Face to Face with Inequality

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Boudreaux’s Cafe

Today’s field trip to Boudreaux’s Cafe in San Francisco yielded a fascinating perspective on idealism in action.

A small part of the collection at Boudreaux's

A small part of the collection at Boudreaux’s

Bob and Tunisia both trade in collectibles and have opened a space in Bayview with a good portion of their stock on display and for sale. It’s a treasure trove made up of part thrift store, part antiques store, part performance space (for music and spoken word), and part tutoring center. With free coffee. Oh, and they’ve done a voter registration drive. Eventually they hope to turn into a full-fledged coffee shop, with a kitchen, but they have only been in operation for 11 weeks and have made themselves a fixture in the neighborhood and a drop-in center for anyone who wants a hug. It’s a great model for delivering neighborhood services, firing on so many cylinders at once.



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If it isn’t fun, it probably won’t get done

Except perhaps by the most disciplined among us, and I have to admit that I am not one of them. The items that end up getting crossed off my depressingly long to-do list typically fall into one of two categories:
1. Urgency (defined by the potential for serious adverse consequences if left undone).
2. General appeal (defined by how much I feel like doing it).

Clearly, it’s far preferable to get stuff done under the second category than having to wait for it to escalate to the first. In keeping with that simple idea, I’ve adopted fun as my motto for the work I do for FAIR Money. And I’m proposing that it could be a good design principle for whatever product and/or service the FAIR Money collective decides to work on.

That doesn’t necessarily mean “gamification,” because we can think about fun in much broader terms than gaming–broader, deeper, more serious, and less ephemeral. But devising short-term rewards for the pursuit of long-term goals could be a very worthwhile endeavor.