Tuesday, 21 May 2013

internet business model Part 1.0 in the beginning; history, culture, characteristics, operating system, rules



[This is a re-post (originally posted on 20 Nov 2012) with minor edits, deleted the original post by mistake.]



“2010 was the year the web overtook newspapers as a source for news”, says the Economist. 

Traditional media companies have been nervous for years.  But strip away broadcasting, the internet, book shops, DVDs, printing presses or even paper and what is left is what really counts in the media business - content.  Content is always there, it is the medium that changes.  The anxiety is more to do with change and the printing press being supplemented by a new medium, some say supplanting but that’s extreme.  Understanding the mechanisation of this ‘new’ medium without baggage and fear is necessary.  In part it has introduced new and more competitors.  Witness the rise of an outsider.  Traditional newspapers have been huffing and puffing at it for years to become a web newspaper but it took the Huffington Post just a few years to become the global leader.   They nonchalantly applied new rules to do so.  Traditional media could play the same game, by the same rules.  A deep understanding of the internet is the first step.  This series will ponder its operating system and some internet business rules.

Because history points to the future, this series of five articles will start from the internet’s beginnings.  From its early culture you may begin to see a trace of its inner workings then consider the chi {take in the chi} in which Amazon and the other iconic online companies operate in.

The column will next contemplate the internet business model, extracting from it, methods, ‘rules’, systems used by the successful .coms.  They can be universally applied.  And using an analytical approach, these ‘internet business rules’ will be applied to industries at the front of the cycle; media, telco, IT and perhaps other sectors of the economy.  And in later columns, how they could affect businesses in general, organisations, government and society at large.  Most entities now operate partially online in this emerging internet economy.  Understanding the ‘rules’ may help, applying them is better.  Traditionalist will feel convicted so flames expected!

Flame wars were a common occurrence in the old days.  Then it is started when someone post something in a newsgroup that inflames the community, usually something odd, a bit vile.  The community then flames that person.  He returns the fire.  In the worst case, it erupts into a flame war.  Today flaming is very much alive but it differs in form.

The basic principles in the original design of the internet and its development in the early days, defined as up to commercialisation which occurred circa 1993, laid the foundation which evolved its culture.  This in turn set the stage for how things work on it, the operating model.

Crowdsourcing, a very significant technique in the era of information has its roots in the earliest history of the internet.  There was (still has) a strong spirit of volunteerism.  I can’t really articulate it even though I was involved in the early days but it was prevalent and seem central to the culture.  Volunteerism has of course been around but they are limited to a small band of people.  In contrast volunteerism in the internet is pervasive, global and has entered mainstream.  An early event may have heralded it but first the creation.....in Part 1.1.