Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Podcast w Jon Udell about Citability.org

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

The podcast I did with Jon Udell about Citability.pbworks.com is now live!

check it out!

http://itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail4219.html

and if you want to help work on the specs see

http://citability.pbworks.com/Citable-Documents-Specification

also we need help w PDF issues at http://citability.pbworks.com/PDF

community work at http://citability.pbworks.com/Community

project specifications for drupal at http://citability.pbworks.com/Drupal

Project specifications for archive server at http://citability.pbworks.com/QuickFix

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Facebook app – citizen badges

Monday, August 10th, 2009

I would like to do a facebook app somewhat similar to girlscout badges on facebook. Citizens could do tasks that prepare them to help other citizens in times of crisis and then orgs could validate that by posting badges to their profile.

For example, knows CPR, create earthquake prepareness kit, volunteer firefighter. So it encourages awareness of those skills and organizations.

And the supercool part of it is then individuals could give their contact information to those organizations just in case they need their help.

Kinda like how Citizens helped document the San Diego fires and such.

ah well – it’s a thought!

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OpenBanking – what do I mean by that term…

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Since I seem to be one of the main people using the term of #OpenBank (at least in MY echochamber) so I feel l like I should define this hashtag publicly. (Also note I have registered myopenbank.com and will be raising investment funds shortly so I have like vested interests and such.)

When I say OPEN I am going a bit further than just “Transparent.” Things can be transparent without being Accessible. (See this blog post for an enlightening example 😉

I admit I am a huge fan of “show me the raw data.” And I often tell Government wonks – stop worrying about interpreting the data just release it RAW and we will work with it. To be honest, I don’t want them interpreting it. Rarely does the government employee have the same motivations as the individual citizen. Therefore cannot do an appropriate interpretation without biases showing. Their interpretations will be subjected to their odd internal metrics which are too abstracted from the public. (see post on Govt metric issues.)

So what am I trying to achieve with #OpenBank? I want an open and accountable bank.

I see this as a 6 step process. I am going to only talk about 3 steps here. ( The other three are kinda out there and I have noticed many of my ideas need 3-5yrs marinate time before anyone else doesn’t think they are nuts so I am holding off… maybe in a month or two)

So the 3 steps I created 2.5 almost 3 yrs ago are…

1) The new #OpenBank will

a) be completely transparent to its customer about all data gathers on the customer.

b) will acknowledge the Mutual ownership of data btn the bank and customer

c) create equitable contracts in regards to the accrual and usage of that data hereby creating equanimity and trust.

2) The new #OpenBank will be transparent about the Bank’s data and status and will release all FDIC data to the public. It will foster a community of stakeholders to openly interpret the data like freerisk.org but with special support.

3) It will create internal mentoring communities that eventually will help with the loaning process.  There is a reason kiva.org has a 95% return rate.  The special mentorship Nonprofits are key.  They know the individuals, the community, the conditions etc.  They are motivated to make sure the customers can repay the loan.  There are no levels of abstraction that allowed the previous trading of mortgages that resulted in fraud.  We can bring that back to banking on a large scale.

So that’s the first part of my plan… whacha think?

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Stakeholders in Govt

Monday, August 10th, 2009

The biggest problem I see in Government is that most things are too abstracted in regards to accountability.

Who really do govt workers answer to? Is it really the citizen? we laugh at the crazy person that says to the govt worker “I pay your salary.” But isn’t it true. Doesn’t is illustrated our frustration with government bureaucracy in general?

Who do bureaucrats really answer to? Well unfortunately the 3 main groups are legislation, lawsuits, and sometimes the press. Wow… no wonder their metrics are broken and most processes involve so much CYA.

We need to instead have customer (citizen) satisfaction have a more direct role and impact on their budgets. Maybe I suggest some kind of role for getsatisfaction style feedback? maybe even a game where citizens get so many reward points to give out so they can rate their interactions.

