Posts categorized "Web/Tech"

Russell Brand ending The Trews & quitting social media (makes perfect sense)

I'm not surprised by Russell Brand's decision to step away from the hamster wheel of media spin cycles. Though he is perhaps the most gifted media personality of our generation, even he cannot accomplish anything of value by taking part in the corporate propaganda machine.

What can possibly be accomplished by analyzing and arguing with pundits whose job it is to distract us and to draw us into a fictitious world where they set the agenda and they control the debate? What Russell has proven is that, even if we make the most rational, persuasive arguments in the most entertaining way, nothing can be accomplished by debating, critiquing, or pleading with an establishment that will not change.

This must have been an excruciatingly painful decision for Russell, yet he seems optimistic because he knows that he is on the path of truth. As he steps away from the hamster wheel of the corporate media and politics, in this video he also makes mention of an area where change is still possible.  

If we want revolution, it will never be enough to simply talk about truth. It will not be enough to protest or to otherwise plead with power. For real change to happen, we don't even need their permission. 

What is the change we are talking about? Aren't we talking about living differently...what we actually do, who we actually know, how we actually make a living? So, it seems to me, that the first step toward revolution is to completely ignore corporate media and to shut out today's rigged sport of politics. We need to stop complaining, stop paying attention to our corporate masters, and start living. Maybe you won't be famous or popular for it, but maybe that's kind of the point.

You can live differently now. Make a plan to leave your job by thinking about what you're good at. Start a business or become a contractor. Meet like-minded people and work together in innovative ways. Seek new relationships that allow you the space to pursue your dreams and fantasies. Open your heart and mind to real people. Love. Explore. Laugh. Stay up all night. Work together to make a living when you finally wake up. 

Let's take it further. Why not create an Internet economy that connects people more efficiently than today's corporate-controlled economy? Why not conduct transactions using our own virtual currency? We can use our skills to serve the needs of each other rather than only the needs of corporations. I have come up with the design for exactly this type of system and I wish there was a way for me to contact Russell to talk with him about it. Maybe now that he has stopped distracting himself with all of the corporate garbage, he will be able to focus his energies on real revolution. That's what I think he's talking about and I applaud this brave decision.

We don't have to wait to live the revolution. We don't have to ask anyone for permission. We don't need 1 million Facebook followers to do it. What we do need to do is change some habits, drop the fame-seeking ego, and start living. We won't fit-in and we won't be recognized for it, but in my experience it doesn't really matter when you are fully-alive and free. 

5 Big Questions on Innovation (from

 Mark Manney, CEO and Founder, InfobeingInfobeing logo

Mark Manney, CEO and Founder

I’m Mark Manney, founder of Infobeing is creating the People Economy to set you free from your job. I’m also the guy who, 10 years ago, escaped corporate office life in Seattle to travel the world, start a virtual sales agency, and make music with the band Abscondo.

After earning my BS and MBA from the University of Colorado, I spent 6 mostly miserable years in Seattle selling enterprise...
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How is your team changing the game within your industry sector?

It is tempting to say that there is no industry sector for what we’re doing, but in fairness we might compare to social media like Facebook, Ello, Tumblr, and LinkedIn. These sites offer a Web 2.0 experience that is becoming obsolete for a few reasons.

Social media contributes to information overload by providing a massive amount of irrelevant information. This makes us feel physically ill. Information overload is becoming a real problem. is different because it is designed so that users spend minimum time on the site and maximum time living, doing, and becoming.

Another problem with today’s social media is that there is no real mechanism to meet new people in order to easily form mutually-beneficial relationships. These sites are designed primarily for staying in touch with existing friends or, occasionally, meeting someone new in a random way. Infobeing is designed for the purpose of helping you meet the new people you need to know in order to move your life forward.

Social media leads to stagnation and inaction. It is passive. Infobeing uses the potential of the network world to create a People economy where everyone is doing what they want, what they are good at, just as they live in freedom and maximize their earning potential. This isn’t happening on Facebook.

What are some of the biggest impediments to innovation in your organization or industry sector?

Today people remain stuck in a “corporate economy” paradigm. Our most important economic relationships are with brands, corporations, and companies. The vast majority of our purchase of goods and services are with organizations.

