Help Me Contact My Heroes

In case you can’t tell by the writing style and sparse dates of all the past blog posts here, you should know I’m a fairly reserved guy. My wife actually bought me a shirt that says “Just shy, not anti-social. (You can talk to me!)”  I’m not always confident the middle part of that shirt’s declaration is completely true, so I don’t wear it very often. It is proof of my passion for human-centric Internet ownership that this blog exists at all, I’m putting my real name on it, and it has gotten this far with fiscal sponsorship and discussions with Internet-famous people.

Every well functioning non-profit needs more than one driver. In fact, before full incorporation and filing, independent 501(c)(3) organizations are each required to have a functioning Board of Directors. Fiscal sponsorees (like Data Roads Foundation) have a similar group called a Steering Committee. It’s usually also best to have a Board of Advisers, if not multiple Advisory Committees. These groups are almost always unpaid volunteers, even though they are all great leaders who would be paid a hefty sum for their services in the for-profit world.

There’s lots of advice out there about how to choose Board/Committee Members. My personal favorite advice is: advancing a shared social cause is a great excuse to contact and join your heroes. In this case, all of our official Steering Committee Meetings will be held online, so geography isn’t a choice limiter.

My list of the greatest heroes of causes related to Data Roads Foundation is below. Each nominee has a point of online reference next to their name, to show why they belong on this list:

The Data Roads Foundation Dream Team

Steering Committee
Nina Paley –
Susan Crawford –
Karen Sandler –
Xeni Jardin –
Rabecca MacKinnon –
Amanda Palmer –
Randall Munroe –
Karl Fogel –
Avri Doria –
Esther Dyson –
Nicholas Merrill –
Tim Wu –
David P. Reed –
Yochai Benkler –
Robert E. Kahn –
Vint Cerf –
Christopher Mitchell –
Jonathan Zittrain –
Cory Doctorow –
Clay Shirky –
Seth Godin –
Amanda Lenhart –
Pamela Samuelson –
Dr. Wendy Harcourt –
Mary Madden –
Kathryn Zickuhr –
Bruce Schneier –
Neal Stephenson –
Karl Bode –
Craig Newmark-
Alan Emtage –
Danny Hillis –
Peter Ludlow –
David A. Smith –

Advisory Committee
Stacey Higginbotham –
Craig Settles –
Malcolm Gladwell –
Matt Taibi –
Guido van Rossum –
Lawrence Lessig –
Sascha Meinrath –
Mitch Kapor –
Marc Andreessen –
John Perry Barlow –
Sen. Elizabeth Warren-
Bill Gross –
Danah Boyd –
Sergey Brin –
Wil Wheaton –
Felicia Day –
Veronica Belmont –
Rep. Maxine Waters –

This list, though long, is probably incomplete. I purposefully left out a handful of local contacts that I think are qualified for service in the Data Roads Foundation, because I’m much less afraid of calling on them out of the blue. The difference between the Steering and Advisory list is arbitrary — I assumed (probably wrongly) that everyone on the Advisory list is too busy to meet on a regular basis, but their input would still be valuable whenever possible. For all I know, that may be true of everyone on both lists.

Now comes the hard part: I actually have to contact all these wonderful people, to let them know they’ve been nominated. I’ve mustered the courage to email a handful of these people on different topics in the past, but actually pitching the benefits of service in Data Roads Foundation is going to be a tough sell this early. This is where you can help! If your friend’s neighbor’s cousin twice-removed once spoke to anyone listed here, I could really use an introduction. If you know of someone who should be on this list and I missed them, please arrange a meeting!

One last quick note on developing this list: when it comes to my own research, I have become a sort of affirmative action reader. Women and minorities are disproportionately rare in the short history of Internet development, unfortunately. When I see anything about the early Internet that is written or starring someone who looks different from an old white male, I tend to read that first.

Balancing this list has proven very difficult. I would appreciate any and all help in creating more balance here, without eliminating worthy candidates in the process. I expect this list will be narrowed by offer rejections from the candidates, which is why this list is much longer than the intended Committee sizes.

All nominations and other suggestions are welcome! Please use the comments section here liberally.

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