Is coworking part of an economic revolution?

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Dusty

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Oct 12, 2007, 12:27:43 PM10/12/07
to Coworking
What if coworking is more than a space for independents? What if it's
part of turning business on it's head?

I'll frame this with 3 sub plots "Revolutions" then I'll get to my
main point. Tell me if you think I'm smoking crack. :)

Revolution #1 - The fall of privately developed software

Software quickly approaches a value of $0 over time as it becomes
obsolete. In the mean time open source software is gaining ground on
privately developed software. Even Google doesn't make money on
selling it's software, it makes money on advertising. So (here comes
insight from 2005), let's assume the next wave isn't making software
and selling it, it's making software and making $ in a "meta" way
around that software. Such as selling ads (Google), or supporting it,
as in a technical services company that's keen to open source
development. Yes, web services as a business are big now. But I'll
argue that even products like Basecamp aren't exempt from open source
competition (see activeCollab). And web services actually make their $
in a "meta" way. They manage the hosting for their customers.

Revolution #2 - Rise of the independent worker

The days of company, employee loyalty are over. Gen-Y doesn't trust
big corporations and the baby boomers are pissed they lost their
pensions. Also technology has given individuals the ability to work
remotely and independently of a single employer. Check out
http://http-download.intuit.com/http.intuit/CMO/intuit/futureofsmallbusiness/SR-1037_intuit_SmallBiz_Demog.pdf
for more on the rise of the independent worker.

Revolution #3 - Coworking spaces form

I don't need to explain why coworking spaces are forming to this
group. :)

So with these 3 things in mind. Wouldn't it make sense for a coworking
community to create a decentralized service company based on open
source values? Thus creating a company with near 0 full-time
employees. And is instead powered by independent workers who are
already gathered in a coworking space and community and may come and
go as they please.

In other words. Could you take open source values, a coworking
community, and create a decentralized company that supports it's
community and rewards it's contributers fairly based on the value of
their contribution?

Thoughts?

sk...@emergentresearch.com

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Oct 13, 2007, 4:34:02 PM10/13/07
to Coworking
Hi:

My name is Steve King and I'm the project leader for the Future of
Small Business report you reference (and thanks for the reference:)).
To make a long story short, we agree that coworking is part of a
broader, long term shift towards economic decentralization. I've been
following this group for some time (as a lurker) because coworking is
an interesting example of the impact of the growth of personal
(meaning solo) businesses .

We see coworking as a supporting trend - by that we mean coworking
facilities and the coworking movement is a sub-trend of the broader
trend towards more personal and microbusinesses (1-5 employees).
There are many impediments to successfully building a personal or
microbusiness, and coworking helps overcome some of these. In
particular, providing a social environment and access to a broader
work-related network is extremely useful and potentially very powerful
- but of course anyone on this group gets all this.

I'm not ready to declare privately developed software dead. There is
a clear trend towards open source software and meta revenue models for
software. This is even more true for software aimed at consumers.
However proprietary software will be with us for a long time and will
continue to dominate many segments for at least the next decade, if
not longer. This is particularly true for enterprise software and
most B2B software. Whether or not you consider software as service
business models meta or not, most are not open source and companies
like Salesforce.com will continue to do well for some time.

Steve
www.smallbizlabs.com


On Oct 12, 9:27 am, Dusty <dustyrea...@gmail.com> wrote:
> What if coworking is more than a space for independents? What if it's
> part of turning business on it's head?
>
> I'll frame this with 3 sub plots "Revolutions" then I'll get to my
> main point. Tell me if you think I'm smoking crack. :)
>
> Revolution #1 - The fall of privately developed software
>
> Software quickly approaches a value of $0 over time as it becomes
> obsolete. In the mean time open source software is gaining ground on
> privately developed software. Even Google doesn't make money on
> selling it's software, it makes money on advertising. So (here comes
> insight from 2005), let's assume the next wave isn't making software
> and selling it, it's making software and making $ in a "meta" way
> around that software. Such as selling ads (Google), or supporting it,
> as in a technical services company that's keen to open source
> development. Yes, web services as a business are big now. But I'll
> argue that even products like Basecamp aren't exempt from open source
> competition (see activeCollab). And web services actually make their $
> in a "meta" way. They manage the hosting for their customers.
>
> Revolution #2 - Rise of the independent worker
>
> The days of company, employee loyalty are over. Gen-Y doesn't trust
> big corporations and the baby boomers are pissed they lost their
> pensions. Also technology has given individuals the ability to work

