I met Alanna at POC21 (Proof of Concept 21, about which I wrote here), where her clear, accessible and passionate way of talking about technology immediately set her apart.
Alanna was presenting Loomio, a platform that enables collaboration and decision-making among large numbers of people who may or may not be in the same space. I’m not one to get excited by apps or platforms, 99% of the time, but Alanna began her story with a reminder of what it felt like to make decisions at the General Assemblies during the Occupy movement in the US in late 2011. (For those of you who weren’t there, it was frustrating to the point of running screaming into the arms of autocracy, rule by a–hopefully benevolent–dictator.) She needed to say nothing further to persuade me of the need. With the OuiShare network spread across three continents, another optimal user case sprang easily to mind.
And while Loomio is cool (here’s Alanna onstage more recently, describing it again), the freelancer collective that birthed it, Enspiral, is even more exciting, and another feat (in partnership) of Alanna’s. As best as I understand it, Enspiral is a cooperative co-owned by some three or four dozen core members, with another 250-some individual participants, all of whom share values like transparency and collaboration. They often help each other professionally and personally, as needed. My friend, journalist Chris Cook, writing for Shareable, said of Enspiral: “What began as a coworking space among like-minded people in Wellington six years ago has evolved into a new-fangled cooperative linking freelancers and social enterprises in a global network of mutual aid and collective action.”
Writer Nathan Schneider (another friend!) interviewed Alanna about Enspiral for this piece in Vice:”‘Somebody’s laptop gets stolen, we buy them a new one,’ Krause told me ‘Somebody’s house burns down, we pay their rent. Somebody’s organization has to downsize, the other ones will hire those people.’ They also cover one another’s therapy sessions, when needed. And the result of this safety net, she thinks, is ‘actual innovation.’ When you know someone has your back, it’s easier to take risks.”
And as if she hadn’t yet Taken the Cake, as we say, there’s this, about the Permanent Beta processes– including “Relationship Retrospectives”– Alanna and her romantic partner have deployed, with seeming success, in their relationship.