Sharing to Create Markets

Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems Inc., wrote a very interesting column on sharing for last Thursday's edition of Financial Times. (I'm afraid the online version is available with a paid subscription. I have read the column in my print edition.)

In his column, McNealy first describes sharing as a business proposition. He then shares the lessons Sun has learned in its campaign of sharing and choice — (1) Share, (2) Build trust and foster communities, and (3) Engage and collaboate. He notes that the "trust and engagement will spark collaboration, innovation and, in the end, value."

This is how he describes the first lesson in greater detail:

Share: blend internal assets with those outside. That means sharing things you value, such as intellectual property, best practices, employee time and even your thoughts, with tools such as blogs, podcasts and wikis (communal web pages). In doing so you lower barriers to entry and encourage people to notice and take an interest in your business.

Think of real sharing as a safeguard, using the language of transaction cost economics.

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