Building vs. Buzz

Dave on non-centralization:

  …But the blogs, who aren’t trying to climb the top 100 lists, are doing something else. We’re just trying to share information with each other so we can learn, so we can use stuff better, make better choices, improve the products, and eventually create new products. Permalink to this paragraph

  You can see this philosophy reflected in exciting new products from companies like Chumby and Bug Labs. Create open platforms with widely available development tools and let the blogs take over. Google came close with Android, and there’s still plenty of time, but they don’t really trust blogs at Google, like most big tech companies they trust other big companies first. Permalink to this paragraph

  That’s the revolution I’ve been writing about since I started blogging — when product designs come from the experience of the people, of bloggers. It’s already happened, it’s so recursive you may not see it. We designed blogging itself on the early blogs. And RSS? It was a product of blogging too. Every company that Fred Wilson touches is affected by blogging, every pub that Rex Hammock works on is. Every political candidate that benefits from the vetting of ideas in the blogosphere is touched by this power. It’s the old decentralization thing that the Internet does so well. The reason TechMeme is doomed to be part of MSM is that it goes the other way, it centralizes. It’s almost mathematics.

So do you go for buzz, or do you go for substance? Yes, you can go for both, but if your main purpose is popularity you sell out substance. That’s just how it goes. You may still traffic in substance, but it’s secondary. And if you go for substance you’ll sometimes get some buzz, but as a secondary effect.

The difference is a matter of vectors: where you’re coming from and where you’re going to. Also what you’re pushing and why.

Centralization can move stuff forward too, but not the way decentralization can.

We need both. But you can’t see the latter while covering the former. Not enough of it, anyway. That’s why the MSM misses so much. They want to cover companies, personalities. They’d rather cover sites than services, or protocols, or formats, or anything that no company in particular is working on. And they don’t know what to make of something new and world-chaning until it’s gotten all buzzy.

What make Bug Labs and Chumby interesting is less what those companies are doing than what others are doing with those companies’ products and services. Problem is, those ‘others’ are hard to follow. Not just because they’re small or unknown, but because they’re not a fixed substance. They’re growing and changing.

Out here in the wild we educate ourselves and each other while making stuff and helping others make stuff and thinking out loud about how it works and how it oughta work. It’s not R&D but R via D. Lots of great stuff gets made this way, but it doesn’t get covered much by the MSM because it’s not being done by big or hot companies and/or personalities.

But it may be what matters most, no matter how much buzz it gets.

1 comment

  1. jthoagland’s avatar

    Doc
    Sorta on topic
    Attempts to use “social networks” to sell
    Unsure of concept, but then, what do I know?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/21/business/media/21adco.html?ref=business
    Busy here

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours

    Ciao
    Chip

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