Hawai’i’s Shared Futures By Vision Foresight Strategy

The DIY Economy

A CNET article from last year (gasp!) talked about the emergence of the do-it-yourself Web, where new companies online provide fast and easy tools for non-techies to create professional looking and more sophisticated websites. The article also talked about new services to let non-programmers build web ‘mash-ups’, a typically inelegant internet term for an online service that fuses two or more information sources and tools into a single application (or experience).

Thoughts: Although we don’t often think about technology this way, one of the applications of technology is to embed competency or capability into a tool to allow humans to do something they naturally cannot do, such as fly, explode objects, or create precise, visually stunning documents. This has been a characteristic of technology from the earliest times, and today we can see the evolution of this to new heights.

While being able to code is certainly a plus in today’s economy, you certainly don’t need such skills to operate in the global marketplace. We’re seeing the emergence of what some have anticipated for years: the beginnings of an economy where ideas and content really are economic drivers and where more and more of ‘the masses’ can participate, not simply as consumers, but once more a producers of valued content. From WYSIWYG software for building websites, to home video editing software, to the new services to allow non-coders to build mashups on the Web, we have been witnessing the slow application of technology to enable the average person to produce, distribute, and theoretically make money off of their original content, something previously relegated to corporations with large finances, reach, and technical staff.

In the future we will be watching for more instances of this shift, such as in movies and CGI, where developments in the last few years have slowly but surely brought professional-grade computer animation and movie making to the home desktop. It does not take a professional futurist to anticipate that in the not too distant future, any individual with basic computer literacy, an internet connection, good imagination, and good social networks could build their own successful media conglomerate, with highly unique news, entertainment, and whatever new forms of fusion media they can imagine. Add to that the parallel trend in fabrication technology, and that person’s ideas could easily take physical form (more on that in later posts)…


  • The Long Tail: a book based on an earlier article that argues that the emerging economy will allow the small little niches, not profitable from the mass market retail point of view, to be viable busineses in the 21st Century.
  • The Movies: a computer game that simulates a movie studio. It became almost more popularly because a sub-component of the game allowed players to script, selected costumes, scenes, and props, and paste together simple computer-animated scenes and thus literally produce the movies they wanted their fictitious characters to star in
  • Maya: a popular and award-winning program for 3D modeling
  • Popfly: a new Microsoft application to allow users to use shapes rather than actual code to create mashups

Filed under: Business, Economics, Wealth

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