Supernova: Distributed Business

Philip Evans / Dick Hardt / Greg Lloyd / Sean Park / Julius Genachowski

[Collaborative notes taken by Nat, Tom, Kevin, and me. EAOE.]

First guy: Found John’s comments extraordinarily persuasive. Particularly intrigued by one story – in 1st feb 1997 at a place called Carrier, a factory burned down. They made certain kinds of pressure valves. It was the only place athat made these things, and toyota’s leanness meant that there were no replacements. In the next few days 62 countries swarmed on the problem to come to a solution.

Philip Evans (?)

Few principles:

– technology needs to be simple and pervasive – much more important than complexity and sophistication – linux is basically written using e-mail and listservs

– some principles of intellectual property – normally ways that allow some forms of intellectual property to be shared

– process knowledge is treated as a commons – everyone contributes and everyone benefits

– scientific discipline – test and check everything.

– granular diffusion of the information – you don’t only do an experiment but you tell everyone about it – not big powerpoint presentations – small, frequent and granular information (when people are talking a lot, they develop a richer language in which their conversation can take place – shorthands, words, concepts AND TRUST – lots in game theory about how you develop trust in game theory when you play games a lot of times.)

– visibility, transparency and frequency of comms build trust and that lowers transaction costs cf. wiki / blogging etc. all of these communities exemplify the same principles – the scaling of the network drives down transaction costs, and the lowering of transaction costs drives up the scaling of the network. Virtuous circle.


Didn’t set out to create a community of people who were interested in going to concerts or sporting events, but we did. (More examples about accidental creation of communities in sports and dating and stuff).

Looking at ways to turn users into participants. At the beginnings of that with several of the businesses, and the results so far are very exciting. Ticketmaster runs an online magazine – info on concerts / going on tour etc. – ‘threw up on the live daily site’ (!!!) – simple forum site and they were pretty surprised by how quick the take up was. Without any promotion – 10,000 users, 2 /12 million threads. “Does anyone know when Eminem’s on Tour”. Expedia was built on first three stool legs – on the side there was a business called trip advisor that made no transactions but was really focused on user-community content – reviews of hotels. It’s business model was then to have relationships with advertisers and charge for click-throughs. “Began to see for the first time the power of empowering the community”.

We have to be willing to have consumers trash our products in order to have a customer base that trusts them. They are just starting to think abou thow to use wikis and blogs on their site. People have made the point that tools need to be simple so that htey can be embraced by consumers, so are looking at ways to simplify them and get them out to consumers.

Dick Hardt (Sxip Identity)

What is identity? A shitload of stuff. (he shows his school, house, town, bank cards, and so on)

How identity was conveyed – by voice.

Now it’s by photo ID, so you can prove who you are.

ID is reputation.

Digital ID can be thought of as site regestration, but that’s a big hassle. But is it ID or just forms? It’s just authentication to prove you are a directory entry.

how do i prove who I am online? It’s not possible today – digital ID is not what you give to the site but what the site knows about you.

E.g. Ebay reputation – you can’t take it to Craig’s list, it’s not your reputation it’s their reputation because it’s a closed site. Site-centric. ID 1.0.

Basically identity 1.0 is walled gardens and stuff, identity 2.0 is about connectiveity and web services between the various parts.

You need a way to port ID from site to site – ID 2.0. Difference between Dos and windows. But to do that you need ID on web services.

Full access or no access and it doesn’t scale so SXIp is trying to bring around identity 2.0.

[critique is that he is confusing the objects for himself; if your identity is defined by the stuff you carry in your wallet, you are a hollow man]

Greg Lloyd – Traction Software

Traction makes enterprise weblog software – ‘weblogs for groups with a goal’ – there are significant difrerences, but the major point is: the use of social software tools / the expectations that are set on the public internet will drive the structure of businesses in two or three years.

The new generation infrastructure – web search, wikis, content search engiens, feeds etc – are changing the way people’s expectations are set about how they keep informed about what matters to them. If you can do that on the public internet, why should a business person settle for less?

Two particular points on how social software and new generation web infrastructure adapts to group use:

(1) the ability to address specific audiences / groups

(2) in order to broadly deploy this sort of thing: (a) a notion of identity that works across all stakeholders (b) a notion of local permission based upon that ??? without needing an IT org hardwire all the connections.

Example: An engineer in General Motors. Someone in germany creates a weblog creates a weblog and puts it on a network accessible to me. it’s talking about a particular transmission design. I would like to be able to find out about that weblog within the GM domain simply by searching, finding someone else’s weblog that talks about it, subscribing to an RSS feed or joining it without subscribing to it. If I’m working with Suw, I’d liketo be able to say that her identity has this kind of thing and can do this kind of thing with bottom-up permissions.

JP Rangaswami, CIO Dressdner Kleinwort Wasserstein

To repeat cluetrain – markets are conversations. The business of an investment ank is based on relationships. Why are we here? We’re here to learn.

How can we use the tools that are currently coming though in the last few years in a firm with a distributed model in a decent way.

Focus on the role of the individual. We are building systems around the individual not the firm. The firm has a value set close or congruent with the individual which allows him to do shit.

Can’t tell people what devices to use anymore. Connection agnostic – wifi or bluetooth or whatever. In the meantime, you have to be able to search everything and find anything that you need to find in your archives. that’s a serious proposition and there are issues around IP and who owns the stuff that’s moving around.

Even with a production line company, there were people who didn’t make shit, but now individual has all sorts of knowledge and content to be able to collaborate to produce something that no individual can create. We use these tools to attract and retain the right people, and now the individual choses to stay with a firm instead of being there for life.

Diaggregated, democratised.

To have trust, you have to do that which is prudent.

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