How did Internet thinking come about? Productivity determines production relations, and the characteristics of Internet will be likely to affect its business logic to a certain extent. The building blocks of industrial society are tangible atoms, while the basic medium that constitutes the Internet world is intangible bits. This means that the economics of the industrial civilization era is kind of scarce, while the economics in the Internet era is rich. Moreover, a network structured Internet has no central node as it is not a hierarchical structure. Although there are different points and they have different weights, no point is in absolute authority. Thus, the technical structure of the Internet determines its inner spirit, which is decentralization, distribution, and equality. Decentralization is a very important basic principle of the Internet.
In a networked society, the value of an individual and an enterprise is often determined by the breadth and thickness or richness of their connections. The broader and thicker/richer your connection is, the greater value you may hold. This is also probably one of the basic characteristics of a pure information society. Your information content determines your value. So openness has become a necessary means of survival – if you are not open, you will not be able to get more connections. Therefore, I believe that the Internet business model should be based on equality and openness, and Internet thinking must also reflect the characteristics of equality and openness. Equality and openness can indicate democracy and humanity and in this sense, the Internet economy can be truly a people-oriented economy. In agricultural civilization era, the most important assets were lands and farmers. Yet the most important assets in the industrial era were capital, machines (machines are solidified capital), and people who have been alienated on assembly lines. In the early industrial age, alienated people were considered the most because they were also treated as machines as if they were just screws in the assembly line. Now in the era of knowledge economy, one of the core resources we have is data and another one is knowledge workers. Enterprise management will also move from a traditional multi-level approach to a more networked and more ecological approach. Let knowledge workers truly create values and let them become one of the most important players in any organization and society as a whole.
Martin Irvine, The Internet: Design Principles and Extensible Futures (Why Learn This?)