Woah before going nuts, I am not suggesting direct democracy. I don’t think we can handle that! But at least look at a few options to give citizens more direct sayso than just who they elect? That is not direct feedback and is inherently broken.

It prevents rapid development and in a world of rapid development is means govt will rarely solve problems like the banking industry in time.

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Transparent does NOT mean OPEN or ACCESSIBLE

Monday, August 10th, 2009

So had an interesting discussion with Gina Cooper at Transparency Camp West yesterday that I thought I should post.

She was getting a bit frustrated at people’s misuse of vocabulary and I have to agree with her.  People were throwing around terms like Govt2.0, egovt, transparent govt, opengov as all meaning the same thing.  They don’t.

I guess my layman style definitions would be:

Govt 2.0 – uses social media aspects which may or may not be transparent.  I can easily create a walled off garden that only a certain group of govt can use and call it govt 2.0

E-Gov – gosh this has been in existence for a long time.  it is basically moving govt from paper to electronic documentation and optimization on efficiency.   Probably some of the leaders are United Arab Emeritus and Singapore which I do not view as very open or transparent government but they are efficient!

Transparent Govt – basically show me everything. give me all the raw data etc.  Okay this is nifty BUT can involve information overload.  My best story in regards to this is a rather loud argument I had with an IRS employee at a recent security conference.  He argued that the bidding process for contracts with the IRS is completely transparent.  You only have to gather information and documents from 15+ sites (scattered at different levels) to create a bid.  But the whole process is there for anyone smart enough to figure it out.  He said it was on purpose to filter out the “less committed” ones.  I had to admit… it is transparent… just not accessible.

OpenGov – this is accessible government.  I believe it should be built upon transparent govt so that we can fact check it.  but if we want normal citizen engagement and not just us geeks… this is the direction we will need to go.  The biggest problem here?  METRICS and stakeholders. (see stakeholders in govt post)  This is my goal in regards to Citability.  I like to think it achieves those goals.  Now if we can just put it to the test!

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nifty video about presenters at OSCON

Monday, August 10th, 2009

http://blog.envylabs.com/2009/08/oscon-video/

I love Gregg Pollack’s use of Viddler where he has put links for all the presenters he managed to wrangle at OSCON09.

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FOSS can lead to more secure software for Government

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Security issues with…

1) Open Source (community created) – Open Source Communities don’t always focus on risk analysis.  This is a paper tiger since typically FOSS programmers are not paid to care about security as top priority.  If compensated properly, they can and will implement proper security procedures.  I do not know anyone that views this as “FUN” programming.  However the source code can be viewed and therefore fixes can be made by anyone that is paid to do so.

2) Proprietary – Typically proprietary software results in a single point of failure in regard to code being fixed.  That singular point of failure is the vendor.  All the insane governmental contracting regulations are created to try and prevent that vendor based failure from happening.  Much of this is CYA dumping on the vendor in the attempt to create an equitable relationship.  Often times this also results in software being unreasonably expensive.  These CYA attempts are a smoke screen however because you never really know if the software is secure without the visible code and all its inner workings.

3) Homegrown – If done in house, you have the ability to see all code and do proper vetting procedures.  But hiring upper echelon programmers is difficult.  The vetting process is one that most programmers are not typically willing to go through just because of basic creative personality characteristics.  A top programmer can make more money with less hassle in the business sector.

So I suggest a melding of all three.  If you can’t see the code is it ever going to be truly secure?  Instead have internal teams focus on proper security vetting.  Create good release procedures about security information and adding back working fixes to the FOSS community.  And if necessary (typically I see this as a failure of timing) do not release security information until internal teams have created a fix that is ready for the public.  Also use those third party outsiders to do security testing of the FOSS products.  It doesn’t matter if their source is open or not.  They just have to inform you of the vulnerabilities they have found.

