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On avoiding working on the wrong thing

Have you heard about the Rubylith? Probably not; neither had I until I stumbled on this story. In short, before desktop publishing, the best way to layout a complicated image for printing was to cut a rubylith, which is a translucent sheet of thin plastic. A craftsperson would carefully cut the ruby, knowing that the parts it covered would reflect …

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3 skills leaders need to develop to avoid losing their communities

How can we avoid losing communities that trust us? In 2014, Makerbot was the fastest-growing open-source 3D printing startup, made possible because they were riding on the back of their strong and generous open-source community that they had built. The community was sharing new innovations, freely available in open source, and Makerbot was integrating them into their 3D printers, making …

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If we don’t pursue growth and profit, then what?

Like many, I’ve been indoctrinated into believing growth and maximizing profits is something we should pursue when starting a business. And some of my most read and shared articles are about how to grow and scale quickly. So I’ve unconsciously been rewarded for promoting this idea, which made me question this idea even less.  As many as well, I’ve also …

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How working with communities can make your organization antifragile and future-proof

The Encyclopedia Britannica was born In 1768 in Edinburgh to change how people accessed vast amounts of knowledge. And it became the encyclopedia that was in print for the longest time. But 2010 arrived, and it had to close its doors, forever. An institution that endured 244 years wasn’t able to adapt itself to the Internet and Wikipedia’s bulldozing power. Mass participation …

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On standing up for something

People are ready to give their lives for some causes. To hurt their financial or social wellbeing to stand up for what they believe in. To say no for things that matter. Although I’ve said “no” to many things I didn’t believe in and wouldn’t make me proud, taking a stand is something that still scares me. What if people …

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What you need to embrace before opening the gates to participation

In 2008, Obama became the US president thanks to the ways he invited the crowd to participate. In 2014 Podemos barged into the spanish political scene by betting everything on their bottom-up strategy. But both Obama and Podemos community support slowly fizzled once they got elected.  And these are just two examples. Over the last few years, community building, crowdsourcing, …

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Demystifying Community Onboarding: How to get people to engage

Gathering a crowd can be challenging. But once you’ve gotten it together, getting it to collaborate can be even more challenging. I’ve been part of many communities. Some that worked better than others. From tiny local communities to communities that worked across the globe through forums and Zoom. Most were full of energetic and proactive people, but very few managed …

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Building communities as counterpowers

In history, there are few catalysts that have massively changed our world at a rapid pace through the process of creative destruction where someone comes with a better solution that breaks things that worked for the rest. At the beginning of industrialization it was technology. But for the last 20 years, network effects have taken an even bigger role in …

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Communities Are Awesome

We all want a community to collaborate with our organisation, but most of us are afraid to actually start or join one. A community business has a different soul than a solo entrepreneur or freelance. But when faced with the actual opportunity to be a part of one, most people hesitate. Not that it’s a decision to be taken lightly…the …

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How to protect an idea that’s easy to steal

The iPhone got “stolen” by Android. Sonos got allegedly stolen by Amazon and Google. And we can find fifty chinese companies selling the same chargers on Amazon, which means they pretty much all “steal” from each others’ designs. And more recently the Internet Archive opened a National Emergency Library with 1.4 million uncopyrighted books, and although most books are from …