In a hard-knuckled, free-market economy built on competition, the most successful Internet companies put a high stake in another value: cooperation.
They haven’t lost a step in Wall Street’s cutthroat business culture. And in fact, they may well be transforming ideas of work in America.
Take Google, which gives away much of its most valuable information, yet made $29 billion in revenue last year. Or Facebook, which manages employees through consensus. Or Twitter, which maintains a small-business feel even as its growth has spurred speculation it could raise $10 billion in an initial public stock offering.
The allure of cooperative economics is that it might not just be good for individual businesses but also build industries and even economic communities. Friendly competition is the explanation often given for the unique success of Silicon Valley, the birthplace of Google, Twitter and Facebook.