Gift economy

Reflected on Reboot 9.0 the last days and realized I really enjoyed it a lot. I especially liked the laid back atmosphere which was a result of the people, the beautiful location and the setup of the congress. A lot has been written about Reboot already and I can relate to the things said here and here (Dutch only).

Still, there is one theme that really sticked with me: the gift economy. Maybe not surprising since the overall theme of the congres this year was “Human?”, but nonetheless. The theme was touched upon in several talks. Main point was that in a lot of cases emotions are more efficient than rationale in human behaviour and that a lot of times people actually behave in a way that is contrary to traditional economic models out of motives such as reciprocity, belonging etc.

The opening speaker Tor Nørretranders said it beautifully: Markets are anonymous, gifts are personal”. He concluded his talk by stating what the theme meant for him: Human? Dare, care and share”. I can really recommend checking out his presentation here.

CEO Ross Mayfield of Socialtext also challenged the audience to think about the “gift economy”.

Jyri Engestrom of Jaiku had an excellent presentation on the theme which he made very practical at the end with a set of five rules and guidelines for designing social apps and micropublishing tools in general. One of them was – and he borrowed it from Reed Hoffman of LinkedIn and Paypal – to turn an invite into present which really got me thinking.

Will definitely be looking for ways to integrate this thought in the products and services I’m working on. All in all a very inspiring trip where I met a lot of interesting people. I will most certainly be back next year.

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