this photo is from today's jelly at house 2.0. check out the work at jelly flickr group for more photos.
happy 2nd birthday to "work at jelly!"
today, i headed uptown to House 2.0 for a bit of organic coworking and to be a member of "24 hours of jelly." if you haven't heard of jelly, it's really something you should check out... (you should also check out episode 3 when i visited jelly last summer).
what is jelly? imagine opening up your house to the coolest people in the world and just geeking out. well, that's jelly. sometimes it's super productive (like two weeks ago in brooklyn) or it turns into a gab fest when a CNN reporter shows up. eatherway, it's one of the best ways to meet new people and extend your social network.
it really doesn't take much to host a jelly - set a date, email your friends and set up a wiki. yup, it's that simple. i hope to jell with you some time soon!
in the grand scheme of things i've realized that no longer am i working on just a series of integrated topics, but an eco-system of systems and values. before i start tripping over myself in post-calvinesque arguments (i am in geneva till saturday), i'm struggling to iron out the complete landscape that sits beneath (or behind) the past seven months. for now let's call this an re-introduction to the luck of seven.
not only have i decided that i'll parlay the past seven months into a new media experience (children's book, a vlog reboot and movie), but i now understand the seven topics to be the basis of a strategic framework. when i first wrote down the seven topic, i had this notion that i was setting out to document the best of the best of our new world. if there was ever a cataclysm, we could use this framework to rebuild society. now more than ever, i see that this notion is not too far fetched from those ideals, but need to be crystalized into a yummy chocolate bunny for the masses.
first you'll need to understand that this is an eco-system. as established from the Wealth of Networks, this network has revolutionized all methods of production. we are sitting within the new age of mechanization. the highly organized world of central nodes are struggling to keep up with the ever adaptable biological structure called humanity. last year at this time, my brain imploded when i heard ben cerveny give a presentation on metaphors. at last year's LIFT 07, he linked technological metaphors to biological systems. one year later with several more books in my head and thousands of kilometers beneath my feet, i have a hard time seeing metaphors. i see we create networked systems in attempt to mimic the biological systems we are... granted this is a viewpoint from a high vantage point, this is the beginning of it all.
welcome to my / our new world.
as i've tried to explain countless times this is not just a basic networked system but a system of systems of systems upon systems. i know a few people are trying to ground this system in trust, kharma, love, lust, id, etc... and i have yet to discover the core of why people self subscribe to this society. maybe it is the fact that in this age you can be whom ever you want. not in the simple context that we can change our bodies, but in the fact we can adapt our brain to systems that are expressive to our own identities.
wither it's drupal or joomla, or myspace or facebook, we cling to the notion of brands because they are labels of culture we know. as far as i know brands will always exist... brands extrude reputation. how is this central to my argument? well in this world we can create any brand we want. if we know how to have a conversation, phrase an argument and use the digital / social tools; we can build anything we want... the idealist world we dream is at our finger tips.
how do these networks operate in the real space? are online values and systems transferable to the physical world?
the past seven months have not only been a journey around the world, but a journey into the internet. a journey i thought one could ever take. from one email to another, i came to the realization that my conversations things connected me through the internet. they connected me to the medium of the world.
now there are many more questions than i have answers. i can only proclaim what i've seen. i can only tell you what has happened to me and what i've touched with my own two hands...
what i have seen is a system built on the idea that the world is a free place. the world is not to be abused, robbed, raped, or pillaged... granted these things happen but in the end that is not the central activity of the world. there is giving, there is taking. there is a free and open exchange of knowledge. not everyone is willing to give up the same information that someone else has, but in the general context of things, most individuals will offer assistance when asked. sometimes, they'll give more assistance than nesscary.
when connected to an information network, the cost of entry to a global conversation diminishes. yet these acts of selflessness, greed or pride amass an unprecedented amount of knowledge and participation... this is the world we are in now. you can easily find the world's knowledge at the click of a button. wether it is right or wrong is a whole nother question, but it's there.
the more that we toyed with these spaces the more we found out that we can bring these ideas "offline" and into the physical space. egalitarian notions of software was just the beginning. from email to blogs the democratizing of information drove us to the point where we no longer needed someone to tell us how we can participate in the conversation.
