Next Economy

Rana Foroohar:

A lot of people thinking about changing economics come from the Rust Belt and know people hurt by it

Rob Johnson:

Young people don't have a lot of role models to look to for ethical business

you're looking for ways to do things well, rather than just nihilism

People who did this kind of work are the healers, and I put @timoreilly in that category

Rana Foroohar:

your family furniture company was in trouble, so you left for your own company?

John Bassett, III :

it was a company founded by my wife's father that I joined

my family's firm had been making wood furniture since 1919, and in 2001 the WTO meant china could compete

Wall Street wanted us to close or move production offshore

we had to work with all our staff, and come togetehr, and we came up wiht 5 great rules

our people thought we could not compete, but we had to convince them to try

you turn it round with leadership: don't ask anyone to do anything you wouldn't do yourself

we cut salaries before we cut wages, and made sure we were there before the workforce came in

Rana Foroohar:

This is something that happens more in Europe - especially in Germany: they have family firms that do this

what do you hear from your peers?

John Bassett, III :

At my age I don't have many peers. I was told I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I wasn't special

I was brought up to know that I owed service to the community, with the parable of the talents

I will tell them the good news, and the bad news, and never knowling lie to my team

Rana Foroohar:

I have found that midwest workers have a deep understanding of globalization that bankers don't see

business schools say to marshal your capital and treat labour as a cost

John Bassett, III :

You have to drive change. Don't panic when people tell you what you can't do.

They tell you that wages are cheaper and regulations are non-existent. So what can we do?

they are on the other side of the world - we made sure that we could deliver to our dealers in just 7 days

My 5th rule is teamwork and communication - people hear rumours. Talk to them and show that you are on the team

Our health insurance was good, but people were dropping out. We made our own clinic in the factory

Kevin Busque:

I'm the founder and CEO of guideline - a retirement company built for small businesses

small businesses often have 401k plans, but they have multiple 3rd parties involved

the 401k ssytem was set up 30 years ago, and is intentinally deceptive so people don't know they are paying fees

each of these fees add up over time, and eat away the retirement funds

we brought all those services in house, and replaced them with code

Matt Jorgensen: is an on demand food service founded in Oakland, currently closed for regulatory reasons

Tim O'Reilly:

Josephine doesn't work with restaurants but connects you directly to home cooks

Matt Jorgensen:

I was supposed to be joined by Crystal, one of our cooks, but she wasn't able to come

even though industrial cooking has made food cheap and available, the best food has been made in homes

we want people to tell their story behind the food, and let the cooks be the face of their own brand

the food industry is synonymous with minimum wage

in food there is a huge informal economy - there are 2 million professional cooks and 10s of millions more

We think there is a more holistic food experience that the commodified commercial businesses

our cooks are largely folks excluded from the professional world - 75% women, 30% minority

Crystal used to run block parties and local music events, and sells gumbo through josephine

the government sees the economic value, and the grey economy that was impossible to regulate before

we want to be more proactive - we are currently a private marketplace. we sponsored state level legislation

we have a new permit process for home kitchens at state level,

20% of th company is going to be allocated in cooks starting in 2017 - we are working out dividend models too

we have a cooks council that helps decide our business direction and legislative advocacy

Tim O'Reilly:

Bryce came up with an idea a few years ago called indie VC - without the pressure fro a big exit

Bryce Roberts:

we have a flaming unicorn on the site

Tim O'Reilly:

we've invested in companies at OATV, but takes a different path

Bryce Roberts:

so much of the classic VC model is based around the next fundable milestone, not a long term durable business

the trade off between what companies wanted to build versus what they had to do to scale was obvious

Tim O'Reilly:

I was attracted to this because O'Reilly was built that way - - starting with $500 and not investment

Bryce Roberts:

we're trying to give companies access to a little bit of capital and a lot of mentoring -

Otto, and applovin were recently acquired for large amounts with no VC funding at all

there were companies that took funding in the run up to IPO, without putting it on the balance sheet

Tim O'Reilly:

you figured out a way to invest in companies that could stay small and not go for the casino

Bryce Roberts:

we aren't opposed to unicorns, but some businesses reach scale that isn't huge but sustains

Tim O'Reilly:

it's like me or basecamp - you don't want to sell it

Bryce Roberts:

so what we do is once you start taking cash out of the business for yourself, we share in cash distributions

Tim O'Reilly:

so you're sharing the proceeds of the business, not the equity of it

Bryce Roberts:

we have the VC funded archetypes for startup founders - we need to surface more like atlassian and esri

Tim O'Reilly:

our next guest @Jessicalessin of The Information is exactly the kind of company that @bryce would fund

Bryce Roberts:

I'm in fanboy mode - I have been a massive fan of The Information since it launched

I thought bloggers were supposed to kill media companies, from the outside - what did you do different?

