Good reads: January 2013

Founders: Learning should be your top 2013 New Year’s resolution

Entrepreneurs and startups are competing with some of the smartest people on a daily basis. Success or failure isn’t just about who you know, but what you know. Here are some great sources of online learning and knowledge.

Four Ways to Find Your Work Passion(s)

The road to finding your work passion can be long and circuitous. The key is matching your personality with your career. Here are four steps to try to zero in on who you are and discover how that relates to your passion for work.

6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person

Don’t read this if your career is going great, you’re thrilled with your life and you’re happy with your relationships. Enjoy the rest of your day, friend, this article is not for you. You’re doing a great job, we’re all proud of you.

Never Brainstorm with a “Blank Slate”

Starting with a blank slate can often hamper creativity. Sometimes the most creative ideas spring from constraints.

The Permanent Disruption of Social Media

Social media has chipped away at the foundation of traditional donor-engagement models. A new study highlights the realities of donor behaviour and how organisations can redesign their outreach strategies to be more effective.

How to become a company’s favourite charity

Becoming a company’s chosen charity can help charities to raise funds, promote payroll giving and increase its number of volunteers. This discussion cover topics such as identifying the right company for your charity, writing a good pitch, getting noticed if you work for a less popular cause and maintaining a long-lasting partnership.

The understated genius of Aaron Swartz

Before this weekend, I’d never heard of hacker, programmer, writer and activist Aaron Swartz, but his work changed the way I use the Internet.

At the age of 14 he co-wrote the Really Simple Syndication (RSS) standard, the news publishing protocol which allowed information to be shared and consumed across websites and newsreader software, fundamentally changing the way people access information. It powers so many websites I’ve worked on over the years.

By the age of 19, Aaron had revolutionised the news again. He become co-owner of Reddit – a social news website that has changed the way many people find the best online content, can make a website famous and has been known to crash web servers under the sheer volume of traffic it can send to a website. This has been called The Reddit Effect.

As well as having a brilliant, curious mind, Aaron Swartz believed that the Web should be a force for good and wanted to make information available to all. As technology policy reporter Timothy Lee pointed out in the Washington Post. “Internet freedom and public access to information were two recurring themes in his life and work.” He set up Open Library, with a goal of putting one page online for every book ever published

He developed the architecture for the Creative Commons licensing system, which allows me to attach his photo, taken at a Wiki meetup in Boston in 2009 and uploaded to Flickr by rageoss, so other people can freely use and share those photos.

Aaron was also an activist, campaigning for internet freedom. He founded Demand Progress, which was instrumental in campaigns to keep the internet open and free, and helped defeat the Stop Online Piracy Act last year.

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