Tying One On


Post Number 8
Originally uploaded by Auntie P.

A couple of decades ago, my old friend Joe DeCarlo used to talk about “posts” in communities and social groups. A “post” has nothing to do with a blog post in these conversations, incidentally. In these conversations, a “post” was a person or concept that was solid. Tall-standing. Deep-rooted.

A post was the anchor to which other things could be lashed.

On February 7, in his SuitWatch piece, Doc Searls tells the story of his interactions with Sayo Ajiboye. Doc:

“A few years ago I had a Socratic exchange with a Nigerian pastor named Sayo, whom I was lucky to find sitting next to me on a long airplane trip.

He went on to point out that, in his country, and in much of what we call the developing world, relationship is of paramount importance in public markets. In the industrialized world, prices are set by those who control the manufacturing, distribution and retail systems. Customers do have an influence on prices, but only in the form of aggregate demand. The rates at which they buy or don’t buy something determines what price the “market” (meaning: the demand side) will bear. But the whole economic system is viewed mostly through the prism of price, which is seen as the outcome of tug between supply and demand. Price still matters in the developing world, Sayo said; but there is a higher context that tends to be invisible if you view markets exclusively through the prism of price. That context is relationship.

He said relationship is not reducible to price, even though it may influence price. It operates at a higher level. Families and friends don’t put prices on their relationships. (At least not consciously, and only at the risk of cheapening or losing a relationship.) Love, the most giving force in any relationship, is not about exchanging. It is not fungible. You don’t expect a payback or a rate of return on the love you give your child, your wife or husband, your friends.

Yet relationship has an enormous bearing on the way markets work, Sayo said. And it is poorly understood in the developed world, where so much comes down to ‘the bottom line.'”

If you haven’t read the SuitWatch piece, it’s worth the time. Here’s the link again. And I have a feeling the Sayo story is a post that will anchor many other things over the next few years. Actually, some things are lashed to it already.

One of the things the Sayo story is currently anchoring is a discussion of how VRM might apply to changing public radio. In other words, can we use the concepts of VRM to create direct relationships with artists and producers?

Also, as I write this, I’m taking a sidelong glance at Dave, who has chimed in on this issue. Dave’s been very vocal and a key lynchpin to the development of what we currently call “podcasting.” I wonder if, down the road, we’ll see “public radio” and “podcasting” as synonymous terms. Actually, it’s much bigger than that. Much, much bigger.

If this plays out, what we currently call “podcasting” becomes public broadcasting. Think about it.

Oh, look what’s in the bottom of my mug…some tea leaves!

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