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November 04, 2006


Doc Searls

Well done! And much appreciated.

Will say the same again over at LJ when I get a break and a clear line.



I would recommend changing 5 to a stronger positive statement, something like:
5) Ideas generate surprising results.


Yes, that is an improvement.

Michael Bernstein

Seems like 2-3 needed to be switched around a bit, and then I did some more editing/adding:

1. Ideas belong to everyone.
2. Ideas are powerful when people use them.
3. Ideas gain value when others improve them.
4. Ideas grow by sharing them.
5. Ideas change the world, and are changed by it in turn.
6. Ideas change surprisingly as they grow.
7. Ideas beget ideas.


Back at LJ, Doc suggested some rewrites of the rewrites:
"... One thought. Ideas don't belong to anybody. They are owner-less by nature. Claiming ownership of them insults their nature. So I'd suggest...

1. Ideas are NEA — Nobody owns them, Everybody can use them and Anybody can improve them.
2. Ideas are most valuable when others put them to use.
3. Ideas grow through improvement by others.
4. Ideas grow through participation by others.
5. Ideas have unexpected results.

What think ye?"

His NEA formulation is catchy and encapsulates the essence of the idea about ideas.

The only missing facet, is the cautionary note expressed in #5, "Ideas have unexpected results." Worth including, I think. But, I prefer Les' more positive formulation, "Ideas generate surprising results".

Because, I believe that is true, I don't think it's advisable to be predictive, as in Michael Bernstein's version, "Ideas change the world, and are changed by it in turn." The second half of that statement is certainly true, I think we should focus on people's use of ideas and so the way ideas are seen to change is through people's use, not the more impersonal, "the world's" use. That facet is contained in the statements about ideas growing through improvement and participation.

The use, participation and improvement lines are so close to each other, I'd like to eliminate them. Doc's #2 is about the value of ideas and assumes all ideas have value and places the highest value on ideas being used. We must remember there are bad ideas and the world would benefit if bad ideas are not put in to use.

Participation and use are alike. Improvement may occur or not. Think bad ideas growing small thru neglect as improvement.

At LJ, Anonymous points out the amalgam of #2, #3 & #4.

As for me, tonight. I suggest we the mini-manifesto is simply Doc's, "Ideas are NEA..." plus Les' "Ideas generate surprising results".

Michael Bernstein

OK, how about:

1. Ideas grow by sharing them.
2. No-one owns an idea
3. Ideas are powerful when people use them.
4. Everyone can use an idea
5. Ideas gain value when others improve them.
6. Anyone can improve an idea


nice symmetry. the best version yet. when i get off work, i'll make another post backing this as a preferred proposed mini-manifesto. if you haven't added it to doc's comments by then, i will with your attribution. thank you.

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