My view is radically different. I’ve spent the past 10 years traveling the world and living mostly in Eastern Europe. Things are done a bit differently here. Relationships between people are valued most. If you need something fixed, need to hire someone for an odd job, or need some help…people look to other people. There is a massive person-to-person economy that is based on cash transactions or even “favors for favors”.

The Infobeing People Economy replicates this in the online world. We provide a new option for people to form relationships and conduct transactions for goods and services with each other. This is a radically different paradigm where we begin to trust each other and work together based on mutual wants, needs, and skills.

How has innovation become engrained in your organization's culture, and how is it being optimized?

As Founder and CEO of Infobeing, Innovation isn’t a conscious focus of mine. I don’t set out to innovate. I simply do what I think makes most sense, with essentially no regard for what anybody else is doing. This is one of the benefits of living abroad, away from conventional wisdom, for so many years.

Beyond this, I think innovation is allowed to thrive, and will continue to thrive at Infobeing, because our goal is not only to maximize profit. We are founding Infobeing as Public Benefit Corporation.  We will be auditing our performance against a charter that includes 5 requirements for serving the public good. We’ll remain completely ad-free, we will improve the overall happiness of our users, we will help our users achieve greater freedom, we will strengthen the local community through direct-democracy, and we will aim to do no harm to the planet.

What technologies, business models, and trends will drive the biggest changes in your industry over the next two years?

I don’t care about changing an industry. I care about changing lives. People have access to amazing technology, but they don’t know how to use it to live in a better way. Infobeing is concerned with improving your quality of life in both the online and off-line world by making it easy for you to meet all of the people you need to know.

Can you share a specific innovation strategy you’ve recently encountered which you find compelling?

Follow your intuition. Meditate. Listen to your inner-voice first and let it drown-out any voices of conventional wisdom. The purpose of your life is to bring your unique perspective to the world. Failure to innovate is failure to believe in yourself and act on those beliefs.

What is the next step beyond Web 2.0?

Outside of the venture capital community, today’s best and most radical ideas are getting shrugged off. Intellectual breakthroughs and creative pursuits, no matter how brilliant, are drowning in a sea of information overload and big data. Yet there is this one exception; the startup. This is why, as a creative intellectual and an artist, I am foremost a startup founder.

Not long-ago, rock bands were still being funded by labels because new music still excited us. Now new technology excites us and it is the startup that gets funded. The best startup has the power to change the world. If this potential to change the world is precisely what brings the big financial returns, then let’s think even bigger!

Web 2.0 happened 10 years ago and it’s time for another significant shift. I can point to an example of what’s coming next because I’m building it. The next phase of our online evolution goes beyond social media. Now begins the era of the alternate economy. It is entirely possible to create a virtual economy, featuring a virtual currency and even an element of direct-democracy, on a global scale and with minimal funding.

Consider the failures of today’s economic system. Most of us remain stuck in an outdated employment model. A job is one way to earn a living, but jobs come at a great cost to your personal freedom, time, and energy. There’s nothing inevitable about earning a living through a series of monogamous commitments to one company at a time. Jobs limit your potential for personal growth and only tap into a fraction of your capabilities. We can do better!

The social networking potential of the online world offers you that chance to create something better. Why not create a system that allows you to form mutually-beneficial relationships with new people? With a systematic way to meet and work with others based on mutual wants and needs, you can grow, gain experience, and ultimately earn more income just as you live in freedom. This concept can be the core of an alternate economy and we can call it the People Economy. While today’s Corporate Economy is structured around the relationships people have with companies, the People Economy emphasizes dynamic economic relationships between people with compatible wants and needs.

In this new People Economy I am proposing, users will be connected to all the right people. We can also plug-in a virtual currency to facilitate economic transactions in this virtual economy. Would a currency that is directly tied to the needs, wants, talents and skills of every participant in the economy not have the potential to strengthen against real-world currencies? A currency backing a better economy is simply a better currency!

