So we thought, let's build tools to bring the right strangers together, for the right reasons at the right times, to help them solve each other's needs. And become friends.
Remember Myspace? Aside from messy profile pages, probably the most oft referenced reason for its demise is the platform’s lack of focus on a closed inner circle. Any day you could wake up to a complete stranger trying to be your friend; some cool, most not. Facebook saw the need for intimacy in the social media experience and capitalized on it. Now we’re able to validate almost anything on the web by whether or not our friends are connected to it — and invalidate things that have no social breadcrumb leading back to us.
Back to Myspace. Amid the sketchy strangers, occasionally you’d meet a cool one. Myspace’s journal-like posts were popular, and you could vet people through what they wrote there. While profiles could get messy, if someone had artwork that immediately spoke to you, its was another way you could validate the likelihood that you two would get along. Sometimes these strangers were similar to your friends, so naturally you liked them, too. Sometimes they filled holes that your friend’s didn’t, and gave you a positive outlet to communicate when there weren’t other places to turn.
Despite is flaws, Myspace offered rich bonds with new people. It was focused on enhancing, building up your social graph. But the negatives were enough to cause a shift to the other extreme — a restricted social graph — giving us an almost religious acceptance of, and addiction to, digital xenophobia. The problem is now when we need skills, knowledge or perspective from someone we’re not yet connected to, it’s not very easy to go out and find that person.
Myspace wasn’t perfect, but it had one big perk: easy access to quality strangers. Maybe we shouldn’t have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.
Most would say that capitalism, while flawed, works. We will not disagree. However, when you think about the people you have the strongest relationships with, are they the ones with whom you’ve exchanged dollars, or some other kind of value?
Natural economy. def: a type of economy in which money is not used in the transfer of resources among people. It is a system of allocating resources through direct bartering, entitlement by law, or sharing out according to traditional custom.
Every entrepreneur knows that accomplishing a goal is hard, and often times takes more people and money than you have at the start. So to get by, we connect with people, trade skills, ask for favors. Along the way, we not only get things done, but we build relationships. Some of them last a lifetime, proving to be fruitful many times over; helping us to build businesses, acquire skills, get jobs, and create more wealth. How often can you say that about an in-and-out hired gun?
On a peer-to-peer level, there are things that money can’t buy, but still have great value. And when you connect people in an effort to help them exchange non-monetary valuables, they often materialize as very-monetary dollars down the road.
The market economy system may be what keeps the capitalism train running on a large scale but, peer-to-peer, it’s not everything.