Friday, July 27, 2007

doctor evil

It inspi(RED) some and bo(RED) others, but it's a fact that Product (RED) is built on a cynical acknowledgement: That the best way to get people supporting a cause is making sure there's something in it for them. Rather than try to inspire altruism - as many have and failed - this project harnesses the power of commercialism and the pull of materialism, for some good.

Whether this is the most positive way of educating the developed world about AIDS in Africa is questionable. What is undoubtedly smart is transforming the energy of self-indulgence into aid. Reminds me of that old martial arts concept of using an enemy's strength against him.

It got me thinking too. How far can you push this idea?

It's much easier being evil than being good, which is why actors prefer to play villains and why even Google has on occasion fallen short of its corporate promise. What if we could manipulate evil behaviour - doctor it (had to justify the post title didn't I) - and turn it into good?

- Pay-per-view videos of people falling and hurting themselves to raise money?
- Aid-tax on every missile fired by the government?
- Cheat on your lover, sponsor a child?
- Or, I don't know, sharks with frikkin laser beams repairing dams?

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Tongues and toes: Two body parts that need pleasing on any shopping trip. Of course, you need shoes and only want lunch, but still, in the spirit of excessive consumerism, both require a good sorting out.

Introducing Shooshi.

For those who haven't already put shoe and su together, Shooshi is a concept restaurant where sushi and shoes are served together. Shoppers/diners sit around a conveyor belt (Yo Sushi-style) but alongside the Futo Maki and Maguro on offer are some Patrick Cox high heels and a pair of pristine white Birkenstocks.

A simple interface alerts back room staff to the shoes and sizes you're interested in and by the time you've slurped down your Miso soup and complained that the soy sauce packets are too small, your shoes will be ready to try on.

Investors, please.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, July 15, 2007

rated tradesmen

Finally, a solution to putting your finger in the Yellow pages and hoping. Rated Tradesmen is a service to find... tradesmen. But community commentary is the best part.
Fascinated to see if this works...

Sunday, July 01, 2007

collections vs collectives

The concept of charity often rattles its collection tin irritatingly while I'm trying to do other things. That rattle is an alarm bell (See what I did there?) - a warning - that charities are dangerously behind in terms of utilising the accumulative energy of the connected world. If anything, charity remains very introverted.

When it comes to charity, people tend to get muddled between their own needs and the aims of the charity they support. I won't start philosophising about whether true altruism is a myth, but I will share two examples of charitable solutions (that I witnessed within five minutes today) to make a point.

This morning I left my house to get some lunch from Tesco. As it happened, I had just been browsing the apps on Facebook and had come across the Causes application. This application is designed simply to feed off the Facebook community - and the energy and connections in it - to act as a conduit for activism. It seems pretty basic and I'm sure there are better ones being developed, but it is potentially a very efficient way (results pending) to not only raise money but to educate and create discussion about different causes.

Three minutes later I was walking into Tesco where an elderly woman was collecting money for Macmillan Cancer Support. She looked grumpy. She shook her tin. She probably sat there all day.

This woman represents the old world. Compared to the potential of charitable Facebook applications, her effort is not even comparable. But I couldn't possibly walk over and tell her that. She is there because she wanted to do something.

The whole world needs to change. Attitudes need to change. And social values need a bit of a kicking too. Charities are losing out - for many reasons - but a key reason was personified in the doorway of Tesco. The intentions of that woman are worthy, but misplaced. We all want to do something. So rather than stay in silos, each 'doing our bit', we are in need of simple solutions that harness this collective desire.
As more and more disparity is broadcast to us, it's tempting to think we have to try harder, but Facebook apps show us that there are simple solutions out there - built by one person and more powerful than a thousand street collectors.