And this morning, I read about the "mullet strategy" and wondered if it might be a candidate.
Jonah Peretti, cofounder of The Huffington Post, uses this term to characterize HP’s editorial policy: "business up front, party in the back." According to the mullet strategy, the front page of the website is "kept sharp" by professional editors while the back of the site is given over to the unedited, unsubstantiated "venting" of unpaid visitors.
Could this be an candidate? Appliances are little machines that help us think. And the mullet strategy might be useful, first of all, as a way of thinking about any website that struggles to combine professional and user created content. We may discover that this is the model that will help lots of websites work. We now have prior acquaintance, and we will be quicker to spot this model elsewhere.
This pattern could prove useful for any commercial enterprise that wishes to work in consumer created content. Now the pattern can sharpen our wits. With this pattern at the ready, we are in a position to say, "oh, you know what could work here is the mullet strategy."
Indeed, this may be, metaphorically speaking, a good way to speak about many models now emerging as capitalism is renovated by the disintermediating effects of the new technologies. Once established as one of the ideas we have "on call," the mullet strategy may serve for many purposes.
Every idea, every pattern, has colonial intentions. It would like to bend the world to its will. In any case, like it or not, we all now live in a world where things are in steady flux. So we want to entertain many patterns at the ready for recognition and cogition.
At this point, we can’t say that the mullet strategy has any real promise as an intellectual appliance. The trick is to post it somewhere in the crowded airspace we call consciousness and see if we ever hear from it again. It is a Millian economy. We will use it again if we can use it again. Really good patterns start from these modest beginnings and end up dominating things quite thoroughly. (I remember when I first read Thomas Kuhn’s notion of "paradigm." Here was an idea I could not stop using.)
We really should have a Wiki for this sort of thing.
Alterman, Eric. 2008. Out of print. The New Yorker. March 31, 2008, pp. 48-59, p. 52. here.
McCracken, Grant. 2008. Pattern Cognition. My PSFK presentation. Available online at slideshare.com here.
Kuhn, Thomas. 1962. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.