These recent years of web 2.0 folly taught me to forget some fundamental values I was given when I was a kid.
– Dont just say you like it, say why you like it. In primary school, I was taught that simply saying “mi piace” was superficial. I had to think and explain why I liked or disliked something. Only then I would say something meaningful. NOW: through twitter and amazon, I just say things I like, and I suddenly discover super-interesting things and connections with people sharing the same taste. This is how I came across the most interesting people I know, and how I discover interesting thing simply because these interesting people say “I like this”. Only afterwards, ex-post, I try to recognize a pattern, which drives me then to a discovery of myself. This is much richer and more efficient than trying to rationalize ex-ante why I like something.
– Don’t copy. Ok this is basic, everybody had this lesson. Yet NOW I find that copying is a normal thing to do, the important thing is choosing the right thing to copy, in your context. For example INCA is copied from appsfordemocracy, but I recognized this fitted perfectly with my new customer needs. And it is interesting that Peter Corbett of Appsfordemocracy and Chris Smissaerts of the NL had a positive attitude to the issue of copying.
– Think a lot before doing something and do it only if you are fully convinced you will pursue it until the end. Many people tell me they would like to open the blog but then are worried not being able to write regularly. So they prefer to wait and only start if they’re sure they are going to do it seriously. Well it doesn’t work that way NOW. You cannot anticipate your behaviour and people’s reaction. You have to give it a try (it’s free and you dont risk anything) and then see if it works. Most likely it will not work but who cares? Only in this way you will discover really interesting and unexpected things.
I see something common in these points, I think they point to a common pattern which I don’t recognize yet. One is certainly the issue of unpredictability, or the (new) trial and error approach versus the (old) ex-ante planning approach. Another one is the issue of economy of abundance related to electronic data, where scarcity is no longer a problem and selection is done ex post. But there is something more, a more clear and systematic pattern that escapes me.
UPDATE: apparently I also forgot how to spell the past tense of “to learn” 🙂