Value 2.0: Your Value in a Box?

Wikinomics just arrived and I’ve leapt into reading this new book by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams — and am already 25% of the way through it. It’s a very good book for those needing context about the accelerating change occurring with an increasingly connected globe and the disruption, changes — and exciting opportunities — being enabled by the Internet and the emergent culture of participation.

I’ve been thinking deeply about — and searching for thought leaders discussing — the non-monetary, non-barter value exchange accelerating globally (or what Tapscott calls “non-market production”). Wikipedia, open source software and even cooperative non-profit efforts are manifestations of the phenomena. Mass collaboration fostered by a globally connected consciousness is certain to exponentially increase it and is at the core of Tapscott/Williams argument.

Though 1/4th of the way through it, Wikinomics has already crystallized my thinking on one, key point imperative to all of us if we intend to be a marketable commodity in a globally connected world: how can we put our value in a box? How can that value be encapsulated so it can “plug in” to strategies, projects, and efforts where mass collaboration is required? How can others trust that the value is real?

I’ve written before about extreme specialization and clearly mass collaboration will allow each of us to more narrowly focus our personal value propositions and deliver our value if a way emerges to offer our value into a marketplace and plug-n-play it into a larger effort. Step #1 is identity management, but my thinking is expanding:

  • What if there was an agreed upon microformat or profile (LinkedIn has the closest thing to what I’m describing) that would telegraph to others our capabilities, experience, strengths, knowledge and, especially, our availability to be hired?
  • Who would be the trusted authority to certify that our stated value representation was authentic? Or would it be as simple as a reputation system and a trusted authority would be unnecessary? (e.g., eBay’s seller feedback/rating). (In my view, reputation is where LinkedIn falls down since most “recommendations” are from friends or close colleagues and are thus tinged with too much positive and is more evident of the effort someone has put into LinkedIn and harnessed others to recommend them).
  • Or perhaps it could be as simple as participating in a value marketplace. “This work is worth $X” and “you need reputation Y to bid on it” so teams would be self-assembled and willing, available participants could come together to mass collaborate and receive monetary value in return equal to their effort and merit.

This blog, reports like Rise of the Participation Culture, and my personal reputation exposes my value proposition to potential clients and others with whom I interact. It’s too squishy and amorphous, however, to be useful if others are trying to quickly build a team of collaborators to accomplish some goal. Is Borsch available? What could he do or what might he be interested in doing? How much would he cost? Would he play well with others in our sandbox?

I know an incredible number of highly educated, skilled and experienced professionals in a variety of disciplines either underemployed, undervalued or out of work. Every single one of them could work on multiple projects simultaneously if they specialized and encapsulated their value…but there isn’t a marketplace or a “value directory” service available to accelerate mass collaboration activities by enabling rapid assembly and disbursal of teams.

These same people also struggle to figure out how to build a business model where their blog, podcast, video channel, or other intrinsic value delivered on the Web can translate into enough money to feed, clothe and shelter their families. If Chris Anderson’s post about
VC Guy Kawasaki’s experience is any indication (Don’t Quit Your Day Job), then there much more direct value to be delivered in order for people to self-fund and for a thriving, mass collaboration marketplace to form.

I smell opportunity…


  1. George Johnson on January 5, 2007 at 10:13 am

    I think the article is great and would love to see a post from you on how you value yourself. How in this ethereal world do you create a value proposition for the work you do and how would it look ideally to you?

  2. Marc Orchant on January 5, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    Great stuff Steve (as usual). My copy of Wikinomics should arrive tomorrow and I’m planning on jumping right in on the flight out to Vegas for CES. Don’s talk at Web 2.0 really got me thinking, as well, about how each of as a “small piece” can more effectively “loosely join” with others in recombinant fashion as the scope of our work changes over time.

    You’re on a roll recently. keep this great, thought-provoking writing coming.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.