> remotely and independently of a single employer. Check outhttp://http-download.intuit.com/http.intuit/CMO/intuit/futureofsmallb...

xray

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Oct 14, 2007, 1:19:23 AM10/14/07
to Coworking
I think coworking is really revolution # 1 in your scheme. I agree
with the spirit of what you've said, but not the facts.

I've got a problem with Revolution #1. I'd love to live in a world
where I pay a reasonable price for software and not have to buy it
twice to use it on my laptop as well as my desktop when I travel, but
I don't think I'll ever want software that forces me to watch an
advertisement before I use it. I would definitely pay for support
when I need it rather than paying for it in advance whether I need it
or not. But, I want the support when I need it, and I suspect I could
call someone at an 800 number in Mumbai to get it quicker than I could
get it close to home.

Don't get me wrong - I work in an arena where I give a lot of
information away for free rather than trying to copyright and control
it. My own business model is to make everything I "develop" (which is
knowledge rather than software) available for anyone to use as they
see fit. I utilize this model because I know that those who need this
knowledge will never have as much knowledge of this particular subject
as I do, and they will never be able to put it into action as well as
I do. Thus, they will use the free knowledge I provide them, and my
name will become synonymous with the subject, and they will call me
for help when they need more knowledge. I am therefore in a sort of
open source business. I train my clients like I am training them to
not need me any more, but they keep recognizing that as their
knowledge grows, so does mine, No matter how much I teach them, they
can still benefit by utilizing my services. I don't say all this to
brag, I just want you to know that I am in a bureaucracy fighting,
boat rocking, semi-anarchic business myself. I'm not trying to diss
the open source software community at all. I admire what you guys do,
and if I was (much) smarter and (much) younger, I'd probably be one of
you guys.

But, I want to acknowledge that coworking is definitely a revolution.
It's a revolution that is really beneficial to the open source
software crowd, and these benefits are more immediately apparent to
you. You are also early adopters. Maybe that's too weak a term - to
be fair - you're really at the leading edge, where others adopt your
ideas.

I don't think that revolution # 1 above is necessary to the coworking
revolution, but it is a catalyst. Revolution # 2 above is not
entirely a revolution. In a revolution, somebody new takes control.
What you're calling revolution # 2 is more a disenfranchisement from
my old man perspective. I remember when a good job was a meal ticket
for life. People a little older than me stayed in jobs for 30 years.
I never had the same job more than 3 years until I became an indy.
I've been indy 9 years now, but still never did the same exact thing
more than a couple years.

There is a definite close mesh between the open source community and
coworking, but don't you open source guys try to claim it for
yourselves. Stop trying to own it. Don't try to lay claim a second
exclusive mystique - that wouldn't be very open source, would it?
Work toward making coworking apply to other fields and areas of
society.

Recognize that there are a lot of independent workers in a lot of
other fields who could also benefit by coworking. There are
independent workers who do house cleaning, car detailing, and all
kinds of services. There are independent workers who do art. Lots of
artists share work spaces and network, party, and drink coffee in
these same spaces. Aren't they coworkers too?

Coworking is a revolution in progress. I think you're going to see
coworking in many fields unrelated to software. They already exist,
but the people in them aren't calling it coworking yet.

I think coworking is going to become more and more common as people in
fields that don't lend themselves to "early adopter" behavior catch on
to it. You might see coworking facilities where window washers and
house cleaners and handy men come together to share client bases.
Lawyers have had coworking arrangements for years, but their
businesses require certain barriers be erected between them due to
confidentiality needs. If they share space, and support staff, and
have an occasional office party, but have to keep aspects of their
work confidential, are we going to declare them non-coworkers because
they can't sit around and talk about so-and-so's divorce they are
working on? Do we have to give them a different name, and deprive
them of the hipness of being coworkers in order to maintain the
prestige of being "legitimate coworkers" in order to lend prestige to
"real coworkers?"

