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Citizen Space is Expanding!

Citizen Space Chandelier Equally exciting to me is this second announcement. Yep. We are expanding Citizen Space thanks to an awesome series of fortunate events:

  1. Elisabeth Norris - I hired Elisabeth back in November, I think it was, to be my personal assistant. She has demonstrated that she is so amazing and capable that I decided to hire her full-time to become the General Manager of Citizen Space. Say hi. She rocks.
  2. EqualityCamp - On January 3, we had EqualityCamp, which got bigger than we expected, so we had to move to a bigger space. I placed a phonecall to my landlord and he donated a space on the 1st floor to us that I totally fell in love with.
  3. David Hall - Awesomest landlord ever. Hands down.
  4. The overall success of Citizen Space - We've been full since month 3, I believe, and have been turning people away for years. We are adding 12 desks (for a total of 20), so we should be able to accommodate everyone now!

The details of the space:

- we are moving downstairs in the same building. We'll still be at 425 - 2nd Street, but in suite 100 instead of 300 (in the loading dock - used to be a gym). - the new space is 3500 ft2 (plus a sizeable loft) - 2000+ additional square feet to what we currently have. - we're building in a fully loaded kitchen to the space. - there are two bathrooms in the space. - there is one large boardroom that we will eventually turn into 2 (convertible to one large one) - there is more common space - instead of having a 40 person limit to events, we will have a 100 person limit - rents stay the same as advertised

We'll be doing the grande unveiling March 1st, but people that want to see the new space who are interested in a desk when we open can ping either Elisabeth or myself and arrange a tour for closer to the end of February. We'll be posting photos along the way, tweeting and blogging the transformation, too!

This is super exciting to me and I hope to have my new team working out of the space from time to time! :)



Better Barrels and the Creation of (super)Heroes

Brooklyn Superhero Supply on Flickr[Refill your superhero supplies on Flickr by sodapop]

This has been one busy, yet transformational, month for me.

It all started with my participation in TED 2008 in Aspen, Colorado. TED, for those of you who haven't heard of it, stands for Technology Entertainment Design, and it is an invitation-based conference. It is also, bar-none, the most inspirational conference I've ever attended. Inspirational because each and every one of the speakers weren't just talking about small ideas and weren't just doing smart, interesting things. Inspirational because each and every one of the speakers were talking about BIG, earth-shattering ideas and doing incredibly world-changing things. And they all had incredible passion. Incredible. This, coupled with the fact that the attendees were hand-chosen as world-changers themselves made for a really transformative experience.

But the one drawback for me was, because of the prohibitive cost ($3000-6000+) of attending, many world-changers I know of weren't able to be part of it. AND because of that barrier, a smaller group gets moved to the level that I was moved. I sat there wanting to take that energy and spread it to a wider group of people...especially people who may never get to be in that room.

Especially after a talk by Dr. Philip Zimbardo (otherwise known as Dr. Z) on The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.

Dr. Z's basic premise is this: There are no 'bad apples', only bad barrels. Inside of each of us is the propensity to act like a hero or act like a villian. He has a great deal of amazing research to back this up. He was behind the Stanford Prison Experiment in 1971 that took a healthy, nice group of middle-class kids and put them under conditions that led to the kids playing 'guards' treating the kids playing 'prisoners' so inhumanely, they had to call the experiment off. The amount of time to the shut-down of the experiment? 6 days. Similarly, Zimbardo discusses Abu Ghraib as a site for creating a similarly 'evil creation' environment, leading everyday 'nice' soldiers to treat their prisoners with sadism and extreme cruelty and humiliation. The book cites multiple examples around the world, including the awful genocide in Rwanda, where people raped and slaughtered former friends, family members, neighbors and coworkers.

Just writing that paragraph emotionally kills me. But the evidence astoundingly points to the bad barrels theory. Zimbardo does not take the responsibility off of the apples in that barrel, but the evidence that 'nice' people can turn evil is compelling. The beauty of this theory is that it gives us a clue as to the conditions for the creation of evil acts, which we can then avoid, and similarly, gives us a clue as to the opposite conditions: the conditions to create heroic acts.

And that is when it dawned on me: what if we had a *camp to create heroes? What if I put together a (super)HeroCamp to not only create heroes, but to create heroes that create MORE heroes? If I could sit down with many of those people I was missing at TED and come up with a plan to build better barrels....what would happen? So, I set up the wiki page and tweeted my intentions, getting alot of instant support.

So, this August in Vancouver, BC, Canada, a legion of Heroes will gather around the idea to create legions of Heroes. We've picked a narrow area to start with so that we can really focus a program: education. Over the duration of 4-5 days, we will come up with a plan that is easily executable by legions of others and the materials (website, print materials, etc.) that can help anyone interested to this spread it further.

Or, that's the hope anyway. :)

My new goal is to look at creating the conditions in as many places possible to create (super)Heroes and radically subvert those barrels that create villians. Ideas are welcome and your involvement is necessary. I know there are many (super)Heroes that read this blog. :)



Some new projects I'm working on...

