jerry michalski

jerry michalski b w

What would happen if we trusted you?  – asks the man who has worked on his brain for 15+ years..

jerry' brain

TEDxCopenhagen 2012:

What if we trusted you?



jerry on data and tech


Jerry builds on his tedx while visiting Tony Hsieh‘s downtownproject:

via Jerry:

In August I spoke at Catalyst Week, a terrific brain- and heart-blending series of talks and events that are part of the Downtown Project in Las Vegas (more here). The topic for August’s Catalyst Week — they do these pretty much monthly — was education, so I decided to give a speech that would build on the TEDxCopenhagen talk I gave a year ago (here’s a full-text transcript).


so very excited – Jerry’s writing a book called – what if we trusted you.


Back to the brain is the closest model we have found to a non-linear portolio. We’re imagining it, created by a curiosity app:

1. to ground the initial chaos if we started trusting people to follow their whimsy, by helping people find their people

2. to leave a trail, as a non-linear portolfio, as you are doing cool things, diminishing our obsession with proof & credentialing


alternative schools from Jerry‘s brain:



love your writing, @GeorgeMonbiot. here you are, in context:

Original Tweet:


jan 2015 – release of Jerry’s (largest brain mapping) of 17 years:

jerry's brain app

..a beautiful extension of Clay Shirky‘s’ cognitive surplus (perhaps freeing us up to eudaimonia\tive surplus)


What @Wikipedia wishes it could be + multilayered info in context = @jerrymichalski’s Brain. Whole new world, here:

Original Tweet:


the first we heard of Jerry was this talk:

It was like the clearest explanation of what we had been up to the last four years. then found out about the brain… fed right into our app/non-linear portfolio idea.

Jerry’s company – REX [Relationship Economy eXpedition]

jerry's site


oct 2013 – applying for shuttleworth application:


dec 2013 – 1 of 3

Ecology vs. Economy? – oikos


nov 2014 – design from trust – Jerry’s gain talk:

modern ocd: obedience, compliance, dependence

hidden curriculum

what democracy might be like if we trusted people..

consuming kids ness

architecture is destiny, design creates architecture, intent informs design

what gets us in trouble is not what we don’t know, it’s what we know for sure but just ain’t so. – mark twain

when we see a moment of risk – we start passing laws

19 min – tells the Hans Monderman story..

20 min – shares his brain

21 min – ie: maybe the bell is the problem here

27 min – we’ve forgotten how to get in a relationship and we jones for it… so we create relationship campaigns/rewards.. et l. if we got under the hood – and got the root of this problem..

fothenticity: perception of authenticity

daring greatly.. brene brown


find/follow Jerry:

link twitter

link facebook



be there and listen..

the way to save our children is to reconnect with everyone else




lessons from 15 years of using the brain




26 min – what can we do – rather than – or along with – bringing people into spaces – go out into the city… with the brain.. : )

same with at 30 min – what to put in place to help government be comfortable of decentralization

34 min in – Jerry

1. presence – just being aware w/o judgement

2. relationship – once in presence you start to understand relationship (generative & negative)

3. manifestation – ok – now what do i do

39:40 – the sense of urgency will come into play – when we let people figure out what matters to them… as the day

41:50 – listening to kids – that’s what they want – city as school

45 min

he who must play cannot play


notes from Douglas writing about Jerry in Present Shock:

without an agenda

Jerry seemed content to attend for attendance’ sake.

