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Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative has been shared in 27 public circles

AuthorFollowersDateUsers in CircleCommentsReshares+1Links
Becky Collins17,256Entrepreneurs & Freelancers Circle :Circle of very #social #engagerspeople and companiesTo be included in my shares (#sharedcircle), be so kind to:1 - Do +1 t the post2 - Comment the post and specify your "category" (job or interest) Ex: Fashion, SEO, Companies, Social Media Marketing, Sailing, Photography, Bloggers/Writers, Web graphics and design, Italy, Artists, Sport, Finance/Economy ...3 - include the circle among your circles4 - share the circle (include yourself)Improve your popularity, be social be cool !Keep yourself updated, enjoy the Shared Circles Hellenic Alliance, you can share your shared circles inside the upcoming Community:https://plus.google.com/communities/112552559573595396104  #socialmedia  #media  #circles   #circleshare   #circlesharing  #circlecircle   #beckyscircle   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles  #sharedcircleoftheday  +Becky Collins ?2014-10-07 05:03:53447001
Share a Circle583Ad & Share this Circle to be included  #sharedcircles   #circleshare   #circle   #circles   #circlesharing   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharepoint   #sharedcircleoftheday   #shareacircle   #friends   #friendsclub   #follow   #followme   #followback   #followers   #ad  2013-08-07 22:09:49272358
Model Photos & Art Works526Model & Photo Circle Update March 2013enjoy, comment, vote and share this circle.Please add my special friend +Andreas Denstorf photo artisthttps://plus.google.com/u/0/101775378004698597747/posts #model   #models   #modeling   #modelshoot   #photography   #photographers   #artist   #artists   #fashion   #fashionstyle   #design   #designer   #designers   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #sharedcircle   #fotograf   #fotografía   2013-03-24 12:28:07333003
Share a Circle218Circle Update ... share it with your friends.And please add the artist +Andreas Denstorf modern art artworks https://plus.google.com/u/0/101775378004698597747/posts #sharedcircles   #friends   #circleshare   #friendship   #sharedcircle   #art  2013-03-24 11:57:21217367
Dave Tozier0Randy Hilarski originally shared this post:These people simply have shared me in circles in the past year. Every one in this circle is an active GPlusser. People in this circle would like to be circled by more people. I would like to see this circle grow to 500 people by Christmas. Please share circle to be included. Plus 1 does not count for inclusion. To find out who has shared you check out2012-11-22 22:42:39156415
Randy Hilarski13,086These people simply have shared me in circles in the past year. Every one in this circle is an active GPlusser. People in this circle would like to be circled by more people. I would like to see this circle grow to 500 people by Christmas. Please share circle to be included. Plus 1 does not count for inclusion. To find out who has shared you check out +CircleCount    #CircleShareFriday   #circleshare               #sharedcircles               #ffcircle           #followfriday           #ff       #sharedcircle             #sharedcircles               #sharedpubliccircles         #circleshare               #circlesharing             #fullcircleshare 2012-11-21 15:31:11156141114
Randy Hilarski11,639No hype just the facts, these people simply have shared me in circles in the past year. Every one in this circle is an active GPlusser. People in this circle would like to be circled by more people. I would like to see this circle grow to 500 people by Christmas. Please share circle to be included. Plus 1 does not count for inclusion. As +Dirk Talamasca says the rules are the rules. To find out who has shared you check out +CircleCount    #CircleShareFriday   #circleshare               #sharedcircles               #ffcircle           #followfriday           #ff       #sharedcircle             #sharedcircles               #sharedpubliccircles         #circleshare               #circlesharing             #fullcircleshare 2012-11-14 23:17:44144171818
Randy Hilarski11,039Thank you for helping this circle grow! I will be sharing it every other day now through December. All you have to do is share the circle to be added.To find out who is sharing you in circles check out +CircleCount   #CircleShareFriday   #circleshare               #sharedcircles               #ffcircle           #followfriday           #ff       #sharedcircle             #sharedcircles               #sharedpubliccircles         #circleshare               #circlesharing             #fullcircleshare 2012-11-12 14:06:40129171015
Randy Hilarski10,576Here we go again! The Circle grew by 18 people the last share. The Goal is 500 people in the circle by Christmas.My Sharing is Caring circle continues to grow. If you would like to be part of this circle all you have to do is share it. To find out who is sharing you in circles check out +CircleCount  #CircleShareFriday   #circleshare               #sharedcircles               #ffcircle           #followfriday           #ff       #sharedcircle             #sharedcircles               #sharedpubliccircles         #circleshare               #circlesharing             #fullcircleshare 2012-11-09 11:56:53112262619
Randy Hilarski10,455My Sharing is Caring circle continues to grow. If you would like to be part of this circle all you have to do is share it. To find out who is sharing you in circles check out +CircleCount #circleshare               #sharedcircles               #ffcircle           #followfriday           #ff       #sharedcircle             #sharedcircles               #sharedpubliccircles         #circleshare               #circlesharing             #fullcircleshare 2012-11-08 00:54:2196191720
Sean Archer2,401+Randy Hilarski made this starter circle and it's a fun way of giving back to the folks who have shared me in circles. Some of them shared me and are folks I see every day in my stream because they're talkers, and some are just folks who shared me, and sometimes share the stuff I send. They're mixed with the folks who were in Randy's original circle. He vouches for those folks, and I vouch for mine. Maybe you could add the folks who've shared you and share on.  Here's the text from Randy's original post: _This is a circle of people who have shared me in a circle according to +CircleCount . I owe a great many thanks to this group!I would like to propose an idea. Circle the people that are in this circle, add the people that have shared you according to circlecount.com then reshare. Sharing is caring on G Plus. I would like to add people that share circles, I know many of you would like that also. My goal is to have this circle grow to 500 by the new year. We can do it! If you would like to be shared in this circle simply reshare and I will add you to the next share._#circleshare   #circlesharing   #circleoftheday   #snowballcircle   #CircleCount  2012-11-02 15:11:09568211
Randy Hilarski9,697My Sharing is Caring circle continues to grow. If you would like to be part of this circle all you have to do is share it. To find out who is sharing you in circles check out +CircleCount #circleshare               #sharedcircles               #ffcircle           #followfriday           #ff       #sharedcircle             #sharedcircles               #sharedpubliccircles         #circleshare               #circlesharing             #fullcircleshare  2012-11-02 13:54:4782111113
Randy Hilarski9,517This is a circle of people who have shared me in a circle according to +CircleCount . I owe a great many thanks to this group!I would like to propose an idea. Circle the people that are in this circle, add the people that have shared you according to circlecount.com then reshare. Sharing is caring on G Plus. I would like to add people that share circles, I know many of you would like that also. My goal is to have this circle grow to 500 by the new year. We can do it! If you would like to be shared in this circle simply reshare and I will add you to the next share. #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circleoftheday   #snowballcircle   #CircleCount   2012-10-28 00:55:3241856
Randy Hilarski8,604Here is a circle of people who have shared me in circles since I first arrived on #GooglePlus  .  You can check who has shared you by visiting +CircleCount Thank you to everyone here, you have helped make my G+ experience amazing!2012-09-18 15:51:3746726
Randy Hilarski7,599Thank you to everyone in this shared circle. You guys are amazing! According to +CircleCount you have all shared me in a circle. I greatly appreciate it. If you want to see your G+ community grow these are the kinds of people that make it happen.2012-07-24 15:16:2639101
Alister Macintyre7,115+Making Google Plus Work Here is my circle of G+ Product Pages with info to help Businesses see how to better Market themselves on the Internet.  Also check out #VBT.2012-06-09 22:28:2037200
TheFanar.com Holiday Homes972Business Pages , Directory for Pages shared , Shared Pages , Shared Business Pages , Directory for Pages , G+ Shared Circle Directory for Pages#hoildays #travel #directory #sharedcircles #busniess #smes #news2012-05-29 06:14:3736012
TheFanar.com Holiday Homes919#CircleSundayspecial unique circle continuesravel and Holidays Business PagesThis circle includes the pages of some of the most successful companies in the worldBusiness Pages , Directory for Pages shared , Shared Pages , Shared Business Pages , Directory for Pages , G+ Shared Circle Directory for Pages#hoildays #travel #directory #sharedcircles #busniess #smes #news2012-05-22 13:30:31136001
Storage Station0#sharedcircles2012-05-10 12:56:30340002
Randy Hilarski6,400For #circlesharefriday I would like to share the circle of people who have shared me according to +CircleCount . Being shared in a circle is a great honor. Thank you to all of you!2012-04-27 14:57:4129802
Randy Hilarski5,664I am going to take a page from +Bearman Cartoons today. This circle was put together using +CircleCount . These are people who shared circles with me in them publicly except for a few that I know have recommended me to limited. Some of the folks like +Jack C Crawford +kayra vaz and +Rahul Roy it has been multiple times. This is one of the ways we grow our community, through circle shares. Thank you everyone in this circle, I owe you a great deal of gratitude.2012-03-28 16:43:1725213
Alister Macintyre1,990+Grizwald Grim Here is circle of VBT participants ... there's 549 in my circle, but G+ only lets me share 500 of what is here.2011-12-29 05:20:385011104
Gregory Esau87An enhanced version of my previously shared circle of "World Intelligence" . If there is anybody else that you feel should be on here... maybe even you!!...please let me know. This is what I call my "World Intelligence" Circle. The purpose of this circle is that collectively, they give us a enhanced understanding of the world...and this included our Google Plus World!!...we live in.Our collective goal is to build on this circle, to constantly improve the diversity of views, and depth of knowledge, so we can 'crowd source' better ways to both understand the world in which we operate, but in turn lead in this world, to make it a better place for all of us. This Circle falls roughly into six categories:1) Economics and Economic Systems2) The Internet and Social Technologies3) Politics and Global Politics4) Science and Technology5) Religions and Spirituality6) Environment and Ecological Systems. These all inter-relate in one way or another, and it has long been my view, to understand our world, we need to constantly learn, and collaboratively share our knowledge around these 'systems'. None of us individually can 'know' or 'understand' the world, but as a collaborative enterprise, we can develop better knowledge for better leadership.2011-12-11 00:07:392393212
Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative440Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative Circle. This is being posted mostly as a thank you to the people who have followed our new Google+ page. In the brief time since we set this up, more than 400 people have added it to their circles and are following our posts. Clearly something we are doing has inspired, or at least intrigued, a good number of people here. We really appreciate this vote of confidence and will continue to explore ways we can use a bit of the extra brain power we all have to help each other. These projects will be announced on the VBT Google+ page, so be sure to add that to your circles if you have not yet done so, and also on the network we are building at http://VirtualBrainTrust.org. Some of our more advanced projects will be lauhched on that site, so please consider adding a profile there if your interest is more than casual. It is possible this may be one of the last times we are able to share this circle - we are getting close to Google's 500 member limit and shared circles have limited utility for what we are doing anyway. Still, there are some great people to follow here, They all believe in the spirit of cooperation and have offered to at least consider using a bit of their extra brainpower - their skills, intelligence and creativity to help other people. If you are looking for people who are both smart and considerate, this is a great place to start.2011-12-09 16:58:254291798
G+ Business Pages Directory3,464We would Like to Share this Circle of Google+ Pages.This 'Circle' has been Created by +Carol Crawley Would You Like Your Page to be Added?Please Comment below.2011-12-08 02:46:0835022811
Kevin Gillard125I'd Like to Share this Circle of Google+ Business Pages with Everyone.I am experimenting with Adding Circles and Sharing them.Please forgive me if this goes wrong.2011-12-08 02:18:271371103
Rob Gordon7,673Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative. I shared this last week privately, but thought I would now share this publicly and bring everyone up to date on a few of our activities. If you haven't heard of the VBT, there are a group of us here working on ways we can use our collective brain power - sometimes called the "cognitive surplus", for our mutual advantage. The primary way we are doing this is by working towards the formation of small teams, each dedicated to the success of a specific individual member who we call "the client". In these small groups, team members brainstorm to confidentially offer ideas, advice, and suggestions to help the client move forward in his or her life, business and/or career. The best way to learn about this group is probably the original post announcing the relaunch of this initiative: http://goo.gl/HxDGEThis project is perhaps not moving as fast as we would like, but it is moving forward. A few teams have formed and are making progress, and more importantly we have established a Coordinating Committee to help organize and guide the development of the VBT. The following people have agreed to serve on this committee, and I am absolutely delighted at the range and depth of talent we have been able to attract:+Lil Peck +Jason Pruim +Alister Macintyre +Renae Gibson-Suzuki +Ayoub Khote +Jim Will +Jera Wolfe +Mimi Passalacqua +Lesa Evans +Te-Erika Patterson +Honza Rejthar We have also developed a business/social network for this initiative. Google+ is great for meeting new like minded people, but for a number of reasons, it is not so great for organizing a project like this. If you are interested in this initiative, and especially if you are already in the VBT circle, please take a few minutes and create a profile at the link below. We are still calling this an "alpha" site2011-11-09 19:11:0015132288

Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 17

2011-12-09 16:58:25 (17 comments, 8 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative Circle. This is being posted mostly as a thank you to the people who have followed our new Google+ page. In the brief time since we set this up, more than 400 people have added it to their circles and are following our posts. Clearly something we are doing has inspired, or at least intrigued, a good number of people here. We really appreciate this vote of confidence and will continue to explore ways we can use a bit of the extra brain power we all have to help each other.

These projects will be announced on the VBT Google+ page, so be sure to add that to your circles if you have not yet done so, and also on the network we are building at http://VirtualBrainTrust.org. Some of our more advanced projects will be lauhched on that site, so please consider adding a profile there if your interest is more than casual.

It is possible this may... more »

Most reshares: 8

2011-12-09 16:58:25 (17 comments, 8 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative Circle. This is being posted mostly as a thank you to the people who have followed our new Google+ page. In the brief time since we set this up, more than 400 people have added it to their circles and are following our posts. Clearly something we are doing has inspired, or at least intrigued, a good number of people here. We really appreciate this vote of confidence and will continue to explore ways we can use a bit of the extra brain power we all have to help each other.

These projects will be announced on the VBT Google+ page, so be sure to add that to your circles if you have not yet done so, and also on the network we are building at http://VirtualBrainTrust.org. Some of our more advanced projects will be lauhched on that site, so please consider adding a profile there if your interest is more than casual.

It is possible this may... more »

Most plusones: 7

2012-01-10 00:28:15 (8 comments, 4 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE VBT

I would like to again thank everyone again for your interest in the VBT and to annouce a change we are making. As you may know, we first lauched this initiative on Google Buzz and then relaunched it on Google+. When Google announced its Google Pages product, we established this page for the VBT and quickly got over 700 people to follow us here, and that number continues to grow.

There are a few problems with this though. First, the people who are following this page have a wide range in levels of interest - some are intensely interested and involved, others just mildly interested and some don't even really know what we are doing - they have followed this page because someone put it in a shared circle that they added to their stream.

A bigger problem is that that there is really no way for people to participate on a Google+... more »

Latest 50 posts

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2013-02-19 05:41:10 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Note:  This is a long post I wrote earlier today on the new private community for the VBTC.   It describes why this organization was formed and why we decided to relaunch.   It is still small, just 30 some members at this writing, but we have some amazing people.   Please consider joining us if you like what we are doing and would like to participate.   Request an invitation at the attached link   

Welcome to the Virtual Brain Trust Community. 

I want to take a few minutes to welcome new members to this relaunch of the Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative.  

If you have never heard of this initiative, it was an attempt - first tried way back on Google Buzz in the middle of the global financial system meltdown.  I noticed that many people were hurting badly during this serious recession, and many were facing these difficulties alone. 

I was spurredinto actio... more »

Note:  This is a long post I wrote earlier today on the new private community for the VBTC.   It describes why this organization was formed and why we decided to relaunch.   It is still small, just 30 some members at this writing, but we have some amazing people.   Please consider joining us if you like what we are doing and would like to participate.   Request an invitation at the attached link   

Welcome to the Virtual Brain Trust Community. 

I want to take a few minutes to welcome new members to this relaunch of the Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative.  

If you have never heard of this initiative, it was an attempt - first tried way back on Google Buzz in the middle of the global financial system meltdown.  I noticed that many people were hurting badly during this serious recession, and many were facing these difficulties alone. 

I was spurred into action when a friend wrote me - who had some serious but not totally insurmountable problems - including some legal issues that prevented her from getting a passport.  She wanted to "escape from the United States" and wanted me to advise her on how to get on some kind of ship out of Mexico to points unknown.  That struck me as being an extremely drastic approach, but like many of us, she felt "trapped" - she was at the end of her rope and couldn't see a way out.  

I wanted to do something, but how could I help?   I have few resources myself, and in fact need help just as badly as anyone else.  What could I possibly do without money or resources?  What could I contribute? Maybe just as important, how could I help myself?

Then I came up with a thought experiment.  Suppose you had a multidisciplinary team of extremely smart people brainstorming on your behalf.  They would not give you any money, but once a week they would meet in a real world conference room and try to come up with ideas and approaches to help you with your situation.  Imagine almost a "Manhattan type project" with the best minds in the country or world trying to figure out the best way to help you,  Imagine that this group is totally dedicated to your success and working exclusively in your interest.  If such a scenario could be made to actually happen, could your situation improve?  It is hard to imagine that it would not. 

Now, in the real world, there is no way we could get such a team of brilliant people working and thinking on our behalf  - but could we do something like that?  We have each other - most of us are pretty smart - all of us have unique talents - what if we found a way to work together and actually help each other for mutual benefit.  Far too many of us are working alone - surely we could make some amazing things happen, or at the very least improve things a bit.  

But how?  I realized this was probably not a matter of "technology" - there is great technology everywhere these days, this was a problem of organization.  Still, there are organizations everywhere that are trying to help people in need - some of them do good things, but often they are of limited effectiveness.   

Now, it happens that I studied organizations quite extensively in grad school. I never really used my "Master of Public Administration" degree - I got a job at a Fortune 500 right after I left school, but I remembered at least some of what I learned and this particular area of study puts a huge emphasis on "Organizational Theory and Practice" - all the different ways of organizing human activity. I learned about bureaucracies, and hierarchies, city and state organizations, government management structures used by cities and state, corporate government structures, non-profits, business associations and NGOs, More modern "matrix organizations and "mission based" organizations, and informal organizations including "good ol boy" networks and even the organization of street gangs.     

One of my professors was interested in terrorism and terrorist organizations. This was many years ago, well before 9/11 - but I still hear him interviewed on the radio occasionally    He was just developing this interest then and taught us about "cell structures". This was the organizational structure first used by the French resistance  during World War II that was later adapted by terrorist organizations.  From this professor  and a number of other sources, I have learned that they have the following basic characteristics: 

1. They are dedicated to a cause.
2. They have a code of honor 
3. They are secret and usually invisible to the outside world.
4. Outside communication is usually limited to one member of the cell.

Could this be the key?  Could an organizational structure used with such devastating effectiveness against my country be "re-engineered" as a force of good?  Think about it.  The cell structure is designed to give an advantage to a smaller less powerful group that is acting in opposition to a much larger and more powerful organization.   Wouldn't that be a perfect structure to use to give small businesses and individuals "an edge" in facing the challenges of a severe economic downturn when the only ones who seem to be winning are big organizations and those associated with them.

