The internet is used for lots of spam, scams and tricks, which aim to make a quick buck and nothing else. Most tricks are easily seen through, however reckless they may be, and can be dealt with. There are also online businesses, which are less blatantly destructive than outright spam and scams, but yet fail to contribute constructively to what the internet is and could be.
By this I mean to hint at entrepreneurs (some even apparently successful) who dream of finding some magic way to repeat the ‘Google trick’, i.e. the golden solution, or more likely, a shortcut, to solve the problems of the net, and become the millionaires of tomorrow, like Larry Page and Sergei Brin did, when they launched Google, or more specifically, when they launched their Google Ads program.
Paradoxically, these are companies and entrepreneurs, who blindly go where others have gone before. They follow the latest trend, be it social software or video-blogging, in the hope of repeating the successes of those who went before, but without really thinking about internet users’ problems. What is at stake is money to be made on the traffic. By exploiting the vast masses of free information online in some way, one may earn a quick buck from all the ad clicks.
This model leads others, more careful types of entrepreneurs and businesses, to carefully seek to uphold and preserve intellectual rights (if any), or worse, to stay away completely from the internet as a serious avenue for business. By withholding and safeguarding information, if necessary with the help of Digital Rights Management (DRM), one can maintain greater value for those few, who can afford to obtain it. Theoretically, that is. This, of course, is the ‘Intellectual Property’-road of businesses of eons before us.
Guy Kawasaki talks here about making meaning for a business :
How does Kaplak want to make meaning? We want to make information make meaning.
We want to create sense in the world. In this sense, business secrecy (in the way of hiding information) makes little sense. It also makes little sense for us to decrease the value of our products for our customers, by adding technological restrictions which regulate their uses.
What we (and you, in your business) want to do is create value for customers and visitors, which make it worth their while to come by our particular spot and accept our particular offering.
This is quite different from tricks and ways to ‘figure it out’. Creating a surplus of value comes from hard, sustained efforts to deliver a service, which creates actual value in the other end of the economical food chain. This you can sell. Which makes your end of the food chain make money too.
There are no tricks to keep secret (at least, not forever) in a world abundant with information. Indeed a world in which the amount of accessible information increases exponentially each month, there is and will be a desperate need to make sense of all this information, in order to find anything.
The challenge we face, then, is how to create sense and surplus value, not in our end of the chain, but in our customer’s end.
One obvious way to do this in the information trade is to attribute greater value to the context of finding information, rather than on any particular piece of information. The strategy here is not to withhold information, but to create a valuable context, which makes it easy to get what you need. In this case, you’re willing to pay, because of the ease and comfort, by which you can obtain something, which would otherwise be a hazzle, and not the least, time-consuming and expensive.