In a world where the Web is more decentralized, with more autonomy and anonymity, how does leadership play out on that Internet? Or is there a need for leadership? Or is it OK if it’s simply a fragmented experience?

Leadership is still very important because when you have a cacophony of ideas, it takes a lot of time to understand which ones are worth considering. And so to solve that problem, people look to those who they respect or understand. That’s why we like to read the books of authors that deepen our understanding of a particular area of the world.

But there’s a difference between leadership and direction—coercive control over something. Extremely large states, they have a coercive control structure, and large companies like Google are intertwined with the mechanisms of the state such as law, courts, and police.

Leadership through values or through the creation of new standards or new software or new formulations of human institutions, these are structures that can propagate to others but where the originator doesn’t maintain more than a spiritual or philosophical influence. Most good ideas in human development have spread that way—from writing to the gramophone.

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