Corruption: Make it your #2 Issue

Continuing my series of posts on this week’s Freedom to Connect conference, here is Larry Lessig‘s closing keynote. It was a big thrill for me to see Larry deliver one of his trademark presentations in person.  I remember the first time I saw one online: his Free Culture introduction from OSCON 2002.  That was my first… Continue reading

Step Number One: Internet Access

In the spirit of posting highlights from this week’s Freedom to Connect conference, I’d like to next point to the talk given by former FCC chairman Michael Copps, entitled “Step Number One to Getting our Democracy Right”.  Here’s the video: The full text is here, and it’s probably a quicker read than a watch. Here’s… Continue reading

Innovation Under Austerity

Yesterday at the Freedom to Connect conference, Eben Moglen delivered a fantastic talk entitled “Innovation Under Austerity”.  It’s about an hour long and is really worth the watch. Eben lays out, in clear, compelling terms, the case for open, decentralized, bottom-up innovation as the clearest way for us to address the big and increasingly complex… Continue reading

Netizen Effects

Last week, Twitter did something big: they introduced a new patent assignment agreement that binds them to use their patent arsenal only for defensive purposes.  In an environment where things are getting ugly in software patent land, this is a bold move. The agreement (here on GitHub), which they’ll use for upcoming work and also… Continue reading

Solving Problems the Internet Way

The Internet works differently than most other things we’re used to.  20th century humans are accustomed to hierarchy, control and scarcity.  The Internet, by contrast, is distributed open, and abundant.  That difference is fundamental — it not only empowers what’s possible on the Internet (which we increasingly understand), but it also informs how we need to… Continue reading

Loud power and quiet power

When the Internet erupted on January 18th to voice its discontent with SOPA and PIPA, it was a moment of loud power.  Fight for the Future has a nice infographic describing everything that happened that day: 115,00 websites blacked out, 10mm signatures gathered, 8mm calls to congress; all in one day.  The Internet exercised its voice, and boy was… Continue reading

What we mean when we talk about Networks

I’ve been spending a lot of time recently thinking about networks.  By networks, I mean groups of people, connected to one another via the Internet, who are able to do things and solve problems together by way of their direct connections to one another. As seemingly obvious as that definition may be, it’s worth focusing… Continue reading

Quick Compose w/ Gmail and Quicksilver

From the Yak Shaving department Working from the top of the inbox is a recipe for working on stuff that isn’t important. But, sometimes you need to write emails.  The problem is, to write an email you need to first go to your email client, which usually means passing by your inbox.  For me, this… Continue reading

Prescient Markets

One of my favorite phenomena over the past few years — and one of the stories I like to tell most about why the internet is awesome — is something I call “Prescient Markets”.  Marketplaces (or just producers in some cases) that take a large amount of the risk out of producing & selling products… Continue reading

Simple, and fun to use.

Whenever you start a project (and I’m thinking about building websites and web applications), you are balancing two somewhat opposed goals: 1) get something working right away and 2) satisfy all your hopes and dreams. The first, I think, is a good instinct.  The second is the real challenge — it’s your wildest hopes and… Continue reading


This weekend, I built some shelves in my closet. It was pretty simple affair — some pre-finished shelving boards, wooden corbels, and a rod for hanging things. What’s funny is that the supplies for all this have been sitting on the floor in my office for about eight weeks now. Every time my wife asks… Continue reading

The Enterprise End-Run

This post has been a long time coming.  It’s the idea that keeps coming back; the slow hunch that’s been brewing and brewing for months.  For some reason, it’s taken me forever to actually write it out.  So here I finally go. Last Friday night, I had the pleasure of judging a round of the… Continue reading

Ritual and Tradition

Last week, I mentioned an article called The Making of the Corporate Athlete (originally published in 2001 in the Harvard Business Review).  If you haven’t read it, you should — it’s a short read.  Long story short: successful athletes take a “whole body” approach to optimizing their performance, and other kinds of professionals could benefit… Continue reading

Speaking from the Heart

Last month, I attended the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council’s annual unconference.  My favorite session, by far, was Bill Warner‘s “Building a Startup from the Heart”. I found Bill’s approach to be inspiring, and immediately went home to incorporate his ideas into some OpenPlans materials that I’d been working on (e.g., a new page on our… Continue reading

The DIY Empire

Last night, I attended an event at Harvard about the Knight News Challenge, put on by Hacks/Hackers Boston and the Knight Foundation.  The room was full of people who are interested in applying for the News Challenge grant program.  I was there to talk about our Knight project, OpenBlock, specifically, and about open source and… Continue reading

Writing to your future self

I love seeing people write to their future selves. Here’s a note I came across in my very own inbox today, no doubt jotted down on my iPhone while I was half-drunk at a party. Drake. Neon Indian Groove shark – friends playlist    Darius.  Radius radius Brother “Radius radius” is my favorite part.  I… Continue reading

Tool Time

We are starting up several projects right now at OpenPlans. As a first step, we are setting up project management infrastructure for each. You would think that being a 10-year-old software and media company, we’d have rock-solid, time tested, perfectly smoothed out techniques for managing our projects. The truth, as it often is, is a… Continue reading

Unplugging (sort of)

This week, we’re on vacation in Cape Cod with my wife’s family.  They’ve been renting the same tiny cabin by the beach for the past 35 years, and coming here is pretty much the highlight of our summer each year.  Last summer, we brought Theo here when he was just three weeks old.  This morning,… Continue reading

The optimism of the traveler

This morning, I drove from Boston to Cape Cod, alone with my thoughts except for Theo sleeping in the back seat.  Once we were out of the city and smoothly on the highway, I got to thinking about work, and things really started clicking.  I found myself reaching for my iPhone to record voice memos… Continue reading