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Chatroulette – or why “open” empowers creativity, drives success and will *always* win

By on March 26, 2010
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Chatroulette has been around for a few months but really hit the mainstream about a month ago. The concept is simple: two people with webcams are connected randomly. They can chat, be funny, show each other their naughty bits or move on quickly. And all of these things happen.

The mainstream media focuses on the sexual aspects (See the Guardian, Time Magazine, New York Times) and this tweet from Johnny Minkley sums up the initial perception of the service:

"Just looked at Chatroulette for the first time. Saw a man masturbating within 30 seconds"

BUT

Chatroulette is the best example of why open works (and why it terrifies big media). I’ve embedded two videos from Chatroulette in this post. Both of them make me laugh out loud, applaud, bow down in awe before the creativity of web users.

There was no gatekeeper. There was no publisher. The 17 year old behind Chatroulette simply said “let’s make this cool technology that connects people globally and see what they do with it.”

Much of it is rubbish. Some of it is fun. A few gems are jaw-droppingly amazing.

And this is why open will *always* win.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com