Making a business of your trade
The notion that first world countries enjoy all the benefits of modern opulence sometimes comes with the assumption that the developing world can’t compete with the west.
Hacker and maker mentalities can help to establish new grass roots businesses the world over. With only a few core technologies businesses can begin to produce goods for the local market the world over and begin to expand with a solid sovereign foundation
Rather than rushing into contracts with the west to set up factories and infrastructure at a national level there are opportunities open to brave business minded men and women.
With access to a reliable postal service and the internet some core technologies can help establish businesses to a global market. People in the west are moving away from shopping at retail outlets taking many of their purchases to the world wide web.
With websites such as EBay, Etsy and Amazon the global population is within grasp of getting their products under the noses of a broad and also very specific consumer.
With research online into the buying habits and interests of consumers educated business men and women can begin to design and produce goods that they never dreamed were of interest to the west. Micro finance loans such as Kiva (that’s ‘nice’ in Finnish) can help people finance a new independence or sustain an old trade.
With a basic internet connection and technology such as Tor Project (Tor) individuals can share their internet connection and as if by magic access the internet from a random connection somewhere else in the world to see first hand what differences there are, if any to access to the internet from the developing world.
The neutrality of the internet lets you leave your mark on it and help to define it and your experience of it through your interactions. With access to wikipedia people can begin to embark on a process of life long learning not just a basic schooling but independent of formal education.
Curiosity and the desire to know helps people explore all the possibilities offered by technology and to question the value of their relationship with western businesses. Micro finance initiatives set up the world over can help people to buy a few basic tools or supplies to begin or grow a business in their community with a global reach.
A brave garment factory worker can make the courageous purchase of a sowing machine in the first step in a process of establishing themselves not as a laborer but as a fashion designer.
Patterns can be freely downloaded from the internet with a little searching and blogs such as Open Source Textiles attempt to help empower textile workers and the general public to reclaim their trade.
Research into what constitutes style in the west can be an ongoing process of exploration. Sites such as Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and Look Book can help a textile worker begin to design remix and copy garments for a particular market.
Being able to make, sell and export goods that won’t spoil allows people to build up stocks and supplies at their own pace in sync with the supply and demand for their product and the time they can devote to a business. But its knowledge that is the key economy today.
Organizing and researching your business becomes so much easier with access to a computer and the internet. With the chance to connect with broad range people for sharing knowledge and people can begin to grow new ideas for an investment in their future.
We can’t ignore that growing food is one of the most fundamental businesses anyone can engage in but an affinity with nature should be the primary focus of such an endeavor.
For those whose passions lie in goods and services humans inherently deserve not only to survive but the thrive and only passion for a trade can do that. True passion comes from knowing your consumer and your product. The internet can help you understand both consumers and the very fundamental aspects of any trade.
The future of the open internet is not in the latest and greatest products offered by the west but by fundamental technologies that can be maintained and sustained for the future. Through reuse, upcycling, recycling and knowing your trade materials and tools you can begin to learn to build any business gradually with each interaction you make whether online or in person.
We are not robots and need to enjoy our lives every day whether in hardship or prosperity and to realise that we can always rebuild a life with nothing more than the knowledge of a trade can be comforting.
Knowledge rather than information is fundamental to building and sustaining a life for ourselves the world over and I hope people realize that for all the progress of the western world the fundamental trades that underpin human culture are fulfilling in their own right.