"...the societies that master the new science
of complexity and can convert that knowledge into
new products and forms of social organization will
become the cultural, economic, and military
superpowers of the next century."
Heinz R. Pagels, from The Dreams of Reason: The Computer and the Rise of
the Sciences of Complexity
Extropy was a term that came to be used to describe the
force that opposed/worked with Entropy. That is, one can
define extropy as the force that causes an entropic system
to "emerge" without any outside agent.
As a 21st Century company, when we were thinking about
how to define our company's business model, and eventually
how to choose a name, we did our best to consult the ideas
of complexity and emergence.
The first thing we realized was the fact that the "Web"
itself was a virtual breeding ground for emergence. The
fact is that the Web is a jumbled hodgepodge of diverse
actors using diverse hardware and software tools for a
diverse set of reasons. Yet, though no centralized
standards-setting body controls or defines this virtual
reality, friendships are forged, products are sold, and
study is conducted.
In fact, by its very name, the Web, is related
to ideas of interactive complexity as discussed by
such theorists as Dosi, Prigogine, and the host of
Santa Fe Instituters from Arthur to Kauffman. By
its behavior and characteristics, the Web can be
identified as both child and parent of complex
And since we would be a "web-based" business, our
business model we thought, should work in the context of the
Specifically, the Web provides the necessary infrastructure
on which to build complex adaptive systems by creating a
highly inter-related, open, decentralized architecture for
time and distance transcendent communication.
The Web connects.
It connects like no technology has before connected. And when
"people" are incorporated into this system, the resultant
cybernetic system fosters a variety of emergent phenomenon
from cyberbusiness to cybergovernment to cyberculture;
phenomena far greater than simply the summation of a bunch
of linked computers and their users tapping away at their
Business on the Web, for example, is not simply a more
efficient means of mass advertising as early critics
forecasted. Rather, The Web becomes an essential tool
fostering the emergence of a wholly unique form of customized,
highly consumer feedback-oriented transactions in which mass
production becomes mass customization in the hyper-service
The Web promises to be as central to the Information
Revolution as the factory was for the Industrial
Revolution and the farm was for the Agricultural
Revolution. In the Information Age, the Web becomes
not only medium of communication, but mode of
production and center of community as well.
Thus we sought to construct our business in terms of
leveraging the complex, interactive network created
by the web.
This is why we eventually settled on a version
of the Open Source Software Model in which the
source of our innovation comes from
the natural evolution of the system rather than
from some reclusive product development process.
A Case Study in Open Source Software"
The Open Source Software Model argues that it is
possible to run a profitable company by giving
away your products for free. In fact, some proponents
of the model argue further that it will be THE MOST
SUCCESSUL model in an information era economy in
which it is impossible to protect intellectual property
in the form of products.
Free source code provides the foundation upon which
networks of developers and communities of clients can
all participate in the evolution of the company, the
products, and the services.
Clients and developers have profound access to the
development process. In fact participatory clients
make possible the degree of speed, customizibility,
robustness, and security of product releases.
Meanwhile, research and development is carried out
in the network with hundreds of developers, each contributing
their own specialized skills to the whole.
The job of eXtropia.com is simply to shepherd this
process. The value added service we provide is to
generate a focal point for activity.
By harnessing the power of our community, we hope to
accelerate development and help bring profoundly
innovative products to market.
As a final note, we would like to leave you with
a statement made by Cyber Philosopher John Perry Barlow,
which we have found deeply inspiring...
"I look at confusing circumstances as opportunity -
but not everybody feels that way. That's not the standard
neurotic response. We've got a culture that's based on
the ability of people to control everything. Once you start
to embrace confusion as a way of life, concomitant with that
is the assumption that you really don't control anything.
At best it's a matter of surfing the whitewater." - John Perry Barlow