That just seems counter-revolutionary to me. The real revolution is
in the fact that the old system of belonging to a company as their
property, and the attendant security of having certain secure benefits
like health insurance and a pension, has broken down, and people
aren't just rolling over and dying. They are taking matters into
their own hands. Capitalism is descending into the phase where
workers are no longer valued property to be protected and nurtured and
maintained, but have instead become interchangeable and expendable
widgits. Companies buy the cheapest widgits they can use and throw
them away when they have a little wear on them or become obsolete.
Our societal order has begun to decay to the point where the once
nearly sacred social contract that said "Give the company your life,
and you will have a good life even after your usefulness has ended,"
is no longer honored.

This has resulted in a class of people who were once the artisans and
workhorses of the corporations, who had a certain profound dignity and
security in their work, becoming disposable commodities. The working
class is becoming the disposable class. If you can rise high enough
and quickly enough within a corporate organization, you can transcend
this, and perhaps earn enough to have a full life, but if you are
"individual" enough that you don't fit into any of the round or square
holes in the corporation, you have to make your own way. If you
aren't enough of a soldier ant to be above it, you are one of the
worker ants that get tossed off the ant hill when you move to slow.

So, coworking is going to be an answer for those who are too
individualistic or ideosyncratic to become major cogs in the machine,
but who are too smart, too talented, or just too determined to live
well to accept becoming irrelevant and poor. The bigger the machine
becomes, the more spaces within it for tiny businesses to serve small
needs. We independents are like the aphids in the ant hill. The ants
won't eat us because we are valuable to them.

Okay... I should just start my own blog and spew this stuff into the
ether. I'm starting to really mix metaphors and rant in an
undisciplined and incoherent way. No offense intended. I'm just
hoping you'll see this is bigger than the connection to open source
software. You can be proud of that connection and own that part if
you want. Maybe somebody should design a tee shirt that says
"c0w0rk3rs" with a couple of penguins shaking hands and drinking
coffee while another penguin gives the thumbs up or something.

I think it goes beyond revolution. "Revolution" is a tired old word
anyway. "Paradigm shift" is not as old or tired, but is probably more
corny, especially when used in a self referential way. But, I think
coworking is more of a paradigm shift phenomenon. We're really
looking at a new economic system, a new social order, and a new
industry developing within capitalism. Capitalism, of course is based
on the power of capital or wealth to reproduce itself or create new
wealth for those who already hold the wealth, and to utilize the brute
work capability of those who hold no wealth to make that wealth create
even more wealth.

What's happening is that those without wealth are becoming, of
necessity, less dependent on contracts with the wealthy. They are
finding ways to exploit niches in the system of wealth, where
knowledge and manipulation of knowledge to enhance the production of
wealth allows them to profit without the investment of material
capital but with intellectual capital instead. Instead of doing their
work from capital intensive fixed locations, they are doing it from
temporary locations, and doing it in the company of others who are
doing similar work, sometimes sharing information rather than
protecting it.

That doesn't become a revolution until it brings down the capitalists
it now serves. I'm not advocating that type of revolution, I'm just
saying that independent work and coworking are perhaps not a
revolution, but a strategy of self preservation through exploiting
small needs and having as much fun as we can in the process. It's too
soon to declare ourselves the new bosses and to let the shotgun sing
the song. Many of us are individuals who have simply accepted the
lowered expectations of our society, but who have not accepted lowered
expectations for ourselves.

On Oct 13, 4:34 pm, "sk...@emergentresearch.com"

Dusty

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Oct 14, 2007, 3:22:22 AM10/14/07
to Coworking
Thanks so much for replying Steve!

I certainly buy into the decentralization of the economy into
microbusinesses. I wonder though, if it's possible to decentralize the
company itself. A "starfish company," if you will.

For example. Take the same principles that drive the development of
open source software, but instead of developing free software, your
community performs a service or sells a product for a profit. Everyone
in the community is paid based on the value of the contribution to the
desired goal.

It would be different from a standard profit making company because it
is headless. Well, as much as an open source project is headless.
Certainly there will be community leaders. Also, the founder of the
company has to step down, out of the way of community.

