RIP my darling boy.

(più passano gli anni, e siamo a sette, più la mamma di Aaron posta sue fotografie da piccolino. Non tante, non sempre: su twitter, il giorno del suo compleanno, e ovviamente ogni maledetto 11 gennaio.Aaron aveva 26 anni, ma via via che passa il tempo sua mamma lo custodisce, lo ricorda come è nel suo […]

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Note su una citazione di Floridi

Quando è considerata un bene commerciale, l’informazione ha tre proprietà principali che valgono a distinguerla da altri beni, come le auto o una pagnotta. In primo luogo, è un bene non rivale: il fatto che Giovanni detenga (consumi) l’informazione che la batteria è scarica non impedisce all’elettrauto di detenere (consumare) la medesima informazione allo stesso […]

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Open Access Week 2013

Anche quest’anno, da ieri, c’è l’Open Access Week, settimana internazionale dedicata all’accesso aperto alla letteratura scientifica (che per chi se lo chiedesse, è poi l’ambito dove lavoro io). Dato che ogni tanto ne parlo anche qui, e dato che le cose da sapere secondo me le ho già dette, faccio semplicemente un elenco (in ordine) […]

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Invest in toothpicks

There’s a lot of talk, here and elsewhere, about how Internet collaboration is going to revolutionize business and politics. Just add some Internet collaboration, they say, and your business will suddenly start working better and smarter—and cheaper, as well. But the Internet is not this magic pixie dust you can sprinkle on anything. In the States, the back of every ketchup bottle now has a notice explaining that you can now create your own advertisements for the ketchup company. In return, well, in return they might use your ad. This is magic pixie dust thinking at work: people are not going to suddenly start designing your ad campaigns for you just because you asked them to.

We have to remember that these things are done by real people, not magical abstractions. The rhetoric often suggests that some magical force of “peer production” or “mass collaboration” has written an encyclopedia or created a video library. Such forces do not exist; instead there are only individual people, the same kind of people who drive everything else.

The power is that these people are collaborating. But they are collaborating because they have come together to form a community. And a community works because it has shared values. But here’s the thing: these shared values are profoundly anti-business. [Laughs from the audience.] I mean, look at Wikipedia. This is a group who wakes up every day and tries to put the encyclopedia publishers out of business by providing a collection of world knowledge they can give away to everyone for free.

If you want someone to do your company’s work for you, finding a well-organized online community with strong anti-business values seems like a bad idea. [Laughs.]

So what do you do? I have a friend who is even more brash than I am and when anyone asks her for business advice she tells them simply: Well, in the future, your servants are going to rise up and eat you. So, invest in toothpicks.

Aaron Swartz, Banff, 6 marzo 2008.

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