I will talk about deep collaboration,
Who I am…
I am older than most of everybody here, everything in my life was a collaboration, started for me as a teenager in San Francisco in the 1960s. And joined a group of people who wanted to come together and live and work together in new ways that makes sense for us, seeking a life of peace, self-sufficiency and care, started by living cheaply and trying to take what we can take from the roads in the US, at the time of war we wanted to be like messengers for peace, the core group of 250 people started to live together in buses in small groups and tour the country.
“We wanted to be messengers for peace”
I found myself 19 living in a bus with 7 people that I don’t know, we started to know each other, and to start, being in a bus, we had to sit in a circle and talked in everything and developed trust, and then it is simple to sit in the bus and tour the country. That meant deep conversations. It’s where I started experiencing “going deep”.
That ‘s where I began, then after this experiences, we decided to continue living together, bought land in Tennessee. That was the start of a 12 year that we lived collectively so that I didn’t even have my own money, in a way it was ultimate collaboration: we had to learn everything and how to take care of each other.
We started to age and have families. We had neither the money nor the desire to go to the hospital for anything that occurred to us. So, we we taught ourselves to deliver our own babies, instead of going to the hospital, and that was a learning by doing. Throughout this, we had to collaborate with professional medical people, because bad things happen, and you can’t always DIY your way around them. A couple of local doctors who liked what we were doing helped us, and paved the way for us to deliver our babies and be self-sufficient, …
If you fast forward some years, our skill levels up and we could try to do good for people besides ourselves. So we founded a nonprofit. I found myself in NYC, in the South Bronx, at the time the poorest place in America. We started a free ambulance service for the people; again, in order to do that, we had to collaborate with local people.
My point is that here, we set a counter culture of people who are doing good. But, in order for us to fulfil our goals, we had to collaborate with people who belong to the ”establishment” and we couldn’t have survived without doing so.
Later on, we moved onto a new project: starting a free, bilingual clinic in Wash DC, the first of this kind. Again, the same thing: we collaborated with a bunch of doctors who could see the problem. We (the hippies) drove the initial fund raising, and provided the administration and structure behind it. The clinic is still working.
After this I choose to move on with my family and moved to california, after being there for a few years, offered a job helping with a computer network that I knew nothing about, The WELL (The WELL - Wikipedia). It had itself grown out of a very successful countercultural project, called the Whole Earth Catalogue. … before that I was fixing cars to support my family.
This is the mid 1980s the idea of people who use the computer to talk to others in a network was a new thing, I was hired to help it grow and support it, because of where I come from, when I got there the only thing I could do is to apply what I learned, so I made this term “online community”.
I tried to help peple to have a meaningful expericne so they feel they are in a community and stay.Some examples…
One is that we had the big computer , server, was a big box but slow for what we needed and did not have the money to buy a new one, so everybody who are using the system had interest to improve, it. We made this if people paid in advance for the subscription we can buy and improve the system… The community itself came up with the money to do it
Another one, a woman was a member of the community decided to go to india and become a buddhist monk , after some months , she became ill terribly. She was going to die. Word got back to us and a doctor in the community found a contact person to work with; and the community itself raised the money to airlift her with a helicopter, take her to the hospital where the doctor’s contact had prepared the ground, and treat her. She could then go back to the monastery. No one, I think saw, here again.
That the community itself could do so for a person who didn’t see for month and may not see again, this was an incredible experience. It blew us away. We were clearly onto something.
One thing I found, when going deep with people (not doing something for a week or month, not a collaboration), you are on a journey you make together, not a marriage, but you trust that collectively you can figure it out,
Some people have leadership roles and some have supporting roles, like in a kitchen , not everyone is a chef. These roles can switch, you can have a supporting role then change and so on.