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The Great Democratization

2010 September 22
by Alec

It’s been creeping up on us for a while.  You may not have even noticed it.  It’s been eleven years since Napster changed the rules, forever.  Nine since the most comprehensive encyclopedia the world has ever known changed the nature of research.  You don’t even have to leave the house anymore to find out anything about anything.

The Information Age, it’s been called.  It took a while for us to realize the power inherent.  But I believe it’s enabling a sea change in transparency, accountability and communication.  Sites like Yelp, GlassDoor, and countless others are giving us a voice.  A really, really influential voice.  For better or worse, many stores and restaurants live and die by their Yelp reviews, especially in tech-loving areas like San Francisco.  Naturally, though, the best rise to the top, as in any efficient market.  Sure, there are ways to game the system, but when aren’t there?  (Just look at our political system.  Yikes…) Offer a valued service, keep your customers happy, and you’ll thrive.  And what’s a more valued influence on your day-to-day decisions, a radio ad or two hundred positive reviews by people just like you?

It’s gotten really easy to build software that connects people.  All you need is some (OK, a lot of) programming expertise, a laptop and fast internet and you’re off to the races.  We’re going to have more and more ways to express ourselves and our opinions, and I think this is a very good thing for our society.  May the good guys win!

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