Decentralization

Both Jon Husband and Rob Paterson have referred to Terry Heaton’s post, “Decentralized Power is THE Issue of the Millenium”. For instance, the success of e-Bay is based on the fact that individuals now have the power to manage their sales on an international level, with minimal hassle and cost. e-Bay has removed the middle-man, charges a nomimal fee per user – and makes a lot of money. This is the real “disintermediation” that was discussed thoughout the 1990’s. The media industries (music, news, movies, etc) are fighting a rearguard action against decentralization (AKA fragmentation), but unless someone shuts down the internet, decentralization will continue.

Decentralization is a real opportunity for small, flexible, creative businesses. Unfortunately there is no sure-fire way to capitalize on this situation. The best advice that I’ve found comes from Dave Pollard’s Natural Enterprise articles. I’m working with clients and partners to take advantage of the situation as Jon Husband describes:

We are beginning to loosen and cast off the shackles of outmoded structures, and more often than not are struggling mightily with the opportunities and responsibilities this new set of conditions offers us.

I am seeing a greater willingness of small companies to network and conduct projects based on individual trust. Several times this year I have done work on only a handshake. Some of my partners have worked in large corporations and are not willing, or able, to go back. We are trying to create more sustainable decentralized business models and stay firmly rooted in our own communities. It is getting easier to do this. Small businesses have the means to compete with multinationals, but we haven’t figured out all of the details – yet.

With this opportunity we have responsibilities as well. Jon, Rob and Dave are using their blogs to inform the rest of us, for free – thank you. Let’s continue the conversation. If you are a small company, interested in a new way of doing business, then join in the conversations. You don’t have to blog, but you could add your comments.

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