People need the power and freedom to improve their communities and their lives, together. We want everyone, and every community, everywhere, to have this autonomy. That's the human priority.
The development of any technology is a distant secondary priority. Technology should only survive when it genuinely helps people.
So, let's build the technology that supports our need to make good collective decisions and actions. Let's do it here.
is an experimental initiative on the university of oregon campus.
We will address several problems at once:
The university needs to encourage its community members to freely interact for the purpose of creating relevant products and services.
University community members shouldn't need to worry that the institution will want to own their ideas or initiatives.
With the approval of this initiative, people here will freely discuss ideas for on-campus incubation of products and services -- especially services to serve the university community and mission -- and be sure that the university will ask for no more than 10% ownership. It's best to think of "minority ownership" as "the Google example": instead of prompting a re-writing of Google's key algorithm -- which was developed by Page and Brin at Stanford -- by claiming full ownership, Stanford agreed to 10% ownership ... which netted them nearly half a billion dollars at the IPO. Making "10% ownership" the default position of our university will incentivize and encourage autonomy, agency, creativity, investment, sweat equity, and collaboration.
Relevant products and services are those that do the public good. The predominant products of the current tech industry, unfortunately, optimize for profit, domination, and addiction. We can do better. What if a search engine provided enlightening results, not just popular ones? What if business intelligence software was built to support a democratic workplace? What if a social network was aimed to promote cooperation? What if we designed software to help us make the world a healthier, more beautiful place?
To do this, these and other positive claims of software products and services need to be continually research-verified, while they're developed and maintained. What better place to do this than a public university campus? We call this REC: Research-Engaged Computing.
Universities need better connections to the public. What better way than to create public-interest products and services?
Universities are increasingly required to be self-supporting. What better way to move in this direction, than to take the high road, and support research efforts that empower the public? What could be better for getting public support for education and research? What could be more financially robust than creating revenue centers based on these efforts? What could be better for research than having a community of empowered technologists providing meaningful work, training, expertise, income, and opportunity for the university community?
There are salient successes of this sort, even at this university, with significant revenue in global product subscriptions and services. We are seeking permission to initiate a growing portfolio of perhaps 50 new projects a year, solicit investment, and organize within the university community.
(The polemic, long-winded version