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The Clothesline Paradox:
                              How Sharing Economies Create Value
                                                        +Tim O’Reilly
                                                          @timoreilly
                                                       O’Reilly Media

                                                               Picnic
                                                   September 18, 2012




Wednesday, September 19, 12
Wednesday, September 19, 12
I want to begin by referencing a series of talks I started giving in 2008, before the financial crisis struck, in which I asked
entrepreneurs to stop focusing just on making money and instead to work on stuff that matters. There’s a blog post
I wrote in January 2009 that summarizes some of my key points. At the time I was focused mostly on the
silliness of so many social media and mobile apps while the world has many great and pressing problems that go unsolved.
Wednesday, September 19, 12
But then, of course, the financial crash of 2008 made clear that it wasn’t just a missed opportunity, but that there was
something fundamentally wrong with our economy. Somewhere along the line we’d gone off the rails and
forgotten the business principle that I have always espoused at O’Reilly
Create More Value Than You Capture




Wednesday, September 19, 12
I call it “the big lie” of modern
                                               business




Wednesday, September 19, 12
This is in sharp contrast to the dominant ideology of modern capitalism over the past few decades, which says that the
only responsibility of a company is to make money for its shareholders. Leaving aside the fact of excessive executive
compensation as prima facie evidence that no big company really believes that principle, this notion misses the point
that an economy is an ecosystem.
Looting
        "…the normal economics of maximizing economic value is
        replaced by the topsy-turvy economics of maximizing current
        extractable value, which tends to drive the firm's economic net
        worth deeply negative. Once owners have decided they can
        extract more from a firm by maximizing their present take, any
        action that allows them to extract more currently will be
        attractive--even if it causes a large reduction in the true
        economic net worth of the firm. A dollar in increased
        dividends today is worth a dollar to owners, but a dollar in
        increased future earnings is worth nothing because future
        payments accrue to the creditors who will be left holding the
        bag."
                        George Akerlof and Paul Romer, Looting (1996)
                                 http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract-id=227162




Wednesday, September 19, 12
Economists George Akerlof and Paul Romer nailed this pathology in their 1996 paper on “moral hazard.” The paper
was called Looting, and it’s endemic in not just the financial industry, but increasingly throughout our economy,
in which companies try to extract value rather than deliver it. A startup that thinks its business model begins
with VC money and ends with a quick exit is working the same angle as the banks.
“There’s a wonderful section in Les Miserables about the
        good that Jean Valjean does as a businessman (operating
        under the pseudonym of Father Madeleine). Through his
        industry and vision, he makes an entire region
        prosperous, so that “there was no pocket so obscure that
        it had not a little money in it; no dwelling so lowly that
        there was not some little joy within it.”

        And the key point: “Father Madeleine made his fortune;
        but a singular thing in a simple man of business, it did
        not seem as though that were his chief care. He
        appeared to be thinking much of others, and little of
        himself.”




Wednesday, September 19, 12

Contrast this with a quote from the blog post about working on stuff that matters that I cited
in the first slide.

It talks about how business can create value rather than just extract it.
§ Income inequality




Wednesday, September 19, 12
Nick Hanauer made this point brilliantly in his TED talk earlier this year. Nick is a billionaire investor (first non-family investor in
Amazon) and entrepreneur (founder of Acquantive, acquired by Microsoft for $6B, among other companies). In this talk, he
skewers the notion that capital creates jobs. “Customers create jobs!” he says. Without people who have enough money to buy a
product or service, no company can succeed, no matter how much capital it raises or how brilliant the ideas of its
entrepreneurial developers.
“We all do better when
                                                                    we all do better.”




Wednesday, September 19, 12
As Nick and his co-author Eric Liu say in their book Gardens of Democracy
Wednesday, September 19, 12
And I think that’s why the message of Occupy Wall Street, where I took this photo in September of last year, resonated so much
with me.
Income Inequality




Wednesday, September 19, 12
with its focus on income inequality as the rotten core of the modern economy
How do we make the economy better
                          while also creating a richer, fairer world?




Wednesday, September 19, 12
So I’ve been asking myself
Create More Value Than You Capture




Wednesday, September 19, 12
And I keep coming back to this answer.
An economy is an ecosystem




Wednesday, September 19, 12
If you take more out than you put in,
                                  the ecosystem eventually fails




Wednesday, September 19, 12
That’s something these guys didn’t care about




             Bernie Madoff    Allen Stanford   Charles Ponzi

        And these guys seem to have forgotten




           Lloyd Blankfein    Jamie Dimon       Vikram Pandit
           Goldman Sachs      JP Morgan         Citigroup




Wednesday, September 19, 12
But it’s something these people all deeply understood!




