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Breakpoint 2023: How Protocols Will Replace Companies

Paul Bohm, Founder of Teleport, discusses how open protocols could revolutionize industries by replacing traditional company structures.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!


At the recent Breakpoint conference, Paul Bohm, founder of Teleport, a fresh ride-sharing app, emphasized the transformative potential of open protocols in contrast to the classical corporate models. He delves into the fundamental aspects of protocols, their open nature, and how they can reshape industries by offering more inclusive and democratic frameworks, in line with his own experience starting a hacker space. Drawing from his insights into Bitcoin and the decentralized protocols it inspired, Bohm explains how these innovative communication systems can benefit users worldwide. Through Teleport, he illustrates the practical application of these ideals and their relevance to early adopters.

Key Points:

The Rise of Open Protocols

Paul Bohm explores the stark difference between proprietary protocols developed by corporations and open protocols which encourage interoperability. He argues that reliance on limited proprietary systems places too much control of digital infrastructure in the hands of a few companies. By using examples like e-mail and web browsers, Bohm demonstrates how open protocols have been elemental in shaping the democratic nature of the internet, suggesting that a continued shift towards decentralization could further empower individuals and promote innovation.

Background and Inspiration

Bohm shares his journey from a hobbyist visiting hacker conferences to founding an influential hacker space in Vienna, driven by a collective funding model. This model, which relies on communal contributions, mirrors the collaborative essence of open protocols which he advocates for. He credits his own experiences with community-building and the concept of the "Street Performer Protocol" for his deep understanding of the importance of coordinating people to achieve shared objectives without substantial capital.

Application and Case Study: Teleport

Teleport, presented by Bohm as a case study, embodies the principles of open protocols in the ride-sharing industry. By building on an open protocol, Teleport aims to decentralize the industry; it offers a democratic alternative to the monopoly of corporate ride-sharing services. Furthermore, Teleport acknowledges the significance of early adopters by providing them rewards, a principle that Bohm believes is key to the successful adoption of new platforms.

Facts + Figures

  • Paul Bohm is the founder of a new ride-sharing app called Teleport.
  • Teleport is built on an open protocol which rewards early adopters, setting it apart from traditional ride-sharing companies.
  • Bohm has a history of participating in and speaking at hacker conferences, emphasizing his long-standing engagement with technology communities.
  • He created a hacker space in Vienna by using a community-based, cost-sharing model.
  • His insights are inspired by the "Street Performer Protocol," which reflects the value of coordination in achieving common goals.
  • Bohm worked as a protocol engineer at Dropbox, where he developed the Dropbox LAN Sync Protocol.
  • He highlights the importance of decentralization and how Bitcoin has enabled the creation of successful decentralized protocols.

Top Quotes

  1. "A protocol is a way of how one computer program talks to another computer program."
  2. "A protocol is open when there are many different programs doing the same thing."
  3. "Imagine a world without open protocols. If there was only one web browser, only one email client, only one payment app..."
  4. "The big idea here is if you can coordinate humans, even if you don't have money, you can achieve a lot of things."
  5. "Most applications that people use on a daily basis right now are controlled by a single company or maybe one or two companies."
  6. "We can build something together."
  7. "It worked so well that people around the world got inspired and over a thousand hacker spaces around the world were started based on this idea."
  8. "Bitcoin... made it possible to build decentralized protocols again."

Questions Answered

What is an open protocol?

An open protocol is a standard method that allows different computer systems or software to communicate with each other effectively. In simple terms, it's like a universal language that various computer programs can use to interact, similar to how e-mail clients and web browsers all work together despite being made by different companies.

Why are open protocols important?

Open protocols are important because they ensure that no single company can control a fundamental aspect of our digital infrastructure. They allow for a diversity of applications, services, and innovations to flourish without being stifled by gatekeepers. This leads to increased competition, enhanced privacy, and greater user freedom.

How can protocols replace companies?

Protocols can replace companies by providing open, decentralized frameworks for services and interactions that traditionally required centralized corporations to function. This would disrupt traditional company structures by distributing the control and profits among users and contributors, rather than a central authority.

How does Teleport utilize open protocols?

Teleport is a ride-sharing app built on an open protocol, which means it doesn't rely on a single company to operate. This model awards early adopters and is designed to facilitate a fairer, more inclusive community-driven service, directly challenging the dominance of established ride-sharing corporations.

What's the link between hacker spaces and open protocols?

The link between hacker spaces and open protocols revolves around the concept of community and shared effort. Just as hacker spaces rely on collective resources and knowledge to foster innovation, open protocols depend on a community of developers and users to sustain and evolve.