Five Years of Blogging

    October 25, 2006

When I sat down in my first economics class at UCLA, the professor wrote on the blackboard all we would learn, in really big letters:


I’ve been blogging for five years as of this month, and here’s what I’ve learned:


I have discovered I have a lot to give. And when I give, I notice others give more. Some of them I’ve formed relationships with, and trust opens giving, but I have also learned to trust strangers to share in abundance. Life is iterative, markets are not transactions and scarcity of attention is false. Our learnings compound abundance and there may be no limit to what we can produce.

David Hornik strikes again with Chris Anderson Strikes Again: The Economy of Abundance:

    The basic idea is that incredible advances in technology have driven the cost of things like transistors, storage, bandwidth, to zero. And when the elements that make up a business are sufficiently abundant as to approach free, companies appropriately should view their businesses differently than when resources were scarce (the Economy of Scarcity). They should use those resources with abandon, without concern for waste. That is the overriding attitude of the Economy of Abundance — don’t do one thing, do it all; don’t sell one piece of content, sell it all; don’t store one piece of data, store it all. The Economy of Abundance is about doing everything and throwing away the stuff that doesn’t work. In the Economy of Abundance you can have it all.

I trace a lot of my thinking about abundance to Jerry Michalski’s, here’s a small chunk of it:

    It drives me nuts that scarcity is seen as such a fundamental requirement for creating a business. Sure, there are plenty of businesses built around scarce resources, and sure, Dave’s time and my time are scarce, but that’s no proof that businesses can’t cruise along profitably creating voluntary loyalty by knowing their customers better, never betraying them, always being available and fixing problems, responding more quickly than others…. you get the picture. But go to business school and what they teach you is how to create artificial scarcity. That’s the kind of thinking that got us into the present mess.

Digging deeper, Howard Reingold is fostering a discipline of cooperation studies. You can also find this wiki page, with a link to a 1994 essay by Flemming Funch who I used to blog alongside a lot in the early days.

    I suppose that abundance economics would include giving one’s ideas and actions freely, because one feels like it, because one sees the need for it, and because one understands that when you contribute to the whole, we all benefit.
    The Internet is a good example of some of the principles of giving freely and of abundance. So many resources here are given freely, without expecting anything directly in return. So many people are willing to help each other, even though they don’t really have to and they don’t get “paid” for it.
    I think there are many times more power in actions that are done freely, because one sees a need for improvement, than in actions that are done reluctantly, because one is forced by lack.

I believe that abundance thinking, and actions, trumps the minds and greed of the scarce. That the one overarching pattern in the present wave of innovation is share control to create value. That what powers it isn’t Moore’s Law processessing infinite supply or Metcalfe’s networking choice and collective wisdom. It is the capacity of people to produce when old frameworks don’t in the way of each other.

So much of this is about how we envision the future. Not in the grand sense that the rules are changing. But when two or more people can believe in an opportunity, they can share cost and risk to get there together, in the process reduce them — and learn so they and others can build upon it.



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Ross Mayfield is CEO and co-founder of Socialtext, an emerging provider of Enterprise Social Software that dramatically increases group productivity and develops a group memory.

He also writes Ross Mayfield’s Weblog which focuses on markets, technology and musings.