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The Entrepreneurial Free Agent and Dejobbed Small Business R&D Lab
Rants and Raves newsletter #16
Sohodojo News and
'Dan Pink on the State of Free Agent Nation'

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Table of Contents

  1. Around the dojo...
    • LegalSIG: Enterprise Communities need your help Now
    • TechSIG: Project update, the CCCT and the TechSIG Sponsor Program
    • New Website Look and Feel - (and tips for Web designers)
    • RIBS Bookstore: Freedom of Choice and a Handy highlight
    • Webring Updates:
      • SBR adds first Open Source member
      • Yahoo takes on WebRing Org, what does this mean to you?

  2. Interview: Dan Pink on The State of Free Agent Nation

Around the dojo...

If you haven't dropped by Sohodojo's website recently, you are missing out on exciting developments. In every area there are new things evolving that reflect the business/community's growth as we explore new models for getting work done today.

Among the hottest developments: Sohodojo's LegalSIG is helping to coordinate and publicize a grassroots campaign to include (U.S.) Enterprise Communities in the business development tax incentives of the "American Community Renewal and New Markets Empowerment Act" currently before the Senate Finance Committee.

Why should Sohodojo care about this legislation? We believe that the investment roll-overs of this bill will be the 'honey' to attract Angel and other smaller private investments into small businesses, entrepreneurs, and nanocorps which locate in an Enterprise Community. Such investments will help to stimulate New Economy opportunities in distressed areas across the country. Details follow.

If you read no further and are concerned about business development as a means to bridge the Digital Divide, please go here to see what's going on and how your voice can be heard on this important national agenda.

    Welcome to Sohodojo,
    --Jim Salmons and Timlynn Babitsky--
    Hosts, Sohodojo

P.S. There is no 'Quick Three to Go' poll this issue. It will be back in a future issue. We're planning to coordinate this polling feature with opinion polling at the Sohodojo website.

LegalSIG: Enterprise Communities need your help Now

With the amount of 'pork' that is forming around the "American Community Renewal and New Markets Empowerment Act," we need your help to make sure the rural and urban communities the bill is intended to help are not lost in the 'barrel'.

Sohodojo Advisory Board Member Jim Schneider is leading the campaign to ensure that business development tax incentives, currently provided under the bill draft to Empowerment Zones, are provided for the nation's 115 Enterprise Communities as well.

If you aren't already familiar with the federal government's 'Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Community' (EZ/EC) program, go here for excellent information:

Once you see what the EZ/ECs are and how they fit into the nation's economic development agenda, find out about the 'Community Renewal and New Markets' bill. We need your help to ensure that entrepreneurial free agents and small businesses in our Enterprise Communities have access to the capital they need to start and grow their businesses. Catch up with the latest change insurgents' news.

Please visit the 'Enterprise Communities inclusion amendment' home page and send a fax to your Senators today. For Senator's fax numbers, a sample letter you can copy and send, a press release and more information on this important agenda, please visit any of the links noted.

TechSIG: Project progress, the CCCT and the TechSIG Sponsor Program

Things are jumping around the technical R&D agenda at Sohodojo. Last issue we reported that Sohodojo won a competitive contract for the first 'Wish List' project at SourceXchange, the Open Source software project marketplace. (26 Dec 00 - We've since learned not to believe everything you hear and see. Our experience trying to work with SourceXchange was among the most frustrating and unrewarding experiences of this year.)

That project, "Specification Writing for Web-based Project Planning Software," is open for your inspection

Be sure to check out the profiles of nine project planning and project management applications and web services which were produced as the second milestone of this project.

Part of our vision-driven proposal for the SourceXchange project included our recommendation to create The Center for Community Collaboration Technologies as a place for Open Source developers and interested parties to accumulate and share resources and knowledge about Internet technologies to support the elastic networking which is typical of our community of free agents and small businesspeople.

We are making good progress on this community development dimension of our proposal. Check out the home of The Center for Community Collaboration Technologies now open at Sohodojo

To continue to grow and expand this ambitious and deeply needed R&D agenda, financial support will be crucial. We will need to contract Open Source developers to pursue our 'role/actor executable business model' framework development agenda. The Sohodojo TechSIG is looking for sponsors. See how our Free Agent and Small Business Sponsor Program works.

