ourobourosI‘m going to do today what I almost never do, and that is talk about another blogger, one who I’ve never met and, until a few days ago, had never heard of. Mark Brady at Fourobouros (the name is a play on the alchemist’s symbol of a dragon devouring its own tail, representing a state of constant flux and reinvention, and the search for value and values) came to my attention while researching my post on Corporate Anorexia. Recently he has been writing about this and also about — surprise! — George Lakoff (as have I), and the Wal-Mart Dilemma (as have I). His recent post on Lakoff included the phrase “Don’t tell me, show me”, while my recent post on teaching children about nature included the phrase “we learn what we’re shown, not what we’re told”.

What intrigues me is that I’d never heard of Mark or his blog, I suspect he’s never heard of How to Save the World, and our blogrolls have only two common links. And when I looked at his bio, I found this remarkable passage:

After 2 years of ulcerated struggle, I left the last [ad] agency and helped cofound a boutique business development consultancy called Alchemy LLC, consisting of an architect, an organizational specialist, and me–an ad guy, along with a few alliance relationships in finance, process management, head-shrinking and cultural anthropology. We’re problem solvers, what the French call Bricoleurs, cerebral when we have to be, but ferocious simplifiers when at all possible. We help small to mid-cap companies get healthy, and push healthy ones to get outrageous. It’s great fun and very rewarding. Our clients are usually up aganst the wall and looking for fresh thinking. We aim to please. People have come to us looking for a business plan or marketing and we designed them a better distribution system or sales approach, instead. We get angry neighbors to find common cause with commercial real-estate developers, we help get VC’s to see beyond less than attractive balance sheets, and we teach kids in elementary schools how to think creatively and middle schoolers to become balanced leaders. We design work places, make TV commercials and help people make nice and make money. People say we do these things well. One long-time client introduced us to a CEO retreat by saying we’re “at the top of an industry that doesn’t exist–yet.” We like that. We’re immensely curious and, humble. We speak very candidly. We don’t take our selves too seriously. If you’ll notice, all these things have one element in common: moving people, figuratively and literally. That’s the real stuff. The rest is just tactics. I love what I do. I like to share, hence this blog. Life is good.

Great, eh? Wouldn’t you just love to work with these guys?

All of this, besides letting you know about a great blog and a fascinating company, is my round-about way of making a point that I’m going to blog about next week: The Next Economy, whether that be a World of Ends Economy or a Support Economy, in which entrepreneurs will find and associate with each other to provide innovative, deeply valuable services to customers in a way that multinational corporations can never hope to match, depends utterly on the Internet providing us with a powerful means to find like minds and experts on anything under the sun. The bit of serendipity that I described above that allowed me to find Mark is a perfect example of how impossibly difficult that is with the tools, and shortage of knowledge, we struggle with today. The issues are:

  1. How do we get people to post to the Internet (and keep up-to-date) sufficient information about themselves in an appropriate format to allow us to find them, easily, when we need them?
  2. What kind of tool is needed to filter, qualify and leverage that information and (ideally, proactively and organically) connect us with like minds and needed experts, kind of a context-rich audited Yellow Pages of millions of people’s individual interests and expertise. We know that search engines and first-generation social networking tools aren’t up to the job. We need something completely different.

Time for some creative, very innovative thinking. Time to think how nature would solve (or does solve) this complex problem — I’m thinking of the thousands of spring peeper frogs in my pond all calling out for the perfect mate. The solution probably lies in that place where parallel paths converge.

(Off for the long weekend — back Tuesday. Take care of yourself.)

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  1. says:

    If success or failure of this planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do…. How would I be? What would I do? – R. Buckminster Fuller.I see that Ming the Mechanic is looking for collaborators.

  2. Jay Cross says:

    Dave, I don’t understand why the Internet is the inevitable solution before the problem’s pinned down. The peeper frogs aren’t online, are they?

  3. Jon Husband says:

    Blog-ponds, with all us blog-frogs sittin’ around croaking at and with each other ?Jay’s question is an interesting one. Is it only one problem ? or is it the same problem in a thousand or a million different guises ? or is there a theme, with many different sub-theme problems. In bricolage, things are built, often by puttering or with just the right odds and ends … and then there are depanneurs – fixers, repairers, getting unstuckers.Dave, do you know of Britt Blaser’s XpertWeb concepts?, I think. I know Ming has spent some time with Britt on that, and then I think Britt turned his attention elsewhere.I have also (often) wondered how the tool I was talking with you about in Toronto might be useful in this context. The PAKs are a good possibility for creating linked tours of basic material for given purposes and also as ways to build (scaffold) to borrow Doc’s term) information into more and more useful knowledge. Maybe used in conjuction with wikis ?

  4. Dave Pollard says:

    Gregor: Great quote, thanks. The influence of Bucky and Marshall just keeps growing even after they’ve gone.Jay: Excellent point. No reason it has to be the Internet.Jon: XpertWeb has an interesting model — thanks for the link.

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