If you run down the "commons based peer production" laundry list of
necessities and apply them to a business they might look something
like this:
(I got this list from Bruce Sterling at SWSWi 07, whom I believe
derived it from Yochai Benkler's work in a "The Wealth of Networks."
Though I could be mistaken.)

1) Granular work loads - The workload must be able to be distributed
across the community
2) Self selected - Members choose to join you. You don't select them.
3) In or out mechanism - Members may contribute 5 minutes of work and
leave or 200 hours. Either way the end goal is enhanced respectively
and the member is paid accordingly.
4) Communication - Need clear communication channels
5) Humanization - The community and its members should work on
something that is compelling on a human level.
6) Trust - Members trust each other. Customers trust the community.
7) Norm Creation - AKA there is a company culture
8) Transparency - No NDA's. No secrete elite VP board room meetings.
No unaccounted for monies.
9) Monitoring - The community policies for rotten members
10) Peer Review - Members review and rate each others work. Everyone
knows who stacks up in the community. This, in conjunction to the
amount of work performed, is how you come up with who gets paid what
amount.
11) Fairness - It doesn't work if a few people are exploiting the
community for their own personal gains. Transparency helps keep it
fair.
12) Sustainability - It's gotta' be profitable, or at least break even
and be compelling.

An example might be a company that made an open source version of
SalesForce.com and then charged other companies for the service of
technical support, hosting, or customizations. Again without any
salaried employees or stock holders. The money is going back into the
community and then to the members that the community deems has earned
it. Further, that company doesn't even have an office, the company
members collaborate face-to-face via coworking spaces, and over long
distances via the internet. The infrastructure is distributed. Hosting
may even be done on a grid of community member's computers, with those
member being paid for the use of their idle processing power and
bandwidth.

No interviews, no bosses, no owners, no HR, just peers with peer-
review and "commons based peer production" mechanisms in place.

Does this seem like a possible scenario?


On Oct 13, 3:34 pm, "sk...@emergentresearch.com"

Dusty

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Oct 14, 2007, 3:50:10 AM10/14/07
to Coworking
Hey xray! Thanks for replying.

I think maybe I framed the heart of my question poorly. Really what
I'd like to propose to this community is, can a headless company exist
based on the principles of "commons based peer production?"

I agree that coworking isn't just about open source software. I think
coworking gets associated with open source software because it shares
the same values as "commons based peer productions." Which the best
examples we see of that are open source software. I believe coworking
lends itself to anyone who wants to collaborate ideas and be apart of
a community.

Regarding my 1st "Revolution" I now kinda' think it is irrelevant to
my proposed question. I wrote it because the example headless company
I had in my mind was a software services company. However, I still
think the standard software model of build, distribute, sell is on
it's way out. Maybe not soon, but eventually. But I think that is a
different thread. :)

> ...
>
> read more »

sk...@emergentresearch.com

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Oct 14, 2007, 2:17:37 PM10/14/07
to Coworking
Dusty:

The commons based peer production model and new forms of buisness and
civic cooperation are much discussed today. Howard Rheingold's blogs
- www.smartmobs.com and www.cooperationcommons.com - cover these areas
pretty well. There are lot's of experiments going on with starfish
or fishnet organizational models. I think this type of organization
can definitely work, but I don't think it will become common anytime
soon. My reason is simple - meeting or even getting close to
accomplishing the tasks on your list is really hard.

In addition to the 12 points on your list, I think there are 3 places
where "leaderless" organizations tend to struggle:

1. Adapting to change - all organizations stuggle to adapt to change,
but leaderless groups need to collectively recognize the need for
change and then make changes that will likely negatively impact some/
many of the group. Not easy.

2. Resource allocation - again this is hard for all organizations,
but for leaderless organizations it is even more challenging. I
include in this allocation of compensation.

3. Problem resolution - very hard to do in leaderless organizations,
especially if it involves kicking someone out the group (firing
them).

Because of these issues (your 12 and the 3 above) I think pure non-
hierarchical organizations will be unusual. However, I do think many/
most organizations will move in this direction. While they will
continue to have some form of hierarchy, they will try to behave as
best they can as non-hierarchical organizations. In other words,
hybrid models are more likely to flourish than pure models. For
example, I think most open source projects use a hybrid model.