Alternate Economies are about creating integrated, holistic systems to improve the way we live and work. As we listen to so many people complaining about or protesting governments and corporations; do we not recognize a market demand? Do we not see this deep dissatisfaction as a market opportunity to offer them what they want? What these frustrated people of the world (our customer base) are really asking for is nothing other than a better life! Our competition (corporate and government institutions) are too self-serving to accommodate their needs. We, on the other hand, can!

Today’s entrepreneurs have yet to understand that we are the ones responsible for creating a better world. No other group is willing or able. Each day we continue to tinker with million dollar ideas, we miss the trillion dollar idea that will improve the lives of billions.

Investors, too, have failed to comprehend the scale of this opportunity. The startup community has become rigid, overly-confident, and too dependent upon conventional wisdom. This has led to a failure to see the forest for the trees. Let’s go somewhere new. Let us create a new forest!

The entrepreneur and the investor may soon come to understand that we (and we alone) have the power to transform the world. No amount of success or influence is greater than in founding and enabling an entire economy. To build an alternate economy is to seize the opportunity of a generation.

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Is Ello worth joining? Well, it doesn't solve the 3 fundamental problems with social media.

Does anyone feel the way I do about social media? It seems there is something fundamentally and obviously wrong with all of today's social media sites. Ello, the anti-advertising, stripped-down new "alternative to Facebook", is unfortunately no exception. I will go through the 3 fundamental problems in great detail. I will then describe an entirely new, different, and better type of social media site.

I should have fallen in love with Ello. I really wanted to. I despise all forms of advertising, so Ello's charter as a Public Benefit Corporation inspired me to the extent that I am founding my venture with a similar anti-advertising charter. But as I was saying, I don't love Ello because it doesn't solve the 3 fundamental problems of today's social media sites.

Ello, Facebook, Tumblr, Myspace, and all of the rest of the social media sites are fundamentally flawed. They no longer serve any useful function, and are obsolete, for the following specific reasons:

Fundamental Problem #1:  Social media contributes to information overload by providing a massive amount of irrelevant information. This makes us feel physically ill.

When I logged-on to Ello, I had to start with nothing and nobody. I immediately realized the enormous amount of work ahead of me. Obviously I would need to make some friends, otherwise nobody would care about what I have to say. So then I tried really hard to force myself to care about what other people were posting. I browsed around and did some searches. The truth is, a lot of the content I saw was pretty good. These are clearly smart, talented people who are embracing their passions. The problem is, their passions aren't my passions and I don't really care about these random strangers enough to pay them proper attention. It occurred to me that these same, random strangers weren't likely to care about my posts either (regardless of how brilliant and worthwhile I believe my thoughts to be!). 

Now that the Web 2.0 novelty is ancient history, I no longer have the time or energy to care about meeting someone who I will never know in real life, who I will never work with, and with whom I will never create anything. What I want isn't the same thing as what those people want. My life has no connection to theirs and we are essentially not compatible. How is it going to help either of us to know each other? Why would I want to see the paintings of a random Italian artist? Why would I want to listen to the music of an unknown band who's music is in a genre I don't like? Why would I want to read someone's thoughts on a new gadget, when I simply don't care about new gadgets at this very moment? After a short time on Ello, I felt as though I didn't belong and, worse yet, I started to get physically sickened from the endless stream of irrelevant content. It wasn't as bad as advertising, but I felt the same way I do on Facebook.

So what instincts or needs drove me to Ello to begin with? Here's what I do care about: 1) raising capital for my start-up, 2) finding an appreciative audience for my music, and 3) finding an audience for my blog. Those are the things that give my life meaning and purpose, outside of my family and real-world friends. I know that I need to meet new people, which should presumably be the point of social networking websites, right? 

Unfortunately, Ello doesn't help me. Instead, in order to look "popular", I'm supposed to pretend to care about a lot of people who I don't feel anything for. Then they can, in turn, pretend to care about me. We can pretend that we both have an audience but, in truth, we don't have a real audience. Even if we did, we don't actually feel anything about each other or care. Using today's social media sites is like trying to scratch an itch and being left with an even greater itch. It is a cycle in which we are left tired, empty, and frustrated while we make no progress in our lives.

Fundamental Problem #2: There is no real mechanism to meet new people in order to form a solid, mutually-beneficial relationship.