New Website Look and Feel - (and tips for Web designers)

We champion Small is Good business models for personal expression and participation in the New Economy. We also believe that Simpler is Better. So, we've always put lean and clean HTML coding above 'designer-snazzy' at the Sohodojo website.

Sohodojo is constantly evolving. To reflect emerging interests, we have reorganized the dojo around Special Interest Groups (SIGs). The TechSIG and LegalSIG are already publishing; the LifeSIG is brainstorming. What better time to restructure dojo information and to revisit our basic HTML page layout and site-wide features?

What we've rolled out is our best 'browser neutral' page formatting to date. It comes with site-wide search functions and quick per-page language translation (you can read the on-line version of this newsletter in any one of 7 languages!). Interested? Go take a look and see what you think.

First you'll see we use a right-side navigation bar which includes convenient links to site-wide search and page-translation features. In Small is Good fashion, we've 'outsourced' our search function to and our language translation feature to the folks. Both are highly recommended. We are particularly impressed by the powerful customizing features of the free search service.

We've also worked very hard on our table-based 'page-grid' underlying each page. This is the first table-based grid we've developed that looks good (and just about the same) in all various browsers used by our visitors. Take a special look at how this new look and feel 'respects' your view settings such as text size changes.

This Simpler is Better approach to page design means that folks with all kinds of browsers, under all kinds of connections (like WebTV proxies and WAP) can visit our site with reduced display problems and/or compromises.

And, yes, language translation is a PRIME example of a 'proxied' visitor connection. Pump your small business or free agent website pages through a free language translation service like If they don't hold up well and if they don't respect the accessibility requirements of the visually or 'equipment' impaired, you've lost a potential community member or customer.

What do you think? Take a look and let us know what you like and don't like about the new look and feel at Sohodojo.

RIBS Bookstore: Freedom of choice and Handy highlight

It is still a work-in-progress, but things are changing at The RIBS Joint (Really Important Books and Stuff). We've added some must read books to the 'shelves' and there are more to come. With these expanded recommendations, we'll add a better way to organize and present them. But in the meantime, we've made a major change that we think you will like!

To us, it's all about Freedom and Discretion on the Small is Good side of the New Economy. So, what better way to reflect that thinking than in the book purchase affiliations we use to help support work at Sohodojo?

We've been a long-time affiliate with Lately, we've become extremely uncomfortable with's approach to Internet business patents. (See this site for more.) We weren't alone in our discomfort. We heard from you, asking why we didn't support your favorite on-line bookseller.

Well, we thought and we listened. And we are pleased to roll out Multi-vendor affiliate links on all our RIBS pages! So far, we've added FatBrain and Books-A-Million links for our RIBS book recommendations. You will also find a search link for finding our recommendations at

But don't look for Barnes and Noble links. Barnes and Noble requires affiliates to EXCLUSIVELY link to their site. We can't accept that. We choose Freedom!... your freedom to support Sohodojo through whichever on-line book vendor you prefer.

Check out our multi-vendor links at Sohodojo's hottest RIB page

In addition to commentary on Charles Handy's essential readings, "The Age of Unreason" and "The Age of Paradox" you will find a slew of links to the best Charles Handy content on the web.

News from the Webrings - SBR welcomes first Open Source member

Please welcome the newest member of the Small Business Revolutionairies Webring, Teledynamics Communications, Ontario Canada. Our newest SBR member is an open source and web applications consulting company founded in 1983. They specialize in crafting large portals and news websites and in Linux evangelism. Listen for Teledynamics' CEO on The Linux League at Radio Wall Street.

ACTION ALERT! This note is to our Webring members. has just merged with Yahoo! The good news is that Yahoo believes that WebRings are strategic to how information on the Internet is being chunked for more efficient indexing/searching of the future.

The upside of the Yahoo acquisition of is that all ring members of any ring should begin to see a steady increase in website traffic with directory expert and mega-portal Yahoo behind The downside is that you will need to get a Yahoo Webring ID and associate your website with the SBR and other webrings. This editing will take a few minutes. But the upside is that your website will be listed in the Yahoo WebRing Directory within 24 hours!

