28 Jan, 2011 – leave a comment

introducing common

As a follow up to yesterday’s post, here’s the archived video of Rob Schuham & Alex Bogusky announcing their newest venture – COMMON:

Benefiting people, communities, society, the environment and future generations is the new advantage in business. Our new capitalist brand is about transitioning from competitive advantage to collaborative advantage. COMMON is a brand that is community designed, community owned, and community directed. It is a single open source brand — a living network — for rapidly prototyping many progressive businesses that unleash creativity to solve social problems.

If you’re curious why I’m excited enough to post about this twice in 2 days, skip to 9:30 in on the vid. … it’s shake-and-bake and I helped!

Thanks to Rob I was able to fly in for the announcement – It was an incredible honor to attend, to meet the Project-M team, and to stare awkwardly at various movers and/or shakers. For the most part, the audience consisted of entrepreneurs, like Jake Nickell of Threadless and Joshua Onysko – founder/CEO of Pangea Organics (which I’m totally addicted to now). Following the announcement and continued on to the next day, there was an awesome discussion about the nuts and bolts of fostering a vibrant community and offering the open source tools for that community to ideate, develop, and launch their own ventures.

Over the last few months as I traded emails with the gents about COMMON, I was blown away by two things: 1) the sheer scale of their ambition (I once replied to an email from Rob with “Dude, you need to be a government to do that” to which he replied, “What we’re planning is bigger than a government,”) and 2) their sober understanding of what’s required to bring the vision to life. As creative people, we tend to get a wee exuberant for our own ideas, but Rob and Alex truly have a pragmatist’s approach and a crop of partners to make this thing actually happen.

When I announced plans for The Bucket Brigade last November, I stated our mission “to solve the world’s most massively complex problems.” So obviously, there’s an overlap in our mission and COMMON’s, and my hope is that The Bucket Brigade will be able to plug-and-play with COMMON, and perhaps to shape how the COMMON community looks at problems – by focusing on its leverage points and ideating capitalist solutions to work in concert towards a common objective.

I hope you’ll click over and watch the video and consider just how revolutionary a distributed, open source, collaborative brand like COMMON will actually be. In my words (not to be confused with the horse’s mouth of Rob and Alex), the goal is to unleash entrepreneurs and their creativity to build businesses that respect their communities, their employees, their customers, and the environment – and the COMMON community will exist so that launching your own business is less painful, less glacial-paced, and less nerve-wracking. If you accept the principles of responsibility (aka new capitalism), then you’ll have an amazing platform to bring your creative ideas to life.

Finally, I just want to thank Alex and Rob for being insane, pragmatic, curious, collaborative, and genuine. It’s a pretty rare, a dozen times per generation, sort of thing for people to come together and say, “Let’s chuck out the old way of doing things, and tangibly experiment with doing it better.” It’s been a huge inspiration just being near to that vision and energy.