This is truly awesome.
July 19, 2001 2:43 AM   Subscribe

This is truly awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

Just the best use of flash, collaborative model/data building and use of interactive interface to explain a complex issue... i.e. the interconnections of money, influence and power in boardrooms of the global economy.

Conceived designed and built by Josh ON and the FutureFarmers I think it's going to move to a more permanent and snappier URL once it's fully ready for prime-time... I hope Josh and the gang don't mind me posting it here... but it's just too good not too... It genuinely deserves a lot of praise and attention, IMHO.
posted by blackbeltjones (24 comments total)

wow. Josh always comes up with astonishing stuff.

My map -- "banking on your support" -- starts off with the board of JP Morgan and expands to cover their board interests, and the interests of those boards. It shows 18 people with direct influence over most of corporate America: and I haven't expanded many of the corporations to come up with further links...
posted by holgate at 4:37 AM on July 19, 2001

This reminds of something I saw on Discovery a few years ago about a computer program run by Scotland Yard and Interpol to track the interconnections between different criminals and crime syndicates. Anyone know the name of that? I'd love to read up on it.
posted by lia at 4:53 AM on July 19, 2001

This is a tool that Ben Bagdikian would love to help visualize his points.
posted by vanderwal at 4:56 AM on July 19, 2001

My god. This is a terrifying tool. I just had a look at the Coca Cola guys. I've got to stop now, I'm freaking myself out a bit.
posted by davehat at 5:22 AM on July 19, 2001

Wait a minute. When I add a company, it appears in it's appropriate place? I seem to be able to move it around....???
posted by ParisParamus at 6:26 AM on July 19, 2001

Now, that's what I call a World Wide Web.

Fantastic tool --- thanks blackbelt!
posted by BT at 6:30 AM on July 19, 2001

I don't know if this is intentional (probably is) but I like how the more boards a person belongs to, the "larger" they are. (Sam Nunn is positively rotund.)

This is truly excellent. thanks...
posted by ltracey at 7:44 AM on July 19, 2001

C. Wright Mills would be so proud.
posted by briank at 8:19 AM on July 19, 2001

Another excellent use of Flash that I've seen lately is this interactive map of the Tour de France (click on any of the stages on the map).
posted by jkottke at 8:26 AM on July 19, 2001

Wow! This is absolutely amazing! Firms are going to be knocking on your door for this kind of information.
posted by webcowboy at 8:46 AM on July 19, 2001

Where's AOL Time Warner?
posted by Laugh_track at 8:55 AM on July 19, 2001

Is that FutureFarmers the same as the record label?

Virgil Shaw, Dieselhed lead singer was on that label. I just like to take every opportunity to tell everyone to find Dieselhed's first couple o albums.

Say it again!


posted by Kafkaesque at 9:12 AM on July 19, 2001

Where's AOL Time Warner?

posted by crunchland at 9:17 AM on July 19, 2001

Ahem...would anyone care to explain why they are so drooly over this site? Do you feel that it illustrates some sort of well-hidden secret, or is the key to unlocking the consipiracy that keeps us all down? Seriously - what is so clever or unique about this information?
posted by davidmsc at 9:45 AM on July 19, 2001

davidmsc, it's mostly news to me to see it all in these figures. It's not a well-hidden secret, but I've never seen all the detailed information presented in such a simple graphical context.

I know that a few people control much of corporate industry in the US, but I had no idea it was this insular. It's like reading Fast Food Nation or watching The Merchants of Cool -- you know there is some weird stuff going on, but when someone demonstrates exactly what's going on, in an easy to read manner, it still comes as a surprise.
posted by mathowie at 9:53 AM on July 19, 2001

Seriously - what is so clever or unique about this information?

It's the perfect graphical representation of the point I was making in the thread on executive pay a week or so back: that in the world of the Fortune 500, a very small number of people decide each others salaries. I called it an executive circle-jerk, and it's oh-so easy to map one out.

It also puts on display the potential for conflicts of interest: for instance, people on the boards of pharmaceutical corporations and health insurance providers. And it's not just anti-corporate propaganda: the links to Google and OpenSecrets are truly informative. (Warren Buffett's political beneficiaries include Bill Bradley, Hillary Clinton, Mel Carnahan, Bob Kerrey and Christopher "campaign finance" Shays. Heh.)

(Time to twist Josh's arm to do a version that uses the boards of FTSE 100 companies.)
posted by holgate at 10:20 AM on July 19, 2001

Oh, Davidmsc, don't fret that people are interested in this site. It's just the silly "great beast" of the people having those wacky "democratic" instincts again. It's a fad, it will go away in due time. Then we'll all go back to properly embracing the appropriate aristocracy and doing as they are told to do. Because we as a society are always the better for it when we trust only the decisions made by Dagny Taggart and Francisco d'Anconia.
posted by hincandenza at 10:31 AM on July 19, 2001

davidmc - its no big secret - its just not very accessible.... much like Chomsky's research.... everyhintg was public domain - theres just so much of it and its not documented or organized in anyway. its truly a scary thing.

And it's not just anti-corporate propaganda

there's nothing wrong with anti-corporate propaganda. =) Now-a-days i hardly see the benefit of them, in a "nothings more important than just being alive and happy" kind of way.
posted by Satapher at 10:34 AM on July 19, 2001

That bitterness aside, holy cow does this site rock! I'd improve it in three ways (although it's pretty dang good right now):

1) Make the working space bigger! I found that, even when deleting board members with no connections, I'd still very quickly run out of workable space.
2) Make this a downloadable applet, especially since I'll bet this site starts getting more traffic than it can handle.
3) Allow user updates (verified for accuracy) as board membership changes, and keep the downloadable applet updated with this info.

This site just makes me well up with pride, though... maybe there really is hope for an informed citizenry and an active democracy after all.
posted by hincandenza at 10:43 AM on July 19, 2001

The information is great - I just generally hate websites that assume I'm going to give them my full screen size in order to see their damned menu choices...poor marks for usability there.
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 10:44 AM on July 19, 2001

We should make one for the A-list. :-)
posted by fooljay at 10:47 AM on July 19, 2001

hincandenza: You forgot Hank Rearden. ;-)

Don't misinterpret - I'm not fretting about the site. I just didn't realize that a picture of the...

Oh, wait. Worth a thousand words. Got it.

(understands reaction from others)
posted by davidmsc at 11:30 AM on July 19, 2001

Wow. Hats off to Josh for creating such an intriguing and valuable site. I could not help but play and play. I created a map called "from big oil with love" and was shocked (well, mildly shocked) to see how closely connected all the oil companies were. But don't call it collusion... that would be illegal.
posted by karlcleveland at 2:23 PM on July 21, 2001

My problem with this is that there's no easy way to link to a specific map (for one's blog, for example). Or am I missing something?
posted by acridrabbit at 8:35 PM on July 21, 2001

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