Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Take a Splice out of Life

For nearly a decade I was a deer stuck staring into headlights, frozen by the barrage of information coming at me from every corner of Wall St (for the record: none of it was inside information).  The financial software applications that occupied my desktop real estate continuously vomited mountains of information, giving me little time to learn about how the rest of the world was being launched into cyberspace.  Having spent a few months away from the streaming stock quotes, bloomberg terminals, and flickering bid-offers, I have discovered just how powerful (and critical) technology has become to businesses and the everyday user. 

It is shocking to see how much influence websites and apps have in changing the way we communicate, make buying decisions, entertain ourselves, educate our children, etc.  Entirely new industries are emerging overnight and staying on top of the countless new outlets is an arduous task to say the least.  Take Groupon for example.  Today, there are apparently some 500 Groupon copycat sites globally and if you gave me a penny for every business I have heard or read about in the past month that aims to be "the Groupon of (INSERT PRODUCT OR SERVICE HERE)," I would have a dollar.  The internet is growing and changing faster than we are able to process it because the content providers are no longer the cartel of tightly knit media elite...the new content providers are (get ready for it).......us!!  And there are a helluva lot more of you and I than there are Rupert Murdoch, Richard Branson, Sumner Redstone et al.   

"User generated content" or "consumer generated media" or whatever you want to call the process of freely posting information on the internet, is changing the way the world interacts as we speak.  It seemed like everyone watched "60 Minutes" with Mark Zuckerberg a couple weeks ago but I gather that few went online to catch "60 Minutes: Overtime" when Lesley Stahl interviewed Chris Cox, Facebook's head of product development. 

I thought this short interview was really thought provoking and it validates why websites like facebook, twitter, groupon, four square, quora, and kiva are in a position to give the power back to the people.  Content that is created by us (particularly by those within our network...i.e. anyone's email address we have) may be richer than content provided by the experts (who we no longer trust?).

The blending of technology and user generated content will create massive opportunity to "splice":  businesses must fuse themselves to the growing stream of information we (as in the collective we) are posting online.  This will allow business to become more competitive, understand their customers, identify new trends early on, innovate, get instant feedback, and the list goes on and on.  I am curious what people think about this short interview.


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