Here’s a great video via HackerNews by Clay Shirky, a well known social technology guru, on the importance of passionate internet communities.
Some good quotes:
“They didn’t care that they’d seen it work in practice because they already knew it couldn’t work in theory.”
“The solidity was on the side of the thing that looked evanescent.”
“What has happened, what is happening in our generation is that we have a set of tools for aggregating things that people care about in ways that increase the scope and longevity in ways that were unpredictable even a decade ago.”
“You will make more accurate predictions about software and in this web driving world about services if you ask yourself not whats the business model but rather do the people who like it take care of each other. That turns out to be the better predictor of longevity.”
“…Asking for nothing but the chance to come together and do something interesting”
Somewhat coincidentally, while exploring prior submissions of other HackerNews users I came across Bruce Schneier’s review of Shirky’s recent book Here Comes Everybody:
[Shirky’s] new book, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, explores a world where organizational costs are close to zero and where ad hoc, loosely connected groups of unpaid amateurs can create an encyclopedia larger than the Britannica and a computer operating system to challenge Microsoft’s.
I’m going to use this as an excuse to go pick up the book.