Anne Zelenka just posted a stone cold classic on Web Worker daily, articulating the differences between the business and bursty economies.
The busyness economy works on face time, incremental improvement, strategic long-term planning, return on investment, and hierarchical control. The burst economy, enabled by the Web, works on innovation, flat knowledge networks, and discontinuous productivity.
I like that term because it embeds a conception of linear vs non-linearity in how we get things done. There is simple brilliance to the distinctions Anne makes:
Busy: Always available during working hours.
Burst: Declarative availability.
The busy wouldn’t dream of announcing on Twitter that they were headed to the mall to stock up on underwear — because that would ruin the carefully constructed illusion that they’re always working from 8 am to 6 pm.
Bursters don’t hesitate to declare what they’re doing whether it’s personal or professional, because this makes it easier for colleagues to connect, collaborate, and coordinate with them — it makes teams more productive and binds them together on a human level. Of course, this is yet another way that bursters look to the busy like irresponsible, unproductive goof-offs.
How I could not like “declarative availability”, as a subset of declarative living? Its great to be blogging and tackling with Anne. As related material I wanted to point to one of mine – thoughts on the new operators – and one of Seth Godin’s – where he articulates the new burstyness far more eloquently than I by sketching Cory Doctorow. Go read Anne but i will sign off with Seth:
I sat next to Cory at a conference today. It was like playing basketball next to Michael Jordan. Cory was looking at more than 30 screens a minute. He was bouncing from his mail to his calendar to a travel site and then back. His fingers were a blur as he processed inbound mail, visiting more than a dozen sites in the amount of time it took for my neck to cramp up. I’m very fast, but Cory is in a different league entirely. Rereading this, I can see I’m not doing it justice. I wish I had a video…
This was never a skill before. I mean, maybe if you were an air traffic controller, but for most of us, most of the time, this data overload skill and the ability to make snap judgments is not taught or rewarded.
As the world welcomes more real-time editors working hard in low-overhead organizations, I think it’s going to be a skill in very high demand.