This blog is where we announce new videos & talk about the power of explanation & the change it can create. 

Business Week Interview with Howard Rheingold

I really like it when Howard talks about the future. It speaks to me on such a real level. In this interview, he (among many other things) talks about how the choices we make as technology users (links in weblogs, ratings on Amazon, articles in Wikipedia) make for really useful ways to filter and find information without the intent to do so- and how this is disruptive to businesses.

Google is based on the emergent choices of people who link. Nobody is really thinking, "I'm now contributing to Google's page rank." What they're thinking is, "This link is something my readers would really be interested in." They're making an individual judgment that, in the aggregate, turns out to be a pretty good indicator of what's the best source.

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This kind of collective production of value is disruptive to businesses.

There's also Wikipedia [the online encyclopedia written by volunteers]. It has 500,000 articles in 50 languages at virtually no cost, vs. Encyclopedia Britannica spending millions of dollars and they have 50,000 articles.

New digital technologies are creating a crisis in the business models of the companies that depend on having a monopoly on distribution. Look at MP3 blogs: We're now seeing bands that are saying, "Please pirate my material. Here it is." They make money from that. They get bookings from that. They build an audience on that.

From my prospective, the threat is also an opportunity. There are many start-ups today that understand the points above very well and are building new business models around them. It won't be long until these companies are head-to-head with old, slow and stuck-in-their-ways companies who may find themselves with an outdated business model and a ship that's too slow to turn around in time. This will be fun to watch.