One of the things I love doing is taking ideas from one discipline or arena of thought and transplanting them in another. Sometimes it’s too easy… accompany if you will into the business realm and the ideas concerning customers and the company orientation toward them. Don’t worry, I won’t have to reinterpret much, if anything — this is good stuff.
“We” companies are built by and for a community of users. Everything (including profits) flows from this core value of serving the users. We companies and their profitability are incredibly sustainable.
“They” companies are traditional companies that seek to optimize profitability at the expense of everything else. These businsses [sic] are not sustainable and they tend to overreach and ultimately end up in a long and steady decline.
Microsoft is the poster child for a “they” company.
Craigs List is the poster child for a “we” company.
Can you see where we’re headed? Do you want to build a “they” church or a “we” church? Oh, but there’s more… I’ve previously applied Metcalfe’s Law to social networks as well, but follow Christopher Carfi there as well. He draws it this way:
Transactions => Conversations => Relationships => Community
He writes, “Grow the community, and it’s possible for all community members to benefit.” In context he’s talking about corporate profit, but substitute the concept of accomplished objectives there. What I’m writing for Wikiklesia is my contention that the community needs to be non-hierarchical in order to function at its best. Craigslist vs. Microsoft. Let the users run the show, and everyone benefits exponentially: don’t leave it up to the few to do everything for the “others.” We, not They.