My name is Ben Wilkoff.
I claim it as my own.
Here are the other things that I claim:
I claim a space that allows people to come together and air their grievances. A space that allows for all of us to learn from one another. A single place that we direct people toward that for debate and discussion about the things we care about. A place to ask questions and feeling like the process of answering the question is the most important part.
I claim a coalition. Of the willing, of the reluctant, of the undervalued and unfortunate. I claim the ability to take part with and without access.
I claim support.
I claim the ability to walk into a room and ask for participation and collaboration and to receive it without question. Where business cards are scrawled all over with the stuff that people won’t tell you unless you talk with them: pen marks that seem to stab out the doubters that can’t see what we see.
My coalition is the people that waiver over every decision and then make them and execute without hesitation. They are the ones that we see in passing and the ones we sit down with at a bar. They are the ones that come back after years of inactivity. They are the ones without titles and the ones with as much power as they dare to wield.
My coalition doesn’t stop. It is wondering out loud, at everything.
The space I claim accepts all kinds of contribution. It accepts the forward, the reply, the collaborative document. It gobbles them up without a single worry. It seeks out attachments and links and moves them to places of significance. It works with mobile devices with relish. It functions on nothing but content, aggregating and organizing it into what it should be: the truth of our own stories.
I claim moving forward and all of its consequences. The super majority and the awkward minority. The haphazard fantasy and the articulated vision.
I do not deny the ambiguity of my claims, but rather I embrace what it means to walk in with no preconceived notions about my future. I believe that the only way onward for me at this moment is to take the meetings and the phone calls and the e-mails and the tweets that come my way and the opportunities that will prolong my ability to see where all of this leads. It isn’t about focus. It is about floundering and spasming into success. If I wallow away with the best people I know, they will surely show me the right mud to play in.
So, here is what I plan on doing:
Every person I see that is at all interested in becoming a part of what I claim, I will introduce to my coalition. I will tell them that I am interested in asking questions. I will see if they are interested too. I will tell them to contact my coalition with their answers. I will encourage them to tell their story. I will treat everyone I know as the right person for that moment. I will never let a bias beget failure. I will take all comers.
I will continue to expect more and more from them until we all burn out and are reborn as zealots for what we believe is true. I will cultivate the debate as someone who wants a fight but will be satisfied with peace.
I claim learning. I claim collaboration. I claim the future.
Nothing less than the entirety of human connection through a process of inquiry and reflection will do.
(Oh, and I want Jupiter too. I have it on very good authority that when claiming who you are, you should always claim something you can never hope to gain. That way, everything else is entirely possible.)