[Scene: The Doctor is on the stage of a TED talk with the usual trappings]

THE DOCTOR: Hello Humans and other Earthlings!

[The Doctor pauses briefly]

THE DOCTOR: This talk is going to be a little different.  Instead of a number of individual presentations on a general theme we’re going to have them all weave together.  Each one builds a little on the last and by the time we’re done you get to go and solve most of your problems.

There certainly are a lot of problems, aren’t there?  We’re not really going to go into those, you know what they are.  Instead we’re going to go down to the bottom of them and start building something better from scratch. . . Using hope and science.

And we’re going to start with a number.

That number is about 150.  It’s not exactly 150, each person has a slightly different number, but that number is very, very important.  Many of you call it Dunbar’s number, others call it you Monkeysphere. . . It doesn’t matter what you call it, what matters is that it’s time to start letting that tiny number ruin your lives.  Instead, it’s time to embrace it.

You’re only designed to care about that many people at once.  You’re only designed to see that many as human beings.  Everybody else is . . . well, they’re not people.  Not in the same way.  That number, as David Wong (who apparently isn’t really David Wong, but from what I’ve been reading that’s not the strangest thing about him) . . . anyway, as Mr. Wong said. . that number is the single biggest reason why society doesn’t work.

When you think about it, it makes quite a lot of sense.  Your monkey ancestors lived in little troops.  They were quite social with each other, they knew Skippy the monkey from Steve the monkey.  But they weren’t the only troops of monkeys around, and as it happens if the other troop is the same kind of monkey they looked quite a bit alike.  The monkeys only cared about their little troop.  You don’t have networked monkey civilizations, do you?

[The Doctor looks offstage quizzically, then nods]

THE DOCTOR: No, no you don’t!  That’s because monkeys never evolved to care about other monkey troops.  Only THEIR monkey troops.  There’s only so much room in their little heads to keep track of all those different monkeys.

As it turns out, if you take a monkey and measure the size of part of their brain you can pretty much predict how big their troops get.

And you lot are all monkeys.  Wonderful big-brained monkeys.  You can have the biggest troops of all!  A hundred and fifty.   That may not sound like much, but it’s either that and have fifty pound heads and that’s just a lot of stuff to carry around, right?  You’d tip over a lot.

Now, I’m not saying that you’re not all clever and you can’t work around things, but when you’re under stress and the chips our down you tend to revert to your default state. . . So that’s what we need to design for, right?

You’re not supposed to care about several billion.  That short-circuits you.  It completly freaks you out.  It’s why you can have wars with a bunch of perfectly nice people killing a bunch of other perfectly nice people just because they’re from ‘somewhere else’.  It’s why ‘I’m sorry but those are the rules’ is a phrase in your society.

You are all very unique and quirky creatures.  There’s no one set of rules that’s right for everyone.  No system that works for all of you. Each of you like different things and lots of you don’t care about things that are important to other people. Lots of you are very passionate about sports or cosplay or writing or trees or yogurt or feet or sloths . . . and other people find those things silly.

But . . . since there ARE over five billion of you, I bet you can find a hundred and fifty others who care about pretty much the same things. . . that’s a whole lot of people.  So what happens if, instead of trying to come up with generic things that everybody doesn’t strongly dislike you just raised the bar a little and then focused more on what you’re really passionate about?

Instead of having to figure out ways to work around how different you lot all are, why not turn it to your advantage instead?

It’ll be a little bit of work, but as luck has it you’ve already got all the pieces in place to make exactly that happen.  To embrace your strangeness in small ways while working together in big ones without having to worry so much about all those other people.  You’re so very, very close and you don’t even realize it.

That’s how you save the world.  Not by thinking big . . . but by thinking small.


THE DOCTOR: Oh! So anyway, time for our next speaker.  You’ve seen him before and he’s really quite bright.  Please give a warm welcome to Mr. Dan Pink.

[The Doctor walks offstage]


We walk through the creation of a co-opernation, starting small but working up to campuses and cities until it’s an option for everyone who wants to join.

In essence it’s a walkthrough of the creation of something like Awesome, Inc.   so click the link if you want to know more about that part.


Griff steals the show, but we also have Vastra on forgiveness, Craig on people who help people, Paul Romer on charter cities, Jack on exploiting rules, Kaylee on sustainability, and more!

After that we have a demonstration of the Wearable Holodeck in a very entertaining way and then the big finish

At this point, if you want a better idea of some of the nuts and bolts feel free to circle back to the home page and hit the articles, or interrogate me directly. I’ve been caught up in the whole ‘having two jobs’ thing and it’s cut into my writing time.  There’s not much more to add and the bulk of the remainder is just stepping through how to grow a co-opernation (starting with a few hundred people, expanding into the tens of thousands range with multiple campuses and business lines, taking over more of the supply chain as we approach a million, and then rapid expansion by competing directly with ‘Unemployment’, ‘Being an unwanted refugee/orphan’, and ‘Wal-mart’]

Any help at refining this idea, explaining it better, or getting it in better hands would be hugely, massively appreciated!

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