A wiki-like crowd-driven democracy

Wikipedia works because the number of people who wish to make the articles better outweigh the number who wish to vandalise them.

Democracy has a problem: disengagement. There are too many levels of abstraction between the citizen voter and the decisions being made that affect us citizens.

  • The voter votes for a constituency MP of a party
  • The balance of MPs determines power in the House of Commons
  • MPs votes affect decisions and law-making

Citizens have to hope that the person they elect has broadly the same views on a wide range of topics – and that those views will also be upheld at a party level.

Imagine if democracy and government decision making could work in the same way as Wikipedia.

A bit like this;

  • The party fields a candidate who, if elected, will consult the crowd on decisions they make
  • Party members, and the wider electorate, can take part in ‘controlling’ the decisions of this MP via the web
  • An online tool would democratise access to the MP to everyone who can get to an internet connection
  • This avatar politician would act only in the express interest of the crowd who elected him or her

The engagement with this politician’s decisions would probably work a lot like Wikipedia;

  • Most people would ‘consume’ – checking the online tool to see the politicians voting record, and maybe add bits of feedback with comments
  • The less-engaged would feel empowered to participate in important decisions, votes on big issues, or issues that concern them deeply
  • The very engaged few would be checking daily, adding comments and influencing day-to-day decisions of this avatar politician

Multiply this up by hundreds of MPs and maybe we could have a crowdsourced democracy, removing the layers of abstraction and making government fairer and more transparent for everyone.

We’re selling shares in Droplet

Droplet is the startup payments platform I’ve been working on with the team for nearly 3 years now. We’ve grown to over 600 merchants in five cities and we announced on Friday that we’re raising funding by selling equity in Droplet – to our users first.

We announced to our users on Friday via a mailout and we’ve already seen over 100 investors come on board, pledging nearly £20,000 in return for actual shares in Droplet.

We’ve put together a simple page which allows visitors (whether or not they’re investing in the round or not) to promote our raise on social media sites.

The /crowdcube page has been viewed over 1,000 times and generated nearly 900 social shares on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn so far.

It’s simple, but a really effective way of helping our supporters to help us.

The Age of Loneliness

What do we call this time? It’s not the information age: the collapse of popular education movements left a void now filled by marketing and conspiracy theories. Like the stone age, iron age and space age, the digital age says plenty about our artefacts but little about society. The anthropocene, in which humans exert a major impact on the biosphere, fails to distinguish this century from the previous twenty. What clear social change marks out our time from those that precede it? To me it’s obvious. This is the Age of Loneliness.

By George Monbiot.

Everything is sales

The most important word in the sentence “I’m starting a tech business” is business.

  • Convincing talented people to join you is sales
  • Securing a business bank account is sales
  • Getting third-party providers to give you services at a decent rate is sales
  • Getting press and PR coverage is sales
  • Convincing your team of your vision is sales
  • Getting users to use your product is sales
  • Getting customers to pay for your product is sales
  • Securing investment from angel investors or VC funds is sales

If you’re great at tech, but not so great at sales – you need to work with someone who is.