Wired Magazine is one of the periodicals I make a point of keeping at least one eye in on a regular basis. Their astute and subtly satiric treatment of technology and culture and the hinges of their contingent relationship are well worth the effort it takes to read a feature by Robert Capps or David Kravets in order to better comprehend the shape that the world as we know it has begun taking on. In an age where information, and particularly its accessibility, is more desired than food or water it seems important to catch a glimpsed reflection from time to time of where the culture we all take part in is heading.
Recently Wired Magazine has installed the “Small Business Program” which is still under construction but can be viewed in part at http://www.wired.com/wiredbizprogram. At the moment the site promises “a dedicated community site offering relevant news, resources and insightful features to small business owners.” If the site lives up to these declarations and it is conducted with Wired magazine’s characteristic acuity, one can expect it to be a great source of information and support which for entrepreneurs and small business owners who are looking to keep at least two steps ahead of the game and to learn from and contribute to other bright minds.
As the site continues to develop, there are several opportunities to get involved at the moment. At http://www.wired.com/wiredsmallbizprogram/howto-28.html wiki “how to articles” have been collected with the intent of helping small business developers and owners with some of the challenges they face. The articles range from the practical and technical such as “How to use Google Ad Sense” and “How to access your computer remotely,” to the more general and expansive “How to improve your business image.” The content is mostly user generated and can be edited and created by all users. Furthermore there are several videos to be found where Jeff Howe, one of Wired’s foremost writers and the developer of the concept of “crowdsourcing,” elaborates on how to best reach consumers using the resources currently available with the Internet. The term itself was coined to describe the transition to the latest trends in development which rely heavily on user participation which is sometimes referred to as distributed participatory design.
Another interesting dimension to the site is the small business challenge which allows small business owners to enter their business projects into a contest aiming to provide underexposed businesses with some well deserved shine. Faced with a trying economy this contest is judged by other small business owners and entrepreneurs and allows for a challenge that is both personal and public, as well as a platform to present one’s ideas to be considered critically. The winners are featured in a short video bio in which they discuss and introduce their ideas.