We live in the age of Citizen agents‏. Everyone can become their own nation state because of the authority that technology affords us. If broadcasting and viewership is validation, we all have been validated as having the ability to enact and broadcast change.

You may have heard of DDoS in tech news. A DDoS is a Distributed Denial of Service. Basically a whole bunch of hackers (or if you're really smart, just one infecting many systems) perpetrates a DDoS by slamming certain systems with traffic. This has other names like orbital ion cannon, ping of death and "wiping a site from the internet". Basically you keep shelling a system from so many points of entry that firewalls can't identify the traffic as the same request so it makes the servers think that there's just a lot of people accessing.

Today I'd like to propose a human based form of the same idea which we will dub a DDoSA - Distributed Denial of System Authority. Utilizing this technique individuals, much like a DDoS, can overwhelm a system of control with too many requests, rendering the controlling authority useless. There's too many "packets" for the organization to control which disrupts the organization's ability to effectively control the message, solutions, methods of practice, etc.

Let me explain with a bad example...

You are disgusted that people use Sharepoint to share documents. You suggest using DropBox but that's shut down as an individual because of security, policy, xyz. In order to correctly utilize DropBox, you don't need to go to anyone asking for permissions, you need to tell your friends to use DropBox. And then, when collaboration is through the roof and productivity is way up, you have your friends tell their friends. Soon, the entire organization is utilizing the non-standard tool in a peer-to-peer, occupy wall street fashion.

So does it matter if DropBox is the christened solution of the organization? No, everyone just uses it. (This is unofficial Slack channels at most companies in a nutshell) People self-organize around what works best when friction to do so is limited (internet / free technologies).

I often voice the opinion that policy is irrelevant in the face of automation; because, it is impossible to enforce that which automation can alleviate so easily. Make automation invisible (Slack) and highly usable (Slack) and you'll see citizen agents pop up all over the place.

The person that implemented Sharepoint and told others to use it has no ability to keep pace with those rapidly utilizing and encouraging others to utilize DropBox. The capabilities are far greater then SharePoint. Maybe they have greater control over their files. What ever the case, the citizen agents are a more effective marketing tool then the lone individual from on high bringing a solution into the organization.


DDoSAs have other names in real life. Sit ins. Arab Spring. Occupy Movement. Flooding prisons til they are over capacity with conscientious objectors. These are all the same, just applying the tactic to different mediums. Take quantity X that has stopgap X-1. Apply X against stopgap X-1. Watch stopgap X-1 become overwhelmed because X is always greater. Far more important then authority in pulling off a DDoSA is social capital. Social capital, while not as quantifiable as money, is a much deeper well to draw from once filled.

It takes a lot longer to fill that well then making money, building social capital involves P2P connections and those take time to build (Occupy was months when at its height). But it is far more powerful then money as we move increasingly towards a block-chain-esk society (and, we are). I mean, several countries collapsed in part because of the power of the individuals that stopped believing in the authority of their governing structures.

DDoSA to reclaim control

The air about a situation in which you might see a DDoSA usually stems from a lack of control. Feelings of disempowerment drive some to apathy and others to organize. People strive make meaning of and be in control of the world around them. And so as our technologies get cheaper, easier, and faster they'll increasingly demand more order be established to help them pick through the chaos all around.

To use a DDoSA in your organization currently plagued by Slack (I love slack, it's a straw-man) to get them to own the solution via something like MatterMost; you need to do the leg work and setup an instance. Then you need to get it integrated into your life and ensure it's easy to use, be the best first review that you can be for the new replacement technology. Then, you need to start getting people signed up on the mattermost instance by proxy. Friends, colleagues, to share a file, to go "hey have you seen...". Little by little, in dribs and drabs, you'll start tapping into that well of social capital in order to get your organization to stop standardizing on Slack and move over to MatterMost.

What did people gain? Well, they still use a communication tool but maybe in this instance the surface  gain is in no longer paying Slack for a hosted instance. The social effects of this change could be far greater. Maybe without a paywall more people in the company can use the software. Maybe there's custom integration you can now write / pay for as a result of owning the technology. If the output to end users is the same, they won't question or review the additional impacts on the organization (no one questions things presented with a happy face).

Maybe now your writing your own code, owning the process in one area which has you turn inward and move more things in-house. Maybe people have a greater comprehension for the power of open source and look to you as an expert. The impacts are far greater then just what technology will we use today; what's the philosophy behind this decision?

Figure it out, own it, and spread it P2P.