The Do-It-Yourself Economy & The Great Inflection

New York Times Columnist on Digital Collaboration etc.

“The Great Inflection is the mass diffusion of low-cost, high-powered innovation technologies — from hand-held computers to Web sites that offer any imaginable service — plus cheap connectivity. They are transforming how business is done. The Great Recession you know.”

In a recent New York Times post by Thomas Friedman, author of The World Is Flat and The Lexus and the Olive Tree, a small snapshot of the current state of the U.S. economy is sketched out using a couple of Friedman’s buddies businesses as examples.

These businesses have had to drop staff as the recession has reduced their income, and the business they do pick up has to be achieved at a fraction of their previous budget, with less ‘in-house’ resources at hand. One company is surviving by using the internet to outsource their production, talent, materials (in this case images) and collaboration tools to get their business done quickly, without the overheads of maintaining staff and all of the associated costs. This business model means that although the work is getting done, they are not creating full time employment for the people doing the work, but giving them an opportunity to bid, with global competition.

Just as Ponoko and other making/selling sites allow would be designers compete to pitch their designs to a global market, against global competition. Users of Ponoko may not (yet) be creating an income upon which they can survive, but the opportunity is there to leverage ‘The Great Inflection’ in the same way to augment their existing incomes during the current recession.

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