Wednesday, September 19, 12
And their work has been re-used to create even more value




Wednesday, September 19, 12
You may be a bit surprised to see Bill Gates on that list. But of course, he exploited the internet just as much as Google or
Facebook.
Value creation and value capture are like sine and cosine




                                              1992                            2001




Wednesday, September 19, 12
They are related, and vary together (though not as regularly as the mathematical functions), but are offset by half a cycle.
The problem is that as value creation stalls,
                        the impulse to keep stock price up by
                          excess value extraction increases




Wednesday, September 19, 12
For example, when Microsoft was a young company, they were creating huge value for society with their “big, hairy audacious
goal” of a computer on every desk and in every home, but as they matured, they began to eat their own ecosystem.
Wednesday, September 19, 12
I wrote a blog post about this back in 2007, reflecting on parallels between Wall Street and what I saw starting to happen with
companies like Google (and now Facebook and Twitter). Wall Street banks originally existed to provide liquidity to the market,
but eventually they began to trade against their own customers. In a similar way, Google used to make most of its money as
an enabler of other sites, sending them traffic and building their business, but more and more Google queries are satisfied by
data on Google’s own sites. It’s a hard balance to get right, because in Google’s defense, many of those sites do a better job for
the user than the third party sites that Google used to point to.
But some people remember their ecosystem




                              “I built my business on open source
                              software, and I want to give something back.”

                                                                 - Hari Ravichandran
                                                        Endurance International Group




Wednesday, September 19, 12
But some companies are very aware of their debt to the ecosystem of value creation.

This became clear to me recently when I met with Hari Ravichandran of Endurance International Group. EIG owns Bluehost and a
number of other web hosting companies. As we talked I was reminded that, at bottom, web hosting and domain name
registration services are really subscription business models for free software - the DNS, web server, email, and so on. Hari said
to me
The Clothesline Paradox




                                                              If you put your clothes in
                                                              the dryer, the energy you
                                                              use is measured and
                                                              counted, but if you hang
                                                              them on the clothesline to
                                                              be dried by the sun, the
                                                              energy saved disappears
                                                              from our accounting!




Wednesday, September 19, 12
In the course of our conversation, I remembered this great piece about alternative energy that I read back in 1975 in
The CoEvolution Quarterly, Stewart Brand’s successor to The Whole Earth Catalog. It’s called The Clothesline Paradox,
and it made the point that ... It struck me that open source is a lot like sunshine. It disappears from our economic
accounting.
"The economists' focus on scarcity stems from the
        fact that shortages are measurable and end at zero.
        They constrain an economic model to produce a
        clearly calculable result, an identifiable choke point in
        the industrial circuitry. Abundances are incalculable
        and have no obvious cap. They tend to end in a near
        zero price and thus escape economics altogether. As
        the price declines and their role in the economy
        becomes more vast and vital, their role in economic
        analysis diminishes. When they are ubiquitous, like
        air and water, they are invisible - 'externalities.' Yet
        abundances are the driving force in all economic
        growth and change. In free economies, scarcities find
        their meaning chiefly in the abundances they
        engender and constrain."
                                       - George Gilder, Telecosm

Wednesday, September 19, 12
WordPress




Wednesday, September 19, 12
We look at the financial success of explicit open source companies like Red Hat or MySQL, and while we’re proud of
it, it’s relatively small relative to the success of proprietary companies.
Wednesday, September 19, 12
It’s a bit like the energy pie charts that Steve Baer talks about in The Clothesline Paradox, where solar
energy shows up as this tiny slice, even though it’s really the wellspring of absolutely everything else
in the energy pie!
Wednesday, September 19, 12
Because of course the companies whose logos appear on this slide (and many more) were built on a foundation of
open source software, and wouldn’t exist without the generosity of those who created the internet and the world wide web,
Linux, and the cornucopia of open source tools and languages that made the fertile soup from which today’s tech innovation
sprang.

According to McKinsey, the internet is now responsible for more than 3% of GDP. That’s downstream value created
(but not captured) by open source communities.
ISP Services - a $79 Billion
                                                             market in the US alone




                                                             Web hosting and domain
                                                             name registration - a $5
                                                             Billion market




Wednesday, September 19, 12
Talking with Hari, I realized that we also need to give credit to open source for the internet service provider market. As I
mentioned
a minute ago, what does an ISP provide but subscription access to open source software, and to the vast, generative creativity of
the
sharing economy of social media and the web? Sure, they provide infrastructure, but without that software and without that
free content, no one would give a rats ass about using their infrastructure.
Having a web site
                                                                     increases the
                                                                     productivity of small
                                                                     businesses by 10%




Wednesday, September 19, 12
But perhaps the most interesting thing that Hari pointed me to was a McKinsey report on the net’s overall impact on
growth, jobs, and prosperity. One of the things that caught our attention was the assertion that having a web site
increases the productivity of small businesses by 10%.
So that’s where the value gets captured - by everyone!




