Archive for the 'Events' Category

eDemocracyCamp ‘09

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

As someone who is not entirely without blame for coming up with the idea in the first place, I was particularly bummed to not be able to attend the second iteration of eDemocracyCamp in person this year. Oh well, next time…

Watching the event from a distance, though, it looks as if things went well and people enjoyed themselves, thanks to a truly great team effort of sponsors and organizers.

Here’s a random (and yet mostly un-vetted) list of projects and resources I picked up via Twitter over the course of the day. Some cool stuff there for sure:

  • Selectricity — Selectricity is voting machinery for the masses. We help groups make better decisions, more easily. We allow voting, usually in form of ranking a list of choices in order of preference, and have the computer help groups make better decisions.
  • — is an easy-to-navigate regulatory portal. Every day, federal agencies issue dozens of rules that affect you, your business, and your family. We make it easy to keep track of proposed and final regulations and to submit comments to the agencies.
  • OpenDialogCoalition — The OpenDialogCoalition is a loose collaborative of people and organizations proposing and exploring web 2.0 technologies with best practices in user-centered identity, online community and cross-boundary integration for open government and the digital economy.
  • Knowledge As Power — Our mission is to help invididuals become effective citizens within the legislative process.
  • The OrangeBand Initiative — People who take an OrangeBand and display it someplace visible demonstrate their commitment to practice listening at work and in life. When asked about the OrangeBand, they say something like, “It means I’m interested in listening to what’s important to the people around me. What’s important to you?” And the conversation begins.
  • Democracy 2 — Democracy 2 is the ultimate political strategy / simulation game. Based on a sophisticated neural network, the game simulates the motivations, loyalties and desires of everyone in the country.
  • Why, Kai? — Kai Degner Is Mayor Of Harrisonburg, VA
  • Government Innovators Network — This portal is produced by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School, and is a marketplace of ideas and examples of government innovation.
  • Metagovernment — The goal of the Metagovernment project is to make the governance of any community as accessible as a free software project. No one is required to participate, but everyone is allowed to participate, just as software developers can contribute to open source projects and editors can contribute to Wikipedia.
  • — We’re your constituents, and we’re here to serve you. Type a legislator’s name into the box, or put your address in and we’ll figure it out. Complete list of legislators.
  • — Making government accessible, reliable, and transparent with advanced permalinks.
  • — “Congress should change its rules to require that non-emergency legislation and conference reports be posted on the Internet for 72 hours before debate begins.”
  • — The mission of DeepDebate.Org is to create the best open and transparent forum for ideas to compete.
  • Sustained Dialogue — ustained Dialogue (SD) is a systematic, open-ended political process to transform relationships over time.
  • — Educating & Informing Chicagoans About Fighting Parking Tickets & Parking Issues
  • MixedInk — MixedInk takes a fresh approach to collaborative writing. It’s a fun, democratic and elegant way for people to weave their best ideas together. (Plus, it’s free!)
  • White House 2 — White House 2 is a multi-partisan network of 8325 citizens imagining how the White House might work if it was run completely democratically by thousands of people over the internet. It’s free and all U.S. citizens can join.

Thanks again to everyone on the ground who made it happen.

Bankrupt Your Startup in Five Easy Steps

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

This was a fun opening session for SxSW Interactive, thanks to Joshua Strebel (President, obu web technologies inc), Andrew Hyde (Startup Weekend), Sean Tierney (COO, JumpBox Inc), and the amazing unicorn.

Session description:

The odds are your startup will fail. Why fight it. Learn to implode your company with style. This session will review some of the many challenges facing new startups and look at the reasons why the vast majority of big ideas never make it out of the garage. The panelists will address the five things that sink most startups and show you how to do it bigger and better than your competition, which is also going to implode.

Since, as a founder, you probably don’t have time to dig through the video transcripts (after all, you’re busy failing), here’s their list of neatly compressed key insights.


  • Hand over the reins
  • Over-engineer everything
  • Seek growth before profitability
  • Establish culture of subservience
  • Disregard cashflow


  • Show nothing to anyone
  • Have an exit plan
  • NDA
  • Funding = exit plan
  • Theme weeks for the office


  • Forget your purpose
  • launch Under funded
  • miCro manage your team
  • be the King
  • believe the Dreamkillers

So there you have it. You should feel much better prepared now and ready to run your startup into the ground.