This is an admin task that is definitely worth finding time to do. (See: the Yahoo Webring directory to sign up for a member site ID then follow instructions to link your site to its various webrings.) All SBR, Master Webring of the Nanocorps and The Open Fork Alliance ring members are encouraged to check their registrations. If you don't already belong to a Sohodojo webring, visit our site for more information.

Interview: Dan Pink on The State of Free Agent Nation

We had a chance recently to meet with Dan Pink, the leading participant/observer 'pundit' of free agency, to discuss Dan's perspective on the state of Free Agent Nation... that ephemeral, global landscape populated by independent professionals, contingency workers or whatever you want to call the flexible workforce of the 21st Century.

If you are not familiar with Dan, you need to visit his website, the "everything's always free for free agents" on-line resource. In addition to his website, Dan writes extensively for print and on-line publications including Fast Company, Inc., The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, George, and Salon.

Dan's Fast Company cover story, Free Agent Nation, captured the imagination and set Dan on his own Road Less Traveled -- a road of discovery documenting the profound transition in the way we work and live in the rapidly changing world of the 21st Century.

We've transcribed our entire conversation with Dan. It is on-line in hyperlinked HTML format at Sohodojo.

To whet your appetite for more, here's an excerpt followed by some topical links into the full on-line transcript of what we lovingly call The Brewpub Tapes...

(And yes, it's the first of a Brewpub Interviews series we are already planning to take us around the world to meet the people helping to change the shape of things to come... the Sohodojo Change Insurgent Interviews. We're looking for Brewpub AND New Media sponsors. Interested? Let us know.)

Pink on Free Agent Dynamics and Terminology

Sohodojo: Is free agency primarily a world of contingency workers and Big Business? Or have you seen a role for free agents in small business and the public sector?

Dan Pink: I think that a lot of those distinctions don't really matter that much. And I think that the boundaries, and the vocabulary that we add to describe how the economy works is growing a little out-dated. I mean, is a two-person operation a small business, probably. A two-person operation, are they free-agents, probably. So do some so called 'big' businesses rely on free agents? Yeah.

I just think that part of what's going on, part of the value of terms like "nanocorp" and "free agent" is that we need a new vocabulary to describe this new world of business. We're relying on terms of like 'old English' to describe the modern world. And the terms are a little bit creaky. They're not quite right and people have this dissonance when they use those terms.

You know the world is not really divided between big business and small business. We really know that the fundamental unit of the economy is not the business, but the individual. And so, how individuals come together, how they collaborate, is really a more useful way of looking at how the economy works than old English distinctions between small business, big business. If that makes sense.

Sohodojo: Yes it does especially to us because this is where we're thinking too.

Dan Pink: I even have a little bit in the book, I'll give you a sneak preview, a little bit of a glossary of some of the new terms, including "nanocorp" that have bubbled up because in any kind of new realm, you need that new vocabulary to describe what's going on.

So, SOHO for instance, and SOHO is a new term, but SOHO has given way to SONO - Small Office, No Office - people who are totally, totally mobile.

I have one which I think is a pretty interesting transformation in families and within households of couples, probably like you guys, who each have an office in the home. I call that HOHO - His Office Her Office. You're actually going to have more, I don't want to call them HOHO households because that would be HOHOHOs, but I think you have more HOHO families now, which is a very big change. And it forces you to rethink what are the boundaries between work and home and so forth. The other thing I like about HOHOs is that it works for same sex couples too. One of the things I think the book will do is help invite some of this new vocabulary. Which you guys are doing a great job in helping invent.

Pink Links into the Interview transcript

Here's topic-related hot links to the Dan Pink Brew-pub Interview. You can find the entire interview here, or read particular topics as listed below.

Don't forget to try out our new Search and Translate functions as you delve into Dan's interview and the growing content at Sohodojo.

And in the must read of free on-line content, don't miss a sneak-peek at Dan's upcoming Free Agent book in a PDF-format preview. (Sorry, the preview no longer available. We urge you to buy the book and read it all instead ;-)

This is contemporary participant/observer journalism at its best. We are really looking forward to Dan's book hitting the shelves.

As always, thanks for reading this issue of Sohodojo's Rants and Raves newsletter,
    --Jim Salmons and Timlynn Babitsky--
    Hosts, Sohodojo

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