A starfish represents a very powerful symbol: when you cut a starfish in half it grows another starfish. Cut that starfish in half and the same happens. Contrary to a spider, which dies when you cut off it's head.
When you relate these properties of a starfish to an organisation you can see how powerful this might be.
Looking back through history, there are two prominent examples that highlight the differences between a spider and a starfish organisation.
The entire Inca civilisation was completely wiped out in two years, by the Spanish Empire. After killing their leader Montezuma, and preventing any food from entering the city by barricading all the roads, the entire city perished. By removing the head of their organisation, the community faltered and, eventually, died out.
In contrast, the Spanish Empire tried to conquer the Apache Indians (not the web server) for two centuries, but never succeeded. The Apache had no roads, no cities, no leaders, and no real hierarchies. What made them so powerful that not even the mighty Spanish conquest could destroy them?
The Apache Indians were a starfish organisation. They had leaders, but those leaders emerged through leading by example, rather than by any type of coercive power. All decision making was distributed amongst the entire tribe and the tribe’s rulebook was taught and enforced organically. They all worked together and in a chaotic way. Chaotic from the outside, but highly organised on the inside.
When the Spanish destroyed the Apache villages, their response..... “Well, we didn't really need those villages anyway - we’ll pivot to living nomadically.”
How can you kill something that has interchangeable leaders, no central intelligence, and adapts so easily? Where do you even begin to start taking down such an organisation? Starfish organisations move and think in ways that a spider organisation cannot relate to.
When you threaten a spider organisation they become even more centralised. Do the same to a starfish type organisation and they become even more decentralised.
EOS has most certainly become a powerful starfish organisation. This is how it always was intended to be, no doubt.
What makes EOS a starfish organisation?
In the book, "The Starfish and the Spider", by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom, decentralised organisations are explained in terms of their five legs, and when all of those legs work harmoniously, you create something really powerful.
‘A decentralized organization stands on five legs… When all five work together the decentralized organization can really take off.’
What are the five legs of a Starfish and how do they relate back to EOS?
Successful decentralised organisations have many circles of volunteers who work with each other in non-hierarchical ways. Everyone in a circle is an equal, each contributing according to ability.
The EOS circle - The worldwide EOS community.
2. The Catalyst.
A circle is usually started by a person or group of people, they become the catayst and by leading by example inspire others to follow.
The EOS catalyst - The people behind block.one.
Ideology is what holds us all together. We all want a better world and since we can do it with tech, even better!
The EOS ideology - We can change the world with blockchain technology.
4. A Pre-existing Network.
Most successful decentralised organisations launch from pre-exsiting ideas and pre-existing decentralised networks.
The EOS pre-existing network - It all started with Bitcoin.
5. The Champions.
The Champions are the evangelists for the group. Champions are tenacious and will work endlessly to spread the ideology of the organisation. Usualy people with high energy and excellent people skills.
The EOS Champions - Brock Pierce / Dan Larimer / Brendan Blumer / Thomas Cox/ Ian Grigg.
Looking further into block.one as a catalyst. Catalysts usully create something and then let it free (Open sourcing of EOS), trusting the community they inspire to lead it forward. They often work behind-the-scenes and utilising the following tools and traits:
- Genuine interest in others.
- Loose connections - creating connections between a wider circle of people.
- Mapping – the ability to connect people.
- A desire to help.
- An ability to meet people where they are.
- Emotional intelligence.
- Ability to inspire.
- Tolerance for ambiguity.
- A hands-off approach to leadership.
- Receding – catalysts know when it's time to get themselves out of the way.
Some examples of this:
- A desire to help. The endless interviews and video recordings Dan Larimer agrees to.
- Genuine interest in others. Thomas Cox taking weekly calls and his constant interaction with the community on EOS telegram channels.
- Ability to inspire. The many inspirational presentations given by Brendan Blumer & Brock Pierce & Ian Grigg.
- Trust. Letting the EOS community come with up with formal ideas in how to manage voting and delegating tokens for bandwdith (www.chintai-eos.io).
- A hands-off approach to leadership & receeding Letting the community launch the official EOS blockchain and the first genesis block.
- Tolerance for ambiguity. - Defining some presets to the EOS constition but still allowing Block Producers to make their own inteprentations of what a good Block Producer is.
- Ability to inspire. - Take one look at the worldwide EOS community.
- An ability to meet people where they are. - Dan Larimer's answer to what a Uber looks like on the EOS blockchain.
When you stop to think about EOS and the community that's formed around it, you start to realise just how much of a starfish we have become. We are higly distributed, we self organise, we all lead by example, and we all share the same ideology. We all know that EOS will have high quality, fast TPS, but more importantly our Community Engagement Per Second (CEPS) is growing exponentially and faster than any other Blockchain.
You could argue that without block.one the starfish could not survive, but I would counter that even if something catastrophic would hapeen to block.one, the EOS community would continue to drive the EOS software forward. We may need to download Dan Larimer's brain onto the blockchain, so if someone could create a DAPP for that, that would be great.
When we picture EOS as a person it is as a smiling, fun loving, free spirited invididual with bulletproof armour and a massive sledgehammer in her arm, who is breaking down barriers hardened by our collective misguided perception of what the world is, and there is nothing that anyone can do to stop her.
The starfish has been born.
- The Starfish and the Spider", by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom
Thanks to Nell Fallcard for the amazing design - http://www.nell-f.com