One response to this centralization is to impose government regulation on large internet companies. This response assumes that the internet is similar to past communication networks like the phone, radio, and TV networks. But the hardware-based networks of the past are fundamentally different than the internet, a software-based network. Once hardware-based networks are built, they are nearly impossible to rearchitect. Software-based networks can be rearchitected through entrepreneurial innovation and market forces.
As WeChat grows, new utilities emerge on the platform. Each increases the time users spend on WeChat’s platform thus reducing friction between users. The latest progression of this is the launch of Applets, which will allow developers to build full HTML5 apps on top of WeChat. What drove WeChat’s growth wasn’t the launch of any one feature. It was the individual fruit vendors, taxi cabs, and mom-and-pop shops that WeChat made life easier for. In the long run, this might be the winning strategy. In 2015, 12,000 new companies were born on platforms like WeChat every day. The hive isn’t created from access to new functionality. It’s how new functionality creates new economic opportunity.
As startups are looking to disrupt industries, they are often choosing a new location on the System of Control axis. Moving a person from point A to point B is not a new idea; doing it with a significantly different value proposition (real time, simple payment, full visibility, feedback mechanisms) gives users more control and changes the model significantly — thus the new ride sharing economy. Using compute power to solve interesting problems has been around for decades; putting that processing power directly in people’s hands has changed all the models. Many ideas start out by giving users more control and transparency, and then gradually become more centralized. This will not change….however, the point at which they reach equilibrium may well become more decentralized. This will have dramatic impacts on many industries.
The true measure of this experiment, however, isn’t in volume, but in the positive feedback from entrepreneurs. It has been, in a word, overwhelming. The scale limits and scope of our platform is being seriously tested by the level of demand we’re seeing, and the qualitative feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with entrepreneurs appreciating the speed, ease, and transparency of the process. No hoops, no $7 artisanal coffee chats, no designer pitch decks, no bias, no politics, no bullshit. Just the best teams with the best ideas, the best execution, and the best metrics funded on the merits of their achievements, not the status characteristics of their founders or the exclusivity of their professional networks.
You can tell everything you need to know about another person’s entire financial situation by evaluating the accessories they wear, none of which could have been gifted, obtained secondhand, or purchased affordably as well-crafted imitations. It definitely does not behoove the bougie-butt kings of American heteropatriarchal capitalism to have the lowest-income people fighting each other over low-sodium cream of chicken soup instead of mutually supporting each other in an effort to dismantle the classist sociological strata that oppresses all but the richest among us, so it’s more likely that you’re the only person at the food bank who isn’t 100000% buck wild over the whole situation. What a wacky universe we would live in if this were just a super fucked-up culture that made people feel miserably ashamed of poverty and incentivized judgmental competition over basic necessities, instead of this just being another case of You vs. The Bad Poors.
Being part of a hivemind allows individuals to be able to experience the totality of the human experience synchronously and act in unison with each other to achieve better outcomes than any single static individual could by him/herself or in the absence of participating in a hive.