Perspectives on Connected Innovation and Collaboration

Don Smith’s Sabbatical Insights

Exploring the Multiverse with Joe Pine

with 2 comments

joepine1Last Friday, I had the pleasure of catching-up with Joe Pine, distinguished author and visiting scholar at MIT Design Lab. Joe is well known for his best selling books Mass Customization, The Experience Economy, and Authenticity. I first heard Joe riff on Authenticity at MIT in October of 2007, well before the mass media glommed onto authenticity as a theme in the most recent Presidential campaign. I have always found Joe’s insights to be fundamentally rooted in physics, economics, and philosophy, but most importantly, ahead of its time.

Joe shared his latest framework with me – The Multiverse. To define the Multiverse, Joe employs the classical 3-dimensional framework that defines the Universe – space, time, and matter. Joe then layers economic insights gleaned from the Stan Davis best seller Future Perfect onto his framework. In Future Perfect, Davis argued that increasingly, the physical mass of everything that has economic value is shrinking. As the economy becomes more informational and intangible, it is less dependent on physical matter to exist on its own. Think anti-matter. Using the same method, Joe concludes that there must exist a place where space, time, and matter do not exist – a virtual reality. The digital space.

Joe’s Multiverse framework provides clarity around the opportunities in the digital space. The digital space is infinite in possibilities, largely undiscovered, without boundaries, always on, and economically advantaged compared to reality. It’s the world of video games, alternate reality games, virtual worlds, social media, and new business models.

In my own experience, I have used the digital space to create a virtual presence of myself. Tools like Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and LinkedIn allow me to make new contacts without having to do the leg work. As a result, I have expanded my personal network by orders of magnitude and established scores of new business leads and collaborations. Think of how much time it would take to have built out a massive network via person to person interaction. Reality doesn’t scale.

There is intrinsic value in having an on-line presence, and by Pine’s estimates, it might be infinite.


Written by Donald Smith

February 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Hey- how are you finding these people? Through Twitter? I have a huge social network thing going on, so much I have had to pick/choose what I have wanted to focus on within my networks….they got too big/diluted….struggling with that. As I think that is where “tools” for social networks/mining them become important. I should have to lessen my network………the tools need to follow to mine them appropriately…….either that or I don’t understand what the tools are yet. As for Jarvis, I am not too familiar with it, except for its association with Java, and the fact that I believe it is a visual tool for graphing, etc.? Am I right? Do we have access to this??

    I think virtual worlds/selling/advertising through them is going to be huge eventually…….kind of scary cool. Are you the person that was doing 2nd life? I want to talk to you about that…….Keep on blogging!!

    Noelle Sorensen

    February 17, 2009 at 7:42 pm

  2. There has been a lot of discussion regarding Pine’s upcoming book. Prior to that release, I developed a blogsite that individually identifies each realm within the Multiverse that Joe talks about. The site is more an exploration into the transformation of an offering from one realm into the next by identifying the key aspect that is changing. The site was created to allow others to input ideas and concepts of each realm offering. I have discuss and shared the physical journal with Joe.

    This site may help your readers understand a bit deeper into Joe Pine’s idea before his book is released.


    December 11, 2009 at 11:11 am

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