Draft Government Decree on government contracts concerning information and communication developments and procurements, 2007

Government Decree …/2007 (… …)

Version A
on government contracts
concerning custom-made information and communication developments and procurements

Version B
on government contracts
concerning information and communication developments and procurements

In its capacity as original legislator provided for in Article 35(2) of the Constitution, within the scope of its duties provided for in Article 35(1)(a) and (c) of the Constitution, and, in accordance with Article 14(3), on the basis of the powers granted by Article 174/A of Act CLX of 2004 on the general rules of administrative procedures and services, the Government hereby decrees as follows:

Article 1
(1) The mandatory content elements of an information or communication contract concluded by the state purchaser, as set out in this Decree, are part of the contract even if the parties to the contract provide otherwise.
(2) The provisions of this Decree establishing requirements as regards the information or communication products, services or systems acquired by the state purchaser and the rights implied therein shall be appropriately applied also to information or communication products, services and systems produced or updated by the state administration body, or an organisation maintained by the state administration body, following the entry into force of this Decree.
(3) As from the entry into force of this Decree, any information or communication contract concluded by the state purchaser shall require the prior consent of the body in charge of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse.
(4) As from the entry into force of this Decree, the state purchaser shall not consider accomplished a contract concluded by a state purchaser or any partial service related to information or communication products, services or systems arising from thereof, and shall not consider as accomplished and paid for that partial service until the compliance of that service with the provisions of this Decree has been certified by the body in charge of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse or another certifying body.

Explanatory provisions

Article 2
(1) For the purposes of this Decree:
a) state purchaser: the state administration body and the organisation maintained by the state administration body; the business organisation in majority state ownership if it is party to an information or communication contract;
b) connection interface: …;
c) interoperability: the ability of two or more information or communication products, services or systems to mutually exchange data and to interpret and process these data according to formally established terms;
d) information or communication system: the totality of information or communication products and services—connected for accomplishing a specific task or function—including every hardware and software element required for operation and interoperation between the elements of the system;
e) information or communication contract: a contract with the subject of providing individual, original information or communication services, products or systems; or the totality of provisions of a contract concerning the providing of individual, original information or communication services, products or systems;
f) information or communication service: all services…;
g) information or communication product: all products…;
h) open standard: a standard relative to an information or communication product, service or system
ha) which is accessible to anyone in exchange for a fee not exceeding the distribution costs, or free of charge, without registration or any other condition, can be used by anyone free of charge and unconditionally;
hb) achieving compliance with which is unrestricted by intellectual property rights, contractual rights, ownership or other rights, or any other standard or technical requirement not in conformity with the conditions of the open standard;
hc) for which obtaining and using the information necessary for ensuring the interoperability of the information or communication products, services or systems, in conformity with the conditions of the open standard, is unrestricted by intellectual property rights, contractual rights, ownership or other rights;
i) web-based application: an information or communication application the use of which does not require installation on the part of the user.

Open standards

Article 3
(1) A state purchaser shall only conclude information or communication contracts which ensure—at their accomplishment and sustainedly thereafter—that their subject
a) complies with, and only with, the open standards included in the Software and Interface Data Warehouse;
b) complies exclusively with, apart from the standards set out in a), the open standard not featuring in the Software and Interface Data Warehouse; and
c) complies exclusively with, apart from the standards set out in a) and b), the open standard not complying with Article 2(1)(ha), and ensuring compliance with Article 2(1)(ha) is a mandatory content element of the information or communication contract when the contract is being accomplished.
(2) As from the conclusion of the contract, or in the case described in paragraph (1)(c) as from the accomplishment of the contract, the state purchaser shall provide sustained access to the standards serving as the basis of the subject of the information or communication contract on its website, or in default of this, on the website of the exerciser of the management, maintenance or ownership rights, appropriately applying the rules pertaining to the open standard.
(3) The state purchaser shall submit—at the conclusion of the information or communication contract in the case described in paragraph (1)(b), and when the contract is being accomplished in the case described in paragraph (1)(c)—the standard serving as the basis of the subject of the contract described in paragraph (1)(b) and (c), together with all relevant information, to the body in charge of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse.
(4) Paragraphs (1)–(3) shall be applied appropriately if the information or communication product, service or system constituting the subject of the information or communication contract is in amended in any way whatsoever, and even if the amendment of the product, service or system is the subject of the original information or communication contract.
(5) If the information or communication contract concerns hardware or a hardware system, the contract shall provide that the hardware or hardware system must be sustainedly able, as from the accomplishment of the contract, to accommodate the information or communication products, services and systems complying with the open standards.

Interoperability

Article 4
(1) A state purchaser shall only conclude information or communication contracts which ensure, at their accomplishment and sustainedly thereafter, that their subject—with the exception of the case described in paragraph (2)—possesses interoperability with the subject of an information or communication contract concluded in accordance with the present Decree, and conforms with the standards listed in Annex 1.
(2) A product, service or system different from the kind described in paragraph (1) may only constitute the subject of an information or communication contract concluded by a state purchaser if it complies with an interoperability-ensuring open standard (hereafter “alternative interoperation standard”) which, as from the accomplishment of the contract, sustainedly ensures interoperability with other information and communication products, services and systems complying with the interoperation standards listed in Annex 1 and with the alternative interoperation standards included in the Software and Interface Data Warehouse.

Security

Article 5
(1) A state purchaser shall only conclude information or communication contracts whose subject complies with the standards set out in Annex 2 or any other at least equivalent open standard.
Version A
(2) With regard to information or communication products, services or systems requiring special security, the minister in charge of the civil intelligence services and the minister in charge of national defence may prescribe additional standards not in compliance with the requirements of the open standard, with which the product, service or system, as described in paragraph (1), must comply.
Version B
(2) With regard to information or communication products, services or systems requiring special security, the minister in charge of the civil intelligence services and the minister in charge of national defence may prescribe additional open standards, with which, or with any other at least equivalent standards, the product, service or system, as described in paragraph (1), must comply.
(3) The state purchaser shall not conclude information or communication contracts the source code of whose subject cannot be monitored by the Software and Interface Data Warehouse for security or other purposes.

Usability

Article 6
(1) A state purchaser shall only conclude information or communication contracts concerning information or communication products, services or systems employed for the operation or usage of a data base capable of storing personal data or for the creation of such a data base, which do not prevent or restrict compliance with the requirement as defined in paragraph (2).
(2) The state purchaser or the state administration body or the organisation maintained by the state administration body or the business organisation in majority state ownership responsible for managing the data base, as defined in paragraph (1), shall ensure, by means of a customer portal, that any data subject, as defined by the Protection of Personal Data Act—and provably only that person or the person authorised to access the personal data—shall be provided information regarding the management of his or her personal data appearing in the data base directly, in electronic form and—unless the legislation provides otherwise—free of charge, in accordance with the Protection of Personal Data Act.
(3) The state purchaser shall only conclude information or communication contracts for web-based software or for the provision of information or communication services employing that software, whose subject and all functions thereof can be used sustainedly, fully and unconditionally with the current last two versions of the three most widespread browser families.
(4) The state purchaser shall only conclude information or communication contracts for web-based software or for the provision of information or communication services employing that software, whose subject and all functions thereof can be used sustainedly, fully and unconditionally with the current last three versions of the three operating systems—server-side or user-side, according to the software in question—used most often by state administration bodies and organisations maintained by state administration bodies and business organisations in majority state ownership.
(5) The state purchaser shall only conclude information or communication contracts whose subject complies with the standards set out in Annex 3, or with any other at least equivalent open standards.
(6) The range of browsers set out in paragraph (3), and the operating systems set out in paragraph (4) shall be published every six months by the minister in charge of administrative information technology.

