The importance of purpose in peer production

“One thing that has become clear is that the success of social production collectives hinges on the intensive contributions of a very small subset of their members. Not only that, but it’s possible to identify who these people are and to measure their contributions with considerable precision. That means, as well, that these people are valuable in old-fashioned monetary terms – that they could charge for what they do. They have, in other words, a price, even if they’re not currently charging it. The question, then, is simple: Will the “amateurs” go pro? If they have a price, will they take it?” #

Nick’s challenge is accurate, particularly when a peer production model doesn’t have a strong enough purpose to hold it together through adversity. #

“I’m absolutely convinced that the top 20 people on DIGG, Delicious, Flickr, MySpace, and Reddit are worth $1,000 a month and if we’re the first folks to pay them that is fine with me–we will take the risk and the arrows from the folks who think we’re corrupting the community process” #

I guess it’s the assumption that people are motivated first and foremost by money that bothers me. No doubt I’ll do something for money if the benefit of doing it for love or because it’s right is less than the benefit of having the cash. I want to give my family all the advantages that I can. #

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