Friday, February 13, 2009

Rod Beckstrom, Starfish and Spider

Rod, coauthor of The Starfish and Spider, joined the Bootstrap Bookclub to discuss his book and its application for bootstrappers. The conversation is on the BootRap Podcast.

The book outlines the differences between traditional hierarchical organizations (spider) and decentralized ones (starfish). While we have seen the recent emergence of Starfish organizations like Wikipedia and Linux, this is not a new phenomenon. The Apache Native Americans also organized along starfish lines.

The tension between these structures is felt by organizations with different trade-offs. Starfish structures are highly effective for resource-constrained organizations, providing decentralized operations with a large degree of autonomy for its members. On the other hand, they can be limited in their ability to monetize activities or grow beyond certain limits.

A number of books including Here Comes Everybody and Wikinomics, provide additional perspectives of the starfish phenomenon.

These and related topics will be discussed in the newly formed Bootstrap Community Subgroup.

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