Raphie Frank :: business artivist

Korean Kickboard Terrors


hidden in my soul” courtesy of Aytena

She is a woman haunted by the dreamlike memory of a market in Seoul, South Korea, chasing after the legs of a man she thinks may have been her father as they receded further and further into the distance. She remembers sobbing and sobbing and a man who came to comfort her and then it’s all just a haze. She recalls little of the orphanage except the straw mats she slept on every night as rats skittered past. To this day she is terrified of rodents, so much so that she would jump into his arms whenever a low flying sparrow would swoop by.

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July 15, 2006 Posted by | Storytelling | 4 Comments

The User-centric Approach to Website Design

Playing again with Mondrian
Playing again with Mondrian” courtesy of *Christine

The User-centric Approach to Website Design
by Raphie Frank , for swandivedigital, January 2003

Your guide could not be here. You will have to go through on your own.
– Voice from a loudspeaker

Introduction
The Internet, in spite of the boundless opportunity for connection and interaction with others it provides, is fundamentally a user-controlled , solitary medium. Whether within the comfort of a home or the confines of an office cubicle, the typical Internet user will still be sitting there, alone, with a keyboard, a mouse and a monitor and will need to figure out how to go from A to B or accomplish Z. The trick for those who design and maintain websites is to provide Internet users with the best possible direction and guidance within a richly useful, pleasant environment.

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July 14, 2006 Posted by | Business, Design, Internet, Producing | 2 Comments

“Radical” Stirrings from the Voice of the Lost Center


Pyramids of the Sea” courtesy of Mattijn

egg_theorem over on Flickr, a student at U. Mass with a mind that skips circles around my own, offers these thoughts on centrist “radicalism”…

In significant conflict, the center/moderate contingents are most often eliminated in the process of polarization that occurs in the process of that conflict. That is, the LEFT and the RIGHT polarize, and those who compromise between the two are either eliminated or co-opted by one of the poles. This is all on an ideological/political level, of course. It’s only in physical conflict that folks actually die – but without physical conflict the effect is the same.

So, I think radicalism has its greatest potential as a part of that inevitiable process of polarization, as a medium for progressive propaganda, behavioral contagions, horizontal mimetics, and so forth. The only problem with radicalism is that because it is not recognized as legitimate by the “legitimate” powers that be, people don’t see radicalism on the net as anything legitimate or important specifically because the centralized government and economic bohemoths make it SEEM like it’s not important.

So radicalism can have potential, certainly in terms of creating mutual communicative spaces between those who already agree — but the potential for reclaiming others is more particular. What I really mean to say here is that radicalism can work, but it cannot SEEM radical if it is to be effective.

Now here’s the mind twister…

Typically, “radicals” do what if they do not wish to appear radical? Ah… yes! Very good! They moderate their views. Perfect! Easy enough….easy… hey, uh, look, I’m a little dumb here when it comes to finding my way around. I don’t even know the way to San Jose. So, could somebody out there do me a favor and remind me again, please, which way I go from the Center to become more moderate?

P.S. Yesterday was egg_theorem‘s Birthday, so please do stop by and wish him a good one…

July 12, 2006 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

Eyes On Toronto :: The City Takes Pause for One Month! Bravo!

We can never know exactly the whys or wherefores, but one thing is certain according to Ana Crisan, Chris’ friend, and my source on the ground in Toronto: Chris Gardiner stays put until at least late July or early August.

We must continue to request and, if need be, demand, clear explanations to reasonable questions regarding City policies towards Toronto’s unorthodoxly happy citizens. Neverthless, we would like to take this moment to heartfeltly congratulate the City of Toronto for recognizing the issues at hand re: Chris Gardiner and the Homeful 20 as human issues meriting a conversation with two points of view rather than as caveats disguised as humanitarian outreach efoorts. Bravo Toronto! And Ana Crisan, I will speak for many when I wish you an amazing week in the sun and fun. You, Ana Crisan, deserve a vacation if ever anyone did.

more : Eyes Upon Toronto :: Background Info
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Send in those Congratulations Letters Folks. Let the City of Toronto know you appreciate that they are giving fair weight to opposing views to the pressing social issues of the day… Bravo Toronto!

