The audience did a shout out for who would lead the the "MVP" discussion here at Gnomedex. They picked me. This has got to be one of the highlights of my career so far. I was handed the mic and invited on stage (right then) to lead a discussion for 15min. Thanks to Dave and Marc for their vocal support.
I used the opportunity to talk about the gap that I see between the civil society - (the group forming network that has been a foundational part of america - DeTocqueville wrote about it) and the social tool building sector. There is a massive gap. I hope that we can find ways to bridge it.
The reason that I am involved in the Identity world is because I want to see people, the citizens in civil society be empowered. I highlighted at the end the potential to weave together - MircoAps to meet their community needs. Where is the "myspace" for churches? Where are the social network tools to augment the neighborhood or a city block mailing list? I hope this community can engage with my challenge to them.
I put forward that several things - there are a few organizations in the intersection -
â€¢ Planetwork (where I am the Network Director) We are working on the 1Society Project to build open source open standards based reference architecture for the identity layer working for civil society.
InterraProject - local economy loyalty card and social networking for community.
â€¢ The Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network
â€¢ Compumentor (Net2)
â€¢ Aspiration (They have the Advocacy Dev III coming up at the end of the month).
Other things that came up during the conversation:
Today we talked about lifestyle businesses and success beyond the 'massive liquidity event'. These are the kinds of companies that can fulfill the huge array of niches. There is an enormous market to serve civil society group forming networks.
There were some people talking about how 'we don't need tools' - everything is fine or that online tools are really just good for interest communities that are not geographic.
Susan Mernit stood up and said to those being contrarian should listen to what I was saying - for those of us who care about open source we should make sure these tools work for civil society. The big companies - Microsoft etc. are making life management tools and we as a community should be thinking about them too.