Build systems so that anybody can contribute at any amount

Via this posting by Stefan Hagen, I came across this interesting and relevant talk by Clay Shirky about institutions vs. collaboration. Listening to Mr. Shirky, I learned, for example, this:

Minute 4
When you build cooperation into the infrastructure, as for example Flickr does, you can leave the people where they are, i.e. you can take the problem to the individuals rather than move the individuals to the problem.

Minute 5
A general aspect of cooperative systems is that it replaces planning with coordination.

Minute 9
Institutions only have 2 tools: Carrots and sticks. The 80% zone is a no-stick, no-carrot zone. Recall in this regard, that in the photo example that Mr. Shirky talked about, 80% of the contributors – in this example photographers - contributed with a below average amount – in this example number of photos. In this regard, Mr. Shirky mentions that if your system is designed so that you have to give up a quarter of the value, reengineer the system. Build the system so that anybody can contribute at any amount.

Minute 14
Mr. Shirky mentions that if you want to know what technology is going to change the world, don’t pay attention to 13 year-old boys. Pay attention to young mothers.

Minute 20
Institutions are going to come under an increasing degree of pressure. The more rigidly managed and the more they rely on information monopolies, the greater the pressure is going to be. The point is, Mr. Shirky explains, that there is going to be a massive readjustment. Since we can see it in advance and know it is coming, we might as well get good at it.


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