Wednesday, September 19, 12
So that’s where the economic value created by open source ultimately gets captured: by people who may not even know
what open source is, but benefit from it nonetheless.
We worked with EIG’s
                                                                                   Bluehost unit on a
                                                                                   study to show the
                                                                                   benefits of open
                                                                                   source software in the
                                                                                   SMB market




          http://oreilly.com/opensource/radarreports/economic-impact-of-open-source.csp




Wednesday, September 19, 12
http://oreilly.com/opensource/radarreports/economic-impact-of-open-source.csp
Of the 700,000 SMBs in the Bluehost data...




Wednesday, September 19, 12
More than 70% of the 1 million bluehost customers were SMBs. Applying the survey data they provided to the
raw data set, we made this extrapolation of their revenues. It’s a total of $124 billion. Given that we estimate that
 Bluehost represents 10-12% of`the hosting market, that means we’re talking about a $1.3 trillion market.

It’s hard to quantify how much of this value to attribute to open source and the web, but it’s meaningful. McKinsey said 10%.
Then I started thinking about other
                              “clothesline paradox” economies




Wednesday, September 19, 12
Why do people keep saying that users won’t pay for
        content when they are paying the same amount for
        Internet access as they pay for cable or satellite TV?




Wednesday, September 19, 12
I asked myself...
Who is getting the free ride?



        When cable company customers view cable TV
        content, the cable company pays content providers

        When the same customers watch YouTube, spend
        time on Facebook or Twitter, or visit websites, the
        cable company gets its content for free, much of it
        created by the very customers who are paying for
        access!




Wednesday, September 19, 12
If we want to get copyright policy right, we first have
        to correctly identify all of the people who are value
        creators.




Wednesday, September 19, 12
Wednesday, September 19, 12
For example, my three year-old grandson loves to watch Thomas the Tank Engine train crash videos made by other kids.
This one has 23 million views. Not bad for an amateur production.
YouTube (like Facebook, and Twitter, and blogs) is full
        of community-created value that is harvested (for free)
        by internet-service providers, who charge both the
        creators and the consumers for access.




Wednesday, September 19, 12
Wednesday, September 19, 12
So I went down to Vidcon, which is the Picnic of the Youtube creator community, and it was like going back to the early
days of the Beatles! Literally thousands of screaming kids as various YouTube stars came out on stage!
Wednesday, September 19, 12
Here’s the line of screaming fans waiting to get autographs from 20-something British YouTube star Charlie McDonnell.

Vidcon was crawling with agents who used to be focused purely on Hollywood talent.
Wednesday, September 19, 12
While I was there, I understood something about another way YouTube community-created value gets monetized.

You may not know that when a video gets uploaded
that uses copyrighted music, instead of taking it down, Google runs ads against it, and forwards the revenue to the
music publisher. You can see the result of the ContentID match on the lower right.

What blew my mind though is that I heard one story about a major pop star who makes more money on YouTube
than on iTunes, and more than half of that comes from “unofficial” videos that use her music as a soundtrack,
rather than from her own official tracks.
Wednesday, September 19, 12
This doesn’t just apply to videos with millions of views. Here’s a notice I got a couple of days ago regarding a private video I’d
 put up from a tango class held in my home, which I’d shared with the other people in the class.

If YouTube is today detecting copyrighted music, you can imagine a future where it detects brands, images, and other fodder by
which community creativity will generate revenues not for the community but for various rights holders.

I do know that YouTube is also working to find better ways to monetize original work, and Vidcon was a testimony to
how many new artists are learning to make a living sharing their work there.
Wednesday, September 19, 12
But YouTube is also a vehicle for social discovery of artists. Here’s a good friend of mine retweeting a music recommendation by
another friend.
You can see how Facebook Likes are also integrated. Artists get exposure, but they also do get advertising revenue. The ad on
the upper right
is for an album by another band, this time on iTunes. There was also a pre-roll ad for the same album.
§ Khan Academy




Wednesday, September 19, 12
And of course, YouTube is also the breeding ground for new disruptive startups like Khan Academy, which is reshaping
education.
Wednesday, September 19, 12
I should add that we have our own cool video experiment at Make - a summer camp for kids on Google+, with projects taught
live in
Google hangouts.
Wednesday, September 19, 12
And it’s not just YouTube. Venture Capitalist Roger McNamee’s band Moonalice employs about 70 people, including poster
artists,
roadies, and cameramen (though every concert is filmed in HD with 6 iphones and a $2000 mixer, and streamed direct over 4G
to viewers on iPhones.) Roger calls it “the hypernet” since it bypasses even the internet. Moonalice has a single that’s been
downloaded more
than 1.3 million times. In short, the “sharing economy” of online video has become a real economy.
Wednesday, September 19, 12
And don’t even get me started on the turbocharge to the creative economy that we’re getting from Kickstarter!
Wednesday, September 19, 12
I love the range of projects on Kickstarter, from social initiatives, to art, to technology. Here are a couple of projects I’ve backed.
I think my tweeting of this one yesterday may have pushed it over the top.
Wednesday, September 19, 12
Here’s a crazy one for an open-source DIY set of heavy equipment that could be used to rebuild civilization after a collapse.
Wednesday, September 19, 12
And here’s a more traditional film documentary project.
“the Adhocracy”




