Thomas George said (our emphasis
here is one way to look at the possible vision of a self empowered world of Anthea and Mfume - what is the “enabling environment” in which the self empowered individual can unleash his/her potential given the unpredictable nature of human interactions?
Lars Hasselblad Torres said (our emphasis added):
similarly, i have a sense that this idea of “self-empowered” might not be unlike “free market,” in the sense that there are numerous mechanisms (ie subsidies) in place that government, big business and civil society provide, create the “environment” as you nicely put it that support individual agency.
so certainly “dense social networks” might be one factor; the technology might be superfluous, though perhaps vital for empowerment when those networks exist in the absence of abundance…?
Thomas and Lars, your insightful comments give us a wonderful context to go a little deeper into the connection of network theory to the mechanisms, in your context Lars, of self empowerment.
We (Jim and Timlynn) met in the early 1980s in the doctoral program in Mathematical Social Sciences at UC, Irvine (now called the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences). The more popular term for this domain of study today is social networks. Then as now, the mathematical foundation of social network theory was graph theory. In the last twenty-five years, network theory (an application of graph theory) has exploded as a domain of science in its own right.
One of the most interesting, counterintuitive, and widely-applicable discoveries of network theory is that of the scale-free network. In its simplest terms, a scale-free network is a random network which exhibits the characteristics that some nodes are highly connected (so-called hubs) while others are only minimally connected (outliers). By example, our road system is a random network that is a dense network of many redundant interconnections while our airline transportation system is a scale-free network with a few hyper-connected hubs that connect (via “spoke” links) to everyplace else. You can’t get from Point A to Point B without traveling through a hub point.
So Lars, it would be more accurate to say that the enabler of self-empowerment is not a dense social network, but an effective and inclusive collection of scale-free networks. To which Thomas would ask, what kind of scale-free network would make an enabling environment for self empowerment? To which we would reply, entrepreneurial community ecosystems.
Entrepreneurial Community Ecosystems: The Next eBay!?
Entrepreneurial community ecosystems are a combination of person-to-person small producer supply chains seamlessly integrated with person-to-person distribution marketplaces. These alternative markets are powered by “Who, How, and Why” consumer purchase dynamics rather than by “How Much and Where” (price and distribution channel control). An effective entrepreneurial community ecosystem will shift the focus from the tight coupling of price-to-product to that of the value of the impact to the participants in the value chain that bring buyer and seller together.
eBay has built an empire with some smart software that enables the creation of an efficient scale-free Network Effect based on that software’s ability to create a marketplace built on buy-seller dyads. (See sidebar.) In this case, the eBay business model intentionally disintermediates (cuts out) the so-called “middle man.” An entrepreneurial community ecosystem will do just the opposite. It will intentionally intermediate to create value-generating impact chains. (See for more as well The Yin-Yang of e-Commerce Engines.)
In order to have entrepreneurial community ecosystems and their alternative marketplaces by 2050, we need to start today doing the applied R&D to create the business models and associated software infrastructures to make them easy to create and efficient to maintain. And this need is not a vision that needs to be fulfilled by 2050. Christina and the Life in Africa folks need this software platform today. So does Mark Grimes and his Ned project. So too do a number of other social entrepreneurs active here on ONet.
The time is now, and Omidyar Network is the ideal Executive Producer to partner with ONetizens actively engaged in this shared mission to expand the domain of social enterprise.
–Sohodojo Jim and Timlynn–
February 6th, 2006
We’d like to tie together a couple of disparate conversations that are going on at the moment on ONet. In response to this thread we posted a non-news “news” article in our personal news space. In Divide and Conquer… the Flat World, we wrote about how collaborative teams need to be composed of a complementary group of folks bringing to bear all the needed skills and experience in toto. It isn’t efficient to expect that each team member can know and do every task that needs doing on a project. The only way that the “whole” of the group can be greater than the sum of its parts is if there is specialized knowledge and talents distributed throughout the team. Otherwise, there is not need for the team as each team member could be a team of one.