Efficiency

Article 7
(1) If the state purchaser concludes the information or communication contract outside of the framework of public procurement procedure, choosing among several bids, the bids shall be assessed in accordance with the provisions set out in this article.
(2) The state purchaser shall choose the bid whose subject possesses the highest net present value.
(3) The net present value of a product, service or system shall be calculated with the application of the open standards set out in Annex 4, or any other at least equivalent open standard.
(4) The state purchaser shall make the bids, the standards applied in the course of assessing the net present value of the bids, the audited calculations serving as the basis of determining the net present value, as well as the contract, publicly available on its website free of charge, without registration obligation or any other restriction.

Utilisation

Article 8
(1) A state purchaser shall only conclude information or communication contracts concerning individual, original information or communication products, services or systems which, as from the accomplishment of the contract, sustainedly ensure that its disposal of the complete documentation of the information or communication product, service or system and of the source codes of its software elements is not limited by the rights of another party to the contract or of any third person—apart from the optional requirement of distribution with identical eligibility conditions.
(2) The information and communication contract concluded by the state purchaser shall provide that its subject must comply with the open standards set out in Annex 5, or with any other at least equivalent standard.
(3) The state purchaser shall only decide against applying Article 12(2) to the source code and documentation of the individual, original information or communication product, service or system, provided that the conditions pertinent to sale by the state purchaser are met and the minister in charge of the state budget, the minister in charge of administrative information technology and the minister in charge of coordinating government administration have given their prior consent.
(4) The conditions pertinent to sale by the state purchaser are met when the net present value of a individual, original information or communication product, service or system would be higher without the application of Article 12(2) than if it were applied. Only revenues originating from abroad shall be considered in the calculation.
(5) If the state purchaser decides against applying Article 12(2), the information or communication contract it concludes shall provide that the changes necessary for the sale should be made to the subject of the contract by the product, service or system provider, in conformity with the requirements set out in the contract and at the request of the state purchaser.
(6) If paragraphs (3)–(5) are applied, the individual, original information or communication product, service or system cannot be sold in Hungary, and the state purchaser shall review the calculation establishing the net present value every six months, make the audited version of the calculation available to anyone sustainedly, free of charge and without an obligation to register, electronically, and submit it to the body in charge of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse.

Reutilisation

Article 9
(1) If the subject of the public procurement procedure to be published by the state purchaser is an information or communication product, service or system, the state purchaser shall submit in advance its call for bids to the body in charge of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse.
(2) The body in charge of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse shall examine the call for bids to determine whether its subject or any element therein can be substituted for an information or communication product, service or system (hereafter “substitute service”) appearing in the Software and Interface Data Warehouse.
(3) If a substitute service exists, its net present value shall be published, together with the call for bids, in the Software and Interface Data Warehouse.

Guarantees

Article 10
(1) The information or communication contract concluded by the state purchaser shall have as a mandatory content element the provider’s guarantee, warranting the faultless performance of the product, service or system with respect to the mandatory content elements set out in this Decree, for … year(s).
(2) The information or communication contract concluded by the state purchaser shall have as a mandatory content element the provider’s obligation to pay a daily penalty rate equivalent to … per cent, but no more than one hundred per cent, of the total remuneration in the event of default in performance with respect to the provisions of this Decree, thirty days after receiving warning of the problem until the problem is eliminated.

The Software and Interface Data Warehouse and the body in charge of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse

Article 11
(1) The Government shall appoint the minister in charge of administrative information technology as the body in charge of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse.
(2) The body in charge of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse shall
a) operate the Software and Interface Data Warehouse;
b) monitor compliance with the provisions of this Decree;
c) in the event that the provisions of this Decree are violated, call the breach to the attention of the body authorised to institute proceedings, and—if the conditions persist—institute proceedings;
d) examine the existence of the content elements, mandatory in accordance with this Decree, in any information and communication contract to be concluded by the state purchaser, and give prior consent in this respect to the conclusion of the contract;
e) in the course of the execution of an information and communication contract concluded by the state purchaser, examine whether it is in conformity with the provisions of this Decree and issues a certificate of performance;
f) create and consistently update a software and interface inventory which shall include every information and communication product, service and system used by state administration bodies, organisations maintained by state administration bodies and business organisations in majority state ownership, together with all of their designations, version numbers, customisations and interfaces;
g) provide sustained, flawless operability, and compliance with the provisions of this Decree, for every information and communication product, service and system used by state administration bodies, organisations maintained by state administration bodies.
h) provide, as the need may be, version tracking of the subjects of contracts concluded by the state purchaser;
i) provide sustained, real-time, web-based information and communication service, documented in provably unalterable form, necessary to establish public net present value as laid down in Article 12(2); and
j) consistently provide the possibility for anyone to express—in electronic form and without registration—their views freely in connection with the content of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse.

Article 12
(1) The Software and Interface Data Warehouse shall include, in a form complying with the open standard set out in 5,
a) the open standards set out in the Annexes of this Decree;
b) the open standards with which the products, services and systems, constituting the subject of an information or communication contract concluded by the state purchaser, comply;
c) the information or communication contract concluded by the state purchaser, the source code and the full documentation of the subject of the contract;
d) the connection interfaces complying with the open standards and used exclusively in the information or communication products, services or systems constituting the subject of information or communication contracts concluded by a state purchaser;
e) the certificates relative to the accomplishment of the information or communication contrats concluded by a state purchaser;
f) the state software and interface inventory;
g) the alterable and installable, and the unalterable and installable versions of closed-version information or communication products, services and systems, and the alterable and installable versions of unclosed-version information or communication products, services and systems;
h) the log tracking the changes of the source code of alterable information or communication products, services and systems;
i) the call for bids according to Article 9(3), and the net present value of the substitute service(s); and
j) in order for the provisions of this decree to become effective, any information determined by the body in charge of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse.
(2) If the information or communication contract permits, the body in charge of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse shall make the contents of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse—with the exception of the source codes and documentation of the information or communication products, services or systems set out in Article 8(3)—available freely to anyone, on text level, in searchable, copyable and printable form, electronically, free of charge and without registration, and usable without further conditions, except for the optional requirement of distribution with identical eligibility conditions.

