Mine, ours, everyone’s

Last night, we had a spectacular party for The Big Moo. It was coordinated and orchestrated and magically run by Julie Anixter and Dean Debiase at remarkabalize.com.

The lesson of the response we’re getting (people waited in line for almost an hour to get books signed) is that the project went from being mine (for about a week, while I thought about it) to ours (as I signed up each of 32 co-authors) to a tool for all of us (as I watch the book getting used in ways I never intended, by people I don’t even know.)

This three-step progression is getting more and more common. Pierre (a fellow Tufts alum) is giving $100 million in eBay stock to Tufts today. eBay started as his. Then it belonged to investors and employees. But now, clearly, it’s a tool for millions of people to make a living with.

Each step is difficult, because it goes counter to the rules we learned at kindergarten recess. How can mine to ours benefit me? How can ours to all of us be a good thing?

It turns out that the process is worth it, even when it doesn’t lead to cash. The shared bounty benefits all the players.