So we tried it.  Twice actually, once on Google Buzz and a second time on Google Plus.  At its height, there were never more than about 30 people actively involved, though several hundred more seemed to be sincerely interested, and to this day I still get messages from people expressing what a good idea they think it is - sometimes with a great deal of intensity.   

So what happened?  Well, it worked, at least partly.  Some of the teams that were formed really did make progress - people helped each other in significant ways, and some really creative ideas were generated on how to move them forward.  Other teams languished and not much happened - almost always because the person whose team it was didn't put enough effort into it.  In all, we never got that quality that for Internet ventures they call "traction".   Why was this?  I have though about it, and I realized there were probably three reasons: 

1.  Too much depended on me.  I knew this could be a possibility but was unable from preventing it from happening anyway.  We had some drama situations that were thrown at me that took a lot out of me, and I was never able to generate enough momentum to make this more self sustaining.  My own life situation was not that great - it still isn't but I was trying to make it work all the time - too much really.  I then got a job managing a small motel and didn't have the time to put into it.  It was never formally shut down it just became inactive, though some of the people who formed teams may still be working together.  

2,  Inadequate Technology.  To make this work, we needed some kind of "group" system that was absolutely secure and allowed good communications between team members.  Google Buzz didn't really have this, and neither did Google Plus.  A few people on Google Plus tried to use private shared circles to manage their teams, but this had many disadvantages.  With both attempts  we recommended Google Groups, which did have the right kind of security, but was a little awkward to use - plus you had to leave whatever network you were on to see the posts there - it just didn't work very well.  I even tried to develop my own system using open source software, and it did work, but it was a little complex to use, it it also never gained "traction".

3.  Not enough people.  I always thought to make this work, a certain "critical mass" number of interested people would be needed.  I am not sure what that number is, but I think there was some number - and while we may have been close, I don't think we ever quite got there.  We could have also used some kind of "matching system" to help with the team formation, but it probably wasn't absolutely necessary - people are pretty good at matching through their social connections, but it would have been nice. I actually did have a matching technology  but as I said, it was on a different system that was difficult to use. 

So could it work this time?  Let's look at the reasons it didn't work as well as expected the other times in reverse order. Number 3 - not enough people.  When I tried this on Google Buzz I only had about 500 followers, and when I first tried it on Google Plus a few thousand.  Now I have almost 40,000 highly interconnected followers.  The "Entrepreneurs, Self-Employed & Small Business" community I started there has almost 9,000 members - and is growing at about 100 new members a day, and of course, all of you have your own networks and followers.  In this regard, I think we have a much better shot this time.  

Number 2 - inadequate technology.  As I mentioned, Google Groups didn't quite cut it, nor did the system I built.  Now we have Google Communities - a far superior technology that can be used for our private groups, and it is right at our fingertips.  More significantly, we now have "hangouts" for face to face communications  The possibilities for using hangouts for this kind of collaboration and team formation are really exciting and I think we haven't even begun to tap the potential of this technology.  

Then of course, there is number i - me.  I am still here, and I still have the same flaws and inadequacies, but I think this weakness can be mitigated somewhat with you - with your help, support and leadership.  I think we can make it happen this time. 

So let's give it another shot.  Third time is a charm, right?  In the earlier attempts to make this work, we really did learn a great deal.  We learned what worked, and what didn't work, and even to a certain extent came up with language and a set of guidelines to make it work better.  I am not saying I have all the answers though - I definitely don't - and at a certain point, the knowledge we gained in the earlier attempts will be spent, and we will be steering this ship together.  

I am glad you joined us here, and took the time to read this long post.  By working together, I think we can make some incredible things happen. 
Collapse this post___

2013-02-18 20:44:56 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

The Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative fell into a period of inactivity, but it never quite died - its embers were glowing brightly just below the surface and it looks like the flame might just start burning again.  

We are relaunching with vastly improved technology possibly even more intense interest. For the past few weeks, We have been discussing similar approaches as a way to help small business on the "Entrepreneurs, Self-Employed & Small Business" community as described in the post below. A private community has now been established to manage this initiative.  Comment here if you would like an invitation to this community.  Remember, this is only for people who are volunteering a bit of their "brain power" to help other people,and may in turn want some help themselves.   

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Virtual Advisory Program Starting.  I wantedto men... more »

Virtual Teams and Virtual Accelerator

I want to make a quick post to clarify the difference between two initiates I have been working on through this community: "virtual advisory teams" and a "virtual accelerator for micro-enterprise" - they are related, but the kind and level of participation will be different, so let me explain:

Virtual Advisory Teams.  I have long believed that too many of us are working alone, without the benefit of the sea of brainpower that surrounds us, and that if we found more effective ways of working together - for our mutual benefit, we could make amazing things happen.  We will be helping to facilitate team formation, for anyone who wants it, using techniques we developed on the "Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative" except with streamlined methods and vastly improved technology.  Hangout, for example, didn't exist when that was active.  There are no limits or preconditions on joining this program - and we are also actively looking for mentors and advisors willing to help - if you are, let us know here: http://goo.gl/V8Cbz - and please indicate on this post if you are interested in forming your own team and/or are willing to volunteer on another team. http://goo.gl/hv7AO.  We already have a shared circle of people interested and will probably be sharing some private communications with them later this week, so let us know if you are interested.  

Virtual Accelerator for Microenterprise.  I am constantly reading in my business feeds about venture accelerators like Y-Combinator and Techstars, and how much success the elite few entrepreneurs of those programs become.  I react with envy, but at the same time I know I have no chance of ever getting in an accelerator like that.  I have become a little tired of feeling like tiny Tim looking through the window at the turkey - I want the turkey.  During that Stanford Entrepreneurial Technology course I took, we reviewed the Startup Weekend organization and explored the possibility of a "Virtual Startup Weekend" type event and did some thinking on the format it should take - we even did a "multi-hangout" business event to test some of the concept, so have gained some experience in this. 

The exact form of this accelerator has not been decided, but the length and starting time of the first session has been.  It will be starting next Monday, February 18, one week from today, and will be lasting for a period of three weeks.  The time commitment  for this will be flexible but there will be some "level-of-effort commitment"  and this is not necessarily open to everyone.   There is no charge for this first session, we reserve the right to be a little picky.  The application process, however,is basically just convincing us that you are willing to contribute and will try to make it work.  

This might be the first time anyone has tried a "virtual accelerator" of this type - so the first participants in this program will be the advance guard of something that could be very cool.   Essentially, we will be accelerating ourselves, and I think we can pull it off, but there are some space/ bandwidth limits - the first class is probably going to be limited to about 20 participants.   I will be looking for those 20 this week, so let me know if you know of any worthy entrepreneurs or microventures that you think might benefit.  http://goo.gl/gP3A0  ___The Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative fell into a period of inactivity, but it never quite died - its embers were glowing brightly just below the surface and it looks like the flame might just start burning again.  

We are relaunching with vastly improved technology possibly even more intense interest. For the past few weeks, We have been discussing similar approaches as a way to help small business on the "Entrepreneurs, Self-Employed & Small Business" community as described in the post below. A private community has now been established to manage this initiative.  Comment here if you would like an invitation to this community.  Remember, this is only for people who are volunteering a bit of their "brain power" to help other people,and may in turn want some help themselves.   

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Virtual Advisory Program Starting.  I wanted to mention that we are just getting started on our "Virtual Advisory Teams" program this morning on a private community.   If you are looking for team members, partners or collaborators, please let me know.   Also, if you are willing to be a mentor or adviser to small businesses please let me know that also - if you already did you will be contacted shortly.    

Note:  This is only for people who are looking for team members or advisors or people willing to provide at least some advisory services without charge.    This is not for people who are "just curious" and it is definitely not for people who see it as an opportunity to sell their services.  In general, if you are able to find team members or advisers through this initiative, you should at least be open to the possibility of helping other members.     If that fits, comment here and I will send you an invitation to this private community. 

2012-02-28 20:39:13 (2 comments, 3 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Hangout Tomorrow: 4:00PM PST, 7:00PM EST, 12:00AM GMT

Crowd Funding Discussion.

There will be a hangout tomorrow hosted by the VBT to discuss trends and methods of "crowd funding". This will be a "discussion" - not a presentation - we will compare notes about what we all currently now about this method of fundraising including the best sites and resources, legal issues, future trends and how to prepare your project or venture for crowd funding. This will build on some of the research +Alister Macintyre has done on this for the VBT so please be prepared to discuss your own project or venture during this meeting. This hangout is open to all, but there seems to be considerable interest so please contact me (Rob Gordon) for an invitation in case room runs out. Hope to see you tomorrow.

Hangout Tomorrow: 4:00PM PST, 7:00PM EST, 12:00AM GMT

Crowd Funding Discussion.

There will be a hangout tomorrow hosted by the VBT to discuss trends and methods of "crowd funding". This will be a "discussion" - not a presentation - we will compare notes about what we all currently now about this method of fundraising including the best sites and resources, legal issues, future trends and how to prepare your project or venture for crowd funding. This will build on some of the research +Alister Macintyre has done on this for the VBT so please be prepared to discuss your own project or venture during this meeting. This hangout is open to all, but there seems to be considerable interest so please contact me (Rob Gordon) for an invitation in case room runs out. Hope to see you tomorrow.___

2012-02-15 19:07:44 (6 comments, 2 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Seeking Employment or Contract Opportunities. One of the suggestions that came out of the hangout we had for the Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative is that we share information about people looking for work so people offering jobs can find them here, and also so they can also better find each other to strategize and share ideas and perhaps contacts and resources.

