There's a conversation to be had about brand, attention, long tail and what the hell is happening out there. I confess I don't fully understand it.

We know that the production of content is being democratised, spread and made cheaper every day. We jokingly talk about every person on the planet having a blog, podcast, music for sale, even video for download but each one only having an audience of about 2 people; themselves and their mum! At the same time the global brands retain most of their power and consolidation constantly reduces their numbers. We see the long tail graph of retail changing with the short head getting narrower and lower while the long tail gets taller and longer. Choice in retail is becoming overwhelming; for every product we thought we wanted there are now 5 competitors that are largely indistinguishable. It really is no longer necessary to go through the big media intermediaries just to get published. In business, SMEs are getting smaller and more numerous while the FTSE100 and Public Sector suck in more and more employees. Anyone can advertise now with a small budget, but you have to go through one place, Google.

This is producing a real fragmentation of our society. Remember when you could reasonably talk about "Middle England" and it actually meant something? Or when the whole country had watched last night's episode of Eastenders/Dr Who/Big Brother or the Forsythe Sage and you could reasonably expect to talk about it while making coffee in the office kitchen?

And yet in this maelstrom, we still cling to thinking that there are only a few winners who become famous (grabbing the attention of the majority) and if you don't manage that you've failed. And the media companies especially, still cling to a business model where one blockbuster pays for 100 "failures".

The problem then is how to get enough attention in your business and to set realistic goals. I well remember during the DotCom bubble when we all thought we were going to be "as big as eBay". This fed the VC bubble and the belief that you had to pour in money to fund a burn rate with the goal of becoming a household name. Now the barriers to entry have dropped so much that we have successful entrepreneurs (and ex-VCs) recommending bootstrapping, staying small, and getting out early. This in turn feeds more framentation.

Are the days of "Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes" now being replaced by "Everyone will be famous for 15 people"? And the business problem is then how do I find the 15 people who will give me attention and let me make a reasonable living? [from: JB Ecademy]

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[ 01-Feb-06 3:55pm ]