Two days packed with great speakers and great conversation. A great design with both a traditional conference and an unconference combined.
I am pooped. But also elated. I am elated because so many of the speakers and those I talked to in the anteroom and the garden could see a common pattern. Natural human relationships, based on honor and reputation, mediated in the context of community will replace transactional relationships mediated by institutions.
Whilst some speakers still spoke about how to make a better commerce website, many such as Doc Searls, Euan Semple, J P Rangaswami and Lee Bryant were clear. Community and personal reputation will increasingly be amplified by social software and will creates "Places" in which commerce will take place, just as markets themselves were once social spaces. Participation is not a feature of this emerging paradigm but its centrality. Community will be the container into which things will happen directly between people. Social relationships and hence trust will be the critical factors.
Doc showed us a series of pictures that reminded us what a real market was like.
Markets were always social and depended on relationships and personal trust.
Even early financial markets such as Lloyds were in coffee houses like this. The motto of the City is "My word is my bond".
Thee dark clouds are of course that we are so captured by the metaphor of our birth. We were raised in a machine/institutional world. Some of us cannot make the shift.
I saw a clear split of metaphor here in Copenhagen. Some still see the web as part of a linear value chain that supports a centralized system.
Others see it as a place where time and space collapse enabling people of like minds to connect instantly in a completely dispersed system. Some still live in the world of Newton, where the search is for a better way of manipulating people to use a tool where the gaol is to have more stuff as a proxy for fulfillment. More now see this as a world of Einstein where only relationships are constant and where the goal is a Jeffersonian pursuit of happiness = fulfillment as a person.
Of course this new world is not new at all. It is a return to how humans, as intensely social primates, have always lived and worked until we experimented with a "One to Many" information architecture.
The theme of the conference was "renaissance". Some, like Euan, who have come from a large institution, reminded us that with the Renaissance also comes the Inquisition. Doc was very clear that the rebirth of a more human world would not be easy as the owners of the machine world, have great power and will not hesitate to use it to protect their turf.
But I am very hopeful. I am hopeful because where we see the new implemented in organizations such as eBay or Southwest, we see the new give the old a drubbing.
At the end of the conference, Thomas went around the room and asked us to speak out what we would do now. My reply, "Talk less do more".
I hope this year to work on a couple of ideas that will offer this power to some key areas. What about a local food network on my home of PEI where small producers can connect to each other and to those who want to both eat better and support animals and the land? What about extending Public radio globally where say immigrant communities in the US could have their own programming that both invests in their own social capital but also links them across the US and back to home? What about connecting parents to each other and to resource centres all across Canada? These are some of the ideas that I would like to move on. All are rooted in major areas of tension - the future of farming, food, duet disease and the environment. The future of our multicultural societies and the future of our children.