A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.
Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
Source: Ideas And Opinions, Pages: 8 (The World As I See It)
We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been - a place half-remembered and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free.
But for the Jews this moral-spiritual issue raises the same societal problem it does for the Greeks: how can a man have the "right" to make himself spiritually or rationally destitute or retarded when this corrupts the whole quality of the culture that we all together need and depend on? If anyone wants a cloistered and closed-minded life, an anti-aristic life, let him either go off and live among the wolves--or else join the community of like-minded idiots that (alas) compose and define the basic terms of modern society.
Many companies operate from more of a command-and-control environment — they decide what's going to happen at headquarters and have the organization execute. That doesn't work here because it's the community of users who really have control.
So we enable, not direct. We think of our customers as people, not wallets. And that has implications for how we run the company. We partner with our customers and let them take the company where they think it's best utilized.
The fact that used cars is our largest category is a good example. We would not have sat in a conference room and said, "Hey, how about used cars?" So what can be learned that is extensible to other companies is [to ask] what are your customers doing with your products that maybe you didn't anticipate that they would do? How do you think of your customers as your research and development lab, as opposed to having an R&D lab at headquarters?
Source: Let the Customers Run the Company: http://www.smartmoney.com/smartmoney-magazine/ceo/index.cfm?story=august2005
Here is the interesting thing that I wonder about. You look at the tremendous success of Facebook. To my mind there is not a lot of commerce going on in these social networking sites. eBay is a community anchored in commerce. It is a commerce site that built a community around it. What has not been proven is if the reverse can happen and people will go to community sites to do commerce.
Source: Meg Whitman’s Exit Interview: http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/01/24/meg-whitmans-exit-interview/