The VirtualBrainTrust.org site does have that information in our member database but we are also trying to make the best use of Google+ so will be sharing a circle of employment seekers for anyone who wants to be included. I don't want to include anyone in this circle without getting their permission first so please comment here if you would like to be included or simply +1 this post. Feel free to reshare this post. I will publish the circle as soon as we have a decent number of people - probably in about a week. ... more »

Seeking Employment or Contract Opportunities. One of the suggestions that came out of the hangout we had for the Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative is that we share information about people looking for work so people offering jobs can find them here, and also so they can also better find each other to strategize and share ideas and perhaps contacts and resources.

The VirtualBrainTrust.org site does have that information in our member database but we are also trying to make the best use of Google+ so will be sharing a circle of employment seekers for anyone who wants to be included. I don't want to include anyone in this circle without getting their permission first so please comment here if you would like to be included or simply +1 this post. Feel free to reshare this post. I will publish the circle as soon as we have a decent number of people - probably in about a week.

p.s. If you are reading this through a reshare - be sure you follow the Virtual Brain Trust Google+ page - that is where we will publish the circle.

#virtualbraintrust___

2012-02-13 00:47:39 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Save this date:

Business Meeting Tuesday: 11:00AM PST, 2:00PM EST, 7:00PM GMT

What: First in a series to discuss the business & operations of the VBT

Where: A Google+ hangout

Who: Open to all VBT members, defined here as anyone who is following the VBT Google+ Page

Please try to make room in your calendar for a Google+ hangout this Tuesday. This will be a "discussion" - not a series of proclamations but will have the following specific agenda. Hope you can make it, but if not I am planning another for Thursday at 4:00 PST. Try to make this one though - I will try to keep it to about 30 minutes but if we are making progress I may let it go a bit longer than this.

AGENDA

1, The Mission of the VBT - discussion

2. Activities Status Updates
-VBT Site development
-VBT online presence... more »

Save this date:

Business Meeting Tuesday: 11:00AM PST, 2:00PM EST, 7:00PM GMT

What: First in a series to discuss the business & operations of the VBT

Where: A Google+ hangout

Who: Open to all VBT members, defined here as anyone who is following the VBT Google+ Page

Please try to make room in your calendar for a Google+ hangout this Tuesday. This will be a "discussion" - not a series of proclamations but will have the following specific agenda. Hope you can make it, but if not I am planning another for Thursday at 4:00 PST. Try to make this one though - I will try to keep it to about 30 minutes but if we are making progress I may let it go a bit longer than this.

AGENDA

1, The Mission of the VBT - discussion

2. Activities Status Updates
-VBT Site development
-VBT online presence - Google+ page, Google groups, etc
-Member Base
-Knowledge Base

3. VBT Team Formation

-Teams & Advisory Committees - lessons learned
-Team Operations - starting and managing your team
-Facilitating and Encouraging Team Formation
-Volunteering on other teams - how to help
-
4. Cooperative Action and Collaboration

-Business Planning Cooperation
-Work Exchange Agreements
-Technologies, document sharing, resource sharing, etc
-Special Purpose Hangouts - for example a series of hangouts for small startups
-Any other ideas anyone wants to bring to the table

5. The Future of the VBT - Plans for the coming year.

If you do not have a camera join us by microphone only, and if you don't have a microphone join us by chat - we will read your questions. Hope to see you all there.___

2012-02-06 21:23:27 (0 comments, 5 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Someone needs our help. As I think you know, we normally don't ask people for donations with the VBT. We are looking for your brains, not your money. If a situation arises, however, where a small amount of money can have a big impact, we are not adverse to asking.

One such situation has recently come to my attention. One of our members, who has been very forthright about his struggles with mental illness and previous homelessness revealed in some post comments that he does not have a computer. This was noticed by +Meg Tufano who offered to donate $100 towards the purchase of a computer if we can find others to also make a donations and collect enough too buy a decent machine. This particular member is no dummy - quite the opposite. In fact, he is a network engineer who has worked with a number of Fortune 500 clients, and also has expressed a desire to do more writing -... more »

Someone needs our help. As I think you know, we normally don't ask people for donations with the VBT. We are looking for your brains, not your money. If a situation arises, however, where a small amount of money can have a big impact, we are not adverse to asking.

One such situation has recently come to my attention. One of our members, who has been very forthright about his struggles with mental illness and previous homelessness revealed in some post comments that he does not have a computer. This was noticed by +Meg Tufano who offered to donate $100 towards the purchase of a computer if we can find others to also make a donations and collect enough too buy a decent machine. This particular member is no dummy - quite the opposite. In fact, he is a network engineer who has worked with a number of Fortune 500 clients, and also has expressed a desire to do more writing - something that is very difficult to do when you have to access the Internet from a cell phone.

Let's see if we can try to give him a hand. Do you have a bit of extra money burning a hole in your pocket? - this is a good cause. Is there anyone out there willing to match Meg's generous offer? Even a smaller amount - $10 or $20 would help us get there. Or possibly someone has an older - but decent - computer they are willing to donate? Please contact Meg - she will be coordinating this and will collect any funds, buy, ship and insure the computer. She is a college professor so can also get educations discounts for computer equipment.

Don't worry if you can't donate at this time - lots of us are tight at the moment, but maybe you could reshare this post or maybe you know someone else who could help? I haven't interacted a great deal with the particular person who needs just a little hand up, but from what I have my impression is that he is a smart and caring person, who is willing to help others, so let's see what we can do.

Again, contact Meg with any offers, questions or ideas you might have about this. Any checks written for this will be made out to her so she can use her educational discount to buy the computer. Thank you for considering this.___

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2012-01-26 20:24:01 (3 comments, 2 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Greetings all,

I hope everyone's year is off to a good start. My apologies if my leadership of this initiative has been somewhat lacking of late. It was important that I start my own VBT team and not just tell other people that is what they should be doing. I don't want to pretend that this is easy - it really does take some effort, but the benefits once you get it going are well worth it. My life and business is in horrible disarray at the moment and my team, which is really just getting going, has already helped me a great deal in just the brief time since it started.

Anyway, I am not posting this to talk about myself. One of our members who has been extremely supportive of the VBT concept from the very start now would like to form his own VBT team. +Brandon Horton (aka Reed Richards) is an aspiring entrepreneur who lives in Chicago. He works for a trade school... more »

Greetings all,

I hope everyone's year is off to a good start. My apologies if my leadership of this initiative has been somewhat lacking of late. It was important that I start my own VBT team and not just tell other people that is what they should be doing. I don't want to pretend that this is easy - it really does take some effort, but the benefits once you get it going are well worth it. My life and business is in horrible disarray at the moment and my team, which is really just getting going, has already helped me a great deal in just the brief time since it started.

Anyway, I am not posting this to talk about myself. One of our members who has been extremely supportive of the VBT concept from the very start now would like to form his own VBT team. +Brandon Horton (aka Reed Richards) is an aspiring entrepreneur who lives in Chicago. He works for a trade school where he is the head of Student Services, and in his spare time volunteers to provide resume revision/rebuilding services for people who need his help.

Brandon has an awesome idea for a group he calls "Entrepreneurs for a Better Community" - a proposed network of entrepreneurs who would volunteer on community projects. He recently posted on the VBT Google Groups site that he now wants to start a group to advise him on bringing grassroots business idea to fruition and he also mentioned an entrepreneurs completion with a prize of $10,000 in startup that he would like to enter. He is now looking to start and build his team and is looking for members with small business, non-profit, and community outreach experience. To see his detailed request, please join the VBT Group or contact him directly.

Of course, just volunteering to be on his team does not necessarily mean you will be selected. Forming these little teams, each dedicated to the success of an individual, is the most important thing we are doing, and we encourage members to be highly selective in picking their team members. Be sure to let us know if you would like your own VBT team. You will have to do your part, of course, but we will do our best to help.

Rob___

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2012-01-23 19:06:47 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Some excellent, but simple and common sense advice on how to pick a co-founder for those with startup ventures.

Some excellent, but simple and common sense advice on how to pick a co-founder for those with startup ventures.___

2012-01-14 23:29:43 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

Reminder - the main discussion for the VBT is moving to Google Groups. We are just getting started there so if you are interesting in participating in this group further please join the Google Groups for it at the link below. Since it is a listserv, make sure you have a method to manage the email generated there. It is not too heavy yet, but I suspect it will be. I like the multiple email boxes you can set up in Gmail labs, but use whatever method works best for you. I wouldn't turn off alerts entirely though - it is easy to forget to revisit a "web only" service.

We are going to continue the development and build out of the http://VirtualBrainTrust.org site, but this is a quick way to get started - and speaking of which, here is a post I just made on that forum that describes one method of getting going:
-------------------
Notes on Getting Started with... more »

Reminder - the main discussion for the VBT is moving to Google Groups. We are just getting started there so if you are interesting in participating in this group further please join the Google Groups for it at the link below. Since it is a listserv, make sure you have a method to manage the email generated there. It is not too heavy yet, but I suspect it will be. I like the multiple email boxes you can set up in Gmail labs, but use whatever method works best for you. I wouldn't turn off alerts entirely though - it is easy to forget to revisit a "web only" service.

We are going to continue the development and build out of the http://VirtualBrainTrust.org site, but this is a quick way to get started - and speaking of which, here is a post I just made on that forum that describes one method of getting going:
-------------------
Notes on Getting Started with the VBT


Hi Everyone, thanks for your participation here and sorry for my
absense. I wanted to talk a bit about how to get started and involved
in the VBT, and though we have written about it before, it has come up
many times. The best, and quickest, way to get involved here is
simply by forming your own VBT team. This could not only help you,
it could also give you some valuable experience on how to help other
people here, as teams begin to form. Here is a general roadmap of the
steps you can follow to get this going.

