Lawrence Lessig’s Remix suggests hybrid economies require special care and attention. It’s crucial to respect the community in a sharing community. As Lessig points out, sharing communities function very differently than commercial interest especially in terms of motivation and reward. Where participants in sharing communities seek altruistic rewards of contributing to a common goal, achieving personal accomplishment and finding merit in the work, commercial enterprise thrives on wealth as reward.

What is key in a hybrid economy is keeping the contributing community dynamic of rewards and motivation intact. The examples of failed hybrids all show instances where the community was disrupted either by changing the group dynamics, lessening the value of altruistic rewards or making users feel exploited. In all of these cases disrupting the community, resulted in loosing crowd buy-in.

This concept is perhaps better demonstrated by thriving examples of hybrid ventures, where careful care has been exercised to avoid community disruption and exploitation. Consider Craigslist, where the sheer amount of page views could translate to vast advertising revenue and yet the choice has been made not to shift to pure commercial methods of capitalizing on every potential revenue source. Instead Craigslist has opted to take a very small cut in ads and has not put ads on every post, so as not to offend contributors or make them feel exploited.

Red Hat has gone so far as to foster the community and even strengthen group ties by promoting and contributing to the virtual community space members participate in. By doing so, they are helping put more value in altruistic rewards, instead of devaluing them with monetary ones.

The overall lesson here is for hybrid economies to thrive, the sharing community must not be exploited, offended, devalued, or disrupted. In order for things to function harmoniously, commercial interests cannot overrun the atmosphere and must write contributors into their business models, which means writing off less ad revenue in return for the contributions sharing allows them to appropriate.

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