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June 29, 2015

Opinion: Sean Parker on How 'Hackers' Can Remake Giving

In a Wall Street Journal column, Internet billionaire Sean Parker describes how a generation of young tech moguls is changing traditional philanthropy and offers advice to this "hacker elite" on deploying its enormous wealth to solve global problems.

Sharing an anti-establishment bias and a faith in the power of data, hackers are also "intensely idealistic, so as they begin to confront the world's most pressing humanitarian problems, they are still young, naive, and perhaps arrogant enough to believe that they can solve them," the Napster co-founder and former Facebook executive writes. "This budding sense of purpose is now bringing the hacker elite into contact with traditional philanthropy — a strange and alien world made up of largely antiquated institutions."

Among other recommendations, Mr. Parker — who last week revealed his priorities for his own $600 million foundation — says he and his peers should keep their philanthropic vehicles small and agile, spend early and quickly rather than sitting on assets in the manner of traditional philanthropies, and focus on "hackable problems" that may be one "unique insight or a novel approach" away from breakthrough solutions.