Product & Startup Builder

Casual Democratization

Added on by Chris Saad.
Now for a something a little off-topic. In Australia (where I live) the idea of the 'casual web' and, more broadly, the era of 'casual business' is not really a pervasive idea. At least... not yet.

Most of us still either talk in very small business terms with phrases like 'mates rates' (which I guess is less 'casual' and more 'local/colloquial') or in monolithic large enterprise terms with corporate speak and a conspicuous lack of humanity.

This trend, the casual web/business, also accompanies another (perhaps parallel, perhaps interrelated) trend of social or 'democratic' media and technologies. The idea that technology and media is better and more powerful if it enables individuals and groups to create, publish and share their own perspective on the world - rather than waiting for mega-corporations to tell us what to think and how much to pay.

I bring this all up because I just found an article about a great startup that combines both the idea of 'Casual' with the idea of technology Democratization.

They call it 'Fon' and the idea is to, by leveraging a large installer base of regular users, create a tapestry of wifi hotspots around the world.

This isn't a pipe dream though. It is a venture that just received funding from Google and Skype (among others).

So the democratic part is the idea of giving citizens the power to make internet connectivity pervasive and free.

The 'casual' part is the terms they have chosen to use for participants. They call people who offer their hotspot for a price 'Bill'. People who give away their hotspot/internet access for free are called 'Linus' and people who just pay for access on the network 'Aliens'.

It's brilliant. A brilliant idea in decentralized/democratized technology and a wonderful play on geek culture that will get the early adaptors and 'influentials' talking.

Well done - I wish them the best of luck.

So who will you be in this growing eco-system? Bill, Linus or Alien. In a disconcerting way this reveals a little about each of us doesn't it!