11. People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products.
There is an easy way to write this thesis, and that is to just write "file sharing". Just those two words.
I sense we might need to be indirect about this. For reasons of clarity and pedagogy.
is information? one might indirectly ask. And should you choose to
venture out into the vastness of literature on the subject, you would
find that you can pretty much pick and choose among the various
definitions. There's enough of them for everyone, and then some.
fact that you can venture out there (most likely starting on Wikipedia)
is in and of itself a revolutionary thing. You no longer have to wait
for the company, the experts or any particular institution to provide
you with a prepackaged morsel of information. You can venture, instead.
sharing is the transfer of information. Communication, if you want.
Don't let the fact that it is faster, cheaper and more efficient than
other forms of information transfer/communication cloud your mind - it's
exactly the same thing as it's always been.
Only faster, cheaper and more efficient.
is bad news bears for those businesses relying on the premise that
communication will remain slow, expensive and inefficient. At least
slow, expensive and inefficient enough that ordinary people like you and
me won't bother with the whole venturing business. Slow, expensive and
inefficient enough that those who deal in prepackaged morsels of
information are perceived as the only feasible mean of getting the word
Tell me, have you bought a CD lately?
Ten (or twenty) years ago, CDs were the de facto standard of moving music around.
You could compress a whole lot of audio quality into a small package,
and you could do it on such a scale that it made economic sense to do
so. And, since no one else could do the same thing at the same scale, you
could charge a whole lot of money for it - the prize of a CD has very little to do with material costs, to be sure. Especially at larger scales.
days, the sales of CDs are down. Due to the fact that they are
inefficient carriers of information - no matter how many of them you
haul on to an ever so fast airplane, the speed of light is faster than
that. And the speed of this internet thing of ours is pretty much
working at such speeds, especially as you get closer to the network backbone.
why should people buy CDs? Other than the nostalgia value, no value is
added to the physical object other than the physical object in itself.
And you can get a piece of plastic a lot cheaper than what they're
Should you like a particular musician enough, then it is well within your venture capabilities to look them up and give them a donation. Not just once, but as many times as you like.
It goes without saying that if you base your business on the sales of CDs, this might pose a problem to your business model.
For the rest of us, who suddenly are able to venture far and wide into the collected writings and recordings of humanity, this increase the speed of information transfer is a good thing. And it takes a certain kind of slowness to not see it as such.
Even if a few business models may have to change along the information highway to the future.
I'll see you tomorrow for part twelve.