…. what I believe to be the real substance of democracy, something called Public Will; it’s an abstract concept, you can’t touch it, you can’t photograph it, or buy it at the store. But when fundamental changes happen, it’s because the public had the will to make them happen, and when nothing happens, it’s because the public isn’t willing. Public Will is the reason why the civil rights movement happened in the 1960s, but not in the 1940s, that is what the Public Will does. So what is Public Will?A Public Will is when the right things to do become consensus, and people generally start expressing the convictions they share in everything they do. So I dont care if you carry a banner or you stand near the back, you can yell into a microphone if you like, or you can listen carefully if that’s your style, you just need to be part of the public will to make life on this planet a little better…
Is it possible to build a Silicon Valley in Russia? With President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Silicon Valley on Wednesday and his ambitious plans to build “Innovation City” in Skolkovo, just outside of Moscow, this is the question that so many people are asking.The short answer is “no.” But with enough political will and oversight, Russia can create the conditions in which a smaller version of Silicon Valley can grow by itself. Think of the project as a garden rather than a construction site.For this garden to grow, Russia must create the following conditions:1. No killer weeds. Entrepreneurs must be free from blackmail, expropriations and other shakedowns.2. Healthy seeds. Russia needs to attract and reward technical talent and scientists for good ideas.3. Nutrients in the soil. There must be a steady source of good managers, businesspeople, and marketing and sales talent.4. Careful gardeners and consumers. There must be mentors for entrepreneurs, as well as customers who buy the products and services on the basis of quality and price rather than bribes.5. Cross-fertilization. There must be critical mass so that people can learn from and compete with each other.6. Sunshine. There must be maximum transparency.
The tools of factory production, from electronics assembly to 3-D printing, are now available to individuals, in batches as small as a single unit. Anybody with an idea and a little expertise can set assembly lines in China into motion with nothing more than some keystrokes on their laptop. A few days later, a prototype will be at their door, and once it all checks out, they can push a few more buttons and be in full production, making hundreds, thousands, or more. They can become a virtual micro-factory, able to design and sell goods without any infrastructure or even inventory; products can be assembled and drop-shipped by contractors who serve hundreds of such customers simultaneously.
Today, micro-factories make everything from cars to bike components to bespoke furniture in any design you can imagine. The collective potential of a million garage tinkerers is about to be unleashed on the global markets, as ideas go straight into production, no financing or tooling required. “Three guys with laptops” used to describe a Web startup. Now it describes a hardware company, too.
“Hardware is becoming much more like software,” as MIT professor Eric von Hippel puts it. That’s not just because there’s so much software in hardware these days, with products becoming little more than intellectual property wrapped in commodity materials, whether it’s the code that drives the off-the-shelf chips in gadgets or the 3-D design files that drive manufacturing. It’s also because of the availability of common platforms, easy-to-use tools, Web-based collaboration, and Internet distribution.
We’ve seen this picture before: It’s what happens just before monolithic industries fragment in the face of countless small entrants, from the music industry to newspapers. Lower the barriers to entry and the crowd pours in.
The academic way to put this is that global supply chains have become scale-free, able to serve the small as well as the large, the garage inventor and Sony. This change is driven by two forces. First, the explosion in cheap and powerful prototyping tools, which have become easier to use by non-engineers. And second, the economic crisis has triggered an extraordinary shift in the business practices of (mostly) Chinese factories, which have become increasingly flexible, Web-centric, and open to custom work (where the volumes are lower but the margins higher).The result has allowed online innovation to extend to the real world.