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The Future of Community

I will be a panelist at the Future of Community Internet Week discussion organized by Be Social Change and hosted by MeetUp on May 20. Register here and get a discount using the code “CommunityPanelFriend.”


Join Be Social Change on Tuesday, May 20th at 7:00PM for a panel discussion on The Future of Community Building as we explore the trends, challenges, and best practices in the art of building community.

Building and maintaining meaningful relationships with current and potential customers, employees, supporters, and neighbors is becoming a central imperative for organizations big and small. Gone are the days of simply marketing at customers, today’s thriving businesses are focused on inviting the public into conversations and into their communities.

Why are more and more companies prioritizing community building as a key part of their growth and impact strategies? What tools and techniques are being used to effectively engage and activate customers? How can online communities bolster in person communities and vice versa?And what is “community management” anyway? From likers and retweeters to C level strategists, how and why is the role of community manager evolving to become increasingly essential to organizations across sectors?

{Drinks and snacks will be provided!}

Join the conversation on Twitter #FutureOfCommunity

@besocialchange | @marcossalazar | @csisl | @leesean| @davidspinks | @meetup | @heidisloane

6:30-7:00 PM – Doors open, Arrive

7:00-8:30 PM – Panel Discussion + Q&A

8:30-9:00 PM – Networking


Marcos Salazar, Co-Founder + Executive Director, Be Social Change

Marcos is a social entrepreneur, educator, and community builder. He is the co-founder and Executive Director of Be Social Change, a New York City based non-profit on a mission to educate and connect the next generation of change makers.Previously, Marcos was the Vice President of Programs at The White House Project as well as former Technology Strategist and Leadership Researcher for Girl Scouts of the USA. He is the author of The Turbulent Twenties Survival Guide, an expert speaker on the psychology of life after college, Gen Y, and Millennial topics, a former elected official in New York City as well as owns two hyperlocal clothing companies, BoroThreads and DistrictTees, in New York City and Washington, DC.

Eli Malinsky, Executive Director, Centre for Social Innovation

Eli has been a champion of collaboration and innovation in the social sector for the past ten years. A deep believer in the potential of ‘everyday people’ to create social change, Eli’s work is centered on new models that unleash creativity and catalyze impact. Eli has spoken and published works on networks, collaboration, social enterprise, shared space and social innovation. He is currently Executive Director of the Centre for Social Innovation in New York City. The Centre for Social Innovation is a coworking space, community and launchpad for nonprofits and social entrepreneurs.

Lee-Sean Huang, Co-Founder + Creative Director, Foossa

Lee-Sean is the co-founder and creative director of Foossa. He is also affiliated with Purpose, where he has worked as a designer, strategist, and now as an advisor. He has devoted his career to working with social enterprises, nonprofits, and communities to create transformative experiences for positive social change. He has collaborated with organizations including:, Human Rights Watch, the United Nations, the SEIU, Creative Commons, Made in the Lower East Side, and Afro Brazil Arts. Lee-Sean holds a Bachelor’s degree in Government from Harvard and a Master’s degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University.

David Spinks, CEO, CMX Media

David is the CEO of CMX Media, a brand dedicated to improving the community industry through its publication: CMXHub and its event: CMXSummit. David has spent his career building startups and communities and a couple of them didn’t even completely fail. He cofounded Feast, and BlogDash and built communities for companies like LeWeb, Zaarly, Udemy and SeatGeek. Today he’s working to build the leading community of community professionals. Super meta!

Andrea Murphy, Community Team Manager, Meetup

Andrea is the Community Team Manager at Meetup where she is responsible for managing support operations and scaling support tools and resources for the world’s largest network of local groups. Andrea has built out and managed chapter models for local Meetup Organizer Groups as well as organizations interested in fostering local community around their brand. She recently spoke at UserConf NYC (2013) about How to Get Feedback into the Development Process by creating a user-centered culture and community within your company.


