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#ParticipationSignal - Issue #2

Op-Ed by Olivier Blanchard Senior Analyst at Futurum Research Now that the tech startup space is gett
October 28 · Issue #2 · View online
Op-Ed by Olivier Blanchard Senior Analyst at Futurum Research 
Now that the tech startup space is getting sort of mature, it’s becoming a little more obvious that while many companies are really really good at inventing cool stuff and building amazing tools and toys and products, few are good at not only considering and anticipating the negative impact that their inventions might have on society, but actively doing anything about it.
Too busy working on the positive possibilities to consider the negative impact of their creations, I guess.
Twitter, for all its amazing information-sharing, velocity and scale, has become a haven for trolls and bullies, verbal and emotional abuse, and death threats.
Uber, for all its convenience and operational elegance, has made it very difficult for cab drivers to stay in business, and hasn’t really yielded a stable or long term revenue model for its drivers either.
Airbnb has hurt a lot of small hoteliers and helped displace a lot of tenants in cities where it allows landlords to essentially compete against hotels without having to register as one.
When you build something, you have a responsibility to make sure that it doesn’t hurt anyone (as much as possible, anyway), or doesn’t chip at the mortar that keeps society and fragile local economies together. Chipotle is fixing its food safety problem. Samsung is fixing its battery fire problem. Toyota is fixing its vehicle safety problems. Everywhere you look, companies are trying to do the right thing. It shouldn’t be any different in Silicon Valley. (It can’t all just be about code and UX.)
What I am noticing about a lot of younger tech companies is that they don’t yet seem to understand (or acknowledge) their responsibility when it comes to making sure that their companies don’t end up destroying lives.
Disruptors can’t just shrug off the negative ripple effects of their cash cows as just “c'est la vie” or “it’s the price of doing business” before retreating to their glass castles. That isn’t going to work in the real world, and certainly not in the long term. Twitter could fix its abuse problem if it wanted to. Uber could work with cab operators to better integrate their tech into that industry if it wanted to. Airbnb could work with local and state regulators to find a profitable and ethical middle ground if it wanted to. Just recently, Airbnb finally agreed to ban multiple listings in San Francisco and New York, and that is a good step in the right direction. Most of the time though, “not my problem” seems to win the day, and that isn’t an encouraging sign of things to come, especially given how many jobs will soon be replaced by AI, robots and other smart technologies.
That lack of human connection with the outside world, that lack of professional responsibility, needs a fix, and soon, or the disruption many of us root for and evangelize on a daily basis is going to end up causing more problems than it aims to fix. It isn’t too late, but time is ticking.

Tomorrow’s Business Models will be X-rated
Why Imagination is as Important as Knowledge
Being Human in the Age of AI, Robotics & Big Data
Why brands are creating ‘social contracts’ to build trust around data use
B2B Companies Leverage Employee Brand Advocates For Social Engagement
A new way to search for data is helping NASA's biggest brains save millions and get to space faster
The Power Of Story
We're on the lookout for talent to join our team
At Better we cook together, eat together, and sometimes live together.
We’re in pursuit of exceptional talent
At Better Ventures, we work with some of the world’s biggest (and most loved) brands to bring new participation-based business models to life. We focus on developing bespoke participation strategies, compelling community experiences and digital/analog interfaces to facilitate both commercial transactions and social interactions between businesses and their employees, partners, consumers or fans. Our core belief is that everyone who contributes to the creation of value deserves to win.
We need new teammates who can help us make that happen.
Now, if you prefer traditional organisational structures, crave the certainty of a 9 to 5 or are intimidated by a constantly renewing need to create the future, we are probably not the organisation for you. At Better Ventures, we are all in. Join us and you’ll be working with an awesome, energetic team in Europe and North America. You’ll be involved with everything from strategic planning to creative execution. You’ll be in conference rooms with our clients, on time-shifted Skype calls with your teammates and fielding flurries of Slack messages.
You’ll also be travelling with us, exploring with us, eating with us and laughing with us. These things are the foundation of the Better organization and enable us to bring the power of participation to even more people and brands every year.
We need Participation Producers
Everyone at Better Ventures shares certain common characteristics. These are also the qualities we are looking for in our new teammates:
 1) We are self-motivated, proactive and action-oriented individuals that will grab something and make it happen in a distributed, international work environment where communication and teamwork are critical.
2) We are flexible but organized, with the ability to be creative in the planning, organizing and execution of digital, brand and participation strategies.
3) We have fearless personalities, boundless optimism, and a desire to change the world.
4) We always offer to help our teammates. We don’t need to be asked.
 Right now, we particularly need people who can enhance our strategic thinking and the planning, structuring and producing of all the great participation projects we’re working on. We call this role the Participation Producer.
 Participation Producers often have backgrounds as project or production managers, or come with unique strategic and executional experiences from other roles that nurture the same skills. Your background is important but the most essential qualities are listed above. If you are as we are, then we want to talk to you.
If you’re interested in having a conversation with us, then please send us an email at sharing something extraordinary about yourself along with your LinkedIn profile. We’ll then jump on call or, if possible, we’d love to meet up for a good cup of coffee, an after-work pint, or an urban hike.
If this isn’t the role for you but Better is the place the you want to be, please do still reach out!
Full details of the Participation Producer opportunity can be found on our website
We can’t wait to hear from you.
Team Moment
Kayaking during the Better team retreat on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
Better Keynote
Video: The Rise of Participation and Why it’s Better for Business
Slides: The Rise of Participation and Why it’s Better for Business
Meet The Team
There's only one Rob Dawson
This weeks featured team member is Rob Dawson
Photo Of The Week
The London skyline from the rooftop garden at 100VE
What We're Listening To This Week
Signal Noise 10-16 on Spotify
Video Of The Week
Unbroken Ground: A Film About Food and Agriculture
Better Wisdom
You Are What You Eat
Scandinavian chicken soup with herbs and root vegetables.
Scandinavian chicken soup with herbs and root vegetables
Serves 4
dried cannellini beans 200g
extra-virgin olive oil 3 tbsp
garlic cloves 3, chopped
parsnip 300g, finely diced
Savoy cabbage 300g, chopped
chervil leaves 6 tbsp, chopped
parsley leaves 6 tbsp, chopped
sea salt and ground black pepper
For the stock:
chicken 1
bay leaves 3
celery stalks 2
carrot 1
onion 1, unpeeled
green chilli 1
garlic cloves 4
fresh ginger 100g
sea salt 20g
whole black peppercorns 1 tbsp
water 3 litres
Soak the dried beans in cold water overnight. The next day, drain and cook in boiling water for 40 minutes until tender, then drain and set aside.
While the beans are cooking, put the chicken and the remaining stock ingredients in a stockpot, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Remove the chicken from the stock and strain the stock. Pour the stock back into the pot and let it simmer until reduced to 2 litres. Heat the olive oil in a big saucepan and sauté the garlic, then add the parsnip, cabbage and beans and sauté for a few minutes. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Skin the chicken and shred the meat off the bones. Save half the meat for another use, then add the other half to the soup, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the chervil and parsley and let it simmer for 2 minutes before serving.
Brought to you by Rob Dawson and Niels Jepsen (aka Better foodies)
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