NetSquared Conference as Watershed Event

One of the characteristics of “bubble thinking” (as in stock market bubbles), is the tendency for the participants in the bubble to seek out information that reinforces their point of view and ignore information that contradicts their point of view. Part of this process involves turning inward, toward your fellow “bubble thinkers” and away from “outsiders” whom you believe “just don’t get it”.

Phil Cubeta and I don’t agree on a lot of things. But this is why I read his blog constantly and find his writing to have the largest effect on my own thinking of all the philanthropy bloggers. By challenging my opinions, either directly or simply by focusing on different issues than I do, Phil regularly forces me to question my own point of view and refine it as needed.

That’s why I was so glad, although surprised, to see Phil declare the NetSquared Conference a “Watershed Event”. Phil is not someone who views new technologies as the salvation of humankind. To see Phil take a hard look at NetSquared (some of whose community members seem to think that Web 2.0 is the cure for every problem) and recognize that something special is occurring is really gratifying. If you haven’t checked out NetSquared yet, do it now. You only have until 5pm pacific time today to submit your vote for the best projects. You can quickly get up to speed by visiting the voting page and reading through the At-A-Glance project handbook.

You can also read about the projects I voted for and why I think the NetSquared Conference is so exciting.


  1. Holden says:

    Phil and you are both philanthropy bloggers. In the scheme of things, that is a VERY small and extremely tight-knit, like-minded circle. The two of you may often disagree … but to take him (or any of us) as a reliable representative of “life outside the bubble” is dangerous.

  2. Good point. I was looking at Phil vs. Web 2.0 enthusiasts. But as a blogger, I can’t really call Phil outside the tent of Web 2.0. I do think that Phil being excited rather than hesitant or outright scornful (as he has been regarding many social enterprise issues) is telling. But your point is well taken.

  3. kevin Jones says:

    I am both in the tech bubble and the new philanthropy world, and yet I think something is happening with this competition. the democratization of funding, the wisdom of crowd approach, is really a new thing. it is starting with a core group, but it is a method that has a lot of promise and will be really involving as it goes forward, i think.

  4. CompuMentor is having no problem getting attendees. Registration is by invitation only. But my guess is that next year they are going to be swamped by foundations and other “funders” who want to take the opportunity to identify innovative new projects. If NetSquared does a good enough job of making video and audio available, many small foundation should be able to piggyback remotely as well.

  5. Phil says:

    Philanthropy blogging may even be a limiting term. Giving blogs is more open, or “social benefit blogs,” but even then what is happening at Netsquared is almost more like “social capital formation,” the formation of networks through which people can build alliances, collaborations, and lattices of communication. That is quite different in spirit from traditional philanthropy which it somewhat “top down,” or elite.

    Philanthropy is a somewhat closed club, but the social capital networks forming on-line are open and I hope inviting.

    (Now if we can just blackball Holden….)