Archive for the ‘Ideas’ Category

Golden Rule Goes Both Ways

When we think of The Golden Rule, we think of it as a proactive thing – a rule to keep us from offending others, to keep them from offending us.

Try to remember, though, that it’s also a reactive thing – not jumping all over someone when they make a mistake keeps us from making the situation worse and stops us from shaming someone who may have offended us by accident.

Knee-jerk anger is cute for sitcoms, but if you want to actually make the situation better you need to be ready to knee-jerk-react with humility and forgiveness and grace.

IDEA: How would America really vote?

Idea

Image by annais via Flickr

DISCLAIMER: I post ideas here as they come to me with the thought that somebody else may see them and express an interest in developing them or working with me to develop them. Of course, there’s nothing to keep you from going off and developing an idea on your own, but you should know that this blog tracks the times and dates of my posts and updates to them, which could be considered my copyright. All I ask is that if you like an idea you read about on my site and you want to pursue it, you make an effort to include me in the development as much as I want to be –which may be not at all. If I had time to develop every idea that came to me, I would do so instead of posting them here. 😉

Background…

Technology has come to a point where it would be possible to create a true democracy: one without representatives, one in which every person has a vote on every issue. Obviously, there are a number of reasons why this is not practical even if it is possible, but don’t you sometimes find yourself looking at how our representatives vote on something and catch yourself thinking “there is no way that vote represents the feelings of the bulk of the people in my state”?

You can’t trust polling services because their sample population is always too small. You can’t trust politicians because the surest way to know someone in Washington, D.C. is lying is to hear them speak a number. Jon Kyl‘s recent proving of this was both horrifying and hilarious.

So here’s what I propose…

  • Let’s create a website that anybody can join. Most information on the site would be available to all members, some would be only available to paying members as a bonus for their contribution.
  • On this site, we will have a daily posting of all of the issues being discussed in the House and Senate with special attention being paid to anything being voted upon that day. Each issue will have it’s own thread that will include a summary of the proposed legislation, links to the legislation for site viewers to review and a count of each of the members of congress and how they voted on the bill.
  • Members of the site will be able to enter their own vote (Yes/No/Abstain/Put this aside until later), which they will be able to change up until voting is finished in the House and Senate for the bill.
  • As site members vote, their votes will be compared to the members of congress and site members will be able to see how their representatives stack up against them personally.
  • Similarly, site members will be able to see stats on how often the actual vote was similar or different from that of the site members; how individual congress member’s votes stack up next to the votes of the site members.
  • We will invite essays from pundits on all sides of an issue for consideration by the site members.
  • There will also be daily polls for issues not being discussed in either branch of congress (What do you think the yearly salary of a senator/representative should be? What do you think is the most important issue for congress to address today? etc.)

What do you think? What would you change/add? Want to help me build it? Please comment below. I have been thinking about this project for a long time and would have done it myself if I had 1/8 of the technical skill needed to pull off something this complex. My intent would be to invite donations from site members to keep it going plus some limited advertising (like if one of the essayists has a book out, we would link to it on Amazon so we could get a cut of sales from our members), and I would gladly split any profits with any and all team members for the time they are involved in the project.

IDEA: Non-Religious-Based, National Community Improvement Organization

Idea

Image by annais via Flickr

DISCLAIMER: I post ideas here as they come to me with the thought that somebody else may see them and express an interest in developing them or working with me to develop them. Of course, there’s nothing to keep you from going off and developing an idea on your own, but you should know that this blog tracks the times and dates of my posts and updates to them, which could be considered my copyright. All I ask is that if you like an idea you read about on my site and you want to pursue it, you make an effort to include me in the development as much as I want to be –which may be not at all. If I had time to develop every idea that came to me, I would do so instead of posting them here. 😉

NOTE: I am making this post live to be viewed to invite discussion (please feel free to add your commentls below), but I have been pondering this for a long time and have a lot of ideas to post here as I find the time to type them, so feel free to check back often to watch this post grow. Eventually, it may become the basis for a kickstarter campaign or something similar. And if you’re a wealthy person looking to seed something like this, feel free to contact me and we can chat about how to get something like this started.

CONCEPT: A national community action/improvement/philanthropy organization that is in no way beholden to a religious organization. I believe there are a lot of people out there that would be happy to work for the improvement of their communities if there was an organization where they could direct their energies. Ideally it would be national so that there would be similarly structured chapters in every city and town, but the chapters themselves would be independent entities as well so they could tailor their mission to the needs of their community.

