16 August, 2005

The Business Experiment

The Business Experiment is trying to create an open-source-style business. I like the idea (and am a member), but I have some reservations. Some critics worry that people won't be willing to share their ideas for fear of losing out on the rewards. I'm perfectly happy to take that risk, because from all the startups I've tried to start, I know that the odds of actually getting your idea going is close to nil, so it's a worthwhile trade. I love the idea of collective wisdom (which is oddly kind of the opposite of groupthink) - the anecdote that really hits home with me is that of the M&Ms in the jar:

If you put out a jar of M&Ms and ask everybody to guess how many there are in the jar, with the person guessing closest getting a prize, the average guess will be very close to dead-on, even if no single guess is.

So I really like the idea, but I do have some worries. One of them is how to split up revenues among those "running" the business. Also, are the people signed up on the site employees? Or one collective CEO? If the former, we'll need to have some sort of payscale. For either, there will have to be some determination of how much each person contributed (or simply divide by #users, which, to some, would seem very unfair).

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