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Data Science

Let’s Pay It Forward Together by Giving Back a Little

1000 dollar600.pngIf you received $1,000, what would you do with it? Earlier this year (in January), Lithium help me published “The Science of Social” with the goal of making my research more accessible to the business audience. After launching the book at the Big Thinker Dinner Party, we didn’t do much to promoting this book. Since the goal is knowledge dissemination, we made it a Kindle e-book, available from Amazon for only $4.99, or you can download it FREE from Lithium. If you like to read a book as a real physical book, hard copies (both soft and hard cover) are available.  However, we decided early on that any of the proceeds and royalties we gain from physical sales, we should donate to charity.


Eight months later, I was notified by our accounting team that we have collected $1281 in royalties from this book so far. So it’s time to pay it forward! It’s not a large sum, but given that people can get this book for free, I’m very grateful for those who have supported us and contributed to this charity fund. Here are some data:


My wife and I have been supporting several animal sanctuaries over the years: Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary, House of Rabbit Society, Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue, and Milo Foundation. This time is no exception, and we will donate the proceeds to Mickaboo and Milo.


Mickaboo Logo266.png   Milo Logo313.png


Why Animal Sanctuaries

Although I was not really an animal person, my wife has definitely taught me to be more compassionate toward animals. She’s not an animal activist, but she always looks for opportunities to make a little difference, however little it might be. For example, if there is bread we can’t finish at the restaurant, she would always take it home, cut it into little piece, and then feed the pigeons in the city or the seagulls by the bay. She would bring dog treats everywhere even though we don’t have a dag. We don’t own a car, because we don’t really need it. It is inconvenient sometimes, but can use CityCarShare or public transits to get to most places that we need to go.


Pay it forward by giving back325.pngBritish economist Tim Jackson once said in his TED talk that too many of us are “spending money we don't have on things we don't need to create impressions that won't last on people we don't care about.” Is all that life style’s accessory really necessary? I don’t think so. That is why I really admire people like Warren Buffett, who despite his wealth, chooses to live a frugal life and spends his money on philanthropy.


Even though I am not an environmental activist, I do believe we, humans, are constantly doing things that are damaging the environment. Even just trying to ensure our own survival in this superficial society, we are destroying the habitats for other animals, taking away their home, their food, and their livelihood. I don’t know how to solve this dilemma, because we have spent the last 2000+ years exploiting the environment to get to where we are today. It’s something that’s very hard to undo. Moreover, technologies are making this exploitation process even more efficient. And it’s the animals around us that usually suffer the most collateral damage, even though they are totally innocent.


My wife and I support animal sanctuaries, because it is the least we can do to give back a little of so much that we’ve taken away from them. Even though no matter how much we give back, we would just be paying off our debts, it is something that we can do. We are not activists, but I also feel that it shouldn’t take an activist to make a difference. If everyone can do just a little to give back, maybe our children can still enjoy the companionship of these animals. So think of it as paying it forward for our future generations.


The Science of Social Blog

WuBookCover_small.jpgI like to make a few announcements about this blog, which is the foundation of “The Science of Social” book. I’m grateful that Lithium gives me the privilege to share my knowledge openly here. As you might you might already know, my blog has a new home, and its new address (URL) is:


So if you have RSS feeds set up (e.g. your Google Reader, iPad, etc.) now is the time to update it. And hopefully I won’t ever move again.


If you have been following my work, you probably know that I do research in many different areas.


Although these research projects go in parallel (more or less all at the same time), when I blog, I tend to write about one topic at a time. And once I’ve written enough articles about a topic, I will compile them into chapters:

  1. My Chapter on Influencers
  2. My Chapter on Relationships: The R in Social CRM
  3. My Chapter on Gamification: From Behavior Model to Business Strategy


The advantage of doing that is it provides more logical cohesions between my blog articles, and I’ve been doing that for almost three years. The disadvantage is, of course, you won’t get to see everything that I’m thinking about until much later. For example, I have quite a bit of interesting findings with respect to influencers and gamification, but you are not going to hear about them until I finish the Big Data series that I am writing now.


So I like to experiment with writing short sequence of 2 to 3 articles on a topic each time, then switch to a different topic that I’m working on. Hopefully this will add more color to this blog and instigate more interesting discussion. Let’ see how it goes.


Finally, knowledge is of no value unless we put it to practice. So I wish all of you will apply the knowledge you found here and use it to create great value. However, I do have a little secret agenda though. I just hope someday when you are realizing these values, you will also remember to pay it forward by giving a little back to the environment as well as the non-human companions around you.  :-)


Next time, back to Big Data, and hope to see you then!



Michael Wu, Ph.D.mwu_whiteKangolHat_blog.jpg is 927iC9C1FD6224627807Lithium's Chief Scientist. His research includes: deriving insights from big data, understanding the behavioral economics of gamification, engaging + finding true social media influencers, developing predictive + actionable social analytics algorithms, social CRM, and using cyber anthropology + social network analysis to unravel the collective dynamics of communities + social networks.


Michael was voted a 2010 Influential Leader by CRM Magazine for his work on predictive social analytics + its application to Social CRM. He's a blogger on Lithosphere, and you can follow him @mich8elwu or Google+.


Thank you for the donation - from a Mickaboo home of 8 foster cockatiels Smiley Happy
Data Science

Hello Martha,


You are very welcome. 


I'm not sure if we've met during East Bay SPCA's Adoptathon in Oakland's Jack London Square about a month ago. I just want to express my sincere admiration for your work in caring for all the needed birds.


Cheers to all animals.



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