what can we learn from nupedia?

remember nupedia? the pre-cursor to wikipedia.  they started off with a good idea. but their unrelenting editorial process hindered the org from really reaching its full potential. here’s the process (according to wikipedia):

Nupedia had a seven-step editorial process, consisting of:

  1. Assignment
  2. Finding a lead reviewer
  3. Lead review
  4. Open review
  5. Lead copyediting
  6. Open copyediting
  7. Final approval and markup

makes sense. maintains integrity. thorough. detailed. oh and the next paragraph on the nupedia wiki entry says this:

With the benefit of hindsight, the level of the bar to becoming a Nupedia contributor was probably unrealistically high, with the policy stating: “We wish editors to be true experts in their fields and (with few exceptions) possess PhDs”.

…and eventually, reality set in and the lack of content available on nupedia contributed heavily to its demise…and jimmy wales placed a nice bet on his new(er), open(er) idea called wikipedia - now a little site that gets over 300 million pageviews a day (facebook gets about 270 million). you’ve likely heard of it.

this gets me thinking about how the healthcare / pharma industry approaches digital marketing. one of the lessons to be learned from the nupedia-wikipedia history is the idea of openness, collaboration, fewer controls, more power to the people and all that good stuff. the pharma industry acts very much like the nupedia-ites did. trying to hold on to a great deal of control in a space that doesn’t like that very much … in fact, rejects it (quite often).  rather than die a slow and unfortunate death (no adverse event report pun intended), perhaps regulated industries should start thinking about giving up some of that control. my hunch is that some good can come out of it. maybe.