How to find like-minds and experts

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Dave Pollard just found the weblog of someone he didn't know about but with whom he seems to have shared interest. He's making a good point about how useful the Internet can be in helping people find like-minds, if only we'd have something beyond search engines and newly-born social software to find them:

All of this, besides letting you know about a great blog and a fascinating company, is my round-about way of making a point that I'm going to blog about next week: The Next Economy, whether that be a World of Ends Economy or a Support Economy, in which entrepreneurs will find and associate with each other to provide innovative, deeply valuable services to customers in a way that multinational corporations can never hope to match, depends utterly on the Internet providing us with a powerful means to find like minds and experts on anything under the sun. The bit of serendipity that I described above that allowed me to find Mark is a perfect example of how impossibly difficult that is with the tools, and shortage of knowledge, we struggle with today. The issues are:

  1. How do we get people to post to the Internet (and keep up-to-date) sufficient information about themselves in an appropriate format to allow us to find them, easily, when we need them?
  2. What kind of tool is needed to filter, qualify and leverage that information and (ideally, proactively and organically) connect us with like minds and needed experts, kind of a context-rich audited Yellow Pages of millions of people's individual interests and expertise. We know that search engines and first-generation social networking tools aren't up to the job. We need something completely different.

Time for some creative, very innovative thinking. Time to think how nature would solve (or does solve) this complex problem -- I'm thinking of the thousands of spring peeper frogs in my pond all calling out for the perfect mate. The solution probably lies in that place where parallel paths converge.

I will get back to this subject in a few weeks, with a story on how weblogs helped me get a dream team work together with me on a little something that I think wouldn't have been quite the same had I selected suppliers the "classical" way.