Jessica Lessin:

it's the business model. Reporting isn;t broken, the news business is broken

the vast majority of new outlets are chasing traffic and pageviews

you get 19 versions of the same story on each site and nothing in depth

charging $400 a year was something people said wouldn't work. but we doubled cashflow and have 19 employees now

we're not going to write the news of the day, we're going to write content worth paying for for decision makers

as our staff has grown, we've stuck to 2 stories a day, and made those as good as we can make them

the impulse is to publish, so it takes control to hold back like this

All the big publications have their hit stories from time to time

if you look at what is truly unique on the broader sites, our 2 stories a day are competitive

I often say we'r competing with instagram - we want our email in your inbox to be as compelling as instagram

Bryce Roberts:

a lot fo companies say "i'd start with an instagram account, not a website"

Jessica Lessin:

that's crazy - you need to have a website and be so good that the readers come to you

you need to have control of what you are publishing, and not have it stripped out by the generic

Bryce Roberts:

Vice and buzzfeed and Vox have raised 100s of millions of dollars -how are they constrained where you aren't?

Jessica Lessin:

i don't think news is a venture backed business - news is not capital intensive

you can seed your company in myriad ways - not raising money from VC investors

if you look at the big ones you mentioned, they have flip-flopped to social, to video to conferences

Bryce Roberts:

companies tend to measure themselves by the amount that they have raised - what do you want to do that you can't

Jessica Lessin:

I ask myself all the time if there is anything missing, but so far we aren't missing out

our growth strategy isn't to hire 50 reporters tomorrow, because we don't know we could find them

right now I care a lot about subscriber growth - it is revenue, but it also shows engagement directly

Bryce Roberts:

I imagine you are getting lots of calls to raise funding. Why nto take some?

Jessica Lessin:

because we want control of our destiny, we want to keep it growing the way we wnat

Paul English:

when the human agent overrides the AI, that's when the AI learning kicks in

we make money at Lola the same way my last company Kayak did -we get commission from the hotel sale

at the moment we employ travel agents and have a rating scale to pay them if they make customers happy

Lola is designed to be an open platform to let people become travel agents -the 1st 20 are employees

Tim O'Reilly:

a travel agent is a special customer service -will you do other things?

Paul English:

initially, we thought of Lola as a secretarial service, then one of our investors suggested travel focus

our ai engine is based on recommending from past travel, and also on natural langauge understanding

so if there is an easy question the bot will answer it, but the human agent can overrride

Tim O'Reilly:

part of it is the agent understanding my values - I don't want a remote resort but to be part of the country

Paul English:

the humans can do things the ai can't - when you have analysis paralysis they can help you decide

the humans can also negotiate on your behalf with the hotel, which an AI can't do

I have always done philanthropic work with things like Meals on Wheels - now I can do more with more money

Tim O'Reilly:

Partners in Health is a deep metaphor for the next economy - rethinking the business of healthcare

Paul English:

there is a project in Boston now that is copying what we did in Haiti

if you have a human who visits you in the home you can debug thinsg earlier than landing in the ER

Tim O'Reilly:

A key next economy company trait is building platforms - these people built the platform for the Sanders campaign

Becky Bond and Zack Exley built a more complex platform to organise the campaign

Zack Exley:

normally what people do after a campaign is start a consulting company, we want to open source it

the idea that bernie supporters won't vote for clinton was mostly a myth - moe than clinton did for obama in '08


we were able to connect people to each other with slack and facebook and gogole docs and they still have those tools

the grassroots network is still out there and they are organising things themselves

Zack Exley:

Trump is not going to win, I don't want to jinx it

Tim O'Reilly:

we must always believe that everything we do matters, and collective action only works if everyone steps up

Zack Exley:

I'm worried about 2020 and 2024 as Trump has let the genie out of the bottle

we have this campaign called "brand new congress" started - I'm sure Becky will come too

we're running 400 candidates in one slate with one plan - to rebuild the economy

Tim O'Reilly:

youre not talking about picking and choosing candidate, but running a new slate entirely?

