Life With Alacrity

A blog on social software, collaboration, trust, security, privacy, and internet tools by Christopher Allen.

Tag: Web/Tech

Defining “Participatory Ecosystem” — Grow the Pie, Not Slice It!

As part of being a member of the sustainable MBA community at Pinchot University, I have been trying to articulate what I like about the kinds of collaboration that are possible even inside a competitive industry. In our MBA program, we don't just teach about competitive strategy (using classic's like Porter's book), but we also teach about the nature of coopetition. These practices are more likely to lead to sustainable businesses (not only sustainable=green, but sustainable=enduring).

A Revised “Ostrom’s Design Principles for Collective Governance of the Commons”

The traditional economic definition of “the commons” are those resources that are held in common and not privately owned. This is closely related to economic concept of public goods, which are goods that are both non-excludable (in that individuals cannot be effectively excluded from use) and non-rivalrous (where use by one individual does not reduce availability to others). My own personal definition for the commons is broader — any regenerative, self-organizing complex system that can be drawn upon for deep wealth.

A Spectrum of Consent

I have made understanding of consent and consensus, in both their human and technological forms, a major part of my career. I have explored them through my work in cryptographic technologies, but also in human terms at the Group Pattern Language Project, by co-authoring with Shannon Appecline forthcoming book on the design of collaborative games, and another book in progress on the patterns of cooperative play. My business management style is also more collaborative and inclusive.

Speaking at Consensus 2015

I'm heading out today to New York City to speak at Consensus 2015, where I am speaking on the panel ‘Bitcoin and its Antecedents: A Look at the History and Evolution of Digital Cash’: Bitcoin is far from the first attempt at creating a form of digital money with the potential to upend existing systems. Our panelists will look at bitcoin's predecessors and close cousins. Nathaniel Popper wrote the book Digital Gold, which delves into bitcoin's genesis; Christopher Allen is an internet security expert who has been involved in digital cash systems including Digicash for decades, while Garrick Hileman is CoinDesk's lead analyst and an economic historian at the LSE, specializing in alternative and private monies.

The Four Kinds of Privacy

(This article has been cross-posted in Medium) Privacy is hitting the headlines more than ever. As computer users are asked to change their passwords again and again in the wake of exploits like Heartbleed and Shellshock, they're becoming aware of the vulnerability of their online data — a susceptibility that was recently verified by scores of celebrities who had their most intimate photographs stolen. Any of us could have our privacy violated at any time… but what does that mean exactly?

Mini Resume Card for Conference Season

Between the business of the March/April conference season and leaving Blackphone, I've run out of business cards. Rather than rush to print a bunch of new ones, I'm created this mini-resume for digital sharing and a two-sided Avery business card version that I am printing on my laser printer and sharing. Not as pretty as my old Life With Alacrity cards, but effective in getting across the diversity of my professional experience and interests.

Dyads & Triads — The Smallest Teams

(by Christopher Allen with Elyn Andersson and Shannon Appelcline) Two years ago, the Bainbridge Graduate Institute ( faculty gathered to radically reinvent their sustainable business curriculum for the next decade. Our goal was not only to update course content, but also to significantly update how the material was taught. We wished to make our teaching process (our pedagogy) more interactive and also more effective for students graduating into a 21st-century work environment, where people increasingly work in teams-both online and offline.

Introduction to the Social Web (Reading List #SW4SX)

These are the initial required readings for the first two weeks of my Using the Social Web for Social Change class (hashtag #SW4SX) that I teach in the MBA in Sustainable Systems program at Bainbridge Graduate Institute. The goal of this portion of the class is to cover an introduction and overview of the landscape of the Social Web, establish among the students the beginning of a shared language about the medium, and introduce a process toward a collaborative culture that we will use for the rest of the course.

Tools for Ignition & HyperCard’s 25th Anniversary

Over my lifetime I have encountered a number of “tools for ignition” — a phrase which I use to describe innovative products that have empowered people and created movements. On the 25th anniversary of Hypercard’s introduction, I want to take a look back at some of these tools. BASIC (1976) In 1976 I encountered my first tool for ignition: Bill Gate's MicroSoft BASIC running on the IMSAI 8080. There was no ROM on this computer, so you had to load a boot program using the front panel switches you see above.