Maybe it's a part of the DC culture or maybe it's the overall direction that things are going – I don't know – what I do know is that there's one question that seems to be coming up repeatedly in a variety of circles:
How can we use technology for good?
Personally, I consider that there are two different "goods" out there:
First, there are the Little Goods. Helping out a friend, meeting a customer's needs, and holding a door for someone are all little things that just about anyone can do to make things better for someone. If you do them enough, I think you can change the world one person at a time.
But on a different level, there are Big Goods. These are things that require action from larger groups of people and they affect larger groups of people. The outpouring of support for the US after 9-11, the huge amount of private contributions to accountable organizations to help other people, and just about every blood drive I've ever seen.
Towards that Big Good, some friends and colleagues have been working on a new project – On Day One – which seeks to set these things in motion. The principle is simple, in November of this year, we'll elect a
new horribly unqualified Senator to be the new President of the United States and this site wants to bring the top 9 issues to his or her desk. At present, these range anywhere from energy issues to Iraq to poverty and everywhere in between…
Admittedly, if you look through the site, you'll find an mix of crackpot ideas and misinformed idiocy, but there are a number of real gems and considered responses included. Don't judge the site by the top ranked ideas at the moment… instead, share or vote up the issues that are important to you. If this is going to be useful, we need to speak up.
Disclosure: Sorry, forgot to do this earlier… the development and deployment of this site was led by a DC-local friend and colleague.