Four Pillars: Agoraphilia: The Next Recap

I’ve just returned from reboot in Copenhagen. Exhilarating. Google reboot8 and take a wander through the 140,000 hits you get, it should give you a flavour.

How do I feel now? Like Doc’s snowballs met the Sony Bravia ad. Millions of ideas bouncing at me in glorious technicolor. [An aside. Was that ad real? I hear stories about damaged cars on the Bullitt streets of San Francisco. Try Bravia on flickr and it all seems so very real. Does anyone out there know for sure? Please do share the story with us.]

So rather than comment further on reboot, I thought I’d do a recap of Four Pillars, but in the context of what I’d learnt at the conference.

The Foundations of Four Pillars are the places that make up the Internet. Infrastructure in Stewart Brand terms, as shown in Doc Searls’s Making a New World. Open to all. No barriers to entry. Providing a host of utilities that are the heat and light and shelter of the new world. Utilities that range from processor to memory to storage to connectivity. Utilities that are non-discriminatory in nature, with a common pricing model, available to all.

The Four Pillars are Syndication, Search, Fulfilment and Conversation.

Syndication is nothing more than habitual signalling of intention, almost passive in nature, yet alive. A long view. When you subscribe to an information feed, you are signalling an interest, a nascent intention.

Search is nothing more than ad-hoc signalling of intention, almost active in nature, very much alive. A more transient view. When you search for something, you are signalling an interest, an active interest.

Conversation is how you feed and sustain the relationships you need within these market places
, how you convert your syndications and your searches into buying and selling signals. Conversation is how you discover the recommendations of people you trust, in order to decide what you buy or sell.

Fulfilment is how you consummate your intentions.

Propped up by these Four Pillars is Relationship and Identity and Trust. Identity has no meaning except in a relationship. No man is an Iland intire of it selfe. I am not a Rock. A relationship has no meaning except in trust. Covenant not contract. Identity is first and foremost who you are, defined by your beliefs and values and mores and ethics. Who you are. Not what you are. Identity is defined within one or more relationships.

[An aside on Privacy. We live in a world where nanny states are fashionable, where powers-that-be insist on deciding what you can do and what you can’t do, for your own good. This is a natural consequence of flawed ideas of privacy. People in relationships need to be open and vulnerable in order to build trust. Vulnerability can only exist when you are accountable, when there is a connection between your actions and their consequences. Remove that connection at your peril: once you remove accountability and “traceability” then someone else has to figure out how to deal with the disconnected consequences that materialise. Nanny states and litigiousness become the norm. Counterintuitively, the more accountable you are, the less someone can sue you.]

There’s a lot of open space between the Four Pillars and the Roof they support. Open spaces where we meet and converse as part of trusted relationships in communities. Communities that overlap and mesh and coalesce and separate. Communities that are alive. Communities where we use the most valuable assets we have, ourselves, to create new things and consume them. Communities that don’t know the difference between first, second, third and other worlds. Communities that can make an impact on things that matter.
And there’s a lot to be done to make this world happen. Done in terms of internet “governance”, in terms of reworked intellectual property approaches, in terms of meaningful and usable identity. These are difficult concepts and will need us to work together to make it happen, to avoid the sins of the past, to ensure that we don’t lose sight of what can be achieved by getting stuck in polarised politics and emotion.

We have to learn to love our open spaces, our open market places, rather than fear them. Agoraphilia.
Raise high the roof beam, carpenters. Thanks to JD Salinger. [BTW I came across this review of Salinger’s book from the New York Times of 28 January 1963. How nice to find it in an open space. Thank you NYT.

11 thoughts on “Four Pillars: Agoraphilia: The Next Recap”

  1. Well, now you know about the Bravia ad …

    This post has been the most succinct explanation from you of the Four Pillars for me – I’ve seen bits of it, but the penny really dropped tonight reading this. Not that the concepts that you speak of are new, but that this particular vision of them was taking a while to come together in my head … no more. How long before those that thrive on our current agoraphobia are no longer in a position to impose their version of markets on us? Bring it on.

    BTW – I now have a visual – the Parthenon. Does that match yours?

  2. Parthenon. I like it. Even more open space. We just have to make sure ours lives, rather than becomes another tourist attraction…..

  3. Hmmm. The Making Of video is just part of the marketing package. As an answer to JP’s question it’s like citing the NSA report into WMDs as proof of their existence.

    Dec, Steve, SteveP and Stu: I have some snake oil over here you may be interested in…

  4. If Intent is the Water that binds, we are not far from Karma.

    As mentioned in one of your earlier post – your Google, ebay reputation( read Karma) affected your antique purchase.

    Thus as I understand it, 4 pillars is (also) about building a fair and empowering all-digital-life encompassing Karma system. Now I see the gravity of the issues you are bringing to the foreground. And the perils of incumbant (dominant) market players hijacking the process. The challenges of making them see beyond their immediat temptations. OMG Bravia!

  5. For anyone keen to understand the difference between confidence and trust, and a deeper explanation of vulnerability, you should read “The Problem of Trust” by Adam Seligman (Princeton University Press, 2000).

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