Zack Exley:

we want to take 400 ordinary people who aren't politicians or narcissitic billionaires to run on one slate


we have found that people are willing to things that are a big effort, rather than things at the margin

we embrace failure on the campaign - we were trying to do the moonshot, and ti was worth

Tim O'Reilly:

My favorite poem is by Rilke - what we want is to be defeated decisvely by successively bigger beings

Yesterday the IBM CIO was talking about turning his IT team into squads of 10 with autonomy - did you do that?

Zack Exley:

the uber analogy - one of the chapters in rules for revolutionaries is the revolution will not be staffed

normally we work with organisers to climb the ladder of engagement, but we don't have any staff

so we had to have a system which is more like the Uber or lyft dispatcher that was decoupled from staff

the support infrastructue we had enabled us to hold public meetings with 500 people to commit to each other


we've always worked on the technology side of politics, but what matters is getting people out to vote

it wasn't just a CRM, but extended to person to person meetings to follow up to make stronger connections

the stronger connections between real people in real life, then captured what they wrote on paper online

Zack Exley:

we evolved the process to be like an old-time revival format - trying to do something big

we sent out emails to do phone banking, and the response rate was minimal, in person it was huge

if we were able to explain in person 'this is part of the plan to win ohio'


we'd ahve 400 people in the room and say 'we need 10% of you onsateg to organise" then the rest to meet them

so getting them to meet in person and commit to each other meant that they would fulfil it

Zack Exley:

to get people to get their meeting right we had to talk about it like a technology

a sheet would be filled out and then everybody on the sheet would get an eamil, by photographing them

this wan't possible in 2008, but slack and google drive and phone cameras meant we could do the data entry


we had these 22 rules in the book - the enterprise will not be staffed -only hire people who believe that

Joshua Browder:

I'm going to talk about my robot lawyer and the future of the legal profession

I was a terrible driver and got a lot of parking tickets, and my parent said I had to pay

I worked out how to get out of parking tickets by reading obscure legal precedents

I became the local parking ticket guru, and I realised I could automate this

I ask a series of questions about the parking ticket and make a legal dcument you can send in

it has now contested 180,000 tickets and saved $5M for consumers

I have done the same thing for delayed flights - automating compensation for this

people started asking me for help with repossession and eviction

I worked with Centre Point the homeless charity to automate homeless appeals

government is going to get much more efficient with the help of bots

Lawyers are going to be consumed by technology. I am just 19 and I have made lots of enemies in the legal world

Reid Hoffman:

you took over Watson - what has happened?

David Kenny:

an example is how Watson diagnosed the illness of a 60-year old woman in minutes and she is now getting better

we're automating the base level grunt work - we can see what we understand already and what we don't

and focus the human work on the unknown parts

freeing human capacity to solve hard problems is what we want to do

Reid Hoffman:

when the doctors overrule the radiology, what do you learn then?

David Kenny:

one example is 30% of diagnose were made by humans, and can improve over time

Reid Hoffman:

how do we grow this as a symbiosis - it becomes clear that we need more data, but how do we increase capability?

David Kenny:

we're bringing down the cost of things which provides more access - India has only 1000 oncologists for 1Bn people

by doing more diagnoses automatically and screening we can save the oncologists from visiting small villages

Reid Hoffman:

if people work with AIs how does that make the humans more performant?

David Kenny:

we're not necessarily looking for the AI to provide the answer but to ask better questions to help us see it

IBM has been working on AI for six decades - it is the bulk of our research today

the other tend to start from a big consumer franchise with a big knowledge graph

there are a lot of domains - medical, legal etc that don't necessarily fit into those categories

Reid Hoffman:

people are usually worried about regulatory burden from government

David Kenny:

rules and regulations are things bots can do well, especially with things like auditing

The emirate of dubai uses Watson to help you fill in forms to start a business there

regualtions create guidelines, so you can learn them better

when Watson finds that regulations that contradict each other it ranks them by degree of penalty

the mess around the world where different countries have different regulations also shows up

Reid Hoffman:

can you teach Watson to be a Congressperson?