TELPHONE, FAX AND EMAIL THE MAYOR’S OFFICE AND EMAIL YOUR FRIENDS
Mayor, David Miller ||||| Tel. 416-397-2489 ||||| Fax it to 416-696-3687 ||||| email: mayor_miller@toronto.ca
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The stick with the cool sky” by Ana Crisan

July 9, 2006 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

Would We See Graffiti Bearing the Word WATER in our Part of the World?


from the Watercone in Yemen tested by Care Page at Watercone.com

Kind of ironic, eh?

Water = Life & Wine = Spirit

Yeah, baby, we got a whole lot ‘o water and a whole lot ‘o life and a whole lot ‘o wine this here Western way. And last I heard, we’ve got God on OUR side too. We got it ALL here in America. I thank the Good Lord that we’ve also got all the human beings too otherwise that Water marking that there wall might actually MEAN something to our born-again Christian President.

What was that rich man camel needle thing again in the Good book? Doggone, but my memory fails me for once… I coulda swore I read something about alms for the poor and all that?

Ooops, my mistake. Those folks over there are Towelheads! What dummies! They’re so damn dumb they don’t even know they’re already dry! Ha! Idiots! Well, no worries. That don’t concern me none because I’m an AMERICAN, and only got brought up Christian. You can’t blame a kid fer his upbringing, right? And you know what else? If’n you don’t like it HERE, then go on over there back where you came…

Oh, you came from HERE?

Damn right I did. A fourth generation eldest son of the American Dream. Yeeehaw! Don’t EVEN get me going baby. We were born to fly and they were born to die.
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July 9, 2006 Posted by | Politics | 4 Comments

Giving A Damn :: Back To the Future


off to another dimension” courtesy of Mattijn

So far ahead of the curve I’m right back where I began on the upside down side of the flip side. Yup, it’s true, I was just as big a dumma$$ almost 20 years ago…

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from the Vassar Quarterly, Summer 1988
For 36 consecutive hours last September, Vassar students, students from other colleges, and people from the Poughkeepsie community raised money for local social services by playing Ultimate Frisbee — a competitive version of the usually laconic toss-and-catch-game — on the lawn of in front of Noyes. Money was raised from pledges and the sale of T-shirts and Frisbees. Hundreds participated, with President Frances Fergusson throwing out the first Frisbee. Proceeds — $6500 — went to the support of the Gannett House, a temporary shelter for Dutchess County homeless, and to Hunger Action.

The idea, says Steve Frank [aka Raphie Frank] ’89, marathon organizer and Ultimate Frisbee team member, arose on the playing field. “It was a good way of using something I already did to a good purpose.” Mr. Frank, who was subsequently appointed to the newly established President’s Advisory on Public Service, seems to blend a Sixtie’s ideal of social activism with an Eighties sense of aggressive management.

“I don’t believe in paying penance for being lucky or intelligent,” he says. “You can’t appeal to just people’s altruistic instincts. I want to create win/win situations. People have to get something out of volunteering. If Philaletheis puts on a play at Greenhaven,” he says by way of example, “the prisoners get culture, and for the performers, it’s another audience. That has nothing to do with volunteering. The volunteering aspect will be a side thing, but it may be that’s what a person gets most out of. That’s what happened to me with the Frisbee marathon.”

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As for Mattijn’s picture up there, I say The Vortex spiral that takes you to another dimension can be a GOOD thing if it’s taking you back to the right side of the looking glass…

Visit Mattijn.com

July 4, 2006 Posted by | Philosophy, Politics | 1 Comment

The Evolving Principles of Business Artivism

Crazy-ons
Crazy-ons” courtesy of Patrick Lee

formerly known as “The Evolving Principles of Boojummy”

