Funding for public service media in trouble

It turns out that large and small stations alike along with NPR and PBS are in danger of losing the public support that they've received since 1967.

There are already three bills before Congress to eliminate federal funding for public broadcasting entities.

If you feel that's wrong, check out 170Million Americans for Public Broadcasting

I feel that public service media is a big deal, and that NPR will be a dominant force in news media, but the end of this decade, making this important.

Organic Health Response/Inveneo: using the Net to fight AIDS in Kenya

OHR Links graphic

The folks at Organic Health Response are doing really good stuff, using IT and environmental sustainability on Mfangano Island in Western Kenya to work against HIV/AIDS across Lake Victoria.


Chwera Chwera Microclinc

They're working with Inveneo, their deal is to get IT, such as computers, telephony, and Internet access to those who need it most — people and organizations in rural and highly underserved communities of the developing world.

We're working with OHR and also Inveneo efforts in Haiti and the West Bank to learn how to better connect people across the world. They provide sustainable tech, including good bandwidth, to people  who really need it. They're handling the practical problems of getting network towers up, negotiating with local government.

  This was a big year for OHR:

  • Established a streamlined referral and follow-up system for HIV/AIDS care and treatment, in partnership with UCSF Family AIDS Care and Education Services
  • Celebrated our 3rdAnnual World AIDS Day
  • Installed a 300Watt solar system, 3 Inveneo low-power workstations, with a Safaricom Internet Router to successfully provide free internet access to all EK Members
  • Became the leading VCT center in enrollment for all of Suba District within the first 3 months of operation

"We have worked for 6 months since we've opened the EK's doors and I feel we have achieved a lot. Getting 740 members within 6 months is an achievement to me. This is an achievement towards our mission. We are on the road to turning the tide against HIV/AIDS through ICT."
-Richard Magerenge, EK's Executive Director

and lots more.




Connected: a new film from Tiffany Shlain

Connected_poster_final_web Hey, Tiffany does great, thoughtful documentary work like The Tribe, which I like a lot.

Today, at the Sundance Film Festival, she premieres Connected, and here's what they say at Sundance:

With wonderful heart and an impressive sense of scale, Tiffany Shlain’s vibrant and insightful documentary, Connected, explores the visible and invisible connections linking major issues of our time—the environment, consumption, population growth, technology, human rights, the global economy—while searching for her place in the world during a transformative time in her life. Employing a splendidly imaginative combination of animation and archival footage, plus several surprises, Shlain constructs a chronological tour of Western modernization through the work of her late father, Leonard Shlain, a brain surgeon and best-selling author of Art and Physics and The Alphabet Versus the Goddess.

With humor and irony, the Shlain family life merges with philosophy to create both a personal portrait and a proposal for ways we can move forward as a civilization. Connected illuminates the beauty and tragedy of human endeavor while boldly championing the importance of personal connectedness for understanding and coping with today’s global conditions." Shari Frilot, Sundance FIlm Festival

Getting good advice about storytelling from Peter Guber

Thb_guber_hs2 Hey, nerds need help getting more effective helping the causes they believe in, and Peter gives really good advice from a lot of real-life experience. (Yes, I'm one of those nerds, gotta expand my comfort zone by diving in, and I got a lot of help doing this.)

(from a short bio provided by Peter)

Peter Guber, Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, has been a force in the entertainment industry more than 30 years.  He has leveraged his creativity and business acumen into record-breaking profits and critical acclaim, establishing him as an enormously successful executive and entrepreneur in the entertainment and communications industries.  Films he personally produced or executive produced, including Rain Man, Batman, The Color Purple, Midnight Express, Gorillas In The Mist, The Witches of Eastwick, Missing and Flashdance, have resonated with audiences all over the world, earning over three billion dollars worldwide and garnering more than 50 Academy Award nominations.

1) What’s the deal with “purposeful stories”? How can it help a guy get stuff done?

Whether you’re a manager, housewife, entrepreneur, lawyer or non-profit, you often must get someone or a group of people to do something – buy your product, adapt to your organization’s culture, invest in your vision, donate to your cause, meet a curfew – and embedding the call to action by telling purposeful stories, preferably in the room, face-to-face, is the most effective means of achieving that goal. Only stories create the emotional experiences that make the critical information embedded within the story memorable, resonant and ultimately actionable.