1. Set up your VBT Team group. All this means is that you pick a
technology that works for you as a place for your VBT team to
privately communicate. It really doesn't even matter what technology
you use, as long as only people in that group can see the information
you post there. As you may know, we have set up a groups system on
the VBT site, but since not everyone is a member there yet feel free
to use some other system. Google Groups - the system we are using
here, works well, and it only takes a minute or two to set up a
group. Since we have lots of Google+ users here, some people are
simply using a Google+ discussion thread or publishing a small shared
circle privately there. Of course, when you first set up your VBT
Team system, you will probably be the only one in it, but this will be
the first step in getting yourself in the mind set that you can have
your very own brain trust working on your behalf.

2. Imaging your Dream Team. Take a bit of time to look at your own
situation and where you want to go, and think of the kinds of people -
the skills and capabilities, who would be on your ideal team. Write
this down, and be sure to let your imagination go wild. If you had a
team of geniouses thinking on your behalf, what kind of geniouses
would they be? Save this document - it will later become part of your
situation report.

3. Recruit a Coordinator (optional). Next, find someone to help you
build your team. Some people are skipping this step and still having
good results, but eventually it is good to have someone in this role.
The coordinator acts as your "chief of staff" - helps you recruit new
members - possibly eliminate ones who aren't working out, is your
confidentate and should be unequivocably "on your side". Most people
prefer someone they know well for this role, while ohers actually
prefer someone they don't know well. Even if you choose to not use a
coordiator at first, you still have to find that first person to get
you going on this. Some more (rough) notes on the role of the
coordinator can be found at this link http://goo.gl/6q7zF

4. Write a Situation Report. Without a doubt, the toughest
assignment you will have here. As you form your team, however, your
VBT team will need this information to give you ideas and advice.
Some notes on how to write your situation report can be found at this
link: http://goo.gl/6q7zF

5. Recruit your team. Once you have your VBT Team system set up, and
have a coordinaor or at least one other member, you will need to start
recruiting the rest of your team. In fact, it really isn't a team
until you get that third member. Use your "dream team" notes to guide
you in this, though of course you won't get a real world team that
matches that idealized team, but you should find that exercise was
helpful in helping you select people. Remember, your team is to act
solely and exclusively in YOUR interest, and everything revealed in
those disussions MUST be kept confidential. I think it is best if the
team doesn't jump in right away with advice, but rather learns as much
as they can about you and what you are doing first and they should be
NONJUDGEMENTAL. Some rough notes on the role of the team members can
be found here: http://goo.gl/6q7zF

6. Participate. Your team won't be able to help you if you don't
participate. There is an issue of personal responsibility here -
nothing will happen unless you work to make it happen. I am on one
team where the Client seems to be getting good results simply by
posting a status update of her plans and accomplishments every few
days as a comment on a Google+ post. Team members don't even
necessarily comment everytime - sometimes they just +1 the comment,
but we are beginning to learn more about the plans and approach of
this person, and when advice is given, I think it is of higher
quality. For some of your own responsibilites in managing your VBT
Team, please see this link: http://goo.gl/6q7zF___

2012-01-10 00:28:15 (8 comments, 4 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE VBT

I would like to again thank everyone again for your interest in the VBT and to annouce a change we are making. As you may know, we first lauched this initiative on Google Buzz and then relaunched it on Google+. When Google announced its Google Pages product, we established this page for the VBT and quickly got over 700 people to follow us here, and that number continues to grow.

There are a few problems with this though. First, the people who are following this page have a wide range in levels of interest - some are intensely interested and involved, others just mildly interested and some don't even really know what we are doing - they have followed this page because someone put it in a shared circle that they added to their stream.

A bigger problem is that that there is really no way for people to participate on a Google+... more »

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE VBT

I would like to again thank everyone again for your interest in the VBT and to annouce a change we are making. As you may know, we first lauched this initiative on Google Buzz and then relaunched it on Google+. When Google announced its Google Pages product, we established this page for the VBT and quickly got over 700 people to follow us here, and that number continues to grow.

There are a few problems with this though. First, the people who are following this page have a wide range in levels of interest - some are intensely interested and involved, others just mildly interested and some don't even really know what we are doing - they have followed this page because someone put it in a shared circle that they added to their stream.

A bigger problem is that that there is really no way for people to participate on a Google+ page except by commenting on posts that one of the administrators makes. The same is true for the shared circles - all you can really do is follow the streams of the people we put in those circles which is of limited usefulness.

For this reason, we are going to transfer the main discussion for this group from http://VirtualBrainTrust.org and the VBT page to a groups we set up during the first launch of this effort. The obvious advantage is that you will be able to initiate a post, and not just respond to one. People seem like ths simplicity and availability of Google Groups so it should also be a good starting point for new members and will give us greater range and hopefully more involvement.

We may shut down the main discussion forum on the VBT site, but will keep some of the specialized discussions and absolutely will continue its buildout and development. There are a few things we do better there - the profiles are more set up for our needs, the matching technology works fairly well, some of our groups technology has good functionality and our new shared directory technology looks promising. We will continue to integrate Google and other technologies their whenever it is to our advantage and still encourage you to join that site. We will also still be using our Google+ page, but probably only for major announcements- it is not well set up for discussions or member involvement.

Therefore, effective immediately the main discussion for the VBT is being transferred to this Google Group. It will be a moderated group - for our purposes it has to be, but should give you a great deal more flexibility in how you manage your account, and more freedom to express your opinions A link on this site will allow you to request an invitation and we will activate them as soon as we see them: http://groups.google.com/group/VBTC

Rob___

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2012-01-02 18:47:31 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Happy New Year from the Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative

I hope this isn't too "out there", but for the New Year's greeting for the VBT I have selected this blog post written a while ago on Raptitude.com. In it, they ask you to consider a hypothetical situation. Suppose some superpower extracted your "self" from your body and your life right now, and dropped in a completely different person into your brain and mind. You would still have the same home or apartment, the same friends and family, the same body and health, the same business and job - or lack of a job, but "you" would not be "you" anymore - you would be looking at your entire life through the eyes of a completely different person.

Would this new person you to see the problems and opportunities - your entire life in a different way? Would he or she make any changes? ... more »

Happy New Year from the Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative

I hope this isn't too "out there", but for the New Year's greeting for the VBT I have selected this blog post written a while ago on Raptitude.com. In it, they ask you to consider a hypothetical situation. Suppose some superpower extracted your "self" from your body and your life right now, and dropped in a completely different person into your brain and mind. You would still have the same home or apartment, the same friends and family, the same body and health, the same business and job - or lack of a job, but "you" would not be "you" anymore - you would be looking at your entire life through the eyes of a completely different person.

Would this new person you to see the problems and opportunities - your entire life in a different way? Would he or she make any changes? My guess it that this new entity inhabiting your life would want to do a number of things differently, but would also see some things of great value in your life that need to be kept - perhaps even shored up, as well.

This is a also good metaphor for what I would like to do with the VBT. Take a completely fresh look at the entire initiative, but keep and even enhance the things of value that we have built and accomplished - and that is not insignificant. In the very short time since we relaunched the VBT a fairly large number of people have expressed interest- more than 700 people are now following our Google+ page, which we only set up about two months ago. We have also built our own business network at http://VirtualBrainTrust.org where we can provide more advanced capabilities and already more than 100 people joined even though it is still in its alpha stage of development.

We have also organized a "Coordinating Committee" to help us get better organized and have a team of volunteers helping with different parts of the initiative. We have also had a number of videoconferencing hangouts, and even have writers helping us develop our knowlege base. All in all, that is not too shabby of a start, but we have a long way to go.

Lot's of people I have talked to about this have called the VBT "an experiment" - and I guess that is fair. A few people have formed productive VBT teams or otherwise gotten involved, but most have not. During the next several months, that will be one of our main objectives - to move this initiative beyond "being an experiment" doing what it was intended to do - allow us to use a tiny amount of our extra "brainpower" - our intelligence, creativity, and expertise to help other people, while at the same time helping ourselves if we need it.

We will be talking about this a lot in the coming year - there will blog posts and hangouts and all sorts of discussions - both private and public, to help this succeed - because it really is a worthwhile intitiative. We all have extra brainpower - we might as well use it to help each other suceed.

We will be looking at all sorts of ways to do that, right now, however, I just want to wish everyone the very best in the coming year.

Rob___

2011-12-30 17:14:23 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Virtual Brain Trust "Suggestion Box"
Please post your suggestions here.

Virtual Brain Trust "Suggestion Box"
Please post your suggestions here.___

2011-12-09 16:58:25 (17 comments, 8 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative Circle. This is being posted mostly as a thank you to the people who have followed our new Google+ page. In the brief time since we set this up, more than 400 people have added it to their circles and are following our posts. Clearly something we are doing has inspired, or at least intrigued, a good number of people here. We really appreciate this vote of confidence and will continue to explore ways we can use a bit of the extra brain power we all have to help each other.

These projects will be announced on the VBT Google+ page, so be sure to add that to your circles if you have not yet done so, and also on the network we are building at http://VirtualBrainTrust.org. Some of our more advanced projects will be lauhched on that site, so please consider adding a profile there if your interest is more than casual.

It is possible this may... more »

Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative Circle. This is being posted mostly as a thank you to the people who have followed our new Google+ page. In the brief time since we set this up, more than 400 people have added it to their circles and are following our posts. Clearly something we are doing has inspired, or at least intrigued, a good number of people here. We really appreciate this vote of confidence and will continue to explore ways we can use a bit of the extra brain power we all have to help each other.

These projects will be announced on the VBT Google+ page, so be sure to add that to your circles if you have not yet done so, and also on the network we are building at http://VirtualBrainTrust.org. Some of our more advanced projects will be lauhched on that site, so please consider adding a profile there if your interest is more than casual.

