social impact

The Mobile Alliance for Global Good

by JenniferCobb on 09/28/2012

I have been a little quiet on this blog as of late.  And for good reason!  I have been totally heads-down on a new project, the Mobile Alliance for Global Good, the brainchild of Larry Irving, telco guru and all-around great guy.  Larry brought me on board to develop the strategy and business plan for […]


Big Data Meets Small Data

by JenniferCobb on 07/10/2012

I recently attended a day full of Big Data conversations at UC Berkeley. We heard from investors and startups, academics and technology professionals.  These people are thinking hard about the promises of Big Data.  I left with one overriding thought.  Big Data must remain deeply connected to the relatively small but very powerful element of […]

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Monetizing Privacy

by JenniferCobb on 03/20/2012

One of the first empirical studies about what we are willing to pay for privacy was released last week.  The study was conducted in Germany by the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) and included 443 subjects in both the field and a laboratory setting.  The study focused only on monetary transactions — not […]


In a few short decades, too much information has become a fact of life.  We are all drowning in it.  How we sift, filter and navigate the massive sea of information has emerged as a profound personal, political and cultural issue. This past year, Eli Pariser, in his book The Filter Bubble, picked up on […]


Social Media and Meritocracy: The Myth Reborn

by JenniferCobb on 07/10/2011

The roots of the modern meritocratic dream were planted in the 1950s by a British civil servant named  Michael Young.  His novel The Rise of the Meritocracy (1958) painted a picture of far-distant 2034, where society would be guided by near-perfect IQ tests to sort the more intelligent and gifted into positions of social power.  […]


Social Capital is good stuff.  The term, widely popularized by Robert Putnam in Bowling Alone, refers to the resources we garner from our networks of friends, families, neighbors and acquaintances.  Like other forms of capital, this resource can be invested and grown or it can be neglected and lost.  Those of us who are rich […]


Diversity and Social Media: Helping or Hurting?

by JenniferCobb on 02/13/2011

There is a small controversy raging about whether social media use is creating more diverse networks or exacerbating an existing trend toward smaller, more homogenous social groups.  This question matters.  A lot.   Robert Putnam (of Bowling Alone fame), following a lineage that dates back to de Tocqueville, argues that engagement with diverse social networks fosters […]


Michael Porter and Mark Kramer’s article, Creating Shared Value, is intended to throw down a gauntlet for a more a socially-conscious form of capitalism.  “Capitalism is under siege” they proclaim, harmed by decades of practices and policies focused on short-term profits.  Guided by laissez-faire economic ideology, businesses have elected to ignore externalities that harm society, […]


Monetizing Berkeley

by JenniferCobb on 01/25/2011

Last night Berkeleyside, Berkeley’s independent local news site, hosted its first Berkeley Business Forum.  Why?   Berkeley has for years presented a conundrum.  We are home to one of the leading research institutions in the world and yet have not spawned our version of Silicon Valley, the Research Triangle, Kendall Square.  Why do all the good […]