Technological advancements lead to increases in productivity, which in turn are supposed to lead to increases in wealth. But for the vast majority of Americans, real wealth has actually been decreasing over the last 30 years.
So where is all the new wealth going?
It's going to the large corporations and private equity funds that own the intellectual property (IP) of the technologies we're all using to increase our productivity. Not only are they getting rich off this intellectual property, they're also preventing our society's most important institutions from innovating with it.
Just as an iPhone owner can't add apps to their device without getting Apple's permission, a university can’t alter its student management system without getting permission from whomever owns its software technology This creates inefficiency that results in inflexible bureaucracies and higher prices for critical things like healthcare and education.
It doesn't have to be this way.
We can stop spending huge sums of money on proprietary intellectual property that we'll never own — and instead invest in the development of a global information commons that secures humanity's technological advances for everyone.
We need commonly-owned technology powering every sector of our society — from agriculture to manufacturing, education to governance — and we need it to be "free" (shared without cost), "libre" (used without restriction) and "open source" (source materials aren't concealed in any way).
Fortunately, people have been building commonly-owned technology since the dawn of civilization, so we have a lot to work with. And the idea of FLO information is having a resurgence under a myriad of different names such as “free software,” “software libre,” “open source,” “open knowledge,” “copyleft," “creative commons,” and "peer-to-peer".
The FLO approach has historical roots going back to the ancient Great Library of Alexandria, which brought together the world's largest collection of information from societies and cultures around the Mediterranean, Middle East and India.
(Many scholars think that library was dedicated to Sarapis, but let's save the mythology for another day.)
In modern history, FLO was the philosophy behind the development of the scientific method, which proposes a process through which information can be made accessible to the public.
Today, FLO has transformed the software industry and is beginning to do the same to all the others — but few people are aware of its existence. That shouldn't be surprising. Technology companies like Microsoft, Oracle and Apple spend billions of dollars advertising their products, while widely-used FLO projects like Linux (the world's most popular operative system) and WordPress (the world's most popular website building tools) have virtually no budget for marketing and public relations.
The good news is that important contributions are being made to the global technology commons everyday. Those contributions are accelerating, and they're fueling a productivity revolution that's putting the power of technology back into the hands of the public. We're here to support that revolution.
We envision a world in which people can access and own the technology they need to create just, abundant and sustainable societies.
To make that vision into a reality, we make strategic interventions in sectors that have the most to offer the global information commons.
* Services: We provide information management support services that help individuals and organizations doing transformative work share it with others.
* Projects: We produce and manage projects that show people how free and open source solutions can solve real and local problems.
* Advocacy: We help build support for the adoption of free/libre/open-source tools and techniques within nonprofit and ethical business communities.
We've built a suite of free/libre/open-source software solutions for New York City's relief and resilience community.
Our guides and templates make it easy for preparedness, response and recovery networks (ex. VOADs) to build effective websites.
We provide strategic and communications support to Sahana so they can focus on managing a productive community.
We help the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) maintain fair and open access to plant genetic resources by training their members to manage their website and data resources.
We help Farm Hack's community of farmers share innovations by developing software infrastructure and member engagement strategies.
We help Draft Animal Power Network maintain an online community of people sharing skills needed to thrive while working with livestock..
We’re building an open taxonomy and schema for data about cooperative enterprises in New York City and beyond.
We're collaborating with thought leaders to build an emerging network for the democratic online ecosystem.
We coordinated a 500+ person event to catalyze connections within NYC's collaborative economy and beyond.
Sarapis helps free/libre/open-source projects, nonprofits and grassroots community groups benefits from the best practices of each other. We assist people who are dedicated to working collaboratively with their peers to share knowledge and improve the effectiveness of critical sectors of our society.
We are a 501.c.3 nonprofit organization, which means contributions to our organization are tax deductible. Our EIN is 27-1074148.
Devin works at the intersection of the nonprofit sector, the free/libre/open-source (FLO) movement, and grassroots community organizing initiatives to help each benefit from the best practices of the others.
