From material scarcity to social abundance

November 28, 2009

Sometimes clarity converges!  I was thinking my next blog post, playing with thoughts about abundance, scarcity, and sharing, when I received a Facebook message from my new friend Arne Van Oosterom asking whether making oneself obsolete could be a useful business model. That was the connection I needed to bring together personal sensibility and business productivity.

Many consultants set themselves up as the expert — the priest of a certain domain of knowledge and understanding.  They encourage dependency, and at first reward that with reliable grounded recommendations to their clients.  But the resulting dependency is not healthy.

The healthy alternative is to be as transparent as possible, share not just the result but the process as well, make known the sources and references that you use — in short to act as if the client is about to be on his or her own, with the consultant/guide becoming  obsolete.  Of course the most common result of this approach is that one becomes more valued.

The distribution of material goods may follow a “zero sum game rule”.  More for me  means less for you.   But give away information or understanding, and you have more.  That’s sound thinking (and good morality) in any modality, and it’s particularly relevant in a social networking environment.

[I could now continue this post in several directions, but, instead, will get ready to go visit some friends for a second thanksgiving.  In the spirit of what I’ve written, though, I encourage all of you to continue it via your comments on this site.  There’s an exciting community of thoughtful people reading this blog, but most of you say so little.  Here’s an invitation!]

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