Paradox: In Giving, You Make Yourself Stronger

Below is an email I sent to David Weinberger back on Feb 28, 2002 due to a flurry of thoughts that I woke up with in the middle of the night at 2 AM on Feb 27, 2002. While we were both interested in these thoughts that seemed to just flow out of me in…

Below is an email I sent to David Weinberger back on Feb 28, 2002 due to a flurry of thoughts that I woke up with in the middle of the night at 2 AM on Feb 27, 2002. While we were both interested in these thoughts that seemed to just flow out of me in a torrent that morning, we really couldn’t figure out the importance of them, although David strongly suggested I read Chris Locke’s book on Gonzo Marketing which I did. I am reposting these notes today because I keep seeing things today that keep relating back to these thoughts I had so long ago. For example, a lot of the words I use in my notes below, such as “energy” and “flow”, have remarkably strong connections to my current research on permaculture and how I believe it relates to the Web as well.



Instead of trying to reword and make my notes pretty, which seems to just confuse me even more, I’ve decided to just dump everything here in raw form for you to see.  This is pretty much exactly word for word my scribblings from yesterday morning.  For you to make sense of some of it, here are some assumptions you need to know first.  Take note that when I reread my scribblings, I was even confused at some of the stuff that I wrote, as it just seemed to flow out of me.

Also, if some of what I’m saying sounds confusing, ask me, and I’ll see if I can explain it better.  If some of it makes a lot of sense to you and gives you a “leap”, I’d obviously like to hear that as well.  In a conversation about it, hopefully more things will emerge.

Actually, I almost wish I didn’t go to work yesterday because more ideas were coming out of my head which solidified what I scribbled down even more.  By this I mean, the more holes I tried to make in it, the more I solidified it.  However, since I didn’t have a notepad and was getting into work, I decide to shut my brain off to it and hoped to pick up later.  Unfortunately, the flow disappeared and I forgot what I thought about walking into work.  Hopefully, though, as I said above, a conversation on what I scribbled down will stimulate it again.  We’ll see.




Word: Below
Example Usage: “The sites below you.”
Explanation:  I realize the Web is not hierarchal because of links get rid of hierarchies.  By below, I mean the sites that link to you.

Word: Above
Example: “The sites above you.”
Explanation: Refers to sites that you link to.

Word: Power/Energy
Example: “It is a very powerful site.”
Explanation:  I’m assuming this refers to the level of interest, attraction, or maybe even traffic of the site.

Word: Flow
Example: “The flow of energy between sites.”
Explanation: No idea why I used this word.  It just seemed right at the time.




A powerful site has a lot of other sites connected to it but more importantly those other sites have high “connectivity” of their own.  When such a site connects to another site, it shares its power to the other site and they both increase in power.

Recently Added Notes: Connections are what is is all about. The more connected something is, the more powerful it is.


A weak site has no power, even though it is linked to, because if the sites linking to it are not linked themselves, then no “flow” is created.


Is the Web like a body or organism?  Is it is kept alive and made stronger by this “flow” of interests?


Google says that your sites rating is based on how many sites connect to your site.  The more sites connecting to your site the higher your rating.  The higher your rating, the more powerful your site is.

Recently Added Notes: Again this ties in with being connected. The more connected we are, the better we feel, the more we can do, the more awareness we have about the things going on around us.


The beauty of the Web is that you gain more power by giving, not by hoarding or controlling/looping the flow of energy inside.  When this happens, the energy dwindles and eventually dies.  Constant flow with the Web as a whole needs to be maintained to maintain a strong and vital energy for a site.

Recently Added Notes: Connectedness isn’t just about everyone pointing at you but what you point at as well (as you are bringing awareness to others). That’s why highly connected sites are so popular (i.e. search engines, Boing Boing, etc).


When a large site flows its energy to a smaller unknown site, a huge amount of power is transferred to the smaller site.  Yet, if the “interest” of the smaller site is high then the energy of the larger site is increased as well because the people going to it know it is a good power/starting point for finding interesting things, particularly those of particular interest to them.  Thus more people will converge on the site.


