joseph mcelroy
Since 2002
Works in New York United States of America

The McElroys are a husband and wife collaborative artist, technology, and business team who bring significant artistic, technology and community development skills to Corporate Performance Artists. Joseph, is a graduate of Computer Science from Duke University and a former team leader at IBM. He has been a CEO of several companies, and has been responsible for raising $2 million to fund a startup company called, which while part of the dot-com boom and bust, he managed to bring to profitability and which still survives to this day.

Donna was an operations manager and PR specialist in the firms they have started together. She has recently been credited by several business leaders in the Bronx as being "top spokesperson for the Bronx." She is active in many community development projects, such as participating on the Board of the Bruckner Arts and Antique District, and working to promote many Bronx activities through an online newsletter called Cupcake Kaleidoscope.

Joseph was the leader of the Open Source Sig for the New York Software Industry Association. And was track co-chair for Open Source at the 2001 New York Software Industry Summit. He was on the advisory board for PostgreSql, Inc - the leading Open Source Database and has had articles published by Lutris Technologies and Open Magazine on Open Source business models and technology solutions. He is a database expert with extensive Fortune 500 experience. Among other awards, he won an IBM Division Award for Technical Excellence.

From magazine "Open" issue September 2001 - "The McElroys kick open the doors of old business models and capitalize on what they believe." The McElroys have achieved re-known as Open Source visionaries with interviews by Interactive Week, Infoworld, Fortune Technology, Open magazine, and others. Joseph and Donna make no claims of divine insight, but in review by Lewis Lacock, it is said, "that this dynamic duo of art are the closest things we have to true shamans today". They are doing their best to pursue the knowledge to support such claims someday.


* Achieved reputation as Open Source visionarys with interviews by Interactive Week, Infoworld, Fortune Technology, Open magazine among others.
* National Columnist on Money Matters for
* Judge for the Advanced Technical Categories of the Emmys.
* Successfully raised $2 million funding for startup.
* Successfully built and sold two technology businesses.
* First Entry into the Multimedia wing of the Museum of Computer Art.
* Artwork collected by the Library at Cornell University.
* Artwork in the collection of
* Developed first ever Exhibition Catalog completely on CD Rom. Done for Alternative Museum. Reviewed by New York Times.
* Selected to attend first ever Summer Institute for Performance Art at The Kitchen in NYC.
* IBM Division Award for Technical Excellence.
* Various academic, mathematic and scholarship awards. Attended Duke University on a full scholarship in mathematics.
* Poetry published in various journals. Art exhibited in museum shows.
* Certificate of Artistic Excellence from Congressman Jose Serrano.
* Recognized by Bronx Borough President Aldofo Carrion for contributions to the community.
Discussions (635) Opportunities (0) Events (3) Jobs (0)


What! me not invited? And my first peice just got sold for $1.3
million. Oh well, when you want to talk to a real expert...

Joseph Franklyn McElroy
Cor[porat]e [Per]form[ance] Art[ist]




Free Agents in the Olde World

The future of work in Free Agent Nation may look strangely like the past, says
MIT's Thomas Malone. Prithee: Art thou ready to join a guild?

by Jill Rosenfeld
photographs by Jeffrey Gardner
from FC issue 46, page 136

Go back to medieval times, back to the 12th and 13th centuries. Back before
there were companies and unions, back before there were venture capitalists and
entrepreneurs. Go back, and you arrive in the Middle Ages, before Europe knew
of a New World, never mind a new economy. Back when there were guilds: merchant
guilds, which sought to organize and control how business would be done within
a given geographic territory; and craft guilds, which formed to establish work
standards, to protect the interests of the workers, and to look after the old
or sick members of the guild. In the medieval world, guilds played a crucial
role in organizing commerce and in structuring how work got done.

Now, says Thomas Malone, a professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management and
founder of the Center for Coordination Science, take a look at the future of
commerce and at the structure of how work will get done. Look particularly at
the choices that are available to free agents and talented workers, and what
you'll discover is . . . the reemergence of guilds. Malone, 48, says that
guilds offer talented workers an organizing principle by which they can
associate with others who share an occupational affinity, develop professional
skills, and share their need for new ways to provide for benefits and security.
According to Malone and MIT research associate Robert Laubacher, new-economy
guilds are emerging to help free agents meet financial and social needs outside
of traditional full-time jobs. From the research at his center, Malone says, he
intends "to identify the choices that are available and to find new ways to
organize work as creatively and as wisely as possible." Fast Company visited
Malone in his Cambridge, Massachusetts office.

