Technological Socialism: Finding New Goliaths
Throughout history, technology has been thought of as the key to a competitive edge. The idea of the technological advantage used to mean the company, military or whatever with the most sophisticated (often most expensive) equipment won the battle for supremacy and went on to dominate and monopolize. Then came free… in the form of open source.
Open Source Technology creates a capitalistic phenomenon. The flow of information is exponentially getting faster, more accurate, more vivid, more accessible, and less expensive for the end user. And as the barriers to entry crumble, the potential for an even greater flow of information and ideas than we know today becomes limitless. In short, dreamers without resources are now doers on crowdsource websites.
Technological Socialism creates a wonderful problem. While all of your competitors are working nonstop to create the next new thing, all of your potential customers are searching far and wide for the newest free thing. So, how do you compete in a world full of free? To answer that question, we must have a keen understanding about what consumers were actually buying. Consumers buy things that they don’t know how to or don’t want to create themselves.
When education and equipment were expensive, the “haves” had a clear advantage over the “have-nots.” Now that you can pretty much learn how to do anything on the internet for free or close to it and what once was a room full of equipment fits in your pocket, the “have-nots” are Davids looking for new Goliaths.
Today’s titans of industry aren’t in ominous boardrooms conspiring to drain the life savings from the poor unwashed masses; they are in cafés with free WIFI conspiring to crush the former titans with fresh ideas, unlimited access to education, cheap labor and Macbook Pros. They don’t charge consumers for research and development and, in some cases, they don’t even charge for the end product. The leaders of tomorrow are as Steve Jobs put it, “tearing down walls, building bridges, and lighting fires.” They know that the true value of a customer is the continued access to market new ideas to that customer. They want to be apart of his/her community and they want him/her to be a part of theirs. Their payment is in social currency.
As defined by wikipedia, Social currency is the extent to which people share the brand or information about the brand as part of their everyday social lives at work or at home. This sharing helps companies to create unique brand identities and earn permission to interact with consumers or customers. In today’s age, entrepreneurs, marketers and the like must use multimedia to acquire a customer’s time and attention, and then skilfully and delicately ask for his/her money. Large conglomerates are often to clumsy to achieve this intricate form of social pickpocketing, but the small, nimble, technologically advanced fingers of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and marketers are able to achieve this goal with relative ease.
… to be continued.