Archive for September, 2007

Kiva: An Update

Sep 28 2007 Published by under General,Social Enterprise

Just over a year ago I made my first investment into Kiva. In the initial post I said I made the first small investment to familiarize myself with the process before getting further involved. Well, I felt comfortable enough shortly after to give again and have loved all of my interactions with the group.

There’s something special going on with Kiva, and not only because they’ve given $11M in loans in two years. No, it’s something more special than that. Something bigger. They’re reshaping philanthropy and will have a profound impact on the shape of the world in the years to come.

The first loan that I contributed to was repaid in full about two months ago. I have to say that I found the entire experience enjoyable. Even though there were few updates on the entrepreneurs progress, there was a great feeling that developed over the period of the loan.

Maybe it’s strange, but I loved that even the few emails strengthened the social proprioception with the entrepreneur in the developing country. I agree with David that more blog posts during the loan, and a final post communicating how the loan helped would be eagerly received.

I encourage you to get involved with Kiva if you haven’t already.

Also, recently I received two wonderful gifts from my good friend Ken and Matt who authors the excellent Sharkride. The gifts were Kiva gift certificates and I can’t think of a better gift than that. Thanks guys, your kindness means a lot and will bring benefit to me and others for a very long time.

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Music of the Moment: My British Invasion Continues

Sep 19 2007 Published by under Media

I’ve tried to listen to other music. Really. I just haven’t had much success. Lately it’s been nothing but Jamie T and the new album from the Arctic Monkeys.

Here’s a Monkeys song from the excellent Music Like Dirt site.

To listen to any Jamie T song click through the above link to last.fm.

Buy the albums if you don’t have them yet: Favourite Worst Nightmare, Panic Prevention.

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I’m Joining AdaptiveBlue

Sep 16 2007 Published by under General

On September 24th I’m officially joining AdaptiveBlue. Why?

It’s not because the semantic web is one of the biggest emerging web trends (or even because The Economist is interested in semantic web). It’s not because the company’s service is a recommended Firefox plug-in, with more than 900,000 downloads. It’s not because Alex, the founder and CEO, was named a top 40 under 40 technologist. Nor is it because of the quality of the investors. It isn’t the adventure that will be living in NYC nor is it the strong web community that exists there. It’s not due to the number of people I know there but haven’t met yet. And no, Leigh, it’s not so I can spend more time with Howard.

It’s not any one of these things, although they all contributed to the decision.

What it came down to was the amazingly talented team that’s passionately working to fulfill a vision that I believe strongly in. It’s going to be an adventure.

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Quote of the Day

Sep 16 2007 Published by under General

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

- Andre Gide (via Chartreuse)

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Social Proprioception

Sep 11 2007 Published by under General

Social proprioception. It’s the best term I’ve come across for describing the impact that status updating is having on my life.

Clive Thompson, in a June Wired article, penned the term, capturing the benefit nicely:

When I see that my friend Misha is “waiting at Genius Bar to send my MacBook to the shop,” that’s not much information. But when I get such granular updates every day for a month, I know a lot more about her. And when my four closest friends and worldmates send me dozens of updates a week for five months, I begin to develop an almost telepathic awareness of the people most important to me.

It’s like proprioception, your body’s ability to know where your limbs are. That subliminal sense of orientation is crucial for coordination: It keeps you from accidentally bumping into objects, and it makes possible amazing feats of balance and dexterity.

Twitter and other constant-contact media create social proprioception. They give a group of people a sense of itself, making possible weird, fascinating feats of coordination.

I’ve found it an odd phenomenon to feel relationships strengthening by simply reading status updates, constrained to 140 characters no less, over a period of time. Maybe it’s the trivial nature of the content shared, paired with its unobtrusive nature, that strengthens the bond. That, in many ways, is an important element behind great friendships – taking time to share and hear all of the incidental experiences and events that arise during a day, a week, a life.

Twitter, Pownce, Facebook, and other status updaters provide an efficient means to achieve this in scale. Across not only friends, but also acquaintances and relative strangers.

And there’s value in that, for both sender and the receiver.

Is it important that I know that DC “is now in year 2″, “is wishing his headache would go away”, “is going home this wkd”, and is now “back in toronto”? Not really. But what’s the cost to me? And, somehow, I feel more connected with Derek. Which is valuable. Again, for DC and myself.

The same is true for relative strangers. Following Mike’s Twitter updates have created some unexplainable connection with Mike. Unexplainable because I don’t know how to describe it and don’t have a term for it. Knowing that he’s a Giants fan (incidently, I first heard of Barry’s accomplishment via Mike’s Twitter), is interested in new enterprise software, has a dog, goes on date nights, and is constantly battling a full inbox… is weird. Or is it? Maybe. But it’s interesting to feel the connection strengthening.

It’s definitely an odd phenomenon, one that has to be experienced to appreciate. My status updates at twitter.com/fraser. Follow me if you aren’t already and enjoy the strengthening connection.

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