This is not a new concept, certainly there have been many such organizations in the past — Salvation Army, YMCA, any number of churches — that have filled this role, but I have a feeling that in the current time many of these seem to have either lost their local focus or have grown so large that their bureaucracies most to slowly to be truly effective. I also believe that many folks have fallen away from the Church due to a change of beliefs or an economic necessity to be working when they would otherwise be participating in these functions. Sometimes people don’t feel like they belong in a religious setting because they don’t believe or because they can’t live up to the financial obligation of a tithe. Sometimes there are folks that would very much like to be part of a community, they just don’t want the core mission of that community to be religion. The organization I envision would not cut out religious groups or their members from participation, but it would not allow them to rule and would not tolerate the exclusion of anybody based on religion. Any religion.

What I propose would be an organization where a person’s affiliation would be based purely on two things: geography, and a willingness to do good in their community. It would have a similar model to a lot of organizations that started with religious affiliations but with a very flat organizational structure and a small number of clearly targeted goals. It would also take advantage as much as possible of Internet resources to share information among its members as well as process information from the outside world. Chapters could post notices of the types of projects they are doing — fundraising, philanthropy, entertainment — to give other chapters ideas on how to do similar projects. People in the community seeking help could use the internet as a contact point with the organization to request help.

Names for the Organization: I have been pondering several names for the organization and it makes sense to state them here so that I can go further in my description and not have to keep saying “the organization.” As I said earlier, the membership will be united by location and the will for philanthropy. Therefore, the names I have been entertaining have been centered on these concepts. I also want something catchy and short. Something that lends itself to a viral spread in the online community. They’re not set in stone — none of this is, it’s just a dream at this stage — so with this thought in mind, I welcome any ideas anyone else may have.

  • NAME IDEA 1: “Zips”
    • Based on the chapters being set mostly within certain zip codes
    • PRO: Could be very catchy and easy to spread by word of mouth
    • CON: May sound a bit childish for a national organization, but probably not any worse than “Google” once was
  • NAME IDEA 2: “The Neighbors”
    • Suggests geographic proximity, and also a sense of community.
    • PRO: Short and catchy; sounds legit on a local and national scale.
    • CON: Could feel a little bit immature and a little bit creepy at the same time — like Mr. Rogers meets The Stepford Wives
  • NAME IDEA 3: “Neighborhood 19609” or “Hood 19609” or “Hoody 19609”
    • A hybrid that has a feeling of inclusion and also identifies the area by zip code.
    • PRO: it’s catchy; has the advantages of the first two ideas
    • CON: Maybe feels a little too ‘urban’; splitting areas by zip may not be practical in more sparsely populated areas; how do you refer to the national organization? Hood USA?

IDEA: Indy Theater

Idea

Image by annais via Flickr

DISCLAIMER: I post ideas here as they come to me with the thought that somebody else may see them and express an interest in developing them or working with me to develop them. Of course, there’s nothing to keep you from going off and developing an idea on your own, but you should know that this blog tracks the times and dates of my posts and updates to them, which could be considered my copyright. All I ask is that if you like an idea you read about on my site and you want to pursue it, you make an effort to include me in the development as much as I want to be –which may be not at all. If I had time to develop every idea that came to me, I would do so instead of posting them here. 😉

CONCEPT: A movie streaming site, with all he features and capabilities of Netflix Streaming with mainly low-budget and independent films in it’s repertoire. The idea would be to give a globally recognizable venue for movies that cannot get into theaters. With the way home entertainment technologies are moving, it may not be long before being in the right place online pays better than the theater anyway, and easily better than straight-to-DVD.

USER (filmmaker): Film makers would create accounts for themselves that would allow them to post their movies as well as create a profile page for their production companies. The movies would be available to stream for free, but audience members would be asked to rate the movies with donations of $1 to $5 depending on how much they enjoyed them. The audience would also be invited to rate the fils on criteria like script quality, cinematography, subject matter, etc. The profile pages would also have donation buttons so that audience members could donate to support future productions.

USER (audience): The audience would be able to see streaming movies made by indies for free. They could then donate to the movies based on their enjoyment of the work in the categories listed above. They would also be able to donate to the producers to encourage future ventures. Audience members would be able to see the average rating a movie has received as well as the total amount of money it has brought in. This would also encourage them to vote with their dollars if they think the rating is too high or not high enough.

REVENUE: The site would take a percentage of all the money brought in, not to exceed 30%. This would go to administrative costs. The goal would be to give most of the money straight back to the producers, though, so they could profit directly from their work.

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