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Black belt
posted 07-17-1999 02:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim_Salmons   Click Here to Email Jim_Salmons     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In one form or another, I have been wrestling with the ideas and implications of the nanocorp for nearly thirty years.

The nanocorp word is new in this context, but most of the ideas are old friends.

In my Master's thesis at Antioch University, I called it petty innovationism, the theory and practice of boundary-level subordinate change agentry. That's how I used to think about nanocorp-type ideas before the Internet.

It sounds glib to say, 'But the Internet changes everything.' That's too often said as empty marketing hype. In my case, I believe it is true.

The Internet gives the subordinate change agent a means to independent action, a means to personal freedom.

What a wonderful world is ahead of us, Timlynn and me. No boundaries, no limits... other than those of our own making.

Black belt
posted 10-12-1999 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim_Salmons   Click Here to Email Jim_Salmons     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We turned a corner on implementing our business vision over the weekend. We did a make-over of sohodojo's home page.

This was more than just a design issue. We have had enough visitor feedback and external opinion-leader interest to give us the confidence to move from initial exploration to Phase 2: Community Building.

The triggering event for this transition was the publication of the interview article about sohodojo published on We want folks to 'get the Big Picture' as soon as they hit the new home page.

[This message has been edited by Jim_Salmons (edited 12 October 1999).]

Black belt
posted 10-17-1999 03:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim_Salmons   Click Here to Email Jim_Salmons     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Two things battle for our attention these days: doing stuff and documenting the doing.

As participant/reporter, we have our work cut out for us. But we are entrepreneurs, constitutionally incapable of accepting the prevailing assumption that something cannot be done. No matter what, we will go down trying. It is far easier to feel good about yourself having failed by trying hard and doing your best than it is to succeed by riding some else's coattails.

Timlynn and I both remember watching The Ed Sullivan Show as kids. Every kid who watched Ed's show remembers The Plate Spinning Act. It was our first visceral, objectified peek at what Life would be like for us as adults.

Plate-spinning as a metaphor for Life is especially appropriate to the entrepreneur. We live in a world of few heads, many hats. One more plate and you know you'll never keep up your rounds. Negative entropy overtakes your attempts at organization and control. The done undoes.

We both resonate with Jack Stack's The Great Game of Business in terms of Open Book Management. Sohodojo is, in effect, a really big personal experiment in 'going open' for Timlynn and me. I have been a start-up oriented high tech entrepreneur since the late 1970's. Many of the lessons learned apply. Most of the rules are different.

The good thing is that many of these rule-changes play to our strengths and interests. Our long-standing interest in subordinate change agency theory and practice is simply a generalization of the world of the nanocorp and the dejobbed workplace.

But it is still a big deal learning to open up in a competitive business environment. Letting down your defenses always meant opening yourself up to more damage than benefit in the pre-Internet network economy. Now, opening up can get you more than it costs you. You ride the wave, you don't own it.

It is very much a new day dawning. I am so glad to be waking up each morning with a smile on my face and a mind racing with thoughts of what plates need to be spun up today.

[This message has been edited by Jim_Salmons (edited 17 October 1999).]

Black belt
posted 02-04-2000 10:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim_Salmons   Click Here to Email Jim_Salmons     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We feel we are truly starting to turn the corner on realizing our vision for sohodojo. Going to the MIT conference and watching the explosion of Internet Speed start-ups in the B2B arena has helped us narrow our focus without giving up the breadth of our agenda.

We have determined that our niche is the 'Free Agent Bell Labs', a self-organizing and self-managing community exploring new business models and their associated software technologies which enable qualitatively different approaches to free agency and small business.

In other words, we'll push the envelope on what we know and can do best (that being, to design and build innovative software), and we will strategically partner in order to address the breadth of our vision.

So what might appear to be giving up territory in terms of the scope of our business vision is really just a combination of recognizing our 'personal bandwidth limitations', but more importantly, we are aligning our tactics with the boundary level change agent perspective I have written here about.

We will get more done by letting others grab the ball and run for a while. We'll slip in around the edges in seemingly innocuous subordinate positions ('affiliate' programs are the new domain of 'petty innovationist' these days), and we'll do our best to help our partners 'course correct' in small ways that cumulatively lead in a new direction.

We have identified our core business and are pursuing it with a refreshed vigor.

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