Back in February David Kirkpatrick, Fortune Magazine's senior editor, raved about Slashdot and SourceForge as the future of media. He focuses on the power of content and communities generated by users and notes how effectively and powerfully Slashdot manages content and community with minimal staff.
Kirkpatrick ponders the implications of open source "revolution" noting that open source is:
… Creating something of tremendous widespread utility for the ego value …
How powerful will ego be in shaping the media landscape of the future? I've been noting at events like Mashup Camp as well as chats with people from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon, etc, etc that large numbers of extremely bright people are motivated to a very large extent by pride and virtuosity rather than a narrow focus on money. It's not just coincidence that corporate giants Yahoo and Google began in academia as non-commercial projects. Both were inspired more by the interests of their creators than by a quest for dollars, yet rose to become two of the most successful companies in the history of commerce.
Of course profits and selfishness will play significant roles in the future of almost all companies, but perhaps the ability of the internet to leverage time, skills, and social connections so effectively is also generating more ego-based economic activity than ever before.