Article 13
(1) Within the scope of its duty to track the versions of the subjects of contracts concluded by the state purchaser, the Software and Interface Data Warehouse shall classify as closed any versions of an information or communication product, service and system which comply with the requirements set out in Annex 6.
(2) A closed-version information or communication product, service or system shall be unalterable, its installable version shall be provably unalterable after classification, and its classification as closed shall not be withdrawn. The Software and Interface Data Warehouse shall provide for the unalterability of this version and its exclusive usability by state administration bodies, organisations maintained by state administration bodies and business organisations in majority state ownership.

Procedural rules

Article 14
(1) The General Rules of Administrative Procedures and Services Act shall apply with the derogations set out in this Decree to the following procedures of the body in charge of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse:
a) prior consent procedure for contracts;
b) procedure certifying that a contract was accomplished in conformity with the provisions of this Decree; and
c) monitoring procedures.
(2) The body in charge of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse shall adopt a substantive decision within 45 days of receipt of the application.
(3) There shall be no appeal against the resolution of the body in charge of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse.

Article 15
(1) The state purchaser shall submit to the body in charge of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse for initiation of prior consent
a) the definitive draft of the information or communication contract; or
b) the information or communication contract concluded but not yet come into existence.
(2) If, given the case described in paragraph (1)(a), the contract concluded is different in content compared to the definitive draft, it shall be resubmitted to the body in charge of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse for prior consent.

Article 16
(1) The state purchaser shall submit the certificate to the body in charge of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse
a) prior to certifying the accomplishment of the information or communication contract, in order to initiate a certification procedure in accordance with this Decree; or
b) within eight days of the accomplishment of the contract, if the accomplishment of the contract, in compliance with the provisions of this Decree, has been certified by another certifying body.
(2) The body in charge of the Software and Interface Data Warehouse shall have the right to verify the authenticity of the certificate.

Authorising provisions

Article 17
The minister in charge of the civil intelligence services and the minister in charge of national defence shall be authorised to set out in a decree
a) the concept of an information or communication product, service or system requiring special security, in agreement with the minister in charge of administrative information technology; and
b) standards according to Article 5(2), applying to information or communication products, services or systems requiring special security.

Final provisions

Article 18
(1) This Decree shall enter into force on 31 October 2007.
(2) This Decree shall be revoked on … [deregulation provisions to be drafted at a later time]
Version A
No paragraph (3)
Version B
(3) The text “individual, original” in Article 2(1)(e) shall be repealed on …

Annex 1 to Government Decree …/2007 (… …)
Open standards ensuring interoperability
[
The current latest version of the e-Government Interoperability Framework (http://www.govtalk.gov.uk/schemasstandards/schemasstandards.asp), including any further standards included in the current latest version of this standard.
]

Annex 2 to Government Decree …/2007 (… …)
Open standards ensuring security and secure reproductiveness
[
Information technology—Security techniques—Information security management systems—Requirements, ISO/IEC 27001:2005 (http://www.iso.org/iso/en/CatalogueDetailPage.CatalogueDetail?CSNUMBER=42103);
Information technology—Security techniques—Code of practice for information security management, ISO/IEC 27002:2005 (http://www.iso.org/iso/en/CatalogueDetailPage.CatalogueDetail?CSNUMBER=39612);
The current latest version of the Open Web Application Security Project “OWASP Testing Guide” (http://www.owasp.org/index.php/OWASP_Testing_Project);
Systems and software engineering—Content of systems and software life cycle process information products (Documentation, ISO/IEC 15289:2006 (http://www.iso.org/iso/en/CatalogueDetailPage.CatalogueDetail?CSNUMBER=43790);
Software and system engineering—Guidelines for the design and preparation of user documentation for application software, ISO/IEC 18019:2004 (http://www.iso.org/iso/en/CatalogueDetailPage.CatalogueDetail?CSNUMBER=30804); and
Trusted Time Stamp Management and Security, ANSI X9.95:2005 (http://webstore.ansi.org/ansidocstore/product.asp?sku=ANSI+X9.95%3A2005).
]

Annex 3 to Government Decree …/2007 (… …)
Open standards ensuring usability
[
Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines (http://www.usability.gov/pdfs/guidelines.html);
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/quickref); and
Version A
Open Document Format for Office Applications (http://docs.oasis-open.org/office).
Version B
The latter standard is omitted.
]

Annex 4 to Government Decree …/2007 (… …)
Open standards for calculating net present value
[
Establishing the open standard for calculating the net present value requires that in the relevant information or communication transaction, the state seller or purchaser should, on the grounds of contractually guaranteed conditions, include, among others, the following:
– include in the sale-side or buy-side net present value of any software solution the following cost factors of the product service or system, according to the procurer’s needs and the provisions of this Decree:
— documentation;
— education;
— localisation;
— maintenance;
— follow-up;
— development; and
— value of de facto collateral provided by seller to buyer;
– in the case of open-source-code software solutions and solutions contractually remaining open-source-code, if the software solution is publicly and freely accessible,
— the selling price and the initial cost;
— the expected revenue and expenditure resulting from a long-term lock-in to this solution; and
— the cost of software audit
shall be considered as zero;
– in the case of state- and/or privately owned source-code software solutions, the sale-side and buy-side net present value of the license shall include the following cost factors of the product, service or system:
— the selling/purchase price of the license;
— the expected revenue and expenditure—based on the net present value calculation signed by a certified auditor—resulting from a long-term lock-in to this solution (cf. http://www.riehle.org/computer-science/research/2007/computer-2007-article.html and http://www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/users/klemperer/Farrell_KlempererWP.pdf); and
— the costs of the mandatory source-code software audit based on the IEEE Standard for Software Reviews (http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/ISOL/standardstoc.jsp?punumber=5362);
– in the case of web-based software solutions due contractually to remain web-based (i.e. not requiring user-side software installation), the costs of future maintenance and updating, on all of the computers affected or potentially affected, shall be considered as zero;
– in the case of software solutions requiring user-side software installation, the sale-side or buy-side net present value of the license shall include the following cost factors of the product, service or system: the expected revenue and expenditure—based on the net present value calculation signed by a certified auditor—of future maintenance and updating, on all of the computers concerned or potentially affected;
– in the case of procurements and developments of special-security information and communication systems, open-source security products and services ensuring Mandatory Access Control such as the Security-enhanced Linux developed by the National Security Agency of the United States, and other commercially available solutions shall be used as a reference to determine the net present value.
]

Annex 5 to Government Decree …/2007 (… …)
Open standards concerning utilisation

Annex 6 to Government Decree …/2007 (… …)
Open standards concerning the conditions of classifying a version as closed

[Authored together with the OpenReform group and anonymous civil servants]

We won!!!:) Parliament adopted the open-standard amendment

On 14 December 2009, Hungarian Parliament adopted – with 197 yes votes, 1 no vote and 146 abstaining – the open-standard amendment proposed by us.

While this amendment may not have transformed Hungary into the Land of Promise, it should nevertheless be pointed out that we have won, that is, from now on the law states that e-communications between public administration offices, public utility companies and citizens have to be open-standard:)))

We have been fighting for this privately for three years (early 2007) and within the Alliance, from the start of the founding process 2 years ago, and a year after its founding.

