The second keynote of the day is focusing on “The Web and Philanthropy” with Austin Hill and Tom Williams. Austin is not wearing his hat.
Both Tom and Austin are long, long time Internet entrepreneurs and both are now working on start ups with goals of using technology and the Internet for ’something more’.
Tom – “My father told me that I was more famous for being famous then for doing anything.” He was a living the good life, until he was visited by a friend from way back who told him that he was full of it. He was 21. Decided that he would be someone who would facilitate connections between people who are passionate about doing something.
Austin – “Missionary entrepreneurs” Started with a social mission during the first boom. Radial Point was very profitable. Was shaken by the death of his 19 year old brother of cancer. Set up a foundation to help raise money for cancer research. Someone advised him to “Celebrate his brother’s life instead of mourning his death.” Stepped away from Radial Point to help others change the world. “We are beginning to play in the real world.”
Tom – Causal mindedness is all in us. We can get something concrete by helping other people. He had to sit through a lot of meaningless meetings in Web1.0.
Austin – Was working in privacy issues in Web1.0 and saw activism online since the beginning. “The broadband Hierarchy of Needs” – Access, privacy/security, connections with other people. “I have the ability to be who I believe I am.” We are providing the tools.
Tom – The establishment need to let go of it’s control to maintain relevance. Applies to charities as well.
Austin – Social change online is still in it’s infancy. Trees for Life plants real trees and matches it to a tree online. Make it fun to get more people involved.
Tom – Internet anonymity allows people to be disconnected from groups they join. -Causes flame wars and bad behaviour that prevents groups from growing beyond very specific niches. As givemeaning grew the participation rates dropped. They grew as a good news community. Struggle to find their own meaning. Students went to Ecuador mountain and live blogged about what they found there on givemeaning.
Austin – Disconnect of what people say and what they do. With new social media tech, ideas can be put into action quickly. Daily.
Tom – Return on generosity – too much focus on the “Ask” instead of what is done/the results.
Q: How do we bridge the digital divide?
Tom – Road to hell is paved with good intentions. Obsessed with the solution before we understand the problem. Opening up the conversation. “Do I want to be part of the conversation or do I just want to promote my solution?”
Q: Bullying online
Austin – Myspace was a success because it allowed teens to talk about music, yell at each other and brag – what more do teens want? Empowering kids to feel that they are empowered to make a difference. They will make mistakes.
Q: Why does taking payment change everything?
Tom – People are cynical about being solicited to take money. Charities being about raising money instead of doing good works.
Austin – Wikipedia: lots of small changes can have a big effect. Dark Green PC, turn off screensavers, power down and save power. Open Source and if it was 100 million PCs, could power Switzerland for 1 year.
Austin – David Bornstein – “How to Change the World” – read it. Capitalism can be a tool for social change. Social Entrepreneurship. Make meaning and money will flow from that.
You can check out the official Mesh post here.