Saturday, April 14, 2007

Global Philanthropy Forum, that is, Philanthropy 3.0

In the last 3 days I had the opportunity to participate to the 6th edition of the Global Philanthropy Forum who took place in the Mountain View Google offices. More than 600 of the most influential people in Philanthropy, business and social entrepreneurship gathered from across the world.

From the very first moment it became very clear we are living a topic moment in the so called “philanthropic” world. We are assisting at a total convergence between the private and the social sector. To Judith Rodin (president of the Rockefeller Foundation) words: we are now leaving Phylantropy 3.0, as opposed to 1.0 of the beginning of the 1900 (donations) and 2.0, after WWII, characterized by the Program centered philanthropic organizations.

I bet the term coined by Judith will become part of our daily buzzwords, much like the Tim O’Reilly intuition of Web 2.0.

We are now officially in the era of “phylantrepreneurs” where the difference between a VC found and a foundation, a hot start-up and social venture become totally blurry.

Honestly, to get to that conclusion, we just had to look around, and see the faces of the participants amongst the panelists and the public: Marc Benioff, Larry Brilliant, Alan Patricof, Jean and Steve Case, William Draper, etc. etc.

And clearly, the host itself, Google and his Philanthropic arm (effectively a for-profit organization) as a clear example.

Indeed, Larry and Sergey (accompanied by Larry Brilliant) interviewed by the always subtle and jovial Jane Wales (president of the Forum) were one of the various hits of the gathering. Larry and Sergey (who once again alone decreased of a good 15 years the average age of the participants) clearly demonstrated how Philanthropy 3.0 can be a direct effect of Web 2.0. How the approach of “Don’t be evil” (who Sergey wants to change into “DO good”…) can be the common denominator between a successful company maniacally focused on doing something of direct value for the users and the so-far called “Extra-world” of Philanthropy (that in Greek means “love for mankind”).

And it was interesting to see how the newest and the oldest in the house ( and the Rockefeller Foundation) would move together hand in hand, sure to have come to the same conclusions, although coming from very different paths…

The conference unfolded with an impressive set of hands-on experiences and panels on how it’s come the time to apply the best lessons learned in the plain vanilla- business (its talents and resources) to have a wider look at the opportunities offered by the “social” sector and developing world.

I personally had some memorable conversations with Ali Mufuruki (founder of the African Leadership Initiative) and representatives from Avina who described me the amazing work done with the Recyclable Material Pickers (read the 2 millions of people living over mountains of garbage) all throughout Latin America (Ciudad Saludable).

The grand finale (a few hours ago) was in the hands and vision of the always appreciated Bill Clinton, who, more and more, reminds me (even physically) of Jimmy Carter (who really impressed me at Google a few months back). I’m sure Bill won’t get offended by the comparison…the two are really merging their paths…

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Adieu Jean-Noël . . .

According to French media, last week Jean-Noël Jeanneney stepped down as head of the BNF (Bibliothèque nationale de France).

From the pages of l’Humanite, we learn that, interestingly enough, the news coincided with the official launch of, the last name for “la contribution Française a la Bibliothèque Numérique Européen”.

In addition to be a respected author and archetype of the “intellectuel français”, Jean-Noël gained a great notoriety at international level after his notorious article on le Monde, When Google Challenges Europe ["Quand Google defie l'Europe"]

Arguably, his article started off the somehow disingenuous controversy to provide a European alternative to Google Book Search, and finally, to Google search…And it did have the immediate outcome to slow the program adoption by French publishers, with the result of having French content somehow under-represented in Google Book Search.

Not only the article gave him more notoriety that he could have ever expected (as a matter of fact I always suggest to sue Google if you can: most likely you won’t win the lawsuit, but you WILL become worldwide known!), but it also gave him the basics to publish a new book, which (guess what?), his publisher added to Google Book Search : Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge: A View from Europe

It’s not my intention to discuss over the highly politically charged agenda of Jean- Noël (whose Google internal nickname was “Johnny Christmas” as a result of the “not always impeccable” Google language translator – how comical is that?)

I’m more interested in seeing whether this is the start of a new era or rather the confirmation of a hard-to-sustain position for France on the topic.

Either way, all the best to Jean-Noël, for all his new endeavors… and all the best to Europeana!
We can’t wait to see when the project will develop into an integrated, multi-language, multicultural digital library. We need more of those. But so far, as the website says, it’s just a “prototype”.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

La "raza" del SISCTI

En las primeras semanas de febrero, me llegó una invitación a participar a la conferencia SISTCI, organizada por los estudiantes del TEC, el Tecnológico de Monterrey en México.

Acepté con gusto, también estimulado por la idea de poder conocer personalmente a Steve Wozniak, el verdadero keynote speaker de la conferencia.

Vista la audiencia (por la mayoría estudiantil), era mi intención intentar comunicar algo “inspirational” durante mi intervención. Bueno, en la hora y pico pasada en el auditórium con más de 1,000 estudiantes, no se si logré en mi objetivo. Lo que si es cierto, es que fueron ellos lo que me inspiraron. En mi elaboración “del panorama cambiante del mundo de la producción de contenido” me atreví a preguntar cuantos entre ellos tenían un blog, sin mucha expectativa. Bueno: de la 1,200 animas presentes en el auditórium, vi mas manos en alto del numero de personas que pensaba estaban prestándome atención!

No importa que a la pregunta siguiente (“¿y cuantos de ustedes tienen más de dos lectores diarios [y los familiares no cuentan]?”) la platea se pareciera a un desierto con un par de albores…

Lo que importa es que me di cuenta que, quizás por la primera vez, había un salto generacional entre yo y la audiencia… y (quizás de nuevo por la primera vez) yo no era el joven de los dos.

Así que, después de esta visión celestial, decidí resolutamente de empezar un blog mío, que sea algo más de fotos de familias.

Que sea claro: no tengo ninguna aspiración de ser entre los pocos que cuentan en más de 2 lectores (y los familiares no cuentan). Pero me parece quizás algo debido a la comunidad, tener que compartir algunas de las experiencias que veo en mi mundo profesional, gracias a la centralidad de la empresa donde trabajo y que pienso puedan ser de algún interés …

Entonces aquí empezamos… ¡Buen viaje!



PS Lo que Wikipedia dice de Wozniak no puede ser más correcto, en particular la parte sobre los juegos de prestigio y la pasión por los lásers…

The big (or "medium") Brother

Posted by Picasa