Mitch writes today of his frustration as a board member of the Chaordic Commons. This is a foundation formed by the organizer of VISA, Dee Hock, based on his insight that VISA came together and grew into the world’s largest financial enterprise because it combined the energy of chaos and order. Specifically, VISA is owned by its participating banks using a structure that balances the interests of the larger and smaller members. It holds no significant assets of its own, but exists to enrich its member banks.
The Chaordic Commons seeks to help organizations to employ those principles for their own success, and Dee Hock’s book, Birth of the Chaordic Age, provided some grist for the Xpertweb mill. Like VISA, Xpertweb is a transaction-processing (well, publishing) system, not owned in the usual sense, serving its users in an even-handed way. If Xpertweb’s virulence works as designed, its protocols could see global adoption as broad as VISA‘s, which is why it has no central function to slow it down. It’s a lot like rock ‘n roll while VISA is like a farmer co-op.
Conversations are Markets
We in the information business want to believe that the world springs from ideas and that reason can sway enterprise. Actually it’s the opposite, which I hadn’t realized so strongly until I read Mitch’s description. Let’s riff on the ClueGuys’ point:
I’d suggest the inverse:
The market precedes the non-campfire conversations. Until the Agora is up and running and moving the goods and shekels, we’re basically a bunch of gossips. But when there’s a product or service to design and produce, based on an inspiring (advantage-fueled) business plan, then we band together and do some, well, productive thinking.
Any board has trouble holding a productive dialogue if it has no pressing economic (productive) need for it. As I read Dee Hock’s book, the member VISA banks got something slapped together fast because they smelled money and, just as importantly, computer technology was so new they just did what made sense at the moment rather than hiring experts to study the opportunity. Actually, they did hire some experts, but Dee promptly fired them.
This sounds like a typical business is first and foremost rant, but that’s not the point. The point is that, until citizens are bound together through direct economic links, as in the Agora and farmers’ co-op, we’ll not have the clout to do for our nation what we think the managers in companies and the White House should do—organize resources on behalf of the nation rather than for their own interests.
Well, they are citizens, and they’re advancing the interests of the citizens they know best. The mass of citizens won’t have the power to enforce “fairness” until those citizens have the power to do so, collectively. Power is economic power, not the power of persuasion or moral rectitude or any of the other illusions that most of us would like them to be. There are no short cuts to wielding power. Unless there is a collective economic force which is palpable, pervasive, broadspread and even-handed, chaordically improving the allocation of productive resources, then there will be no counterpoise to Mitch’s dire prediction in his other post today:
Doc is thinking about Cluetrain also today and wrestling with the impotence of words alone:
In 1999, the valley held the power of economics because even Washington thought the Internet was a tidal wave. The power has left with the money. The folks in Washington couldn’t be happier.
Grab Your Power or Grab Your Ankles
There are two major themes today: the incompetent and wrong-headed management of people and resources by the American management class, and the quiet but nearly total repeal of civil rights by an administration that sees itself as managers, not leaders. There’s no difference between the two.
It’s been 530 days since 9/11 froze us into meek submission to petty demagogues. Which way do you want the curve to arc in the next 530 days? If we the people do not build, deploy and populate our own economic and political web applications, then we’ll be in a worse place in another 530 days. Could we have imagined on 9/10/01 that our civil rights
What do we want our reality to be like on 6/13/05? That June would be a good month to be free.