If you enjoyed the music of the Film - here is a link to Soundtrack.com (a wonderful resource) and a commenatary plus clips for every track.
Social entrepreneurs are the equivalent of true business entrepreneurs but they operate in the social, not-for-profit sector building 'something from nothing' and seeking innovative solutions to social problems
Their aim is to build ‘social capital' and ‘social profit' to improve the quality of life in some of the most 'difficult' and 'excluded' communities
Their work reaches the parts of society other policy initiatives do not touch
They identify unmet social need and generate solutions based on a close reading of the views of those most directly affected
They normally work in creative partnership with central and local government, business, the churches, charities and other local and national institutions, and they are skilled at constructing such partnerships
They have frequently achieved ambitious projects and far-reaching change, in the most unpromising circumstances and with minimal resources
They recognise, encourage and employ skills from different faiths, cultures, traditions and backgrounds, bringing them together in new and creative ways to address practical problems
They are skilled at re-directing, using and regenerating under-used, abandoned, redundant or derelict human and physical resources (skills, expertise, contacts, buildings, equipment and open spaces)
What they do
Find innovative solutions to society's most pressing problems
Bring to life a strong sense of community in an alienating environment
Identify under-used resources - people, buildings, equipment - and use them to satisfy unmet social needs
Create ‘a different kind of value' - creating and investing in social capital, the network of relationships and shared values on which economic activity depends
Help people take charge of their lives - many social entrepreneurs help to create jobs
Spot gaps in provision
Names are important. When people ask me what I do, I usually stumble. I cannot find a neat term to describe myself. There is a good fit to this definition and maybe I should call myself a "Social Entrepreneur".
I found the following on the Holistic Health Phreak's Site. It all makes so much sense to me. What would a health system be like that followed these precepts?
1. Holistic physicians embrace a variety of safe, effective options in the diagnosis and treatment, including a) education for lifestyle changes and self-care, b) complementary alternatives and c) conventional drugs and surgery.
2. Searching for the underlying causes of disease is preferable to treating symptoms alone.
3. Holistic physicians expend as much effort in establishing what kind of patient has a disease as they do in establishing what kind of disease a patient has.
4. Prevention is preferable to treatment and is usually more cost-effective. The most cost-effective approach evokes the patient's own innate healing capabilities.
5. Illness is viewed as a manifestation of a dysfunction of the whole person, not as an isolated event.
6. A major determinant of healing outcomes is the quality of the relationship established between physician and patient, in which patient autonomy is encouraged.
7. The ideal physician-patient relationship considers the needs, desires, awareness and insight of the patient as well as those of the physician.
8. Physicians significantly influence patients by their example.
9. Illness, pain and the dying process can be learning opportunities for patients and physicians.
10. Holistic physicians encourage patients to evoke the healing power of love, hope humor and enthusiasm, and to release the toxic consequences of hostility, shame, greed, depression and prolonged fear, anger and grief.
11. Unconditional love is life's most powerful medicine. Physicians strive to adopt an attitude of unconditional love for patients, themselves and other practitioners.
12. Optimal health is much more than the absence of sickness. It is the conscious pursuit of the highest qualities of the physical, environmental, mental, emotional, spiritual and social aspects of the human experience.
Wikipedia is in trouble. Its servers are finished. They need $20,000 - not a lot if we all gave say $20. I think that Wikipedia is a breakthrough project that shows what can be done collaboratively. I have donated my bit. Will you?
Can you help me?
I think the time has come for me to begin to migrate to Open Source. I really do sense a sea change and am prepared to get dirty and to lose time to learn. Any advice on Open Office and Mozilla and any other tools that I will need to replace the MS stuff.
As a platform, I am also in the market for a notebook. Apple seems the way to go. The IBook 14 incher looks like what I can afford. My last Apple was an Apple II that I bought in 1981. Again any advice? Will the 14 inch IBook be Ok or do I have to step up for a Power Book?
Any general advice?
