The Value of Attention

OpenBusiness interviews Esther Dyson:

OB: OpenBusiness is about investigating an apparent trend on the internet. More and more businesses are throwing themselves open in many different ways for instance, offering free services and content. At times, however, they seem to have no real business models. Yet the social bookmarking service, which requires no payment at all, has been bought by Yahoo! It creates value through the sharing of bookmarks in a sense an exchange for information but its entirely free of charge and there are no advertisements. Its all very open, but where is the business model?

Esther: Well, its true more and more businesses are being built around openness. I think you need to pay attention to timing. You can use one strategy to get into the market, and then you adopt another once you are established. Few of these strategies are actually new, many of them rely on quite well established business strategies.

For example, I was one of the angel investors in We certainly planned to change our financial strategy over time. First we would build a useful resource or service,. offering it for free and gathering a community around it. Then, with luck, we would reach a point where we would have a platform to which we could add revenue-generating services. That may be ads, or it may be various premium functions you can charge for. Of course, you have to take care not to promise something for free if you plan to charge for it later!

Naming Companies

Guy Kawasaki has suggestions. Among them: “Begin with letters early in the alphabet. Here’s the scenario: you bought a booth at a massive trade show like Comdex. The list of exhibitors in the show guide is alphabetized. Would you rather be listed in the front of the guide or at back of the guide? Another scenario: A reviewer analyzes a dozen or so products. She lists them in alphabetical order in the review. Would you prefer that your product be at the beginning or end of the list?”

Future Marketing

WSJ interviews Rishad Tobaccowala, “formerly chief innovation officer of Publicis Groupe’s Publicis Groupe Media, has been tapped to head a new consulting firm Publicis is setting up.”

WSJ: If I were a marketer and only had enough of a budget to invest in one new ad platform, which one would you recommend?

Mr. Tobaccowala: If you were a marketer that has used lots of TV advertising, I would recommend broadband [high-speed] Internet-TV. Advertisers have long thought the Internet was about key words, buttons and banners because there weren’t enough households that had broadband pipe. Now that has changed with broadband penetration. But the moment you get broadband the way you utilize the Internet completely changes. You use it more and use it for entertainment. It’s the spine that makes the Internet more than just information and communication . But now it’s also an entertainment medium. The next addictive medium after TV is the Internet.