It is possible this may be one of the last times we are able to share this circle - we are getting close to Google's 500 member limit and shared circles have limited utility for what we are doing anyway. Still, there are some great people to follow here, They all believe in the spirit of cooperation and have offered to at least consider using a bit of their extra brainpower - their skills, intelligence and creativity to help other people. If you are looking for people who are both smart and considerate, this is a great place to start.___

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2011-12-07 18:40:45 (6 comments, 7 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Let's build a great Resource Directory. As you know, the VBT is exploring ways we can use some of our extra "brainpower" - sometimes called the cognitive surplus, as a way to help each other - and ourselves. The primary way we are doing this is by facilitating the formation of small private teams, each dedicated to the success of an indivdual member. We think this will be our best approach, and there is good reason for this. When you try to get a large number of people working on the same project at the same time you often you just end up with a big mess.

That is not to say it is impossible though - you just have to have the proper structure set up first. That is what we are doing with the new "Resource Directory" we have built on the VBT website. Anyone who is a member there can contribute to this directory by recommending websites and this could be a... more »

Let's build a great Resource Directory. As you know, the VBT is exploring ways we can use some of our extra "brainpower" - sometimes called the cognitive surplus, as a way to help each other - and ourselves. The primary way we are doing this is by facilitating the formation of small private teams, each dedicated to the success of an indivdual member. We think this will be our best approach, and there is good reason for this. When you try to get a large number of people working on the same project at the same time you often you just end up with a big mess.

That is not to say it is impossible though - you just have to have the proper structure set up first. That is what we are doing with the new "Resource Directory" we have built on the VBT website. Anyone who is a member there can contribute to this directory by recommending websites and this could be a very useful community resource. The technology we have set up allows the information about these sites can be modified at any time by the member who added the listing, and other members can weigh in with comments describing their experience with the site. .

What we would like, is to identify the best resources for people looking for jobs, the self employed and freelancers, small startup companies and small business, learning resources - pretty much anything you think might help people survive - and thrive - in this new economy. You can see the directory at the attached link. There are only two entries right now - both of which I have added, so I would love to get more recommendations from members and followers of the VBT. Naturally, we would prefer that people have their own profile on this system so they can add and manage the resource recommendations themselves. This network is still in alpha, but we really are making some great progress there and have attracted some great people. All of them are dedicated to helping other members advance in their lives, business and/or careers so there really isn't anything like it.

If for whatever reason you don't want to join the VBT network right now, we would still like to get your recommendations for business and employment resources. What do you use? What have you found to be helpful? Please add them to the comments here and one of our other members will reveiw and add them to the directory. Any and all recommendations are appreciated.___

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2011-12-06 00:08:55 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

I wish I were smart enough to do something like this. It is from a mostly forgotten John Travolta movie called "Phenomenon". The character Travolta plays is a mechanic who suddenly and inexplanably becomes massively intelligent. In this scene, someone who had their car repaired, needs it back but has no money. Go to the four minute mark to see how he handles the situation - it is only about 15 seconds long.

Now though I may not be smart enough to think of something like that, there are lots of smart people here. What if there were a team helping this guy? Certainly a group of people using their brain power to help someone would be at least as smart as the character Travolta plays? That is part of the idea behind the VBT. I will be posting more ways we can help soon - both on small teams and collectively, but meanwhile, I really liked this scene, and wanted you to see it.

I wish I were smart enough to do something like this. It is from a mostly forgotten John Travolta movie called "Phenomenon". The character Travolta plays is a mechanic who suddenly and inexplanably becomes massively intelligent. In this scene, someone who had their car repaired, needs it back but has no money. Go to the four minute mark to see how he handles the situation - it is only about 15 seconds long.

Now though I may not be smart enough to think of something like that, there are lots of smart people here. What if there were a team helping this guy? Certainly a group of people using their brain power to help someone would be at least as smart as the character Travolta plays? That is part of the idea behind the VBT. I will be posting more ways we can help soon - both on small teams and collectively, but meanwhile, I really liked this scene, and wanted you to see it.___

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2011-12-02 22:23:57 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

I might as well reshare this here also - even though it is a little of a "preaching to the choir" type thing. This post is intended for people who have not yet added the VBT page to their circles, and most of the people who will see this already have. Reshare if you wish - but not if you feel it will disturb your stream. People have been great about helping us get the word out on this. We have 277 followers of this page already! That is pretty darn tootin good. Thanks again for all your awesome support. One step at a time, we are getting there.

Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative - Google+ Page Announcement. I am writing this post mostly because I want to send an alert message out to the dozen people or so who have expressed interest in the VBT, but have not followed me. At least some of these people seem to be intensely interested, but because I have them in my circles, but I am not in theirs, they haven't gotten any of the announcements we have made about this group.

To rectify this situation, and to separate the VBT posts from my own profile, which has all sorts of other silly stuff, we have created a new Google+ page, and request that you add it to your circles. If you are not familiar with the VBT initiative, we are exploring ways to use our "cognitive surplus" - that extra "brain power" we all have, to help people who might need it, and to help ourselves as well. The primary way we are doing this is to facilitate the creation of small private teams where members brainstorm on behalf of another member, and they in turn can join the teams of other members and brain storm on their behalf. The idea is that eventually, each member can have their own private "think tank" operating solely and exclusively in their interest. We are always open to exploring other ways to use our extra brainpower - our intelligence and creatively - as well. We've got lots of it.

If you join this circle it means that you are at least open to the possibility of using a small part of your extra brain power to help someone else you may need your unique skills and expertise to help someone else. The wording there is important "open to the possibility" - it doesn't mean you have to, you can always decline a request, just that you will consider it.

For those whose interest is more than casual, we have also set up a custom social network for this. It is very much still in the "alpha" stage of its development, but we have been making great progress there, and have several volunteer developers helping us. Please consider also putting a profile up at the following link if you would like to be one of our founding members, In a very short time, we have managed to attract some really incredible people:

http://VirtualBrainTrust.org

This initiative is only a few months old, but the response has been really incredible. I have met so many people that are both really smart and want to make a positive contribution that and this response has been - for want of a better word - humbling. I sometimes feel that I have stumbled on something much bigger than myself, and we could be on the cusp of something extraordinary. By all means, let me know if you have any questions or thoughts, and if you think this is for you, please add this page.___I might as well reshare this here also - even though it is a little of a "preaching to the choir" type thing. This post is intended for people who have not yet added the VBT page to their circles, and most of the people who will see this already have. Reshare if you wish - but not if you feel it will disturb your stream. People have been great about helping us get the word out on this. We have 277 followers of this page already! That is pretty darn tootin good. Thanks again for all your awesome support. One step at a time, we are getting there.

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2011-11-30 18:23:26 (1 comments, 2 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Today's Featured Member. This is the profile for Richard Reed on the Virtual Brain Trust site. He's a great guy. Currently living in Chicago, he works at a trade school where he provides assistance with job placement and resume building. He is a big believer in community and cooperating for the common good, and just recently started a group one the VBT site called "Entrepreneurs for a Better Community".

To join that group, meet Richard and other cool people like him, please consider joining the VBT site if you are at least open to the possibility of using a tiny part of your extra "brain power" to help other people, and perhaps if you would like to get some smart people to help you as well. The site is still new - needs lots of work, but we really have some incredible people there, and would like you to be one of them.

Today's Featured Member. This is the profile for Richard Reed on the Virtual Brain Trust site. He's a great guy. Currently living in Chicago, he works at a trade school where he provides assistance with job placement and resume building. He is a big believer in community and cooperating for the common good, and just recently started a group one the VBT site called "Entrepreneurs for a Better Community".

To join that group, meet Richard and other cool people like him, please consider joining the VBT site if you are at least open to the possibility of using a tiny part of your extra "brain power" to help other people, and perhaps if you would like to get some smart people to help you as well. The site is still new - needs lots of work, but we really have some incredible people there, and would like you to be one of them.___

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2011-11-29 20:09:20 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Home Based Store. This is just around the corner from where I live. One of my neighbors, who I just met, has set up his own store in front of his apartment. This kind of thing is common in the developing world, but in the US. - not so much, except perhaps in rural areas. I'm all for it. Increasingly more and more of us aren't able to get corporate jobs, or have otherwise fallen out of the system. My neighbor's name is Eric, I didn't get to talk to him much except for asking permission for these pictures, but he is apparently also selling motorcycles that he customizes - so I assume he is doing ok. This isn't for everyone, of course, but it is another example of the new economy that is emerging and I think this is a good thing.

Home Based Store. This is just around the corner from where I live. One of my neighbors, who I just met, has set up his own store in front of his apartment. This kind of thing is common in the developing world, but in the US. - not so much, except perhaps in rural areas. I'm all for it. Increasingly more and more of us aren't able to get corporate jobs, or have otherwise fallen out of the system. My neighbor's name is Eric, I didn't get to talk to him much except for asking permission for these pictures, but he is apparently also selling motorcycles that he customizes - so I assume he is doing ok. This isn't for everyone, of course, but it is another example of the new economy that is emerging and I think this is a good thing.___

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2011-11-28 22:44:47 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Social Network for the Unemployed. This is a post I wrote that sums up a bit of what we are trying to do with the VBT site, and for those of you who reshared this, I want to give you my thanks. The site is still new, still very much in alpha, but it is off to a great start. Not a huge number of members yet, but the ones we have are very smart- some great people to work with, and they all have volunteered to at least consider helping on the projects of others, and many would like help on their projects, or issues in their lives business or career. If you haven't yet, you really should check it out, and take a few minutes to put a profile up there. It is a rather unique kind of social network, and I think you might like it.