if you look at the explosive growth of freelancers (some can be considered outsourcers, or out-sorcerers), you will see nothing more than an the democratizing of work. this work has always existed, this has always been the central tenet of industrialization. yet in the 21st century, this has spread forth across the globe and evolved into a multitude of ideas unheard of several years ago, BUT that doesn't mean that these elements of culture didn't exist before hand... they have always existed. some were too expensive (multimedia production); others were too obscure to discover (couchsurfing.com / global freeloaders).
when it comes to information, the merchants who raised great sums to bring us the best of the silk road no longer are needed. as the past ten years have taught us, the networks between us all shrink infinitely when we reach out. albeit it is still a costly investment, the new silk road is assessable to more. from electricity, to hardware, to communications infrastructure, to education... we are slowly whittling down the cost of access. once on the road, or as it was one called "the information super highway" we are privy to the world's infinite connections of enlightenment.
when it comes to the physical, many have realized we are no longer are we willing to deal with the limitations of a world dictated to us. if we can freely converse online, who is to limit our ability to organize physically? if we have the ability to build online, we are freely able to build upon other's words for the betterment of our collective knowledge, goods and services. for the past seven months i've been blessed to freely exchange ideas, content and build physical structures were the net benefit is the sum of all of its parts.
the world online is no more online than it is an offline activity. for the past five years i've been privy to a front seat exploration of politics, policy and products are free to change and grow as we see fit. incredibly we've openly recognized that we can not exist in an online only environment. some of us call it jelly, coworking, foocamp, unconfrences, barcamp, mashpits, meetups, devhouses, saturday houses, workshops, clubs, etc...
more and more we are coming together to physically represent the world we see online. if there isn't a physical representation, we dust off obscure solutions or build replacements for a world once dominated by a heroical structure dominated by others.
we have the power. we are the future. without a doubt, the world today is dominated by freedom. freedom to move from one system or another... from one workshop to another... from one conversation to another... from online to offline... it is now up to us to perpetuate the love of knowledge into an eternity of wisdom.
this is the wealth of networks. this is the luck of seven. we are the starfish generation!
i stand and look out at the wonder that is the world. beneath my feet, embedded in my flip flops are the peeples of discomfort, the ignorance of sand and the wet and wild world we call earth. in four short days, my journey will officially end. in four short days, i will return to new york city.
it's been seven months from my bed, my friends, my "stuff," and any notion of disposable income. i know little has changed; i know i am not the same. as the days wind down i face another moment of reflection. each passing mirrored moment, i see a million lessons wrapped into one epic journey.
but for this this morning, my brain feels a bit scattered. maybe it's the strong texas coffee. maybe it's my body still recovering from Barcamp TX and three nights of restless sleep. maybe it's the fact that i now see my footsteps as a thin film of butter on a global piece of rye toast...
maybe it's the understanding that for everyday after next, the job gets tougher and tougher. no longer can i skate bye and say, i'm skimming the global ice. now it's time to tighten up the laces, grab the hockey stick and summarize my understanding into the back of a net.
for the past two weeks, dr miggy has given me the gift of love and a small little space to carve out my ice sculpture. a week from now, i will be penniless in geneva while having the honor to help host the open stage conversations at LIFT. subsequently, i will get five minutes to present my sculpture. :)
...but before the moderate temperatures of time start to melt my understanding of the world, the following are the seven lessons of this journey...
"when facing goliath, bring your own sling shot." - egyptian linux users group; open source software users in egypt.
"the end of the world is a great place to put ideas on their head." - cowork central; providence in ushuaia
(btw, i originally started to break out each lesson via continent, but quickly discovered that the lessons were mirrored everywhere. these seven lessons are will grow to be the basis of the children's book and the documentary film.)
in many ways i feel that i should retitle this journey as "the luck of seven - the re-education of noneck." in reality, it's more discovery than education. when i departed NYC, there was a blank screen with ideas to note, places to walk and face to see.
with 11 days till my six month anniversary of departure, i know these few weeks in ushuaia are just the start. coddled by my global family of geeks, the end of the world features no wikipedia entry, no bulletin board, no hospitality club of wayward transportation. the step from here to the last continent is going to be rough (and of my own decision).
