Good Luck Stopping Leaderless Organizations

rebelsattack.jpgThe Starfish and the Spider authors Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom call out countless examples of how leaderless organizations always prevail over centralized command and control. Some include Al Qaeda, Napster, Craigslist, and Wikipedia. I’m not 100% convinced of the “always” claim since folks closer to action often have more hands-on knowledge about a situation, while folks in the rear-with-the-gear have a larger view of the situation—which is not necessarily worse or better. I do however agree that entrenched participant-observers usually respond faster while continually adapting to changing circumstances for survival. This continual adaptation confuses their competition, and keeps them in a constant state of agitated response ultimately leading to inward collapse.

This morning’s Gizmodo post by Jesus Diaz about unlocking the iPhone triggered my recollection on the power of the Starfish organization and how the more control Spider organizations attempt to enforce on their audiences, the more Starfish powers will rise to counter those efforts. It’s a senseless fight according the authors of the book—a book that deserves a read if you want to better understand the power of the masses in a Web 2.0 liberated world.