David Kenny:

well, we elect congresspeople but watson could help lawmakers and their staff make better regulations

we're really trying to open Watson up to developers so more people can make sense of it

Reid Hoffman:

what is the future of Watson, Tensorflow, azure cloud etc? what will that unleash?

David Kenny:

there are 3 patterns: learning rules and how to comply with them - legal, medical and more

2nd explore and discover to find new ideas - combining molecuels for medicine or ingredients fro cooking

3rd is bots and agents for creating interfaces that people can use for specific domains

Reid Hoffman:

what are the most interesting things to come from increasing data and sensors?

David Kenny:

I love sensors - that was what I learned working in weather

if we're all wearing sensors in our bodies, we can know cancer, leukemia and fitness ahead of time

we're also going have augmented reality in our glasses to make the world clearer for us

Reid Hoffman:

when is watson going to get a PhD or be certified as a radiologist?

David Kenny:

we will have watson take the radiology exams and pass the bar and qualify as an accountant

Tim O'Reilly:

Urs Hölzle has been vp of infrastructure at google since the beginning - what are you builing now

Urs Hölzle:

we started out looking at costs, but once adwords kicked in, we looked at doing things that were impossible

now we are looking at making machine learning possible and efficient

wsatred out wiht mapreduce it seemd impossible, now it is homework, adn we even have BigQuey to do it for you

Tim O'Reilly:

what si the architecture of modern in the world applications liek cars?

Urs Hölzle:

used to have to do it in the datacentre, but now you want to do more at the cleint side too

traingin a large model is super computationally intensive - trillions of flops

we ahd to make special purpose hardware fro the neural network tasks so that the costs din't blow up

we ahve so many translations and speech recogntion to do we need to automate further

our datacentres are pretty automated, but our Iowa datacentre has 100s of employees there too

we want the workflows to be as automated as possible so the peopel can work on the exceptions

it's not a cost thing so much as an agility thing -you need to follow the curve when you have demand

Tim O'Reilly:

the datacenters are in out of the way places, located near cheap energy -can you make the grid moe efficient?

Urs Hölzle:

a lot fo the grid is built on 50 year old technology

we were able to use AI to find the right knob to make cooling 40% more efficient, could do that fro the grid

IT is very inefficient, especially on-premise - by concentrating in the cloud you can mix workloads

if you do the heavy lifting in the cloud you can have a phone not a PC, and save 2x energy

Tim O'Reilly:

its amazing how long it has taken to move data to the cloud

Urs Hölzle:

The key thing is to make cloud really accessible fro the average company - thousands of companies can benefit

someone was able to build a satellite imagery cloud removal tool in cloudML - improved it by a factor of 4

a novice was able to make a huge improvement using an alpha version of the tool we have

just as mapreduce made it possible to process a lot of data as a non-systems person, cloud machine learning can

there are big opportunites in understanding data and improving search - the idea behind google now and assistant

you don't want to waste time copying and pasting as a consumer - the same is true for enterprise

you're limited by your ability to apply technology, not the opportunity to make a difference

Google was about organising information and making it accessible; cloud does this for technology too

this is different from 'here's virtual machines' - here are rich tools

Tim O'Reilly:

what do executives need to do to be prepared for technology infused future?

Urs Hölzle:

this is not the future, this is the present. this si doable by the average company- the tools are available

you need to try things out - the Airbus cloud removal didn't think it would work that well

machine learning has an opportunity to create jobs by doing things more practically than before

I'm an optimist by nature, by running large infrastructure you have to have a sunny approach to survive

There is a big change coming over the next 20 years, but we are better prepared than the industrial revolution

Virginia Hamilton:

The responsibility for people skilling themselves has very high stakes

in the past, people would work for a company and they would train them up for the work

now with the on-demand economy, workers end up having to do their own training

Leah Hunter:

The onus on the low wage workers seems to be "you are falling behind"

Mary L. Gray:

when we have these conversations about skills and skilled labour, technology is redefining skills

usually now the employer has very little idea of what skills they need - people deal wiht the non-routine

people often have to figure out what the work ti that is required of them, which we aren't trained to do

since the boom in computer usage, we have almost no training in media or computing at the school level

the on-demand economy is the continuation of contract labour - the only job growth we have seen in 10 years

with contract labour we need to constantly review what we need people to do, every 6 months

we are going to need not just mroe training but a different social safety net for these non-W2 jobs

