It explores how some companies in the early 21st century used mass collaboration (or peer production) and open-source technology such as wikis to be successful. According to Tapscott wikinomics is based on four ideas: Openness, Peering, Sharing, and Acting Globally. The use of mass collaboration in a business environment, in recent history, can be seen as an extension of the trend in business to outsource: externalize formerly internal business functions to other business entities. The difference however is that instead of an organized business body brought into being specifically for a unique function, mass collaboration relies on free individual agents to come together and cooperate to improve a given operation or solve a problem. This kind of outsourcing is also referred as crowdsourcing, to reflect this difference. This can be incentivized by a reward system, though it is not required.
While, there are some interesting examples and some valuable insights, the book is far from being a critical study. Even when it is insightful, it is like listening to people smoking pot. Every idea is clever as long as nobody is sober.
The section on Sharing is toothless in examining the implications of the loss of property rights. Real companies should be real careful about drinking this exuberant koolaid. But don't take any of it too seriously - if the authors believed what they were saying, then why didn't they just blog the book for free and make money from "incentives"?
In fact, here is a Godelian puzzle to ponder:
The last chapter will be written by viewers, and was opened for editing on February 5, 2007. So, if the authors truly believed what they are saying in the first chapters that are not open for editing, then why wouldn't they let the wisdom of the crowd edit the first part as well?
If you are going to read this, then please also read The Cult of the Amateur by Andrew Keen.
By the way, the first paragraph of my review was lifted from wikipedia.
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