Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'd love to have a local museum! But I'd rather it be voluntary.

A friend of mine just wrote encouraging me to participate in an event that will help raise money and awareness of a local museum. I asked if the museum would be built or supported with taxpare funds. They wrote back:

"For your information, it is mandated in the Bountiful City code that we, yes the people, we have a right and responsibility to record, archive, preserve, and disseminate the history of our community. It is not only proper that we use tax payer money for this purpose, but it is our duty and our heritage to let our children and grandchildren know where we came from and how we got here. All across America we have buildings and lands bought and paid for by tax dollars that tells of the sacrifices of each generation in making America what it is today. If you don't believe this, then don't take your children to a National Park, museum, National Cemetery, or monument, because all of these were and are funded by tax dollars."

My response:

"You are absolutely right: we have many, many buildings, museums, monuments, and lands that are funded with taxpayer money, and I agree that these add to our heritage.

"However, I think even you must admit that our government (especially at the federal level) has frequently spent our money on these things inappropriately. For the sake of one goal (eg. "building heritage"), they benefit the few at the cost of many, and they use government force to do beneficial things which weakens the efforts of those who do good work on a voluntary basis. We can build a much stronger, more resilient community through projects that accomplish these things without force.

"For example, the South Davis Recreational Center and the Rogers Memorial Theater are good examples of burdens that our local Davis county government(s) have imposed or might impose on taxpayers and local businesses, affecting either the free use of their income or the freedom to compete fairly for people's attention.

"Feel free to keep me in the loop. I would love to be part of any voluntary initiative that improves our community like this!"

FYI: I promised to contribute to the next local, voluntary project my friend brings to my attention. Hold me to that. :-) I can't promise that to everyone, but I'll appreciate knowing any of these you send my way!

Clever, Constructive Conversation (About Technology)

Come join us in an open-ended forum about technology.  This is modeled after Phil Windley's CTO Breakfast.  You can see the results of previous discussion here with my event reports.

The difference is the location: we'll do this at venues in Salt Lake City.  Fri Jan 17 2013 is at the Gateway above Jason's Deli, 2nd floor.  (Past incarnations: Max at about 70th S and 13th E; Newmont U at downtown SLC.)

You can count on bagels. (At least, you can at this location; someday we may do it in a cafeteria or restaurant, so be sure to watch the location and confirm whether food is provided or available for purchase.)

As for dates, here is the calendar and here is the iCal info. (For you real-time watchers, follow me on Twitter.)  Afterward, you can see any notes I took in this feed.

If you're interested, you're invited. Cheers!


Motivation: amazing things happen when you get together with smart people who speak their minds freely! I've had a great time at Phil's CTO Breakfast events, where many intelligent and well-networked people sit and talk in an open forum about current events and interesting projects and even crazy ideas. In the same vein, the Kynetx conferences have been eye-opening (and mind-blowing), partly because smart people come but mostly because they encourage conversations; they even had 2 "unconference" sessions where the topics and conversations were run by attendees, chosen dynamically (15 minutes before they happened). The experience is always memorable.

Monday, April 5, 2010

I disagree that IP rights are essential.

I disagree that IP rights are essential to growth, at least if they mean strong IP laws like in the US, since those are more often simply used by large companies with lawyers to bully newcomers rather than really building value. Technology nowadays is allowing us to focus on services and reputation, making distribution cheap; to continue to control the ownership of ideas and their delivery is to undermine the foundation of sharing, which is the foundation of the industry addressed in this article.

As an example, technology is enabling artists to spread their art around the world and make money from performances and other more personal approaches. The RIAA fights this with lawyers, which is their right for existing contracts; however, they have yet to show that it affects their business, and the system has also hamstrung many legitimate, innovative uses due to the heavy-handed approaches supported by government force.

Microsoft spread NOT because of IPR but rather due to effective pricing. And today’s service-oriented networks need freedom of open access, not artificially restrictive “property” rights.

There may be a way to create a rational IP system, but needs to be much more narrow and focused than any system in use today.