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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Culture

Facebook is like IKEA is like...open source?

Is open source like IKEA?

Slate is positioning Facebook's reliance on user-generated content as a bit like IKEA:

Ikea keeps its costs and prices low by enlisting its customers--their time, their cars, their ambitions as interior designers, and their inflated ideas of their carpentry skills.

Management experts Rafael Ramirez and Richard Normann pointed this out in the Harvard Business Review back in 1993. Ikea, they argued, was a success because it enabled "value co-production."

The article's author goes on to credit Microsoft with creating a value co-production platform but completely overlooks the open-source software industry. Is open source like IKEA? Well, I'd like to believe that open source is much better than IKEA's good enough and cheap products. That's where we were five to ten years ago. We've moved beyond then.