More disruption, courtesy the Internet

Via Joey Baker (and an earlier link I didn’t save), Professor Douglas Rushkoff on the “transformative nature of the internet“:

I’m not entirely sure how to collect my thoughts on this, but the presentation struck me as profound. Most importantly, it’s heartening to know that there are other crazies out there working their minds through the same observations of a fundamental change taking place. There’s tremendous room for intellectual growth, largely because it’s such uncharted territory. A couple memorable quotes from the presentation:

Talking about crises in the banking sector, Rushkoff says, “decentralizing technologies fundamentally undermine the corporate-capital structure.” The traditional corporate-capital structure, to my understanding, mandates that the wealth of a corporation is dependent on the scarcity of its product.

He goes on to explain that “‘digital economy’ is in itself an oxymoron […] Things digital are best understood as an ecology, not as an economy. Economies are based in […] rational actors, maximizing their value, through the acquisition and distribution of scarce resources, whereas on the internet what we have are irrational people having fun engaging in sharing what feels, at least to them, like limitless resources.” In short, the foundation of the economy is taking a 180, thanks to the internet.

The takeaway, as I realized in a conversation over lunch, is that it’s an amazing time to be alive because, depending on which side of the bed you work up on, there is so much potential for high impact creativity and innovation.

Jarvis’ new world order

I still think the internet is a disruptive force. Jarvis agrees:

In this sense, media – music, newspapers, TV, magazines, books – may be lucky to be among the first to undergo this radical restructuring. Communications was also early on because it – like media – appeared close to the internet and Google (though, as I say in the post below, it’s a mistake to see the internet strictly as media or as pipes; it’s something other). Other industries and institutions – advertising, manufacturing, health, education, government… – are next and they, like their predecessors, don’t see what’s coming, especially if they think all they’re undergoing is a crisis. The change is bigger, more fundamental, and more permanent than that.

If you take this for granted, the trick is to now see what opportunities the change presents. At the top of my head right now are micro-credit systems, or supplemental currencies, which quantify knowledge creation/flow and social and environmental capital. There’s no time like the present to invent.

Internet as a utility

Here’s a thought: the internet is a utility much like electricity.

It offers a service, information, just like electricity provides energy. We talk about the internet quite a bunch now because it is a new service, a novelty. As it becomes more pervasive in society, and thus deeper engrained in what we do, we will talk about it less so. It is fundamentally changing how we operate; because of this, I believe the electricity parallel is an apt one.

Those companies who understand how to put the internet at the core of what they do will prosper, while those who do not will likely not fair well. It is very rarely this days I come across a business that does not use electricity.

Just a thought.