The Guild

This year, Edge’s World Question is “How has the internet changed the way you think?” which, at first glance, just re-emphasizes my perma-“so what” state. I started reading through the 16 pages of essays on the flight this morning, however, and even though the question may be mediocre some of the responses are world class. Stewart Brand has an especially astute observation on how the Internet better enables distributed collaboration:

One’s Guild

I couldn’t function without them, and I suspect the same is true for nearly all effective people. By “them” I mean my closest intellectual collaborators. They are the major players in my social extended mind. How I think is shaped to a large degree by how they think.

Our association is looser than a team but closer than a cohort, and it’s not a club or a workgroup or an elite. I’ll call it a guild. Everyone in my guild runs their own operation, and none of us report to each other. All we do is keep close track of what each other is thinking and doing.

Absolutely the most perfect word.

One Comment

Chris Amico January 10, 2010 Reply

That is a good word for it. I still do pretty regular 20-email brain dumps with the two guys I built with, even as we’ve moved on to other jobs and other countries. It’s hard to find people you can think out loud with. I’ll have to tell them we’re a guild now.

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