Wednesday, September 19, 12
Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites are the closest we’ve come yet to the society of abundance that Cory Doctorow
described in his first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. It takes place in a world in which nanotechnology has led to
physical abundance, and instead of a monetary economy, there’s an economy of attention, whose currency is called “whuffie,”
and whose government is referred to as “the ad-hocracy”

This has parallels in the work of poet Wallace Stevens.
“Reality is an activity
                                                                      of the most august
                                                                      imagination.”
                                                                            - Wallace Stevens




Wednesday, September 19, 12


He imagined a future in which we competed not to get more money or stuff, but to tell stories and create visions that other
people could believe in.

He said ...
“Money was the original people
                                                          connector, but it went bad.”
                                                              - Dan Harmon at #xoxofest




Wednesday, September 19, 12
All of this might lead you to think that the people who make money off creativity are somehow parasites. But that’s not what I’m
saying at all.

There was a great talk at the XOXO Festival in Portland last week, by Dan Harmon. He talked about the role of money in
simplifying connections betwen people, and how it “went bad” because “when you take a people connector too seriously, it stops
connecting people and starts dividing them.”

I think there’s a wonderful interplay between the sharing economy and the financial economy, in which people who care more about creating
than about money create new
value, and then people figure out how to monetize that value (which is really another way of sharing it, to pay for things that aren’t infinitely
shareable).

If we remember not to get too hung up on the money part, then we can keep the sharing going, but as I said earlier, that requires you to
make sure that you create more
value than you capture.
Wednesday, September 19, 12
And of course the creative economy is only one part of a bigger sharing economy. Overall, there are thousands of companies
exploring what Lisa Gansky calls the Mesh - the sharing economy.
Wednesday, September 19, 12
You can see, though, how sharing systems like couchsurfing
Wednesday, September 19, 12
are turning into serious businesses like AirBnB. They are really accelerating. After being around for four years, they
hit a total of 5 million room nights shared this past February. It took them only another four months to double that.
They hit 10 million room nights in June. And they say that they are getting a lot of traction in depressed European
economies like Spain and Greece as people look for new ways of supplementing income.
Wednesday, September 19, 12
In some cases, like car sharing, we started with commercial vendors like Zipcar and Greenwheels, and then moved to peer to
peer systems like Relayriades and Getaround.
Wednesday, September 19, 12
But the commercial impulse re-emerges. Shelby Clark of RelayRides told me recently that people are buying a second car just for
sharing.
Wednesday, September 19, 12
And I’ve heard several new startups doing crowdfunding for projects like solar rooftops, where the money is paid
back over time from energy cost savings.
Wednesday, September 19, 12
Etsy is on the same rocketing growth track that eBay was in its early years. This is another kind of
creative economy. I own this lampshade - it’s a commodity ikea style lamp made into a thing of beauty by the addition
of someone’s craft, creativity, and time.
Wednesday, September 19, 12
And this creative, sharing economy shows up in unexpected places. I recently met Rodney Mullen, one of the fathers
of street skating. He has this wonderful TEDx talk in which he talks about the skating community, and how its members
give to each other.

He talks about how fame and money lose their allure. He quotes Richard Feynman saying
"The Nobel Prize is the tombstone of all great work," and relates it to his own career as a skater,
having won all possible awards, built a successful business. He goes on to say... [next slide]
"there's an intrinsic value to creating something for
        the sake of creating it…

        "there is this beauty in dropping it into a community
        of your own making and seeing it dispersed and
        seeing younger talent take it to levels you could never
        imagine, because that lives on"

                                                -Rodney Mullen




Wednesday, September 19, 12
In a gift culture, you gain status by what you give away,
        by the value you create, not the value you take




Wednesday, September 19, 12
And that brings me back fifteen years ago, to the first Perl conference, from which my Open Source Convention evolved.
I had been struck by Eric Raymond’s observation in one of the essays in The Cathedral and the Bazaar,
that open source was a gift culture, in which you gained status by what you give away rather than what you take. (Lewis
Hyde explores this for artistic cultures in his book, the Gift). I remember introducing Larry Wall, the author of the
Perl programming language, by saying “If this is true,
let me present to you one of the highest status individuals I know.”