How should we imagine guilds operating to help free agents?

You don't have to imagine anything! We have guilds today -- think of the Screen
Actors Guild ( SAG ). Guilds are organizations that provide a wide range of
services for mobile workers, the kinds of services that employers have
traditionally provided. For example, sag contracts stipulate that producers pay
a surcharge into the guild's benefits fund -- an amount that can be as much as
30% of an actor's base pay. SAG members need to earn only $6,000 in a calendar
year to qualify for full health benefits for the entire subsequent year. SAG
offers educational and professional-development seminars to its members, and,
because many actors have relatively short careers, SAG also provides very
generous pension benefits.

New guilds could provide those services, among others. They could create cross-
firm skills-accreditation standards, develop industry-wide job descriptions and
salary guidelines, and even design a way for members to build the equivalent of
a personnel file whenever a person's career involves working for more than one

Those are largely economic functions, but guilds also could provide
opportunities for e-lancers ( electronically connected freelancers ) to
socialize with their peers -- both on the Web and in physical locations. Guilds
could provide a meaningful sense of identity that goes beyond that of a
company: You may not be an employee of Ford Motor Co., but you may be a member
of the automotive-engineers guild, working a particular grade level.

Is there something that makes guilds appropriate now?

Clearly, significant changes are happening in the world of work. One study
found that up to 40% of the workers in Silicon Valley operate in nontraditional
arrangements, either as part-time, contract, temporary, or self-employed
workers. For the United States as a whole, between 25% and 30% of workers are
in nontraditional arrangements -- and that percentage will grow.

The information economy puts a premium on flexibility and adaptability. Guilds
provide a support structure that fits such an environment. It's not surprising
that we've seen guilds develop in the construction industry: When workers
finish one project and move on to the next, they often change companies. To
accommodate those circumstances, construction trade unions offer their members
portable health and pension benefits: Members can maintain one health plan and
can pay into one pension fund, regardless of which firm employs them for a
particular project.

Do you see any signs that suggest that more and different types of guilds are

Certain organizations are already becoming guildlike. Staffing agencies such as
Aquent, Kelly Services, and Manpower could evolve into guilds. Over the past
two decades, as more people have begun to work as temps, staffing companies
have increasingly offered health insurance, pensions, training, vacation, sick
pay, and, in some cases, even stock options -- the kind of benefits that full-
time employees received under traditional employment contracts. Some agencies
have been aggressive about providing benefits and training, as well as
attempting to create a sense of community, offering a psychological
workplace "home" for workers who affiliate with them.

Aquent, for example, not only provides health and pension benefits but also
offers extensive career assistance -- a service that Aquent calls "having your
own personal Jerry Maguire." The allusion is to the Hollywood movie, and the
idea is that Aquent will be your career agent. A number of Web firms, such as, eLance,, and, not only offer job matching
on the Web but also provide a variety of other services, such as advice on
issues of interest to freelancers, health and pension plans, invoicing, and low-
cost office supplies.

What do you think guilds will mean for the companies of the future?

Actually, I think some companies of the future will be guilds. Today, we think
of a company as an organization that hires a bunch of people and that is
primarily responsible for producing something that customers are willing to pay
for. Instead of a company thinking of its role as providing products or
services to customers, some companies may come to think of their role as
providing services to their members -- while their members are responsible for
providing products and services to customers. It's an upside-down picture of
today's company. The function of senior managers will be to provide services to
the workers throughout the company, while the workers worry about keeping
customers happy.

Suppose that you're a free agent and you'd like to belong to a guild. What
should you do? Start one?

Rather than trying to start a guild from scratch, the easiest thing to do is
persuade an existing organization to take on more attributes of a guild. Labor
unions could provide more comprehensive services to the mobile workers of the
new economy. So could college-alumni associations, Web-based job-matching
services, and perhaps even religious groups or neighborhood associations.

Many of those organizations already do provide some benefits. Occupationally
focused groups -- professional associations such as the World Wide Web Artists'
Consortium and unions such as the Communications Workers of America -- forward
the interests of collections of workers who are active in the same industry or
are possessing similar workplace skills. These organizations are logical
candidates to assume some of the roles formerly played by companies.
Professional societies also offer affinity programs for members.

