"99%" Innovation Conference and Occupy Movement Get Jumbled Together
On May 1, Occupy Wall Street revived its movement in New York City with a massive rally and parade. Then on May 3, technologists, designers, entrepreneurs and other intellectuals began gathering at the New York Times building for a two-day event called The 99% Conference.
The conference takes its name from Thomas Edison's quote "Genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration" and is about fostering creativity. This year's lineup includes business, tech and media luminaries such as Garrett Camp, founder of StumbleUpon, and Jad Abumrad, host and creator of public readio show Radiolab. Previous notables included Twitter co-creator Jack Dorsey. It's been around since 2009.
Occupy Wall Street (OWS), which came together in late 2011, takes its language from various economic studies and other writings such as journalist David DeGraw's 2010 book, "The Economic Elite vs. The People of the United States."
OWS has certainly had its share of tech innovation. It geminated online with support of "Anonymous" hacktivist sympathizers and radicals communicating on social network Reddit., The organizers developed aggressive social media outreach, via Twitter, Facebook and tumblr. And startup journalists have pioneered revolutionary livestream video reporting. Some über-techies have even been building an alternative social network — a kind of Facebook for activists (that cops can't snoop on).
Alexis Ohanian, a co-founder of Reddit, is speaking at this year's 99% Conference. And revered tech investor Fred Wilson, a past speaker, did take interest in the OWS alterative social network, touting it as a harbinger of the future innovation.
That's about it.
It's especially ironic because Occupy Wall Street organizers have been so concerned about their being "co-opted" by other groups and movements, such as unions, the Democratic Party and political organizations such as MoveOn.org.
But, co-opting, intended or not, often goes in the other direction.