Naturally, this is only the first step: there is much yet to be done. But let us dare to make merry:)))

After discussing the matter with the representative of the government, significantly radicalising(!) our original proposal, we submitted the following text (changes highlighted):

“Article 2(e) of Act LX of 2009 on electronic public services (hereinafter the Act) shall be replaced by the following text and shall be supplemented by Article 2(o) as set out below:

Article 2(e)
Administrative portal: an interface in the central system through which the joined organisation may access the services provided to it by the central system and which complies with the requirements of benefiting the public;

Article 2(o)
A portal complying with the requirements of benefiting the public shall be understood to mean an interface in an information or communication system through which an obliged or entitled entity may access services provided to it by the system if and only if it meets the following set of criteria

oa) which is accessible to anyone in exchange for a fee not exceeding the distribution costs, or free of charge, without registration or any other condition, can be used by anyone free of charge and unconditionally,

ob) achieving compliance with which is unrestricted by the rights of another legal entity or any other standard or technical requirement not in conformity with the conditions of the open standard,

oc) for which obtaining and using the information necessary for ensuring the interoperability of the products, services or systems is unrestricted by the rights of another legal entity.

Article 11(1) of the Act shall be supplemented by the following (e) and (f) points:

[The central system shall provide as a service free of charge (hereinafter basic service) the following:]

Article 11(1)(e)
Use of the central-system interface of the client portal;

Article 11(1)(f)
Use of the central-system interface of the administrative portal;

Article 16 shall be supplemented by the following paragraph (11):

Article 16(11)
The client portal shall comply with the requirements of benefiting the public.

Article 19(4) of the Act shall be replaced by the following paragraph:

Article 19(4)
The provider of an electronic public service and the manager of the central system shall ensure that the users have unhindered access, through a portal complying with the requirements of benefiting the public, to their personal data and any data stored by them in electronic storage facilities.

Articles 24(1) and 24(2) shall be replaced by the following paragraphs:

Article 24(1)
The users of an electronic public service shall be entitled to have access to any data relevant to them registered electronically by the administrative authorities, as well as to any document generated electronically in the course of the electronic management of their affairs and any registration data in the central system, by means of a portal complying with the requirements of benefiting the public, and any such data shall be sent to them on request. Other providers of electronic services shall make their services available through the central system also by means of a public-benefit portal.

Article 24(2)
Natural persons shall be given access to any data relevant to them free of charge, by means of a portal complying with the requirements of benefiting the public; the provision of other data can be subject to the payment of fees as set out by legislation.”

The Government made the following additional amendment – without prior consultation (but of no particular relevance to us):

“Article 31 shall be supplemented by the following paragraph (4):

Article 31(4)
The Minister responsible for IT in public administration shall be authorised, in agreement with the minister responsible for taxation, to set out in a decree the administrative services charges payable for certain electronic public services and procedural charges incurred in the course of registration.

Why is the adopted version more radical compared to the earlier proposal?

Because, instead of opening alternative open-standard portals in the central system, it states that the administrative and client portals must be “public-benefit” (=open-standard). Which leaves no room for manoeuvring: the definition of “complying with the requirements of benefiting the public”, as set out in the law, is equal to our definition of open standard, developed back in 2007 [in English]. It can be argued against, but only outside the legal system. (Apparently, the term “open standard” was not included so as to avoid having to amend the law on standards.)

The Will to Fame or The 10 Commandments of the Mass Media (Artistic Strategies I)

“Of such mighty importance does it appear to be, in the imaginations of men, to stand in the situation which sets them most in the view of general sympathy and attention. And thus, place, that great object which divides the wives of aldermen, is the end of half the labours of human life; and is the cause of all the tumult and bustle, all the rapine and injustice, which avarice and ambition have introduced into this world.” Adam Smith (1767) The Theory of Moral Sentiments. 3rd. ed., London, p. 98.

Why would somebody want to be famous or well known? How would someone have achieved that goal during the last century, or at the turn of the century? In order to aid the work of those just flirting with the mass media, and assess of those who have work in more advanced stages, I have compiled — with the addition of some supplementary material — the musings of some philosophers, economists, and artists on the subject. With any luck, what follows will also throw some light on the state of the current local artistic scenes in (eastern) continental Europe.

The Mantle of Fame

Whether they have any say in the matter or not, it is clear that many people do not want to be famous, or to play out a public role. Adam Smith, in the work quoted above, interprets fame as surrendering freedom, fearlessness, and independence: “Are you in earnest resolved never to barter your liberty for the lordly servitude of a Court, but to live free, fearless, and independeant? There seems to be one way to continue in that virtuous resolution; and perhaps but one. Never enter the place from whence so few have been able to return; never come within the circle of ambition; nor ever bring yourself into comparison with those masters of the earth who have already engrossed the attention of half of mankind before you.” [Smith (1767), pp. 97–98.]

One of our contemporaries, Michael Schumacher, also came to a similar conclusion: “My kids are not known, and I think that is very important. So far they have lived a normal life, and will continue to do so. I feel they should have the possibility to live a free life without the burden of fame I have created.” [Howell (2003): So Michael, where did it all go wrong?, The Observer, 2 March]

Adam Smith and Michael Schumacher are famous people. They work hard, and are good at what they do. They attract lots of people: “Hard / Living near the source to quit the place.”[Martin Heidegger quotes Friedrich Hölderlin: The Journey, translated by David Constantine] The fame that comes with success (where “fame is the recognition of any person or group of people as being of some kind of value to humankind” [Fernando Pessoa, in Hungarian]) is something they must live with as a measure of their success, whether they are reluctant to, or willing to do so. On occasion (as in the case of Mother Theresa, for example), people use fame to further their overall cause. In any case, they are consciously willing to pay the price of fame. Thus, we should leave our judgements to Pessoa or the pope(1983): Divinus Perfectionis Magister], and if we can, at least we should leave them in peace.

However, there are other ways of getting famous besides this roundabout way based on merit.

The Naked Desire for Fame

We can get our hands on fame directly, and we may have the will-to-fame for three main reasons:

First: we may want it just for the sake of being famous, la célébrité pour la célébrité, by using the different means at our disposal (“When I started out, I didn’t have any desire to be an actress or to learn how to act. I just wanted to be famous.”[Katherine Hepburn]).

Second, we might want it as a tool which we can use to different ends. Just like sex, violence, money, and intelligence, fame is a universal equivalent that can be roughly converted for use in many different areas of life (or it may be converted into other universal equivalents). It can make you more desirable, influential, rich, or creative, and it can even make you more artistic.