On somewhat related point, I think I may have misled you on our view
of economic decentralization. While our view is that economic
decentralization is a clear trend, we don't see the end of big
corporations. In fact, we think big corporations will get bigger over
the next decade. However, their overall share of economic pie will
shrink. This is a long term trend. In 1950 the top 500 companies in
the US generated almost half of our GNP. Today it is less than 20%.
This trend will likely continue. At the same time, the largest
corporations have been getting bigger in real terms and small
businesses (less than 500 employees) much more numerous and taking a
larger share of the economic pie. At the same time, the economic
share of mid-sized firms has consistently fallen. So what we are
seeing is fewer but larger really big corporations, much fewer mid
sized corporations, and a lot of small and micro businesses. McKinsey
calls this "barbell industry structure", which seems like a pretty
good description.

Steve

> > > Thoughts?- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

xray

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Oct 14, 2007, 5:28:09 PM10/14/07
to Coworking
Thanks to You, Dusty, for your gracious reply. The original premises
are certainly interesting, and I am glad you see my point. At the
same time, I want to say I certainly didn't mean to go off on a new
novel writing career here. One of the dangers of mixing fascinating
topics, stimulating conversation with intelligent people like
yourself, and tasty malt beverages in the wee hours of the
morning! :)


Dusty

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Oct 18, 2007, 2:02:16 AM10/18/07
to Coworking
I hear ya' xray! :)


Steve,
Thanks again for the reply and for the blog links!

I think you make good points about the difficulty of sustaining a
"leaderless" organizations.

Though difficult, it seems plausible that such an organization could
succeed. You've pointed out several resources on the topic in general.
Do you know of any communities that are exploring the nuts and bolts
of creating a profitable leaderless organizations? Kind-of a "where
the rubber meets the road" community on "profitable leaderless
organizations" similar to our coworking community.

Perhaps such a community would explore pure and hybrid models?

Regarding the barbell industry structure. I can easily imagine that
happening. My next thought is, is that good or bad for the consumer? I
can imagine lots of great things coming from small business growth.
But what about things like cable, or cell phone providers. Small
business won't really be able to compete in that market and big
business won't have any medium sized geographic specific competition.

I think my utopian world would have small, med, and large business on
a linear graph with small businesses having the largest piece of the
economic pie, followed by med, then large. How do we make that
happen? ;)


sk...@emergentresearch.com

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Oct 19, 2007, 2:38:15 PM10/19/07
to Coworking
Dusty:

There are a lot of network organizations forming that approach what
you are talking about. But I don't know of any for profit examples
that are truely "leaderless". The Institute for the Future is
experimenting with a "leader light" model. In theory all the
management animals at IFTF are equal, but some are more equal at any
given time. Instead of president, they have an executive director
with much less authority than a traditional president. The idea is to
rotate this job among a group called the "lead team". This concept is
relatively new, so it is too early to tell how it will work. But since
it is based on the academic department model, it is hard to be
optomistic about it.

On whether or not the barbell is good for the consumer I think the
answer is clearly yes. Take the beer industry for example. In 1980
there were 44 commercial breweries in the US and the 5 largest had
about 70% marketshare. Today there are over 1400 commercial breweries
and with the recent merger of SAB-Miller and Coors the top 2 have
about 78% market share. As consumers we now have more much more
choice, and while the big guys have more share they also have less
pricing power because of all the smaller brewers (and global
competitors).

So as consumers we win, but some argue as people we lose in this
scenario. Robert Reich's newest book is Supercapitalism and he argues
that while we are winning as consumers and investors, we are losing as
individuals and society. NPR has a good review summarizing the book
at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14848767

I don't see anyway for your utopian world to happen over the next
decade or two. The consolidation forces are simply too strong. Your
utopian piece that is happening is small businesses are thriving and
gaining share in terms of the overall US (and global) economic pie.
This trend should continue for at least the next decade or so.

