The Entrepreneurial Free Agent and Dejobbed Small Business R&D Lab
Table of Contents
"May you live in interesting times," is believed to invoke chaos upon whomever receives this ancient Oriental 'curse'. If you aim to preserve traditional thinking, then 'interesting times' would indeed be distressing. But as we stand in the midst of transitional New Economy chaos, we have a grand opportunity at this time and place to make the future different, better, and more sustainable for all of us and Spaceship Earth.
We hear the nay-sayers laughing as they ridicule the promise of an Internet-enabled future. Sure the 'dot.com bubble' is bursting. But the 21st Century promise has never been about just making 'easy win' millions. In this wonderful Age of Access, we ARE on a new journey and we cannot go back to how we were before. What we do now, as the failed get-rich-quick schemes tarnish the possibilities, will determine how this time and this place leaves its ripple in history.
This issue of 'Rants and Raves' encourages each of us to make the most of our moment of opportunity.
Welcome to Sohodojo,
20 December 2000
TechSIG: Sohodojo Named R&D Center in Communities of the Future Network
We are very pleased to announce that Sohodojo has been designated a 'node' in the Communities of the Future Network. The Network is a unique collection of educational institutions and think tanks working in collaboration on the Communities of the Future (COTF) mission to research, pilot and seed capacities for transformation among rural and urban communities seeking a sustainable future.
Each 'node', a Center, in the COTF Network has a unique character and charter of interest relevant to the COTF 'Big Picture' agenda. Sohodojo has joined the Communities of the Future Network as the R&D Lab focused on Open Source collaboration technologies.
The Center for Community Collaboration Technologies (CCCT) is co-hosted by Sohodojo and Communities of the Future. The CCCT mission is to develop and facilitate the application of Open Source collaboration technologies within 'Small is Good' Business Webs in urban and rural communities seeking a sustainable future. Drop by to learn more about our first Open Source projects under development. Contributors and other interested parties are welcome.
LifeSIG: About Those Unwanted or Unneeded Holiday Gifts...
From 'Your Money or Your Life' to 'Simplicity, The New Competitive Advantage...' and over at the Center for the New American Dream, the hottest advice for improving the quality of your life and work is: UNCLUTTER. Get rid of things you do not need and make your life much simpler. What do you do to get rid of your unwanted stuff?
We've been using Half.com since March to get rid of "stuff" and to help support Sohodojo. It wins with us. Half.com is THE place for selling and buying used books, CDs, videos, DVDs, and games. We've been testing out the model and customer services for 10 months. Both get really high marks from our personal experience. These folks know how to run a quality on-line service. They go out of their way with excellent customer support. Read our review for details. If you sign up after clicking in to Half.com from a Sohodojo hot link, Sohodojo earns an affiliate commission which helps support our R&D and publishing efforts.
We've gotten a number of questions about swap sites such as Switchouse, MrSwap, and WebSwap. Switchhouse and MrSwap focus on music, movies and games; Switchhousers also swap books, electronics, hardware, and software. WebSwap allows trades on everything from collectibles to antiques, books and clothing. But all sites report that true swaps, involving two-way trades, are actually rather rare on these sites.
If you have used an on-line Swap site, let us know what you think. We're looking for experience-based reviews for the LifeSIG section of our web site. Community contributors get a snazzy 'author profile side-bar' with links to your Brand You free agent or small business web site.
Nanocorp Reading: Holiday Books to Shake Up Your Thinking
As we round the corner and head into the holidays, we recommend these new RIBS to shake up your thinking.
'The Age of Access' by Jeremy Rifkin
'The Dream Society' by Rolf Jensen
'Simplicity' by Bill Jensen
'Making a Living While Making a Difference' by Melissa Everett
Remember, our RIBS Joint is multi-vendor friendly. On each Sohodojo RIBS (Really Important Books and Stuff) page you'll find "buy" links to Amazon, Amazon-UK, Fat Brain, Books-a-million, and Half.com. (Sorry, Barnes & Noble requires exclusive links! Their loss, eh? We want choice. You, too, right?) Any book you buy after clicking through a Sohodojo RIBS Joint page link helps support our R&D and publishing efforts. Thank you.
LegalSIG: Enterprise Community Legislation Update
We've been listening to hear the proverbial "fat lady sing" for the Enterprise Community Tax-cut Legislation. But Sohodojo Advisory Board member, Jim Schneider, tells us it's not over yet.