However, we must not always be so sarcastic:


[Kriszta Nagy: I’m a Contemporary Artist]

fame, in principle, is capable of freeing a local inhabitant or community from the collective doldrums of cultural politics that are, for example, stuck in the socialist era. It may free them from Soviet-style, state-run, sectoral “universities”, and — to use a Stalinist phrase — from the “leading and guiding forces” of artists and their (also historically inherited) specialist trade unions, which are founded on different age-groups. Of course, fame is also capable of achieving the opposite, qualifying an outsider to enter that very swamp, so s/he may enjoy all the minor, but homely comforts that come from wallowing in it. The choice is up to you, according to your own tastes and psychological complexes.

Finally, we might want fame to help us occupy a special strategic position in the public eye: it may be seen as a path which leads you to heights from where you can prey at will upon the masses below as they graze, dazed and unwitting, using whatever pretext you like. When you reach the top “You start getting famous for being famous. […This is] the Paris Hilton effect.” [Kenneth Chang quotes Terence Tao (2007). Journeys to the Distant Fields of Prime, New York Times, 13 March]. The next step is to start using publicity: “Why conceptual artists became so aggressive in creating new practices in the twentieth century is a complex question. What appears clear, however, is that the explosion of new genres was triggered by the young genius who became the most dominant artist of the century. When Picasso invented collage in 1912, he not only made a specific contribution that soon led to extensions by Braque, Tatlin, Duchamp, and other young conceptual artists, but he also provided a new model of artistic behavior, that became an inspiration […] throughout the century […] many young conceptual artists learned the lesson that was a key part of Picasso’s legacy, that horrifying the art world could be a direct route to success.” [David W. Galenson (2006b). A Conceptual World: Why the Art of the Twentieth Century is So Different From the Art of All Earlier Centuries, NBER, p. 23.]
This approach is based on the manipulation of the masses — viewers and, followers, or fans. More generally, it is based on raising the political determination of the future to an artistic level.

Regardless of your motives, if for whatever reason (or for all of the above reasons) you have already decided as a young competitor at the turn of the century that you want to be famous, then how do you do it?

Forging fame

Let us examine how Benny, a character in the motion picture entitled Basquiat (1996) directed by Julian Schnabel (also a still picture artist) thinks about this:

“Basquiat: How long do you think it takes to get really famous?
Benny: For a musician or a painter?
Basquiat: Whatever. Famous. To where you can do your stuff all day without thinking about anything else.
Benny: Ummm… Four years. Six to get rich.
Benny: First, you have to dress right.
Benny: Then, you have to hang out all the time — with famous people — the right people, the right chicks, the right parties.
Benny: And you gotta do your work all the time when you’re not doing that. The same kind a work, the same style – over and over again, so people recognize it and don’t get confused. Then, once you’re famous, you have to keep doing it the same way, even after it’s boring — unless you want people to really get mad at you — which they will anyway.
Basquiat: Come on. I hate this. I’m no good at it.
Benny: Famous people are usually pretty stupid. You’re too smart. You’d get bored to death.” [screenplay]

What follows is an alternative recipe for shameless success:

1. Work for the Audience!
From our perspective, the 20th century is different from the preceding centuries because of the mass media, with its passive readers, listeners, and viewers. “The role of the individuals and communities vis-à-vis cultural artifacts changed, from coproducers and replicators to passive consumers. The time frame where elders might tell stories, children might put on a show for the adults, or those gathered might sing songs came to be occupied by background music, from the radio or phonograph, or by television.” [Yochai Benkler (2006). The Wealth of Networks – How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, New Haven, Yale, p. 296.]

If you decide to detach yourself from the taxpayers’ breasts as an artist, then you have to know who your main principal is. If you strive directly for fame, your first point of reference is the couch potato — or at least the audiences of the mass media. [Cf.] “Almost anybody can achieve some measure of fame nowadays (though often it is of a dubious sort, and not long lasting), whereas generations ago market forces moved more slowly, information being limited and disseminated relatively slowly.” [Review of Tyler Cowen: What Price Fame?]

Don’t worry: pop culture — in contrast to the symbiotic partnerships of culture politicians and artistic trade unions — is part of the artistic mainstream at the turn of the century:
“— How much Pop culture can a contemporary institution tolerate?
— The question itself is nostalgic. Pop culture has taken over all cultural institutions. Those who want to systematically make »a lot of Pop culture« »tolerable« in an institution reach an anti-Pop cultural condition of the Pop cultural. This would be counter productive. Pop culture is the basis and horizon of aesthetic considerations: It only becomes the normative culture where it combines intolerability with naively nostalgic projects. Pop culture is »now«. In this sense the institutions cannot get enough of it. Especially in Germany.” [Ulf Poschardt ( 2006), author and journalist, Berlin, 2 June]

Players on more smoothly running markets consider working for the viewer/reader as a given, and handle it as a limiting condition, a demand of the trade. Being aware of this, they coordinate their efforts in the interests of their whole industry: “Young artists, new galleries and old museums all seem eager to play their part in this Faustian bargain: loads of publicity, rising prices for contemporary art and good crowds for exhibitions in exchange for what a British art critic, William Feaver, calls »headline art«.” [Alan Riding (2000): Spurred by Long Lines and Headlines, London Museums and Galleries Shock Anew. New York Times, Section E, p.1., 25 September]

This professional approach is not without success: “Auction prices show that the YBAs [young British artists] do rule over their American rivals: both [Damien] Hirst and the English painter Chris Ofili have had individual works sell for more than $1 million, a level no American artist under 40 has achieved.” [Galenson (2005a)]

2. Move In on the Moguls!
“[M]echanical reproduction […] insert[s] a […] barrier between many dispersed individuals and the capacity to make culture. The barrier of production costs, production values, and the star system that came along with them, replaced the iconic role of the unique work of art with new, but equally high barriers to participation in making culture.” [Benkler (2006). p. 296.] Because of this, you will have to raise the interest of those who control access to the mass media (and thus largely to direct fame), just in the same way you did in case of that those people who now spend all the money collected from the taxpayer did. This means self-advertising and pushing your way in.

3. Make Your Move, Baby!
If the status or fame of your relatives does not guarantee you direct access to the masses, then you will somehow have to win some people, somewhere, over to your side. This is because in the mass media the decision of whether something is worthy of our attention or not is made for us by someone else. “[T]he filtering and accreditation function suffers from an agency problem. To the extent that the values of the editor diverge from those of the user, an editor who selects relevant information based on her values and plans for the users does not facilitate user autonomy, but rather imposes her own preferences regarding what should be relevant to users given her decisions about their life choices. A parallel effect occurs with accreditation. An editor might choose to treat as credible a person whose views or manner of presentation draw audiences, rather than necessarily the wisest or best-informed of commentators. The wide range in quality of talking heads on television should suffice as an example.” [Benkler (2006). pp. 170–171.]

This is why — if you want to become famous directly — you feel a strong internal or external

[Kriszta Nagy: The Only Chance for a Woman]
compulsion to suck or fuck.

