” from Peter Thiel (via Blake Masters):The usual narrative is that capitalism and perfect competition are synonyms. No one is a monopoly. Firms compete and profits are competed away. But that’s a curious narrative. A better one frames capitalism and perfect competition as opposites; capitalism is about the accumulation of capital, whereas the world of perfect competition is one in which you can’t make any money. The rest of the essay is worth reading, but I think Thiel overstates the case a little above: capitalism requires rule of law, which includes the enforcement of property rights (both real and intellectual), and that, in turn facilitates the accumulation of capital by enabling companies to build “moats” (e.g., patents, trademarks, etc.) that keep profits from being competed away. So the enforcement of property rights inherent in a modern capitalist economy facilitates monopolies to some extent (though if a monopoly gets to big, it risks getting smacked down by the government in our system, as Thiel points out later in the essay).

    1. fredwilson

      i loved that comment by Luigi. my favorite moment of the day.

    2. JamesHRH

      I don’t get it – anyone want to expand on this?

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Thiel expanded on it in the essay I linked to in my initial comment. It’s worth a read.

        1. JamesHRH

          Nope, he is smarter than me, I guess.Just states it as an obvious thing, when I think it is completely counter intuitive.Still don’t get it,

          1. Dave Pinsen

            What, exactly, don’t you get? Winners want to keep their market position and impede upstart competitors; upstart competitors don’t want to be impeded from competing to displace the winners.

  18. gleslie

    @fredwilson:disqus “sustainable networks on the internet .. are at odds w the notions of capitalism.” Would love to hear just a few more sentences elaborating on this idea.My biggest takeaway while listening live, was how dramatically the mood changed when Naomi Wolf insisted the game be played within the current system. It was as if 90% of the room simultaneously said, “wait a second, this isn’t what I signed up for…” Her comments were either a dose of reality or evidence that she simply doesn’t doesn’t belong at the table with so many folks who imagined and succeeded in changing the world.It’s as if this group stepped up to the plate looking to take a big swing, either strike out or hit a home run and someone said, hey, they third baseman is playing back, just lay down a bunt. I’m not sure how many people in that room were interested in bunting.I can’t remember who said if this was the strategy, I’ll just go back to my farm.

    1. fredwilson

      good read. nobody other than naomi wanted to bunt

  19. ShanaC

    Point 1) I really don’t think the internet is a belief system in the traditional sense. if you think about religions, the internet doesn’t tell you what the “moral” actionable thing to do is. If anything it encourages retrospection about the idea that there is such things, since you are in either a filter bubble or a constant bombardment of other beliefs. I do think it is a model of assumptions about how people work, but that isn’t enough to say what one should do about it.Point 2) I’m not sure that Brad’s statement about the content industry is broken is correct. It seems that those in control of distribution think the process is broken, those in control of creation don’t. When creators move into more production type jobs, I suspect things will get a lot better (but the age differential is such right now that you got to wonder)

  20. GregOrr

    I have just launched a website called http://the99percentvotes.com, on which you can submit, discuss, and vote on public policy ideas.There are several purposes/goals of the site, including:(1) To facilitate crowdsourced policy and establish it as a key driver of political debate and government action(2) To create a new method for candidates to gather votes that is not dependent on money(3) To help voters assess which candidates they ought to vote for based on like-mindedness in policy preferenceshttp://the99percentvotes.co… explains the plan for how to make democracy work bottom up.Let me know what you think, and I hope to see you on the site.

  21. cauchy

    The storify thing is pretty cool, but it’s making you blog very -VERY- hard to read. Its keeps expanding every time I want to go to the previous post. It took about a minute what would had taken at most a second. I’m reading you with chrome.It’s pretty annoying.I thought you’d appreciate the feedback. Cheers.

    1. fredwilson

      Yup. I had the same experience yesterday many times.

  22. pounds to pockets

    If all from the Internet crowd is thinking and have a hard time finding the intellectual rigor and breadth of thinking beyond. Having said that, the change is due to a small group, and it may be that group. If you have all the room, hammers, every problem looks like a nail. What happens to the brave new world, when the power was off?