TED Fellows

Friends – I am now officially a TED Fellow .

TED Fellows is a program of TED, a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. From yesterday’s press release

… the TED Fellows program handpicks world-changing innovators from around the globe, and brings them to the TED stage – literally and figuratively – to raise international awareness of their remarkable work…

Here is a video describing the TED Fellows program:

What does this mean for promoting the work of Open Source Ecology and the Global Village Construction Set? This is likely to accelerate our current trend of conversion from obscurity to a world-class effort.

For perspective, see the milestones for the GVCS that we proposed over a year ago. It is interesting to note that they are being realized. The next one in line is GVCS completion by 2012.

I met Bob Berkebile, principal at BNIM Architects, at a recent presentation that I gave in Lawrence, Kansas – and he commented that  exposure through the TED network – of thought leaders, practitioners, and Silicon Valley types – leads one from a relatively peaceful life to the need of a full time assistant to handle phone calls. We are already seeing this happen, so the need to build a support team is a pressing one.

There are two main levels of development that need to happen at this point for the GVCS to be completed: resource development (funding and support infrastructure) and the building of a development team (for the substantive development and deployment of the GVCS technologies).

We are building an organizational team to handle the impending tsunami of support, at the same time that we’re networking with co-developers . Is this an opportunity for you to join the team?

We already have a decent core team as discussed in the last post, and we’re looking for more core members. For perspective – our present development framework is as follows.

OSE is at the phase of scaling the GVCS project to rapid parallel development. We have so far built 8 prototypes and we have one full product release (high-performance, micro-controller-operated, Compressed Earth Brick press). It should be noted that we have done the above with a shoestring budget of approximately $1500/month. According to feedback, we have produced results comparable to those of nonprofits with quarter-million-dollar annual budgets. At this phase, we have done sufficient prototyping work to demonstrate that the development of a life-size Lego-like set of modular infrastructure-building tools for village-scale development is not only feasible, but also that it can be done with breakthrough cost performance. The development process involves significant legwork that starts with analysis of industry standards – followed by redesign to meet OSE Specifications for modularity and distributive economics. This in turn involves subject matter expertise applied to designing and prototyping the GVCS technologies.  My role in this is general project manager to oversee adherence to OSE Specifications, and to date, I’ve also served as the main blogger, video editor, technology designer, fabricator, communicator of the core message, and proposal writer.

To facilitate my full-time involvement in recruiting and managing the technology development team, we need a number of support roles. Our development strategy looks like this, in order of importance:

  • Media Development. Isaiah is leading this effort. This includes web presence and explanatory media material. We are currently working on the GVCS website, and we’d like to have that up within a month. After the GVCS in 2 Minutes, Isaiah will produce a longer 8 minute video. Using graphics generated for these videos, we will compose my 5 minute TED Fellows talk, which may also be used in for Ignite talks. We will then develop this into an 18 minute presentation applicable to TED Global, if I’m selected. Then we will prepare a full length (35 minute plus question and answer) presentation as the basis for a comprehensive presentation. The immediate application of the media development is to time a Kickstarter campaign with the TED Fellows talk for a week of media blitz, which will propel our resource development forward. If we have all of our materials ready by early March, we’re looking for a kickstart with $50k collected in one week. Then we can leverage this in further resource development via a wave of investor relations work.
  • Resource Development. We are looking for someone to lead this effort. The main task at present is developing a media package for investor relations.  We think that private investors (donors) will be our main source of support through the non-profit sector, and Luis is currently setting up our nonprofit structure. We are positioning our message as development of the entire GVCS – which realizes its promise as a construction set most effectively when it is applied in its entirety. We feel that the nonprofit sector is the most suitable approach to funding the complete development. A media package for investors would thus contain our website, the 2 minute and 8 minute explainer videos, plus a set of powerful 5 minute, 18 minute, and full length presentations. The media package would thus be sufficient for a number of interested collaborators to speak on the behalf of our project to their local audiences. We are hoping that investor relations can thus be carried out by a larger team – and we have talked to several people already who would like to evangelize our efforts more efficiently if we prepare a supporting media package. In addition to investor relations, other required tasks include grant writing, development of the True Fans campaign, and speaking tour organization for 2011-2012. Between March and September, we aim to collect about $500k in further support. Once this is done, another $2M over the remaining year should put us at completion by year-end 2012.
  • Subject Matter Expert Recruitment – This applies to the substantive development of GVCS technologies. I will lead this recruitment effort, while Floyd will lead the overall product management, where the product is the GVCS. We need a team of about 50 subject matter developers to work on an independent contractor basis to move the project to completion. Each product involves 3 prototypes and field testing. For each project – we need a team of a product manager (to address documentation needs for replicability, development platform needs), a project manager (technical developer addressing work-flow progress, review, and other needs), engineering/design, prototyping, and field testing. At best, the designer/prototyper/tester is the same person.
  • Blogger/Project Communications – This involves a person to manage media content for the weblog and for other communications. Communications include both writing and video production.

The above should be a good start for defining our needs. Dive in to the deep end with us.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by HN Firehose, Open Source Ecology. Open Source Ecology said: New Blog: TED Fellows: Friends – I am now officially a TED Fellow . TED Fellows is a program of TED, a nonprofit… […]

  2. LucasG

    “These guys don’t just talk.”

    “The equivalent of 10k True Fans x $10/month x 24 months.”

  3. Kevin Atkinson

    Congratulations, Marcin! That’s fantastic news! I recognized what an extraordinary thing you were doing two years ago, and I’ve been so impatient for the world to catch up. Looks like it’s finally happening!


  4. Open Source Ecology - Overview

    […] TED Fellows has accepted Marcin Jakubowski, the founder of OSE! This year he will present a Fellow’s talk and this may give the opportunity for a real TED Talk! […]