Kleiner Perkins' latest start-up: Zazzle
This is incredibly cool.
Zazzle is a market place for peer-produced goods. It is almost a textbook application of Umair's explanation of peer production
. In fact, anyone who's kept up with the peer production meme developed by Umair over the last couple of years, for example his gushing enthusistically over threadless,
can immediately see the forces that'd give rise to Zazzle.
The point is this : The Atomizing Hand need not, and will not, operate only within the realm of digital goods. The reason why micromedia is emerging as the hotbed of peer production is only because of the low coordination costs associated with microrpoduction of digital goods. Make no mistake, though : media (and open source) is only a laboratory to develop, test and refine the peer production model. As the model becomes better understood, it will start migrating into non-digital goods. If peer-production is to emerge as the *dominant design* of the econ of organizing production and go beyond Coasian notions of transaction costs, then it is inevitable that intermedieries like Zazzle would emerge in this new eco-system. Personally, I am convinced that this will happen.
If you think about this, it boggles the mind to think of where all of this could lead to. I remember reading in Carl Haacke's fantastic book "Frenzy" that people tend to overestimate the short term impact of innovation but underestimate it in the long term. Truer words have not been spoken yet.
In general I agree with the new movement of individuals giving the final shape of the consumer goods, but I sincerely doubt that it will be zazzle that will do it - just check out their competitors like www.spreadshirt.com and try to create tshirt - in zazzle this takes ages while spreadshirt has just the easiest creator ever... great news for them about this VC, but I really don't see what's so special with them...