Updated 23 October 2023
The Byway is a new path for buyers and sellers to reach out and engage safely and independently, without relying on Big Tech platforms. The same path can work between people and any organization, as well as each other.
From The Intention Economy (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012):
Over the coming years, customers will be emancipated from systems built to control them. They will become free and independent actors in the marketplace, equipped to tell vendors what they want, how they want it, where and when—even how much they’d like to pay—outside of any vendor’s system of customer control. Customers will be able to form and break relationships with vendors, on customers’ own terms, and not just on the take-it-or-leave-it terms that have been pro forma since Industry won the Industrial Revolution.
That is an ocean-boiling aspiration, and we can’t make it happen in the red—meaning blood-stained—parts of the ocean; for example, by fighting Big Tech from the inside (where all of us who use computers and phones controlled by Apple, Google and other giants live). What we need instead is a blue ocean strategy. We have that in Bloomington, Indiana, where (Customer Commons board members) Doc and Joyce Searls are currently embedded as visiting scholars with the Ostrom Workshop of Indiana University.
The original design for the Byway was described by Doc and Joyce at The Mill in November 2021. For more on that one, download the slide deck presented there, or this earlier and shorter one. Another approach was (and still could be) toward an online community such as Amherst, MA’s Small Town, which is based on Mastodon, picos, and a matcher tool using Intently (an intentcasting service well proven in the UK). A third approach might combine parts of Beckn, SSI, DIDcomm, piJLINC, Dazzle , Solid (and/or other approaches to sharing personal data in highly controlled ways) and whatever other protocols and technologies extend personal agency in the digital world. Whatever we do will also involve new and extant open-source code and open standards as well.
in the works at the moment (October 2023) is an approach that starts with creating a new ecosystem for local journalism, supporting better ways for people to inform and trust each other, and making markets that really are conversations rather than just abstracted targets for sellers and their
So stay tuned for more about life after cookies—and outside the same old bakery.