(I also remember Larry telling me why he gave away patch and perl as open source software: “I’ve gotten a lot from
everyone else, so I just thought it made sense to give something back.”)
Wednesday, September 19, 12
I want to end with some advice from Steve Jobs. The world is what we make it. If we take it simply as it is, and do no more than
complain, we are not living up to our potential. The creative economy is the future of the world. Let’s make a better one
together.
For More Information
    §   Twitter: @timoreilly, @oreillymedia, @make
    §   Google Plus: +Tim O’Reilly
    §   Blog: http://radar.oreilly.com
    §   My personal archive: http://tim.oreilly.com
    §   Maker Movement: http://makezine.com




Wednesday, September 19, 12

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Picnic version: The Clothesline Paradox and the Sharing Economy (pdf with notes)

  • 1. The Clothesline Paradox: How Sharing Economies Create Value +Tim O’Reilly @timoreilly O’Reilly Media Picnic September 18, 2012 Wednesday, September 19, 12
  • 2. Wednesday, September 19, 12 I want to begin by referencing a series of talks I started giving in 2008, before the financial crisis struck, in which I asked entrepreneurs to stop focusing just on making money and instead to work on stuff that matters. There’s a blog post I wrote in January 2009 that summarizes some of my key points. At the time I was focused mostly on the silliness of so many social media and mobile apps while the world has many great and pressing problems that go unsolved.
  • 3. Wednesday, September 19, 12 But then, of course, the financial crash of 2008 made clear that it wasn’t just a missed opportunity, but that there was something fundamentally wrong with our economy. Somewhere along the line we’d gone off the rails and forgotten the business principle that I have always espoused at O’Reilly
  • 4. Create More Value Than You Capture Wednesday, September 19, 12
  • 5. I call it “the big lie” of modern business Wednesday, September 19, 12 This is in sharp contrast to the dominant ideology of modern capitalism over the past few decades, which says that the only responsibility of a company is to make money for its shareholders. Leaving aside the fact of excessive executive compensation as prima facie evidence that no big company really believes that principle, this notion misses the point that an economy is an ecosystem.
  • 6. Looting "…the normal economics of maximizing economic value is replaced by the topsy-turvy economics of maximizing current extractable value, which tends to drive the firm's economic net worth deeply negative. Once owners have decided they can extract more from a firm by maximizing their present take, any action that allows them to extract more currently will be attractive--even if it causes a large reduction in the true economic net worth of the firm. A dollar in increased dividends today is worth a dollar to owners, but a dollar in increased future earnings is worth nothing because future payments accrue to the creditors who will be left holding the bag." George Akerlof and Paul Romer, Looting (1996) http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract-id=227162 Wednesday, September 19, 12 Economists George Akerlof and Paul Romer nailed this pathology in their 1996 paper on “moral hazard.” The paper was called Looting, and it’s endemic in not just the financial industry, but increasingly throughout our economy, in which companies try to extract value rather than deliver it. A startup that thinks its business model begins with VC money and ends with a quick exit is working the same angle as the banks.
  • 7. “There’s a wonderful section in Les Miserables about the good that Jean Valjean does as a businessman (operating under the pseudonym of Father Madeleine). Through his industry and vision, he makes an entire region prosperous, so that “there was no pocket so obscure that it had not a little money in it; no dwelling so lowly that there was not some little joy within it.” And the key point: “Father Madeleine made his fortune; but a singular thing in a simple man of business, it did not seem as though that were his chief care. He appeared to be thinking much of others, and little of himself.” Wednesday, September 19, 12 Contrast this with a quote from the blog post about working on stuff that matters that I cited in the first slide. It talks about how business can create value rather than just extract it.
  • 8. § Income inequality Wednesday, September 19, 12 Nick Hanauer made this point brilliantly in his TED talk earlier this year. Nick is a billionaire investor (first non-family investor in Amazon) and entrepreneur (founder of Acquantive, acquired by Microsoft for $6B, among other companies). In this talk, he skewers the notion that capital creates jobs. “Customers create jobs!” he says. Without people who have enough money to buy a product or service, no company can succeed, no matter how much capital it raises or how brilliant the ideas of its entrepreneurial developers.
  • 9. “We all do better when we all do better.” Wednesday, September 19, 12 As Nick and his co-author Eric Liu say in their book Gardens of Democracy
  • 10. Wednesday, September 19, 12 And I think that’s why the message of Occupy Wall Street, where I took this photo in September of last year, resonated so much with me.
  • 11. Income Inequality Wednesday, September 19, 12 with its focus on income inequality as the rotten core of the modern economy
  • 12. How do we make the economy better while also creating a richer, fairer world? Wednesday, September 19, 12 So I’ve been asking myself
  • 13. Create More Value Than You Capture Wednesday, September 19, 12 And I keep coming back to this answer.
  • 14. An economy is an ecosystem Wednesday, September 19, 12
  • 15. If you take more out than you put in, the ecosystem eventually fails Wednesday, September 19, 12