Of course, you could start a guild on your own. One model to look at is Working
Today, a New York-based nonprofit that provides services for and advocates on
behalf of independent workers primarily in Silicon Alley. Working Today offers
a medical plan priced at a discount to members of a consortium of professional
groups, including the World Wide Web Artists' Consortium, Webgrrls
International, the Graphic Artists Guild, and the Newspaper Guild. Working
Today has built partnerships with an insurance carrier and a hospital group,
and has received support from the Ford Foundation and a grant from the New York
Community Trust. After the network is in place, Working Today intends to offer
a broad range of other services, such as training and lifelong learning.

Another thing you could do, as a citizen, is support legislative changes to
make our political and regulatory environment more hospitable to mobile
workers. The current tax code discriminates against independent contractors.
One example is health insurance, which is automatically a pretax benefit for
most employees. Not so for contractors. It seems to me that the public interest
should be in making the playing field as level as possible. The government and
our society should be neutral with respect to how work is organized.

Jill Rosenfeld ( ) is a Fast Company senior writer.
Contact Thomas Malone by email ( ).

Sidebar: Are Guilds the Future of Unions?

According to MIT research associate Robert Laubacher, we are undergoing an
economic shift that is as transformational as the Industrial Revolution -- and
our social-support structures need to evolve as radically now as they did then.

"We forget that the current labor structure has only been in place solidly
since the end of World War II and that the struggle over the labor structure
dominated national debate and politics in the late 19th century and the early
20th century," says the 44-year-old Laubacher. "There were bitter, violent
fights over child labor, the eight-hour workday, and other basic working
conditions. The New Deal, with its legislation that compelled employers to
recognize elected unions, was a great achievement. The labor shortage during
World War II locked the structure in place: Negotiations between leading
corporations and unions set standards that were followed in both union and
nonunion sectors. That safety net began to unravel in the 1970s, 1980s, and
1990s, as deregulation and new technologies created more competition, less
stability, and less predictability. The economy is now moving faster than ever

So does that spell the end of organized labor? "I wouldn't say that unions are
obsolete," Laubacher says. "I'd say that unions need to evolve to meet the new
reality. Collective bargaining works well when industries are stable. But when
firms reconfigure and skills are obsolete every few years, who do you bargain
with, and over what? Work is getting done in a new way, and we have to come up
with structures that are economically viable and flexible enough to accommodate
the current mode of production."

Joseph Franklyn McElroy
Cor[porat]e [Per]form[ance] Art[ist]


Re: Surveillance Camera Players DID NOT come to Soho

Next time, an important part of the planning for this type event is to make

Still shaking my head over a wasted hour.

Joseph Franklyn McElroy
Cor[porat]e [Per]form[ance] Art[ist]


Re: Surveillance Camera Players DID NOT come to Soho

The following people have filled out the Genius 2000 survey. Why haven't you?
Take it today and you get a 5% discount on all Electric Hands Services for
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test pilot
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Joseph Franklyn McElroy
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Joseph Franklyn McElroy
Cor[porat]e [Per]form[ance] Art[ist]


Re: Guilds

> > Me too. I am working on it.
> But nobility is a blood-factor, a freak-factor, under regulation. To work is
> to learn, as if a new language, a new literacy. To labor and manifest.

LOL. I wish I had my dress on. No pants either. I don't always "work" as hard
as I should...

> Strange fact is you put the same bridles on me as Eryk, and the two of you
> won't discuss it. Maybe I'm the true character.

whoa trigger, you have your own lasso.

Eryk calls me sir.

> Also just answer, do you admire Eryk's You should. That's
> UBS Warburg., how do you say you like something when the implication is that you
should, but you don't, and if you say you do then it sounds like you are trying
to look noble? He is honest in his intentions, not so honest in his
consistency. When his beliefs run through, and are followed through, even when
it pains him, then he's a go. A belief is meaningless if it is tossed aside
when inconvenient for the emotional need of the moment.

> Don't up-ass sunshine me about finance. You got the stones to buy bonds? I
> doubt it. That's gloves off. Daily day trader watchin' glaciers.

I don't see you cashing a bunch checks either. Where is the autogenerator to
pull miscellaneous searches togethor in an autoreply wizard with learning
capabilities? Metaphorical academic treatise on cartoon characterizations of
regenerative algorythms that produce portraits of birds with text?

> Or Art with a capital A, which E.H. Gombrich says doesn't exist, only
> artists.

a paradox i say, trying to bring into existence that which cannot exist.

Joseph Franklyn McElroy
Cor[porat]e [Per]form[ance] Art[ist]