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RE: [freehaven-dev] Re: Business possibilities for Free Haven
When I wrote "in business" I wanted to discuss how Freehaven makes sense in
business settings, where much data is kept in highly centralized commercial
software products, such as SAP R/3. I did not want to discuss business
models, nor did I want to spawn a thread about how to commercialize whatever
Freehaven becomes. Nonetheless I found your comments insightful.
I guess the topic most I'm interested in would be better described as
"autonomous, unstructured, unmonitored, private discussions at the fringe of
businesses." Many business thinkers believe that efficiencies are gained
when there is a describable structure in organization and business
communication, i.e. process models in workflow, business objects in
middleware, and hierarchies or matrices in organizational charts. Too much
of today's business software fails to succeed in becoming a real source of
information for most of the company because of built in assumptions about
how people want to work with each other. Ergo, there are few systems that
presuppose anonymous authoring and there are copious systems that assume
that an author must be authorized to submit data to a system.
Let's assume that for every structure in business there is an anti
structure. For instance the "privileged few" versus the "trusted many." The
privileged-few is an elitist structure where the chosen are given broad
access to ideas and data. The trusted-many is a egalitarian social structure
where everyone believes in the information provided to them (probably from
delegates of the privileged few). In companies you will find people that
need to communicate ideas and data, but for a variety of reasons have no
authority to access systems that contain the information. At the same time,
business often want to foster anonymous discussions about topics such as
product development, employee reviews, hiring, health, pricing, customer
care etc and realize that many are afraid to contribute due to that fact
that they need to reveal their identity. An decentralized information
management may challenge the privileged-few by providing the trusted-many
with an infrastructure that works for them but does not compromise the
identity of the individual. If Daimler Chrysler, which is imploding as I
write, had such a system today, one may know much more about the reasons for
failure, and in fact, there may even be a new boss.
My point is that Freehaven may be more useful to people in businesses if
there was a way to easily incorporate business data, i.e. anonymous access
to business data systems, and make it a part of discussions and decisions.
Without an infrastructure that can be used to second guess the few in
charge, the trusted many feel straight jacketed by the overbearing
centralistic control mechanisms that force them not to speak their mind. I
think that business will wake up to the dangers of this centralistic
approach as people (workers) begin to explore alternate platforms (maybe
first at home or in college) and begin to provide "knowledge workers" with
ways for democratic speech. In order to do this there needs to be a mapping
functions from infrastructure at the fringe to the central system. This has
big implications in business IT since enterprise software vendors still sell
"users". There has to be a good way to help groups think differently or
alternatively, contributing to the good of an organization, without
jeopardizing the identity of any of the members. However if the group
accesses information in accordance to the security system, there will be a
trail. Who knows, maybe "empower the employee" will be more than another bit
of business jargon one day.
This got too long, I'm sorry.
[mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of Roger Dingledine
Sent: Tuesday, February 27, 2001 11:57 PM
Subject: [freehaven-dev] Re: Business possibilities for Free Haven
On Mon, Feb 26, 2001 at 06:16:16PM -0500, firstname.lastname@example.org
> From: "Thomas Curran" <email@example.com>
> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Subject: RE: [freehaven-dev] We're going to start using this list again
> Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001 00:14:23 +0100
> Roger, great idea (to use the list). I'd like to exchange some ideas about
> how Freehaven can be used by people in business someday.
> Any thoughts?
I'm afraid your mail was bounced by majordomo because you included a
>100K pdf attachment. In the future, it's generally better practice to
put papers like that up on a webpage somewhere and simply send a url.
As for using Free Haven in business...I have a couple of answers.
The first answer is "sure, go for it, it's free."
My second answer is what do you mean "in business"? As in, people trying
to get their work done in some intranet environment, and having this make
them more efficient or more useful or something? I find that tough to
imagine. As in, people using the Free Haven notions to make money? Well,
there are a number of cypherpunk people who've always imagined that
providing reliable service in a network like this is worth value, and
people will pay for reliability. But that's still a ways away...
In the Berkeley conference in July (before most of this p2p craze
started), some people from Daiwoo tried to invest in (or just outright
buy) Free Haven. It was very difficult to communicate that our goal was
to make all of the software absolutely free (in a 'liber' sense), and
to enable everybody else to make all information everywhere free. This
includes making transactions untraceable, and perhaps even unprovable.
The Free Haven goals seem counter to most business approaches these days,
which are 'create value and then trade it to certain people for money'.
Can you specify more clearly what you mean by "in business", in a context
where you think Free Haven might actually be beneficial?