“In the 21st century, large is no longer in charge,” he says.
Of course, I like my version better.
What’s so great about guys hacking the Toyota Prius is not just that it shows the potential of fuel economy if only Detroit/Tokyo would get behind it, but also that it shows the power of open-sourcing your product. This guy did the work of a dozen guys in lab coats and it didn’t cost Toyota a thing. If companies would let their customers improve their products, everyone would win. I keep pointing to the mods a blogger proposes on Treonauts. And come to think of it, why does Apple say you void your warranty if you open up one of their boxes; they should reward you for opening up the box and helping them think out of it.
I think that there’s a big future in that sort of thing. Lots of people like the idea of being self-employed, and technology makes that easier in all sorts of ways. But while you may not want to work for Dilbert’s pointy-haired boss, you probably would want Dilbert’s health plan. In a way, sites like eBay and Amazon are disintermediating the pointy-haired boss, and the other layers that sit between people who do work, and the actual customers – just as music sites like GarageBand.com are disintermediating the record companies (and producers and A&R men) who sit between the musicians and their audiences.
But they’re also re-intermediating, by putting themselves in that role. To the extent that they’re doing things that traditional companies used to do – like dickering with health insurance companies, and providing a trusted reputation that makes customers feel better about dealing with strangers they’ll never meet – they’re filling that niche, although in a very different way, and one that will have very different implications for the economy, and for employment.
Everything Jeff Jarvis says here applies to the US DoD. The systems that bring in the big bucks are nearly useless in our current security environment yet they suck up the majority of funding. Unfortunately, those big budget programs are also the source of power in the Pentagon.
In what other industries and segments of society is it true that the cash cow kills change?