Steve

David Doolin

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Oct 19, 2007, 2:51:46 PM10/19/07
to cowo...@googlegroups.com
On 10/13/07, xray <x...@xrayzebra.com> wrote:

[]

> There is a definite close mesh between the open source community and
> coworking, but don't you open source guys try to claim it for
> yourselves. Stop trying to own it. Don't try to lay claim a second
> exclusive mystique - that wouldn't be very open source, would it?
> Work toward making coworking apply to other fields and areas of
> society.

I don't believe anyone in the coworking community is trying to "own it,"
and I don't believe anyone is claiming a second exclusive mystique,
whatever that is.

Working toward making coworking apply to other fields is
counterproductive. The coworking communities associated
with this list are grown organically from like-minded people.

And part of these like minds is an ability to take business
risks not available to a large number of people. For example,
a loose confederation of peers is not a working model
in fields such as civil engineering where consequences
of mistakes can be 1. fatal, and 2. result in permanent
revocation of state-sanctioned licensing.

Another part of these like minds is a desire and ability
to be completely self-motivated. Not that many people
have this trait.

The way this community really works is that *you*
go pursue *your* vision of coworking, and report
back on your progress and results.

Which, perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, is pretty
much how open source software development works.
Please do not attribute causality for correlation.

Thanks,
Dave D

Geoff DiMasi

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Oct 19, 2007, 2:57:03 PM10/19/07
to cowo...@googlegroups.com

On Oct 19, 2007, at 2:51 PM, David Doolin wrote:

>
> On 10/13/07, xray <x...@xrayzebra.com> wrote:
>
> []
>
>> There is a definite close mesh between the open source community and
>> coworking, but don't you open source guys try to claim it for
>> yourselves. Stop trying to own it. Don't try to lay claim a second
>> exclusive mystique - that wouldn't be very open source, would it?
>> Work toward making coworking apply to other fields and areas of
>> society.
>

Huh?

You seem a bit disconnected from most of the discussions and realities.


David Doolin

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Oct 19, 2007, 3:07:44 PM10/19/07
to cowo...@googlegroups.com
On 10/19/07, sk...@emergentresearch.com <sk...@emergentresearch.com> wrote:

[]

> So as consumers we win, but some argue as people we lose in this
> scenario. Robert Reich's newest book is Supercapitalism and he argues
> that while we are winning as consumers and investors, we are losing as
> individuals and society. NPR has a good review summarizing the book

I agree we are losing, but I don't believe it's a problem
that can be legislated away.

For those of you that didn't experience any of the last
4 major recessions, let me assure you, once the economy
takes a 2-3 year break from unsustainable economic
expansion, people will find plenty of time to put into
themselves and society.

Personally, I'm making hay while the sun shines.
During the next bust I plan on developing semantically
aware applications (well, I am doing that now), somewhere
on a beach in Central America. Or whatever.

I banked everything I made during the dot com runup
and finished grad school after it went bust. Worked
great!

These are good discussions.

-dave

David Doolin

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Oct 19, 2007, 3:19:17 PM10/19/07
to cowo...@googlegroups.com
Geoff,

If you are speaking to me, please reread my post.
Carefully.

If you are speaking to xray, I agree he seems a bit
"disconnected," but he does raise some interesting
points worthy of discussion, and the resulting
discussion has really been very interesting. I am sure
his reality is very real to him, however different it
may be to us.

When someone like xray comes along, he or she
forces us to examine what, exactly, we really *are*
doing, versus what we *think* or *feel* like we
are doing. Such responses often have more
value to the responder than to the respondee.
And this is good.

xray,

You definitely have an itch that needs scratching.
Not sure the model of coworking we discuss on
this list would scratch that itch.


Thanks,
Dave D

Geoff DiMasi

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Oct 19, 2007, 3:55:45 PM10/19/07
to cowo...@googlegroups.com, cowo...@googlegroups.com
Not referring to your post, Dave.

X-ray is a bit too paternalistic for me, a parent.

-------------------------
ge...@punkave.com
215 755 1330

On Oct 19, 2007, at 3:19 PM, "David Doolin" <david....@gmail.com>
wrote:

Samuel Rose

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Oct 23, 2007, 11:02:17 PM10/23/07
to Coworking, Steve Bosserman
There were some interesting things covered in this discussion/thread
(interesting to me, anyway).