Understanding that we need to work in collaborative teams, we next face the challenge of establishing critical mass of launching the team’s project. Sometimes nothing more is needed than the collective will, time, and energy of the team. Sweat equity is all that is needed to push forward. Unfortunately, sweat equity in often not enough. We need outside resources, whether contributed labor or contributed financial resources, to put the team to work.
What Christina and others are struggling to do here is to launch what we at Sohodojo call an entrepreneurial community ecosystem. Getting the IRS to understand this extended network enterprise model and to understand Sohodojo’s role took us over 2.5 years to get 501(C)(3) status as an independent applied R&D lab supporting such ecosystems. Now that we have that designation, Sohodojo faces our next and perhaps an insurmountable problem.
Funding Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in an Organization-Centric World
Unfortunately, the social sector funding institutions are just not prepared to understand these extended network social/business ecosystems and their alternative markets. Launching an ecosystem like Christina is trying to do is a dynamic, collaborative process. Her success is dependent on orchestrating the collective energy of a diverse group of individuals and organizations. In this regard, Christina is like an independent film maker. She has the script, the actors, the technical directors, etc. But she is driving herself bonkers because she doesn’t have the one partner she so desperately needs… she doesn’t have an Executive Producer who can put talent together with the financial backers and other essential service partners.
Virtually all private foundations and public funding agencies still live in an organization-centric world when everything around them is deconstructing into decentralized and distributed networks. These funding sources are satisfied to metaphorically “invest in the film industry” rather than help us to “make movies.”
We’ve written more about this situation in Paul Herman’s “A Self Empowered World of 2050?” When asked to reflect on the infrastructure needed to make real Paul’s vision for future empowered individuals, we contributed this comment that speaks to this mismatch between what gets funded and how things get done.
The single most exciting thing that could happen for the ONet community in 2006 would be for the Omidyar Network to appreciate the frustrations of social entrepreneurs who are trying to evolve ecosystem-like extended network enterprises, and to embrace the role of Executive Producer so we can work together “making movies” that help to change the world.
–Sohodojo Jim and Timlynn–
February 5th, 2006
Lars Hasselblad Torres said:
although the vision doesn’t resonate with me (ie a world in which to live healthy, happy lives one must be “wired”), i really appreciate the place from which the vision springs.
Lars, you may have a bit of the old “Can’t see the forest for the trees” Syndrome going for you in this context. If you look at “wired” as being technology and technology literacy, then your skepticism is justified.
We’ve seen decades of “Digital Divide” programs that are built on the shortsighted assumption that access to technology was the enabler of socioeconomic development (also known as empowerment). But it is not access to technology that is the source of power. Rather the technology is a means to an end. It is access to others, access to markets, access to information, etc. that is the means to self-empowerment.
So in Paul’s evocative story above, it isn’t that Anthea and Mfume are wired tech geeks that is important. Rather, it is that these Empowered Individuals have low-cost, easy-to-use, non-censored access to people and information that let’s them be self-sustainable in the world. The “wired” aspect is just a means to an end.
It is important to note that the “Six Degrees” (Small World) dynamic of scale-free socioeconomic networks is at play in this regard. In Paul’s world of 2050, it is not required that every Anthea and Mfume in the world be equally wired and technologically literate. What is important is that as many people as possible be connected through the shortest paths possible to the Flat World of Globalization 3.0 and its emerging person-to-person network marketplaces.
Just as we all cope with parents and grandparents whose VCRs are still flashing midnight, so too will Anthea and Mfume have a circle of family and friends who they help, directly and indirectly, to connect to this future world.
This Small World network dynamic is one of the themes in our recent post, Divide and Conquer… the Flat World. We wanted Christina and all the great Life In Africa folks to understand that everyone doesn’t have to become a techno-geek in order to be connected to, and to participate in, the “wired world.”
Bottom line: The “forest” to be seen among the technology-trees, Lars, is the ability of individuals to connect in meaningful ways with other people. It is the connection itself, not the means of that connection that is the source of self-empowerment.
