The Business Experiment

This is interesting: a test of whet her open-source models and the wisdom of the hive mind can work in entrepreneurship. You’re invited to check it out and assist with all elements of early business development.

As Robert May (who seems to be spearheading this…) puts it, “It could be cool, or it could be foolish. But either way, it’s definitely different.”

It could work. Entrepreneurship is inherently collaborative, and open-source models of information sharing and task delegation have worked well in other domains. It’s worth a try at the very least.

The open-source model is qualified somewhat though – the plan seems to be to hire individuals (potentially within the advisory network of 2500) who will truly drive the business, with the rest of the network working as a very large advisory board and/or occasional source of intellectual capital.

At one level, it’s the right solution – I doubt a VC would finance a hive mind of 2500, but they may be more likely to support a core group with access to 2500 minds.

Although I can see problems if this board of 2500 votes in a way that the core employees should probably ignore.

I encountered this problem with a much smaller group when starting up a Web design firm in Vancouver nine years ago. We were initally a group of eight, but the business was really driven by one person, who took the lion’s share of the risk.

Three of us were involved at various levels (two in business development, one full-time for quite a while, and myself part-time contract (mostly training and Perl programming) as required.

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