15 Clay Shirky Quotes That Blew My Mind at NTC

Chad Norman - 04.28.2009

I had been looking forward to Clay Shirky's plenary at the 2009 Nonprofit Technology Conference for a while, and he did not let me down. Keeping in theme with his almost dead-on resemblance to Tom Hanks, his words/message/thoughts resonated around the room like Forest Gump on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Had the WiFi in the room not gone down, I am almost certain Twitter would have collapsed under the weight of our collective epiphanies.

If you haven't read Clay's book Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, be sure to take a look. It's required reading for anyone working with online communities and social capital, and his talk today took the book's concepts to a new level. I mean, after the debut of NTEN executive director Holly Ross's Beyonce tribute video, I thought it couldn't get any better. It did.

There were a few people Qiking the talk, and I'm pretty sure NTEN recorded it as well, so hopefully you'll have a chance to check out the whole thing soon. In the mean time, here are 15 quotes from this morning that absolutely blew my mind. I realize they are totally out of context, but like a fortune cookie they may bring you valuable insight. Enjoy!

"The loss of control you fear is already in the past."

"We're not good at thinking fast. We are good at feeling fast."

"Tools don't get socially interesting until they get technologically boring."

"Once one person solves the problem once, the problem stays solved for everybody."

"The intention of users has more impact than the intention of the designers."

"Each of us is simultaneously an individual person and a global publisher."

"Start small and good, then make it bigger."

"We spend more time figuring out whether something is a good idea than we would have just trying it."

"Don't hire consultants. Hire your own 23-year-olds."

"Just take our organization and add some Internet."

"It's not just about delivering content to members, it's about the convening power to help members discover each other."

"Fail informatively - Fail like crazy."

"My guess is that the high water mark of Facebook's universality has passed."

"Nothing says dictatorship like arresting people for eating ice cream. The problem wasn't the ice cream, it was the group."

"I was just making things up."

Recent Posts


Nonprofit Tech Featured Blog