So back in May I wrote a post that touched on the need for a name the kinds of hybrid organization that don’t fit nicely in to the non-profit vs. for-profit binary view of the world. The best we came up with was ‘non-corporation’, which still suffers from the problem of being defined by what it’s not, not by what it is. Since then I’ve heard ‘for-benefit’, which I liked a bit more, but am not in love with. And when introducing TOPP I generally just say ‘high tech non-profit’. But I think I’ve finally come upon the name to use, and it was sitting right under my nose all along.
‘I work for a dot-org’.
Try it out, let me know what you think. It’s obviously a play on the ‘dot-com‘ – which has been well established as something other than working for a big corporation (even though many of them have since become big corporations). It is not a narrow definition, which I like, as I think it’s far too soon to define what a ‘dot-org’ is, and what isn’t one. This parallels the ‘dot-com’, which seemed to be any company that was doing internet stuff. I like that it softly emphasizes a high tech nature, but the only real criteria is that the organization classifies itself online with a .org top level domain name. But I do think that non-profits doing the traditional non-profit thing should not be considered ‘dot-orgs’, just like citibank didn’t become a ‘dot-com’ when they put up a site at citibank.com.
Ok, so now that we’ve got a name the next thing to do is to spread the meme. We probably need some nice manifesto, or at least some concrete definition of what it is, even if it is something broadly inclusive. Then spread it widely, get the organizations that would be obvious dot-orgs to start identifying themselves as such, and then get our friends in the media to start writing up stories. I think success will be when a kid graduating from college can tell her parents that she’s going to work for a dot-org when she graduates, and have them not only know what that is, but be psyched that their daughter is going to be doing something good for the world and will be able to pay off her student loans before she’s 40. Or at least that will be the first success, the final success will be when the standard way to set up a new venture will be something more just and better structured to do good than the corporations running rampant today.