Social Commerce

Video (TED) | Social Commerce is Good for Humanity

It’s good to feel part of something big – so here’s the latest 15 minute inspirational TED talk – from popular science author Matt Ridley (The Red Queen, The Origins of Virtue, Genome, The Rational Optimist) at Oxford University – on “When Ideas Have Sex.”

So what does ‘the sex life of ideas’, whatever that is, have to do social commerce? Well, Ridley argues convincingly that the more trade-based interactions a society makes, the smarter, more advanced, and prosperous it gets.  When commerce happens, it’s not just products and money that get exchanged, but ideas embedded in those products get exchanged too. And as these ideas get exchanged, they get recombined and evolve, like cultural genes – driving technology, innovation and even knowledge forward.  And with digital technology democratizing trade – allowing more people that ever to trade online on social commerce platforms such as Etsy, Ebay and Amazon, more people are contributing to the collective brain, and participating in the evolution of humankind. Cool.

If sex is about exchanging bodily fluids to drive biological evolution, then social commerce is about exchanging ideas to drive social evolution.

For further reading, check out Ridley’s Wall Street Journal Saturday essay – Humans: Why They Triumphed

Chartered psychologist specialising in consumer behaviour, wellbeing and technology. Certified CX professional experienced in Design Thinking. A researcher, writer and speaker, Paul is head of Digital Insight at SYZYGY.

3 Comments Add New Comment

  1. Those interested in Ridley's very good book might also wish to know about another one, THE CASE FOR RATIONAL OPTIMISM (Transaction Books, Rutgers University, 2009), which makes quite similar points and arguments, but develops the case for optimism over a rather broader range of subject areas. See

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