I am a bit bleary-eyed today. I read Michael Lewis's Moneyball until 1.15 last night. Some context - if sport disappeared today I would not notice. So why did I read Moneyball in one sitting/
Because it is a lesson for all of us. Moneyball looks at an extraordinary time in baseball after big money became so important. Conventional wisdom is that only the big money teams can survive because only the big money teams can afford the big money talent. Lewis asks but what about the Oakland A's? They have one of the 2 lowest player budgets and yet they are always in contention? Lewis tells the story of a movement that looks at talent and how you measure it quite differently from the CW. At how a night-watchman at a Stokely Van Camp pork and beans factory, Bill James, became a leader in this revolution. In particular, the story looks at the Aragorn of baseball - Billy Beane the Oakland GM.
The full story is weaved into one season. For someone who is indifferent to Sport, I was totally gripped by the baseball scenes. Lewis 's first book, Liars Poker, was his story of Wall Street during the boom. I have never read anything before or since that was so exciting and funny about my old business. I tell you, Lewis can write. Lewis weaves the past and the new ideas through this narriative.
The huge aha for the reader is that the revolution in understanding baseball statistics. There has been a movement , confined to outsiders, that has redefined what performance truly is in baseball. A huge part of this work cames from the quants in the securities industry. The amazing thing is that this movement has been confined to outsiders. It has passed by those who run and talk about baseball. Most management and all the press still live in the fantasy of their old unquantified dogma. There are billions at stake and they cannot see it. This refusal to "see" is for me the heart of the lesson. The lesson is that we, as in medieval times, hang onto dogma for dear life. We don't want to "see" the revealed truth, we want to live our fantasy. We will also punish the heretic.
The hope in the story is that Beane has not only a track record but now acolytes. Maybe Moneyball is the new gospel? The Blue Jays are the next team to follow the Beane way. Fed up with losing and losing money, Godfrey has hired a Beanie.
The larger lesson? That most of our big problems are the same issues of perception that surround baseball. We are gripped by a collective attachment to a fantasy about how we measure say farming and food or how we measure healthcare and education. These are fantasies and that have no connection to observed reality. But as CW we hold them dear but then wonder why we make no progress.
Our accounting system for instance makes no reference to costs that are exported to society such as pollution or unemployment. We say that these are free. GDP measures only activity and not impact. We measure healthcare and education by budget and not by outcome.
Like baseball, there are Bill James around who are starting to make sense of the new measures and there may be even some Billy Beane's who are struggling to apply this wisdom. But we are still in the denial phase.
Please don't let me put you off in making this wonderful book seem like textbook. It is a tremendous read.
My favourite review from Amazon
Take The Bats Off Your Shoulders, October 7, 2003
Reviewer: Jason A. Miller (see more about me) from Brooklyn, New York USA
Will this be the legacy of the Oakland A's? Nine consecutive losses in games that could have clinched the American League Division Series? Did you watch last night's Game 5 of the 2003 ALDS, Oakland against the Boston Red Sox? It was a remarkable bit of baseball. Even skipping all the baserunning errors and pitching changes, Oakland only trailed 4-3 in the bottom of the 9th, with Boston's highly suspect bullpen poised to give the game to Oakland.
This is how the inning unfolded for Oakland: Walk. Walk. Sacrifice bunt. Called strike three. Walk. Called strike three.
No runs. No hits. No swings. No errors. Three men left on. Red Sox 4, A's 3.
The legacy of Billy Beane is a story that's not yet fully written. There are now three AL teams that play Moneyball -- Boston and Toronto as well as Oakland. Two of those are playoff teams, and Toronto is on the march, perpetually improving third-place finishers in a strong division. The story of "Moneyball", as told by Michael Lewis, effortlessly recounts the "stathead" revolution: how analysis of baseball stats went from the only three stats shown on TV in the '70s (BA, HR, RBI), to the more complex methods espoused by Harvard men like Paul DePodesta, who came to power at the height of the small-market revolution. Unbeknownst to baseball's asleep-at-the-wheel Commissioner, there is a way to win ball games without expensive free agent signings. Billy Beane's A's have won four straight AL West titles, espousing the virtues of patience, power, pitchers who throw strikes. Under his philosophy, teams can win with or without the high-salaried slugger (Jason Giambi, who crawled his way to a .250 batting average with the Yanks in 2003), without the highly-paid manager (Art Howe, who sleepwalked his way to a last-place finish with the Mets in '03, and hopefully won't be back). Oakland wins every year, even as their salary plummets. They'll lose Miguel Tejada this winter, and still win at least 95 games in 2004. This is baseball... without the baseball.
