Revolutionary breakthroughs show us something we didn’t know before. They surface problems we didn’t realize we had, and they open new conceptual categories. Before the iPod, for example, we hadn’t even wondered why we couldn’t carry our entire music collection in our pocket. You took for granted that your music collection lived on shelves of vinyl and cassettes and a few towers of CD’s. Maybe you had MP3’s on your hard drive and you’d just discovered Napster, but you probably still had a Walkman in your pocket. Then came the iPod.
Your work — your data and information; your knowledge, your documents, your history — are what your music collection was in the 90s. And in comparison to your work, music is dead simple — it’s one medium and all you want to do is listen to it. Your work, on the other hand, is spread across papers, images, decks, and spreadsheets; campaigns, portfolios, proposals, and contracts. And it’s stored everywhere — devices of all sorts, incompatible apps, long forgotten back-ups, and various cloud-based platforms. No only that, but unlike music, your work is in dozens of file formats, across all sorts of media, and connected with colleagues, friends and family.
Fyberloom weaves a meaningful tapestry of knowledge out of your unique online ecosystem. It’s the search for *your* wide web. It’s the solution to organizing the unique digital ecosystem that represents how you work. It makes a meaningful knowledge architecture out of the patchwork of apps and the fragmented online history that’s been the legacy of your life — your changed jobs, operating systems, platforms, habits, and preferences.
Fyberloom: The End of Platforms
We call Fyberloom the anti-platform. To understand what it means to be the anti-platform, let’s be clear about what it means to be a platform in today’s world. In 2005, when Tim O’Reilly described Web 2.0 as a “platform revolution,” he set out the basic blueprint for the web-as-platform that we know today, but he didn’t foresee the way it would all end in a race to become the platform. The ambitions of the major players in the winner-takes-all race for platform dominance are familiar — indeed, companies have always sought monopolies. But what was impossible for industrial monopolist is perhaps enabled by today’s megaplatforms and today we can’t be certain that competitive dynamics will drive future innovation the way it has in the past. O’Reilly’s own mood has soured significantly since 2005, as he’s watched platforms become value-extractors and rent seekers, neither sharing the value they create nor democratizing access to value production. On the contrary, all this is paid for by the fact that our data doesn’t just live on this or that platform, but it’s the foundation of the platform’s business plan. We’re not just being absorbed into the machine, but into the P & L sheet of one or another competing monopolistic corporation. We’re served our own lives from the cloud, licensing our selves with subscriptions governed by unreadable EULA’s, uploaded and downloaded to/from databases of dubious security.
If we’ve learned anything, it’s that there’s no such thing as a neutral cloud or a free online service. Fortunately, there are emerging forces that work against centralization, aggregation and monopolization. These include things like the blockchain, which could pull a wide variety of transactions off the major platforms and disintermediate whole swaths of our online life; and 3D printing, which could localize production and decentralize the supply chain, returning whole industries and markets to local control. What these emergent technologies share is that they’re responding to a growing outcry demanding personal autonomy and security: we hear demands for control over one’s data; for freedom to be one’s self online, free of surveillance or homogenization; and for tools that offer a transparent and honest exchange of value, rather than opaque business models and rent seeking.
Fyberloom is the tool for this movement, the anti-platform that enables user control, independence, and autonomous decision-making. It’s designed to enable the dreams that were crushed by today’s monopolistic practices: dreams of truly distributed networks and decentralized practices; of tools optimized for user freedom and control; and of a new humanism, where the first priority is sharing value and enabling people to create and collaborate however they wish. Fyberloom gives you a new relationship with your data. You’ll be able to access all of it, any time — and most importantly, you’ll find it by asking the kind of questions that a human being asks, not queries that require you to remember your undergraduate course in logic.
Fyberloom offers a stark contrast with today’s personal search — things like Spotlight on Apple computers or other built-in search features that don’t access anything other than their native platform. Our imagination of what’s possible has been conditioned by old technologies and assumptions. Innovation has been deployed to capture value from your data, not to provide you the tools you want. The existing services only search for what they can own. The old business model is based on data ownership (and platform migration). In the future, a newly informed user will demand constant access to — and ownership of — all their data, where ever and how ever they want. Fyberloom is the tool for this.
Fyberloom: Search for Your Wide Web
Indeed, Fyberloom is responsive to a basic human urge to be ourselves, in all our diversity and individuality. We’re stubborn. Our legacy systems persist. Our differences — differences in work habits, diverse cognitive styles, histories and communities — will persist. If we don’t build systems to accommodate ourselves, we prioritize business models over our humanity.
Fyberloom puts our humanity front-and-center: our diverse histories and work habits; our diverse thought and methods. It’s responsive to our needs and desires. Fyberloom understands that the apps and platforms we use are a function of our unique history. Whether young or old, digital native or digital refugee, hacker individualist or dedicated company man or woman — regardless, you’ll use Fyberloom for the simple reason that you don’t work on the same mix of platforms, apps, and devices as everyone else.
And no matter who you are, you want to control your own data, manage your information, and work with the sum total of your knowledge. We’ve learned that giving our data away in exchange for services like email, back-up, and media is anything but free. But while we’ve changed our minds — the companies that profit from our data haven’t changed their business models. If we’re going to take our data back, we need alternative ways to get the services we value. Fyberloom makes it possible to decentralize your data — to choose one platform for storage and back-up, another for documents and media, and still another for collaboration and planning. You can do all this without losing track of your data or having to manage your own complex information architecture. Fyberloom weaves the diverse threads of your data into a tapestry that allows you to work wherever and how ever you want.
Fyberloom offers device- and platform-agnostic search, so that you can have constant access to your data. Fyberloom is optimized for how humans work and think, not for extracting value from your data. And it accompanies you everywhere, whether you want to work in your car, on your phone, with an agent you talk to in your living room or a virtual world where you meet your colleagues. Platforms whose business model is based on monetizing your data structure the user experience to optimize their value. Fyberloom’s business model is based on offering a superior service, not selling what it learns about you. Indeed, this is at the crux of providing a truly user-centric experience.
There’s a perversion at the heart of our ideas about user-centricity: technology companies hire user-experience experts and do user studies, ostensibly to make technology conform to our desires, but the fact is that they’re just trying to make it feel natural as they get us to behave in ways aligned with their business model. In the hands of user-experience experts, we’re seduced into doing things that are ultimately against our own self-interest. Good UI/UX simply makes our re-training and re-conditioning by technology feel more natural. At worst, we only recognize that we’ve given over our will — that we’re dependent, addicted — after it’s too late.
Indeed, at the most basic level, being user-centric isn’t about a nice UI/UX. Rather, it’s about 1) a business model that does more than extract value from user; 2) doesn’t make user give up ownership, control, or privacy; 3) it benefits the user, economically, psychologically, and communally, so that you’re connected with knowledge — your own and others — and you’re more than the sum of your parts. These are the values that inspired the creation of Fyberloom. Indeed, I originally conceived of Fyberloom as an internal tool for my own company. It’s only after thinking about it that I realized it could have broader application. This is the truest place for a founder to be: build something you yourself want to use, then offer it to the world. It’s the opposite of founders whose ideas originate in how they can make a profit or jump on the latest bandwagon. Fyberloom is designed so everyone can manage their data.
Fyberloom is the anti-platform where the future happens. It’s going to do what the iPod (and Spotify) did for your music collection. Shouldn’t your own wide web get the services that Google gives us for the world wide web? And shouldn’t you own and control what’s yours? You’ll be amazed by what you weave on your own Fyberloom.