When in doubt, connect

When in doubt, connect.
That’s what fast-growing, important organizations do.
Making stuff is great.
Making connections is even better
.”
Seth Godin
in his post here.

Simple words. Simple concept. Interesting message…. with a traffic-light of OSS layers.

Layer 1 – A connection red light
The more connections an OSS has, the more enriched the data tends to become. However, by contrast the more interconnected an OSS gets, the more inflexible and difficult it gets to maintain. The chess-board analogy and the handshake analogy attest to the challenges associated to a highly connected OSS. In this case, when in doubt, don’t connect.

Layer 2 – A connection orange light
Five of the top seven companies (by market cap) in the world are tech companies (1. Apple, 2. Alphabet (Google), 3. Microsoft, 6. Amazon, 7. Facebook). They have become valuable through the power of connection. China Telecom represents one of the original connectors, the telecommunications carriers, and just makes it into the top 10 whilst Verizon and AT&T are both worth over $250B too. Our OSS allow these connections to be made – but they’re making a connection “for” the customer rather than making a connection “with” the customer. Until brand-OSS starts making a connection with the customers, we’ll never be fast growing like the tech titans. When in doubt, connect at a deeper level.

Layer 3 – A connection green light
Tripods or Linchpins are the most valuable of OSS resources because of their ability to connect (ideas, people, products, workflows, contracts, etc). They are the pinnacle of OSS implementers because their breadth of connections allows them to interconnect the most complex of OSS jigsaws. If you want to become an OSS tripod, then Seth’s lead is a great one to follow – When in doubt, connect.

Being a Connector

Ron Burt’s theory of structural holes has proven to be influential in explaining how innovation transpires.

Burt proposes that gaps in a social network, structural holes, create brokerage opportunities. A structural hole indicates that the people on either side of the hole circulate in different flows of information and advantages accrue to those individuals whose relationships span the structural hole (circled in red below).

I see myself as being a connector (of people, ideas, projects, technologies, companies, etc) – the red circle below. It’s the greatest value I can add to this OSS industry of ours. The different clusters in the social graph below could represent vendors, telcos, integrators, buyers/sellers and much more of course.

These other two stories about propinquity have relevance to this concept too in relation to OSS – part 1 and part 2

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