How do the systems for sharing get to be more successful than the business of hiding?

(When) Did we replace models of sharing with models of hiding? ie, (When) Did we create soul-sucking machines of progress? Television, wall st, military industrial complex, big box stores, etc. We think these systems should be trashed? Or upgraded slightly? Does open information solve their problems? What is the future of large American institutions such as the banks, automotive, pharma, military industrial complex, media publishing, etc. Do you actively work to take them down? Or do you build something better nearby and assume that you can design safe evacuation for the participants?

How do the systems for sharing get to be more successful than the business of hiding? Or are they already with facebook, twitter, flickr, youtube, digg, reddit, craigslist, etc… Bill has left the building. Will Steve leave soon too? Will Linus or many others take over?
Do these ideas translate to physical domain already? Is the enlightened characteristic of “success” the ability to truly democratize content production and credit?
We believe in this thing, therefore we all should be engaged in a broader conversation about the process of sharing information, no?
Does frequency/unit of sharing affect reception and transmission? And when does knowledge “count”? Is it when one person knows? 5? Half? Or when we all know?

There are a bunch of people who are doing the sharing thing already so it shouldn’t be shocking for us to do it to, right? How can we be explicit about what is being done now in specific implementations and what is being done in meta analysis/trends? Should we use the tools of the ad agencies? Or we should invent new methods? What is the sustainable version of the superbowl ad that we use to sell news ideas and processes? Is “flat and peer-to-peer information transfer for all we do in life” the end goal? Does this allow both the capitalist idea of the market solving all with the communist idea of a public trust (all information)?

In terms of the practical and the now, what are the businesses or systems I am using that support sharing and have an ability to overturn an existing business leader?
I should mention that I regularly use firefox (vs safari or ie), openoffice (vs word, excel, etc), vlc (vs itunes, windows media player, etc). I am not using linux (vs windows/macos) but hope to have a linux machine soon. I use arduino and shop at adafruit. I am beginning to use gimp (vs photoshop) and inkscape (vs illustrator/corel). I have been a small user of processing, openframeworks, and codeblocks.
And corporate software I am using: I am currently happy with ableton live (~$400). I don’t like Solidworks (~$3500) and have looked for alternatives but haven’t found anything yet.

Can I actually make a living right now sharing? Or should I still be looking for work in the hiding businesses because that is the reality?

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4 Responses to “How do the systems for sharing get to be more successful than the business of hiding?”

  1. jeff says:

    Here’s the main things that have been on my mind regarding a complete switch to openness in our culture. First, products cost money. So openness doesn’t necessarily mean free-ness. Things can be completely open source and still only capable of being implemented by a few people. And for large systems/corporations, it’s hard to figure out methods by which people can open source and update complex codes/physical systems.. what is the incentive for an auto manufacturer to open source their material?

    Also, how do you convince someone who already has a working business model to switch to this model? I’d say 90%+ of people in our economy are not open source about everything in their doings, and they would not see reason to switch - even if the switch would eventually become profitable. So, what can be done to convince people that change is something worth causing?

  2. eric says:

    Did our group evolution prescribe some optimal level of information sharing for the human species? Do we thrive on a fine line between pondering hidden information and rolling in open information?
    If we could somehow makes ants more open with their information sharing - by boosting their pheremone output - what would happen?

  3. dan says:

    @jeff. maybe a company like toyota could go totally open source and still maintain full market advantage? (but normal economy problems are still real for them). the value of the company is built up in the workers and their ability to adapt to new situations. although they may still have walls between their info and the rest of the world, they are much more fluid with information inside the company. so their company value is less dependent on hidden information. at least much less dependent then the big 3 or banks or lawyers…

    @eric. would be interesting to know what the literature says about primates and information sharing. is sharing everything and not hiding info was one of the key traits that took us over so much diverse climates to such varied resources? the ability to share info about plants, animals, etc. this enables mobility?

    much less ownership. nomadic cultures i guess are still very much this way. ownership implies being stationary? it’s kind of like sitting down on the job when your job is to be compressing more information? right now, obviously things wont change overnight. but in long term, does there remain a short term necessity for hiding?

    then there is the easter island thing about progress traps. they are trapped in one place (island forces this stationary behavoir) and they make these heads bigger and bigger until they use up all the resources on the island, then it can’t produce food and they all die or leave the island by boat.
    lack of ‘points of view’ or ‘alternative physical locations’ poisons? web enables alternate points of view between alternative physical locations so progress traps become less likely or impossible?

    and also the idea of consumer/disposer culture vs sustainability…

  4. jeff says:

    I think once the transition is made to a completely open sharing society, it is sustainable. Lately localized mutations have made this transition in a self-enclosed community [eg linux] that have succeeded. Figuring out and studying how to create these transitions for not-from-scratch business models is necessary to accelerate the switch, but once the switch is made, the bar has been raised and a new stable solution to the differential equations exists.

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