Collaboration versus Control

By:  Rob

“It is amazing how much you can accomplish when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.” Ironically, I’ve seen this attributed both to Harry S Truman and Winston Churchill. I suspect it’s the former. In any event, the following Twitter exchange inspired this blog post.

AmandaLThomas Amanda Thomas In my opinion, @McDonalds really dropped the ball on the whole “national McDonalds Ice Cream day.” we love it & they wouldn’t play along!

RobRutkowski Rob Rutkowski @AmandaLThomas Sometimes for corporations, control is more important than exposure, even good exposure. Go figure.

Amanda Thomas

@AmandaLThomasAmanda Thomas

@RobRutkowski I guess they figure they’ll make money regardless. Customer service and good PR isn’t their gameplan apparently.

Social media is nothing if not recursive. Nowadays, there is real tension between people who want to do something and share it versus people who want to maximize the profit from it. I am about as far away from a collectivist as you can get so bear with me here. Right now, you see shameless forum shopping coupled with business models built entirely on patent enforcement. At the same time, the open source movement is still very much alive. There’s a parallel here between banks on one side and credit unions on the other.

Bill Gates developed operating systems for computers and is very wealthy. Linus Torvalds developed an operating system for computers and he is merely well off. Microsoft zealously protects its intellectual property while the Linux operating system is open source. Banks are for profit, credit unions are not-for-profit. Credit unions are known for collaboration and banks are known for competition.

Obviously, these comparisons are not iron-clad. Credit Unions need to protect intellectual property at times and banks can offer free services to their consumers. I’m not being judgmental here either. I’m trying to get to the point which is collaboration versus control.

Which would you rather see as a driving force at your credit union? Do you want to be like McDonalds and eschew collaboration that you didn’t solicit, casting off something that might be beneficial in favor of strict, rigorous control of your message? Or do you want to embrace the spontaneous love of people who genuinely like your products, giving up a little control in favor of the rampant viral attention that collaboration can engender? Personally, I would opt for the latter, but apparently, as in the case of appreciation for McDonald’s ice cream itself, it is a matter of taste.

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