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Linux Journal: Power from the People

Jul 08, 2002, 13:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Doc Searls)

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"At a time when the standard Linux story covers yet another corporate savings move or grand strategy by an industrial giant, it's nice to run across small but terrific efforts that happen to run on the world's handiest operating system. I ran into two of these efforts last week in New York. As it happened, both projects focus on what people can do for themselves and their government.

"The first was e.thePeople, which held its launch event on Thursday, June 27th. e.thePeople's slogan is 'Democracy is a Conversation', which leverages the first thesis of The Cluetrain Manifesto. I'm kind of associated with the whole Conversation thing, so I was on hand to give a brief opening talk at the invitation of Michael Wieksner, who was running the event. While we were hanging out, Michael showed me how e.thePeople has created an effective instrument of grass roots democracy, as well as how they happened to build the whole system on Linux and other open-source foundations...

"The second project I learned about while in New York is MEETUP.com. Before the e.thePeople party started, Scott Heiferman, cofounder and CEO of MEETUP, button-holed me by e-mail. It seems he was going to be at the e.thePeople event and an unrelated party that followed, to which we both had been invited. What he showed me was far more impressive than any of the earlier dot-com efforts that tried to commercialize the same thing, which is nothing more than arranging get-togethers. According to the FAQ, 'MEETUP does something that the Internet should do: It connects people around topics of interest locally...'"

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