About the vision

The Rat Race Can
Go Fork Itself.

A decade ago, it was hard to imagine that, today, three times more children aspire to host a YouTube channel than become a doctor or nurse; that there would be a taxi company employing no drivers worth $82bn, or; software, owned by no-one, printing $millions every day to pay people to work for it.

The world got weird.

Ideas about work, occupation, and even companies are changing. But then, to paraphrase a wise man: "Companies? Where we're going, we don't need companies."

From firm to fluid.

"In the past there were big and complex tasks that required many people working on them. The 'transaction costs' involved to get coordination between people was high, so the concept of a Manager was introduced. As the number of Managers increased, a Manager of the Managers was created... and hierarchies formed.

This resulted in order, clarity of authority, rank, and power. They reinforced a single primary connection: manager to worker, and enabled a command and control style of leadership that was terrifically successful during the industrial era.

Today, technology and connectivity has increased our ability to self-organize, collaborating more easily across internal and external organizational boundaries. It is no longer necessarily true that coordinating through a Manager is more effective than people self-organizing. Working as a network allows us to organize with many different kinds of connections, and increased autonomy."


Companies That Run on Software, Not Documents

Software is good at enforcing rules. That’s why video games are so much easier to play than board games. Companies are basically just rules for managing resources and distributing authority.

Most companies today define company rules in documents and legal contracts. Financial transactions, even trivial expenses, require admin and intermediaries. Employment is inflexible, roles are rigid, and promotion is opaque.

Colony helps you define and enforce business rules. That makes the rules easier to create and easier to follow, with way less admin, and in places they couldn’t before. Like between strangers on the internet.

Our long term ambition is audacious: Colony will catalyze a 'Cambrian explosion' of previously impossible organizational forms. The distinctions between companies, platforms, workers, and users will blur, and new paradigms of occupation and income will emerge.

In some cases, these will look similar to teams, projects, and companies as we know them today. In others, it might look more like a community than a company. With thousands of people making small independent contributions—like Wikipedia.

In others, you may not even think of what you're doing as "work". You will just be using an app you enjoy, or playing a game. It will just be that the better you play this game, or use this app, the more you earn. And maybe even, the more of a say you have in how the app works.

What will you build?

Ants, not Empires

Colony is inspired by complex adaptive systems like ant colonies: dynamic networks of agents which react and adapt to stimuli from each other and their environment. From simple rules emerges collective behaviour and self-organization of the system as a whole.

Colony applies these principles to human organizations—effecting simple rules between people to help them self-organize by aligning incentives around a shared goal.