He began his career as an entrepreneur who developed a challenge-based crowdfunding platform for nonprofit organizations. During this experience, he realized that, even more than a lack of funding, it was a lack of collaboration among nonprofits was limiting the sector’s effectiveness. Since then, Devin has been applying FLO methodologies to civil society’s challenges by developing and deploying software tools and operational techniques for a wide range of groups including software development communities, grassroots organizing initiatives, new media publications, conventional nonprofits, agriculture networks, and most recently, disaster relief coalitions.
Devin holds a Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University and a Permaculture Design Certificate from the Center for Bioregional Living.
Wendy E Brawer has 25 years of experience as an eco-designer and social sculptor. She is best known as the founder and director of Green Map System, which engages communities in 65 countries in mapping sustainability and social change using the organization’s unique set of icons, mapmaking and engagement tools. ‘Semi-open’ since inception, the nonprofit’s process of going open source is underway. Wendy’s design consultancy focuses on inclusive knowledge sharing, sustainability communications and education around energy, waste reduction, bicycling and resiliency. Formerly the Designer in Residence at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and an Unte Visionary, Wendy is actively involved in diverse projects designed to help NYC address the climate challenge, including a net zero energy passive house building project in Brooklyn, capacity building for resiliency on the Lower East Side as well as mapping energy citywide since 2006.
More about her work is at http://ecoCultural.info.
Nicholas J. Davis
Nicholas J. Davis is Managing Director of the Americas for Agrion, the global business network for energy, cleantech, and sustainability. Agrion mobilizes over 250,000 professionals for intellectual capital exchange, task forces, projects, and research initiatives across verticals such as solar, wind, infrastructure finance, smart grid, microgrid, energy storage, smart cities, and resiliency. Mr. Davis built up and supervises a client list that includes Bank of America, Con Edison, AECOM, Panasonic, Toshiba, eBay, PwC, Church & Dwight, Yahoo!, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, and Schneider Electric. He has increased revenue over 948% and reduced costs nearly 10% during his tenure as Americas’ leader. Nicholas has been a featured speaker at events such as the Wall Street Green Summit and serves as a panel judge for numerous energy and cleantech startup competitions. Nicholas was previously a Principal at the Selestos Group, a consultancy supporting the solar finance industry. He started his career at Pacific Gas and Electric where he supported the investor owned utility in their transition to AB-32 Carbon Regulation. Nicholas also identified opportunities in renewable energy production and energy efficiency programs to reduce risk and aid PG&E’s development.
Nicholas holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Northwestern and a Master’s in Resource Economics & Environmental Management from Duke University.
Leah first learned about FLO technologies during fall 2011. Invigorated by the cries of activists taking democracy into their own hands, she was surprised to find a revolution taking place behind computer screens — one involving data standards and documentation and revealing the potential to transform our economy and our world. Since then, Leah’s been organizing within the FLO movement to increase our collective capacity to take on challenges and innovate effectively.
Leah brings Sarapis almost a decade of marketing and communications experience, developed in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. She has worked on community development projects in the northeast and internationally, and is especially passionate about FLO’s potential to transform local communities and our relationship to natural resources.
Leah holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Urban Planning from Hunter College.
John Godfrey is a corporate attorney at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, a New York law firm. Prior to this position and during law school, he worked on a wide range of intellectual property related matters at two media companies in New York and Boston. His work during this time became the focus of a semester long research project and paper, “‘Open’ for Business,” on the open source intellectual property issues that face legal departments at content creating companies.
John’s volunteer experience includes nonprofit event planning and pro bono legal representation. John planned and co-hosted the 2009 annual fundraiser for Yoga Bear, a nonprofit organization providing yoga instruction to cancer patients. His pro bono legal work has included representing clients in the arts.
John received his A.B from Washington University in St. Louis and his J.D. from Boston University School of Law.
For the past few years, Erik has been working as a web developer for MediaMath, an advertising technology company headquartered in New York City. Before that, his career spanned from financial accounting to quality assurance. In 2010, Erik worked full-time for 5 months during the formative months at Sarapis. His contributions included managing a team interns, project development, and working on financial models and regulatory forms. Now, as a computer programmer, Erik understands firsthand the value and importance of open source solutions, and eagerly contributes to the open source community through a variety of channels.
Erik received his Bachelor’s degree in History from Northwestern University.