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Mobilizing the Human Network: Part 1

June 9, 2007 - 3 Comments

Last week I finally go it. Mobility in the Web 2.0 world is about seamless integrating the experience between the physical world and the digital world when you are moving. Today, we have an increasing part of our economy dependent on information gathering, shopping, and now, creating community on the Internet. Leading merchants and commerce communities like Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and CNET are blending product information, shopping and user reviews/comments to re-personalize the information and advice loop for a range of products.Recently when deciding on a pair of replacement tires for a car, I used the message boards on to get the experience of several dozen prior owners. More significantly, I brought the information to my car dealer to show a fault pattern in my current set of tires. He questioned me on the results, so I pulled out my Nokia e61i and showed him the comments on (my dealer has a customer Wi-Fi network) The result: he replaced them, with the newer model for free. What I increasingly see is a blending together of the digital world and the physical world for business, starting with a range of consumer commerce situations. The in-store shopping experience we delivered recently with Mediacart ( blended the information content and targeted marketing of an entire supermarket and its brands to an individual consumer, based on their location in the store. In this latter case, the WLAN enabled tablet on the front of the supermarket cart was the delivery vehicle.What is interesting, what really is striking here, is that the drive to dual-mode smart phones and other devices, with larger and larger screens and simplified navigation schemes, is making every individual a potential commerce/community target in the Human Network. And the entrance of a larger and larger number of physical objects connected to networks through passive and active RFID as well as a range of emerging sensor technologies is putting things into play from a community sense. If Descartes lived today and wrote about Mobility and the Human network, he might say:”I am there, connected, even when I move, therefore I am.”My predicted evolution for this movement is something like this (I will be refining this over the next few weeks):Consumer Commerce Applications (books, music, clothes)Service/Consumption Industries (food, restaurants)Tourism (travel spots)Real-EstateBusiness Applications (D&B to SAP)Generationally, I think we are currently seeing a movement where folks under 25 are particularly adept in bringing their digital experience into full-body contact with their day-to-day personal lives, wherever and whenever we go. The growing access to pervasive high-speed wireless networks simply becomes a steroid in this emerging interaction.If this idea makes you uncomfortable, remember the words of the great Beat writer Jack Kerouac on changes in society:”All of life is a foreign country.”

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  1. Nice post and nice comments...Thanks for the insightful breakdown of the true meaning behind all that is right within the world, money.

  2. Economists think about reality in terms of markets. In practice, a market is just an abstraction, and drawing the limits of markets out of actual information is a difficult task. Consider the social networking market today and one can easily conclude that the rate of change makes it difficult to actual put boundaries around the definitions of “the market”. Systemically speaking, some well differentiated markets are transformed into new ones, because of changes in the technology and the demand that cause the products or services of the original markets to end up by serving identical needs to the same customers. In such a situation, firms are faced with big opportunities and big potential drawbacks. Example: How many people are networked to the same people in different networks? Those that is able to correctly foresee the future developments can gain an important head start and position themselves so as to obtain an important competitive advantage. On the other hand, making irreversible investments in the wrong technology can seriously threaten the competitive position of a firm. Thus the dilemma for today’s operators of social networks. New markets are formed by visionaries who can see beyond the chaos and complexities of the day. Visionaries formulate strategies for creating products and services that are driven by the natural phenomena of convergence and demand for improved performance by end users. So step back from what you think the market definition is today and define what you believe it will become tomorrow. Technology is Converging There are different technological segments currently operating independently but on the fringe of convergence. Consider what is happening in the telecommunications industry. Mobile devices have advanced to the point of enabling users to watch live and on demand broadcast, receive emails, surf the net and now the fastest growing mobile applications are aimed at social networking. Mobile devices have a shelf life of six months only to be replaced by a newer version having increased functionality. Information and communications technologies are advancing faster than ever before. Now consider on line social networking technologies. Look at the rate of new applications flowing out of Facebook, the rate that new networking platforms are appearing on the market, the grow of YouTube as a defacto on line broadcasting medium, digital content is exploding, new developments are being announced daily and users are having difficulty keeping up. This growth has regulators concerned about privacy issues, abuse concerns and of course fulfilling their perceived position of protecting the citizens from abuses. When you follow the threads of forums discussing the current “market noise of social networks” common themes from the user’s perspective are becoming clear. These include: “I am getting tired of all this networking” “I am being invited to join yet another network from people I am already networked with” “What do we really gain from all this networking” “I wish networks would network with each other thus making my life easier” Convergence usually comes from outside an existing system and led by those watching the fringes. Our conclusion is that the obvious is starring us all in the face but the chaos of the moment distracts us from seeing the obvious. From our perspective convergence is not a question of will it happen but rather an issue of when. The sooner the better for the end users. What say you?