Schneider reports, "Come next year we believe that IRC Section 1397B and Section 1202 will include Enterprise Communities, retroactive to investments made from enactment date of H.R.5562. Do we have support for this statement, we believe that we have from many Senators and Representatives that we have talked to."
With a new president hell bent on making major tax cuts, who knows what will happen for the Enterprise Communities which continue to struggle with being left out of Community Renewal legislation.
You can keep up to date on the implications of proposed tax cut legislation as the new Administration puts its spin on Small Business America by subscribing to Jim Schneider's 'The Taxman86 Speaks' newsletter and by visiting 'The Taxman86 Speaks Archive' hosted by Sohodojo.
Webrings: Congratulations, Welcome and Comic Strip Factory Club
Congratulations to Small Business Revolutionary, Don 'The Idea Guy'. Don won Third Place in a contest sponsored by Sears/Kenmore and Brightidea.com contributing a winning idea for an innovative twist to refrigerators. 'The Idea Guy' is a long-time member of the Sohodojo community and the Small Business Revolutionaries Webring.
Welcome to the newest member of the SBR Webring. Coastal Vacations is an association of entrepreneurs, professionals and home-based business owners. If you are looking for potential opportunities in the booming Travel and Leisure markets, start here and to see if this program suits you.
We use Comic Strip Factory (CSF) and its piece/parts artwork to develop the ensemble of characters populating the 'sales force' and 'back office ner-do-wells at SquirrelFeeders.com. CSF is sadly now 'antique-ware'. It is no longer commercially available and it is increasingly difficult to keep old Macintoshes alive that can even run it. But many of us still use it because it is the best-darned comic creatin' software ever written!
If you or anyone you know uses CSF on a website or supports it in any way, join the Comic Strip Factory Club Webring and let's keep the fun alive!
If you'd like to see our historically interesting Comic Strip Factory workstation based on a classic Levco Prodigy with a 21" B&W RealTech monitor. (This thing started out as a 'fat' Mac. Fat, at that time, was 512K! This $10K daughterboard upgraded our modest machine to a whopping four megabytes memory with a blazing 16 MHz 68020 processor and its math chip co-processor. How times change...)
BTW, Squirrelfeeders.com will be developed as a 'Small is Good' Business Web based on an Open Community Business Model starting in 2001. If this sounds interesting to you, drop us a note. You've heard of the tortoise and the hare? Those dot-com bubble-burstings that you hear nearly daily on the evening news... they're the hares.
Support Sohodojo: Your Donations Help our R&D and Publishing Efforts
Sohodojo is a self-funded Applied R&D Lab. And we try to make our R&D-oriented work products nice to look at and read, too. So the dojo is a bit of a publishing house, too. We're trying to give you free agent and small business ideas and technologies unlike anything you're likely to find anywhere else on the Web. This, by definition, means we are NOT mainstream. We rely on your support to keep us going.
Sohodojo is the 'War College' for 'Small is Good' in the New Economy. If you like what you read here. If we make you think. If we're trying to do things that you think need doing, consider showing your support by becoming a Sohodojo sponsor or donor.
Sohodojo in the News: NFIB Activist Profile
"Thinking 'out of the box' is what Jim Salmons and Timlynn Babitsky do best. So it shouldn't be surprising that when these two technology consultants joined NFIB, they immediately began shaking things up..."
Hey, they got that right! Thanks, NFIB. See our 'Activist Profile' on the National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Votes web site.
You don't have to look too far these days to find highly credible management and business thinkers encouraging us to bring a 'theatrical' perspective to 21st Century business.
Rifkin in his fascinating 'The Age of Access' widely surveys the dramaturgical theories and methodologies of such nearly forgotten but more-timely-than-ever thinkers as Kenneth Burke, Erving Goffman and one of our personal favorites, Kurt Lewin. Scenario-based planning abounds. Role-based business process modeling can more closely resemble Hollywood screenwriting than traditional business planning.
It's all about stories and the storyteller. All these exciting new communication technologies are reawakening our essential human natures which were more shaped by oral storytelling tradition than they are by modern business practice. Jensen, in 'The Dream Society', cites stronger affinities between today and our Hunter-Gatherer heritage than between us Now and our recent Industrial Past. Stories and storytellers are on the rise!
