Rob Kall, author of "Bottom-Up Revolution: Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity," is an award-winning journalist, inventor, software architect, conference founder and organizer, author and visionary, who calls himself an "awakener." Articles by and about him have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Huffington Post, and he has been interviewed on CNN and ABC. He founded OpEdNews.com on Feb, 28, 2003, designed from the onset to foster open dissemination of innovative information, and creative, energetic and cordial discourse.
Rob has given lectures and workshops to Fortune 500 executives, as well as at national medical and psychological organizations.
He organized the world's first conference on Positive Psychology in 1996, and in 2002, organized Storycon, the first conference bringing together all the worlds of story. He has served as an AAPB (Association for Applied Psychophisiology and Biofeedback) Board Member. Rob has conducted over 450 interviews on his Bottom Up Radio Show. His guests have included Bernie Sanders, Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, Frans de Waal, Howard Gardner, Daniel Ellsberg, Riane Eisler, Mary Pipher and Robin Chase.
His book, "Bottom-Up Revolution: Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity," was released in May, 2019. His dedication to a new, bottom-up way of presenting news and encouraging citizen dialog has inspired a host of committed volunteers who participate in many ways on the OpEdNews site. Senior Editor Marta Steele and I celebrated the book release and Rob's upcoming birthday with him a few days ago.
L-R: OEN Managing Editor, Meryl Ann Butler, OEN Senior Editor, Marta Steele, and Rob Kall
(Image by Rob Kall) Details DMCA
Unlike other sites, OEN has rejected the concept of a pay wall -- we don't believe in a hierarchy based on dollars, and OEN welcomes those who want to participate even if they are not in a position to donate financially. It takes a village of problem-solvers to create a new world, and we prefer to trust that folks with more finances to offer will balance out the folks with smaller coffers. OEN has remained afloat, but it takes a generous dose of faith and fortitude, because some months, keeping the site running costs more than what is taken in. But a dedicated, mostly volunteer staff is inspired by Kall's progressive vision, and by the opportunity to share an open forum in the quest for a greater manifestation of American Democracy.
Meryl Ann Butler: Thanks for creating such a great site, Rob, and for making it so accessible. Let's start with the story behind why you call yourself an "awakener."
Rob Kall: Thanks for interviewing me! In an article back in 2008 I wrote about being given a birthday gift of a $25 credit to use to make a small loan through kiva.org. As I signed up as a site member, the form asked for my occupation. In the past, I've answered that question with a variety of responses: while I operated my small business, futurehealth.org, I would answer "executive" or "entrepreneur" or "inventor." When I worked in the mental health field I'd answer "counselor." Or, I'd reply, "biofeedback practitioner," when I worked in that field. Or "writer," when I functioned as a freelancer, more recently I've responded, "editor" or "journalist."
But that day, I thought about what the common denominator was in those occupations, and I typed in "Awakener." I realized that throughout most of my life, my work has been aimed at waking people up. I think there are literally millions of people-- many millions, maybe billions-- who are on the awakener's path - people who volunteer for an NGO, non-profit, or grass roots politics, people who write about issues that others need to know about, or educators, therapists, marketers, ministers or coaches. It feels good to have founded a community that is filled with so many others who share the same occupation.
MAB: I like that -- and I think that's the mark of a true Renaissance-man or -woman they are never really sure how to respond to that question! And please tell us what inspired you to start OpEdNews.
RK: Two things. First, when I submitted articles to another progressive site, they published the first one within three hours. Then they ignored my next ten articles, and I had no idea why, or whether they'd been seen, or anything, because I had no response, not even a rejection. I'd already had a business website since 1995 and I decided to create my own progressive siteone that would let submitters know if their articles were accepted or rejected.