Heidi Sloane, Strategy & Community, Be Social Change + miLES

Driving community engagement and strategy at Be Social Change, Heidi is committed to connecting passionate, talented individuals to other people, projects and ideas that will amplify impact, lead to electric conversations, or result in inspired collaborations. Having studied social entrepreneurship at NYU, Heidi has been working with early stage non-profits, startups, and social projects since graduating in 2012. On top of her work with Be Social Change, she manages community and communication for a startup social enterprise, miLES (Made In The Lower East Side). She previously worked with Lean Startup Machine and was inspired by how lean startup can be used as a powerful tool by change makers tackling social and environmental issues. Since joining the BSC team, she has been working to adapt lean startup methodology to be more accessible and applicable in the social good space; she co-teaches the Makers Institute class series “Lean Startup for Social Good.”

Meetup is the world’s largest network of local groups.
Their mission is to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference. More than 9,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.


Be Social Change is a community-driven nonprofit on a mission to educate and connect the next generation of change makers. Through entrepreneurship education, community-building, and resource-sharing tools we empower people from all sectors and industries to pursue work they are passionate about and create lives that make the world a better place. Our vision is to create a world where every entrepreneur is a social entrepreneur, every career is an impact-driven career, and every business is a socially-conscious business. Join us in making this vision a reality.

Activism Design Innovation Internet Media New York NYC

Impact is what you can get away with

Here is a panel presentation proposal we put together for Internet Week NY. It would be a panel presentation with Stephanie, Alnoor, and Alessandra from Purpose. Special thanks to Nicholas and Colby for the feedback and support.

Impact Is What You Can Get Away With
Brands and organizations looking to make real social impact should go beyond the app to “do good” or “give back.” Impact isn’t an app, it’s an uprising. It’s not just a meme, it’s a movement. Warhol and McLuhan both said, “Art is what you can get away with.” Riffing on this provocation, we challenge social innovators to get away with more. What can change makers learn from artists? How do you channel cultural power to achieve deep structural change? How do you stimulate promiscuous participation? How do you turn social innovations into social movements? This session is for makers, thinkers, and doers looking to level up their understanding of the art of mass mobilization and achieving transformative impact. We will present from our experiences building 21st century movements at Purpose and engage in dialogue with fellow “movement entrepreneurs.”

Vote for our panel proposal. Thanks!

Interactive Internet Technology

Book Review: What’s Mine Is Y(our)s: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption

Haiku synopsis:

Tech helps us to share
Old impulses, New ideas
What is mine is yours

Co-authors Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers present a highly readable overview of the collaborative present and future of consumption as new technologies empower and amplify our basic human urge to share.  I was really excited to finally get my review copy of this book, since my masters thesis, SokoSquare, dealt with many of these issues of reclaiming and redefining community (and finding abundance) through collaboration and sharing. In particular, chapter 8, “Collaborative Design” was a particularly inspiring call to action for me as a designer to move beyond creating beautiful artifacts to creating systems and experiences that generate some sort of communal value.  The ethos of collaborative consumption doesn’t see technology and the internet as an end in itself, but instead a coordinating mechanism for enhancing robust communities.

I have also been thinking about these issues in my recent work with, a newly-launched social movement for the promotion of electric vehicles.  Widespread adoption of electric vehicles is only one part of the solving the climate and peak oil crises.  We must also change the way we own and use vehicles.  Botsman & Rogers quote Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford:

The future of transportation will be a blend of things like Zipcar, public transportation, and private car ownership.  Not only do I not feat that, but I think it’s a great opportunity for us to participate in the changing nature of car ownership.

Amen to that.

What’s Mine Is Yours is part cultural critique, part aspirational document, and part survey of the current collaborative consumption scene.  Besides Zipcar, the book also explores the success of sites like eBay, craigslist, and CouchSurfing and offers an introduction to some interesting newcomers in the space.

If you like Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age or Douglas Rushkoff’s Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back, this is the book to read next.