–Sohodojo Jim and Timlynn–
February 4th, 2006
In LiA Website change and development converation, Christina Kirabo Jordan said [our emphasis added]:
The self-creation of this kind of content [SJT: a-z profile info] is an empowering thing that won’t be lost this time around. Because not all of the a-z has to be filled out, individual differentiation comes into play - it’s what makes your profile different from mine. If I am a cook and a craftmaker I might have recipes on my page and products to order, but if I am a recently graduated journalism student, then my profile and my activities within the webbed lia realm will be much different. It’s all life in africa. We are each unique, we are each very real and you can engage with us, we are each active in contributing to our community web presence, and we are (or have been in the recent past) the poorest of Africa’s poor. We are not counted as real people anywhere else, but in working together with others to create our own presence at lifeinafrica.com we are encouraged to let our individuality shine all over the world.
Christina, we know you already understand what we will be saying below. Mentoring and peer-collaboration are at the heart of your WE Center and Internet4Change initiatives. Our comments here are rhetorical, intended to get the ideas on the table in the context of this discussion.
Peer Collaboration as a Divide and Conquer Strategy
We absolutely agree that member profiles will be critical to differentiating each member from another, as well as help to create an “interface socket” that prospective customers and collaborators can “plug” into. And while self-creation of at least some content is important, it is also good to keep in mind that the webbed lia realm is fertile ground for skill and role differentiation that can create collaborative subnetworks where the whole (community) is greater than the sum of its (individual effort) parts.
For example, it may be that the journalism student Christina mentioned could team up with three-to-six cooks and craftspeople to assist the group in creating an individual and collective web presence that is far more effective than if content creation were left completely to each individual.
Such peer-collaborative subgroups can be very helpful in letting each individual do what he or she does best while getting assistance with the things he or she either can’t do (yet), or doesn’t really want (or have the time) to learn to do better.
Here in Fairfield, which is both an entrepreneurial and an artistic small town, we have a thriving but (except for the ’superstars’) also a struggling community of visual and performing artists. Last year we had an ‘artpreneur’ workshop to help artists become more entrepreneurial in managing their self-employment careers.
One result of the conversations at this workshop was to better understand that the goal is not to turn artists into “suits” (AKA businessmen and women). Rather, we are working to connect ‘artist-friendly’ business folks (accountants, lawyers, marketers, etc.) with artists so that their collaboration helps to fill the skill and interest ‘gaps’ of the artist.
Sure, many of the artists need a better grasp of the strategies for being more business-like with their creative lives. But they don’t have to become an accountant or lawyer to succeed. For the entrepreneurial community ecosystem to be sustainable, its members have to be able to communicate and appreciate what each member brings to the table.
Food for Thought About the LiA/WE/I4C Web Platform
Sohodojo wrote and published The Nanocorp Primer in 2000. This collection of article/presentations explores ideas related to Christina’s LiA/WE/I4C notion of webbed empowerment. In particular, the Shamrocks and Nanocorps piece explores the complementary role of value-chains and entreprenurial ‘career paths’ in the network enterprises of entrepreneurial community ecosystems. These pieces don’t speak to the technical implementation aspects of the LiA/WE/I4C web platform. Rather they highlight design requirements and domain context to frame such web development. The Nanocorp Primer includes:
We encourage interested folks to read and we welcome comments on these ‘idea generators’ in the context of this conversation about requirements for the LiA/WE/I4C web platform.
–Sohodojo Jim and Timlynn–
January 31st, 2006
Paul,Your evocative story will hopefully play out entirely as described well before 2050. It is also reasonable to think that the spark to fund this vision will come from the Omidyar Network. And, it is also likely that this vision will “trickle over” from ONet to become the strategic basis for the expansion of eBay’s core business processes from price-focused product markets into the potentially far larger markets of impact-focused relationship markets of the 21st century and beyond.