Sohodojo is a story-driven organization. BIG IDEAS for small business. The 'ruthlessly small' nanocorp Underdog and the over-consuming Goliath of a Consumerist World. 'Small is Good' Business Webs as a community-based path to the Road Less Traveled. All stories, all the time. Sohodojo stories capture our spirit and infect others, changing their thinking. The probabilities of our 'elastic networking' with others are directly related to our storytelling abilities.
That's the theme here in our wrap-up issue of 'Rants and Raves 2000'. Stories and storytelling.
"Once upon a time, there was a little nanocorp that belonged to a wonderful 'Small is Good' Business Web. Let me tell you about it..."
Nanocorp Primer #5: Nanocorps in the Story-driven Dream Society
One of the premiere Business Futurists is Rolf Jensen, Director of the Copenhagen Institute of Future Studies. We've already summarized Jensen's 'The Dream Society' book in our RIBS update above. The subtitle of his book explains it further, 'How the Coming Shift From Information To Imagination Will Transform Your Business'. It's all about stories and storytelling, imagination and emotion overcoming rote logic.
Not surprisingly, Jensen speaks primarily to an assumed 'Big is Good' business management readership. Big companies sponsor the work of his Institute. So while there are a lot of good thoughts in 'The Dream Society', you have to 'read between the lines' to divine the import for us free agents and small business revolutionaries. Now that's a job for the dojo! So that's what we did. We'd like to share our thoughts with you!
Please join us at Sohodojo to read the latest on-line installment of 'The Nanocorp Primer'. The fifth piece in this growing series is 'Nanocorps in the Dream Society: How 'Small is Good' Business Webs Will Compete in the Story-driven Marketplaces of the 21st Century'
For our TechSIG members, there is an important 'embedded article' called 'The Yin-yang of e-Commerce Engines' which deconstructs Tapscott's Agora Business Webs to add a 'Small is Good' perspective. Given a 'Small is Good' Agora Business Web backdrop, we explore storytelling and gaming dynamics as these ideas relate to functional requirements for an e-Commerce engine to power 'Small is Good' Business Webs (like Squirrelfeeders.com). We admit that this is a bit 'deep weeds', but we encourage you to read this article and send us your comments and/or questions.
LifeSIG Experience Reports: Tell us Your Story
One of our favorite journalistic writers is John McPhee. His non-fiction writing is so often a marvel of storytelling that no less than the Library of Congress has mis-assigned his works Fiction catalog numbers because they were such great stories!
McPhee is a great example of how good information can be spun into great stories. Dan Pink, Tom Petzinger and Mark Albion do similar things closer to home... telling powerful stories about folks like us, people leading free agent and independent small business lives during a time of great change and uncertainty.
Now it's your turn! Hey, you don't have to be a McPhee to get published at Sohodojo. Storytelling is time-honored method for transferring lessons learned and other insights among community members. We want you simply to tell us your true stories.
The 'Experience Reports' section of our LifeSIG is a great place to share your thoughts and get some visibility for your Brand You free agent or small business web site. It's all for glory and self-satisfaction at this point. We can't offer payments other than snazzy author side-bars and profile-based links to your personal or business web site.
If you've tried to 'elastically network' with some colleagues, how did it go? What worked, what didn't? Did you use collaboration technologies to coordinate a virtual team? What's your personal business vision? How do you find balance between work and leisure? Enquiring minds want to know.
You can get a good idea of what your article at Sohodojo might look like by visiting the on-line version of the article by community member, Tony Lawrence, showcased in the next section of this newsletter as well as at the LifeSIG. Here is Tony's Experience Report as we're running it at the LifeSIG.
After checking out Tony's piece, imagine yours there, too! Then drop us a note with your story proposal.
Meet 'Lone Wolf' Tony' Lawrence
We can always count on community member Tony Lawrence to keep us on track for 'ruthless independence'. Tony has a deep and salable technical skill-set that pays his bills. But more importantly to Tony, his skills, knowledge and experience give him complete personal freedom through self-employment.
To help keep his talent-based service sales up, Tony has turned his Brand You web site into a fountainhead of Unix Sys Admin Deep Knowledge. His 'on-line resume' is taking on a life of its own. Check out Tony's ever-growing site at www.aplawrence.com.
After digging around Tony's site, we invite you to read his Real Life story that follows...
'Reflections on Self-Employment'