Where are the limits to winning Moneyball? You go deep into the A's lineup in the bottom of the 9th in the One Big Game they couldn't win: where was the slugger? Where was the scary bat? For a team that prides itself on the big picture (the three-run homer), where were the fundamentals? Why didn't Eric Byrnes touch home in Game 3? Why did two different innings in Game 5 end when baserunners were gunned down (by a mile each) going for the extra base? Why did Ramon Hernandez sac-bunt in the 9th, giving the Red Sox pitchers the out they couldn't get themselves? Why didn't Melhuse and Long *swing* at strike three?
In the long run, Moneyball has proven itself to be a winning philosophy. The sabermetrics revolution is in its early stages, not its late stages -- in spite of Oakland's repeated playoff failures; in spite of Anaheim's throwback World Series win in 2002; in spite of George Steinbrenner's bank vault and cable millions. This is the wave of the future, the natural answer to baseball's escalating salary structure: you can win without paying $6 million a year to a .260 hitter who doesn't walk, or without paying Todd van Poppel money to Todd Van Poppel.
However... why are the A's 0-9 in championship games?
Why didn't the team take their bats off their shoulders when it really counted?
How do you sit 20 for a meal? You ask your cousin John Rousseau to build a table top.
Well the festivities are over. We are still all good friends as well! What is working is that we seem to have found a good mix between what we do as a group, the odd meal and some present giving, and the space that have to be alone or in our own family.
Lord of the Rings has been a huge feature for us all. Groups of us at different times have seen LOR I and II again - including the truly wonderful extended edition of LOR II. Some of us have gone off to see LOR III and others will go next week. I cannot say enough good things about the extended version that runs well over 4 hours but which fills in the context and makes the journeys so much more real. There are parts of the final version that seem flat without this context. I can't wait for the inevitable 15 hour final version of the entire movie.
James has left to visit his SO Jaimie whose father is dying of cancer. The last 2 years have been hard for all of us and this seems like the last straw. I pray that death may give us a break for a while.
I have been very much the grandfather type and had the benefit of the fun but not had to do much of the labour. I have however been a mainstay of the washing up team.
For me work begins again tomorrow. It is an exciting time for me with some wonderful work and wonderful partners. As I watched LOR, I kept thinking of how fortunate I am to have such friends and to be working together to do work that will make a difference to how we live and so in the end to our children.
"Fellowship" is a fine word.
I am no techie but I have been sensing an sea change in software from closed to open standards. I have just finished reading Clayton Christensen' latest book - The Innovators Solution - which I will review shortly. With Jim Collins, Christensen is the real thing - a seminal writer on business who, like Galileo by using observation and a powerful intellect, is discovering the truth behind the jargon.
One of the important perspectives for CC is that well managed companies create systemic vulnerability by moving upward by offering ever better products to their best customers. Seems like the right thing to do. The risk is that you create a vacuum below you of bad customers and bad products that you can no longer "see" or have a cost base to serve.
So Sam Walton builds a business based on bad customers - being small communities of 5,000 - 15,000 selling bad products that no one can make money on. Herb Kelleher at Southwest builds an airline business around a bad business - point to point short haul - with bad customers - those who pay with their own money. In this crucible of bad customers and bad products is created the Samurai sword of a powerful business model that can and will destroy the big and the flabby who stayed with the good customers and the good products.
So how does this affect software? You can buy a good desktop now for $600. How long will we pay the same money for good software? The price of the hardware is coming down so low and so fast that the software is exposed. How many of us use the full features of say Word or Excel? The big offerings are designed for the power corporate user. They are like the Airlines who cater to the business traveller. They are like the big integrated steel mills of the 1980's just waiting for the Nucor's to kill them.