  • 16. That’s something these guys didn’t care about Bernie Madoff Allen Stanford Charles Ponzi And these guys seem to have forgotten Lloyd Blankfein Jamie Dimon Vikram Pandit Goldman Sachs JP Morgan Citigroup Wednesday, September 19, 12
  • 17. But it’s something these people all deeply understood! Wednesday, September 19, 12
  • 18. And their work has been re-used to create even more value Wednesday, September 19, 12 You may be a bit surprised to see Bill Gates on that list. But of course, he exploited the internet just as much as Google or Facebook.
  • 19. Value creation and value capture are like sine and cosine 1992 2001 Wednesday, September 19, 12 They are related, and vary together (though not as regularly as the mathematical functions), but are offset by half a cycle.
  • 20. The problem is that as value creation stalls, the impulse to keep stock price up by excess value extraction increases Wednesday, September 19, 12 For example, when Microsoft was a young company, they were creating huge value for society with their “big, hairy audacious goal” of a computer on every desk and in every home, but as they matured, they began to eat their own ecosystem.
  • 21. Wednesday, September 19, 12 I wrote a blog post about this back in 2007, reflecting on parallels between Wall Street and what I saw starting to happen with companies like Google (and now Facebook and Twitter). Wall Street banks originally existed to provide liquidity to the market, but eventually they began to trade against their own customers. In a similar way, Google used to make most of its money as an enabler of other sites, sending them traffic and building their business, but more and more Google queries are satisfied by data on Google’s own sites. It’s a hard balance to get right, because in Google’s defense, many of those sites do a better job for the user than the third party sites that Google used to point to.
  • 22. But some people remember their ecosystem “I built my business on open source software, and I want to give something back.” - Hari Ravichandran Endurance International Group Wednesday, September 19, 12 But some companies are very aware of their debt to the ecosystem of value creation. This became clear to me recently when I met with Hari Ravichandran of Endurance International Group. EIG owns Bluehost and a number of other web hosting companies. As we talked I was reminded that, at bottom, web hosting and domain name registration services are really subscription business models for free software - the DNS, web server, email, and so on. Hari said to me
  • 23. The Clothesline Paradox If you put your clothes in the dryer, the energy you use is measured and counted, but if you hang them on the clothesline to be dried by the sun, the energy saved disappears from our accounting! Wednesday, September 19, 12 In the course of our conversation, I remembered this great piece about alternative energy that I read back in 1975 in The CoEvolution Quarterly, Stewart Brand’s successor to The Whole Earth Catalog. It’s called The Clothesline Paradox, and it made the point that ... It struck me that open source is a lot like sunshine. It disappears from our economic accounting.
  • 24. "The economists' focus on scarcity stems from the fact that shortages are measurable and end at zero. They constrain an economic model to produce a clearly calculable result, an identifiable choke point in the industrial circuitry. Abundances are incalculable and have no obvious cap. They tend to end in a near zero price and thus escape economics altogether. As the price declines and their role in the economy becomes more vast and vital, their role in economic analysis diminishes. When they are ubiquitous, like air and water, they are invisible - 'externalities.' Yet abundances are the driving force in all economic growth and change. In free economies, scarcities find their meaning chiefly in the abundances they engender and constrain." - George Gilder, Telecosm Wednesday, September 19, 12
  • 25. WordPress Wednesday, September 19, 12 We look at the financial success of explicit open source companies like Red Hat or MySQL, and while we’re proud of it, it’s relatively small relative to the success of proprietary companies.
  • 26. Wednesday, September 19, 12 It’s a bit like the energy pie charts that Steve Baer talks about in The Clothesline Paradox, where solar energy shows up as this tiny slice, even though it’s really the wellspring of absolutely everything else in the energy pie!
  • 27. Wednesday, September 19, 12 Because of course the companies whose logos appear on this slide (and many more) were built on a foundation of open source software, and wouldn’t exist without the generosity of those who created the internet and the world wide web, Linux, and the cornucopia of open source tools and languages that made the fertile soup from which today’s tech innovation sprang. According to McKinsey, the internet is now responsible for more than 3% of GDP. That’s downstream value created (but not captured) by open source communities.
  • 28. ISP Services - a $79 Billion market in the US alone Web hosting and domain name registration - a $5 Billion market Wednesday, September 19, 12 Talking with Hari, I realized that we also need to give credit to open source for the internet service provider market. As I mentioned a minute ago, what does an ISP provide but subscription access to open source software, and to the vast, generative creativity of the sharing economy of social media and the web? Sure, they provide infrastructure, but without that software and without that free content, no one would give a rats ass about using their infrastructure.
  • 29. Having a web site increases the productivity of small businesses by 10% Wednesday, September 19, 12 But perhaps the most interesting thing that Hari pointed me to was a McKinsey report on the net’s overall impact on growth, jobs, and prosperity. One of the things that caught our attention was the assertion that having a web site increases the productivity of small businesses by 10%.
