The group-sourced, rapidly shifting paradigms that brought us to our current seats firmly within Web 2.0 are fascinating to read about … and, to hear about, courtesy of the Vanity Fair article.

Perhaps not so oddly, I see a parallel between the actual creation of the Internet and the early collaborative efforts with the current microcosm of collaboration, Wikipedia. On some level, my interpretation of the intentional invention and innovation promoting unpredictable leaps forward in technology seems like a very human thing. Why?

Because only through the usage of the technology by actual humans, can it be possibly to enable humanity in a certain way – and the readings seem to indicate that no matter how innovative an individual or product is, it seems terribly hard to discover where that humanity-enabling value is.

Because some, or rather a lot of what I’m seeing are things that were developed for one specific purpose, and yet through use were discovered to be more useful in a different application; or, the accidental convergence of clear engineering talent, a concept, and simply fielding it for use and the close observation of its use. Examples:

The Internet writ large as military communications: it was designed for this, then it was put into use, and through simple use the purpose of the general user evolves

 Nupedia to Wikipedia: a product that does not really work generates an idea that does work, and management is smart enough to see that and shift strategic effort to support the clear success

Blog posts: Originally designed as a journal, but can be used for organizing people and communicating on a many-to-many model

The overall innovation pattern I’m seeing is:

Conceive of a useful technology for a target user or market

Field it to that market, but also to a broader audience

Survey the usage reasons of the entire audience

Use observations of all users for continued, iterative product innovation




17: When we change the way we communicate, we change society.

21: The old model: We haven’t had all the groups we’ve wanted, we’ve had all the groups we could afford.

Chapter 1 Analysis

From the missing cell phone example: couch something in terms that are universal – such as something that everyone can relate to, instead of as something relevant mostly to only one individual, are most powerful



26: the Birthday Paradox: in a group of 35 people, there is a 80% chance of 2 people having the same birthday.

52: Society’s way of dealing with the tragedy of the Commons:

Elimination of the Commons: transfer ownership to individuals

Governance, or “mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon”. Taxes are usually involved.

Chapter 2 analysis:

The birthday paradox was very interesting, when considering / trying to get my brain around the power of networks. It’s an interesting example – kind of akin to a compounded interest effect of an exponential value growth.



61: Mass Amateurization: old industries are running afoul of this idea and being re-formed by it.

Effect on ideas: amplifying effect

Effect on laws protecting media: prevented Federal legislation



 86: Communications shift: from one-to-many for broadcast television to many-to-many for online /  social media

 96, great quote: Esther Dyson: “When we call something intuitive, we often mean familiar”

 104, another quote:. Love motivates people to bake a cake and money motivates people to make an encyclopedia.



Radical assumption: groups of people who want to collaborate also tend to trust one another.

Scaling: starts small and slow, and grows: ‘once an article exists, it starts to get readers. Soon a self-selecting group of those readers decide to become contributors.’

122-125 POWER LAW DISTRIBUTION: explains the imbalance of participation thru application of a widely-seen social science data distribution.

Chapter 5 Analysis

Imbalance driving large social systems: like the ‘long tail’ applied to participation.

Interesting counter to the Tragedy of the Commons – the community has all contributed, and now they retaliate en masse if their work product is torn down or destroyed.


CHAPTER 6:                 

149: Rue the day that you do not realize that the play of the game haven’t changed, but that the game you play has

·Application of many-to-many communication

Chapter 6 Analysis

The Catholic Church in Boston: brought a knife to a bomb fight. They were playing the same game in the 2000’s as in the 90’s, but didn’t realize that the actual game was on an entirely different field.