Well, it's pretty obvious that I've been focusing on things other than my personal blog for the past six months or so -- except for the occasional sweep for comment spam. (I wish there was an easier way to leave comments enabled but prevent this kind of spam.)
So I'm going to temporarily break my policy about this being my personal blog, and write a little bit about what I've been up to professionally.
Our Foundation recently completed a significant strategic re-evaluation project which resulted in the expansion of our funding efforts. In June, we created the Omidyar Network, a new organization that will fund for-profit organizations as well as non-profits.
In talking about eBay over the past few years, I've emphasized the way eBay has helped people pursue their individual passions and discover their own power to make good things happen; how they've become empowered by participating in an open and honest marketplace, in a level playing field, meeting and working/trading with people who share their interests.
When I first learned about Meetup, I saw much of the same thing at work, though quite different on the surface: people discovering their own power, and connecting with others to realize that power to make good things happen.
Ever since eBay, I've been inspired by people discovering their own power, and believed that every individual can make a difference. It seems obvious now, but we finally asked ourselves the question: "If eBay is such a good example of people discovering their own power, then does it make sense that as a Foundation, we wouldn't be able to invest in something like eBay?"
We realized that legal structure -- for-profit versus non-profit -- wasn't all that relevant to what we believed in. What was important was our simple core belief: that every individual has the power to make a difference.
So, we created the Omidyar Network for one single purpose: so that more and more people discover their own power to make good things happen.
Since June we have funded efforts in a number of areas:
- Bottom-up Media
- Open Source
- Intellectual Property
- Social Software
The last two bear a special mention since I've discussed both on this blog. Our support of voting efforts currently concentrates on getting more and more people to the polls, so that they can discover their own voice and power to make a difference in our democracy.
On the social software side, good things happen when people work together in a bottom-up way, discovering their own power, and connecting with others. Socialtext is a great tool and Ross Mayfield is an excellent ambassador for the field.
You can learn more about all of these at the Omidyar Network.
So that's what I've been up to, and I'm sorry for not posting more regularly. Realistically, I probably won't be posting all that regularly in the future -- I've got my hands pretty full with the Network right now.