My Garage Majal post touched a nerve. Had a great discussion in comments, and received some strongly worded emails. Thanks for those — I learned a lot from the feedback.
Brendan Eich of Mozilla wrote a post back in April called Open Source and "Openness", and it sheds some good light on the argument I was trying to make about "brilliant networks". Here’s a quote:
Successful open source projects combine meritocratic leadership,
"doing" more than "talking", and breadth through well-scoped extension
mechanisms. It’s not enough to do great work by oneself: each committer
who has the stamina and remains engaged must spend time listening to
users and developers, grooming helpers and successors, and refactoring
or even redesigning to support what becomes, module by module, a platform.
I think we’re entering a period where a new style of leadership — let’s call it web leadership — is emerging. Brilliant networks aren’t bereft of great leadership. Far from it. It’s just that the leadership style required in a network is something quite different from what we’re used to. Something to ponder over the next few weeks.