Have you read it? The article about Dr. J. Craig Venter’s efforts to create a synthetic cell? Interesting stuff. While I’m no chemist, bioengineer, or engineer of any kind, I did find the article interesting.
My understanding of the process, as described in the article, is that Dr. Venter essentially engineered an instruction set (my words) that manages a cell’s design engine, resulting in a cell whose goal and purpose is specific to the instruction set. The resulting cell interacts with the ‘larger’ ecosystem – hopefully – to their mutual benefit or at the very least, the design goal.
Having a bit of a background in software, I view the exercise as a great example of Object Oriented Design, which is really a discipline applied to development such that one small piece of code is self-describing and understood within the system(s) that it operates it. By introducing the code into the system, the systems’ operation is enhanced or directed in a well understood way. When used to guide large-scale systems design, OO improves efficiency, reduces risk, simplifies maintenance, and reduces costs.
Now, let’s take the discussion in a different direction. Let’s take these principals and talk about business – and how the internet, which I view as a core enabling infrastructure with known operational parameters - is enabling these same kinds of relationships in business. Relationships where business objects with known operational guidelines can be dropped into known systems (supply chains, distribution channels, partnerships, 'the marketplace') resulting in new, incremental business and in some cases, new business ventures.
(Just so you know, its NOT one of those late Friday nights where a group of us have had one too many Mich Ultra’s and we’re engaged in philosophical conversations that – at the time – border on genius! Well, for a few hours anyway)
Let’s coin a phrase for applying Object Oriented Design to business. Perhaps something creative like, oh, Object Oriented Business? Now, let’s define OOB as a way to virtualize components of your business so that you can ‘release’ them on the Internet, developing new relationships, generating incremental revenue. SaaS? The Cloud? Even old-school VANs (Value-Added Networks). Yes. But, we can take it even further.
Let’s assume that we actually build interfaces to our companies that quickly enabled well defined relationships and transactions as well as a series of interfaces/models that allowed other companies to quickly determine our value – and ways to leverage that value to our mutual benefit.
The infrastructure is already there, but, there is no standard protocol in place to help “make it happen”, make it real.
The standard protocol, believe it or not, is your website. Yep. Its already there and its enabling relationships, driving revenue, and helping others determine what your company’s “value” is.
Is your value a transactional service that you’re happy to ‘sell’ a subscription to? Does it have a user interface? Is the user interface one that humans interact with, or, is it one that other services can take advantage of without anyone getting involved? Do you offer strategic services? How would you “enable” those? How would you “advertise” those?
Let’s first explore transactional models ---- in next week's post ---- :-)