Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Becoming More Human
One blog I read regularly is What is the (Next) Message by Mark Federman at the University of Toronto. I discovered him after reading The Gutenberg Galaxy and looking for others who were interested in McLuhan's work. This book was extremely difficult for me to read, so naturally I loved it. McLuhan's mind was truly brilliant and he did his best to convince people to become concious of the effects of technology on their experience of the world.
Mark often notes that the business world is changing whether or not corporations are keeping up. The old corporate model of controlling information and having highly standardized products is no longer meeting consumer demands. Consumers can (and do!) talk to each other in real time via the internet and can create a buzz or a boycott with little effort. HSBC - do you even know about yours? Politicians are also generally clueless about the potential of the medium.
While there are huge markets that do not operate in this way (hi Mum!) the Early Adopters are living more and more of their lives online. In that arena, people know how easy it is to set up a website and provide a great service which is highly personalized using today's technology. One ordinary consumer's network is no longer limited geographically, or by the number of people they can physically meet, or even time, as a website does its thing 24-7. If you suck, they tell everyone. If you don't meet their requirements, they tell everyone. If you're amazing, they link to your site, and tell everyone.
Making a business into a system that produces the same effect over and over again, even if it is personalized to the customer to the nth degree, just isn't going to work for much longer. One cannot plan for every human possibility. At some point, the system just starts getting in the way. Isn't it more sensible to set up a business that is responsive to each individual, each time a transaction happens? Anyone know of any books touting this as the next business fad?
Technorati tags: business Marshall McLuhan internet
If it were (merely) a fad, would it lead us to a place of being more quintessentially human ... or not?