Everywhere in America, at around 6pm on a weeknight, you can witness a ritual of boring recitals interspersed with moments of high drama. These are pubic hearings required by law when local government makes decisions about which citizens have a constitutional right to know and have a say. 

People who “have a dog in the race” get 2 or 3 minutes to state their case before a quadrennially-elected panel of their peers votes on the matter. How they each will vote is often known before the meeting, when alignments are negotiated between the panel members and a citizens that have more than average access.

After the vote is taken, those who disagreed wander away celebrating and/or complaining. They may appeal the vote or circulate a petition demanding that the matter be subject to a public ballot. They may raise money and file a lawsuit. Popular issues sometimes lead to protests and a litany of rants that roils social media for a while. These votes often determine livability, affordability and the carbon footprint of a community.

Local government hearings make good copy for local news outlets because of proximity.

Decisions by local boards are also involved in creating and opposing development that dramatically impacts quality of life everywhere. Public administration may be more competent in the United States than Mexico and Camaroon, but people in most places now have lost trust in government. And, though our lives are much more affected by local government decisions than state or federal, fewer people vote in local elections.

Campaigns promote personalities, not solutions. Historically, replacing elected officials produces little change.

$1.7 trillion federal budget and we’re flooded with daily email asking us for money for campaign media, but not about solutions, for personalities, dog whistles and problems far away that we nor our government can act to change.

Or so it seems…

As Marshall McLuhan put it, “the medium is the message”. Put another way, “all roads lead to Rome”. What to do?

We created Own Your Government to use AI and cloud technology to expand everyone’s ability to control things that impact their lives, especially existential problems like global warming. We started with three simple propositions:

1) AI and cloud technology can make it possible for more people to have a say in decisions that affect their lives.

2) Organized groups of people have an exponentially greater voice than individuals.

3) Communities are a pre-existingl grouping of people who share some mutual interests in survival. 

Many complaints are global. We decided to build an app that gives anyone that wants to use it, an ability to organize the collective power and resources of their community to influence government and implement solutions.

We called this app, ownyourgov.


In a community, everyone has a shared interest for survival

AI can empower media that accurately informs and gives everyone a voice and a vote

Values, vulnerabilities and local conditions affect all community members

Inclusive consensus reveals common perceptions and shared interests within a community

People in a community are in various ways, interdependent

Interpersonal problems in a community may be resolved in communication

A community platform on cloud technology can be a safe medium for communication

With community cooperation, AI can be trained to mitigate differences

Success of the AI empowered medium depends on acceptance and thus, a rewarding user experience

#1 Capability

We are billions of interdependent individuals living in 1000s of communities around the world. We can use OYG, a scalable communication technology, to unify the global population, one community at a time.

#2 Local Solutions

We can use data science to help people collaborate on solutions to homelessness, mass shootings and global warming, building community resilience rather than simply blaming government.

#3 Good Government

We can use decentralized networks in an implementation that requires no changes to national or local political systems, no new laws or changes in economic hierarchies.






OYG has been a collaboration of international community development, media and software professionals working on ways to use cloud technology to accurately inform and engage people in action as stewards of their ecosystems.

OYG is a private business model to be able to be independent of external agendas and rapidly scale a complex set of technologies, maintain security, protect privacy and provide reliable and redundant support to communities globally.

Our Team


OYG initially worked with 8th Light on a project for Bogota, Colombia. Their reputation for reliable delivery of supportable software was important to us. 

8th Light engineers tested some of our technical solutions and open source integration strategy.


Because the onboarding process for a technology that is purposed to motivate people to work together, OYG reached out to the San Francisco consultant, Vanto Group in , to tap their expertise in helping organizations achieve high performance.

Impact of OYG depends on our ability to facilitate interactions between people of diverse backgrounds around a common commitment to fostering healthy, inclusive communities. OYG reached out to Vanto Group to design a hybrid community workshop for onboarding when implementing and instance for a new community.

Vanto’s work is based on The Three Laws of Performance: Rewriting the Future of Your Organization and Your Life, a book authored by Vanto consultants and executives, Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan,


Michael Winn


Michael Winn began his professional career making films used in public schools to teach elementary school children music, economics and physical science. He made  commercial media for City of Chicago, Lego and SCAG, and documentary films about Puerto Rico and Antonio Gaudi. He wired a large new building in LA with an Ethernet LAN and designed a fiber optic network for the Wilshire Boulevard corridor. In San Diego, he led  surveys of school children to inform city government about needs of children. He authoried Architectronics McGrawHill (1987) a book about digital technology for architects and co-led a year-long demonstration of high speed commercial offshore transportation for Caltrans. After retiring to focus on music in 2008, he returned to work a few years later to help reduce global warming.

Norm Katz and Winn met through LinkedIn in 2018 when Winn was looking for a software architect to help him get an online/hybrid town council built for the community in San Diego where Winn was living. When Winn formed a limited liability company called, Own Your Government, LLC. he asked Norm to join with him.

Norm had previously developed backend architectures for web-scale consumer-facing apps and cloud-based scalable web services hosted on AWS and Azure with Kubernetes and Docker Containers. His projects include a patient-centric interoperability platform for health data retrieval, harmonization, visualization and data sharing, subscriber management systems supporting millions of users’ PII and credit card data for identity protection and exposed data matching, a data warehouse with ETL from multiple business units, and a social network for traveling nurses. 

Most recently, VP Research and Development at Seqster, Norm achieved success in several companies across multiple markets; including healthcare, consumer products, financial services and defense: Sony Electronics, Orincon, acquired by Lockheed Martin in 2003; CSID, acquired by Experian in 2016 and AMN Healthcare. He provided engineering support for the San Diego Police Department’s New Technologies Unit, and research labs at UCSD and CMU.

Norm Katz



Own Your Government

Community Cloud Platforms

San Diego, California – Tijuana, Baja California

Copyright © 2023. Own Your Government, LLC | All rights reserved


Stream.io provides high scalability for chat streams and group chat with low latency, resulting in the best quality chat streams for 1000s of  communities.

Signal Wire

We built the open-source telecom stack that powers Five9, Amazon Chime, Zoom Phone, Dialpad, and multiple billion-dollar exits. With SignalWire, we’ve reimagined the core of FreeSWITCH, radically improved and extended it, and scaled it across every Cloud.


PubNub’s global network of Points of Presence (PoPs) provide huge scale, 99.999% SLAs, regional compliance, and redundancy to ensure every user and device gets quick real-time experiences.

Dolby IO

Near zero latency streaming to massive audiences

Dolby.io puts decades of Dolby sight and sound technology in the hands of businesses to deliver broadcast quality real-time streaming at sub-second latency to engage your audience like never before.

Eight Light

We are a global team of software, design, and technology professionals.
We help clients imagine and create elegant, robust, and groundbreaking digital solutions to complex problems.