Today's social media, including Ello, is really only useful if your intention is to stay in contact and keep up-to-date about happenings in the lives of your real-world friends. Outside of that, there is no systematic, usable mechanism to connect us to the people who we should know who we currently do not know.

Fundamental Problem #3: Social media leads to stagnation and inaction in our lives.

We all have a limited amount of time on this planet and energy in our days. How shall we use it? Here are some pretty good ideas:

  • Sharing beautiful moments with real people
  • Accomplishing our goals and dreams
  • Working toward something, creating something, solving a problem, or earning money so that we can, in turn, do something that excites us
  • Learning something that excites us
  • Experiencing something that excites us
  • Taking care of loved ones and maintaining our closest relationships
  • Feeling pleasure and experiencing real beauty that we can touch and feel
  • Experiencing human emotions with others, face-to-face
  • Relaxing in a way that brings us closer to the present moment and improves our overall well-being and sense of peace

We aren't doing any of these things on social media websites. Instead, we channel our time and energy into a black hole that gives us little in return. Sure, we may stay more updated on what's going on in our friend's lives, but even that is done in a way that is disconnected from the true value of those relationships. 


Above: random cats, bracelets, art, and irrelevant stuff that gives me a headache on Ello

So, after a short time on Ello, I signed off (far more exhausted than I was when I signed on after having accomplished nothing at all). I started thinking about the whole concept of social networking. What kinds of people do I actually need to meet to do the things I actually want to do? 

Interest 1: I want to raise funding for my start-up so we can launch the People Economy.

Who do I need to meet? angel investors, wealthy individuals who have an interest in the social good, people who are involved in the venture capital community.

I need a social networking site that connects me only to those people while skipping right past the brilliant Italian artists, other musicians, as well as the other entrepreneurs. Likewise, those investors need to meet me because this idea is brilliant, we will change the world, and they will make a fortune. They want to meet me but, today, they have no way of finding me. Instead, we all have to resort to a lot of email spam, social media games, blogging tricks, and other gimmicks if we hope to meet the right people. The whole system is inefficient and we can do better.

Interest 2: I want to reach an audience for my band's music.

Who do I need to meet: music bloggers, album reviewers, music podcast producers, concert bookers, etc.

Likewise, these people need a simple, elegant way to skim through all of the new albums coming out in a particular genre and region, for example. We need a way to connect to each other while avoiding the headaches.

Interest 3: All of that other stuff I wrote about doing stuff that improves our lives and excites us.

Who I need to meet: people who want the same things and are willing to meet new people and do something about it.

What we need is a way to connect two people based on their compatible wants -- a way to meet the right people! That connection should then be tied directly to an action. In just seconds, we should be able to get in touch with all of the people we need to meet to move our real lives forward and to make our lives better. We should be willing to work with these people, meet these people, and establish mutually-beneficial real-world relationships. We need to network with people only when doing so excites us...only when doing so is compatible with what we actually want!

The good news is that there actually is a way to meet new people, work together, meet, and carry on with our lives in just the way I'm describing. Unfortunately, Ello isn't it.

If there was a Revolution, who would lead it?

Who is going to lead the Revolution? Yes, I mean a real Revolution. Do we want a better society with a new economic system? Do we want a system that lets us govern our lives by something other than today's corporate, governmental, and organizational systems of corrupt domination and power? If so, who would we look to as leaders of that kind of Revolution?

Would it be the anti-capitalist, hippie, intellectual protesters? I doubt it. They understand the world's problems well indeed, but their clever words and provocation are not the solution. For the most part, they get stuck on the problems and don't seem to do anything to solve them.

Who else is going to do it? Politicians? Come on. They serve the status quo to an extent that no real change is possible. Forget about it.

We need a group of creative people whose function is not to serve the established institutions of power; yet who possess the skills and the capabilities to get something done. If anybody is going to change the world, it will be this guy: the self-motivated, problem-solving, action-driven entrepreneur with a brilliant idea.   


With all of the technology available to us, we are a new breed of entrepreneur who is capable of achieving anything. We are the change agents in the modern world and it is up to us to create something better. We are inventors who can build an alternate system to make everyone better off, happier, and more free.