One thing that is interesting to me, (as someone who's worked for
quite a few years in the industrial/"blue collar" world before
stepping into the realm of "information" economies), is that there are
some possibilities for extending the Coworking model to different
types of specialty technology fabrication, small scale specialty
reaserch and development, production, custom piece work, and
collaborative design based on open design underlying license systems.
This is what I foresee emerging to fill the demand for "retro fitting"
our technological base and infrastructure in the US. There is lots of
"old" infrastructure in the form of old buildings, machinery, aging
telecommunications systems, etc.not to mention huge amounts of waste
of re-useable raw materials, plus increasing energy and water demand,
and decreasing supply, and increasing cost of good quality food due to
cost of transport.

I can see that it's quite plausible that small groups with more
"agile" network processes, and using some concepts from coworking in
terms of sharing space , equipment costs, designs, etc could start to
tackle these technological infrastructure evolution opportunities in
new ways, using more "long tail" specialized production, instead of
mass-produced goods. I think networks of independent researchers can
work with networks of independent fabricators, and make their living
producing and delivering small run, and specialized technology
solutions, retro-fits to existing systems (like desiging/installing
new types of energy systems, new types of energy efficiency technology
etc into existing building infrastructure). They could enter markets
and compete by working with open licensed design, and by creating a
technological cycle, and harvesting raw materials from existing waste
material, adn re-using it in perpetuity in a "technology" cycle.

There really, truly is a whole new "second" industrial revolution
opportunity waiting to happen, and Coworking can really help inform
parts of it, in terms of making it possible for people to work in this
sector as independents who share resources, and so can open licenses,
and ideas that have emerged from the development of open source
software.

On Oct 12, 12:27 pm, Dusty <dustyrea...@gmail.com> wrote:
> What if coworking is more than a space for independents? What if it's
> part of turning business on it's head?
>
> I'll frame this with 3 sub plots "Revolutions" then I'll get to my
> main point. Tell me if you think I'm smoking crack. :)
>
> Revolution #1 - The fall of privately developed software
>
> Software quickly approaches a value of $0 over time as it becomes
> obsolete. In the mean time open source software is gaining ground on
> privately developed software. Even Google doesn't make money on
> selling it's software, it makes money on advertising. So (here comes
> insight from 2005), let's assume the next wave isn't making software
> and selling it, it's making software and making $ in a "meta" way
> around that software. Such as selling ads (Google), or supporting it,
> as in a technical services company that's keen to open source
> development. Yes, web services as a business are big now. But I'll
> argue that even products like Basecamp aren't exempt from open source
> competition (see activeCollab). And web services actually make their $
> in a "meta" way. They manage the hosting for their customers.
>
> Revolution #2 - Rise of the independent worker
>
> The days of company, employee loyalty are over. Gen-Y doesn't trust
> big corporations and the baby boomers are pissed they lost their
> pensions. Also technology has given individuals the ability to work

> remotely and independently of a single employer. Check outhttp://http-download.intuit.com/http.intuit/CMO/intuit/futureofsmallb...

David Doolin

unread,
Oct 24, 2007, 12:42:26 PM10/24/07
to cowo...@googlegroups.com
On 10/23/07, Samuel Rose <samue...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> There were some interesting things covered in this discussion/thread
> (interesting to me, anyway).
>
> One thing that is interesting to me, (as someone who's worked for
> quite a few years in the industrial/"blue collar" world before
> stepping into the realm of "information" economies), is that there are
> some possibilities for extending the Coworking model to different
> types of specialty technology fabrication, small scale specialty
> reaserch and development, production, custom piece work, and
> collaborative design based on open design underlying license systems.
> This is what I foresee emerging to fill the demand for "retro fitting"
> our technological base and infrastructure in the US. There is lots of


Sandbenders.

Samuel Rose

unread,
Oct 24, 2007, 3:18:01 PM10/24/07
to Coworking
Thanks, I had never read that book (but I will now rad that series) it
inspired me to write:

http://www.communitywiki.org/en/SandBenders

On Oct 24, 12:42 pm, "David Doolin" <david.doo...@gmail.com> wrote:

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