Saturday, March 17, 2007

alonovo and the charge of the libertarian brigade

If I were asked to characterize myself at this point in my life I'd consider myself a pragmatic liberal. Nevertheless, I continue to keep an open mind (I must have an open mind that would easily explain why I forget things -as new ideas emerge, remembering where I put my keys gets more challenging).

As the concept of alonovo was formed (and yes, it started from a peace-loving, tree-hugging, born and raised in Los Angeles vegan perspective) an interesting thing happened. As I went looking for investment most of the time I found myself in the lair of conservatives and the occasional libertarian. It was pointed out to me that the concept of alonovo could benefit society without regard for political ideology. The concept of corporations trampling on all of us in search of bigger profit margins was something that could rally most of America. The more that I reflected upon this concept the more appreciation I had. Here was an opportunity to bring America back together as opposed to continuing to polarize, divide and conquer. In interviews I coined the phrase "You don't have to be a Democrat to want a blue sky, you don't have to be a Republican to want a growing economy."

As I met with people representing the spectrum of political ideology, I befriended some Libertarians, notably Ernie (Freedom's the answer, what's the question?) Hancock in Phoenix and Eric Garris in the SF area. I found their perspective refreshing and a handful of lunches and coffee's led to the individual weighting system in alonovo. Instead of alonovo determining what constitutes good corporate social behavior, we took the 30+ attributes of Corporate Social Behavior (or more commonly and incorrectly, Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR) and we provide a simple method for each user to establish their own experience by weighting the factors that are important to them. For example, if you are dedicated to environmental issues, however do not feel strongly about labor, animal rights and ethics --you can weight the attributes of CSB to highlight the environmental issues so the ratings that are displayed for you are very sensitive to the underlying environmental ratings data.

We felt this was an important intellectual contribution to alonovo from the Libertarian perspective and we have also applied this philosophy to the organizations we work with that range from CODEPINK to the National Military Family Association.

In a near future release, we expect to have some NGO's and beneficiary organizations we work with establish their own weightings that will be the default for their respective constituency (however can be overridden by their individual alonovo users).

Thursday, March 8, 2007, 2.0

The next release of is getting ready for the development phase while I continue to look for resources that will further the mission without jeopardizing the integrity of the alonovo concept.

I'm convinced that the method of connecting how corporations interact with people and planet is crucial to improving the quality and dignity of life in America and around the world. The alonovo engine is innovative and unique --and it is time to take it to the next level.

The key features of the next release are:

  • The Universal Shopping Cart -imagine using an online shopping website that would allow you to shop from many of the merchants in the CoopAmerica Business Network, seamlessly.
  • Private Label -NGO's such as CODEPINK and United for a Fair Economy can integrate the online engine directly into their own webpages. We would also make this available for public school districts for fundraising and other community-based organizations.
  • Context-sensitive Content Placement -When people search for a coffee maker we provide a simple area within their search results that reminds them "not to forget their fair trade coffee" from companies like Larry's Beans, Peace Coffee and Equal Exchange.

  • An education area -brief, edgy, compelling streams that show the significance of the attributes of Corporate Social Behavior (Sweatshop labor, pollution, lobbying etc.)

  • A complete social network that will facilitate the interaction of the community and will help identify emerging products and services that are from evolved companies.

  • Interface agnostic -Toolbar, PDA/Mobile Device/Web, anyway you want it!