PolitCamp Graz: May 30-31, 2008 in Graz, Austria

Friday, January 18th, 2008

About PolitCamp Graz (in German):

Das PolitCamp soll eine Unkonferenz zum Thema Politische Kommunikation im Web 2.0 werden, wobei die detaillierte inhaltliche Vorbereitung Sache der Teilnehmer ist. Dazu ist dieses Wiki da. Wir hoffen, dass viele Besucher kommen, für die Unkonferenzen dieses Typs neu sind: z.B. politisch Aktive, PR-Leute und Journalisten.

Bei einer Session auf dem letzten Wiener BarCamp haben wir Ideen für das PolitCamp gesammelt. Sehr gut hat mir dort die Formulierung gefallen: zeigen, was mit Web 2.0-Mitteln in der politischen Kommunikation heute möglich ist. Ein wichtiges Thema wird sicher auch der long tail der politischen Kommunikation sein: Wie kann die unbekannte Expertin das Web zur politischen Kommunikation nutzen, wie können die Betroffenen der Politik öffentlich kommunizieren?

I’ve taken the liberty to add the event to Upcoming.

Meet me at SXSW Interactive, March 7-11, 2008 in Austin, Texas

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Just signed up for SXSW Interactive 2008.

Last year was a lot of fun, so looking very much forward to going again this year. SXSW 2007 was when Twitter really took off. See a list of Twitterers attending this year’s conference here: Given their recent performance issues during Steve Job’s keynote at Mac World, it’ll be interesting to watch whether the service will be as reliable and fun as it was last year. And fun it was, with half of Twitter’s then-userbase congregated in the same city (in a way, it almost felt like a location-based service). So here’s to hoping they can figure things out.

Also, if you’re coming to SXSW from Europe, I’m organizing Kraut by Southwest, a little get-together for the German and European community on Monday, March 11 (see Upcoming or Facebook for details).

SXSW will be my third event on this trip, following eDemocracyCamp (provided it actually happens, sign up on the wiki, Upcoming or on Facebook if you’re interested) and Politics Online Conference 2008, both of which will be held in Washington DC.

If all goes well, I will be able to share more details on a little project I’ve been working on over this past year, and which seems to finally be gaining some traction.

Meet me at Politics Online Conference 2008 in Washington DC

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

I just signed up for Politics Online Conference 2008 in Washington DC (taking advantage of their early bird discount that gets you $150 off the regular price):

The Politics Online Conference sits at the intersection of smart politics, good governance, transparent democracy, and innovative technology, spotlighting tools, applications, strategies, and ideas that affect a range of functions, from writing policy to organizing democratic movements to running a smarter political campaign to building dialogue with your constituents.

People come to the Politics Online Conference to learn about cutting-edge trends and to gain access to the visionaries who make those trends possible. They come to find solutions. They come to discuss their ideas with other experts in the field and outside the Beltway. And they come to network.

The 2008 Politics Online Conference will be held at a new location, the Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel.

Here are the panels I would like to see (out of a list of panel nominations):

  • Laptop Quarterbacks: Are the Campaigns Listening? Should They?
  • Does Web 2.0 Work in Politics?
  • Emails to Congress: Coping with the Deluge
  • Technological outreach to minority/cultural groups
  • Assessing the Power of Political Games and Simulations
  • What’s the Matter with Kansas…Online? How Social Causes Have Replaced Economic Interests as Online Advocacy Motivators

You can vote here for your favorite panels.

The conference will take place March 4-5, 2008. I am organizing a barcamp on e-democracy the weekend immediately prior to the conference. So if you plan to be in town anyway, why not try the unconference thing and attend eDemocracyCamp? Simply sign up on the wiki, save the date on Facebook or Upcoming, or join our mailing list.

Here’s how we currently describe what eDemocracyCamp is all about:

eDemocracyCamp will be the first BarCamp with a focus specifically on e-democracy. eDemocracyCamp wants to connect citizens, researchers, developers, practitioners and anyone else interested in the topic to learn about the current state of e-democracy and share their visions for its future direction. Topics may include (but aren’t limited to): e-democracy, e-participation, e-government, e-voting, online civic engagement, online political campaigning, online dialogue and deliberation. Technical tracks may cover things like the importance of open standards, hacktivism, mashups etc.