Virginia Hamilton:

the govt served 140m people during the recession, giving them some form of job related service

traditional govt service has been from and regulation driven - they wern't designed so much as handed down

how do we redesign our services in government to meet what people coming through the door need?

give them what they need rather than offer a menu of services

Kate Lydon :

the project we worked on stared with ethnographic research into the long term unemployed

we understood different available modes - whether they are confident or sad

Virginia Hamilton:

sometimes people come in when they are panicked about losing their apartment - they need money not advice

Kate Lydon :

so we need to equip the frontlines with these mindsets - so panicked people don't get a resume course

Leah Hunter:

how can people implement this kind of process?

Kate Lydon :

at IDEO we do anthropology - we go out and listen to the people we are going to serve

in depth listening can bring out more about what different people need.

going to the people you're trying to serve and asking open ended questions

Virginia Hamilton:

in the dept of labour we have give 1000 people a sense of human centred designed

we're facing serious issues about shortages of skilled labour and an aging workforce

even in china there will be shortage of 200M workers by 2050

Mary L. Gray:

we tend to look to technology to solve problems before we understand the scope of problems

we tend to use the measurement models of labour from the 19th century, whcih don't apply

when we talk about an aging workforce, we may be abel to reach around the world to other workers too

on-demand platforms open up a global conversation around labour

for every piece of automation we create to help a worker, we may be creating an opportunity for a human in the loop

if AI makes some people's lives better -it may make others worse

if you're on the receiving end of somebody's scheduling agent, you know it creates a lot more work for you

if we're serving elites but don't have workers conditions and needs in mind it's 2 steps forward 5 steps back

Virginia Hamilton:

it used to be that you could graduate high school and get a job that would support a family

cashiers used to at least learn math and do other tasks; now they are dumbed down by technology

Leah Hunter:

there's a way in which AI and tech is entering the lives of the lowest paid employees and making it worse

Virginia Hamilton:

one in five young people in the US are not in school or work, and think it is too late to learn

Leah Hunter:

I grew up in Appalachia where there is no work, but people are welcoming and dignified

Kate Lydon :

one of the things IDEO thinks about is how things apply across different groups

work is one of the primary units that enables us to cohere as a society

we want people to want to get up in the morning and do meaningful work

Leah Hunter:

we need to not think about it as levels - low-level and high level workers

Mary L. Gray:

people will hang out together and help each other do their jobs - doing that online can help

one way to not think abut levels is to think about the dignity that people would experince for their contribution

with on-demand labour it is no longer 'who's available, who's best' but a collective best match for now

so it isn;t a set staff competing wiht another set staff but a different way of organising employment

if this is doen right it could give poepl control or organising the structure of their own day

Leah Hunter:

also need to measure their contributions and compensate them for it

Community Colleges bear the brunt of educating many different people for many jobs

Virginia Hamilton:

community collegs get paid for how many people are in seats on the 25th day of the 3rd month

when budgets get cut, the most complex vocational courses get cut first compared to abstarct subjects

also he technology chanegs os often, the education system is often a generation behind

Mary L. Gray:

the number one skill employees found was being able to dive into a new area and learn it

but this attitude is hard to teach - learn something new each time

to create sustainable workforce with this flexibility you have to create stability in other parts of their lives

Kate Lydon :

agility was a huge part of what we did with the state of Idaho a few years ago to connect education to employment

you need persistence and resilience at the same time - you need a safety net under that to take the leaps

Leah Hunter:

what changes are needed in HR systems to hire for next gen?

Virginia Hamilton:

we need to work more on tackling implicit bias in hiring

research sending out resumes that showed different unemployment times showed discrimination

discriminating on duration of unemployment is legal at the moment

Kate Lydon :

the book by @mathbabe on Weapons of Math Destruction talks about how implicit bias is encoded in systems

Mary L. Gray:

imagining you are going to retain young talent with internships - train them and let them go

bring in people to experiment with what they can do and send them out into the world

make it possible to help firms invest in people's learning so it can benefit individuals and the world in general

Leah Hunter:

we did space consulting with an SV company and they had 20% of their people onsite on any given day

Mary L. Gray:

what if cities provided co-working spaces for contract workers who work from home in bad spaces?