While the pundits speculate on which technology-driven market Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo will choose as the battleground to topple eBay (The Big Guns’ Next Target: eBay), they miss the “end run” in play by which eBay may leverage itself into a whole new ballgame. This is, interestingly, the level playing field of Tom Friedman’s Globalization 3.0 described in The World Is Flat, that is, the emerging world of Empowered Individuals.
From Shopping for Things to Shopping as Experience
Certainly Anthea and Mfume are empowered Flat Worlders. Their world, as you have described it Paul, is experience-oriented rather than materialistic. They are inprosumers engaged in a cyclic process of investing, producing and consuming rather than being the insatiable recipients at the end of a one-way supply chain of more stuff.
In the Ned and Life In Africa discussions at ONet, we have contributed a number of posts envisioning and encouraging this evolution toward impact-oriented, relationship-driven consumer markets. You will find a collection of these posts pulled together under the Inprosumer and Entrepreneurial Community Ecosystems categories of Sohodojo’s Omidyar.net Blog. These comments and short articles certainly resonate with your vision for the Self Empowered World of 2050.
As to the all-important question of what can we do now to bring this vision for a Better World into reality sooner than later, we believe social enterprise funders need to turn a learning eye toward Hollywood. There are important lessons to be learned in understanding the evolution of the film industry from an organization-centric world of centralized studios to the decentralized, network-based production of independent films in the last half of the 20th century.
The funding and infrastructure support requirements to enable the entrepreneurial community ecosystems and alternative markets of Anthea and Mfume’s world are similar to those that support the network-based process of independent film making. Unfortunately, the vast majority of social sector and social enterprise funders have an organization-centric mindset. They are, metaphorically, more interested to investing in the film industry rather than funding and facilitating the production of films.
We have written more extensively on these ideas in a grant proposal, Workshop on Funding and Support of Social Business Ecosystems in the Small Is Good World, that we submitted to the Skoll Foundation. Although the theme of this year’s Skoll World Forum is “Leveraging assets, growing social capital markets: sustainable routes to wealth and well-being,” this proposal was rejected with the only explanation that it did not fit the focus and interests of the foundation. While this proposal is unfunded, it is nevertheless full of insights and recommendations from those of us struggling to be pioneers in the creation of these social business ecosystems and their alternative markets.
The single most important thing that needs to happen if Anthea and Mfume are to live in their future Self Empowered World, is that social sector and social enterprise funders have to shed their organization-centric blinders. We need funders who will embrace their roles as executive producers of the entrepreneurial community ecosystems and alternative markets of Anthea and Mfume’s Self Empowered World.
–Sohodojo Jim and Timlynn–
January 31st, 2006
Christina Kirabo Jordan said:
Member profile content - a-z
Our first quick reaction is that the a-z profile specification is a good, comprehensive list of the whole “landscape” of a member’s profile. In software development modeling terms, this list would be part of the domain or system boundary model.
In practical terms, that is the world of identity theft and cyber-harassment, we’d recommend that the a-z content of member profiles be wrapped with a role-based permission system where you could have two levels of control:
- First, LiA should have an overall policy about who gets to see what no matter what the member decides.
- And the second layer is a degree of latitude that each member would have to further tighten or perhaps loosen (within limits of LiA liability to protect its members) such role-based information access.
While this level of functionality may sound complex to incorporate into the LiA web platform, it is not as hard as it sounds. You start by selecting the right (hopefully Open Source) framework for content management and eCommerce that has flexible and extensible role-based authentication built into it. Many such platforms do have this feature. Setting up content creation, deletion, update, and view rights under such systems is a browser-based admin function, not a matter of programming.
Some Next Steps for A-Z
From a software development consulting standpoint — with you as the client and subject matter expert — our next questions/exercises would be to ask you:
- How would you logically cluster the a-z list from the point of view of its role-based viewers?
- What process-based linkage do you you see between items on the a-z list?
The first question gets as the next step of prototyping the user interface and information architecture of the to-be LiA web platform.
The second question begins to address the workflow aspects of how the a-z information relates to role-based use cases of “What is a typical day or task for someone performing X role?” For example, certain of the a-z information is known and member-person specific, so every new member would be know and need to provide this information at the first step of member account creation.
