Posts Tagged foursquare
Well, here’s what I do. I read stories, listen to the news, see what people around me are doing, and then I choose a specific area to consider. So let’s go with social media, and run it through the check-list. Is it super-hyped right now? Check. Is everyone talking about how it will change the world forever and none of us will ever be the same? Check. Has it done anything particularly disruptive so far? Not really. So what does that mean in 10 years? It means that at that time everything will have changed noticeably and we should be figuring out what that will look like right now.
So don’t restrict yourself to thinking about what the technology is right now and how we use it. You need to think in more generic terms than that. First, what is different between twitter and its closest look-alikes – text messages, blogs, and email. Well, the difference is you can only send short messages (or posts), they go to anyone who is potentially listening (generally – there are of course DMs as well), and they tell the public who you are or what you are doing or thinking about. But those aren’t the only things twitter is similar to. It is also similar to google-searching, but instead of asking an indexed set of pages something about what you are looking for, you instead are asking anyone who is listening a certain question in the total set of active and indexed brains at that moment. So, in many ways, twitter is a communication tool, but it is also a specialized recommendation engine. It is like hunch but instead of asking a cluster analyzed data-set you are literally publicly asking everyone you know socially (and people you don’t know) for advice, or a product, or help of some kind.
So, long term, what does that mean? It means that more than ever we will be connected to a greater web of people. But right now you also have to ask why are people helping each other so much through twitter? Is it because we are fundamentally helpful? I think the answer is no. I think the answer actually lies in the fact that we are fundamentally selfish, and currently, because no one knows for sure how this all will play out, you get people being as helpful as possible because they gain status by doing so (whether in the form of followers, or a higher klout score, or any other measure you can think of that exists currently). Moreover, they can get wealth – because everyone is talking about social media and why your company needs it, companies are going out and looking to hire people who can show them how to do exactly that.
Remind you of anything? Seems a lot like the late 90’s when every company needed a website and would pay practically anything to get some skin in the game. And of course we had a bubble and a crash and, lo and behold, 10 years later, you really do need a website and some skin in the game. Remember, we tend to think the world changes forever very quickly, but in truth, it takes some time for the world to become fundamentally different.
Here is one of my favourite activities: think about the future in regards to technology, and then think about where we are going, and what people will want, and why, and what they will pay for that. You can’t do this aimlessly (not productively anyway); you must have a specific area in mind.
For example, let’s consider how Apple got to its decision about pushing AppleTV more aggressively. Did they wait to see if people wanted pay-as-you-go programming? Not really, because if you wait for something like that to show up you’re usually too late to the party. They probably looked around the world 10 years ago and started thinking about what the world look like 10 years forward. How would we watch TV? What would we watch? Why? What if p2p sharing goes bigger? In 2000, it clearly appeared that the genie was out of the bottle and would not get put back in. So, barring a p2p blocking technology, the future then was always going to be in finding and stealing entertainment online. Some people would continue to pay cable operators of course, but increasingly (and young folk especially) would be questioning why they would pay $50-100/month when they only watch a few shows a month and having all-you-can-eat cable means you end up watching more shows than you want to anyway. But maybe pay-as-you-go, a model we had been seeing with some cell phone users, might do the trick. You pay only for the stuff you want and none of the crap you don’t want. And the price had to be very low or otherwise you’d be tempted to steal. So, in the future you will pay for each show and it will be streamed live to your television for $0.99. That, my friends, is the future (which is here!)
So consider all that for a moment. Consider that all of these things were set in motion at least 10 years ago. You need to also remember that we as humans tend to overstate the short-term implications of a new technology and understate the long-term ramifications of said technology. It wasn’t long ago when p2p sharing started gaining traction and many pointed to the imminent demise of all commercial recordings. Did that happen? Of course not. But certainly p2p sharing has changed the commercial music landscape dramatically and altered the way we digest music digitally, how artists share it, how they promote their work, all (in my opinion) for the better. But let’s bring it back to today’s world. Yes, all these things were set in motion a long time ago. Yes, there are disruptive technologies being shaped and created every day. Which ones will greatly affect the world in 10 years? How will they change the world? And how can you ride the wave that gets you there?
My name is Darren Negraeff - I'm the Marketing Director for Zafin Labs - we create pricing and billing innovations for banks and financial institutions. When I'm not at work you can find me throwing a disc for my dog Sally or staring in wonder at my tomato plants. Or poring over a book - I love to read. These days I read mostly non-fiction, but I have an extensive library of fiction as well.
I'm interested in theory of the mind and cognitive science, how ideas spread through society, behavioural economics, advertising, internet marketing, and the rise of microcredit. I will try to keep to these topics, though wandering is inevitable.
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