Monday, May 21, 2007

New Flatland

(This is a sequel to The Birth of a Crowds Nation)

The Crowds are threatening traditional businesses. That's interesting, but not as much as the fact that the crowds exist - online!
The Memes, for their part, are extremely happy with this new situation: humans are coming to them now; the hassle of expanding around the globe in order to locate more human containers is no longer needed. I suspect that Capital, being architecturally if not essentially similar to Memes, has its big time now just the same. Online crowds are good for Businesses, just as they are good for the Memes, and the following three journalists are well known for properly nailing it down.

First is Tom Friedman, the conceptualizer of New Flatland, a flat world of zeros and ones, where space is no longer a factor. Friedman follows the history of those Business Processes that have been migrated into New Flatland, and realizes that they all have become extremely optimizeable, each step within a Business Process lending itself to a never ending improvement, by replacing its internal components with always better, faster, cheaper ones. The nice thing here is that in New Flatland, the cost-effectiveness is no longer categoric or rather dichotomic; it's no longer cheaper manpower for manwork and cheaper machinepower for machine work. Also, it is no longer machine replacing man to gain a better operational bottom line. No, in New Flatland men and machines not only become interchangeable, but in many cases harnessing human beings into the Flatland Business Processes is much more cost-effective (i.e. realistic & rational) than harnessing silicon chips. In New Flatland, than, we're all productive components, judged by our productive capabilities. New Flatland is an operational reality.

Next is Chris Anderson's Longtail. If you think right about crowds you think Big Dime. The Longtail is a unifying concept: there are Longtail customers, Longtail products, and Longtail money (i.e. dimes). But if you can make Longtail people, i.e. Crowds, to work for you, then you really are on the top of the business Ant-Hill. "Humans are not ants", said Surowiecki, but this doesn't imply that they cannot be harnessed into an ant-like processing chain, where they become, voluntarily, the most faithful workers.

But to achieve this you'd better read parts of Malcolm Gladwell's book, The Tipping Point. It explains how certain people are [implicitly] fulfilling key roles in the Capital/Memetic architecture (mavens, connectors, salesmen etc.) which aspires at creating as much Crowds as possible, but only so it could break it down into endless pieces of pressure-groups, each erasing part of the free-will of its members, aligning them with the overt goals of the group. Groups are marketing paradise: they turn individual, pressure-free members of Crowds into herds at the gates of malls.

So what do we have here2.0?

Never-ending cost-effectiveness of global, business processes; Big Dimes and ex-crowds that work for you with or without getting paid, and a formidable - probably the best ever created - viral marketing machinery, functioning at near light-speed, PLUS your customers come to you. All these mean one thing: strange, indeed, are the ways of the Capital.

In the next post I'll discuss three business models that have emerged in New Flatland: Crowd Creation [cc] Services, Crowd Brokerage and CrowdSourcing. Stay tuned, if you will.

This is the 2nd post in the Crowds' series: The birth of a crowds nation, New Flatland, Participate (please!) and Share (please!), Smile! You've just been CrowdSourced


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