Wedogood : après le crowdfunding, le crowdinvesting

Pour bien démarrer cette année 2014, je vous propose un article à propos de cette start-up dont je connais bien les associés et qui décalque sur l’acte d’investissement les fonctionnements collaboratifs qui nous intéressent. Un cas bien concret de “crowdinvesting” !

Bonne lecture sur mon blog Un voyage de Serendip !

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4D printing?

Last time I was writing about 3D printing and saying it was going to revolution our economy because it leverages the move towards peer-to-peer systems that appears in our society. So what about 4D printing? What more will it offer, what more will it change?

Remember I was saying the assembly of multiple parts can’t be overtaken by 3D printers? 4D printers might know how to do that. Let me explain the point.
What’s the fourth dimension? Time. And if you add time to an object, you allow it to move. With movement, you can articulate pieces together and make them form a new object. But 4D printers are not very much different from 3D printers. In fact it’s all more about the object you print than the printer itself. The object has to integrate certain characteristics that will allow the self-assembly after printing.

And if you’d like to watch the video which made me discover 4D printing, please play Skylar Tibbits’ talk at TED2013.

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3D printing

Have you already heard of 3D printing? I have discovered it about one year ago, when I was reading Jeremy Rifkin’s bestseller The Third industrial revolution. What does it have to do with an energetic and economic revolution? That’s what I first wondered about. But it has everything to do with it and everything to do with the main theme of this blog. And before I tell you more about this, let me explain for those who do not know about 3D printing how it works.

Your home printer is today printing ink on paper and working in two dimensions. A 3D printer is able to print different materials on three axes: horizontal, lateral, and vertical. You could send the printer a numerical file (like today’s text documents, presentations, or pictures) containing the useful information to print any metallic or plastic structure and the printer, printing each microscopic layer after the other, and welding it with the previous one through heat would slowly build the whole piece. As of today, a 3D printer can’t print an object made of different pieces. The assembly must be done afterwards but many objects could now be printed, ranging from chairs to iPhone shells for example.

So now, it’s a new technology and its very interesting but why is it so important, why would it radically change the economy? Because, as you noticed it: you can use it at home. Creating new objects is much cheaper this way, and leading aeronautic industrial players are already using it for this reason. But it’s also simple, and small enough (about the same size as your traditional printer) for anyone to use it at their place. Plus, it’s becoming more and more affordable in just a few months time. And if you could print your own objects at home, would you continue going to the store on open hours to buy them and then bother about bringing it back home? No, of course. Basic productions could therefore progressively be overtaken by individuals and become decentralized. This has everything to do with lateral power and change of uses and habits.

And it is very powerful: entire economic sectors might disappear with this new level of individual empowerment. The next step is then for people to exchange their production on peer-to-peer internet platforms and / or through local peer-to-peer systems, making the 3D printing economy stronger and more viable. And as autonomous production (for example with solar panels on your roof) and peer-to-peer exchange systems become more and more attractive to us, private 3D printing surely has a bright future ahead.

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Robin Chase on Peers Inc.

Today, I’d like to share with you a talk I discovered recently on TED.com. It is from Robin Chase, founder of Zipcar in the USA and of Buzzcar in France more recently. She didn’t simply copy-paste the business model from one country to another and took the opportunity of changing contexts to deepen the concept at the heart of it. Here’s a short description of the two business models but I suggest you to visit the companies’ websites to learn more about them:

  • Zipcar allows your to rent cars owned by the company, by the hour or the day.
  • With Buzzcar, you’ll be able to rent your neighbour’s car while he’s not using it.

Robin’s experiences have led her to building the Peers Inc. concept, a combination of companies and peer-to-peer systems. Peers Inc., she says, are taking the best from both systems by introducing the humanity and personalization of peer-to-peer systems in the economies of scales and standardized output quality of the industrial and commercial production model.

And now I’m going to let you enjoy her talk by clicking on the picture below!

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Too hasty Generation Y? 2/2

My last article ended up with “So why do I question this efficient operating mode? Why do I wonder about its relevancy?” and that’s the question I’ll answer today.

Efficiency is not effectivenessHow unimportant or important are really those last 20% output of Pareto’s rule?

I don’t intend to ask this question out of perfectionism and a vague desolate feeling for those always by a fifth unreached objectives. Poor ones! What I mean is: aren’t these 20% crucial in some domains of our life? Isn’t this “end of the journey” effort which makes all the difference in some situations? Shouldn’t efficiency sometimes give way to effectiveness as the predominant objective?

What’s at risk, really?

Going through those last 20%, there is still subtle issues or undiscovered errors to point out and they might in some cases change the broad picture. These little lacks and shortcomings are what differenciates good work from expert work. What’s rare is valuable, and as relatively few people spend time on the last 20%, few people are truly experts.

What if, as this is happening now, more and more information is available about all subjects, in real time, all over the world? What if people, wanting to know the basics of all subjects, start spending the 20% input on all of them. The 80% efforts saved for one favorite topic might be taped into. This means still less expertise, fewer experts, fewer people whose knowledge makes them able to question what is generally admitted and to challenge the debate.

In the personal field too, what would happen if, being listening only to 20% of what one of your beloved ones says, you were going to miss out that particular tone of sadness announcing depression or suicide, that particular smile announcing an addition to the family, that particular interrogation about what to do with one’s life?

In most situations, by applying the Pareto rule, you get the big picture and avoid the main pitfalls. You’ll be able to do a good job, and do the next one after that faster, which is valuable. But in some cases, or in some fields, you probably don’t want to miss out the little, discreet signs foretelling a difference with the big picture you’ve painted.

Too hasty generation Y?

So where are we going? Generation Y is tomorrow’s decision-making generation. What if we lack experts? What if we’re unable to take the necessary time to make the right decision? We are often (rightly) told it’s a very worthy quality to be able to make decisions quickly thereby dealing with the uncertainty that is to be met in every situation. But when are we told to take the time to step back for a while and not jump for the first promising idea? What if we’re not familiar with those decision-making processes that are adequate for high-impact decisions?

We will know how to deal with too much information and information obsolescence. We will know how to be quick and take the risk of not knowing everything on one topic. We will probably avoid the pitfall of not doing because you’re not sure. But what if we have to face situations where these abilities are not useful, or maybe even misleading?

Now, what should I do?

Obviously, it seems applying the Pareto rule in every situation and about every topic doesn’t seem so appealing by now. But getting involved in everything you do at 100% doesn’t seem possible either.

In our society, it would probably just marginalize the particular individual. And collectively, it is not desirable nor sustainable. What worth would an expert be if not having any idea of the context of their specific field? How could expertise be coordinated? A team’s efficiency doesn’t come from the simple sum up of the members’ expertise…

So a 80% output ratio can’t be considered as being 100%. Always targeting 80% is not any more possible than targeting 100%. The first thing to do is learn to identify and choose what topics can be dealt with with only 20% efforts, and what others can’t. The second is to learn to step back, take time, and disconnect from the rest in order to be fully thereThe question is: what do I want to be an expert about? and what will I do in order to become that expert?

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