Saturday, August 15, 2009

Week 4: Business Models & the New Era of Competition, pt. 2

As my first post on web business models indicated, this is a fascinating puzzle to me - I see it as the Gordian knot of our time. So, it was with great enthusiasm that I watched the recommended segments from the Supernova 2008 conference. I still couldn't get a decent stream for Prof. Eric Clemons' speech, which was maddening because what I could make out was utterly captivating. As frustrating as that was, his Q&A session came through fine and I think I was able to get the gist of what he was saying from reading his slide deck.

It was interesting to note a couple of points both Dr. Clemons and the industry panel made:
  1. A model based on managing customer experience is superior to one bogged down in managing content (when one panelist said "don't build planets, build satellites" - I think he was expressing essentially the same idea). Makes perfect sense when you think about it.
  2. Social content can have great value, and piggybacking referrals is a business model with high-potential (interestingly, both chose to cite as a good example of this). Again, not surprising, but worth noting as a lead dog in the hunt for business models.
There were several other points made in the videos that resonated with me:
  • Looking down the road, social search has big potential.
  • The traditional approach to advertising is not well-suited to the web. However, marketing that focuses on building relationships can create value for both sellers and buyers.
  • "Living web beta" is a great concept, not only for crowdsourcing R&D but also as a marketing strategy. That is, putting out a product earlier in the development process than you might've historically (along with the appropriate caveats) can not only improve the ultimate product's value proposition, but it also helps build relationships and engagement levels with future customers.
  • Bringing mobility to web 2.0 is an extremely high potential area. To be successful, products will need to offer relevant, time sensitive and actionable information.
This last point really hit home for me. I've had a blackberry for work for a while now, but it was getting one for personal use a couple of months ago that finally sparked my interest in social media (well, that and this course, of course!). I never understood what I had been reading about smart phone usage in Asia and Europe (using a cell phone as a wallet? What?!?) over the last couple of years, but I'm sold now. In fact, seeing the value it has delivered to me over the last few weeks has me convinced that mobility is the next game-changer (intriguing mobile web stats here).

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