Wardley on Attribution

Simon Wardley  @swardley

From Twitter 7th December 2018

X : How do we attribute you?

Me : I’m not fussed. I don’t care about attribution. It’s nice if people occasionally mention it.

… I’m only fussed about keeping mapping open for everyone, to include as many people as possible. Think of it like “pay it forward” … I gave this gift freely so others can benefit, if you build upon it then do the same.

X : But what if we call it “Smith Mapping”?
Me : Will it be creative commons, share alike?
X : Yes
Me : Then fine by me. I have no expectation other than to be a footnote somewhere. That’s enough for me. I’m more interested in progressing the community and the conversation.

X : Aren’t you claiming copyright on mapping?
Me : I’m claiming that the use of mapping, derived from my form of maps that are based upon use of evolution as an axis should be free to all. If you derived from my work, then share. Claim your own attribution but make it open.

X : But what about other forms of maps.
Me : There are none that I’m aware of in business. The first maps I know of business that use anchor, position and movement are my own. The first using evolution are my own. It’s why I made it free to everyone all those years ago.

X : So, I have to share my maps?
Me : No, the maps you create, are yours. But if through using my method then you find a better method then share that method of mapping. My gift was the way, the method of mapping and so by all means build upon it, keep it open, share with others.

X : But what if our method of mapping is much better than yours?
Me : Was it based upon my work, did my work influence you, are you simply refining the axis, the layout and improving on what you’ve learned? If so, share …

… I made mapping creative commons over a decade ago not to foster some consultancy peddling a copyrighted form of mapping based upon it but to free us all, by that I mean everyone, to explore context and to learn. Give more than you take, you’ll sleep more soundly if you do.

X : But, if you had licensed mapping wouldn’t you make more money?
Me : I did license mapping a decade ago. I made it CC by SA. I find great joy in three things – contentment, my family and watching others grow. Not in little bits of green paper.

… if I have used some proprietary license then the only person mapping today would probably be me. Yes, I could have used that to make vastly more money as a “voodoo” strategy consultant, a guru of gurus. But life isn’t about making money. You can’t take it with you. Do better.

… I have many friends who make huge piles of money, own several houses and drive flash cars by selling other people crap they don’t need. They don’t help others, they impoverish them and their future. I won’t judge them, it’s their choice but I refuse to follow such a path.

… the essence of society, what makes us human is not what we take but what we give. We all have failings, no-one is perfect and it is up to each and everyone one of us to try and find a balance that we’re content with and resist the worst excesses. Greed has never been good.

X : But won’t people exploit mapping, claim it as their own, demand others pay license fees?
Me : Of course, that’s bound to happen. But believing in humanity and a civil society doesn’t make you a pacifist. I’m not that, I am prepared to fight, tooth and nail, blood and claw.

… just because greed is not good does not mean that greed will not exist. Whether at the individual or at a nation state, we should always fight for what is right for all … for the many, not the few. That is the essence of what society means.

X : We’re all selfish genes.
Me : You realise I’m a former geneticist? If the limit of our imagination of what society is becomes simply procreating genes, a survival of the fittest where we define the fittest as those who survive then we are doomed and no more than a virus.

… if you’re happy with defining humanity as simply a viral infection of the earth then I can understand your point. I’m hoping that as a species we aim for something more.

X : How do you know other business maps didn’t exist before yours?
Me : I am certain they did. Sivowitch’s Law applies – whenever you think someone was first, the harder you look then you’ll find someone who was more first. I simply state that I was not aware of them.

… the problem with “first” is always attribution. People want to claim to be the first, to have their name immortalised (despite the fact it’s only ever temporary). I prefer to assume that maps existed before and better maps will come after. My focus is on fostering the after.

… it’s why attribution isn’t a big thing for me but creative commons share alike is. I want to see the idea of context grow. I don’t care what name a future maps carries – that is not important.

X : So why call it “Wardley” maps
Me : Several reasons. First, I’m lousy at naming things. Second, it opens the door to “Smith” maps or “Mercator” maps of business. It allows for the future to supplant the past. My maps are little more than clay tablets, they will be superseded.

X: Are you against people commercialising your form of mapping?
Me : Not at all. @kda (a good friend) took my blog posts, turned it into a book and sold it. I had no issue with this, nor do I have any issue with people making money from my form of mapping or derivatives of …

.. my only requirement is that you keep the field open, you allow others to build upon and develop it and those who come after to do the same.

X : You seem opposed to intellectual property rights?
Me : I know of no field that has done more harm to human society and limited progress in pursuit of greed. I am not a fan.

… you once asked me why we weren’t travelling among the stars in spaceships. The answer I will give is intellectual property rights. I can think of nothing that has damaged society and limited progress more over such a long time.

X : Warfare surely comes close?
Me : Yes. I did quite a bit of research on this and by all measures that I found, despite the common ideas of “innovation through war” that it harms progress. But as far as I can tell, IPR is the most harmful. In my view, it should be abolished.

X : I have combined your mapping with this other unrelated work that is proprietary. What should I do?
Me : As far as my mapping work goes, you are free to share and to share freely all the elements you derive from my mapping with others.