Honor among thieves: An invitation to Arianna

Dear Arianna,

About 2000 years ago the philosopher Seneca said that “the best ideas are common property,” which is an old thought rediscovered as the fresh ethos of the Internet.

To be fair, the current state of being on the Web allows me to bring to the same sentence a Roman stoic with the Greek word addressing moral character. Fun, but too easy. Much like The Huffington Post’s recent offense of idea hacking.

Earlier this year my organization launched a new idea at the We Media conference in Miami to recognize the people, projects, ideas and organizations leading change and inspiring a better world through media. It is called We Media Game Changers.

Last week you announced the HuffPo Game Changers: 100 people who are using new media to change the world. That sounded more than a little familiar.

Both of us are trying to make the world better through media. Our We Media conference showcases the work of the leaders and visionaries who are shaping the future. This year’s Game Changers included Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, Twitter, Social Vibe, Ushahidi, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Humana’s Freehweelin’ site, and Innocentive. Ze Frank, also one of this year’s winners, best describes the We Media Game Changers awards in this You Tube video.

Before poaching the idea, you and your editors could have conducted simple research to avoid stepping on the ideas of others. Internet searches would have revealed Ze’s video, A.G. Laffley’s best-selling book on driving profit through innovation, Shell’s early stage investment fund for efficient energy systems, and a suite of productivity products to stir business innovation.

If you applied the word “media” to their searches, you would have received 7.8 million returns for We Media Game Changers, including the entire first page of Google returns.

We didn’t invent the term “game changers.” Nor are we the first to apply the phrase to awards or programs. But at least we’re respectful in our application of the idea. And we think it is only fair to avoid confusion among the leaders, visionaries and agents of change. So all of us would like to invite you to make things right:

Please join us at the next We Media Game Changers conference. It’s March 9-11 in Miami. We’ll have a good, open conversation about game changing. Bring the HuffPo 100, too. We’d be pleased to share their stories about using new media to change the world. I hope The Huffington Post will do its part, too, in promoting the idea you anticipated with such clarity.

I’m sure you’ll want to make plans quickly. Email or call soon.



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