I'm on the run today, here are some quick observations, thoughts, blah blah blah:
1. I've blogged about failure as a precondition for success. Was thrilled to learn that one of my posts on said topic was picked up as "suggested reading" by a funding organization for which I have due respect. Here's their list for their staff seminar (thanks to my source!):
- Blog post from Kiva’s Matt Flannery. http://www.socialedge.org/blogs/kiva-chronicles/archive/2008/07/16/farewell-mr-capstick
- SSIR Article on the failure of Social Venture Partners in the Bay Area: http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/profiting_from_failure/
- Blog on one VC that talks about his failure rate and what he’s learned: http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/30/vcs-whats-your-failure-rate/
- Philanthropy 2173 talks about the links between innovation and failure in the consumer products space – how could this apply to philanthropy? http://philanthropy.blogspot.com/2008/05/measuring-failure.html
- Bessemer Venture Partners – perhaps the oldest VC firm in the United States – publishes an anti-portfolio: http://www.bvp.com/Portfolio/AntiPortfolio.aspx
2. In similar vein, my preoccupation with prizes and open sourcing was fed by today's NYT story on InnoCentive, which I've blogged about in the past. Was a wee bit disappointed that the story focused on commercial problems and solutions - let us hope InnoCentive's goal of 10,000 solutions includes a whole lot of public good solutions as well.
3. I was delighted to receive information from a scholar of prizes - here's what he had to say and his incredible website - including lab experiments on prizes....
"... it occurs to me that you might like to see a new paper I just finished on the history and use of prize incentives for R&D. I think results quite consistent with your earlier “Catalyzing Creativity through Competition” paper. The main novelty is that now we have a vastly larger database of historical competitions which we can link to technological breakthroughs in various fields, and I think a nice set of guidelines for what history tells us about which kind of prize works best, under various circumstances.Thanks, Dr. Masters - this information is fabulous.
- I’ll avoid attachments – a link directly to the paper is here: http://www.agecon.purdue.edu/staff/masters/MastersDelbecq_AcceleratingInnovation_RevJune2008.pdf
- You can also see the link in context at the top of the “current research” section of my general website: http://www.agecon.purdue.edu/staff/masters/#prizes
After this, my current big project on this is laboratory experimental on how people respond to different kinds of contests, especially to compare prizes that are proportional to success with traditional winner-take-all contests. So far we have pilot results from last Spring semester, getting ready for full-scale experiments when students return in the Fall. Amazing stuff, could be of much real-world value to philanthropists who are interested in market-like incentives."
Dr. William Masters, Purdue University
4. What do Everywhere Magazine, SocialMarkets, Facebook, Ning, and the self-organized Jewish family Sunday school my family participates in all have in common? I'm working on a post about "platforms" - the next idea that I'm pondering about in terms of philanthropy....If you have thoughts on platforms and philanthropy, ping me. Otherwise, stay tuned.
5. I've contacted Eboo Patel to get the source for his quote, "Religious extremism is built on philanthropy." Will let you know when I track it down. I've also ordered his book, Acts of Faith, and can not wait to read it.