April 19, 2018Comments are off for this post.

The rise of the participant and the end of all that

I think we’re reaching the end of something.

It may only be a stopover on the long journey into irrelevance for exploitative social networks that obscure their true intentions behind small print terms-of-service. It may just be a warning sign for brands that ‘partner’ with their consumers only to wring every last idea and data point out of them.

But it might be more than that. Even if some of the institutions of our corporatized world linger on, there’s something new rising up in their stead, driven by the many, by the participants.

Participant is our term for everyone who makes a commercial or social contribution — consumers, citizens, corporate employees, small business owners — that big messy mob of all of us that makes the world turn each day.

This new participant-first orientation will form the backbone of what we like to call the Participation Economy. It will result in businesses, organizations and technologies of all sorts being enabled, led and powered by all of us. Value creation and eventually ownership will be decentralized and the spoils of a commercial endeavour will be distributed equitably to all those who contributed to it. Blockchain and cryptocurrencies will have big parts in this change but the exact roles they will play are uncertain. These things are just tools at our disposal.

This wave of change is one reason why we formed IOVIA. It’s our new venture, an organization that works with companies of all sorts who want to make measurable positive impact right now, both socially and commercially. It’s a venture that puts participants first. We’ve always championed fair and sustainable business models and platforms and now are putting aside all the talk and making it happen. Inside IOVIA Labs we are building a platform that brings everything above to real, tangible life.

We are lining up partners right now.

IOVIA won’t be for everyone. Some brands will recoil at the idea of true consumer autonomy. Some brands will still see creating positive social impact as the purview of the Corporate Social Responsibility department rather than as core to the DNA of their company. But let’s face it — not all brands are made to last. The graveyard of the once mighty expands every year.

We are here to work with those who believe an equitable, sustainable future can’t wait. It’s here now.

I think we’re reaching the end of something.

But I know this is the beginning.


January 1, 2018Comments are off for this post.

2018, the year that women change everything

Our team, and specifically our female colleagues, have outlined our collective manifesto for our world in 2018. We will confidently and proudly use the word ‘feminism’ because it literally means Equality. For. Women.

1) We don’t want to hear any complaining about the #metoo movement by men who then promptly tell their own #metoo stories. This isn’t about pitting women against men; it’s about standing up and saying that these unacceptable things are happening to women and it happened to #metoo. And honestly — as women, can’t we just have this moment? Dear men, this isn’t about you, it’s about us.

2) We can’t say it clearer than they do at Time’s Up Now We aren’t going to accept sexual harassment or gender inequality as normal. No more silence. No more waiting. No more tolerance for discrimination, harassment or abuse.” It’s a hard line they’re drawing. We’re drawing it too, it’s not about how large the offense is, we have zero tolerance. We’ve just made them our first donation of 2018 and we encourage you to do so as well.

3) We aren’t going to shut up, be objectified by, or mansplained either. Don’t even try. We will call you on it. Oh and while we are at it, don’t hepeat either. Hepeat definition (verb); when an idea or opinion that has been stated by a woman or non binary person is ignored but then greeted with enthusiasm when it is repeated by a man. Honestly we think it’s ridiculous.

4) We aren’t going to support or enable women trashing other women. We’ll call you on that too. As Madeleine Albright said, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

5) We will continue to grow our support for female powered business models and movements. We have proudly supported SheEO and will continue to do so, and we are proud to announce that we are also participating in The Helm. This is just the start for us, stay tuned.

6) We aren’t going to pretend to be something that we aren’t, we are strong independent women, period. The great fuckening is over. The world needs more of us and we are bringing it. Here is a good starting point.

7) Finally, we believe the future is female and we will approach it as a grassroots movement brought to life through our daily words, our daily actions and our long-term commitments to other women, both with those we know and those we don’t. At Better & IOVIA we will work hard to positively impact the statistics that we are faced with daily, through our financial support, our time and our voice.

i. Women-led companies make up 4.94% of all VC deals

ii. Women working full-time make 74.2 cents compared to $1 for men

iii. 130 million girls between the age of 6 and 17 are out of school and 15 million girls of primary-school age — half of them in sub-Saharan Africa — will never enter a classroom

iv. 75% of female harassment victims experience retaliation when they speak up

v. Women make up just over half (55%) of unbanked people worldwide, of 2.0 billion people

Our response to this is #WTF.

If you know of organisations that we absolutely need to support; financially, through time our expertise or through our voice, please let us know. In the meantime, we are continuing to assess how we can shift to powering these initiatives.

Closer to home, we are applying a critical eye to our business, team and purpose and making sure our own house is in order. That means we are:

1) Building a more diverse team at Better & IOVIA, including adding more women and people of colour in key roles. When we look at our organization, we know we can do better. We know that we can expand the range of viewpoints, life experiences and voices in the room, all to the benefit of our business, our clients and our teammates. And because it is the right thing to do. This is our challenge and we are on it. We’ll report back to you at the end of 2018.

2) Doing our part to ensure that the blockchain isn’t just another man-chain but instead a people-chain. This is important. We cannot build another patriarchal power structure, particularly one that has the transformative power of the blockchain. All the women at Better & IOVIA have our full support and opportunities to develop their expertise and contribute to our work with this emerging technology.

3) Creating more Freedom at work. We’re not going to lie. We think the old school command and control approaches to employment are anachronisms and ineffective. We are focused on creating freedom around the when (there is no 9–5 at Better & IOVIA), where (we work wherever we want) and how (tools, resources and flexibility) of our work lives. We will continue to make Better the ideal place for work and life co-existence — so our teammates can have professional and personal fulfilment and wellness.

So, we’ve cast out a challenge to ourselves, our own team, and we have specified a list of demands from all of us because we believe this… “There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power stronger than both, that of women.” Malala Yousafzai.

Yours truly,

Team IOVIA