This is why good search engines are so important and visited by people as a starting point because it is more likely that you will find something of better interest there then anywhere else.  Search engines are extremely powerful points on the Web.  This is why people go to them.


Search engines like Google make money by taking ads because companies want a higher interest rating to their site which means more power to them.  Google knows sites with power without people even having to use Google.

Recently Added Notes: Awareness network. People create links to bring awareness to something and thus make it connected. Sustainable.

Advertising of the future will provide connections or links that are meaningful instead of meaningless. They won’t just be links off a site but will instead show a direct correlation and context between connector and connectee. We are taking a step closer to this with Googles Adsense. Ads on sites now relate somewhat to what you are talking about. Talking about games? Then your ads will probably be related to games. Ads of the future will take a step further though. Instead of getting ads for just any game, ads of the future will tie in directly with what you are talking about. Talking about Half-Life 2 and how great it is then all the adds on the your site will relate to Half-Life 2. It needs to go farther than this though. The ads need to be specific and define by the person talking, so that he can show the ads that are in context with his discussion. Amazon Affiliates programs works like this to a degree. I can specifically create my own ads for items that I think relate to and matter to my content. Even more so, Amazon only pays me money when an actually product is sold.

Can Google do this? Yet how can Google show a valid interest and connection with their site? Sure if someone buys a product off their site then the link should be paid back for their help. But what if a sale isn’t made? How do you define if someone is actually interested in site? Even more so, how do you prevent this determination method from being abused (i.e. continually clicking link to site)?


Companies are paying Google to pay other sites to link to them. (?)  Why would a company pay to support a site?  Because in supporting that site, they are supporting their own.  By giving to those under you, you strengthen yourself.  Therefore, in the same way  a gaming company would support a large fan site, so too will the large fan site support smaller fan sites unde
r it, especially those that are doing well with higher interest ratings, as they will help the large site even more.  This sustainability is bestowed to those below you by yourself which is self replicating.  (Like a virus?)

Recently Added Notes: The first sentence of “Companies are paying Google to pay other sites to link to them” is definitely confusing.  Not sure why I wrote this. I think it may have something to do with the fact that I saw companies paying Google to link to them thru advertisements and I thought that these communites should  be able to get a cut of this money because they themselves link to the companies as well (but get nothing in return for their support).


Although support is passed down to those sites under you, that support doesn’t always have to be cash based.  It could be services based or another form.  PlanetQuake ( offers hosted sites a wide variety of services in exchange for increased interest to its site.  So why pay cash to someone below you?  It all depends if you want as much power/energy from that site as possible.  If you pay them cash, you not only support the site, you support the people running the site.  This means they can dedicate more of their time on their Web site (almost to the point of being a full time job).  When they have full dedication to the site, it makes their site better and in return makes your site better (as higher interests are passed upwards).


So a gaming company spending their advertising money instead on fan sites under them will benefit in multiple ways.  Not only will they benefit from the loyalty and gratitude of the fan site they help, they will in return get more attraction to themselves (which is what they want in the first place).

Gaming companies would want to support gaming news sites as well, since Blues News ( and Voodoo Extreme ( promote more new daily traffic than anyone else for them.  Imagine if companies who were frequently linked by Blues News paid him each $100/month?  Can you imagine what he could do with this site?


About maintain integrity.  Its not about placing an ad to get/promote attraction, its about paying sites for their existing attraction.

Sites can take money to place a link but it should more about supporting/paying for those who link freely.  People know BS when they see it.  If you place a bad link on your site, it affects your site’s interest rating (as you turn people off).  Maintaining high quality links is more important.


This is why search engines like Google place more emphasis on maintaining the integrity of their site listings as it will maintain a higher user interest to their search engine.


What about companies that don’t have sites under it to support it?  Then they need to start creating conversations around themselves to help promote the creation of such sites.  In doing so, they create more interest and attraction to themselves.


Money crosses over from the Real World to the Web World.  Companies that have high attraction make money from Real World products or services.  This helps support the sites under them in the Web World.  At the same time, a site in the Web World can be successful enough to support things in the Real World.