out of all the antarctic travelers whom i met, there's not a single one who hasn't paid less that $4,000 USD in transportation costs (and that's just the boat and hotels here in Ushuaia). while deep down i know there is another way, i know that it won't be easy. the lonely planet guide to boat hitching is clean and simple - don your largest smile, grab some cash, go to the water front and wait.
with temperatures hovering up and down in the 50°s (teens°C) and the wet weather less than perfect, i've been reluctant to be brass. short of donning a skimpy cocktail dress and hitting up every tourist bar, i've scratched every possible option only to find no easy winning number.
as i've pondered these externalities, i've internalized a few of them and wonder where is my ushuaia? if my future idealist vision of the world is antarctica, what part of civilization is closest to it. granted there's a bunch of hard work between here and there, but where do i find that port city that has the most opportunities?
when this trip is over, i'll be living in and out of houston, tx to be with the 8th wonder of my world. when this trip is over and for the next year, i have a long walk back to humanity - i'll work on the two luck of seven books, a movie and finding funding for the three. while my physical placement might be temporary, dr. miggy and i will spend the next year researching our next port of call.
after everything i've seen, touched, smelled and tasted, i can not give up finding the illustrious seventh continent.
i need to find some market statistics on the amount of capital based on the use of open source software. i can't seem to recall any particular statistic, but if my guestimication is correct, the world is pawned by open source. as i journey further down the rabbit hole, i can't help but to think of the digital ecology that surround this trip. i can't stop thinking about the alternative economy that we have built.
for now, i'm going to address the ecology of things and research later the market statistics...
there is one person who i can thank. while mr. meyers and i stayed up late chatting about the world, some english movie writer bloke inquired about the two stoic americans sitting at the hotel's gas fireplace sippin brews. after a bit of introduction, the tall overly intoxicated english bloke said this project was ALL wrong. now i'm paraphrasing what he said but it went something like... "arrrr matie, these fish scales don't add up... yarr, ecosystem is the wrong term..."
i asked him why, and he couldn't retort...
ok, so i know it's a bit freaky to think about computers as a part in our "organic" world, but stick with me for a second here... if we think about what we put into our bodies, do we ever really think about the converse?
do we think how our bodies are put into tools?
for the sake of the argument, i'm going to write some proofs. first, we use tools to make things. therefore, these tools became a conduit for the creation of a physical organic object. (this might be an overly materialist perspective, but i'll eventually find a master theory) almost every object we have in our possession creates some-type of emotion. just think of all the nicknacks you have in your house. better yet, think of your cubical on a monday morning. what type of emotions do they invoke?
well, in today's world, the digital tools we have at hand also have the same ability to create a similar emotion. these tools do not always create physical things, but the things we create still invoke emotion. while i've been on the road, any personal email revives the thought that someone cares about me. every comment proves that someone is reading my babble. while i might be a million miles away, these messages invoke emotional responces. i am tied to my friends THROUGH the tools at hand.
these tools also help us connect efficiently. just imagine if this trip would have been done 20 years ago. email, wikipedia, flickr, facebook - all nonexistent.
now that we've efficiently connected our mental communication, i still see our desire for physical connection. not to say that the physical connection is any more efficient, but we are discovering new pathways of physical communication efficiency. just take a look at meetup.com, care2.org, any one of the leading american presidential candidates... these all have multiple digital tools bring individuals together to make a physical organic meeting blossom.
yet, time and time again, i find people disassociating the value of the "technological" tool. many do not see it as an out growth of an organic being. if i was to talk about prosthetics, medicine, automobiles, gps, etc... it's easy to see how technology helps connect us. yet, many find it hard to see digital tools are elements of our organic being.
as my life's journey has taken me here and there, it took me awhile to fully understand why... it seems that we are too soon to adopt "geek" speak as branding and disassociate the product from society. maybe it's our inherent distrust of advertisement, or maybe it's our inherent buy-in? in the end, it seems that we disassociate the tool from it's utility. "this is not a cell phone. this is an iphone. it is a revolutionary device!"
no longer can i disassociate the use of technology from it's heritage of connecting people. through greenpeace's green my apple campaign, i've become acutely aware of the harm our digital tools can produce. at the same time, i see digital tools as an extension of the hammer, shovel and plow. regardless of marketing, the digital tools are here and they are extend our environment. through the seven topics, i am now acutely aware of a peer to peer ecosystem that seeks to coexist within a broadcast ecosystem.
