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Humanist technologist. Equality and adventures.

I co-founded Elgg and Known, worked on Medium, and now invest in innovative media startups to support a stronger democracy at Matter.

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ben@benwerd.com

 

I hereby give each and every one of you permission, should I ever start another consumer open source startup, to slap me in the face.

 

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Hearken has shown that treating your community as coreporters is highly valuable both for newsrooms and readers. Social media has given everyone a voice. What if you redesigned content management to take that into account from the ground up? Not a CMS; not a forum. Something new.

 

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Comments are horrible as a community platform. Slack as a side community has worked fairly well for sites like The Information. But I bet something much better is possible, that allows publishers to really leverage their community and gives readers more value.

 

Thinking about: how can the transition from a one-directional content publishing business to a bidirectional membership community with network effects be made easier? Or is there another route to long-term growth / sustainability for companies creating great, focused journalism?

 

Playing with Known this morning, because, hey.

 

Purple is thinking about starting an SMS notification service for the Mueller investigation. Would you use this? (I would.) https://getpurple.typeform.com/to/lfLjqt?r=benwerd

 

If the tech industry can’t collect data responsibly and be good stewards of user privacy, government may step in. https://www.wired.com/story/al-franken-just-gave-the-speech-big-tech-has-been-dreading

 

We've been releasing Matter Seven's Demo Day stories every day on the podcast. Don't miss The Establishment: https://medium.com/matter-driven-narrative/the-drunken-walk-matter-seven-demo-day-special-the-establ...

 

Interesting statement from Sean Parker. This is going to become a bigger and bigger issue. https://www.axios.com/sean-parker-unloads-on-facebook-2508036343.html

 

"We're not just designing software anymore, we're designing minds." http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/marketplace-phones-1.4384876

 

If you have an election in your area today, please vote. The world needs you.

 

‪“Building something amazing by introspectively using my skills & creativity in a psychologically safe and sustainable way!” > “Crushing it!”‬

 

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I 100% agree with the idea that vast wealth - being rich - should be socially unacceptable.

 

The last thing any of us should care about is making rich people feel comfortable with their wealth. https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/09/08/opinion/sunday/what-the-rich-wont-tell-you.html

 

"The system is complicit in the abuse." How YouTube is used to abuse children: https://medium.com/@jamesbridle/something-is-wrong-on-the-internet-c39c471271d2

 

I’m part of a team that invests in startups changing media for good. Ask me anything. https://medium.com/urbanama/join-an-ama-by-ben-werdmuller-of-matter-nov-6-2017-on-urbanama-517bb9837...

 

In a world where white supremacy and religious fundamentalism are emboldened by our leadership,
Where corporations build platforms that serve as backdoors for democracy,
Where financial growth is valued over ethics and humanity,
Where people of color are being murdered in the streets by those sworn to protect us,
Where we still don’t believe women,
Where we continue to abuse and pillage other societies for resources and political gain,
Where we bomb people in far off countries using robots for talking to the wrong people on the phone,
Where people spend their lives protecting oil companies instead of ecosystems,
Where the civilization anchored in information we thought we were building has turned out to be a hall of mirrors,
Where oppression itself is enabled by technology,
Where the actions we take and the principles we stand for are the most important things of all,

How can I be the most effective?

 

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Of course, these donut heads would never build better infrastructure or consider creating anything that actually helped real people live.

 

A reminder that tax increases can actually be great, if they lead to better infrastructure and a higher quality of life overall.

 

Super-cool! We survive as a community. https://bsos.umd.edu/featuredstory/3347

 

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The vision for the web is a place without benevolent supercorps. Tim Berners-Lee said it best: “this is for everyone”. It’s all of ours.

 

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The problem with self-contained network silos is that a single entity dictates what can be said, seen & heard. Benevolent supercorps again.

 

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The problem with the native app ecosystem is app stores: an entity on each platform dictating what’s acceptable. Benevolent supercorps.

 

More than a technology, a platform or a marketplace, the web is a movement. A place free of corporate control, for all voices. Even now.

 

The growth team at Twitter knew about, and refused to take action on, fake Russian accounts. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-03/former-twitter-employee-says-fake-russian-account...

 

Someone told me the other day that it’s very rare to have an open source / data person be an investor. That’s sorta true. Make use of me.

 

There’s no substitute for having the primary copy of your work being in a space you control (and, ideally, own.) https://twitter.com/christi3k/status/926228598712950784

 

People are so much more interesting than technology. It’s about how we can give them superpowers, not about device fetishism or consumerism.

 

"You see, the web wasn't meant to be a gated community. It's actually pretty simple." https://www.neustadt.fr/essays/against-a-user-hostile-web/

 

"If you feel you are being watched, you change your behavior. Big data is supercharging this effect." http://www.socialcooling.com/