Monday, January 21, 2013

21 of 95: This isn't just your grandfather's internet

21, Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor. 

[Part 20]

I'm a big fan of first principles. Those things that you can't give any particular reason for, but which lets you get on with doing thing once you've noticed them and started to use them for doing things.

Like, say, the notion that the shortest distance between two points is a line. Nothing surprising about it, but once you state it, it becomes something useful, usable. It goes from being something you know to being something you think about - and this transition is far from trivial.

Let's do some firsting. With the simplest, most straightforward and least particularly reasonable principle we can imagine:

The internet exists.

Again, nothing surprising here. We all knew that. But do we really think about it?

The internet exists. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. - The basic mode of travel on the internet is teleportation.

Shit. Geometry is going to be quite anxious when it hears of this!

The internet exists, and it exists for everyone. That means that you have to take this into account if you want to be a player - no man is an island, as it were, and your fellow fellows are no exceptions. They are as interconnected, communicative and tired of the overabundance of nonsense as anyone else, and the only thing that can get their attention are those things worthy of attending.

This is bad news bears if you are not worthy of attending.

What makes something worthy of attending? is the question we suddenly ask ourselves, with the internet in mind. The answer is, again, not surprising: it is as always the accessible, the relevant and the useful. Especially those things that manage to be all three in combination.

So I ask you, dear company: are you accessible, relevant and/or useful?

There's a whole world wide web out there of things that are. And you are in a business relationship with all of them - mostly competitive ones, with attention being the word of the day. Because people are busy. Busy dealing with the lives they happen to be in, the problems they happen to be facing and the questions they happen to be asking - and they are facing these questions with every web page you can think of available.

The Ancients got to work on the straight line principle. May I suggest we take a que from them and get to work on the internet principle?

I'll see you tomorrow for part twentytwo.

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