The second coming of double-entry bookkeeping
Doc Searls
243

I majored in financial management but it wasn’t until years later that I came to understand accounting as a storytelling medium. The journal chronicled the decisions and action of the characters. But it was the analysis and reporting that showed you the ebb and flow of the outcomes, the conflicts between intention and reality, the mistakes and accidents and random forces that shaped the struggle to thrive.

It was also clear even as a student that the numbers told only fragment of the story; an entrepreneur who ran a circus told me he wrote notes about all his conversations and decisions so he could review them and learn from them, he carried small spiral pads always. While never captured by accounting systems, those notes were the context that informed the numbers’ stories.

Narrative accounting (blogging?) is almost a life skill for product managers. We have so many interactions and make so many small decisions that a backup brain helps with accountability and learning from our history. Doing some of it in public builds trust, fosters collaboration, and creates some institutional memory.

So, Doc, if blockchain could become the new accounting ledger, what’s the next generation of narrative context journaling?