The Redmond Paradox…

As the open/crowd source movement gains steam one can’t help but play out a social paradox, a scenario where a young and brilliant McDonalds ™ employee in Redmond Washington (home of Microsoft ™) is actively engaged in the creation of a Linux driver as part of the “open source” movement. As the popularity of Linux grows (partly due to his contribution), fewer commercial customers purchase the “for profit proprietary” Microsoft ™ product.

As time goes on, to adjust to the reductions in purchases of their product (in this scenario), Microsoft ™ just as any other “for profit” company undertakes an effort to right size its work force. Therefore fewer people (from Microsoft ™) patronize the McDonalds ™ where the moonlighting Linux developer is a burger server by day, has now been told that due to [the poor] economic conditions he no longer has a job because the people he was serving are no longer coming in to purchase the “services” he is providing.

Now left without a job, the young man can no longer afford to continue his work on Linux as he must now use his free time to search for another job, and was forced to sell his computer on eBay ™ in order to pay his rent.
While this represents a shorten “causal” scenario without question, it is still a valid thought exercise as the open/crowd sourcing movement is eroding the basis for social effluence which allowed our computer savvy hamburger flipper the time and equipment in the first place required to take part in this collective. While some may also say, “he has created his own opportunity”, by self-educating himself in Linux. The fact is if this were the case (on average), he would not have been in the moonlighting business in the first place [Will write a future piece on this in more detail].

All of this provides for interesting study in the future of social economics especially as it relates to class effluence within our society as in the past, the world was driven by physical products where it was not practical for individuals even operating as a collective to be disruptive. However now that we have universal devices such as the iPad ™ which can be many things (TV, Radio, Computer, Book, etc) in one package. Content now becomes king as well as the disruptive influence to the class system as we now have a many to many social model.

Think of it this way, an average America watchs X number of hours of TV per week and embeded in that time are so many minutes of “commercial advertizing” which pay for the programming, the infrastructure to deliver it to your home and the means to consume. Now enter open/crowd sourced produced media which encroaches upon this time reducing the raw number of dollars per minute of advertizing , which produces a cascading effect throughout the system and the key becomes the “tipping point”.

Further this by the publishing industry and the rise of the eReader, whereas for each eReader sold represents and exponential reduction in [paper] pulp requirements. Exponential you ask? Yes, as for the sake of conversation consumers who are prone to be Early adopters of eReader’s will tend to be at the higher end of the avid reading guild and thus will consume more eTomes then printed ones leading to accelerated early decline in pulp demand (basically the 80/20 rule in action). Thus, a point will come sooner than later then where pulp production will reach the point where it loses its cost effectiveness and the rise in cost will catalyze a major paradigm shift. Basically, a small nudge in the right spot will create a large shove to the whole. So now, instead the fast food worker, crowd sourced tomes (because of their easy to create and deliver) have reached into the north woods and effected the lumber workers and timber industries.

In summary, open/crowd sourcing has reached from the suburban setting of Seattle to its deep woods and logging towns eroding the economic class fiber at every step. At this juncture it’s important to note one cannot stop technology or progress which is firmly exampled by history. However to survive the economic impacts this shift will bring, people need to understand it is coming and reason for sharing this mental piece of floss…

About Joseph Campbell

As a strong believer in the fact that "people work for people", it has been a life driver to better to understand the complexities of the various aspects which drive efficiency within this axiom, especially the concepts of leadership. Supporting this, I have been fortunate enough to having experienced this as leader on a global basis over the last decade and half. During this time it has been clear there are three core drivers being Life, Leadership and Economics.
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5 Responses to The Redmond Paradox…

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