About The Point
What We Do
The Point lets anyone start a campaign asking people to give money or do something as a group, but only if the campaign hits a predetermined tipping point. Learn more here.
The Point is much more than technology - it’s a new way of thinking about group action. While it’s important to us to accommodate trivial or absurd situations, what inspires us is The Point’s potential to fundamentally change the way that individuals and organizations interact.
Our beliefs include the following:
People will do what matters.
People want a way to make a difference, but feel powerless to solve the problems that can’t be solved alone. Inaction stems from a pragmatic judgment that participating doesn’t matter. Not apathy. If we think there are too few people to achieve a goal, we don’t bother. If we think there are too many, we don’t bother. But if the conditions exist for individual participation to be meaningful, we will take action.
It should be easier to care less.
We don’t care how much you care. Our job is to create tools that make it easy and fun to engage at whatever level you want and still make a difference.
Every problem has a tipping point.
Every problem has a tipping point of public frustration that will force a solution. If enough people want a problem to be solved and they have a way to find one another and coordinate action, they will solve it.
Amplifying the old tactics of change is not the answer.
A petition with a zillion signatures is impressive. For now. But as symbols of discontent, petitions derive their value from the fact that they take time to sign. As they become easier to sign, they become equally less powerful. As we grow used to the magnitude of petition and letter-writing campaigns, these tools will become no more useful than when they were handled offline.
The Web offers something more, but we must take a step back before we can move forward. We must correct our tactics to address the underlying problems of collective action and create rational incentives for change. We must break the path dependency on strategies that rely on press attention, and instead develop an approach that channels our collective will into a power that forces change.
A rule is only a rule if we let it be.
If enough people disagree with something, they have the safety in numbers to overwhelm authority. All they need is a tool to safely coordinate their behavior.
We love cute cats.
We believe that the most effective tools of change are neutral, and useful for stuff that has nothing to do with making the world a better place. Or as Ethan Zuckerman puts it, “sufficiently useful read/write platforms will attract both [cute cats] and activists.”
If man and the Internet were conceived at the same time, would we choose to pursue change through signing petitions, or writing letters to our elected officials imploring them to pass legislation? Probably not as much. The Web enables like-minded groups to channel their influence into something more powerful, targeted, and efficient. We can now solve our shared problems directly by creating rational incentives for change.
Who We Are
Behind The Point is an exceptional team of developers, thinkers, and entrepreneurs. Founded in and launched in November 2007, The Point is privately owned and funded.
Andrew Mason, Founder/CEO
Andrew’s first entrepreneurial venture was Bagel Express, a Saturday morning bagel delivery service he started when he was 15. Andrew graduated from Northwestern University in 2003 with a degree in music. In January 2006, Andrew joined InnerWorkings (NASDAQ: INWK) as the lead developer of their internal print procurement software. Andrew left InnerWorkings in the fall of 2006 to attend the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, where he was granted resources to develop Policy Tree, a policy debate visualization Web application. After receiving an investment offer in December 2006, Andrew left school to start The Point.
Ken Pelletier, CTO
Ken was born and raised in the Boston, MA area, and is a 14-year transplant to Chicago, IL. Ken studied Computer Science at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. and has been working professionally in technology for over 20 years. Ken was Director of Technology at an industry-leading software company, McCracken Computer, Lexington, MA. Following that, he participated in the development of a key public technology offering at The Open Software Foundation (OSF), an industry-wide software technology consortium in Cambridge, MA. As founder and principal of NiKA Software, an independent software consultancy, his clients included technology-forward companies in the US, UK, Ireland and France. Ken’s interest in emerging software technology led him to a position as a NEXTSTEP consultant with NeXT Computer, Inc. Most recently, as Senior Software Architect, Ken helped launch an online travel distribution platform at G2 Switchworks, Chicago, IL. Aside from software technology, Ken has a keen interest in visual design, cognitive science, linguistics, and has been a performing and recording musician.
Mike Cerna, Developer
Mike Cerna is a developer, a musician, and a dad (not necessarily in order of priority). He wants to see the promise of ThePoint fulfilled. He wants to write that bit of code that enables a corrupt government to fall or a ruthless dictator toppled so that his kids can grow up in a world tempered by the normalizing power of the Internet.
Joe Harrow, Community Manager
Joe Harrow started working for The Point in February as a general researcher. Since graduating from Johns Hopkins in 2005 with a degree in urban policy Joe has worked as a summer camp director, researcher for a policy site, math tutor and carpenter. Now, as a researcher and community organizer, Joe helps refine the tipping point model, explore new facets of collective action, and assist users.
Matthew Loseke, Developer
Little is known about the pursuits of this rarely seen mammal. Long thought to possess dwelling patterns indigenous to alien fabrics of cover, researchers recently discovered evidence of quasi-nomadic post-collegiate wonderings spanning three coasts which purportedly resulted in heavy feet for Chicago. While sitings have been sparse, reports suggests this individual commonly frequents merchants well versed in the supply of coffee, music, and computational forbidden fruit devices. We'll be watching.
Patty Huber, Community Manager
Patty Huber is newest member to join The Point since Groupon's launch in 2008. Using her entrepreneurial and social work experience Patty leverages Groupon's 5 million subscribers to engage in even more collective power to Make Things Happen. She's here to empower the ideas of others and show them how to tap into the tipping point model to have a real impact on the issues they care about.