Chris Anderson, the editor in Chief of Wired magazine and author of the Long Tail, has introduced a new concept in a lengthy article called “this is about the next 10 years” that was published this week.
In the Wired magazine article, he talks about a new industrial revolution that allows individuals to produce things that could only be produced by factories and large companies. He argues that open source development, that started with software, has now reached hardware. We wrote about an open source car before and Anderson brings forward a number of examples of machinery that can now be built at ,by ordering parts online and going on forums and website to get help finishing a project.
Why is this important? It shows that it is becoming increasingly difficult for big companies to stay on the cutting edge. Communities solve challenges in public and move ever more quickly and effectively in delivering innovative products. If a community of ‘amateurs’ can now create complex products imagine what they can do in the Stock Media/Media Licensing industry. If the users of these media would come together and solve their problems in partnership with the creators and distributors, the solutions may be very different from what we can imagine today. Engaging in a debate from the bottom up and letting users be the driving force of change and innovation may prove to be a breath of fresh air. Here’s some of what Anderson has to say:
This story is about the next 10 years. Transformative change happens when industries democratize, when they’re ripped from the sole domain of companies, governments, and other institutions and handed over to regular folks. The Internet democratized publishing, broadcasting, and communications, and the consequence was a massive increase in the range of both participation and participants in everything digital — the long tail of bits. Now the same is happening to manufacturing — the long tail of things.
The tools of factory production, from electronics assembly to 3-D printing, are now available to individuals, in batches as small as a single unit. Anybody with an idea and a little expertise can set assembly lines in China into motion with nothing more than some keystrokes on their laptop. A few days later, a prototype will be at their door, and once it all checks out, they can push a few more buttons and be in full production, making hundreds, thousands, or more. They can become a virtual micro-factory, able to design and sell goods without any infrastructure or even inventory; products can be assembled and drop-shipped by contractors who serve hundreds of such customers simultaneously.
We would certainly welcome a debate that includes users of stock media, about the important questions that need answering sooner rather than later.
Picture: Stock exchange: Throttle | naeem mayet