Friday, November 13, 2015

How the Web-Based Platform Disintermediates Trade of Ideas and Knowledge

Here at Bluedog, we believe in fostering marketplaces that are a decentralized means of transferring individual ownership (the quid-pro-quo exchanges of goods and services). Unfortunately the concentrations of ownership that exist right now are not the natural tendency of the capitalist market form, but to some extent the result of government privileges and prohibitions that deform markets — including privileges to landlords, bankers, factory owners, etc. (think bail-outs, corporate welfare, government-granted monopolies). Sometimes we see suppression of grassroots or horizontal forms of economic organization (governments mandating people to buy into a corporate insurance market, shutting down free clinics and mutual aid societies, busting unions through Taft-Hartley and “Right-to-Work,” etc.).

The e-marketplace that Bluedog participates in is business-to-business oriented, in which buyers and sellers exchange services and information. This consortia helps the individual business operate more efficiently (by connecting geographically dispersed teams), and groups of businesses help each other, by enabling the free exchange of useful content, connections to experts, and assessment of business opportunities with an eye towards teaming.

With many of today’s social-based economies, we see the opportunity to decentralize, from the bottom up. With Uber, AirBnB and others, there’s a platform-based environment to connect suppliers (people with cars or empty flats) with buyers (travelers). This is facilitated via the internet, where technology has enabled a cooperative model. Perhaps soon we will see more co-ops, worker-owned businesses and individuals trying out new experiments in trading with each other for the things or services people need or want.

What does this model mean for businesses? Easier access to talented individuals, called up upon demand, but free to go about their lives without being chained to a location, or stuck in a traffic jamb getting there. Better allocation of financial resources will enable smaller firms to compete with bigger ones. Perhaps technologies such as 3d printing will make micro-manufacturing feasible — such as automobiles or we will be able to deconstruct medical services such that costs are dramatically lowered?

The single-point-of-access through a web browser provides a compelling model, where information inside an organization, or across organizational boundaries, facilitates connectivity via an electronic intermediary. A secondary value is the aggregation of information, avoiding the limitations of direct interaction by lowering search costs, the lack of privacy, and other risks. Add mobile computing to this, where iPhones and iPads foster real-time access to information and tools anywhere there’s a wireless connection, and you’ve got fertile ground for innovation.

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