Leah Hunter:

q: should we get rid of jobs like dumbed down cashiering?

Mary L. Gray:

look at it another way round - appreciate what people do to make our lives better

jobs are only as crappy as we make them

Virginia Hamilton:

the government invests a lot of money in job training to move people into jobs

we should see if there are living wages, benefits and personal growth in these jobs too

Mary L. Gray:

the example fo a cash register with pictures not numbers mens I can do that job without english reading

I used to be able to navigate around a city wihtout my phone, but I can't any more

how do we decide when this is good, and when it is taking away people's capacities

the technology doesn't do the deskilling - we make ourselves dumb if we over-use them

think about what it is that I do, that doesn't have to be deskilling

look at the relationship with AI to see how we can be more creative as the AI does the easy stuff

Carmen Rojas:

we're going to explore the way that new tools are helping workers organise and build political power for workers

it is also about the promise of digital tools to transform our democracy

Christie George:

I am a director of new media ventures we support media companies that support progressive changes

we have an innovation fund designed as first instutional capital into a digital startup

Zack Exley:

I worked on the Bernie campaign with @bbond but now working on Brand New Congresss

we want to recruit 400 candidates for congress and run them as a slate to replace these jokers we have now

the hope is to have the same impact as we had with the Bernie campaign

it's a crazy idea, but it seems like crazy things can happen


I worked on the Bernie campaign organising people - I want to talk about principles, software and atctics

Ben Berkowitz:

I'm the founder of that was built to report potholes but I want to apply it to equal pay

Carmen Rojas:

I run the Workers Lab a group to help workers organise

Zack Exley:

The one big picture context of digital tool sis that they are tools Sears Roebuck was the 1st amazon

you can go back to Alexander the Great creating a greek language world communicting across distances

a lot of religions today started as resistance movements communicating in a common language, like the net

if we want to organise we need to do it using the tools people use every day


we've been doing this organising since 2000 and we have seen the tools change

it used to be that we had tools and had to encourage people to use them

now they live inside these tools like facebook and google docs and slack and work with thtm

we invited thousands of people into these tools so theyc ould co-ordinate rather then be in a broadcast mode

this consumer technology is something that they live with it

Christie George:

when media ventures started we said we were trying to find the next MoveOn

now we have funded 20 if these there is a multiplicity of examples of these tools working

the lines between these tools being fluid is shift

Ben Berkowitz:

over the last 10 years we started wiht trying to get everyone to the table - so many more are now

the tools have become ways to have aconversation wiht thsi massive group of people that are showing up

we're starting to use Slack at seeclickfix to connect like-minded govt officials in different jurisdictions


we thought about out tools as the phone to slack to trello to google docs to in-person meetings

it doesn't have to be slack; next year it wont be slack, but we could get volunteers managing volunteers

we had people send 8 million individual text messages organised by 2 people on slack

I got trained on slack with a video, then introduced into a movie channel in slack, someone brought me in

so there was a way to stop the work channels being swamped with untested people

Ben Berkowitz:

one challenge we have had with workers lab is anonymity, and how anonymous you can be

the degree of anonymity with inofrmation given to government is tricky

doing something like reporting your employer needs more anonymity that we have

finding something inbetween the full anonymity and full knowledge is tricky

Zack Exley:

when we used slack there was always something we wanted to be a bit different

even with a campaign we could not necessarily hire developers to customise it

we did have one developer on staff who was #3 at Stripe and he glued the systems together with code


we used the consumer platforms until they were breaking, but they were always better than things we had made

we did assignments in this complex scripted google sheet, and we only used a developer when it broke

Zach and I just wrote a book Rules for Revolutionaries -use consumer software is a rule

Christie George:

we fund people to build things, and building isn't necessarily the first thing to do

Carmen Rojas:

when we did our first accelerator, about 10% were I want to be the X for workers - uber for workers

by not moving in that direction we learned that they weren't user-driven but investor-driven

engaging with things that people are actually using is important


really simple stuff like trello and google docs work well - if our documentation was bad they'd edit and fix it

as they were using something we made, they would re-edit things becasue they could

Zack Exley:

everybody lives on facebook now and they do use it to organise

bernie supporters built up strong communites on facebook and did incredible stuff

the bernie network turned out hundreds of people though facebook and got good at it

the other piece of software that we used was an automated dialer, and it wasn't very good

Christie George:

the color chain has been doing text message parties - using technology to bring people together in real life


we had 3 people in DC who wrote emails every day about how bad things were and send money

an organiser in SF warned me the email didn;t come out, and she missed it

so the daily email was news about the campaign as well as appeals

Ben Berkowitz:

The Bernie campaign was the best use of all the tools - the gimmicks people have used on us witj email wore out

Carmen Rojas:

what are the limits - how do we get from witnessing to taking action?

