When and how did the world change from favoring solo enterprise to collaboration? The change was recent and was swift. One minute it was Ayn Rand and the Fountainhead school of business, the next cuddles and kisses all round.
Three examples. Disney, AOL and Microsoft. Yesterday, AOL and Disney inked a deal. These had been famously secretive and closed companies. The culture of Disney being suspicious egotism. ('Remember! We're Disney. We have Mickey Mouse') but Bob Iger their new boss has done a deal with Steve Jobs to distribute ABC shows on iPod, and now, with AOL to distribute movie material via AOL. Iger says openly that consumers have choices with technology and that Disney has to reach them, wherever they are, as often as possible. That's different. It means making friends and using the network effect.For Disney!
Meanwhile, AOL used to have 20 million users paying 25 bucks a month. (do the math) No more. Broadband means the little guys are leaving. The walled garden is crumbling. So Jonathan Miller their boss has been striking deals as fast as possible to open up his business into a portal. No more arrogance. A Homestore.com is begged on board, a Disney, a whoever else they can get, as fast as possible. The more the merrier. AOL needs lots of entry points to its business and a wide foundation of users.
And then there's Microsoft. This year Microsoft have settled law suits, like against Real Networks and Sun, struck distribution deals with Yahoo and Palm, and started to push into new markets, which has involved them reaching out to movie, games and music companies. For partnerships. For new collaborative networks of business.
In fact all three are networking the reach of their single company into new arenas, using new methods of distribution and working.
It everywhere. It's what's happening across the globe, world economies, markets, even personal workspaces. The internet continues to wring change everywhere simultaneously. Now the rise of Web 2.0's new tools (specifically built for collaboration) will make this shift from closed to open; inward to outward looking; single actor to networked company's; more and more rapid. Every business should take note. It's no less than a fundamental change to the way business is being done.