Growing a Tribe of Believers

June 17, 2010

All the great things that have been achieved in the world have been achieved by individuals, working from the instinct of genius or of goodness.

–Samuel Taylor Coleridge

A recent Thomas Friedman article in the New York Times quoted Curtis Carlson, the chief executive of SRI International: “This is the best time ever for innovation for three reasons:

First, although competition is increasingly intense, our global economy opens up huge new market opportunities.

Second, most technologies — since they are increasingly based on ideas and bits and not on atoms and muscle — are improving at rapid, exponential rates.

And third, these two forces — huge, competitive markets and rapid technological change — are opening up one major new opportunity after another. It is a time of abundance, not scarcity — assuming we do the right things with a real national growth strategy. If we do not, it rapidly becomes a world of scarcity.”

Friedman’s column was about kick-starting new businesses, but change “markets” to “media” and “growth strategy” to “strategy for change,” and you have the reason for the San Francisco Writing for Change Conference. The world has abundant needs, and the creative, passionate, dedicated people it needs to meet them.  What people need is the vision and leadership to mobilize the will to do what we must to ensure the future we want.

This is where writers come in. Writers have the opportunity to be the voices, visionaries, mentors, consciences, and inspiration for change. They can summon us to our highest selves. It is easier than ever to

* Reach readers around the world online with a blog, articles, videos, podcasts, interviews, and comments on what others write

* Grow a tribe of believers who share your goals and help you achieve them

* Use your writing to change the country and the world

The larger and older an organization, business, or institution is, the harder it is to change. That’s why we can’t rely on government, business, or religion. Non-profits are helping, but they are limited in what they can accomplish.

Americans are open to new ideas. They’re pragmatic about abandoning what fails for what works. United by the same needs, problems, desires, and the willingness to do the right thing, Americans will accept change.

Facebook exploded from an idea to 500,000,000 users in six years.  You cannot stop an idea whose time has come.  What’s needed is a barrage of ideas, forcefully and eloquently presented in all media with urgency and relentless determination, tempered with compassion for the human condition.  

Anyone can participate at any level in this transformation. The author James Baldwin wrote: “The hope of the world lies in what one demands, not of others, but of oneself.” There is no time to lose. Start making demands.

The San Francisco Writing for Change Conference will take place, Saturday and Sunday, November 13 and 14, 2010 at the Hilton Financial District. The keynoters will be Dan Millman, author of The Way of Peaceful Warrior, and John Robbins, author of The Food Revolution,


From Bestseller to Human Rights by 2048

April 29, 2010

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

–Eleanor Roosevelt

The right book will change the world. Kirk Boyd’s new bestseller, 2048: Humanity’s Agreement to Live Together, is such a book.

Kirk, a client, is a visionary as tireless as he is idealistic. Last week, he did talks at Bay Area bookstores. He sold enough copies for the book to reach number two on the San Francisco Chronicle bestseller list the week of publication.

Part of the credit for the book’s success goes to his publisher, Berrett-Koehler, which is unique in its dedication to its books, its authors, and its mission: “Creating a World That Works for All.”

Out of the suffering of World War II came the commitment to prevent another catastrophe by creating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Eleanor Roosevelt lead the effort to create it, and all countries signed it in 1948, but it was unenforceable.

The 2048 Project, based at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, is an international movement to create an International Bill of Rights that will be enforceable in every court everywhere. The project’s goal is for the bill to become law by the 100th anniversary of the Universal Declaration.

Kirk, executive director of the project, will be giving talks around the country and abroad about it. Everyone who wants to can help write the bill can visit the project’s website, All proceeds from the book will go to support the project.

Kirk will be speaking at the San Francisco Change Conference: Writing to Make a Difference, Saturday and Sunday, November 13th and 14th, at the Financial Center Hilton. Dan Millman, author of million-copy selling classic, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, will be a keynoter.

There are harder ways to get to heaven, but Kirk’s  dedication to his cause will guarantee his posthumous destination. His life will embody the words of the prophet who said: “All the way to heaven is heaven.”

I hope that the beauty of your dreams justifies devoting your life to them. Think big. Plant yourself in the biggest pot you can; spring is here.