The second that you are before the audience, you can start concentrating on them. You can make use of their curiosity and constant need for shock value and surprises. “[…] curiosity […] concerns itself with seeing, not in order to understand what is seen […] but just in order to see. It seeks novelty only in order to leap from it anew to another novelty. In this kind of seeing, that which is an issue for care does not lie in grasping something and being knowingly in the truth; it lies rather in its possibilities of abandoning itself to the world. Therefore curiosity is characterized by a specific way of not tarrying alongside what is closest. Consequently it does not seek the leisure of tarrying observantly, but rather seeks restlessness and the excitement of continual novelty and changing encounters. In not tarrying, curiosity is concerned with the constant possibility of distraction. Curiosity has nothing to do with observing entities and marvelling at them […] To be amazed to the point of not understanding is something in which it has no interest. Rather, it concerns itself with a kind of knowing, but just in order to have known.” [Martin Heidegger (1927) 1962, Being and Time. New York, Harper and Row Publishers, pp. 216-217.]

Finally, if you can, surprise your profession, too. As you like it.

4. Be Shocking!
Let the audience — the media masses — define your subject! On the one hand through things they like, on the other through things that outrage them. In a more innocent age, which was free from the mass media [Cf.: Paul Starr (2004). The Creation of the Media: Political Origins of Modern Communications, New York, Basic Books]: “[The Hungarian Poet] Petőfi made new fashions for himself. Once he donned Csokonai’s fur mantle, and wore it for the whole world to admire; another time he thought to have an Attila coat tailored from flowery atlas, with some randomly invented, unthinkably shaped hat — something like a round hat, but not quite that, either — to top it off, and thus Pálffy once said the following of him: ‘Whenever this Sándor comes before us he wears things so outlandish that one starts dreaming of them.’” [Jókai Mór (1872). Az én kortársaim]

In a less innocent age: “During the course of the past century […] major works have shocked many viewers, have often been considered tasteless or vulgar, and have been judged by many to be jokes. In many cases, these artists’ silence or deadpan denials that their works are jokes has led to extended and often heated debate over whether the works are serious contributions. Art scholars and critics who have studied these artists have frequently concluded that their behavior is deliberate. In this view, the artists have employed a strategy in which an initial radical contribution that has provoked widespread criticism, and often outrage, is followed either by the artist’s refusal to defend the work, or by statements in its defense that are obviously ironic. The result of this strategy has been to create a basic ambiguity, and the degree of its success can be measured by the number of admirers and detractors who subsequently become engaged in the debate over the significance of the work in question. […] Duchamp and his followers have taken advantage of their youth, often feigning naïveté and ignorance of tradition to heighten the public image of them as brash, arrogant, and impudent.” [David Galenson (2006c). You Cannot be Serious: The Conceptual Innovator as Trickster. NBER, pp. 31-33.]

The masses are relatively easy to satisfy. It is true that perhaps, on an individual level, their lives don’t revolve around pussy exclusively. But when they see one saturated in the sights and smells of cheap sex, they don’t switch channel. [Cf.: Benkler (2006). pp. 204–211.]

Enough said.

5. Be Sophisticated!
Show how complex and intricate your ideas are! Stand out from the crowd of onlookers and followers! Create! Open people’s eyes: innovate! The history of art in the last century is the history of innovators. “The 15 greatest artists of the [20th] century include nine conceptual innovators, who made their greatest contributions early in their lives, in their 20s and 30s, and six experimental innovators, who generally did their greatest work in their 40s and 50s — and even, in the case of Mondrian, in his 70s. Contrary to the belief of many humanists, the textbooks show that in art, as in all intellectual activities, importance is determined by innovation.” [Galenson (2005b)]

6. If Knot, then @ Least b amBIGuous!
On no account should you be didactic in your approach! In Eastern Europe, cross talk and ambivalence have been present in a clearly recognizable form since Socialism: these days it is enough for you just to modify the content of your work. Is that prick standing there all alone, or is it in quotation marks? Is that an affirmation or negation of pussy? Is that a desperate fuck? The bliss of rape? Shitart?
“In every […] case, a key element of [the] debate has concerned the motives and sincerity of the artist. The strategy of the artist as trickster is a twentieth-century innovation. […] just as the Futurists discovered that written manifestos, containing complex intellectual rationales for their conceptual art works, could be valuable tools in increasing the audience for those works, so the trickster conceptual innovators of the past century recognized that ambiguity, and the debate that it produced over the meaning and sincerity

[Kriszta Nagy: She Shit on the Parliament]
of their works, could be attractive accompaniments to their works for many critics and collectors.” [Galenson (2006c). pp. 32–33.]

This is why you don’t yet have to turn your nose up at the ambiguity of your work: “Dasein is always ambiguously ‘there’ — that is to say, in that public disclosedness of Being-with-one-another where the loudest idle talk and the most ingenious curiosity keep ‘things moving’, where, in an everyday manner, everything (and at bottom nothing) is happening. This ambiguity is always tossing to curiosity that which it seeks; and it gives idle talk the semblance of having everything decided.” [Heidegger (1927) 1962. pp. 218–219.]

From the point of view of being famous it hardly makes any difference whether you are meaningful or ambiguous. “Complexity and ambiguity [are] allowing an artist, for example, to be all things to all people (or at least some significant percentage of them). Both complexity and ambiguity allow for varied interpretations, with people adapting them to their own beliefs. […] Allowing for varied interpretations it appeals to a greater audience than if its message was more clearly stated.” [Review of Tyler Cowen: What Price Fame?]

7. Change!
“Only in the twentieth century did the increased value placed on sustained change in art allow a painter to make frequent, abrupt stylistic shifts without fear of alienating his audience” [David W. Galenson (2006a). The Most Important Works of Art of the Twentieth Century. NBER, p. 21.] And since then — there’s nothing you can do about it — you, too, have to change! If, when you are famous, you wish to make use of the information in the Basquiat film mentioned above — in a way that you don’t get bored — then make changes without completely confusing the audience! One fine solution is to be the innovator/enfant terrible from day one. “We have to take into account the continuity of a work of art, its lasting value (which is derived from the former), and above all else the wider genre of the artist, which in certain cases may cover years of work. In other words, it would not have been enough for Picasso to paint The Young Ladies of Avignon, one of the key works of Cubism, if he had returned afterwards to the style of his Blue and Rose periods. The continual development of his stylistic principles was just as important as his fundamental discovery.” [Willi Bongard (1984). Parafa és mahagóni – A 20. Század vizuális művészetének minőségi kritériumai [Cork and Mahogany – Qualitative Criteria for the Visual Arts in the 20th Century] Aktuális Levél (10.), translated from the German by Anna Kárpáti.]

8. Undermine Authority! Expose!
The profession. The masses. The majority. The minority. The powerful. Everyone. Everything. Including yourself and your activities. Self-exposure is intrinsically ambiguous: if you’re skilful enough, it’s enough if you just play with yourself.

