[FoRK] Do You Belong to The Church?

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Thu May 6 08:32:14 PDT 2010

Quick bits for JT:

> But that's just an argument for n > 1 isn't it? I'm not saying *the* spectrum has pro-government and pro-big-business at the same end; just that there is one useful axis where they are at the same end. 


Okay, this is tickling some interesting geometrical speculation.  Not quite got my head around it yet, but the gist would be something like:  really, to evaluate politics, we need *two separate spaces / coordinate systems.*  One representing "cause" (need better word, really preconditions or something like that) and the other "effect" (or postconditions, etc.)  They are respectively n- and m- dimensional, and there's no constraint that n and m have the same dimensionality.  There's some non-trivial (set of?) projection(s) from one into the other that have various lossy or lossless qualities depending on the translation and the mapping functions.

Of course this might be interesting and informative but would be utterly useless in general since most of the public still thinks "left / right" is a useful taxonomy and a large number are infected with the utterly ludicrous mytheme that the far "left" and "right" are identical, i.e. the space is cylindrical / wraps.  I.e., they live only in your projection target space, and don't understand that the source space these things sit at extrema of orthogonal axes.


> Well, I'd combine the two and say it's the scrappy bootstrap entrepreneur that hires freelancers rather than employees. 

My own assertion from last night has been gnawing at me some.  It --- along with your own extension --- actually suffers from some myopia induced by the industry we work in.  It's difficult to see how certain kinds of business --- say, the construction and ongoing operation of data centers and / or large-scale applications that use them, or perhaps the manufacture of various complex finished goods (or even parts) such as chips, computers, cars, and so on can be accomplished without some form of business that inevitably resembles "big" business.  The inefficiencies, coordination overhead and capex / opex requirements and characteristics of such businesses would seem to preclude a totally-dispersed, loosely-coupled, bootstrapped (i.e., no external capital or financing) enterprise for these types of businesses.

Perhaps this isn't intrinsic and is more reflective of existing technological limitations than it may be in the future, but at present I see no way around the constraints for these certain kinds of businesses.  (The immediate solution is obvious:  if, as an entrepreneur, this bothers you, then choose businesses opportunities and models for which these constraints do not apply.  But hopefully *everyone* doesn't choose these types of things, for otherwise we stop having the diversity of choice, availability, and competitive pressures that yield chips, computers, cars, and so on.)

Ricardo Semler's probably got the best take on how to do large-scale business of the industrial kind without it having the usual qualities of big business, at least from the perspective of labor.  Perhaps he should be regarded as the prototypical new-style industrial capitalist.

(Has anybody read any of his books?  I've been a fan for over 20 years, since the first printing of his first book.  I actually strived for years to directly apply Semler-esque concepts to the companies I built, with varying degrees of success.  I'd describe the approach as stigmergic;  but here's the rub:  until you get to law-of-large-numbers effects, stigmergic organization often doesn't "coalesce" and become effective, and at smaller scales can be highly inefficient.  The coordination overhead, for lack of better tools, can be killing and the parallel optimization / fitness landscape exploration is very resource and effort intensive.  So striking a balance between command-and-control and this sort of thing is still, AFAIK, a black art.)

Perhaps an extrapolated version of e.g. Philip Rosedale's tools / socnets / reputation economics / micro-contracting approach to this might be applicable outside of the usual arena of software creation.  Worth some thought...


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