That is not why I am doing this reshare though. I was wondering who else might be doing the same thing, so I did a few Google searches with terms like "social... more »

Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative. Are you smart, but unemployed or underemployed? Having a rough time with your business or startup, or otherwise struggling in this rough economy? Having marriage. family or relationship issues, or even health problems? You are not alone.

Would you be willing to use a tiny fraction of your extra "brain power" - to help other people in the same boat, and in turn get help yourself? That is exactly what we are trying to do with the VBT, and we have gotten off to a respectable start. What we are doing is facilitating the formation of small private teams, each dedicated to the success of one of our members, and that member, in turn, volunteers on at least one team that is dedicated to the success of another member.

With this approach, we are attempting to help each of our members form their own private "think tank" with a smart and multidisciplinary team brainstorming on their behalf. We are also encouraging "work exchange agreements" where members work briefly on the projects of other members, and in turn get help on their own projects. We also welcome the involvement of people who don't need help themselves at the moment, but are willing to spend a small about of time helping other people.

Please consider joining us at the network we are building for this initiave at the site linked to this post. We are just getting going with this but already some cool things are happening.

Please reshare this post massively! Stand on your roof and shout about it! Walk up to total stranges on the street, shake them and tell them about it! I'm just kidding, but if you help us get the word out on this it would be apprecited, even if that's just by sending a message to a friend or two you think might be interested.___Social Network for the Unemployed. This is a post I wrote that sums up a bit of what we are trying to do with the VBT site, and for those of you who reshared this, I want to give you my thanks. The site is still new, still very much in alpha, but it is off to a great start. Not a huge number of members yet, but the ones we have are very smart- some great people to work with, and they all have volunteered to at least consider helping on the projects of others, and many would like help on their projects, or issues in their lives business or career. If you haven't yet, you really should check it out, and take a few minutes to put a profile up there. It is a rather unique kind of social network, and I think you might like it.

That is not why I am doing this reshare though. I was wondering who else might be doing the same thing, so I did a few Google searches with terms like "social network for the unemployed" and "unemployed social network". What I found, shocked me - there weren't any! There were several sites and articles that came up with those terms, but when I did a bit of digging, I found they were mostly blogging sites - nothing really to "join" - no way to interact with other people, or to form partnerships and alliances. Several sites were attempting to address the issue, but for the most part, what I saw out there was pretty lame.

Could this be? Could the biggest social and economic disaster the world has had in years not had its most effective technology applied in an attempt to find a solution? As incredible as it may seem, it looks like we are one of the few who are even trying.

Someone here may prove me wrong on this - and go for it. We don't see ourselves as being in competition with other new economy projects at all, and if they have a useful approach, we will do our best to make that known to our members and associates. The magnitude of the problem - and the opportunity, is simply to overwhelming to do otherwise.

p.s. Even if you are not, we all have friends who are either unemployed or underemployed, so please make sure they know about this.

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2011-11-28 22:13:01 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

This is just so awesomely cool. I also reshared this on my own account, and as I said there I am finding other people more articulate in describing the VBT than I am. Be sure to check out +Kelvin Williams venture "The Dollar Project" - it is a great cause.

I just volunteered to be a part of a new group, The Virtual Brain Trust. Essentially, it's a group of volunteers who don't mind giving advice, doing a little work, etc. to assist someone else. I love it. We all have something we are good at, why not share it? So all my geeks need to definitely register--we do this all day anyway!

The Virtual Brain Trust is the brainchild of +Rob Gordon, and is very much similar to my +The Dollar Project. A little bit, from a whole lot of people, can go a long, long, way.

I think there is truly a new class/breed of people starting to emerge, I'm going to start calling them the #UWS movement. Don't confuse it with #Occupy or #OWS. #UWS stands for "United We Stand." The first half of the motto of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and something extremely true, because "United We Stand. Divided we Fall."

That's it... I'm starting a new movement today, #UWS. You in? Or are you selfish?___This is just so awesomely cool. I also reshared this on my own account, and as I said there I am finding other people more articulate in describing the VBT than I am. Be sure to check out +Kelvin Williams venture "The Dollar Project" - it is a great cause.

2011-11-28 22:05:32 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Master Document Index. The link below leads to the "master document index" for the VBT. We are using this as part of our "knowledge base" for this initiative. This needs some work, but is a good place to start for those who want to know some of the thinking behind the VBT, and some of its history.

Master Document Index. The link below leads to the "master document index" for the VBT. We are using this as part of our "knowledge base" for this initiative. This needs some work, but is a good place to start for those who want to know some of the thinking behind the VBT, and some of its history.___

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2011-11-08 02:44:56 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

Another publc post about the VBT

Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative. A series of discussions are underway on with a group of people on a private circle here on ways we can use "the cognitive surplus" to our mutual advantage. The basic idea is that we will each have individual "teams" - private and confidental and totally dedidicated to our success, and each of us, in turn, will volunteer to be on another team dedicated to the success of another member. This group should be useful here for anyone who is unemployed, underemployed, small startups, or anyone just trying to deal with this extremely difficult economy. Even people who have other issues where they think a private discussion group could be of use - such as those with personal problems or marrage and family issues, or legal or financial problems. In addition, we have some people, who while things are fine for them at the moment, are volunteering to at least consider helping others here - and I totally salute them.

Perhaps because of the nature of what we are doing, I have been able to attract some of the "best and the brightest" here on Google+. Some of my early posts got shared and passed around quite a bit, and I said I would add anyone who commented our +1'ed this post to this private circle. It is quite possible I missed some people though, especially on the reshared, so if you expressed interest earlier and cannot access the discussions, please comment or +1 this post. More detailed information on what we are doing can be found on this post http://goo.gl/HxDGE. Please read or at least skim that, and let me know if this interests you. Feel free to reshare this post.___Another publc post about the VBT

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2011-11-08 02:28:36 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Another post. This one announced the http://VirtualBrainTrust.org site.

Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative

Hi Everybody! I'll bet you thought I forgot about this, didn't you? I have started a private circle for people who have expressed interest in the VBT - maybe just by hitting the +1 button on the original post I wrote about this, or one of it's shares. If you have forgottion about this please re-read, or at least skim, the long post I wrote about this at the attached link. If this is something that might interest you, please let me know and I will add you to this circle.

As I wrote there, one of the reasons the original effort was because it simply did not have enough people. The private circle I started for this is not large, only has about 40 people so far but I do think many more people expressed interest. When I went back to compile this list, I was shocked to find Google hadn't put a working search into this product. They have since corrected that, but since many of the reshares were limited, the only way to find them now is too go back to the profile of every person who reshared it and find the date range where it might have been reshared, which would be really time-consuming. I am no longer worried much about the numbers though. For one thing, my reach if far greater here now, and our collective reach is much greater still. More significantly, the need now is even greater. There are massive numbers of unemployed, and underemployed, and struggling free lancers and self-employed, not to mention those stuck in dead end jobs or having trouble making ends meet. I am convinced, that we can set up systems where we can help each other grow and advance, while at the same time, also help ourselves.

Another thing I mentioned in that posts was that another reason the original project didn't work as well as I had hoped was that I had purposely decided to deemphasise technology, and just concentrate on the tools we had available. I have been building a site using open source technology that is being designed to support this kind of effort. It is not done yet, but you can see it at: http://VirtualBrainTrust.org. Right now, what I need most is for at least a few people to join there so I can make sure at least the registration form works properly. Pseudonyms are fine, but please make your profile is serious, and a profile picture would also be nice, but not required. Not much besides the registration works yet, and there isn't much content, but I plan on working on this site over the weekend, so look for that to improve significantly.

At the same time I think a custom system is important for this project, I am also thinking this is important as an initiative. A few people have mentioned to me that they think that Google+ is ideal for this type of effort. Some elememts of it certainly are - for example video conferencing by "hangouts" could be extremely cool for our individual projects. Remember, part of the way this works is that each person has a private groups fully and totally dedicated to their success. Each one of you, in turn, may volunteer on a group fully and totally dedicated to the success of another member. It is the ultimate "pay forward" system.

I am literally bursting at this seems with ideas about this, but I am going to restrain my instincts to ramble on about this. I just wanted to let people know this initiative is now underway. Please let me know if you would like to be added to the private circle where this will be discussed, and also feel free to ask any questions, express any concerns, throw out any ideas. I am convinced that together, we can make some really cool things happen.___Another post. This one announced the http://VirtualBrainTrust.org site.

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2011-11-08 02:23:11 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Original re-launch announcement. To find out what we are doing, and why, this is a good place to start.

Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative

Friends, I wish to announce that I am considering a relaunch of the Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative or something like it, and would like to again throw this idea out to the universe, or at least to "the crowd". This is longish, but I have been hinting it is coming, and would appreciate your finding the time to read it, if it is something that might interest you.

The Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative was an initiative, first conceived in the early days of Google Buzz, as a way of helping all of us bootstrap our lives, careers or business. The idea was really quite simple. Imagine for a minute you were completely broke and really down on your luck, or otherwise in a really difficult situation. For many of you, I know, there is no need to "imagine" this. Now imagine something else. Suppose that while you were still broke, or otherwise having a rough time, that you also had a committee of absolutely brilliant people working on your behalf. They wouldn't give you any money, but this multidisciplinary team would meet in a conference room and brainstorm to help come up with your best options to get out of the mess. They would be totally dedicated to your success and acting in your interest. It would be your own private "brain trust" dedicated to solely and exclusively to your success.

Under this imaginary scenario, do you think your business, career or life situation could improve? Of course it would. How could it not? With that much brain power at your disposal they almost certainly would come up with ideas and strategies to get you moving again. Now, this is a fantasy, of course. No one is going to assemble a "mahattan type project" effort for someone who is broke and maybe on the verge of homelessness - or for anyone for that matter. Maybe, just maybe, however, some combination of just the right mix of technology and organization would allow us to approximate such a scenario.