  • 30. So that’s where the value gets captured - by everyone! Wednesday, September 19, 12 So that’s where the economic value created by open source ultimately gets captured: by people who may not even know what open source is, but benefit from it nonetheless.
  • 31. We worked with EIG’s Bluehost unit on a study to show the benefits of open source software in the SMB market http://oreilly.com/opensource/radarreports/economic-impact-of-open-source.csp Wednesday, September 19, 12 http://oreilly.com/opensource/radarreports/economic-impact-of-open-source.csp
  • 32. Of the 700,000 SMBs in the Bluehost data... Wednesday, September 19, 12 More than 70% of the 1 million bluehost customers were SMBs. Applying the survey data they provided to the raw data set, we made this extrapolation of their revenues. It’s a total of $124 billion. Given that we estimate that Bluehost represents 10-12% of`the hosting market, that means we’re talking about a $1.3 trillion market. It’s hard to quantify how much of this value to attribute to open source and the web, but it’s meaningful. McKinsey said 10%.
  • 33. Then I started thinking about other “clothesline paradox” economies Wednesday, September 19, 12
  • 34. Why do people keep saying that users won’t pay for content when they are paying the same amount for Internet access as they pay for cable or satellite TV? Wednesday, September 19, 12 I asked myself...
  • 35. Who is getting the free ride? When cable company customers view cable TV content, the cable company pays content providers When the same customers watch YouTube, spend time on Facebook or Twitter, or visit websites, the cable company gets its content for free, much of it created by the very customers who are paying for access! Wednesday, September 19, 12
  • 36. If we want to get copyright policy right, we first have to correctly identify all of the people who are value creators. Wednesday, September 19, 12
  • 37. Wednesday, September 19, 12 For example, my three year-old grandson loves to watch Thomas the Tank Engine train crash videos made by other kids. This one has 23 million views. Not bad for an amateur production.
  • 38. YouTube (like Facebook, and Twitter, and blogs) is full of community-created value that is harvested (for free) by internet-service providers, who charge both the creators and the consumers for access. Wednesday, September 19, 12
  • 39. Wednesday, September 19, 12 So I went down to Vidcon, which is the Picnic of the Youtube creator community, and it was like going back to the early days of the Beatles! Literally thousands of screaming kids as various YouTube stars came out on stage!
  • 40. Wednesday, September 19, 12 Here’s the line of screaming fans waiting to get autographs from 20-something British YouTube star Charlie McDonnell. Vidcon was crawling with agents who used to be focused purely on Hollywood talent.
  • 41. Wednesday, September 19, 12 While I was there, I understood something about another way YouTube community-created value gets monetized. You may not know that when a video gets uploaded that uses copyrighted music, instead of taking it down, Google runs ads against it, and forwards the revenue to the music publisher. You can see the result of the ContentID match on the lower right. What blew my mind though is that I heard one story about a major pop star who makes more money on YouTube than on iTunes, and more than half of that comes from “unofficial” videos that use her music as a soundtrack, rather than from her own official tracks.
  • 42. Wednesday, September 19, 12 This doesn’t just apply to videos with millions of views. Here’s a notice I got a couple of days ago regarding a private video I’d put up from a tango class held in my home, which I’d shared with the other people in the class. If YouTube is today detecting copyrighted music, you can imagine a future where it detects brands, images, and other fodder by which community creativity will generate revenues not for the community but for various rights holders. I do know that YouTube is also working to find better ways to monetize original work, and Vidcon was a testimony to how many new artists are learning to make a living sharing their work there.
  • 43. Wednesday, September 19, 12 But YouTube is also a vehicle for social discovery of artists. Here’s a good friend of mine retweeting a music recommendation by another friend. You can see how Facebook Likes are also integrated. Artists get exposure, but they also do get advertising revenue. The ad on the upper right is for an album by another band, this time on iTunes. There was also a pre-roll ad for the same album.
  • 44. § Khan Academy Wednesday, September 19, 12 And of course, YouTube is also the breeding ground for new disruptive startups like Khan Academy, which is reshaping education.
  • 45. Wednesday, September 19, 12 I should add that we have our own cool video experiment at Make - a summer camp for kids on Google+, with projects taught live in Google hangouts.
  • 46. Wednesday, September 19, 12 And it’s not just YouTube. Venture Capitalist Roger McNamee’s band Moonalice employs about 70 people, including poster artists, roadies, and cameramen (though every concert is filmed in HD with 6 iphones and a $2000 mixer, and streamed direct over 4G to viewers on iPhones.) Roger calls it “the hypernet” since it bypasses even the internet. Moonalice has a single that’s been downloaded more than 1.3 million times. In short, the “sharing economy” of online video has become a real economy.
  • 47. Wednesday, September 19, 12 And don’t even get me started on the turbocharge to the creative economy that we’re getting from Kickstarter!
  • 48. Wednesday, September 19, 12 I love the range of projects on Kickstarter, from social initiatives, to art, to technology. Here are a couple of projects I’ve backed. I think my tweeting of this one yesterday may have pushed it over the top.
  • 49. Wednesday, September 19, 12 Here’s a crazy one for an open-source DIY set of heavy equipment that could be used to rebuild civilization after a collapse.
