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Alex Turcu
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Free and Open Internet
Free and Open Internet
plus.google.com
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This will be a really interesting tool for students, but in order to succeed, it needs your help!
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I really like +John Tolva's piece about open government in Chicago. It ties together the key themes in what we started out calling "Gov 2.0" (transparency, and government data as a platform) with key ideas for making government better. It starts out with four key principles, and then shows how they are being applied in Chicago:

"Transparency builds trust.
Accountability builds a better workforce.
Analysis builds new processes.
Open data builds businesses."

I haven't seen a better definition of my idea of government as a platform than John's. It's simple and clear:

"There are a variety of ways to work with the data in the City’s portal, but the most flexible use comes from accessing it via the official API (application programming interface). Developers can hook into the portal and receive a continuously-updated stream of data without manually refreshing their applications each time changes happen in the feed. This changes the City from a static provider of data to a kind of platform for a application development. It’s a reconceptualization of government not as provider of end user experience (i.e., the app or service itself), but as the provider of the foundation for others to build upon. Think of an operating system’s relationship to the applications that third-party developers create for it."

I also love the focus on the use of data for process improvement. Companies like Google measure everything, and build processes that respond in real time to that data. It sounds like Chicago is moving in that direction.

I'm really impressed.
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Fantastic, must read post: The Dumbest Idea in the World: Maximizing Shareholder Value

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/11/28/maximizing-shareholder-value-the-dumbest-idea-in-the-world/

The article starts out with a fabulous analogy:

“Imagine an NFL coach,” writes Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, in his important new book, Fixing the Game, “holding a press conference on Wednesday to announce that he predicts a win by 9 points on Sunday, and that bettors should recognize that the current spread of 6 points is too low. Or picture the team’s quarterback standing up in the postgame press conference and apologizing for having only won by 3 points when the final betting spread was 9 points in his team’s favor. While it’s laughable to imagine coaches or quarterbacks doing so, CEOs are expected to do both of these things.”

then transposes it to the world of business:

"In today’s paradoxical world of maximizing shareholder value, which Jack Welch himself has called “the dumbest idea in the world”, the situation is the reverse. CEOs and their top managers have massive incentives to focus most of their attentions on the expectations market, rather than the real job of running the company producing real products and services.

The “real market,” Martin explains, is the world in which factories are built, products are designed and produced, real products and services are bought and sold, revenues are earned, expenses are paid, and real dollars of profit show up on the bottom line. That is the world that executives control—at least to some extent.

The expectations market is the world in which shares in companies are traded between investors—in other words, the stock market. In this market, investors assess the real market activities of a company today and, on the basis of that assessment, form expectations as to how the company is likely to perform in the future. The consensus view of all investors and potential investors as to expectations of future performance shapes the stock price of the company.

“What would lead [a CEO],” asks Martin, “to do the hard, long-term work of substantially improving real-market performance when she can choose to work on simply raising expectations instead? Even if she has a performance bonus tied to real-market metrics, the size of that bonus now typically pales in comparison with the size of her stock-based incentives. Expectations are where the money is. And of course, improving real-market performance is the hardest and slowest way to increase expectations from the existing level.”
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Before we allow our society to sink into a chaos of devastation and deprivation, there are many wasteful, or otherwise doomed, practices that will end. The "Out With the Old" list is not a proposed agenda for politicians to adopt. They are too committed to the existing order to voluntarily make these changes. Rather, the end of these practices will come (and much of this is already happening) as pragmatic realities sink in. They are unsustainable Dead Ends, so they will not be sustained.
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