02. Future of Work (keynote)


Attendees: 60% business, 40% IT (You could tell on account of # of mobile phones going off). Some useful resources coming out of the conference:
  • CTC wiki
  • Collaboration Loop newsletter
  • Tom Malone

    wikipedia: over 590k pages (in English) since start in 2001

    eBay: $3.3bn revenue (2004). 56m active buyers & sellers. 430k sellers. If eBay was a private employer, it would be 1 of the 5 largest in the US.

    Links development of collaboration to development of democracy linked to falling cost of communication:

    Isolated bands of hunter-gatherers
    -> Centralised kingdoms
    -> De-centralised democracies

    1900: small local businesses
    -> 1950: large corporations
    -> Now: outsourcing networked organisations

    The 'continuum' from centralised to decentralised organisation thus:

    Loose hierarchies (consulting firms, R&D depts, delegated decisions)
    -> Democracies (worker-owners, co-ops)
    -> Markets ('E-Lance economy': connected freelancers. Come
    together for specific assignments e.g. film making,

    ... the episodes of bloodshed in the societal move to democracy, in the business analogy, would be the loss of custom for a business.

  • External markets
  • Re 'e-lancing', talks about Elance, Inc. an 'eBay' for professional services. Over 200,000 businesses registered. 40% transactions are cross-boundary. People post tenders, select a bidder, and rate the results.

    • Internal markets
    • cf. 'Intel scenario' re plant manufacture decisions: the selling of 'futures' which sales people can then 'buy'

      Management style change therefore FROM 'command & control' TO 'co-ordinate & cultivate'.

      The 'paradox of standards': that rigid standards in the right part of a system can enable more flexibility & decentralisation. e.g. IP, which forms the basis of the internet

      The 'paradox of power': that sometimes the best way to gain power is to give it away e.g. Linus Torvalds

      Conclusion: 'How can you know what to do?'

      cf. 'What can I actually
    • do*?...'
    • - EF Schumacher, 'Small Is Beautiful', 1973