Monday, May 08, 2006

PeeroSphere



That's Jack in a Party Hat for Potash. Picture by Miss Joan Marie Moossy. Chances are you don't know Jack, and I feel reasonably safe posting this without his permission because what can be told by the picture? Yikes, I hope nothing. Jack is a fine lad and seeing pictures of him and his sister partying in Party hats for Potash made me quite happy. I was in a hurry when I gave a couple of hats to Miss Moossy and hadn't the time to attatch pom poms to the hats.

I like pom poms. I also like following the progress of Kiva a very innovative initiative to deliver micro-loans for development. The great thing about people in organizations and even businesses who blog is the ability to get a sense of who they are as people. Reading Kiva Chronicles makes the people behind Kiva seem awfully nice to me. One of there wonderful initiatives is to have the computer programming done in Uganda. Carl Haynes an accomplished programmer has headed off to Tororo Uganda to do that. He's got a wonderful blog Travels With Carl. Carl writes on his page about East Africa Tech Ventures:
East Africa Tech Ventures was created by as an umbrella group for a roster of personal projects that I have currently in development.

One of my goals in moving to Africa is to locate some local individuals who have an interest in software development and either pay them to help on my projects or provide assistance in getting their ideas off the ground by providing server space, technical support, internet access and possibly some funding.

The long term goal is to try to foster the growth of a high tech area within Uganda so I won't miss being around Silicon Valley. Soroti will be the new Bangalore!
From Carl Haynes blog I knew that he'd created a Web site as a sort of experiment called TagBrowsr. The function of searching by tags at Flickr is quite adequate, but TagBrowsr is still a neat place to go. While there I searched for pictures of "party hats." I was disappointed not to see any Party Hats for Potash. It seems when you want two words as a tag you have to use quotation marks--DOH! Wow but I did see some cool party hats! Check out this page. Yes, she really is a professional paper party hat maker.

I felt like my previous post was utterly vacuous regarding Phil Jones's term peerosphere meaning peer production. Here's a snippett from the Wikipedia entry on Commons-based peer production without the embedded links:
Commons-based peer production is a term coined by Yale's Law professor Yochai Benkler to describe a new model of economic production in which the creative energy of large numbers of people is coordinated (usually with the aid of the internet) into large, meaningful projects, mostly without traditional hierarchical organization or financial compensation.
That's a pretty neat capsule of my imagination of what Bazungu Bucks are good for. Alas, I'm so vague about the details of Bazungu Bucks nobody can make hide nor hare of them.

I handed out some of my tri-fold brochures along with some party hats at a friend's party. He wasted no time in telling me the brochures were lacking. As it turns out he was one of the first persons I'd handed a tri-fold I'd made about Bazungu Bucks. I think he would have said the same about that one but we were in a public place and he didn't want to embarrass me. Undeterred I sent out tri-folds to a person responding to my saying I'd send them some if they'd pass them around. My friend was right: the graphic design of the tri-fold really does suck. I know this because the person being kind and not really knowing me sent an email to friend of mine who forwarded it on to me.

Ladies and Gentlemen, behold the peerosphere in action. Maybe there's something that can be done about the horrendous Party Hats for Potash tri-fold brochure. I didn't deliberately make the tri-folds bad, I just don't know what I'm doing. And with a little help can make them better. I feel quite confident that there's great promise in the peerosphere.

If you head over to Zbigniew Lukasiak's blog Brunopis you'll discover that peer production has implications on the things we do for finacial compensation too. At least that's the conversation I was alluding to in my last post. There's an article by Elin Whitney-Smith from the Spring 1992 Whole Earth Review which is still interesting regarding new models of economic production made possible by new communications and information technologies: The vindication of Karl Marx--industrial relations. Channeling the spirit of Karl Marx in a heavenly discussion with Vladmir Lenin Whitney-Smith writes:
"There will be economic crisis. Where decisions are made by workers who know the product, know the customer, and see the benefit of the result in their pockets, business will survive. Where decisions are made by the top of the hierarchy for the benefit of capital accumulation, business will fail. Computers turn the hierarchy upside-down. Decision making is the last function of ownership. Capitalists are dependent on workers to control the means of production, so workers will be as owners. I was right, Vladimir, I was right."
I'm way too lazy to have ever contemplated becoming a Marxist. My take on Whitney-Smith's article is that channeling Marx and Lenin is clever artiface to make an important point about how information technologies can empower us. Phil Jones noted that the term peerosphere doesn't Google up anything now. I think it's just a matter of time.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kaunda,

You might also get a kick out of another blog by Cale and Jon who have just landed in Uganda (met by Carl and Moses). They are working on a program "into(context)" which is funded by Microsoft's Digital Inclusion program. They're going to be visiting Kiva's entrepreneurs and researching how technology can better assist microfinance. They have a great blog going at http://intocontext.blogspot.com/ This is almost like a technology exodus into Uganda!

Fiona Ramsey
Customer Relations and Operations Manager
Kiva
fiona@kiva.org

pingting said...

kaunda,

you are fast coming up on your 3,000th visitor.
you ought to announce a free party hat prize sent to the 3000th visitor.
would be fun to see who gets it and where in the world they come from.

pingting said...

offer not valid in alaska, hawaii or texas. offer not valid to friends, associates, employees of
the government or republicans living without regret for their poor lack of judgement. prize winners assume they must wear their new hats to all parties attended for the next five years or until paper hat wears out whichever comes first. prize winners must assume that they are special for winning such a prize and are willing to promote bazungu bucks acqusistion of said currency and said such prize winners agree to terms and conditions upon said once disclosed herein without forebearing said prize announced functioning be wherewithall agree until time ends or president impeached or bush's term ends whichever comes first agree to fight the power by peaceful means or inner peace comes when said hats are worn.