I read a great article in Fast Company yesterday by Bruce Nussbaum, the former assistant managing editor for Business Week and a Professor of Innovation and Design at Parsons The New School of Design, about a trend that he refers to as “indie capitalism,” this idea of a homemade economy. Homemade in many ways: products made at home and sold from there, locally focused market, and driven by small, independent entrepreneurs:
You won’t learn about it in business school, hear about it from Wall Street, or see it in Palo Alto. But if you spend time in Bushwick, Brooklyn, or on Rivington Street in Manhattan, you just might detect the outlines of an emerging “indie” capitalism. This new form of capitalism is not just about conventional startups and technology and venture capitalists. If you add up all the trends under way today, I believe we are beginning to see the start of something original, and perhaps wonderful. It may prove to be the economic and social antidote to the failed financial capitalism and crony capitalism that no longer delivers economic value in terms of jobs, income, and taxes to the people of this country.
Indie capitalism is local, not global, and cares about the community and jobs and says so right up front. Good things come from and are made locally by people you can see and know. The local focus makes indie capitalism intrinsically sustainable–energy is saved as a result of a way of life, not in an effort to reach a distinct and difficult goal.
Indie capitalism is socially, not transactionally, based. It’s not just Internet social, involving 5,000 friends, but personally social. Take Kickstarter, for example, where people fund the music, books, and products that they can watch develop over time. In this model, consumer, investor, audience, fan, helper, and producer conflate. People find and prepare their food the same way they find and prepare their music. And then they share it all.
I am really excited by this idea of a locally-sourced and locally-focused economy. I think it is better for the environment, but I also think it’s better for community building and having a better sense of place, to feel connected to where you live and what you do, and enriched by it.
Please read the entire, well-written article, and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.