  3. Relationship Economics: Part 1Author: Jay Deragon 08 9th, 2007Relationship EconomicsEver wonder where all this “networking activity is going?” For months I have been formulating my own predictive models and attributes using numerous sources of information. At the risk of sounding a little “futuristic” allow me to provide a picture of what I consider to be a realistic model which will emerge in the not to distant future. First I will categorize my findings into what I call “Relationship Economics” and provide appropriate definitions.First the word “Relationship” being defined as connection or association; the condition of being related. Second is “Economics” being defined as the study of resource allocation, distribution and consumption; of capital and investment; and of management of the factors of production. So I will define the collective meaning of Relationship Economics as: The people and things we are connected with or have an association to which distribute or consume our “capital” which influences our individual production outputs. We will use the term “capital” meaning that which we give or take that creates numerous forms of value.Practical Relationship Economics Examples: We have relations with people and things. Both either take or give to our “capital“. People and things take or give us time (capital). People give or take information and knowledge (capital). We work with people to make money (capital). We strive in business to create or loose money (capital). We use machines and technology that either give or take value (capital). We interact with “things” that either give or take value (capital). We participate in institutions that both give and take value (capital). Our governments provide the means to gain or loose our freedoms (capital). In essence we have relationships with people and things that give, take or both in terms of our individual abilities to be “productive with our capital”. Collectively “Relationship Economics” is about people and things we give or take which influences numerous forms of value, our “capital“.When you think about the primary means of most interactions we have with people and things it is technologically based. Whether your working, playing or relaxing you ultimately interact with some form of technology, everywhere and in everything. For the most part technology increases the value of our interactions with people and things. It is hidden and assumed. Initially any new technology takes your time (capital) to learn how to optimize it. However, once proficient you begin to appreciate the value but expect more from it.When we engage in human relations it takes time to learn whether the interaction creates value and whether the values are in common. When relationships become “disconnected” the primary basis is usually differences in value given or taken and differences in “values”. The primary difference between our interactions with people and things is one of values vs. value. Technology produces value while people dictate the “values” that technology enables for either the building or tearing down of relationships and the related capital.Relationship Economics is just beginning to take shape and its future has significant rewards. The future,not to distant, will naturally emerge into a convergence of collective technologies which connect us to everything, everywhere. Imagine the following scenarios:We will have our own network “ Link to Our World” in which we define what is interfaced into our world. Our mobile phone, PDA, Automobile, Television (s), landline telephones and any device in which we receive or transmit communications will be integrated and connected to our Link to The World. Our World portal will have a set of “button” interfaces with people and things categorized by a matrix of relations. Said buttons will appear on our desktop, our mobile phones, our PDA, Televisions, our car screen and any other communication device we use. Some of our devices will contain voice recognition software so we’re able to multi-task safely, i.e in our automobiles, boats or planes. I think you get the picture, everything and everywhere we are able to connect to people and things.So How Do We give and receive value?Many of us currently sell products and services in exchange for economic value. The future of Relationship Economics will be based on “value taken vs. value given“. The oldest exchange of value is that known as tithing and it is largely tied to religious organizations. Another exchange of value is that of “tipping for services rendered“. Another old paradigm which the masses have adopted as socially acceptable and expected. Fast forward.In a world connected to everything everywhere we as individuals are enabled to profile and exchange our value and our values. Already, in today’s market, we’re seeing an exchange of value in terms of relationship introductions and the process of using the means for job recruitment. Job recruiters make money off of placement, an old model of exchange for value which HR departments have adopted as a better method to internal staffing and screening. Now combine the old models of value exchange with a new model. A model in which in the “networked world” we buy tokens of economic value globally. When some one provides us value it is assumed and expected, but not written in contract form, that we would be rewarded according to the perceptions of value by the receiver. The receiver would simply credit our token account with a value they deem appropriate for the benefit gained. In turn we would do the same for those that deliver us value.Since the technology of the “networked world” provides us with the luxury of efficiency and effectiveness we are able to produce value to whatever degree we choose. The choice is individual. Some will work overtime because others will compensate them for their ability to produce. Others will receive and not compensate, they will be quickly identified as takers, not givers and the entire network will know the difference. The Global exchange of value ignites competitive propositions but the rewards provided are an individual choice, not unlike today’s market of products and services. Deliver value and you gain customers, Deliver defects and you loose them, period.Relationship Economics will create new mediums, new measures and accelerated exchanges that will displace traditional mediums and totally disrupt and displace existing paradigms. A new world order driven by value exchanges and relationships will emerge and mankind will learn to adapt or lose. Those that don’t adapt and create value will be quickly identified and set apart from the larger network. Value migration will build momentum and create significance, individually and collectively.More details on this prediction and the related models later. For now: Far fetched or realistic?We’re building an entire case study supported by models and references as part of our ongoing research. Interested?What say you?