Kindled Meme

– exploring the purpose of connection

Sharing…have you met my baby?


“I thought of this great idea check this out!  Look.. Meet my baby!”

Yet, sharing is tough – if you love something you have to let it go – thats the hard bit because then it leaks out…  You were being Authentically Helpful but someone else could be Unethically Opportunist – and take your great stuff and pass it off as theirs. Its the Arrow Paradox – you have something uniquely valuable but then as soon as you share it  the ‘unique’ has gone. Its the paradox of innovation – you’ve got to be open but then you find yourself wishing you’d been closed.

“Stuff” gets abused by free-riders, knowledge leaks and sometimes there is outright theft of facilitation models that were known to add real value to customers – sometimes stolen by people we trusted. I think we have permission to be pissed. I attended Oxford Jam earlier this year and some guys were getting really hack off about how this happens.

But then again, it was always going to happen. It is great stuff!

And there’s nothing that’s been shipped that isn’t a prototype anyway… nothing that cant be done better – if our ears and minds are open we learn whats needed next – we find ‘the edge’. The game was changing anyway. They copied ‘our baby’ but they didn’t steal what we have brewing in the lab.

And they don’t steal our personal brand of ‘being a helper’ and they don’t steal our vision, our relationships and reputation as great partners. They don’t steal the trust that people invest in us for being good people to do business with.

Its natural to want to invest energy  in resentment of being ‘hacked’ or ‘asset stripped’ – but its better to  just crack on. Be sunny and light.

Don’t know about you but I just cant create if I’ve got a cloudy head… let’s shine 🙂


Author: jameslramsay

Practice director at the ShelfLife project - digital by day, campfire by night

3 thoughts on “Sharing…have you met my baby?

  1. IME, it’s weird and disheartening when folks borrow without asking.

    It happened to me at one of the Cantina Conversations I hosted. I had especially invited folks from another boutique firm working in the organisational story space. They were friendly enough but didn’t really mingle. About eight weeks later, they launched a refreshed website which included whole phrases from my opening remarks. Someone else who attended brought it to my attention. I was pretty sore. But over time, I realised that what I do is different. I stopped trying to build a collegial relationship and looked elsewhere. I’m not sure how good I was at being sunny & light, James, but I sure as heck did crack on.

    Boy does your image about retaining what we’re brewing in the lab hit home, James.

    And funnily enough, recently I’ve had a few enquiries from people who were their clients, and are now looking for a different way of crafting compelling business stories. It’s hard not to savour that, which is little better than the resentment you warn against.

    You’re so right about us always holding on to the trust people invest in us, and which we earn and reward in our actions. Nobody can hack that.

  2. Hi Kate

    I like your comment “They were friendly enough but didn’t really mingle”

    During my open Innovation research I’d ask people on how they would select their partners – and this kind of behaviour you observe – which isn’t explicit – but just “isn’t quite right” – is something people would pick up on

    One wise old Open Innovation wizard said to me:

    “You kind of know, don’t you over a period of time with these collaborations…. you get to know whether you can trust the individuals and if you trust individuals then you can get a feel as to whether you can trust the organisation that they operate.”

    “If they haven’t got their head around it and got their attitude right …if it is right for them …if they haven’t intellectualised the reasons why it’s right for them …then they probably never going to be successful. It looks opportunistic and it probably is.”

    We seek trust and call upon our judgement – if you spot incongruent behaviour – ‘smell a rat’ – then theres probably a rat in the room.

    In a hyper-connected world thankfully we now have choice.



  3. Pingback: On Visibility « fuchsia blue

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