Other bits of the a-z specification are dynamic and can be generated from the member’s activity, such as the list of blogs the member is active on. The same with info about loan servicing activity, etc. In other words, some of the profile is explicitly created and maintained by the member, and some is gathered by examining the state of data in the overall system. This is the kind of information and understanding that is needed to begin building the to-be LiA web platform.
Building the Software Infrastructure for Globalization 3.0
Christina, this is just scratching the surface of what a business process-oriented software designer/developer would do with you in a working relationship to build the LiA web platform. In this sense, the software design and development process for an organization/business is very much like the process of psychological therapy. It is a rigorous and detailed process of self-reflection and values-surfacing that is uniquely valuable to the evolution of the business or organization.
The most interesting thing about the LiA/WE/I4C network is that it is an ideal and real example of what Sohodojo describes as an entrepreneurial community ecosystem. The web-based software platform required to create and sustain such an ecosystem is one of the most important and valuable things that needs to be done in order to unleash the alternative market-creating potential of what Tom Friedman calls Globalization 3.0, that is the Flat World of Empowered Individuals. The LiA/WE/I4C ecosystem is, in other words, a First Mover in Globalization 3.0.
–Sohodojo Jim and Timlynn–
January 25th, 2006
Dorothy uttered these now famous words, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” in the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz. She and her pet dog were swept up in the whirlwind of a tornado that magically transported them to the imaginary Utopian world of Oz.
Were Dorothy to comment on the emerging cyclonic world that Tom Friedman characterizes as Globalization 3.0 in The World Is Flat, she might have included the other lo-K-tions in this post’s title. In the emerging world of globally connected, Empowered Individuals, geographic location is no longer the overwhelming determiner of opportunity and quality of life that it has been throughout history.
We’re making this point in response to comments by Jeff Mowatt and Wendy Kelly in the ned: philanthropic franchise conversation on Omidyar.net:
Jeff Mowatt said (our emphasis [context] added):
…I’m trying to ascertain whether NED [Networked Enterprise Development] aims to achieve this [financial and market sustainability] externally by virtue of being a franchised version of something like an OXFAM shop, offering fair trade goods from developing countries to Western markets and thereby opening markets for micro-enterprises in the developing world. [snip]
On the other hand, could this franchise be deployable in developing world locations on the ground? In this way engaging local people to produce competitively with a free market system and earn at least a living wage, at the same time setting aside funds committed to development of new enterprises.
The former would in my mind be sustained philanthropy and the latter sustained self-determination. Is NED both of these things?
Along similar lines, Wendy Kelly said (our emphasis [context] added):
I am in Nelson BC (shangrila [British Columbia, Canada]) we are the perfect size (10,000) progressive small town. Small Walmart, but vibrant downtown. TONS of fair trade here. Our own coffee (organic, fair trade, excellent) [snip]
Thoughts are that it is necessary; we should be careful about expecting people to buy stuff just because they should (mentioned above); also, do we need to go overseas? Could we not buy and sell small town local stuff at NED? [snip…] if we are there to connect small communities, wouldn’t it be more on target to sell stuff made by other small towns (or small city neighbourhoods) that don’t have access to large exposure?
All good to have the African/Asian, etc stuff as well, but just thinkging that there are tons of local artists here (and in other artsy small towns) that could benefit from having the exposure of NED. As David Suzuki said, it’s time to think local, act local.
Jeff and Wendy, as we have replied before within the Ned conversation, these are all excellent and timely questions. They are, in fact, profound questions when taken in light of the emergence of Globalization 3.0. (See this recent post for Flat World globalization era context.)
When Nations and Corporations Become Background Noise
As the world flattens throughout the emerging era of Globalization 3.0, nations and multinational corporations increasingly become background noise. This is not to say that nations and giant corporations are not powerful and influential anymore. Rather, and this is a vital undercurrent message in Friedman’s book, today’s ICT (Information, Communication, and Transportation) technologies empower the Individual to imagine and then realize his or her own place in the world.