  • 50. Wednesday, September 19, 12 And here’s a more traditional film documentary project.
  • 51. “the Adhocracy” Wednesday, September 19, 12 Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites are the closest we’ve come yet to the society of abundance that Cory Doctorow described in his first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. It takes place in a world in which nanotechnology has led to physical abundance, and instead of a monetary economy, there’s an economy of attention, whose currency is called “whuffie,” and whose government is referred to as “the ad-hocracy” This has parallels in the work of poet Wallace Stevens.
  • 52. “Reality is an activity of the most august imagination.” - Wallace Stevens Wednesday, September 19, 12 He imagined a future in which we competed not to get more money or stuff, but to tell stories and create visions that other people could believe in. He said ...
  • 53. “Money was the original people connector, but it went bad.” - Dan Harmon at #xoxofest Wednesday, September 19, 12 All of this might lead you to think that the people who make money off creativity are somehow parasites. But that’s not what I’m saying at all. There was a great talk at the XOXO Festival in Portland last week, by Dan Harmon. He talked about the role of money in simplifying connections betwen people, and how it “went bad” because “when you take a people connector too seriously, it stops connecting people and starts dividing them.” I think there’s a wonderful interplay between the sharing economy and the financial economy, in which people who care more about creating than about money create new value, and then people figure out how to monetize that value (which is really another way of sharing it, to pay for things that aren’t infinitely shareable). If we remember not to get too hung up on the money part, then we can keep the sharing going, but as I said earlier, that requires you to make sure that you create more value than you capture.
  • 54. Wednesday, September 19, 12 And of course the creative economy is only one part of a bigger sharing economy. Overall, there are thousands of companies exploring what Lisa Gansky calls the Mesh - the sharing economy.
  • 55. Wednesday, September 19, 12 You can see, though, how sharing systems like couchsurfing
  • 56. Wednesday, September 19, 12 are turning into serious businesses like AirBnB. They are really accelerating. After being around for four years, they hit a total of 5 million room nights shared this past February. It took them only another four months to double that. They hit 10 million room nights in June. And they say that they are getting a lot of traction in depressed European economies like Spain and Greece as people look for new ways of supplementing income.
  • 57. Wednesday, September 19, 12 In some cases, like car sharing, we started with commercial vendors like Zipcar and Greenwheels, and then moved to peer to peer systems like Relayriades and Getaround.
  • 58. Wednesday, September 19, 12 But the commercial impulse re-emerges. Shelby Clark of RelayRides told me recently that people are buying a second car just for sharing.
  • 59. Wednesday, September 19, 12 And I’ve heard several new startups doing crowdfunding for projects like solar rooftops, where the money is paid back over time from energy cost savings.
  • 60. Wednesday, September 19, 12 Etsy is on the same rocketing growth track that eBay was in its early years. This is another kind of creative economy. I own this lampshade - it’s a commodity ikea style lamp made into a thing of beauty by the addition of someone’s craft, creativity, and time.
  • 61. Wednesday, September 19, 12 And this creative, sharing economy shows up in unexpected places. I recently met Rodney Mullen, one of the fathers of street skating. He has this wonderful TEDx talk in which he talks about the skating community, and how its members give to each other. He talks about how fame and money lose their allure. He quotes Richard Feynman saying "The Nobel Prize is the tombstone of all great work," and relates it to his own career as a skater, having won all possible awards, built a successful business. He goes on to say... [next slide]
  • 62. "there's an intrinsic value to creating something for the sake of creating it… "there is this beauty in dropping it into a community of your own making and seeing it dispersed and seeing younger talent take it to levels you could never imagine, because that lives on" -Rodney Mullen Wednesday, September 19, 12
  • 63. In a gift culture, you gain status by what you give away, by the value you create, not the value you take Wednesday, September 19, 12 And that brings me back fifteen years ago, to the first Perl conference, from which my Open Source Convention evolved. I had been struck by Eric Raymond’s observation in one of the essays in The Cathedral and the Bazaar, that open source was a gift culture, in which you gained status by what you give away rather than what you take. (Lewis Hyde explores this for artistic cultures in his book, the Gift). I remember introducing Larry Wall, the author of the Perl programming language, by saying “If this is true, let me present to you one of the highest status individuals I know.” (I also remember Larry telling me why he gave away patch and perl as open source software: “I’ve gotten a lot from everyone else, so I just thought it made sense to give something back.”)
  • 64. Wednesday, September 19, 12 I want to end with some advice from Steve Jobs. The world is what we make it. If we take it simply as it is, and do no more than complain, we are not living up to our potential. The creative economy is the future of the world. Let’s make a better one together.
  • 65. For More Information § Twitter: @timoreilly, @oreillymedia, @make § Google Plus: +Tim O’Reilly § Blog: http://radar.oreilly.com § My personal archive: http://tim.oreilly.com § Maker Movement: http://makezine.com Wednesday, September 19, 12