as contributions continue to trickle in, i find my self in total awe. my friends (known and unknown) have installed a new version of "core." i have profuse thanks for michael meyers, cto of nowpublic.com, for hosting me in his hotel room and proving to be one amazing friend. without michael, i would have been one hungry mo-fo... many thanks to alex, boris, rolando, eric, and brian for bailing out a "brudda from a different mudda." my trip to vangroovy couldn't have happened without your help. THANK YOU!
on 07 july 2007, noneck noel (aka noel a. hidalgo) will depart new york city for a journey around the world to learn from you. affably named "on the luck of seven" or "luck of seven." this is an open-source journey documenting free culture, social innovators and global change.
for seven months, i will stand on the seven contents, dive into the seven oceans, and contemplate seven topics of freedom. while on the way, i will document the journey through stories, photos and videos. this is not my story, this is our story. though your hospitably, donations, projects, connections and friends, our stories will merge into one.
as i wander the earth, my broad shoulders will bear seven topics of freedom: free culture; free and open-source software communities; couchsurfers, bloggers, fellow travelers and vloggers; agents of progressive social change; barcamp, coworking and meetups; happenstance, and climate change. all work will be produced under a creative commons license. all-in-all, this 21st century anthropological view of the personalities in physical / digital world we cohabit will always be freely available.
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This is a 21st century journey to the intersection of digital and organic communities. Communicating through a digital medium that has no borders, I want to share with you how this new world interacts.
- Free culture. After a half-century of broadcast communications dictating the common perspective, people are now reconnecting—one-on-one, peer-to-peer, node-to-node—and proving that traditional copyright and patent restrictions need to be reformed to promote creativity.
- Free and open-source software. Software should be a tool, like a shovel. With zero distribution cost, global, boundless open-source communities are competing in a world of co-opetition.
- Couchsurfers and bloggers. People—from those who blog their souls to those who reserve their couch for strangers—are using technology to augment real-world relationships and bring modernism back to our post-modern world.
- Barcamps, unconferences, meetups, and coworking. The online digi-world uses physical ad-hoc meetings to socialize, share, and advance ideas.
- Agents of progressive social change. Inventors and concept peddlers—though not always leaders—change the way we think about the world through technology.
- The environment. When we outsource jobs, we outsource pollution, waste, and other negative impacts of consumerism; we need to continue to use technology to educate the public on the true footprint of the products we use and lifestyles we choose.
- Happenstance. Receiving a random e-mail, discovering a flickr profile, stumble-surfing across a facebook page, connecting in a café—the world grows smaller with every person we meet, and there is an art to discovering their stories.”
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- Transitions Online - http://www.tol.cz - founded in 1999, this Czech non-profit was founded to replace it's print predecessor, transitions magazine. TOL works within the vast post-communist region of eastern europe to help young, up-and-coming journalist to take advantage of electronic communications for journalism.
- Mobile Active - http://mobileactive.org - MobileActive is a global network of people, tools, projects, and resources focused on the use of mobile phones for activism, campaigns, and civic engagement. Mobile Active focuses in on four principles.
- expand access to knowledge, ideas and experience about the use of mobile technology
- reduce learning costs for civil society organizations
- accelerate the use of effective tactics in campaigns
- provide a comprehensive platform for building partnerships, and for facilitating access to technology and funding
- Michael David Vineyards - http://www.lodivineyards.com/ - home to the award winning seven deadly zins and seven heavenly chards. Michael~David Vineyards produces seven brands of distinctive wines for each of your varied whimsical desires. Michael and David Phillips represent the fifth generation of growers in Lodi, and things are changing. With 350 acres of premium wine grapes, there is plenty of room for experimentation and innovation. The vineyards are irrigated by the Mokelumne River, which carries crystal-clear water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains, depositing minerals into the rich soils upon which the grapes thrive. Though not certified organic, Michael~David Vineyards strives to use all natural methods including integrated pest management, beneficial insects for pest control, trellising, leaf pulling and natural mined sulfur for mildew control.