Internet ITP News NYC NYU

Clay Shirky Cognitive Surplus

I headed back to ITP on Wednesday for the launch of Clay Shirky’s new book, Cognitive Surplus. Catherine White and I are starting a book club to discuss the book in a couple weeks, join the Google Group here (and tell me who you are if I don’t know you in real life) and here are some photos I took of the presentation at ITP:

Clay on the 2008 US Beef Protests in South Korea

Clay on lolcats

Clay on the Gneezy and Rustichini Haifa day care center study

Clay on the Grobanites for Charity

Cognitive Surplus on Amazon

Follow @cshirky on Twitter

Internet News Writing

Delivering Happiness

Can a company really deliver happiness?  That is a question that Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh tries to answer in his new book, Delivering Happiness (out today!). He certainly delivered happiness to me as a blogger when I received a free review copy of the book a couple months ago.  With that disclosure taken care of, let me go into what I hope will be a fair review.

Delivering Happiness was a quick and easy read.  Hsieh writes in a casual conversational style and claims in the introduction that he did not employ a ghostwriter.  I finished the book the night I got in the mail.  Despite his own self-deprecation about his writing ability, I appreciate the conversational tone and the authenticity of his personal voice.  As far as books written by CEOs of successful companies go, Delivering Happiness is definitely not douchey.  I have to admit, I don’t usually read business management books, nor have I ever shopped at Zappos, but I was intrigued by the offer of a free book.

Hsieh delivers sage business advice in a simple and earnest way while interweaving it with his own personal narrative. As a brief aside, in the spirit of Hsieh’s personal narrative style, I’ll interweave some of my own personal narrative into this review.  Hsieh and I have a lot in common.  We are both the sons of Taiwanese immigrants who grew up in suburbia.  Both of our last names start with H.  And speaking of the letter “H”, to drop the H-bomb, we both went to Harvard. We were both forced (um, I mean, strongly encouraged) by our parents to learn piano and some sort of string instrument growing up (in Hsieh’s case the violin, in mine, the cello).  I have to admit, as someone who didn’t grow up with many Asian-American role models outside of my own family, these kinds of commonalities made me really identify with Hsieh’s story and personal journey.

Hsieh emphasizes the importance of building a strong and distinctive corporate culture as the path to business success.  He has done this at Zappos by maintaining transparency and a personal touch in management, and hiring and training employees in a way that infuses Zappos with its distinctive culture.  For example, Hsieh talks about how prospective employees are asked questions like “how weird are you?” and how Zappos offers new employees $2000 to quit after their training period just to make sure they are getting people who are really committed.

Just so I don’t come across as a total fanboy, the last paragraph will be critical. There were a few awkward bits in the book.  One is just a slightly typography technicality, but my designer side can’t help it.  There are several fonts used in the book, but the one used for quoting the Zappos Core Values Document (page 159), was a bit hard to read for such a long excerpt (maybe they have changed that for the final publication version though).  In terms of content, the part about Hsieh’s first experience with rave culture could have been shorter, and might have been a bit self-indulgent, but once again, I appreciate the personal, almost naive candor and honesty, and very much jive with Hsieh’s persona as a “hip, iconoclastic CEO” (I got that one from the book cover).  At the same time, the side note about how much Hsieh loves Red Bull was just plain weird (tacky product plug, or just an over-enthusiastic fanboy?).  Then again, if I ever get the chance to write a book about myself, I would welcome gladly the sponsorship of any of my uppers of choice (any matcha or yerba mate producers out there reading this?).

Don’t take my word for it though.  Delivering Happiness is a breezy entertaining read for anyone interested in building different kind of corporate culture, that optimizes both financial success and, well, happiness.  I’m happy I read the book and happy that you made it all the way through my review.  Have a nice day!

Delivering Happiness Official Homepage

Buy Delivering Happiness on Amazon

Donate to LIVESTRONG and receive a FREE copy of Delivering Happiness

Follow Delivering Happiness on Twitter