LeWeb 08 Live blogging : David Weinberger Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society,

by Laurent François

“For ages, we’ve been very good at managing bits. You had to standardize it, machines were processing it.

In the information ages, we had to throw out information themselves ! But in the age of the web, there are loads of information, and links all over the place ! (he shows a Facebook page). Hyperlinks are the opposite of information : they connect things in bigger ways, they’re uncontrolled. This why age of information is about to be dead.

We’ve experienced abundance of goods & craps. We’re good at managings craps (SPAMS, pornography). But so many good idea, good contents, but our institutions do not know how to deal with them. The ability to find good people and good projects is turning our style of leadership. Because leadership has be based on scarcity. Jack Welsh is the leader for example. Great business leader, leadership itself is scarce : most people are followers. The traditional leaders keep their leaderships thanks to avoiding giving all the information. But it leads to lonelyness and isolation.

But no one can really do all of the job we expect leaders to do. But in a structure that does not rely on scarcity, so your leadership gets agregated. Ex: OpenSource. It is the exact opposite of the age of information. It is exactly the opposite of how Jack Welsh worked. Realists would not have built the web.

Obama is the fantastic example of a vertical leader who fully understood the network power.

Obama implemented a social network for citizens. Reputational democracy made “Pollarsky253″ a new opinion leader, a vector between the people and the government. Reputational democracy is very dependent on very small choices, very tiny choices can get big effects. Let’s say developers change a 4-star system into another system: it’d have huge consequences, the whole system could change totally. There’s a new level of democracy.

It’s just impossible to know who’ll be the next leaders. Lots and lots of complementary interests are emerging. There is simply no way of predicting. It’s a political strubble. Power is now THROUGH the system, not above.

I think and I hope that classic leadership will collapse, and not any single leader will be able to be the only leader. We need abundant leadership. and it has to become a property of…the best networks…and we need more love. Because it’s like that that networks work.”

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