A problem of Organization. I put my slow plodding mind to work on this and realize that this was not really a problem of technology - the technology was mostly there - this was a problem of organization. Now, it happens that I studied organizations quite extensively in grad school. I never really used my Master of Public Administration degree - I got a job at a Fortune 500 right after I left school, but I remembered at least some of what I learned and this particular area of study puts a huge emphasis on "Organizational Theory and Practice" - all the different ways of organizing human activity. I learned about bureaucracies, and hierarchies, city and state organizations, government management structures used by cities and state, corporate government structures, non-profits, business associations and NGOs, More modern "matrix organizations and "mission based" organizations, and informal organizations including "good ol boy" networks and even the organization of street gangs.

I took particularly intersted in a structure called "cooperatives". In their simplist form, they are a way for people or smaller organizations to band together for common purpose and mutual advantage. Most commonly used in agriculture as a way for farmers to market their crops, they are a curious hybrid of socialism and capitalism. I lived in a cooperative briefly when I was in college - a big old house where we shared the work - including cooking, and expenses - it worked really well.

One of my professors was interested in terrorism and terrorist organizations. This was many years ago, well before 9/11 - but I still hear him interviewed on the radio whenever there is a terrorist attact - most recently a few weeks ago during the Norway attacks. This was well before 9/11 but he was just developing his interest then and taught us about "cell structures". This was the organizational structure first used by the French resistance during World War II that was later adapted by terrorist organizations. From this professonr, and a number of other sources, I have learned that they have the folowong basic caracteristics:

1. They are dedicated to a cause.
2. They have a code of honor
3. They are secret and usually invisible to the outside world.
4. Outsite communication is usually limited to one member of the cell/

When I started to think about how how to help people - and myself, in the middle of this recession a little more than a year ago, which we are still in, I came across a problem. I knew that organization was key, but how could we reconsile the need for every person and small business to "win" - which sometimes involves competion and conflicts of interest, while at the same time convincing people to cooperate a for mutual benefit? Then I had a flash of insight- what if we just "tweaked" this structure a bit to make "the cause" they are dedicated to is the success of an indivdual person, in stead of something evil or criminal. Wouldn't that be a way for people without resources to build a private brain trust of their own? The brain trust recipient would then be a brain trust volunteer in other cells so in theory at least, the system should be able to sustain itself. On one level it is simply a cooperative- or a "market exchange" of brain power.

It occured to me that if this could be made to work, it would be turning the terrorist cell structure on its head, and replacing it with something quinsidently American. Could this possibly even bridge part of the left/right divide? The American values of cooperation and work for the common good would be there, but so would the American values of private enterprise and individual accomplishment. Had I uncovered a method for where any person could tap the "cognitive surplus"?

Maybe, but then of course, "execution is everything".

The Human Rescue Project. At the time I was, and still am, seeing people in desperate need for help but their were forced to face major challenges essentially alone. I started talking about this idea on Google Buzz, and then made a few posts under the title of "Human Rescue Project. You can see some of he earlier thinking and discusions here:

Human Rescue Teams: http://goo.gl/y2J84
Human Rescue, Part II: http://goo.gl/zFNk1
A cognitive surplus?" http://goo.gl/pHCB0

There was also a private group on Google Buzz where some fairly extensive discussions took place, and when we outgrew that, it was moved to Google Groups. As it turns out, the name "human rescue" turned out to have some baggage. I found that certain people at least couldn't think of this as something other than "charity" and had a real concern that some people might be able to get "something for nothing". This wasn't how I thought of it at all. On one level, this could simply be a "work exchange program" - i.e. "I agree to work on your project for two hours, and you work on mine for two hours".

In discussions with the group of people who were interested in the project produced a number of interesting results. We developed a much better terminology for describing this initiative. The name "Human Rescue Project" got dropped in favor of "Virtual Brain Trust Cooperative". The group wisely decided that the term "team" should replace the term "cell" for our basic level of organization (I never said I was good at PR). We came up with role descriptions for the team members and some general "guidelines" on how they should operate. The person who the team was helping would not be called "the person who needs help" or "the recipient" - they would now be called "the Client". An important role was identified - it was found that one person on the team should be designated to be "the Coordinator". Similar to a "Chief of Staff" He or she would recruit other team members and ensure that the group was acting in the clients best interest and was moving forward.

Even at it's peak, there were never more than about 25 people involved in this effort - though many more expressed interest in the idea. I think probably five or six teams formed - some only had low level of activity but some were fairly active. Most were too small though and never got beyond a three or four members- though I was thinking they would need between seven and twelve for them to work well. In the end, the "charity" mindset came back to bit me. A few people who saw this structure as a way to assert their moral superiority got miffed and instead of just leaving quietly they made some accusations and made sure they did some damage as they left - one announced plans to start a new group "staffed with professionals".

A bigger group could have survived this hit- or it could have survived with a different and maybe tougher leader. My life was a mess at that time, and the initiative was small and fragile - I was unable to generate the physic energy to put it back together, and shortly after that, I took a survival job managing a small motel and couldn't find the time to get back to it. Still, there were parts of this project that did work very well. I am still bound by confidentially on this, so I can only speak vaguely, but I can tell you that I saw people really helping each other - both by brainstorming about short term strategies and a directly helping on a whole range of issues.

I am pretty much convinced the main reason this didn't go further was a simple lack of numbers. Google Buzz itself, where it was conceived and launched, didn't have that many active users so maybe that wasn't the best place to try it. Anyone starting a brain trust team will understandibly want to pick team members from a broad population of candidates and different kinds of experts, and we never had this. As a "field test" however, this can't be judged a complete failure - people did cooperate, some people did get helped, and the "model" more or less worked.

Could it work this time? While we were doing this, we did learn quite a bit about how to organize and operate an effort like this. For example, while one of our ground rule guidelines was that "the client is king" - meaning the braintrust team is expected to act solely in his, or her interest, the client had responsibilities as well - including writing a detailed "situation report" on the current status of their life or business. Some groud rule "guidelines" were set up - people who volunteered on a VBT team were expected to contribute "no more than two hours". By the time this project was transfed to Google Groups, I had started to think about it differently. While the basic model was working it seemed that peoples needs fell into different "tracks" which I identified as follows:

A Work Exchange Program. For example, I will work on your project two hours a week if you will work on mine two hours a week
Career and Life Coaching. Things just need to be better. I am stuck in a dead in job, maybe I need some advice with relationships or family issues.
Small Business Incubation. A team to help a tiny business - or perhaps just an idea get going- possible combine with a work exchange agreement
Business Advisory Committee. My business is working, more or less, but I need some smart people to brainstorm and give me ideas and suggestions on occassion.
Emergency Response Rescue. My life is a disaster and I need immediate help - I don't know what to do. This is an SOS

Those are just the ones I came up with. There may be many more that use this same organizational structure and there may be hybrids that combine different types - each team could be as unique as the individual it is dedicated to. An important note here is that for the small business teams, it is almost impossible to separate the "life" of the entreprenuer from the "business" of the entrepreneur - problems in one, cause problems in the other, and vice versa.

The Technology. When I started the VBT group I purposely decided to use existing technology. I have seen enough failed software projects in my life that I knew that I didn't want this to "morph" into a "software project". I wanted to get to work right away forming the individual teams. People, including me, needed help. We did a search of what was out there, and found that Google Groups met many of our requirements and that is what I recommended for private team formation. I didn't try to require it, but rather said the technology had to "be certified" as being able to manage private group communication. We started some of the team discussion right on Google Buzz using its privacy features. A few people were hot for Google Wave and tried that, and I thought it would even be OK if they used Facebook or Yahoo groups. In the end though, I decided life would be simpler if we just used Google Groups and I moved the teams that I was involved with there, and encouraged others to do the same. Google groups has good privacy controls and has a few features that worked will for us - for example that they allow more than one "owner" and that this ownership can be transfered. This allowed the coordinators to create groups on behalf of the client, and to later transfer ownership to them - something we found to be socially useful. Google later downgraded Groups and took away some of the helpful things - especially the ability to upload documents, but it still has the same privacy features and would still be adequate.

In retrospect, I probably should have given the technology more attention. There was really no good way to "match" the needs of clients with the skills and interests of prosective volunteers, except by an awkward posting on the Groups bulletin board. We really needed better interest tagging on profiles - Something Google still doesn't have. Also, the "circle" structure here on G+ unfortunately won't work for this - at least not yet, and this project would require pseudonyms for at least some people (though they would have to reveal their identities to their teams). Still, much of Google's technology could be very effective in organizing a project of this type. I don't think I need to tell anyone here the enourmous potential a technology like Google hangouts - live group video conferencing could have on an initiative like this.

This was probably one of the better ideas I ever had in my life. It doesn't seem right that it should die on the vine because of my failings. The world is a different place now then it was just a little more than a year ago when we were working on this, and I would like to ask people here if they think this basic idea, or something like it could still have legs. Eventually we will get bored with using this technology for pictures of cats or attractive women, endless left/right debates, and reposting of news items we have seen dozens of times before - and will want to move on to doing something that will actually help people and maybe the world. Please let me know what you think of this. Don't get too hung up on the "virtual brain trust" name - that could change, or maybe there could be several different names. I just think it is time to get something going, and that this offers some real possibilities.

Thank you for listening.


NOTE: Please feel free to reshare this post, tell your friends and neighgors about it, stand on your roof and shout out it out, walk up to complete strangers and shake them and tell them about it, etc.

p.s. The link below is an Adinkra symbol, created by the Akan tribe of West Africa, an area where I lived for a time. I never really vetted it with the group, but it seemed like a good logo to use for this initiative.___Original re-launch announcement. To find out what we are doing, and why, this is a good place to start.

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