  1. Create win-win scenarios where everyone gets what they need and feels good and no one feels taken advantage of.
  2. Recognize that we can’t just sit on our a$$es and do nothing if we want to have any right to complain about the respective states of our existence
  3. Embrace the ego because if you’re not getting what you need, you’re not going to be able to give others what they need. Accept that altruism and egotism are not incompatible concepts.
  4. It’s OKAY to make money doing something you love. And it sure as hell ought to be okay making money making the world a better place. And it’s okay for those who work harder and contribute more to society to make more, not less, money than others.
  5. Change happens ONE PERSON AT A TIME. It starts with the self and spreads outwards like rippling water. But as the one becomes the few and the few become the many, the waves increasingly intersect and create “nodes” of connection and understanding.
  6. No one person is the be all and end all within the interdependent business artivist system. Some people, however, akin to Malcolm Gladwell’s conception of the connector and the maven, have a greater grasp on big picture issues and that grasp should be respected, but never go unchallenged. The goal of the teacher is to have the student surpass him or her.
  7. Power abhors a vacuum. If humanistically oriented “spirit first” leaders (aka “poets of the possible”) don’t aspire to wield influence, then materially-oriented “money first” leaders will because their rules-based institutional structures are based upon a well-considered rational understanding of human nature that has proven itself successful time and again through recorded history. As such, the “rules of the game” are stacked in their favor because they have past precedent to argue their case. Many people with spiritually-inclined constitutions are co-opted into the “system” simply because there are no other viable alternatives.
  8. We can do just fine by ourselves, but we can do better together than apart. In the increasingly networked world of Intrenet 2.0, collaboration and sharing are to be considered a competitive advantage.
  9. Flexibility and adaptibility are key. Changing opinions and approaches resulting from growth, learning and changing circumstances “on the ground” are never to be considered evidence of a disingenuous initial position. Precisely because of this amorphous nature of the artivist network, the cultivation of permission-based networks centered upon trust, transparency, honesty and openness are key ingredients to business, as well as personal, success.
  10. Business is personal. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. The idea that it is not is just a “believeable fiction” we tell ourselves to ease those nagging guilts we feel when we screw others over. As social entrepreneurial and good corporate citizen models suggest, psychic benefit in lieu of monetary gain can provide for increased efficiency and yield superior profits, both psychic and monetary, going forward.
  11. Receive an ounce of kindness? Try to pass on two and it will even out in the end. If you don’t know what I mean, try being the guy who collects the money at the end of a group dinner…
  12. It’s okay to press the back button. Mistakes get made. We only ask good faith and for network participants and/or allies to take immediate ownership and accountability for past error. Mistakes made in good faith are not “evil.” Failure to re-assess past positions upon presentation of new information, or failure to allow for the presentation of new evidence (aka “communication shutdown”), however, will not be passively accepted, but persistently challenged, until a better story that better fits facts can be presented.
  13. Let’s be human beings… There is no room in business artivism for either petty jealousy or preening egoism. Those who succeed are to be considered guides and facilitators for those who helped promote them to success. Gifts of knowledge and/or venture risk capital are to be considered a duty. In return, the giver may reasonably expect a return on investment in the form of monetary or social equity. Returns on investment in the form of physical or emotional equity, however, are to be assiduously avoided whereever possible (you can’t shut off feeling after all…) lest they exploit well known inequalities embedded within the the very structure of unequal power distributions.
  14. Those who create work should benefit from the widespread dissemination of that work. We consider intellectual and creative copyright, especially in the digital age, a moral mandate.
  15. Business artivism is OPT-OUT at any time. If you’re not getting what you need, go someplace where you have a better chance to get it. But you can’t just take it all with you and neglect those who helped you along the way. Well… you can, but don’t expect us to sit still for it. We’ll fight for our own not to get the short end of the stick and even keep the door open for you to come back if and when the time is right.

The aforementioned principles 1 through 15 apply on personal, business and political levels all. And all dialectically feed back and influence the other levels. Personal and political are no less related than quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity. Societal norms are simply Newtonian constructions of the mind.

related writings:
:: What is Business Artivism?
:: Steal This Business Concept!
:: Introducing “Trickle Up” Economics
:: What the hell is “boojummy”?

related flickr groups:
:: Business Artivist
:: WorldZight
:: Boojummy

dedicated to my very much still living parents, Charles R. Frank Jr. and Susan Niehaus; to my grandfathers, Charles R. Frank Sr. & Jules Backman; my grandmothers, Mary Frank, Grace Backman, and Lucille Krane-Frank; to my siblings, both imagined and unimagined; and to my step- and spiritual- parents on all the many, many sides of my 21st century family.

July 4, 2006 Posted by | Business, Economics, Philosophy | 2 Comments

Eyes Upon Toronto Background Info


Floating Toilets” courtesy of the absurdly talented Mattijn

UPDATE #1: Word has it that, due to procedural issues, the eviction notice will NOT be received on July 4th . I applaud the City of Toronto for not exploiting the American holiday slow down to to veil its actions.

