While I was in my MBA program I amassed a daunting pile of books. The book I was most eager to pull off the pile and read was Clay Shirky’s “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations.”
The lucid thesis Shirky lays out for the power of the Internet and what he calls the read/write web to reduce the transaction costs of organizing group efforts is definitely transformational. The sometimes flighty and breathless discussions of web 2.0 (I am sure I am guilty of this) intuit some of the concepts that Shirky so clearly describes in a manner that clarifies why these changes are so relevant for business, government and organizations of all kinds.
Rather than present a vision of a freelancer’s paradise utopia, Shirky doesn’t hide from the fact that sometimes the consequences of these lowered transactions costs are that communities united in shared interests that are looked down upon in the broader society. One very troubling example is sufferers of anorexia uniting not to overcome the condition but to provide moral support and advice on how to continue to deprive themselves of food. This is very sad and a clear example that not everything associated with web 2.0 is for the better.
A twitter connection Steve Cunningham of Polar Unlimited has been creating a great series of video summaries of leading business books called readitfor.me. This week he reviews “Here Comes Everybody” at my suggestion, and I’m grateful for the shout-out at the beginning of his podcast.
So here is my advice:
- Watch Steve’s video summary of “Here Comes Everybody”
- Run out and buy “Here Comes Everybody” or download it to your Kindle.
- Read it.
- Do something great with the power of lowered organizational and managerial transaction costs.
- Don’t be afraid to do a lot of different things and fail at some (or even most of them).
- Learn from your fast failures.
- Do something even better.