Lessons for Startups

David Beisel writes about seven lessons. Among them:

“Input not consensus.” Scott K. While many have different views on management styles, I favor decision-making processes being inclusive to all parties who deserve to share their opinion, but having the ultimate decision made by a single person who is ultimately responsible for it. The problem with true consensus thinking isnt that good decisions dont come out of it, but rather that its unclear when final decisions are made. Startup situations arent the right place for muddled thinking or unclear directives. Once a decision has been made, owners of responsibility must immediately run off and execute. Although many extremely successful organizations were built on consensus-driven cultures, my opinion is that there isnt time for it in a startup – but there is absolutely time for everyones input.

Telecom’s Future

IHT writes:

When Olivier Baujard looks into his digital crystal ball, he sees us all being customers of “comminfotainment” providers.

Within five years or so, the familiar land-line “telco” and even the mobile operator will disappear, in his view. Instead, broadband service providers will replace them, selling packages, bundles or channels of communications, information and entertainment.

Sharecropping the Long Tail

Nicholas Carr writes:

Using data from Compete, MacManus shows that the top ten sites accounted for 40% of total internet page views in November 2006, up from 31% in November 2001, a 29% increase. The greater concentration comes during a period when the number of domains on the web nearly doubled, from 2.9 million to 5.1 million.

What’s being concentrated, in other words, is not content but the economic value of content. MySpace, Facebook, and many other businesses have realized that they can give away the tools of production but maintain ownership over the resulting products. One of the fundamental economic characteristics of Web 2.0 is the distribution of production into the hands of the many and the concentration of the economic rewards into the hands of the few. It’s a sharecropping system, but the sharecroppers are generally happy because their interest lies in self-expression or socializing, not in making money, and, besides, the economic value of each of their individual contributions is trivial. It’s only by aggregating those contributions on a massive scale – on a web scale – that the business becomes lucrative. To put it a different way, the sharecroppers operate happily in an attention economy while their overseers operate happily in a cash economy. In this view, the attention economy does not operate separately from the cash economy; it’s simply a means of creating cheap inputs for the cash economy.