OPPORTUNITIES BEFORE EFFICIENCIES

The network economy is destined to be a fount…

…of routine productivity. Technical experience can be shared quickly, increasing efficiencies in automation. The routine productivity of machines, however, is not what humans want. Instead, what the network economy demands from us is something that looks suspiciously like waste.

Wasting time and inefficiencies are the way to discovery. When Condé Nast’s editorial director Alexander Liberman was challenged on his inefficiencies in producing world-class magazines such The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Architectural Digest, he said it best: “I believe in waste. Waste is very important in creativity.” Science fiction ace William Gibson declared the web to be the world’s largest waste of time. But this inefficiency was, Gibson further noted, its main attraction and blessing, too. It was the source of art, new models, new ideas, subcultures, and a lot more. In a network economy, innovations must first be seeded into the inefficiencies of gift economy to later sprout in efficiencies of the commerce.

 

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This is a blog version of a book of mine first published in 1998. I am re-issuing it (two posts per week) unaltered on its 10th anniversary. Comments welcomed. More details here.
-- KK