Unfortunately, by the time most people enter business, they have dismissed telling of purposeful stories as too soft or suspect and have replaced this innate gift with facts, figures and forgettable data. Regardless of your profession, you must think of yourself as being in the emotional transportation business, and remember if you can’t tell it, you can’t sell it!

2) What if you're not a natural story teller, or feel that you don’t have it in you? Everyone is a natural teller of stories. The ability to tell purposeful stories for success isn’t a gift from me to you. It isn’t a special talent bestowed upon a select few. It’s hard wired in all of us. The telling of stories was critical to the survival of our species. In order to compete and triumph against far more ferocious predators we had to develop rules, beliefs, values and strategies. This meant the development of the ability to communicate, remember, and act upon the information embedded in stories told around the campfire. This social cohesion allowed us to move from the bottom of the food chain to the top – from prey to predator.

3) When did you realize that this could be a big deal for you? I suffered many painful and highly public failures in my career in addition to having enormous successes across a diversity of industries from leading entertainment companies, sports enterprises, new media ventures, entrepreneurial endeavors to serving as a professor at UCLA. I could never figure out what the difference-maker was. Were my successes serendipity? Success and failure were millimeters apart. What moved the needle?

It wasn’t until Act III of my life when I had an epiphany that telling to win was the secret sauce. I realized that when I was successful, I was connecting to my listeners emotionally, aiming at their hearts, not their wallets or their heads, but their emotional beings, by telling purposeful stories. Embedded in these stories was the information on which I wanted them to act. When I failed, I was firing soulless PowerPoint bullets – in other words I was firing blanks!

Through my new book, Tell To Win, as well as through media interviews, speeches, articles and Graduate courses I teach at UCLA, my mission has become to empower everyone and anyone to benefit from the persuasive power of telling purposeful stories and using this as their game changer in the Act I’s and Act II’s of their lives.

4) Okay, what’s your technique?

There is a MAGIC to telling purposeful stories. If you start telling to win today, you will immediately see a change in how people respond to your goals and desires. If you think of its spelling, M.A.G.I.C, think of MAGIC as, Motivate, Audience, Goal, Interactively and Content. The best stories “motivate their audiences to their goal interactively with great content.”

You need all five letters to spell the word MAGIC. These five navigational stakes can work independently, and any one can be a game-changer, but used together, they are greater than the sum of their parts.

Motivation starts with you-to-you. Find your intention before you try to get your audience’s attention. The core is to let your authenticity shine through.

Audience – who are they? You must be interested in your audience rather than merely trying to be interesting yourself. What’s in it for them to heed the call to action of the story and all stories have a call to action.

Goal – that’s the call to action you want them to take – date me, buy my product, join my parade, vote for me. Don’t hide it. Pride it.

Interactivity – is the key. Telling purposeful stories, you are in a dialog not a monolog. In these conversations, the more you engage the listeners’ senses the more the will become invested in taking ownership of the story. You must surrender proprietorship so that, in fact, your audience owns your story and pays it forward to others as theirs.

Content – is the Trojan horse for your critical information and data that is embedded in the story. You can find it in your first person experience, an observed event, history, analogy or movie. Narrative is always lurking it’s the way we make sense of life.

5) Why Lynda? (I know her mostly via philanthropy networking)

Lynda Resnick is a brand powerhouse who along with her husband owns and runs Roll International, a $2 billion corporation with product lines that include Teleflora, Fifi Water and POM Wonderful. Resnick, who is an important part of my book, Tell To Win, was our guest at the UCLA graduate school of business where I co-taught a class to MBA students along with the Dean of the Anderson School. During class, Lynda advocated that every product had a story and that the executives and sales folks in her organization had to be able to tell this story in their own words. She shares specific stories about how she told to win to drive the successes of several of these mega-brands in Tell To Win.

Serious about service on Martin Luther King day (#MLKday)

Mlk Okay, the deal is that things get better for everyone when we pull together, and this is a really good day to remind each other of that. Check out the Facebook page for MLKday.

I've been asked to mention what I'm doing for the day, but figure it's time to up the ante, and to partially disclose a lot more of my efforts.

My deal is that I'm now spending most of my time in public service and philanthropy, and on MLK day, ironically, I'll be flying to Washington in that pursuit. Makes sense to me to document some of what I've been doing and what will do around MLK day. Much of this I've been doing for five to ten years, but it's time to step up my game.

