23 August 2005

The future of the market, the future of spirituality

As I research one of two business plans I am partnered to develop over the next two years here, I continuously turn up new and incredible ideas floating around online. And beautifully, I know they won't really hit the populace for years yet. Or until Google makes a new product/service out of it.

In an older piece on Kottke, Harold of Media Nugget suggested:
I'm beginning to think that feeds (and content tagging) should be the starting point, not an offshoot. Until now, our tools have produced web pages then feeds. I'm thinking we need tools that create feeds and then let us combine them into web pages.

I've been thinking of this on my own over the past few weeks. Communities need focal points, whether they be sites such as Flickr or Blogger, or pubs such as the Black Dog Freehouse or, for the international crowd, something like NYC's infamous CBGB. It could be a local café, a library (does anyone go to libraries anymore?), school, whatever.

To be able to streem RSS/Atom feeds into one congruent website, making use of topics or keyword searches to group similar articles together.

This fits in with the new experiment brand I am putzing with. I've dropped my moniker, Fell, and have been working with a few acquaintances of mine to contextualise the approach that would serve people the most. It started out as just a new approach to occult cum open source spirituality, similar to how Jordan Stratford approaches Gnosticism with the Apostolic Johannite Church and this very interesting site I found via Stratford's blog, called faithCommons. But now, especially after reading about the way interactivity is shaping up, the rumours of a Google operating system, desktop web servers, and such radical approaches to handling business as proposed in The Cluetrain Manifesto about mutual relations and freedom to not just work, but do, in the workplace (well, radical years minutes ago online… yet, sadly, it will hardly be considered in Alberta for, perhaps, another few years… or ten).

Obviously, this paints a wonderful new social model for interaction here, which will and is being embraced by the 21st century's movers and shakers, as a total antithesis to the Dilbert generation.

Slowly a spiritual approach is coming to mind, something to merge a similar libertarian wisdom of the self, practical methods of embracing spirituality, and empowering one's life in order to lay down the foundations for the next age of commerce — one that is much more libertarian and market-oriented.

If we take contemporary look at spirituality, no one wants to approach it because it's just not easy enough yet. And, of course, it's not like conquering oneself is easy per se, but the context upon which you offer themselves back to them, that is what can totally change the drive of an individual to better her- or himself. It has to be a part of live overall, not just one filament off to the side of their forward experiential momentum.

I like where the Johannites are going with their approach, but I fear that the stigma of "the Church" may impede on their growth. I also acknowledge that it's a personal journey and that was my primary interest in now getting involved with them (Stratford has a nice little study group getting up here). Also, as the occult opens up eyes, it is so burdened by garbage, egos, and a twisting of perspectives as being right and proprietary. It's as though its mission statement has to do with freedom and providing an open source approach, but proper design has not been implemented in order to create a simple and easy-to-understand approach for new people to get to a level in order to appreciate much of it. They often get muddied with such Loki-esque trickery to keep the mind occupied on matters that prevent one from truly exloring themselves.

Again for anyone that happens to read this, I apologise for any obscurity herein. I am using this partially as a sounding board and mental Post-It board for thoughts as I spurt them out.

But the more that goes into this, the more I can see it growing. If anyone cares to share in my wee comparison: if a Google can slay the Microsoft, perhaps a time for organised religion to get a fundamental (pun intended) lesson in creative commons is not too far off, either? Let's apply some of the theses from the Gospel of The Cluetrain Manifesto to organised religion here for a moment (thanks to Tim for throwing it up on his site recently):

11. People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products.

12. There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.

13. What's happening to markets is also happening among employees. A metaphysical construct called "The Company" is the only thing standing between the two.

15. In just a few more years, the current homogenized "voice" of business—the sound of mission statements and brochures—will seem as contrived and artificial as the language of the 18th century French court.

20. Companies need to realize their markets are often laughing. At them. [Have you seen this Catholic Matrix parody?]

21. Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor.

22. Getting a sense of humor does not mean putting some jokes on the corporate web site. Rather, it requires big values, a little humility, straight talk, and a genuine point of view.

28. Most marketing programs are based on the fear that the market might see what's really going on inside the company.

I could obviously go on here. One last quote I think that hits home what I am thinking about here is the following: 31. Networked markets can change suppliers overnight. Networked knowledge workers can change employers over lunch. Your own "downsizing initiatives" taught us to ask the question: "Loyalty? What's that?"

If we can educate people to approach religion, culture, and essentially in the same manner — eradicate the fear of change — we can inspire individuals to treat experiences just as the online market treats suppliers.

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