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Sun, 16 May 2004
Why is it always about us vs them?
Right now it seems to be all about us vs them. It's all over the place. It's in politics, it's in religion, it's in business. Us. vs. Them. And it's a big part of the whole row over Movable Type.

Dave Winer is proposing that (Us) the users form a union so that we can get what we want from (Them) the vendors. I think that I understand what Dave wants, but when I hear the word union, I think of conflict: strikes, walkouts and federal mediation. If this is the future of commerce, then I'm pretty scared.

Simon Phipps warns that not participating in the "Cluetrain conversation" will result in failure. I haven't read Cluetrain yet (yes, it's on the list), but this way of putting it also feels very Us-vs-Them to me.

In the famous book on negotiation Getting to Yes, we're told to focus on interests, not positions. Us versus Them happens because there's some set of interests which are in opposition. Is it ever possible for both parties' interests to be completely aligned? I don't know. I don't know if it can happen for all software. But it seems like it ought to be able to happen for blogging software. I'm not going to try to predict which community of blog software developers will be able to align their interests with the interests of a large portion of the blogosphere. I hope that at least one of them will try. In order to put an end to Us versus Them, Us must become Them, and Them must become Us.

[23:57] | [computers/internet/weblogs] | # | TB | F | G | 3 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Cluetrain (reading the website is enough!) is all about maintaining an inclusive and authentic conversation in the marketplace rather than attempting to sustain the 'we know best' us-v-them attitude that was the traditional position of vendors in the days before the massively connected era began.  In my view that's the true reason open source works too - because it enfranchises 'us', not because it creates 'free-stuff'. Now society is becoming massively connected, there is only 'us' and increasingly market success will be proportional to the degree a business embraces that truth. (Guess what my talk at OSCON is about!)
Posted by Simon Phipps at Mon May 17 05:40:59 2004

I was reading an essay Douglas Adams wrote a while back and bumped into this:

"One of the most important things you learn from the internet is that there is no "them" out there.  It's just an awful lot of "us"."


He's talking about the media and the Internet and the people who are consumers of that content.

Going along those lines, if you look at how the media (in general) talks about things, it is in terms of two polar opposite categories creating the whole this vs. that, us vs. them theme.  I think the media (again, in general--it doesn't really make sense to talk about "the media" as a personified thing) portrays a totally imaginary and simplified view of the world in order to turn everything into a battleground, make the stories sound more exciting, and sell their media (and ads).

I think the reality of the world is that there's just a whole lot of "us".
Posted by will at Mon May 17 14:36:10 2004

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