Community capitalism: launching the Machine Commons

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

Hello everybody, this post varies to all that precede it because it is about us, our mission and the problem we’re trying to solve in the market - so no interviewee today!

First, I’d like to thank you for your continued support over the last two years. None of this would have been possible without the countless individuals who have taken part in this journey, to the interviewees in being open to give their time for free to this passion project and to the regular readership who returns for interesting perspectives.

I’ve frequently mentioned the ideas of ‘cross-pollination’ and ‘community capitalism’ as the underlying ethos, pathos and logos that has inspired this community, its mind, heart and soul.

I’ve said it before: the barriers between businesses are blurring.

It’s no longer possible to operate in isolation of the other businesses in your ecosystem; my heart tells me it’s wrong to anyway and my soul has faith that this world will adapt accordingly.

So much of modern business is through word of mouth. Such as how people leave jobs, pop up elsewhere and bring old service providers with them. That’s an efficient way of avoiding media costs, but not as effective as it could be.

Traditional methods of marketing have subsided to the tidal wave that is social networking (aka ‘networking’); however, this comes with its own brand of problems. LinkedIn has become a fundamental instrument in any marketing strategy.

It is crucial to pay huge respect to - to obey - the algorithms that rule us.

I’m not sure about you, but I don’t like what Facebook has done to social structures and I’m certain LinkedIn is insidiously installing itself as the infrastructure of business. Too much power to one, algorithmic platform.

Why did you go bust? Oh, the computer said no...

Did you notice the LinkedIn algorithm change? Now posts that link externally are valued less. We’ve all signed a social contract that agreed to this - do you remember signing? ...Do I post the link to my new business in the comments? I did that once, but it seems disingenuous to me.

Maybe I should start playing these algorithm games but, in truth dear reader, I hate it so much I can’t bring myself to do it. Like hashtagging #likeforlike in Instagram.

Take a machine learning engineer, what are their options in the business world today?

1. Join a firm, be over-worked, under-paid, under supported and be managed by people who often don’t have the faintest clue about what you do. Not a recipe for job satisfaction or clear career progression.

2. Freelance independently, source your own clients, constantly manage your reputation and spend ridiculous amounts of time ploughing your network for that next uncertain, unstable and temporary role. Have you tried balancing seasonal clumping with paying your bills?

3. Start a business, call it a ‘Machine Learning Consultancy’, learn about marketing, branding, sales pipelines, managing staff, media channels, ... attend networking events, conferences,... the list is endless and engineers are already tired keeping up with their own field of expertise.