We need to go further than merely on carving out some small niche market where we, individually, can thrive. Let's think bigger because the world needs us. Today's economic system is slowly destroying the world, just as it fails to serve human nature. Human potential remains dramatically under-developed. Our interests, skills, passions, and abilities are ignored just as our free time and life experiences are unnecessarily limited...and for what purpose? Anything is better than what we are doing today. A new future must be invented, built, and intelligently implemented. Let's do it for the greater good and on our own benevolent terms.

The concept of "invention" is not something that should be limited to conventional products and services. Let's broaden the concept in order to realize that everything about our daily lives is an invention. Our present form of money was once an invention. Corporate law was also invented by way of a legal system led by individuals who represent a specific set of values. Likewise, our generally-accepted doctrine of blind economic growth and profit at all costs...the whole concept was once a new idea, an invention. Even beyond the economic realm, we allow outdated ideas about relationships to dictate the way we love and connect with others. There is no reason to believe that there is anything inevitable about the status quo. Radical change and Revolution is the inevitability.

We entrepreneurs (who also happen to be radical thinkers, content producers, entertainers, inventors, and leaders)....we are the answer. Launching another niche, luxury business to fulfill a profitable customer need is great. But it would be much more profitable and worthwhile if we were to, instead, launch another economic system. We can create a new way to structure economic and social relationships between people. We can create and use our own currency. Nothing stops us from offering a tangible, user-friendly way for people to gradually, peacefully shift to another paradigm by simply ignoring today's systems of power, corruption, and control.

We are far from perfect, but it is time for us to realize that we are better than today's world leaders. We are the people who have what it takes to launch a Revolution. We need to think bigger and commit to creating a better world...and we need to do it in a peaceful way.

The Revolution will be an excellent customer experience! 

Free Work

Charlie Hoehn has come up with a great idea called "free work". This is a radical new approach to start anyone down the path of building the career they want, and the life they want, while doing what they want to do.  

I wish I had thought of this at the start of my career. Instead, I followed the conventional path and wasted years of my life in corporate misery. I finally found the courage to break free, but it just wasn't necessary to wait.  

In his TEDx session, Charlie talks about how frustrating the traditional job search actually is. Searching for a "normal job" is the first step down a path toward creating a life you absolutely do not want. 10 years later, you find yourself in an industry you did not choose, surrounded by people you did not choose to be with, doing a job that does not tap into any of your true interests or talents. This is the conventional path that we are told to accept, but there are other ways.

What I find most interesting about Charlie is how he struggled with, and then ultimately found himself overcome by, his gut-feelings and intuition. His decision seems to have come from a place of feeling backed into a corner. Oftentimes, extraordinary accomplishments come not from our exceptional talents or capabilities, but from panic and desperation. 

Faced with options that makes us feel sick inside, too many of us try to cope. We turn to anti-depressants and we lie to ourselves because we can see no other options. But thee are options. There are endless options in life and infinite solutions to every problem.  Free work is one.  Enjoy the video.

Contentedness and social networking

I've been thinking a lot over the past few days about the idea of contentedness.  Since the rise of Facebook and the overwhelming popularity of social media, I wonder sometimes the extent to which our lives are affected by being constantly "plugged-in" to each other.

I remember, not many years ago, feeling much more isolated.  If I was busy with a hobby, reading a book, taking a never crossed my mind what all of my friends would think.  But a scary thought occurred to me the other day: if I do something now which, for whatever reason, is not posted on Facebook, is not written about on my blog, or does not end up in the I feel as if that activity has equal value?  Scary thought. 

More specifically, I'm wondering to what extent we "social-networkers" are even starting to unintentionally filter our behavior based on this.  If I spend a day reading a book or hiking a mountain, only nobody knows about it or cares, am I just as content?  Do I end up choosing not to do things which unplug me from the network and have no relation to the network?  Am I trying too hard to somehow validate what I do, what I think, and who I am externally?

Maybe we'll talk about that next week in the Podcast (haha, I'm sure you see the irony in this).  By the way, there won't be a podcast this week.  We just felt like taking a week off.