This article was first published on Open initiative’s blog in 2014. This is the third part, start by the first part or the second one if you haven’t read them yet.
The software industry to date has thrived by reproducing the manufacturing model it was created in. But now with the power of distributed peer-to-peer networks it could benefit from new, more efficient and fairer alternatives.
Decentralize to form a strong, global network
But maybe we should actually ask why we need that money in the first place. This is even relevant when you think that all other functions in an Internet start-up are very scalable. Making a web platform requires very little work. Testing and fixing it is so easy. Hosting costs are negligible. And most functions can be automated. So the web can connect distant people who have no relation to the company to do business in a distributed way. Then why sould communication and sales be done in a highly centralized, hierarchical way?
There may be an alternative. The same way Internet start-ups compete with traditional businesses by externalizing their main service, they can grow by externalizing their sales/communication/community management function to a distributed network of local connectors managing their own community of users. You end up with a “glocal” community, a network of networks. Each single community is a small start-up of its own, managed by a connector. It is linked to the global network on which it relies for the platform development, and coordination. But it can live its own life, grow to any size one likes and have its own animation and culture.
This model has the relevance of a small local group, but the strength of a global network.
If the Internet is to make all business models distributed, there is no reason why there should still be hierarchical armies of sales persons to sell those distributed services. It means giving up some money, and also some revenue. There are probably many obstacles on that path, difficulties that we don’t foresee. But it looks like it might be worth giving a try. And we will.
By Sylvain Le Bon