For Michalski, the “self” is defined by connections. TheBrain isn’t about him, but about everyone else he has met

As of today, Jerry has over 173,000 thoughts in his brain file, and 315,000 links between them, all created manually.23

It’s amazing what creative people can come up with when there’s nobody there telling them what to do.”


we asked Jerry to be an idec 2013 coffee talker but he is unable to come – (some silly excuse – like  a wedding):

idec 2013 coffee talkers

but we still wanted him as part of the conversation, so here we go..

what makes you come alive:

what change do you want to create:

on creating conversations that matter:


soon to be wed to April.

and they are married:

jerry and apriljerry and april 2jerry and april 3

jerry and april married

oct 5, 2013

jerry & apriljerry & april wed


Jerry in switzerland at lift – feb 2014:

jerry in switzerland

we’re busy attacking people that we want to trust us..


jan 2015:

More companies employing robots to do work that humans once did


feb 2015 – the futures of communication (prezi):


nov 2015

Future of Learning

1 min – may take 50 yrs.. but plenty of people right now who know how screwed up ed is.. on the bogas comparison of ed to med… saying ed hasn’t changed.. it has.. we used to learn in open/cross-generational ness..  must of our assumptions about industrialization of ed was just off..

2:40 – the brain – used for 18 yrs dec 2015 – photoshop for ideas.. how my brain works.. weird/noteworthy.. still using same datafile i started 18 yrs ago.. ie: today i added about 30 things.. all of us are missing curated context.. trying to survive flow.. we don’t have good tools for capture share of flows… and sharing sense making w/one another

4  min – brain not a good interop tool..and not suggesting everyone use it..we don’t have good tools to help us capture things from the flow….we need more tools that help us figure out what we know and share it really productively with each other

jerry’s brain

self-talk as data via app/chip ness

[this site as prototype to app & as my brain]

5 min – we become really easy to manipulate… because we don’t really have a memory.. don’t remember what we agreed to… what we know.. all just flowing past w/ a whole bunch of likes attached to it..
having a brain makes us less susceptible to manipulation and more capable of indepth convos that actually lead someplace..
insane we’re trying to have society w/o better tools…
7 min – consumerization – even what used to be called culture: ie: ed, trying to buy degrees… and our only job as consumers is to choose between products… not ask questions about them…
if you stop buying.. whole econ system falls apart.. destroyed and pushed aside old ways of being together in society..
how do we marry the best of the old… ancient wisdom…citizens in society w/interdependences managing our commons… with best of new… device.. let’s communicate w/zero margin cost w/almost half people on earth.. marry those to not be about consumption..
manufacturing consent
9 min  – one problem w/consumerism is that it came along with individualization.. what we’ve lost is interdependence
10 min – not bout distancing from masses… but being an individual in society..
2 needsniio dance
10 min – many things are broken.. which means many things need reinvention… part of what needs reinvention is what it means to be individual in society..
systemic ness
11 min – on being addicted to tech for several good reasons.. ie: luis ck – everything wonderful, everyone angry
addictions are temporary not a sign that all this tech is bad for us..
13 min – on rex – created in 90s because didn’t like word consumer.. we’re rediscovering a bunch of relationships that had been broken… ie: people company, people govt, ….
14 min – central to all of rex – trust… most institutions today were designed for mistrust of the individual… designed from (not for) trust.. and seeing where that goes, ie: wikipedia..
16 min – we don’t have many tools for memory – one of few is wikipedia… far from perfect. .. but if i had more time.. could help with it…
need for as the day ness for all of us.. gershenfeld law

let’s do this first: free art\ists

18 min – on the scripts in our heads: ie: time is value… some you can form into political belief systems… we’re seldom aware of what and how flawed our scripts are… we throw away evidence that change our minds… we should be cautious about these scripts…
20 min – scripts as system 1; logic as system 2 – not so good.. but if more aware of thinking and open to new ways
a nother way





when i met Jerry f-to-f, he gave me one of his business cards (on the back of each one is a different picture of someone he’s met – very cool idea) – on the back of mine was Hans Monderman.. my take of Jerry’s story of Hans – the guy who tweaked a town in or to make people look each other in the eye.[which resonated with what Mellie & Cristian had worked on] Hans came up a year or so later in my readings.


