Friday, May 22, 2009

Circles : the first leg of a starfish network

As with the starfish, a decentralized network can lose one or two legs and still survive. But when you have all five legs working together, a decentralized network can really take off. In their book “The Starfish and the Spider” authors Rod Beckstrom and Ori Brafman identify five legs upon which a decentralized network stands:

Leg 1 – Circles Circles are important to nearly every decentralized network. They provide the vehicle for independent and autonomous operation:
  • Once you join, you are an equal. It's then up to you to contribute to the best of your ability. People commit to what they help create.
  • Virtual Circles are much larger, but the bonding is lower. Being in the physical presence of others creates more ownership and bonding, which produces a great level of trust.
  • Circles are not lawless, they depend on norms or values. Clearly defined and inculcated norms (or values) control behaviors.
  • When ordinary people are organized into Circles or cells, they gain immense power.