Last night I wrote about how G+ sharing was driving my creative spark. Does sharing
actually stifle innovation? This intriguing article says it does: http://wapo.st/qOsobr
The author, +Francisco Dao
muses on the idea that "democratization of media will create a more open society and fuel innovation" but ultimately he concludes that this idea is bunk. Visionaires "don't need the feedback of the poorly-informed masses," says Dao.
Dao has put this idea into practice by creating an invitation-only tech conference called 50 Kings, where, he believes, the participants get more
out of their experience with less
On the 50kings.com
website, Dao writes "After several years of producing large technology conferences, I realized the conference model was broken. Senior level people didn’t care about the presentations on stage since they were often more successful than the speakers. The real players only came to build relationships with people who could enhance their life or business."
This makes a lot of sense. And I think it's true. Back to the article, Dao says "Larger groups increased the likelihood of ill-fitting deviants, which decreased trust and candor. Smaller groups effectively set people free — free to share, explore, and solicit intelligent feedback. The tyranny of the public actually stifled visionary thinking, while the comfort of exclusivity released people from their behavioral and intellectual inhibitions, allowing them to consider a wider range of possibilities."
You might think Dao's ideas offer a counterargument to my suggestion that G+ sharing was driving creativity. Or that it's odd for me to agree with him considering the points I made last night. To me, it's just a matter of context (as are most things). Dao can be "right" and "wrong" at the same time, because it just depends on where you're standing that determines what you see. (Or what you're trying to see.)
In the context of Google+ -- a public social network -- I think we actually are able to "solicit intelligent feedback" for our ideas. The smaller user base and the somewhat self-selected type
of user base, is replicating (in the social networking sphere) what Dao tries to do in his 50kings conference. Conversely, if I were to post this to my Facebook "Fan page," I'd get shouted down by teenagers telling me to "make MySpace like it used to be," having not even realized I left the company years ago. (I guess that begs the question, on Facebook, is it me, or the teenagers that are the "ill-fitting deviants," to use Dao's phrase?)
So my conclusion is, for now anyway, we are experiencing a little bit of that 50kings mentality here in a public forum.
Dao ultimately argues that "breakthrough innovations — the type that create new markets — are typically the result of a visionary (or visionaries) who ignored the fickle whims of public opinion." I don't disagree with that. We can apply that to the creation of the G+ product (rather than the community it has engendered). It's kind of what I was suggesting in my piece 5 Things I Learned At MySpace That Could Help Google+
) I suggested that Google needs to analyze user behavior work with a group of gifted product people, but that ultimately one visionary leader needs to make the decisions.
There is a time and place for you to make your visionary decisions & insights and there is a time and place to cast your net wide and far to draw inspiration from the "poorly-informed masses" -- in fact, I'd argue that with the right frame of mind, you may actually be led to
your ideas by those very same "masses" because
they were expressing their "fickle whims" -- even if you don't do what they say
. That said, I'm enjoying the mostly well-informed masses on G+ right now. You guys are swell. :-)