NetGain: Platform Accountability

What do Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Youtube have in common?

You are what they mine

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Your attention is your currency. It is your most precious resource. It defines your experience of life.

We are talking about the most powerful corporate entities in human history. And they are not accountable to anybody. Their power is too new, too different, to fit our current regulatory frameworks.

They know everything about you. But they are not being governed. We are not in charge. They are.

We need an unprecedented innovation to challenge any of these platforms.

Either that, or we figure out how to govern them.

Democracy flails at the mercy of fake news. The taxi industry is erased and the precariat are left to compete for the bread crumbs. Local economies disappear behind Amazon’s tyranny of convenience (prime member here). And we miss our own experience just so that we can share the picture.

Do you remember when Silicon Valley promised us utopia? This is not it.

Last month I facilitated the NetGain Partnership’s Maine Convening. The Ford, MacArthur, Knight, Mozilla and Open Society Foundations bring together brilliant minds to grapple with the question of platform accountability. This is unsung work. It’s not glamorous. It is overwhelming. And it has massive implications.

We don't have answers.

We have climate change. An obsolete governance structure. And a whole new economy held in the grip of these platforms. So what can we do?

Gather in person. Ask big questions. Resource this work. And experiment.

This is the important work of the NetGain Partnership. But as big as these foundations are, we are still talking David vs. Goliath.

But these technologies depend on us, on our participation, on our attention. We do have choice. And we can craft alternatives. It will take time. This is the work of a generation.

Immediately, you can:

Over time, you can:

  • Pay attention. Make political demands. This should definitely be a bipartisan issue.

  • Learn about things like Amazon and the potential of antitrust intervention.

  • Make demands of the platforms themselves. You are their customer and their product.

We must find ways to meet this moment.

Where is your attention?

After The Burn

After The Burn

Almost everyone I speak to says that Burning Man is transformational. This was true before the burn, it was true during the burn, and it was even true among people who have never been to the burn. Something is happening here that has the potential to change people's lives. It is something that wakes up commitment and effort to be part of this community.

But what do we mean when we say "transformation." I think of it as change that cannot be undone. Developmental change. Leveling up from one stage to the next.

The transformational experience is my life's central concern. It is what I seek for myself. And it is what I facilitate for others. It is key to evolution itself.

But we live in hyper-advanced capitalism. This late stage capitalism is more immersive than Burning Man. It is the ocean we swim in, it is where we live, love and work in every day of our lives. It is the default world. And the default world seeks to comodify the human experience. It does not matter what you are into. It can be virtual reality or the great outdoors. It can be meditation or sex positivity. It can be the workshop circuit or sacred medicine work. It can be Burning Man.

All of it can be commodified.

All of it can be reduced to an experience that you pocket.

You get to speak of it.

You get to remember that you had it.

But it will not be something that changes you.

Change demands integration.


Mutual Accountability

For 21 days a group of us endeavored to build and hold a morning routine. Win the morning, win the day! We supported each other using a set of tools. But the process was held together by a simple rule: if I fail to keep my commitment, everyone in my group has to pay.

We are social animals. We don’t want to let each other down. And we certainly don’t want to be the cause of someone else's punishment. The tool worked like a charm. Even on those few occasions when one of us missed a day, it was very easy to jump right back on track. No one wants to start the trend of leading their team to fail.

Room for Redemption

Room for Redemption

How can we believe in evolution if we don’t believe that people can change?

What do we have to do to make room for redemption? For forgiveness? For growth?

This year, Calvin Feliciano, who is like a brother to me, was held at the Canadian border. He was not allowed into Canada. He could not participate in this year's Evolutionary Leadership Workshop.

He was not allowed to take this life-changing journey of transformation.  He was sent back to the United States for mistakes made sixteen years ago, when he himself was 16.


The Better Men Project

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After too long a stretch on the road, I am finally back to interviewing for the Better Men Project. I am riveted by the pattern of pain and responsibility that keeps showing up in these talks with men.

I did manage to make time for a heart-centered overnight ceremony with a cohort of men. These were lawyers, accountants, and big time financiers. Men who live and work outside of the “woke” discourse. The men that I’m trying to reach. The work works, the heart opening is real, and it gives men access to parts of themselves that have been shut out by patriarchy and its conditioning.

I was also moved with hope after the first men’s meeting held for those who have participated in the Evolutionary Leadership Workshop. The depth of connection and relationship that we already hold allowed us to take a very deep dive right away. We rallied around a crisis of patriarchy, beautifully supported by the women and femme identified folks in our community. 

We refused to concede to a culture that seeks to throw men away in the name of “justice.” And we committed to the idea that intimacy among men is a key aspect of becoming better men and living our way into a world that is safe for women.

Find out more about The Better Men Project here or sign up for an interview for the project below

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The Flagship

The Flagship

Last month I was blessed to facilitate the fourth annual Evolutionary Leadership Workshop, our flagship program. A workshop to make dreams real. I also facilitated the first ever Evolutionary Leadership Graduate Program, an opportunity for former workshop participants to come back and level up.