The general goal is to learn/share how the web can help us better govern ourselves, support democratic structures, make online civic participation more accessible, convenient, fun, efficient etc.

  • What is out there today (in terms of tools, processes, projects, products, initiatives etc.)?
  • What works, doesn’t work, needs work?
  • What are opportunities for collaboration as we move forward?

Diversity is key: The more people we have who come to this from different angles, the better.

Hope you join us. See you there!

BarcampUKGovweb: January 26-27, 2008 in London (UK)

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

BarcampUKGovweb looks like it’s shaping up to be a great event, with 50+ people already signed up (some of the UK’s e-democracy heavyweights among them):

This barcamp is about creating a shared understanding and commitment to the vision for UK government web activity and helping establish the UK government Digital Network to bring together the community of webbies within central government and the wider public sector.

Unlikely I will make it myself, but if you’re in the area and into this kind of thing, definitely check it out.

Change agent at work

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Just for the record:

  • Late March (immediately after landing the job) — Started pushing for team/group/department wiki.
  • April 15, 2007 — Started spreading some Twitter love.
  • April 19, 2007 — Started evangelizing the unconference format and its potential benefits in and around the enterprise.
  • No later than early May 2007 — Started pointing folks to Silicon Valley’s vibrant Lunch 2.0 movement.
  • Etc.

Since then:

  • July 2007 — First internal Lunch 2.0 at Oracle.
  • August 2007 — Oracle is BarCampBlock sponsor.
  • September 2007 — Department wiki launches (internal).
  • October 2007 — First public Oracle Lunch 2.0.
  • November 2007 — Public wiki launches, OpenWorld comes nicely bundled with an unconference, Twitter seems to be all over the place at Oracle.
  • Etc.

Of course, none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for the curiosity, open-mindedness and drive of a number of other people at Oracle (both inside and outside the sphere of influence a small team like ours can command). That’s what’s made this job such a fun experience over the past few months. And while I’m well aware that I can’t claim credit for all the good things that have been coming together lately, I’m glad that I was able to give some of the right queues at the right time.

eDemocracyCamp: March 1-2, 2008 in Washington DC

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

I thought this might be a fun thing to try: eDemocracyCamp

Sign up on the wiki if you’re interested in attending or want to help out with organizing.

This is the weekend immediately prior to 2008 Politics Online Conference, and of course the idea is to get a hold of some of the folks who will be in town anyway.

Still plenty of time left, still early idea stage. Let’s see how this goes…

Web Monday Silicon Valley: June 18, Palo Alto

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

This will be a casual one — open mic, BYO demo-type event.

Please join us! You can sign up on Upcoming and on the wiki.

No specific topics as of yet (that might change over the coming days, though). Feel free to bring your own lightning talk or quick demo (simply sign up on the wiki to reserve a slot). Anything around the future of the web, internet startups, and/or transatlantic exchange should be interesting.

Hope to see you there.

C2D2 2007, November 12-14

Monday, May 14th, 2007

Another one I’d really like to go to:

Facing Complex Issues Together

We live in complex times and face complex issues. Balancing the demands of social needs, economic stability with environmental sustainability is just one example of our multifaceted challenges and responsibilities. Responding wisely requires constructive and innovative approaches. We need better ways of talking and working together.

Join us in Vancouver, for the second conference sponsored by the Canadian Community for Dialogue and Deliberation as we focus on the constructive role that dialogue and deliberation can play in meeting today’s challenges. Dialogue offers some constructive and hopeful ways to relate to one another while deliberation influences how we make decisions. D & D encompasses the tools we need to:

  • Create conditions for collaborative action on the global and local issues of our times
  • Facilitate better informed, balanced actions and decisions
  • Transform conflicted relationships and increase understanding
  • Encourage people to deepen their understanding, create shared meaning, look for common ground, encourage information-sharing, deepen their awareness of values and help set good direction
  • Develop collective insight and intelligence
  • Provide opportunities for stakeholder and public input to influence decisions affecting our future
  • Provide decision makers with the benefit of the understanding and insights of key stakeholders and the public
  • Encourage citizens to be actively involved in their communities

All sectors of human activity — public, private, business, community, non-profit, academia — benefit by learning to use processes that engage ideas and people more effectively.

We shall see how the year goes and if I get to go to Vacouver (which, by the way, has been on my list for quite some time now).

More info at the C2D2 website.