networked individuaism graphic
Our friend @jerrymichalski on designing solutions for trust.
then too.. trust vs trustworthiness (about action in crisis).. if being trustworthy is the goal.. need to act well over time..
being a trusted ally.. busy pulling on rope together.. on same side of this..
what if we trusted you
story in my head .. of trust ness.. doesn’t seem likes it’s trust if people have to earn it.. i do like the.. staying on same side.. love .. what if we trusted you ness..
july 2017 – a way forward.. what if we trusted you
july 2017 – interview
Mindset is everything, but it is extremely hard to shift. That’s *even more true if the new mindset runs counter to your training, credentials and status. Those willing to see differently will **invent our next markets and social contracts.
There is much to do once you replace scarcity and profit with abundance and well-being, for example.
*sounds like joseph reward law – ‘hardest for those who have been rewarded by this system’
**perhaps rather.. disengage from markets and social contracts.. (which again.. are hard to disengage from esp when you’ve been rewarded for them)
How might we help reconnect people with one another, and with meaning? ..How can we amplify the stories that work, so that more communities can implement the parts they like, locally?
ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way
first – what if we trusted you – podcast
sept 2017 – interview about jerry’s brain – 20 yrs and going
doesn’t make any suggestions to me
we’ve outsourced our memories to google..
we are an amnesic civilization.. we forget everything.. whenever somebody invented a tech that allowed us to store.. allowed lawyers..  suppressed us..
i can focus the relationship econ w trust

10 min – somewhere in the last 100 years.. we lost faith in the avg human.. and we’ve turned over all our institutions to be designed by engineers and managers for efficiency, scale and profit.. 

humans not really trustworthy..mere consumers.. we’re rediscovering that we’re actually humans.. pretty clever.. trustworthy.. born good.. connected to nature.. we socialize all these out of ourselves…. rare person survives into adulthood w curiosity in tact.. 

assume good

slowly figuring out how to be in society in this space..

1 yr to be 5


the copenhagen letter


Jerry on video series.. design from trust


oct 2017 – Cities and Commons: Sheila Foster interview w Jerry Michalski and Neal Gorenflo – 1 hr video


4 min – s: i got into the commons thru doing work on environ justice.. so i’ve long associated it w the natural world

5 min – s: why don’t we think about the city and the resources of the city as a shared good..

7 min – s: for me the commons is both about common spaces in the commons.. but also about city governance.. how/who governs it

12 min – n: what is good about christian and sheila’s work is providing a means for ordinary people to have a say in what to do in the city

city sketch up ness

14 min – n: this is why i like commons over ubi.. it’s putting ordinary people in charge..t

18 min – s: ostrom’s contribution is in saying it’s not just market or state.. that there is an alt.. the innovation to me is bringing it into the urban world.. into a regulated environ where the market is incredibly strong


20 min – s: the heart of this project is collab pact.. the city giving up some of its control..

22 min – s: one idea of the commons that i embrace.. is an idea that puts justice and the right to the city at the heart of it.. we make the city

rights ness

23 min – s: is it a right to the city lens.. or a more eutopian lens.. i think the commons needs to scratch a little deeper.. because cities are a space of vast ineq now.. and if the commons can’t speak to that then we’re just a leftist liberal latte.. that won’t be speaking to the more fundamentally pressing challenges..t

24 min – j: the more we treat people like consumers.. the more selfish they get..t

27 min – s: (on bringing commons to level of ineq).. it’s very hard.. to bring it to those folks.. who are commoning.. let’s be clear..  they have informal norms.. institutions that are co op.. there’s a lot of sharing..  that’s why the concept lands very roughly there


29 min – s: an important part of her (ostrom’s) finding.. she found that institutions really work around small resources and in homogenous communities..  but if you bring that to a city.. to me that’s the exciting work.. when we get out of community.. what happens when you scale that concept up.. i think that’s what we’re struggling with.. we have to scale it up.. how do you do this at the city level.. that to me is the challenge..t

ie: cure ios city

31 min – j: ‘it won’t scale’ has killed more projects than anything else..