9. Clown Around!
Put your life out on public display! Don’t just show yourself; really take part in the media, live it! It’s not just your work that you have to feed to the masses, but the image of the artist! Just take it easy! Here is an example that works: “I’ve played my part as artistic clown.” [Pierre Cabanne (1971) 1987. Dialogues With Marcel Duchamp, Da Capo, p. 89.] “The model of the artist as trickster has effectively made the work of art inseparable from the personality of the artist. Prior to Duchamp, many art scholars studied the ideas and attitudes of artists in order to illuminate the meaning of their art, but many others considered this unnecessary, on the grounds that the significance of the work of art was embodied in the work itself. From Duchamp on, the work of the trickster artists effectively eliminated the latter option. With Duchamp, Beuys, Warhol, and their trickster peers, we can never look at their work without thinking not only of their ideas — what is the artistic significance of a manufactured object purchased at a hardware store, or a silkscreen of a photograph taken from a magazine — but also of their attitudes — was Fountain or Fat Chair really intended to be taken seriously? In this sense, the model of the trickster has produced a type of conceptual art that is more personal than most other forms of art.” [Galenson (2006c). p. 34.]

10. Love It, Even if it’s Lame!
Love the mass media and its level of quality, love the profession and its demands, but most importantly, love yourself and what you produce. This helps you to accept your own life. But, before you become entirely entangled in the whole thing, make at least one thing clear to yourself: “worum geht es”, meaning what’s the true aim of the game. It doesn’t hurt to find/discover a suitable — even cynical — ideology. What are you going to use mass fame against? Why do you need it? Although this is happening in many different fields, this is what everybody is doing in effect, isn’t it?

***
There is nothing more embarrassing than seeing Athena and the Leviathan doing the rounds behind the scenes (that is, seeing the constantly renewed entanglement of artists’ unions and the powers that be in culture-politics). Any attempt to break up this perverted relationship, which is still so common in continental Europe, is worthy of respect. In the mass media at the millennium I recognize the desire for fame — for whatever reason or aim — as such an attempt. But, as you can clearly see for yourselves, you really need the stomach for it.

Any better ideas? … Anyone?

[I would like to thank Philip Barker, János Sugár, Bíbor Timkó, and Balázs Váradi for their help.]

[Original, in Hungarian: http://exindex.hu/index.php?l=hu&page=3&id=395 cf. http://mazsa.com/a-hirnev-akarasa ]

Europe: Fix What You Messed Up Yourself!

In 2006, the politics of the new ex-communist EU countries have looked to be in a spectacular mess. Perhaps the most memorable scene of the year in Eastern Europe was when a prop tank was driven by crazed Hungarian demonstrators up against tear-gas-happy riot police on 23 October. More than a third of Hungarians still think the prime minister, who admitted to “lying day and night” in order to be re-elected, should resign. The leader of the opposition, who is ready to back anyone who considers government handouts to be a birthright, and who welcomes any interest groups disgruntled with the half-baked government reforms, eggs them on. Is this going to be business as usual in this part of Europe from now on? After spending years shaping up for – and finally celebrating – accession, was this behaviour to be expected from even the relatively peaceful Hungarians?

If so, it will not just be our fault. Credit markets have let our budget run up an ill-disguised deficit of unprecedented scale in anticipation of EU regional funds (amounting to more than 300 euros per capita per year in a country where GDP is less than 11,000 euros per capita). The windfall that these funds represent is accompanied by new, huge, costly and inflexible bureaucratic structures, operating more in the style of Brussels than Budapest. This new set of institutions might make the gradual siphoning off of juicy budget resources from below riskier than usual for countries in the region. Thus, the rent-seeking political elite have to stay on the ball if they do not want the 2007-2013 gravy Orient Express to leave the station without them being in the engine room. Indeed, the new reward for Central European politicians is the luxury of spending what they get from Brussels. Decisions concerning the sub-headings of the national development plan and the delegation of political trustees to supervise the execution of that plan are just too attractive for politicos to not start destructive political wars for. And if these wars are distant from the civil wars that the reaping of natural resources often cause in developing countries, they are certainly not the quintessentially polite and productive bouts of conflict-cum-cooperation that successful, developed countries tend to engage in, either.

In fact, what political parties fight over and what they are willing and able to make deals on is a key ingredient of countrywide economic success. Parties competing for the electoral vote which base their arguments on issues of distribution (feasible alternative budgets), and which cooperate on at least some key long-term measures designed to boost state institutions and productivity, tend to make a country successful. Parties in power that do not share an iota of responsibility or potential kudos with the opposition for necessary long-term reforms, and parties in opposition that consider each attempt at institutional reform to be a chance to topple the government, make a country stagnate or fall.

Despite feeble attempts to prove the contrary, this letter by and large outlines the case in Hungary. Given the state of the political culture in Hungary, ungrateful as this may sound, a slice of the fault lies with those who have thrown the meat to the dogs. With its happily taken, but not so happily doled out transfers and its impenetrable rules, the Union has messed up Hungarian politics. It might also make some effort to help us sort this mess out.

What efforts do we have in mind? Do we want EU institutions to come in and meddle with Hungarian politics on a large scale? Do we want them to threaten withholding funds in an arbitrary manner? No. Such remedies would have much worse side effects for Hungary and Europe than the good they might achieve. However, there are more homeopathic treatments at the disposal of the Commission that might help cure our body politic. Mr. Almunia could include references to the value of cooperation on certain key issues in the comments he regularly makes on Hungarian macro-economic plans. High-ranking Eurocrats could have low-key chats with Hungarian MEPs. The EU could offer a few hundred hours of opinion from unbiased, world-class experts to help sort out long-term institutional matters (from health-care to tax-reform) if all-party-approved study groups are set up to work in those fields. We have learned at our own cost that not even the best foreign ex-minister or full professor is a substitute for local experts with local knowledge; at the same time it is only such outsiders that can guarantee professional quality to all of the deeply distrustful political players and interest groups. It should not be impossible to find the best ways of making such bodies work, either. A further step might be to fine-tune some of the crude pan-EU macro-economic criteria to guide us (as well as other member countries) towards consensual reforms. One example might be to extend euro criteria to include the implicit debt in calculations.

The Eurocrats could certainly do more than just put up with the fishy goings on in the east European region, insinuate that our behaviour shows we are doomed to remain as second-tier members, and whisper that letting us in at all was a mistake best not repeated. However, let there be no mistake, we are in. We are also getting a substantial wad of euros from European taxpayers. As a New Year’s resolution, why not put some additional thought and effort into helping us put that money to good use, too?

Péter Mázsa
Member of the State Reform Cabinet of the Hungarian Government

Balázs Váradi
Partner, Company for Economic Strategy and Analysis

Közösségi Háló: A film 4 tanulsága

A nyitójelenetben Zuckerberg az éppen szakító barátnőjétől megkapta: nem azért nem szeretik, mert nerd (kb. számítógépbuzi), hanem mert asshole (kb. seggfej).

Aztán rövidesen kiderült, hogy tényleg az: volt barátnőjéről személyes dolgokat rakott ki a netre, a Facebook ötletét idegenektől lenyúlta, saját barátját kijátszotta, amikor már inkább akadály volt, mint segítség.

Itt a teremtésmítosz gonosza maga a főszereplő.