The Home User is like the Southwest traveller - he just wants to get there simply at a price he can afford as he is paying the bills. He wants a product that is good enough at a price that makes sense. It's not just the home user. There are a huge number of business that could save a fortune by moving to open source. It is now good enough Good enough is the key starting point in CC's universe.
What happens next? In CC's world what is a bad product kicks off when it is is good enough to meet the needs of the bad customer. In software this is the time now. There are many Open alternatives to big software that have the functionality, the ease of use and the features that the bad customer (the one who cannot afford $400 $800 for Office) to think of adopting. With their eye on the big user, MS yields the low end - Works - to the bad customer. After all there was no margin there anyway. No margin for them that is. For a while it looks better for MS. But the open source world races upwards and improves the offering. After a while even the big user has to ask - "why are we paying all this money when the alternative is almost free? Then like the full price airlines or Kmart the game is over. The stakes are huge.
Like the mini steel mills - an opportunity is opening up to small local communities of open source experts to infiltrate the mainstream. What could we do to build a local open source education system? What about telehealth? What about a platform for running government services. All these areas are captured by the big and the flabby. We are entering a time of squeeze in government. This is the perfect time to find the inexpensive software solution that actually worked. Until now IT departments would only consider conventional big box solutions. Now they cannot afford them and they now know that most of them don't work very well.
We have bags of talent here on PEI. Enough to get started. Why don't we stop fighting each other for scraps at the government table and work to build a new system here?
Happy New Year everyone
Seb links to Sifry on the current stats for blog growth.
This the classic view of the relationship between the number of adopters - see the bell curve at the bottom that trajectory of adoption - the non linear curve. This in effect what a Tipping Point looks like
Going all the way!!!! So many things are going to be transformed. Not the least politics - see Ross's great post on Dean
What about online learning? What about post operative healing and health self help groups? I ma even talking to a good friend in the financial services industry. What would it be like to belong to a real community facilitated by a clever and human person who really knows his stuff and is not simply churning?
Things are settling down. A few emergent trends.
Kids who do not always watch TV have an almost infinite capacity to amuse themselves. Much of yesterday afternoon was spent in making a ginger bread house
Girls will be girls at all ages and they like boys. James, 23, has been surrounded nearly all the time. Jay has learnt that if he too gets close to James that some of this attention will rub off on him.
The Barn Film Festival is well underway. We all saw The Christmas Story yesterday. "You'll shoot your eye out" and "Ho Ho Ho" have entered the family lexicon. What a great film! The late show for the adults was White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. All my in laws are in show business and I was the only one who did not know that Danny Kaye was gay. This gave me a new insight into Kaye and Crosby singing "Sisters" and Kaye telling the girl who was making a play for him that he was not that type of guy. No wonder that this was the late show. We watched this while wrapping presents. Today, it is the Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim - THE version.
We are off shortly to the market. This is the big cooking day. It is also when I make my family's great contribution to Christmas - Oyster Sauce. Regretfully only my mother and Hope my daughter and I like it. But it means that there is more for me. Poach 4 dozen oyster in milk. Enough to cover all the oysters. Use a food mill to grind Cream crackers into a flour like powder. When the oysters are turning at the edges, add the cracker flour until you have a runny porridge consistency. Simmer gently for an hour. Add lots of pepper and a bit of Tabasco. Put aside and chill over night. On Christmas day add whipping cream on a low heat and stir until creamy. Put tons on your plate a a few bits of turkey and you are in heaven.
We seem to be drinking less than I thought we would. Maybe we are all getting too old?
The adults had chicken divan - A bed of blanched broccoli covered in chunks of lightly fried chicken smothered in a sauce made from a blend of condensed cream of chicken soup and mayonnaise covered in lots of grated old white cheddar and baked for 30 minutes in a 350 oven. Real comfort food and easy to do for lots of people
Mildred killed a squirrel just a moment ago - so her big day has already come.
Happy Christmas to you - I will write more on the human big day