At some point I'm going to have to stop and remind myself that I can't be involved in everything I'm passionate about...but for now, we have a couple of new projects and events that I'd like to announce.

Media Web Meetups

We started working with Songbird, the open source media browser, just about a month and a half ago. We've actually been trying to cut back on client work as much as possible so we can concentrate on more community projects, but this one sucked me in. First of all I love that it is an open source project, but most of all, I loved the idea that Rob Lord, the CEO, talks about: The Open Media Web. We have the open web, the stuff of Microformats, OpenID, Oauth, etc., but what does it mean for those developing media rich sites? Players? Etc.

Well, since we thought this was a topic that is of far wider importance than just Songbird, we suggested we start a series of meetups to discuss the various aspects of this. What are the formats? Protocols? Standards? Are they open enough? Taking a look at how the music industry is changing lately, we think this is going to be an important discussion.

We're starting out the meetups on November 13 at 1-3pm at the Songbird offices where Mike Linksvayer from Creative Commons will lead the discussion on the Rock'n'Revival that is happening.


Earlier this year, David Crow, Jay Goldman and Mark Kuznicki (amongst others) helped put together a BarCamp-style gathering to bring together members of the Toronto Transit Commission and riders to improve and figure out the future of the TTC. It was a huge hit. Funnily enough, since moving to San Francisco, I've done nothing but bellyache about the transit down here. What is considered world class by many of the locals is nothing compared with the ease of use I found in Toronto.

After a really great discussion led by Adina Levin at BarCampBlock, we decided that what we need to do is to stop bellyaching and start putting together a similar event to TransitCamp in Toronto...only, because we are dealing with several different commissions, it would extend far beyond MUNI or BART or Caltrain, that it would include all of the Bay Area systems we could gather and more. To me, transit is a core area of sustainability. We don't own a car, mostly by choice. We use Zipcar (who I should include, eh?), and all of the above systems. It's not easy and somedays I'm ready to cave, but it is really important for me to see what we can do as citizens to help bring it up to the type of standards that will make it a no-brainer for everyone to use transit instead of driving.

The event is being planned here on the wiki for February 23-24, 2008, but if you are interested in joining the organizers in making it happen or have any contacts you could share with us to get the right people down there, please join us in the Google Group.


The good folks at Google approached us after the success of BarCampBlock and asked us if we had a dream camp we would like to do, what could they help make happen. Both Chris and I enthusiastically replied GreenDevCamp! This is perfect as it fits right into Google's sustainable initiatives and it takes a bunch of organizing pressure off of us. Leslie Hawthorn has been working hard to secure space (even sleeping space), wifi and food for us to develop all sorts of Green Apps and APIs over the weekend of April 19-20 so everyone will be ready to launch just in time for Earth Day!


I think that's it so far. A couple more irons in the fire and, of course, still traveling around doing that Government 2.0 stuff as well as the Coworking, BarCamp, Spread Love, the book, etc. etc. There may also be a eGovDevCamp on December 7-9 in Washington, DC (stay tuned).



Awesome new Coworking Spaces + Upcoming Events to Notice

Coworking Spaces

Berkeley Coworking, Berkeley, CA

Berkeley finally has it's own Coworking space! Put together by the ever-awesome Christopher Allen, it is conveniently located at 2930 Shattuck Suite 305 (cross-street Ashby and near Asby BART) in Berkeley.

Grande Opening event here: (this Friday...)

cooperBricolage, Manhattan, NY

Talked about here on the Coworking blog, Sanford Dickert, a professor at Cooper Union (amongst many other things), has busted his tail to find an affordable, workable solution to solving a daily hangout for indies in Manhattan. Enter Cafe cooperBricolage! The solution? Use a restaurant that isn't open during the day! It seems to be humming along with killer bandwidth and plenty of amenities. I'm looking forward to hanging out when we are back in NYC. Finding reliable, free wifi without the pressure of buying endless coffee wasn't easy.

Hat tip to Nate Westheimer for the name Cafe Bricolage.


There are actually several on the brink of opening, but I won't mention them quite yet...


BarCampBlock, Palo Alto, CA - August 18-19th

Marking the 3rd annual BarCamp (and second year anniversary), this year's BarCamp anniversary will take place full circle back in the same place it started: SocialText's offices... and spilling out into the streets! Yep. We will be working with SocialText to get this puppy off the ground with the goal of having a multi-office party starting SocialText's offices... and maybe looping in nearby neighbors like Facebook, iMeem, IDEO, Edgeio and so on.

SocialNetworkDevCamp, Richmond, CA - September 8-9

SocialNetworkDevCamp will focus on API and Widget development from Facebook, Twitter, Pownce, Linked In and others. The camp will also start the process of identifying open APIs and data structures which would facilitate the creation of open standards for social networking.

Much like the uber popular & successful, iPhoneDevCamp, the SNDC is focused on development...actually making stuff!