Van azonban egy másik, reflektáltabb jelentése is az asshole-nak: aki nem pontosan azt és akkor teszi, amit gondolsz, hogy tennie kéne (“Anyone who doesn’t do exactly what you think they ought to do, exactly when you think they ought to do it.”).

És az a kis (1984-ben született) arrogáns f.sz ebben az értelemben megy igazán az agyunkra.

Nem csak a (kis számú) ismerősei között kezdte terjeszteni: spameket küldött.

Nem kért engedélyt és támogatást senkitől, a hatalmasoktól, a pénzesektől.

Nem állt le, amikor “baj lehet belőle”.

Nem szállt ki, amikor elérte azt a pénzmennyiséget, amikor már soha többé nem kell törődnie a megélhetéssel, sem neki, sem a gyerekeinek.

Nem fogadta el a befekektőktől a “jó ötlet, innen mi vesszük át a terepet” hozzáállást.

Nem a régi koordináta-rendszerben mozgott. Mindenki ellenében végigcsinált valamit, és ez be is jött neki. Az új világ új hőse.

Magyarul: igazi asshole a pasi. Hát nem??:)

És ez itt a lényeg. A Facebook jelenlegi értéke ma kb. akkora, mint a 20.000.000.000.000 forintos (húszezer milliárdos) magyar államadósság összesen: magyar állampolgáronként milliós. A lényeg szempontjából csak a Facebook ötletének lenyúlása számít: egy barátnő meg egy barát sorsa itt nem sok vizet zavar.

Szóval mi a véleményünk a lenyúlásról?

Az előző évezred végén egy (ugyancsak közgazdász) barátommal, Váradi Balázzsal volt egy üzleti tervünk. 2 hónapot szántunk rá: 1 hónap alatt elkészítettük, nettó 1 másik hónapig befektetőket kerestünk hozzá, Lengyelországban egy Fortune 500-as cég képviselőjével, Pesten és Svájcban angyalokkal tárgyaltunk, és Londonban kerestettünk vezérigazgatót.

Az üzleti terv kb arról szólt, ami évekkel később, 2003-ban a Skype lett. Szóval hülyeség az biztosan nem volt.

De: nem volt programozónk + működő prototípusunk, és nem akartunk magunk telekom-vezérek lenni. Nem tartottunk annyira fontosnak a dolgot. Nem erről szólt az életünk, és nem is akartuk, hogy ez legyen belőle. “Csak” a zseniális:) üzleti modellünk volt, amit szerettünk volna valóra váltani. Első lépésként 2 millió dollárból, amit befektetőktől szerettünk volna megkapni.

Hát ez így nem ment. Hiába tudtuk, hogy ez a jövő, nem voltunk elég hitelesek ahhoz, hogy összerakjuk.

A film szempontjából az a kérdés, hogy mi lett volna, ha megkeresünk egy programozót, aki elkészíti a prototípust, majd pedig megcsinálja a Skype-ot, de nem 2003-ban, hanem még 1999-ben.

Ti is dühösek lettetek volna a helyünkben, ugye?

Nos, ez történt azokkal a Harvardi fickókkal, akik kitalálták a Facebook-ot, és megbízták Zuckerberget, hogy programozza le a sztorit.

Az alapötlet jó volt, de még csak nem is a Harvardiaktól származott. A Friendster 1999-ben indult, az iWiW (akkor még wiw) 2002-ben, a Myspace 2003-ban.

A Harvardi fickók viszont csavartak egyet az alapötleten: exkluzív hálózatot indítottak volna, kizárólag @harvard.edu-s emailcímekkel rendelkezőknek. Aztán persze terjeszkedtek volna, de “felülről lefelé”: nem “kívülről befelé”, Magyarországról meghódítva a világot, hanem a Harvardról – ami azért mégis más, nem? Különösen, ha szociális hálóról van szó.

Akkor bízták meg Zuckerberget, mint programozót. Aki leprogramozta az ötletüket, és ő is csavart egyet rajta (lehetősége nyújtott rá, hogy a Facebook-on jelezzük: foglaltak vagyunk-e, vagy kapcsolatban állunk, hiszen a “koli a lefekvésről szól”), majd sajátjaként kezelte a sztorit.

Lopás? Hááát, nem tudom.

Igaz, mint ahogy Zuckerberg mondja, hogy ha valaki farag egy széket, még nem lopja el a szék ideáját.

De az is igaz, amit a három Harvardi pasi mond, hogy szociális hálók estetében ugyanazt az ötletet nem lehet 2x elsütni: egy második exkluzív Harvados-szexes honlap nem lehetne sikeres: ilyen értelemben tehát mégiscsak igaz a lenyúlás.

Igaz, hogy nem volt a Facebook programjában egy szemernyi kód sem, amelyiket nem Zuckerberg írt volna.

De az is igaz, hogy itt nem (csak) a programozás volt a lényeg, hanem az exkluzivitásra (és persze a szexre) alapozó business-modell.

Ilyenkor persze gyakorlatilag az dönt, ki van birtokon belül (Zuckerberg: nála voltak a jelszavak) + ki szeretné tovább vinni a boltot igazán (ebben is ő győzött: nem csak pénzkereseti lehetőségnek tekintette a Facebook-ot, semmiképp sem akart kiszállni belőle, inkább kicsengetett 120 milliárd forintot a 3 Harvardi pasinak, akik szellemi tulajdon eltulajdonítása alapon, a “régi világ”, a rektor és a bíróság felől támadták).

Tanulságok:

1. Legjobb, ha magad vagy a barátaiddal programozol, legalábbis a prototípusig (a szellemi tulajdon bizonytalan valami: pár milliárdot kaphatsz, de a világot nem váltod meg a segítségével). Ha nem tudsz programozni, tanulj meg: az internettől kezdve ez olyan, mintha írástudatlan lennél.

2. Jó, ha tudod, hogy mi a következő nagy dobás, de ugyanakkor

3. szeresd is megcsinálni a dolgot (mi itt toltuk el a Balázzsal). Végül pedig

4. az sem árt, ha nem a világ végéről indulsz, legalábbis ha szociális hálós terjeszkedésben gondolkozol.
A Skype esetében ez nem volt probléma (egy létező szolgáltatást, a drága földi és mobil vonalakat helyettesít). Azaz jó ötlettel+prototípussal + kellő lelkesedéssel Magyarországról is el lehet indulni (így aztán elvileg még az is lehetséges lenne, hogy Magyarország ne a nyugdíjas-lerakodóhely szerepét töltse be a világban).
Az iWiW esetében a Magyarországi indulás viszont még akkor is lényeges akadály lett volna, ha
– jobb irányban + nagyobb hangsúlyt fordítanak a szolgáltatás fejlesztésre +
– az elején értelmesebb üzleti modellt választanak, és nem kényszerülnek a helyi menő távközlési monopólium (a Matáv) kegyelem-támogatására.

Jó film. Gondolkozunk tőle.

[Forrás: http://amexrap.org/fal/kozossegi-halo-a-film-4-tanulsaga]