And, thanks to these ICT technologies, our Individual place in the world is no longer strictly bounded by geography nor by the organizations with which we are affiliated.
To say that Globalization 3.0 is the era of the Empowered Individual is not glib hyperbole. This is a challenge to revolutionize the way each of us looks at and behaves in the world.
Paradigm Shift: From Developing Nations to Developing Individuals
Globalization 1.0 and 2.0 were about developed countries and developing countries. International aid was about exchange between nations and insurgency (benevolent and otherwise) by multinational corporations as they set up and/or moved their operations for market access and economic advantage.
Globalization 3.0 is about developed individuals and developing individuals.
In Globalization 1.0 and 2.0, developing countries struggled to overcome the devastating impact of being marginalized. That is, they struggled to overcome the impact of being denied access and participation in the world’s political and economic systems.
During Globalization 3.0, our challenge as Individuals is to work our way out of, or to work to keep from becoming, marginalized as Individuals. In the 21st century, there are hundreds of millions of marginalized Individuals. These masses are struggling in New York just as sure are they are struggling in New Delhi. You’ll find them in rural Kansas just as sure as you will find them in urbanized Kampala.
Sure, there has always been poverty everywhere. But marginalization in the era of Globalization 3.0 is not a unidimensional, socioeconomic phenomena that can be reduced to a matter of money. Marginalization in Globalization 3.0 will have many faces and many battlefronts. It is as likely to be found in the home of a forced-retirement IT worker in suburban Minneapolis as it is to be found in a hut in a rural village of Banda Aceh. It will be found in the farmhouses of rural Iowa as well as in the urban ghettos of Rio de Janeiro.
The reality for each of us is this: In the hyper-competitive world of Globalization 3.0, nation-states and giant corporations are going to have their hands full just taking care of themselves and their already enfranchised citizenry and customers. We will have a very long wait if we expect our lives as Empowered Individuals to be handed to us on silver platters from the governments where we live, or from the corporations from which we buy things or where we work.
The Globalization 3.0 Challenge: Wealthshifting from the Big Three
Becoming an Empowered Individual in the Flat World of Globalization 3.0 is exciting and, let’s be honest, a bit scary. It can be scary to know that we are quite literally on our own. But paradoxically, what makes our Globalization 3.0 lives scary is what makes them exciting as well.
As Empowered Individuals of Globalization 3.0, we all share the same fundamental goal. Our shared goal is to shift wealth from the Big Three to the rest of us. The Big Three are nation-states, multinational corporations, and the world’s wealthiest individuals who have more money than most of us can imagine.
Our means to achieving this shift of wealth is not through violent revolution nor any other form of replacing an existing One Right Way with yet another, different One Right Way.
Our means to empowering Individuals in the Globalization 3.0 world will be to envision alternatives in how we organize to do work and create economic and social value, and in how we envision and create markets. Nothing short of a revolutionary alternative — an alternative, not a replacement — of our understanding of, and strategies for, investment, production, and consumption will achieve the scale of social and economic change that is possible in the Globalization 3.0 era.
When enough of us make this shift in how we think about ourselves and how we think about our world and the power of our place in it, the full potential of Globalization 3.0 will begin to be realized. The cyclone of change of Globalization 3.0 will pluck each of us from our homes in Kansas, Kampala, and Kanpur and we will find ourselves networked, hand-in-hand, in the Flat World of Empowered Individuals.
–Sohodojo Jim and Timlynn–
January 9th, 2006
John Berger said (our emphasis added):
[snip] But is it reasonable or creditworthy to set up an e-commerce model without significant marketing or other component (ned) that will drive people to the site?
Do you have any idea how many billions of dollars have been spent on ecommerce sites that never worked. [snip] Basically she did everything right absent being able to spend a lot of money on marketing. End result â?? she is lucky to get a handful of sales every month.
E-commerce sites only seem like they are cheap to set up, but they need a ton of capital, luck, or a really unique product to succeed.