Zack Exley:

we would get people into rooms and use mass meetings to get people committed to events

email did not convert to phone banking, which is scary boring work

but if we brought in speakers from the campaign to a meeting we would get 160 people

so then we used these meetings to recruit phone banking in person, where people would commit

we had to build an organisation out of volunteers because we didn't have staff

we would send 1000 emails out to get 100 people onto conference calls to volunteer

we set up a helpdesk for people with campaign issues - they responded to over a million emails


some things you can trust people to do. there will be an error rate, but you need volunteers for scale

also staff messes up too, not just volunteers

Christie George:

we just funded a highly speculative project by Witness to combine Periscope with remote task helpers

one space wheer we have seen startups working on social voting - to give info about down-ballot races

it's not necessarily about the information so much as motivation to get involved

Ben Berkowitz:

being conscious about what feedback loops you can provide between users and networks

the person using periscope did not expect the feedback loop, but without it they wouldn't do it again

the thing that gets more people to come back is knowing that the issue has been acknowledged

if you build feedback that builds social cohesion, people wil come back


one of the most important things is the people, not the system or tools - you have very motivated people

your tool provided a channel for a community of people that existed already


we were never about the tools, but getting people to solve problems together

how often do we have insurgent presidential candidates? rarely, so we need to do more between elections

it's about enabling stuff to happen - talking as much about meetings as we did about software

Zack Exley:

for we want to run local people against incumbents

we'd want to run people who reflect their district culturally - it's not 3rd party but a slate


how do you deal with control and decision making in open systems?

Ben Berkowitz:

some cities we have large networks of people, so it pares down to a block

we don't cherish freedom of speech above respect

we are resolution focused - not of just screaming into space

we have had to mediate disputes amongst neighbours before now


one fo the ways that we organised was 'here's the work we're trying to do' -

if you don't like this plan, go organise another plan yourself, aso people did

if peopel just wanted talk about issues or strategy we kicked them out so we could focus on work

Zack Exley:

I started out as a labour organiser and we kept losing campaigns

we found that the 3 worst people would turn up and say 'we'll run this campaign"

and they woudl put off all the good people

so we were working towards a goal- @bbond set the dialer up so they could talk to voters

once we had important work for people to do the organising centred around that work

we tried to do it for the DNC convention without the urgency of the presidential campaign, and it didn't happen


you literally have to ask the unproductive people to leave if they are disrupting things


I'm from Switzerland, and we have to vote 4 times a year how do we explain complex issues

Carmen Rojas:

the Affordable Care act got support through videos on Funny Or Die - fitting info into leisure

Ben Berkowitz:

my sense is that it is not about the tools, it is about the message - you need to find why they would care


the political science on influence is not how you say the message, but how it is delivered

so if you can have someone tell a person directly that will work better than a mass message

if you have people but not funds, you can work on the person to person aspect of this


at scale, how do you direct effort towards a new task? What feedback did you have to know it was executed?

as an older millennial, I see the younger millennials use different rules

Ben Berkowitz:

once you get a like minded group of people at scale they will adapt the system

during the boston bombing we had people offering up their homes for people stranded on our network

there is a lot of FUD about millennials not participating in material ways

recently we launched seeclickfix on a campus because yikyak banter was full of issue reporting


the 16-25 millennials are amazing - way better than the older ones - they are very team oriented and work focused

intersectionality is natural to the 16-25 millennials - they know it takes work not just posting online

as this group ages up we need to focus on empowering them and helping them go for big solutions

I'm super excited and hopeful about this cohort

Christie George:

it's not about the tools, but about the people

Ben Berkowitz:

In New Haven, CT when the campaign wrapped up the Bernie team replaced the speaker of the house in a midterm

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