I think Government could perform an amazing community service that is a win/win solution for the public by focusing purely on the Customization and Security of FOSS projects with their internal teams.  This way they can be suitably vigorous without significantly increasing the barrier of entry to contractors and  FOSS communities.  And they could save money but not having such convulted contracting procedures.

Also Proprietary companies that help with security processes of risk analysis and risk management and can help supply warranties.  After all why would anyone undertake risk without compensation?  Otherwise it is an inequitable relationship that cannot be trusted.

Let us not forget the change management aspect of adopting a new methodology.  Working with open source code AND open source COMMUNITIES is going to require some serious change management for current government employees.  There is a HUGE cultural break because so much in resources is currently used for CYA. We have to retrain them in regards to open processes.

Also recognize with being so integrated with FOSS there may come a time for the project to fork because of security issues.  This is extremely difficult and political and must be managed properly.  This will require serious training in typical FOSS community culture and processes.  For example govt employees should understand the basic stages of FOSS development and the different risks that each stage poses.

We also need to prep FOSS vendors on how to integrate with government processes as well.  There is a middle ground here.  We need to define it for the barriers to be broken down successfully.  We have to be ready to help gently educate them as well (instead of being self absorbed self righteous a$$#&& – you know who you are…)

You can see from the need for security, risk analysis, risk management, and change management that FOSS does not reduce costs.  But it can result in better software for the money spent with less flamboyant failures that seem inherent to the current high risk bidding procedures in government.

Some good reference materials:

http://www.finance.gov.au/Publications/guide-to-open-source-software/risk-analysis-management.html

http://razor.occams.info/pubdocs/opendataciviccapital.html

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Long tail of social networking

Monday, July 6th, 2009

So currently most people don’t have enough time to join more than 1 or 2 social networking sites at a time.

Much of this is driven by the Dunbar Number.  Dividing up into Family (10-20), bands (50), groups (100-200) and tribes (500-2500). Social media is letting us supersede that 150 people by being a bit more efficient in interactions (though I will be the first to admit I often fail at it.)  And looking at things from the perspective of those different levels of intimacy illustrates the need for different permissions.

But the reality of it – is that we do not want to be limited to a single social networking tool like facebook or linkedin.  Instead we would like to create our own contextual groups with our own intimacy levels. I believe we can expand those numbers through contextualization. I think that is key to creating cohesive groups in a tribe.  Those groups need to be fluid as well since relationships change often.

One thing that can solve this is a decentralized social net.  One where you are allowed to create and reconnect shards of your identity (and relationships) on the net better controlling your persona and the different types of relationships those personas can have.

Humans were able to go beyond Bands with the introduction of language – a cheap form of grooming.  I believe that if we can enable technology to do similar things for us. After all that is what the printing press was all about!  Though printing not as conducive to conversation as the net is and can be!

So let’s design better tools that are focused on how people would like to interact.  So that we spend less time on the grooming of our toolset and instead spend it on our actual relationships. Esp social media tools that enable me to be more efficient about seeing people in Real Life.  not virtually…

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must read post by Ben Werdmuller

Monday, July 6th, 2009

http://benwerd.com/2009/07/building-the-user-centered-web/

Ben has put into words so many of the discussions I have been having for the past several years!  So good to see such common vocabulary.  And so glad to see things building to a proper implementation.

I cannot express how happy this makes me!

I will referring to pieces of this posting for awhile…

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How to save the world in 3 easy steps

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

This is the 10 year plan I created in 2004

1) transparent govt
2) transparent business
3) introduce checks and balances in behavior
and create legal constructs when social norms fail

I started on all this because I am “Silona Bonewald” the only one in the world and I am a database geek. So I realized with the nature of things as they become electronic – privacy thru obscurity is gone. We needed a new (might I say better) type of checks and balances. And decided to start making govt and businesses more transparent.

When I started I didn’t talk much about business – everyone thought I was crazy enough in regards to govt. But now with the crash and such… I am not looking as crazy.

This is why I do allllll the crazy projects I do…
this is my theme!

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