This blog is for a book I’m working on called “Small is the Next Big Thing – the Size and Shape of Commerce and Culture”, due to be published by Atlantic Books Ltd, the UK imprint of Grove Atlantic in the US.
You can read a draft copy of the Introduction here shortly which should give you a good idea what the book’s about. It's a big picture view of change in the modern world seen mainly through the lens of what's happening online but with other social/cultural references. The idea is we're seeing a fundamental shift in the centre of gravity and balance of power from the monolithic, the hierarchical and the centralised, towards the miniature, the networked and the distributed. The book is an account of how large scale social, cultural, political and commercial systems are powered by ever smaller, more independent component parts, connected though the internet.
I'll be posting my thoughts-in-progress and some of the ideas I’m working through for the rest of the book. If anyone feels like helping me improve them I’d love to hear your thoughts (naturally anything that appears in the finished book would be credited). And feel free to contact me directly: andy at small-big dot com.
About the title
At TED Global 2005 Yochai Benkler, Jimmy Wales, Charles Leadbeater and Clay Shirky gave some magnificent talks in a session called “Co-op World”. They started me thinking about how to make sense of some of the big picture changes I’d been noticing in the online and wider world. On the last day of the conference IDEO’s Paul Bennett gave a talk about sweating the details in user-centered innovation and design called: “Small is the New Big”.
This phrase crystalised my thinking so I thought I’d plagurise Paul’s excellent title and that’s what I wanted to call this book. Unfortunately Seth Godin, who also attended the conference and gave a short talk, beat me to it (hardly surprising since the man’s so prolific he can whip out an e-book in the time it takes me to get my keyboard in a comfortable position and start procrastinating). I quickly post-rationalised the fact that “Small is the Next Big Thing” was actually more accurate for what I wanted to write about because it spoke of a shift towards the way things would be, rather than already are.
(Incidentally, if you don’t like the title/sub-head or think it sounds confusingly close to Mr. G’s book, feel free to suggest an alternative!).