Crowd funded journalism

I assume that everybody at one point or another, has wondered why certain “news” is… well… news. Shouldn’t  newsworthiness be more constant?  And what about  following important news subjects  to the end,i mean has global warming been fixed ?!  Was it just me who didn’t get that memo and what story is big enough to bump something like that anyway!?  How are we suppose to fix things great and small if the focus keeps changes? Who is to blame for  this  ‘news schizophrenia’  which creates a perpetual state of mild confusion  at best and a  persistent unconscious anxiety at worst?!.

All ranting aside, this is a problem and apparently there are some people who seem determined to fix it, at least a part of it, so much so that they launched a kick starter project for a new long-form journalism magazine called “MATTER”.

The crowd support for MATTER has been phenomenally successful, the initial goal was 50K, while at the time of writing  the counter is on 124K ( and still 8 days left). Obviously the message resonated with people. The magazine wants to  focus on subjects that are important and therefore demand more time and dedication than regular magazines can afford. Most of the revenue for this long-form journalism will be on  pay per view scheme with a standard fee of  0.99 dollar per article.

But this method of crowd funded journalism is not without its critics, out of the blogosphere there has been substantial critic on the longevity of a magazine being funded in this manner. I belief some points are valid but I feel that the staggering amount of crowd funded capital is not getting its due credit, crowd funding is the closes to ‘democratizing demand’  as we are able to get, instead of market research firms and/or product marketeers who push products onto the market assuming consumers will purchase it,the crowd can now  pull  products into the market, products they wish to have. This is significant not only from a consumer empowerment perspective but also from an ecological perspective,less unneeded products being produced, also read Don Lehman ‘s excellent article on the subject.

There are several hurdles that MATTER needs to successfully overcome in the coming future, but the crowd has given its stamp of approval and that should count for more than it does now.


human genome – when science catches up with science fiction


Gattaca is a film written and directed by Andrew Niccol, it tells the story of a not to distant future where the human race is obsessed with the human genome.  Crudely said, your genome determines you standing in life, the better your genome the better your career options and vice versa.

The film itself is intimate and engaging  Andre Niccol’s characters are believable and well acted and accompanied by a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack that glides you through the film. But I always considered the story to be a metaphor to our society, that human spirit should not, and in this case cannot, be stifled by a rigid system. I never considered the possibility that the story could be an early warning  for a realistic future.

Until recently mapping the human genome was a long and difficult process, which made it very expensive. Consequently, very few people on the planet could say that they “know their genome”, making the pro’s and con’s discussions about human genome, really not that relevant.

But times are changing, and exceedingly fast it seems. There are several genome sequencing companies active at the moment, navigenetics, 23andme and decodeme. That offer to sequence your genome,  for varying prices of 200 to 1100 dollars, the difference in price seems to depend on how much you want to know about yourself.

This puts genome sequencing in the hands of the common man and this lowering of the threshold will help fill the data bases of the genome companies with the potential to mine the data, for better or worse. However, Gattaca does not have to become reality, says Lone frank, a science writer and author of the book “my beautiful genome”.

Only time will tell if humanity is mature enough to use this technology for the greater good. However, one thing is clear, human genome sequencing is going to become a fact of daily life  for everyone within the next 5 to 10 years, its simple a matter of time before the sequencing machines are economical enough to sit in your  doctor’s office. leveraging brand equity for social start ups


“common” is a brand, but not just any brand, it could be the brand for that new biological organic coffee shop in Cape town, South Africa  or the brand name for that cool ecologically conscience furniture shop based in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. The goal is to have  economic venture across the globe with the “common” brand name on it, whereby the impeccable services  you received from that furniture store in Eindhoven will transfer to the great and cosy atmosphere of that coffee shop in Cape Town you discovered during  your city trip or visa versa.

It leverages the “common” brand name, thereby helping start-ups with good ideas to push forward with their product or service without having to fret about brand exposure, at least not as much as before. And simultaneously it functions as a general collaborative repository for all the businesses which are under the “common” brand name. Hopefully, this will  limit the rookie mistakes of fledgling entrepreneurs.

Personally, their slogan sums it all up quite clearly: “Do Shit that matters”.

I am curious  how the different initiatives are going to be named to distinguish them from each other, but this should be fixable.