Since I don't write good, here's just the bullet list, incomplete where I haven't gotten permission to discuss, or it's too sensitive. This is a partial list, kind of a two week snapshot.

  • "accountability journalism" and public service media
  • helping Charity Navigator and GreatNonprofits (get started to) measure the effectiveness of causes and related nonprofits
  • supporting #veterans across the country, and particularly where I live, the Bay Area (multiple parallel efforts)
  • helping teachers via
  • helping FEMA figure out how to use social media for emergency management #smem
  • working with CiviliNation trying to get reasonable social discourse going
  • supporting Wikipedia with customer service, also financially
  • using social media on behalf of AARP
  • helping several Federal agencies with how to better do customer service online
  • working with the State Dept, Palestinian and Israeli gov'ts on jobs in IT in
  • the West Bank (I just found out I'm a cochair of the US Palestinian Partnership)
  • working with multiple agencies regarding interoperability of health systems and medical records

An IT success story in Haiti

Jerry-joseph-haiti Inveneo focuses on building computer centers in places which need, but find it hard to get, reliable electrical power and bandwidth. They get stuff done, and you’ll hear more about our their work, with a little of our support, in Kenya and the West Bank.

Check out A Haitian ICT Success Story: Jerry Joseph and remember that in the US we say IT, but elsewhere, it’s Information Computer Technology

Jerry Joseph is pursuing a dream – he wants to be an expert in information and communication technology (ICT). Thanks to Inveneo, he’s working toward that goal with Multilink, a Haitian ISP, by bringing broadband Internet to rural Haiti and changing the lives of people in his community.

Working with us to deploy long-distance WiFi, Jerry gained valuable practical skills and the attention of Multilink. Now Jerry is managing bandwidth and tech support as an independent contractor for Multilink in Léogâne, in the process, he is gaining real expertise in ICT and making an impact in his homeland.

Getting good advice about storytelling from Lynda Resnick

Hey, nerds need help getting more effective helping the causes they believe in, and Lynda gives really good advice from a lot of real-life experience. (I also appreciate her philanthropic networking; she helped me be the Bob Newhart of the Aspen Ideas thing.)(… and yes, I'm one of those nerds, gotta expand my comfort zone by diving in, and I got a lot of help doing this.)

(from a short bio provided by Lynda)

Lynda Resnick began her career at the age of nineteen, when she founded a full-service advertising agency. In 1979, the Lynda and her husband Stewart purchased a fledgling floral wire service called Teleflora. Lyndaâs idea of pairing fresh flowers with a well-designed keepsake container turned ordinary flowers into a reminder of something more lasting, earning her a Gold Effie Award. Teleflora is the now the worldâs largest floral service and floral products company. Lynda is Vice Chairman of Los Angeles County Museum of Artâs Board of Trustees. She is on the Executive Board of The Aspen Institute, UCLA Medical Sciences, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, and the Milken Family Foundation, and is also a trustee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Lynda reveals her secrets for creating memorable brands and pioneering fresh approaches to launch and promote them in her bestselling book, Rubies in the Orchard: How to Uncover the Hidden Gems in your Business.

1) How did you connect with Peter Guber for his upcoming book “Tell to Win.”?

When I was a little girl, I was on a children’s television program where a story was started and each child had to add something to that story. Being on live television really made me have to think on my feet very quickly.But more importantly, my father is a film maker and I think I must have inherited the storytelling genes from him. Growing up, I would hang on his every word as he made up stories of all the famous people he said he knew and the adventures he had with them. His stories taught me the nuts and bolts of storytelling, namely developing your characters and building emotion.

2) What's your favorite story that made a difference for you?

I have always tried to use the power of story to be a successful marketer. One of the stories I discuss in my book, “Rubies in the Orchard,” is the story of Jackie Kennedy’s pearls. When I was at the Franklin Mint, we paid $211,500 for three strands of fake pearls at the Jackie O auction in 1996 that she originally paid $35 for. These pearls were the icon of the icon – she wore them everywhere. I felt that owning the original pearls gave us credibility, not to mention a powerful story to sell the copies. By wearing those iconic pearls, women everywhere could own a symbol of American royalty. We ended up selling more than 130,000 copies at $200 a strand – for a gross of $26 million. Today, Jackie’s original pearls are in the Smithsonian for all to enjoy.

