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New businesses reside in the linked economy November 11, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, creativity, intent, strategy, technology, web 2.0.
Tags: , , , , ,


Image via Wikipedia

I spend a lot of time with friends thinking about where tomorrow’s businesses lie, and I’m on the record that great content with good intentions and an open philosophy will be at the heart of the real money-makers in the next decade.

With that in mind, I’ve just read a fascinating post from Mark Ury who is an Experience Architect at Blast Radius. Mark ties together a few loose strands of thinking and comes out with something entirely his own. I particularly love the below principles he borrows from Jeff Jarvis

Can applying “link economy” strategies work for “traditional” companies? Here are Jeff Jarvis’ four principles. And below is a modified version, applied to companies in pursuit of innovation:

1. All companies must be transparent. Your talent base and IP must be exposed and connected. They’re not useable unless they’re linked.

2. The recipient of IP and talent is the party responsible for monetizing them. The more you enable the flow of IP and talent AWAY from you, the more it comes BACK—with greater value and skills to monetize. Just watch how Hollywood operates.

3. A porous organization is the key to efficiency. In other words: do what you do best and link to the rest.

4. There are opportunities to add value atop the IP and talent layer. This is where one can find business opportunities: by managing abundance rather than the old model of managing scarcity. The market needs help finding the good stuff; that curation is a business opportunity.

…which he applies to Threadless during the course of the post…

The result: a business that manages abundance (t-shirt ideas), provides value through transparency (the audience becomes both editor and consumer), and values the flow of IP and talent through them—rather than by them. (Doc Searls calls this kind of value “a shift from “making money with” to “making money because.”)

Great piece. And it contains some links to some other fascinating reads on “the linked economy”. Mark also takes the time to talk about opportunities that exist around monetising the aggregation of information and content, of which Threadless is a prime example (as is Flickr, YouTube, MySpace etc.).

The idea here is this: find the verticles in seemingly well-mined markets, and you will open up doors the rest of us never knew existed.

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1. Matt - November 12, 2008

Nice post Dave (and great formatting). I agree in principle, but ‘Open Business’ is such a ‘Western’ idea. I want to know what people in China, Russia, Cuba, North Korea, Iran and the third world think about it all!

2. David Gillespie - November 12, 2008

Matthew, you’re being obtuse for the sake of it! 🙂 I think people in those countries are thinking “Fuck you and your fancy t-shirts, I can’t say what i think on the street without getting arrested, beaten up, or shot.

Seriously though, all Threadless is doing is crowd-sourcing the designs and making a killing selling the most popular ones. They’re letting designers be good at designing, their business revolves around the fulfillment of t-shirt orders, irrespective of what goes on the front. That is point #3 above to a tee, I don’t see anything about it that is fundamentally Western.

Something that is more closely related to the West is the freedom of expression. I argued a few months back the success of companies like WordPress is due to them creating a platform for people to express themselves, and we’re going to see massive growth (and money made) in post-media enterprises> that make it easier for people to express themselves. I’ll gladly bet the farm on that.

Given idea expression is curtailed in the countries you mention above, I’ll take your point that it is a Western notion (or perhaps rather a democratic one – apologies to the readers in South Korea, Japan and elsewhere), but only because of those Government’s domestic policies, not because people aren’t looking for a voice.

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