This is why ned could be really cool. A distribution platform that people go into for a core product and experience but which can be used to market products at a lower cost. Perhaps the sneaker-net beats the internet?
Absolutely, John! And we detect a growing Globalization 3.0 Small Is Good World insight creeping into your thoughtful contributions. Your comments above and the recent lively thread of discussion relevant to the financial implications for Ned partnering and distribution strategy further support our point most recently addressed in this reply to Mark. We were responding to Mark’s concern that ‘reinventing consumerism’ might be too limiting a vision for Ned. In our reply we noted that Ned would be both “the obvious plus something more,” and that this meant Ned needs to ultimately differentiate itself on an “unstuff (non-product) dimension” of the emerging Globalization 3.0 Flat World.
In the Big Is Good World of Globalization 2.0, price-sensitive market/brand differentiation was pretty much tied to offering options based on perceived quality and/or service and/or support.
Globalization 3.0’s emerging Flat World of Empowered Networked Individuals creates a new, truly revolutionary opportunity to reinvent consumerism — that is, to shift (some, not all) consumer/market dynamics from a stuff/product focus to an experience/community focus.
Using distribution partnerships, such as TTV and WoG channels, is a form of change insurgency strategy that is not just good business but a necessary extension of the recruitment network needed to expose folks to Ned’s secret sauce — that is, as John referred to it above, Ned’s experience, its community/commerce-platform that will distinguish it in the marketplace now and, more importantly, into the future.
As you read or reread Tom Friedman’s The World Is Flat, notice how frequently he keeps reminding us that flattening is an ongoing process. As flat as the world is now, it will become hyper-flat in the years ahead. Using a diversified distribution and partnering strategy is how Ned rides the ebbing wave of Globalization 2.0. Having a radically innovative vision to be the first-mover in an experience-based, “unstuff”, inprosuming, Globalization 3.0 marketplace… this is what will ultimately leverage Ned into being the Next Big Thing.
In this context, it is not so much that sneaker-net beats the internet as it is that in the ever-flattening Flat World, Globalization 3.0 nets (AKA network marketplaces) will sustainably compete with (and in time on their own terms, beat) Globalization 2.0 nets.
–Sohodojo Jim and Timlynn–
January 6th, 2006
Mark Grimes said (our emphasis added):
Jim and Timlynn…I dig the new blog, very cool. WRT to reinventing consumerism, while I agree personally, I also think there needs to include all levels of engagement. Some people just want their coffee for the day, and that’s okay too.
Absolutely agreed. Reinventing does not mean replacing. We don’t want to throw out the old One Right Way for a new One Right Way. It’s about alternatives and choice. There are certainly both deep and surface shoppers in our vision of the Flat World’s expanded marketplace of Globalization 3.0.
What will ‘hook’ the surface shopper is the “gravity” of the underlying deep shoppers’ experience-based community. These surface-folks will be thinking, “Hey, there’s something different and interesting going on here,” and “I may just grab a cuppa joe today, but I know I feel good about being even a small part of what is going on here.” Over time some non-trivial number of surface folks will dive deeper.
If we don’t shoot for something radically innovative and seductively compelling, Ned could end up being just another exercise in stretching the do-good/feel-good strategy of traditional retailing and marketing. “Fair trade” is fast becoming just two ubiquitous words on packaging akin to “New, Improved.”
This doesn’t mean that you have to bet the Ned farm on an “all or nothing” innovation strategy. But it does mean that you have to have a deep and compelling mission/vision from the start. That mission has to set the bar very high for what will be the Next Big Thing. Being just a tweak on 10,000 Villages or OXFAM isn’t good enough.
The Hungry Consumer isn’t yearning to fill him or herself with yet more stuff. They want something that the Big Is Good World hasn’t delivered and isn’t capable of producing.
Ned will be wildly successful to the extent that it deeply understands and delivers the “unstuff” dimension of the Globalization 3.0 marketplace of empowered Individuals.
–Sohodojo Jim and Timlynn–
January 4th, 2006