The open source movement, which has evolved handsomely within the world of software programming (the architecture behind this very blog is a result of such efforts), has produced numerous spawn in the creative and tech sectors. Now, the mind(s) behind the E Text Editor blog are advocating an admixture of open source protocols and commerce in the form of an ?open company.?
To quote from the movement’s ur-manifesto, the intent to is to create a company that is ?Totally open. No concept of bosses or employees. Anyone could join in at any time, doing whatever task they found interesting, for whatever time they found appropriate.? Thought the author’s concept is clearly more nuanced than a mere pull-quote can convey, I cannot help but flash to the Beatles? initial Apple Corps. concept and its rather disastrous attempt to foster a Utopian creative community circa ?68.
?It’s a company we’re setting up, involving records, films, and electronics, and ? as a sideline ? manufacturing or whatever,? explained John Lennon in a press conference, then added with characteristic cheek, ?We want to set up a system where people who just want to make a film about anything, don’t have to go on their knees in somebody’s office. Probably yours.?
The result, predictably, was a wave of wannabes clamoring for a handout at the Apple Corps. Saville Row offices, which, remarkably, many received. This inauspicious moment in angel funding was astutely parodied in The Rutles, wherein scenesters are depicted brazenly looting the Pre-Fab Four’s company, absconding with everything including the furniture. The parody was apparently not far from the truth as Ringo Starr later recounted: ?We had, like, a thousand people that weren’t needed, but they all enjoyed it. They were all getting paid for sitting around. We had a guy there just to read the tarot cards, the I Ching. It was craziness.?
Albeit, the E Text Editor’s model will exist online under its proprietor’s watchful eye, so there’s little fear of a staff-Tarot reader creeping aboard (moreover, I seem to recall an ancient I Ching program for the Mac which would obviate the position).
Having launched my own media and entertainment company in beautiful Sonoma wine country this month, I’m more inclined to advocate an Open Bottle model of creative commerce. You bring the bottle and I?ll open it. Then we can collaborate on draining it together (and, if in the process, I pitch you a project which ignites a greenlight from within you, we can commence with the commerce). Have your people call my, um, person. Oh, and I’m partial to reds.