Sunday, May 07, 2006

Productive Connections

Jerry Michalski was reflecting on a then recently published article in The Economist ("Among the Audience") when he wrote what follows. The writing caught my attention most for the celebration it offered in anticipation of emerging talent – writers, artists, musicians, and creators of ideas yet to unfold. Jerry's April 24 post has since been taken down, and I hope I’m not out of line to republish this bit of what I saved from that day as meaningful to me on so many levels. Regard this writing as an opening to the rather “longish” conversation I have with myself in the next post. In both cases the topic for me is freedom to connect and the benefits we all realize when information moves freely. Here’s a bit from Jerry:

The thing we tend to forget is that until this Internet thingie came along, an average person could not leave stuff out in the world for many others to find and use. Impossible. Through all of human history.

This remarkable, short period of time since the very end of the last century is the first time ever that we've been able to share essays, comments, songs, film clips and code with one another. Worldwide. All the time. With very few constraints.It's remarkable and brilliant, a turning point in human history.

Even better, the tools for producing all this stuff now cost a couple thousand dollars, not several hundred thousand. And when you buy a commodity connection to the Net, global distribution comes free.

So of course there will be excesses. People will post junky, goofy things. They will experiment. They will do the most senseless things with the new medium. They will also get obsessive about it, sinking hours and hours into it. No wonder: they can now connect to everyone. It's overwhelming and exciting. And messy.

As they learn the tools, experiment with the forms and invent new ones, we will see the latent talent that exists everywhere.

Perhaps more interesting, their talent won't be constrained by artificial business pressures that so constrain "media" today … I realize this will sound too utopian and "everything will be free"-ish, so let me add that I'm actively involved in creating novel ways for talented people to be rewarded.

It happens that much new media can be produced at low cost merely for the attention it attracts or the needs it fills. Over time, though, we'll find ways for new media to support promising talent outside the dysfunctional music industry, for example, or the painting scene. Solutions are likely to be authentic and low-cost, with fractal markets built through long-term relationships. But all these things will take a couple decades to materialize.

Till then, I'm betting on an abundance of talent.

technorati tags: Jerry Michalski, F2C, many to many

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