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June 01, 2007


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Michael Clarke

Hmm. Nice idea, but it will take quite a seismic shift in business practices to take people away from viewing users as, ultimately, commodities as long as entrepreneurs are driven by material measures of success (how much will Google or Yahoo pay for us?) and funded by VCs or angels with a well-defined exit timeline (e.g. when will Google or Yahoo pay for us). That's putting it crudely and I've no doubt that people start off with the best of intentions but weren't bought by CBS because they saw a chance to view their customers as complete, rounded individuals. Corporations don't have a tremendously good record of regulating themselves when it comes to having to put users' interests above their own - think Lessig's example of FM radio or the food industry.

Perhaps (thinking about the latter), what's needed is a users' code of practice, not a companies'. In other words, we, as users, promise to vote with our feet if our rights and value as individuals aren't properly respected. Macdonald's didn't introduce salads because they felt scared of gov. Digg's little bust-up with their user base would be an exemplary instance of what I mean.

Users, given the greater and greater equality of interaction Web/Enterprise/Education 2.0 offers, ultimately have as great a responsibility to enforce good practice by actively rejecting poor behavior (see a recent post on my site for an instance of our own institution - and myself! - getting a richly deserved and user-delivered slap).

Sorry to have rambled on!

Bill Ives

Michael - Great comment - no need to apologize - thanks for taking the time to develop your ideas. I will look at your site for the example you mention. Bill

Michael Clarke

A slightly more relevant second thought and candidate for a code - managers (including myself) need to sit on their hands when implementing anything that could be scoped as Enterprise 2.0. Give the project a gentle little shove to set it going and leave it alone - unless you're prepared to participate as a user in every sense. I'll shut up now!

Bill Ives

No need to be quiet. I appreciated your story about Facebook and will be wiriitng about it here in the coming days. Bill

Dennis D. McDonald in Alexandria, Virginia USA

I left a comment for Rex Lee on his list as follows: "Perhaps a corollary to your Number 2 [people are not resources to be exploited] would be "2a. RELATIONSHIPS ARE NOT RESOURCES TO BE EXPLOITED."

Bill Ives

Dennis - Good addition. Thanks, Bill


Bill, Thanks for the reference and interesting dialogue. When I thought about the code, it was really at the practitioner level not at the corporate level. That would be more the evangelist, the manager, the developer, etc...

Bill Ives

Rex - working at the practioneer level is more aligned with Michael's user level comment. Thanks for starting the dialog. Bill

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