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as for fundraising, once i reach my travel budget of USD $7,777, i will donate 75% of profits to non-profit communities that exemplify the luck of seven. (25% each)
- Not an Alternative - http://www.notanalternative.net - a little over a year ago, i was exposed to a wonderful community of artists, political organizers, freelance workers and free thinkers. not an alternative & the change you want to see gallery calls a modest williamsburg store front home. daily you can come joining us for coworking brooklyn or for monthly salons and performances. as not an alternative looks to expand their offering, i am donating 25% of this projects profits.
located in williamsburg, brooklyn and home to brooklyn's coworking, Not an Alternative functions as a collaborative office, props production, public relation, and cultural production company. in 2007, Not an Alternative will launch a television channel dedicated to highlighting the modern political strife through a comical and entertaining lens.
- Drupal Association - http://association.drupal.org - since 2004, i have found myself immersed within a socially astute and technology savvy community who understand the importance of peer to peer communication and dialogue. world renown as one of the best content management systems, late last year, the drupal community established a non-profit to help guide and oversee the drupal project. as one of the new york city organizers and evangelists, i am donating 25% of profits.
as a hobbyist, dries buytaert, tinkered with building an open-source content management system. in 2003, his CMS was selected to be the back bone of the Howard Dean presidential campaign and afterward became the default CMS for politically minded and socially active organizations. the drupal association manages the infrastructure, funding and promotion of the community driving project. (donate)
- Couchsurfing - http://couchsurfing.com - imagine a world where you can travel the globe and have a buddy in every town. imagine, a traveler coming into your home and together you learn from each other. now imagine, these connections stemming from a social networking site. in spite of what most read or watch on television, there is a vast network of free spirits who have no problem opening their doors and allowing fellow travelers to share their home. as an avid host and supporter of couchsurfing, i am donating 25% of profits.
CouchSurfing is not about the furniture, not just about finding free accommodations around the world; it's about making connections worldwide. We make the world a better place by opening our homes, our hearts, and our lives. We open our minds and welcome the knowledge that cultural exchange makes available. We create deep and meaningful connections that cross oceans, continents and cultures. CouchSurfing wants to change not only the way we travel, but how we relate to the world! (donate)
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my life started the 24th of May in 1978 to two US Air Force officers. my father describes the day as if it was yesterday. in the scheme of things, no time has passed. Over the years and through countless moves, i matured into a politically active, scooter riding, gentrifying hipster living in the Kingdom of Slackers most call North Brooklyn. unlike most or maybe more like the rest, i have tried to do new and interesting things to change the world. on my path, i have loved, laughed and lost.
through the jobs, half-technical / half-political, i have found my self in a whole new world. grounded in our inherent biology, we are quickly staring at a future where there are no borders. like it or not our organic lives are dependent on our digital participation. i feel blessed to have an opportunity to explore these new intersections, highways and footpaths.
while our future is unknown, change is a constant. in the spirt of the original scouting oath i took on the road to becoming an eagle scout, i will always honor the promise to do my best, to fulfill my duties to earth and all residents, and to help others at all times.
noneck noel is a freelance business and lifestyle consultant, blogger and citizen journalist. his reporting outlets include http://luckofseven.com/, a 21 century anthropology travel project documenting free culture, social innovators and global change; noneck.org, which focuses on the future of media, cities and culture; and Coworking, which takes a look at the future of freelance office collectives. infrequently, you can find his posts at onnyturf.com, on new york city political and art events; personaldemocracy.com which addresses the impact of technology on politics, and his photos have been printed in the new york post, scoot quarterly, and scootering international.
as an advocate of peer-to-peer communication, noneck has been influential in setting up collaborative office environments for nyc freelancers (coworking). from presenting to organizing, you can find him organizing and consulting on numerous grassroots empowered conversations - salzburg seminar on new networks, the lift conference in geneva, barcamp, drupalcamps, rootscamps, the pdf unconference and countless meetups.
his former political clients include john kerry for president, new york state senate minority leaders office, cam kerry for massachusetts secretary of state, the new york state democratic senatorial campaign committee, state senator josé m. serrano, new york state senator andrea stewart-cousins, the assemble for rights nyc campaign, and norman siegel for nyc public advocate. he was a technology coordinator for the 2004 democratic national convention.