John McCann

Sun says sun has risen

In Listen to the Dawn, Open source, Uncategorized on February 18, 2006 at 7:50 pm

Scott McNealy says that the sun has risen on the Participation Age.

“Speaking at a San Francisco conference on Wednesday, Sun CEO Scott McNealy described today as the “Participation Age” in technology, saying Sun’s open-source approach fits with that direction.”

His presentation included a slide titled “The Participation Age is another Revolution,” one that joins railways, electricity and telecommunications as revolutions that drove the global economy over the past 150 years.

Each of these four revolutions share four attributes:

  1. Economic growth through new services
  2. Standard that allow competition
  3. Participation of the community
  4. Less barriers, more access

This is clearly true when you restrict your analysis to the software revolution, as McNealy does. But is it true for the larger participation arena in which ordinary people can participate in activities that were previously reserved for experts, anointed professionals and companies who control some aspect of an industry or activity?

The answer appears to be clearly Yes.

  1. New services and applications are coming on line almost daily.
  2. Standards are allowing the cost of almost all digital technologies to follow Moore’s law, which results in near professional-level applications becoming affordable to more and more people.
  3. Blogs, podcasts, vlogs, social networks, etc. are allowing people to join together into loose communities of like-minded individuals who participate in common activities.
  4. The open Internet, digital technologies and deregulation has lowered, or even eliminated, barriers in many fields to the point that almost anyone can have access.
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