For What It’s Worth

“There’s something happening here, What it is ain’t exactly clear” – Stephen Stills, For What It’s Worth, 1966

I was reading Moneyball this morning which is a really great book about baseball statistics and how so many “known facts” about them are dead wrong. There’s this part in the book where a collection of regular fans got so disgusted with the way that statistics were collected, reported, and analyzed by the professionals that they started to go to games and collect thier own statistics, and eventually some of them started a company called Stats, Inc that tried to sell these new and better stats to the teams to no avail, and then finally with the advent of rotisserie baseball a market developed for these better stats. It’s a long story and if you are interested in it, go get the book.

But it started me thinking about the “revolution of the ants” as my friend Mark Pincus likes to call it.

Conventional wisdom is that this “bottoms up” revolution was created by the Internet. But I don’t think so. Clearly it was happening back in the 1970s when Bill James and Dick Cramer and others decided to take control of baseball stats. As David Kirkpatrick points out, it’s happening on American Idol and all the other reality TV shows.

It’s clearly happening with blogging and open source software and Internet-driven political fundraising.

So, for what it’s worth, i think something is happening here and what it is isn’t exactly clear. But it’s big and its important.