Loosely Joined People

Last week I posted a quote from the preface to David Weinberger’s Small Pieces Loosely Joined, and since then I’ve been thinking a lot about what Weinberger had to say. ¬†One of his more powerful themes is the notion that, just as the web originally was about connecting lots of “loosely joined” documents, it has since evolved into a medium that is connecting loosely joined people in new ways.

What this keeps reminding me is the impact of new companies that are tapping into individuals as new sources of excess inventory.  Whether it be lodging (Airbnb), town cars (Uber), regular cars (Relay Rides, Getaround), Tasks (TaskRabbit, Fancy Hands) and any number of other categories already or not yet explored, one of the legacies of the web will be exploding the historical structure and order of many markets and supply chains, and replacing that structure with the efficient chaos of individuals, loosely joined through a combination of explicit and implicit cues.

I think this is important. And really cool.

One Comment

  1. Posted November 16, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    I really like your interpretation of “Loosely Joined People” as a model for the next order of abstraction up from “loosely joined pieces.” What I would argue in the examples of companies you provide, is that the next order is not joining people but “loosely joined resources” via People.

    In other words, just like the people behind the original foundation of web documents (intangible/digital/content) are controlled/authored by People, the recent slew of companies tapping into the resources are also binded by the people that control/own those resources. We simply moved from intangible resources (content/text/images/ideas) to more tangible real-world ones (rooms/cars/tasks/etc).

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