3) What don’t people get about story telling in a business context?

I believe the single biggest mistake that marketers make is to forget that consumers are people just like them. Successful companies build an emotional connection to their customers through a strong narrative – something they can personally relate to. We have so much competition in the marketplace that if you don’t have a real, truthful story behind your product or service, it simply won’t be sustainable.

4) How has all this changed since you started an ad agency at the age of 19? If so, how?

Absolutely. It has become even more important today. Brands that are transparent, authentic and honest rise above their competition. How you convey your unique selling proposition is an important part of the narrative. FIJI Water fell as rain over one hundred years ago and collects in an underground aquifer free from any outside contaminants. Because of our state-of-the-art bottling facility, where a sealed delivery system draws water up from the aquifer and places it directly into our iconic square bottles, FIJI Water is untouched by man until you unscrew the cap.

Building brands is also about value and people. When you have faith in the value of your brand, you can communicate that belief and extend it to consumers in a genuine way. Our narrative for Teleflora is simple: We support more than 16,000 small businesses throughout America because our flowers are always hand-arranged, then hand-delivered in a beautiful keepsake container by a local Teleflora florist. No other floral service can make this claim.

Consumers want to feel good about the products and services they are buying and using. The power of story, done simply, honestly, and directly, is one of the best ways to establish a sense of trust with your consumers that they instinctively know is sincere. But remember you can’t make it up it has to be real.

Charity Navigator 2.0: figuring out nonprofits that get the job done

Lots of people want to help other people, and often philanthropy is that answer. Problem is that there's no shortage of tragedy, and there are a lot of nonprofits around… and we keep hearing about ones that don't get the job done. Some aren't even on the up-and-up at all, sounding good, and then keeping the money you send them, or wasting it.

Logo Charity Navigator has been around a while, really good at evaluating the financial soundness of nonprofits:

Charity Navigator is America’s largest and most influential charity rater. We serve over 3.3 million unique visitors and impact approximately $10 billion of charitable donations each year. This makes Charity Navigator far and away the largest and most utilized charity rating service that exists anywhere.

They're announcing better ways to evaluate charities, getting very real about it. For example, they're taking measures to measure how transparent the operations of a nonprofit are, that is, how much they reveal of their operations.

Another really big deal is that they're embedding "constituency voice" into their considerations, that is, charity helpers and receivers tell you how effective the charity is.

Also, they're "creating a web platform through which we can train, certify, and guide an army of volunteer Charity Navigator raters.

Finally, they're "integrating the evaluative insights of other providers. Our two current partners are the bookends on the constituency voice spectrum – GreatNonprofits and Keystone Accountability. Great Nonprofits channels feedback on nonprofits performance through an open system. Keystone proactively builds benchmarked feedback data sets through systematic data collection." GreatNonprofiits should go online very soon, with more to come.

The deal will be that you'll be able to check out a charity so see if it's legit, and if it gets the job done.

Disclosure: because of this direction, I've joined the advisory boards of Charity Navigator and GreatNonprofits.

Digital Storytelling Challenge at TechSoup

Logo_techsoup Hey, the folks at are really good at helping nonprofit and other organizations learn how to use tech to be more effective.

Check out their 2nd Annual Digital Storytelling Challenge:

Learn to how to create and tell your organization's story, produce a 60 second video or 5 panel image slideshow, and you could win prizes from Flip Video, Adobe, and Flickr!  Whether you're new to digital media or a veteran, we'll be providing resources and support along the way.  The best part?  Your YouTube video or Flickr slideshow is yours to keep and use!

Ways to participate:
JOIN a Webinar: How to Tell Your Digital Story, January 13; Tools for Digital Storytelling, January 20, 2011.
CREATE/PRODUCE your organization's digital story! Submit anytime between January 13 – 31, 2011.
PARTICIPATE in expert guest host on Twitter Chat Roundtables: 2nd, 3rd, 4th Tuesdays in January at 11am PST (hashtag #tsdigs)
WIN prizes from Flip Video, Adobe, Flickr, and more.
SPREAD the word! Let your friends and networks know about this opportunity to learn how to and share their story and help their cause! And use the #TSDigs tag online.
ATTEND the screening and awards. Top submissions and winners will be presented at TechSoup headquarters on February 23 at 7PM.

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