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Why Techonomy?: A Manifesto

Everything we do reflects our ethos: that technology can make the world a happier, healthier, wealthier, and more peaceful place.

Techonomy’s name embodies our beliefs and our mission—it combines the words “technology” and “economy” because technology has become a central part of the economy in which we operate and the society in which we live. Today technology is inextricably entwined with just about every activity that humans undertake. We embrace that fact, and seek as a company to help the world take advantage of it.

Technology is itself a neutral force. If we actively engage with it, we can direct it, mold it, and apply it productively for our organizations and for society.

As the pace of change speeds up, many of us find it challenging to grasp our range of options. All leaders must, in effect, become technologists. Only then can we effectively guide organizations, companies, and communities towards long-term health and impact. Only then can we retain our relevance and effectiveness, as leaders and even as individuals. The choices we all face because of technology are by no means easy. Some of technology’s impact is painful and confusing. We do not shrink from examining the downside, though as you can tell, our bias is towards optimism.

Techonomy casts its lens broadly across business and society in order to highlight and explore the manifold ways in which tech’s impact is felt. We care about the future of food and nutrition, healthcare, education, government, science, the arts, transportation, cities, infrastructure, communication, media, architecture, and indeed any sphere of human endeavor. We believe there is no field in which tech is not having a transformative impact. We are no less interested in the cement business than in social media. (OK, maybe a little.) Lines are being blurred, in large part by developments driven by technology, so that many once-distinct disciplines are overlapping, consolidating, and cross-fertilizing.

We seek conversation at the highest level about the role of technology in social progress, as we advocate for greater understanding about the pace of change and what it means for everyone.

We believe business will take the lead in driving social progress, but our community also includes leaders from the social sector, government, politics, academia, and the sciences. A multidisciplinary dialogue is core to every forum Techonomy convenes. We especially aim to foster conversation between leaders from the tech industry and companies that have not, at least until now, considered themselves tech companies. (We argue that every company is a tech company, whether they know it or not.)

Techonomy aims its programs and content at leaders, but we also believe that the definition of a leader is changing quickly. Thanks again in large part to technology, power is being broadly dispersed in society. Leaders are emerging at every level of society more rapidly and fluidly than ever before. Social and business structures are flattening as the very notion of leadership is evolving to recognize that the most effective leadership is collaborative and in some ways collective. We make our programs accessible to a wide audience because it is impossible to know where leaders will emerge, and because the world increasingly recognizes that, for better or worse, we are all in this together.

Techonomy Media hosts conferences, like our recent Techonomy 2012 in Tucson. We also publish editorial content like you see on our website and in our newsletter, including a growing amount of video journalism.

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  • I am happy to have landed here, after reading an @erickschonfeld tweet. I find myself forever curious, interested, and excited about what’s next when it comes to technology. I also ultimately believe that technology makes life better, makes us better. Here’s to that bigger pie that gets the economists going.

    I am not nuts about hardware or devices. What I live for is how the technology behind the hardware can make it easier for me to run my life. Here’s to solving problems, even the ones that I didn’t know that I had.

    I am pleased to read that a big part of this site will be conversation, joining disciplines, and combining brain power to have a thoughtful and deep conversations about our lives and the future. The quality of conversations seems to degrade every day in our popular culture. Here’s to going up instead of down.

    Here’s to deep thoughts and problems solved and progress.

    Here’s to technology and economy, or Techonomy.

    I look forward to it.

  • Such a manifesto is a fantastic way to launch a site and grow a community. Knowing not only who is behind a site, but also what they stand for and hope to accomplish is the ultimate starting point.

    Congrats on the launch and good luck!

  • Ah, I feel I’ve found a new place to frequent on the web. The frame you are building here is one that I believe will resonate with many people, and the focus on building context around various stories of the day is an important one. The organizational lines that once separated what is outside the organization from what is inside it are now dissolving on an accelerating pace, thanks to the accelerating pace of technology itself. I will be eagerly watching where you all go with your focus here, sending you best wishes as you launch this new venture.

    • davidkirkpatrick

      Thanks Gideon. We very much agree with you. What you say is an interesting way to restate our own insistence that what we care about is “business and social progress.” In fact the fascinating and for most of us exciting thing is that those two forms of progress are more than ever converging, because both of the role of tech and because of the growing recognition that it is not “social responsibility” that should motivate companies to address social problems, but instead their ability to generate financial returns from doing so, alongside the obvious emotional and moral returns. When I look around and see what companies are doing in things like lending in the developing world, creating access to medical information, democratizing finance, etc etc etc–I see a new world emerging. That is what Techonomy is all about.
      It may take us a while to gear up to be opining comprehensively on stories of the day, but we will add value as we proceed.

  • David, congratulations on the launch! Great to see you use Disqus 🙂

  • Congratulations on the Techonomy lift-off. Inspiring and encouraging. Will we see a “Techology” as well?

    • davidkirkpatrick

      I don’t even have to check to know that somebody already owns that URL, so from us you won’t, not that we’d need it. I think Techonomy states our purpose quite nicely. Indeed one of the roots of this venture is that I have owned that URL for more than a decade, after a friend’s company of that name ended in the bubble days and I snapped up the name on general principles, and with the assumption that it would some day come in handy!

  • Congrats… Very impressed with the quality already! A breath of fresh air!

  • adamludwig

    Testing a comment