UPDATE #2: Chris Gardiner eviction has been pushed back until late July or early August, 2006 (more)
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WORLDZIGHT – an improvisational experiment in global participatory democracy…
The premise behind WorldZight is to bring together trans-global constituencies bound together by race, religion, issues, convergence of interest, or any one of a number of “metonymic” (a part used for the whole) connections to a given “cause” in a peaceful, non-obstructive manner. The goal of WorldZight is to demonstrate to local, regional and national governments world-wide that citizen democracy can STILL work even in an increasingly globalized, yet micro-segmented, society that works to simultaneously concentrate means of communication in the hands of a few while dividing constituencies into ever smaller self-coalescing micro-constituencies… (more)
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(FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION :: July 3rd :: Eyes upon Toronto
Our goal is to let Toronto know that the eyes and the words of the world are upon it. Swiss-chees spin, nailed shut window “framing” and communication shutdown to leverage the natural discrimatory public stance against citizens falling outside standard behavioral norms are unacceptable methods of DIALOGUE between a city authority and its citizens. WE MUST FORCE THE CONVERSATION and DEMAND REASONABLE ANSWERS TO REASONABLE QUESTIONS and not allow the city to stonewall until there is no going back. (more)
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PLease!!!!!!!! Everyone from everywhere, HELP INVITE ALL CONTACTS TO THIS GROUP PLEASE!!
Ana Crisan’s Original Appeal
I knew him as “Chris the penny guy” because all day long he was picking up pennies, and this is all he is surviving on. I remember I used to sit with him at Coffee TIme and help him count his pennies. I lived there for almost a year. Today he is still living off pennies, has built a house of his own, and doesn’t bother anyone… (more)
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Toronto Blames Pigeon Homelessness on the… Homeless?
In torpedoing the Toronto Animal Rights Society’s plan to build condos for pigeons under the Gardiner expressway, mayoral adviser Chris Phibb stated that , “It just seems hurtful to install housing for pigeons where we’re doing outreach for people under the Gardiner. The irony intended may not be appreciated.’’ Hmmm… Asst. Phibbs? Wheer do we start here? With laughter? With anger? Or with tears? Not sure what gets me most… (more)

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July 3, 2006 Posted by | Internet, Politics | 5 Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION :: July 3rd :: Eyes upon Toronto


God’s Eye” courtesy of the absurdly talented Giampaolo Macorig

ISSUE: The unnecessary and improperly accounted for eviction of Chris “Gardiner” from his home beneath Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway

TIME FRAME: Monday, July 3rd, 2006 (and thereafter as necessary)

OBJECTIVE Our goal is to let Toronto know that the eyes and the words of the world are upon it. Swiss-chees spin, nailed shut window “framing” and communication shutdown to leverage the natural discrimatory public stance against citizens falling outside standard behavioral norms are unacceptable methods of DIALOGUE between a city authority and its citizens. WE MUST FORCE THE CONVERSATION and DEMAND REASONABLE ANSWERS TO REASONABLE QUESTIONS and not allow the city to stonewall until there is no going back.

With citizen democracy there is no such thing as a fait accompli. We will continue to watch the city of Toronto and ensure that it follows through on its commitment to its neediest, but happy citizens should it force them from HOMES TO SHELTERS. We call the city to task BEFORE NOT AFTER. If the eviction goes through as all indications suggest and construction slated for later in the year is delayed yet again, there will be a written record of the City’s failure to treat its citizens with common respect and dignity. An “honest conversation” before, not after the eviction, is hardly too much to ask of the 3rd politest city in the world.
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July 3, 2006 Posted by | Internet, Politics | 2 Comments

WORLDZIGHT – an improvisational experiment in global participatory democracy…

The premise behind WorldZight is to bring together trans-global constituencies bound together by race, religion, issues, convergence of interest, or any one of a number of “metonymic” (a part used for the whole) connections to a given “cause” in a peaceful, non-obstructive manner.

The goal of WorldZight is to demonstrate to local, regional and national governments world-wide that citizen democracy can STILL work even in an increasingly globalized, yet micro-segmented, society that works to simultaneously concentrate means of communication in the hands of a few while dividing constituencies into ever smaller self-coalescing micro-constituencies.

These simultaneous trends threaten to work hand in hand to frustrate attempts to generate popular consensus on pressing global issues even as the means (the “pipes”) by which to express dissent become ever more subject to corporate whim.

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July 3, 2006 Posted by | Business, Internet, Politics, Producing | Leave a comment

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