Glenn Fleishman did a great interview (back in March) of Clay Shirky on the topics in Clay's new book 'Here Comes Everybody'.
Clay, as always, has some great stories to tell. Glenn is pretty good too. Yeah, you should go and download the interview from Glenn's pages (link below).
The whole interview is great, but it was the very end that made me reel. Glenn asked Clay what business could do to take advantage of the participative nature of the Web. I overly simplify, but Clay, among other comments, mentioned that instead of proclaiming the next great thing in a press release and putting all the money into one pot, that companies spread the money across many endeavors and see what sticks (and do it without fanfare). Basically, have many experiments, put it out there, and see if folks like it rather than gab about it (Show vs Tell?). He uses the example of Wikitorial.
Gosh. I have lots to add to that and a few more examples. (My tongue is bleeding, I am biting it so hard. Though a beer can loosen it, in case you are interesting in a tale of enlightenment, abandonment, discovery, creativity, stealing, cluelessness, and dissapointment.)
While I hope that some companies hear what he has to say and take the learning to heart, I fear that most, as Clay points out, will end up focusing on the wrong thing. Or, as Glenn says, miss the elephant parade passing in front of them.
Hey, I'm just road-kill on the info superhighway. Go listen to some smart people (the link is below, in case you forgot).
I sat down with Clay on 14-Mar-08 to talk about the book for a short article that appeared in the Seattle Times, focused on the business side of his book. However, the Seattle Times allowed me to publish a podcast of our roughly 40-minute conversation.
As an aside: Clay does validate some thoughts I've been having. It's always nice to inadvertently come to the same conclusions as others smarter than me.
Image from Joi Ito