Monday, November 02, 2009

90:10 - Open For Business

Today I can finally announce I've embarked on a new journey - as Managing Director and co-founder of a new business: 90:10.

It's a journey that emphasises a meme close observers will have seen emerging in my work for quite some time (it's described in my Communities of Purpose paper written in March 08).

That is, that in order to truly benefit from the power of the network we must think less about media (social or otherwise) and more about how and why people organise to get things done.

90:10 takes that to its logical business-oriented change-empowering conclusion. 90:10 is aimed at enabling efficiency, innovation and transformation through social technologies.

Efficiency - the big why

Efficiency is important to us not just for the obvious reason (the payback to the benefitting business's bottom line) but for the same kind of reason that quality is important to outdoor clothing maker Howies.

Howies believes in quality (read Mark Earls' Herd for the full story) because it makes their stuff last longer. If it needs replacing less often less resources are required to keep Howies fans clothed. It's better for the environment, better for all.

Efficiency is important to 90:10 because when people connect to wikifix or co-create something new we do so because we want that thing to exist. We want the outcome.

This closes the gap between supply and demand. In its final iteration, as a planet, we will only create what we need - with zero waste and zero need to 'create' demand.

In a world of limited resource plundering the things we have in abundance, to make the most of the things we don't, has to be the right thing to do.

Our creativity, our desire and ability to connect, to be social beings, these we have in abundance. Tapping them is both exciting in its potential and wise as a strategy for success. It is what 90:10 does.

It ultimately means there will be more of what all of us need. All of us.

Efficiency that is better for all.
Efficiency for a bigger reason.
That's why we believe in efficiency. Driven by innovation - leading to transformation.

It's not about the tech, it's about the people

We understand the tech doesn't perform the magic. People do.

The tech is simply the tools through which the business of new business (and new organisation) is done. It is the tools the crowd, this we species of ours, the edglings, us, are using to build our self-organised tomorrow.

I don't want to build the next Twitter, Facebook or Google (though I'll happily consult on how they could and should monetise) - I'm interested in what emerges from them and what comes after them - what communities of purpose can and will do with these tools.

Connecting people who care about the same stuff gets that stuff done better. It innovates best-fit solutions and gets to those best-fit solutions faster and cheaper.

It's Wikifixing. It's global. And it's because people give a damn - if only you'll let them.

As I detailed in Social + Media = Change, I believe the real RoI of social media is unleashed by the way it enables adhoc communities of purpose to form; This is what the money has been waiting to follow.

These communities exist. They want to make stuff better. They want to join in creating the things that matter to them.

Recently, inspired by Clay Shirky, I wrote: Media that publishes without a comment box, publishes broken

That is, publishing without being open to contribution, is the wrong model for the networked world.

There is a version for business - in fact for all organisations:

'A business that operates without a comment box, operates broken'.
That is, a business that fails to open up to the riches it could share in through the feedback loops, real-time co-creation and wikifixing of the power of the network is a business that is in peril - at risk of being disrupted and defeated by those that are.

Next to those from the self-organised, open future, it is broken.

90:10 is all about fixing that - becoming truly and effectively Open For Business.

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The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?