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The Metaphor of Working like a HoofSmith

There was a time, when there was no need for advertising. Take the hoof smith, also called farrier, the one who shoed horses in a village. He simply did his work without the additional effort of attracting people to his service. He was working in public and he was highly visible.

The built-in mechanism of his work was simple. If somebody had a problem with his horse's shoes, coming in the vincinity of a village, they could see the characteristic smoke and the sound of the nearest hoof-smith. Coming nearer and nearer, they could even smell it. No ad needed.

How can we transfer this nearly lost insight to the [GlobalVillage]? Simple as wiki. We not only develop our ideas, concepts, music, graphics, movies, programs in the public, in a fully transparent way, but do the same with the necessary (community) currency transactions, that are an integrative component of our work and social collaboration.

This open practise is at the same time:

Meanwhile the complexity of the necessary work to produce income in the Web, has reached a level, that can only be mastered in teams of collaborating peers. Single, isolated "artists", who are normally not "financially independant", will have small chances to survive without the integration into a community.

Income-oriented teamwork was until now, mainly a privilege of commercial, governmental, military or other organizations. They had the necessary "scale of economics". Meanwhile the technological infrastructure of the Web and the new paradigm of the community-oriented social Internet 2.0 generates new opportunities for each wiki peer. Each of us can play the role of each other's employer and employee at the same time in a growing market, converging to a SocialCommonWealth, if there is a critical mass of wikizens, collaborating under the OpenBusiness paradigm.

-- FridemarPache


Open Business for the One Laptop Per Child Kids

OpenBusiness is the generalized way of a HoofSmith to earn revenue without advertising costs. As soon as the 200 million kids from the OneLaptopPerChild initiative of the MIT enter the market, they will search for lowest entry costs into the Internet-market and they will find it in a SocialCommonWealth. -- [fridemar]

Playing with the Metaphor

Then the other smiths saw that and came to surface too. People no longer only came to the single one that was visible. So he thought a little, and bought a larger hammer and hollwed out anvil, so that he can be heard from a larger distance and seem closer. Another smith started adding something to the fire, so that his smoke was denser and colored, easier to see. The smith that invested in smells wasn't that successful. Soon the smiths spend more time and resources on various ways to make them more visible, than they did in the caves.

I think this particular example is not really very good. The smiths didn't have to advertise (at least initially), because they didn't compete in the first place: only one apprentice was allowed to stay and take over the master's job, the others had to go on a journey and find a village that didn't have a smith yet, or one where the smith was old and ready to take an apprentice. Or they changed jobs. -- RadomirDopieralski

Some Consequences of Radomir's Monster-Hammer Scenario

Hi Radomir, thank you for entering into playing with this metaphor. Of course any metaphor only transports some aspects of the focussed topic. Nevertheless the primary aspect of illustrating the value of public work can be anchored quite well. Your nice enhancement opens up new questions on the style of public work. Let's take your monster-hammer. Buying a larger hammer for more noise and not for functional improvement of the work implies:

As all this is visible to the public, only better performance with the right functional tools or diversification will get honored. -- [fridemar]

Sometimes WorseIsBetter

When my horse loses a horseshoe, I don't waste time analyzing the market -- I just go to the nearest hoof smith to have it fixed. I'm ready to pay a slightly greater price, as long as the difference is smaller than the effort to go and find another smith. People don't look for a perfect, optimal solution -- they are alright with the first good enough to be satisfying. Even when your entire history of transactions and conversations and work done is publicly accessible, the *work* required to analyze them is (usually) not worth the slight improvement you'd achieve. Even if it was, people are often reluctant to do more work at the beginning to have less work later -- especially when the less work later is not really a sure thing. Last, but not least, you assume that the clients will choose the good of all (reward honesty and good work) over the (perceived) good of theirs (promotion! bonus! and so on) -- but this is the TragedyOfTheCommons. -- RadomirDopieralski

The optimization behind WorseIsBetter

Radomir, I agree with you on your observation of the usual consumer-pattern: let's take the easiest accessible service-provider (i.e."HoofSmith"), even if it costs a bit more. Why is that so? Reason: To find a better one (in terms of the Quality/Price ratio) the estimated costs are probably higher due to the Searchcosts. In this way the real Utility function to be maximised looks something like:

 U = a*Q/(b*P) + c/S
That is, the consumer wants:

In our current view we don't take into account (nonlinear) dependencies and restraints of the involved variables. Having reframed the picture, we can additionally support the hypothesis: "People look for an optimal service solution, taking into account searching costs". Best thing is, even until here we appear to agree with the reformulated use of "optimal". How this setting of PublicWork? (in the metaphor of the Google:WorkLikeAHoofSmith) could lead to TragedyOfTheCommons is probably startling not only myself. I am sure that you and me and probably most of our peers prefer a SocialCommonWealth over a TragedyOfTheCommons (in the sense of overusing a static, non commonly cared for resource). -- [fridemar]

PS.: Thank you Radomir for allowing WikiBlogging, given in [RadomirDopieralski]

Absurd Epilogue:

There was a time, when all HoofSmiths had to work behind locked doors, in caves deep under the surface of the earth, where only very few people could see, hear, smell them. Was it shame or external force, the only chance, they had to make themselves and their service known to the public, was paying a lot of money for advertising. In order to survive, this situation forced them to take a rather hefty price for their work. One day some HoofSmith started to offer his service in full visibility, in the daylight of the public, as an OpenBusiness, so to say. He didn't need to pay anymore a lot of money to advertising Now he could offer his service for a much lower price ...


<=> [AboutUs]

<-> [AboutUs:WorkInPublic]

Hey Fridemar, the normal English word for the profession is blacksmith. It may be more compelling to TheAudience to use that term. -- SunirShah

Actually the more correct term is farrier but the point made is just as valid. -- AaronPoeze

[Google], [DiiGo], [FireTrail]


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