s: so how do we create a culture in the city (place and governance).. how to create an infra where this becomes more than a few projects and a way of actually operating.. t

ie: 2 convers as infra

32 min – s: 1\ you seed it somewhere.. experiment.. show it can work.. and then it permeates out..t

next experiment – model a nother way

s: 2\ networking things that already happen in city.. and make sure they are networked – toolbox – the more we develop this.. the tools.. institutional and legal.. the more we can see a scaling

35 min – s: yeah.. scaling takes effort but i would say it takes some really interesting thinking about.. bringing old tools/regs.. hack into current system and use some of their tools.. starting from scratch is where you set yourself up for failure.. ie: city is regulated.. govt and market are there and you can’t do away with those things

hmm – i don’t know

i think we have to come up w a mech that makes them irrelevant

36 min – j: Hans Monderman – naked streets – they needed to try it out themselves.. so he’s leave for a bit.. how do you make that contagious.. i think if we could figure that out..

Hans Mondermannaked streets

38 min – s: what does it mean to experiment is one way to think about contagion..t

39 min – s: commons only works if it comes from that place or is adapted to that environ

40 min – s: so be very careful to throw the baby out w the bathwater (ie: ghana and its regs).. to say you know.. ‘the market is awful’.. there’s a way we can leverage and hack into market.. and have fun to re integrate

? i don’t know.. i think we focus to much on that.. and then the tweaking is killing our opp for sync

41 min – s: it’s a matter of finding the right people to regenerate.. that doesn’t displace.. and.. someone’s got to finance the commons.. it’s not free

ie: short – bi as temp placebo

42 min – n: on experimentation and not using pre -formatted ideas/models to figure out what works.. that to me is very liberating and something i hope to see more in cities..t

n: and on scale.. in sv there is this kind of fetish for scale.. what people fail to realize is that is a philosophical accommodation to the investors.. we need to have other convos about the econ..

47 min – s: n made a great point and i’m glad to articulate it here.. idea that commons can’t mean that there’s profit/wealth.. what concerns me when i hear that.. you’re going to tune out a whole lot of people of color.. you can’t tell people who have been left out of the econ for so long.. you can’t benefit economically..  you can’t tell people who have lived that experience.. that we want to move to an econ system in which we share everything but there’s no wealth.. that’s not an inclusive message.. neal’s message.. we can have a robust econ.. not extractive.. but circular.. a broader squath of people

has to be everyone.. not just a broader squath

50 min – (j asks s what would help w your work) s: pooling.. we need more people to work on this.. obviously resources..  we’re busier than we should be.. people asking how to join in and it’s just christian and i and the young researchers.. so part of trying to seed this is trying to attract more people thinking about this.. so we have 1.0 of our pro city protocol.. designed to be improved.. for a collab process.. a commons school.. bring people who are experimenting in cities together to share every year to improve the protocol.. the design principals.. so 1\ resources – that includes people

begs a model that takes no training.. just that modeling you talked about earlier.. but then to jump in.. no one needs to prep.. it’s instantly accessible to everyone..

52 min – j: telling stories.. having tools.. have experts on hand.. to get ie: tools.. what paperwork do i fill out

53 min – s: a lot of this is local.. but there are general rules.. we’re coming out w a co city report..  the point is to make this all available.. as neal has done in the book.. the idea is to make it a lot more open

city sketch up ness

55 min – j: what are ie’s  s: participatory city in uk;

56 min – n: on participatory cities.. the urban villages movement.. putting it at the neighborhood scale..  and .. get the book – sharing cities..

sharing cities

57 min – s: these labs for cities ie: mexico city.. are very interesting.. dc.. these are a new innovation.. cities recognize need for cross cutting space for rethinking the city

58 min – s: cities are siloed.. so when create agency that are not siloed.. important for city to start thinking differently about self.. so i point to those labs

n: collab city councils – where projects can connect..  line between official and resident fades.. becomes more permeable. i’m for big govt and everyone is part of it

has to be all of us – everyone..

1:00 – j: ie: our block – i think waking people up is just as important