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A key topic for 2009: EGOsystem becomes ECOsystem, yelling becomes talking, traditional Marketing…dies!

Social Media Futures: The new SELLImage by gleonhard via Flickr

I touched upon this in my presentation at the Mobile Monday event in Amsterdam: I think we are going through a totally amazing and very challenging paradigm shift, right now (and this may still be a somewhat delayed consequence of the Internet (r)evolution and the first .com bubble): From EGO to ECO, from Control to Openness, from Domination to Collaboration. A few examples:

  • The amazing shifts in U.S. policy and America's new global role: when President Obama implements his far-reaching plans to rewire how America works we will see this new trend towards win-win solutions rub-off everywhere else, too, and kick off chain-reactions in many other, traditionally more dominance-focused countries such as Russia, as well (and the reverse is also true). The old Bushinator mantra 'You lose – we win' has simply become unsustainable in today's networked economy, and America will doubtlessly struggle with this shift from domination to partnering for quite some time. However, I definitely anticipate a strong trend towards open systems and open platforms in the global economic and political spheres – as well as in technology and content / media – with utter transparency and TRUST becoming the key requirements for success, everywhere. There will no doubt be considerable debate on what this trend means for copyright and patent laws, globally, too, since these laws have traditionally been used for shoring up market-shares and protecting the interests of the large, dominant players in many industries.
  • The music industry: the decline – or shall we say gradual vaporization – of most major record industry players due to their amazingly persistent obsession with control, makes a great case study. Rather than to finally permit new revenues to be co-developed via collaborating on win-win scenarios, the IFPI and RIAA are still looking for new enforcement and protection mechanisms such as the now flamed-out '3 strikes & out' legislation – it does make you wonder if their 'leaders' have lived under a rock for the past 5 years!  In any case, the music industry is the prime example why monopolistic and totally centralized structures will simply not work in the future, and why we need governme

    attempts at control create zero gerd leonhardI

    nt intervention when a market place is clearly dysfunctional. Many of my readers know that I have been talking about this for a looooong time, but now we are finally seeing it take shape: the music rights organizations and their related content licensing processes will undergo significant and sweeping changes in the next 2-3 years; everything is moving from a 'not allowed / not possible' default mindset to a more collaborative, open, flexible, transparent and public rights licensing
    logic – and they must adapt or get out of the way. The bottom line: If it's not based on a web-centric and connected logic it will cease to exist. As an example, the current conflict between the Music Performing
    Rights Organizations (PROs and MROs) such as PRS, GEMA and Youtube
    is based on
    this basic paradigm disparity: PRS and GEMA are thinking of the music rights still
    being firmly and exclusively their business (i.e. an EgoSystem), and
    Youtube/Google think of music rights as being a crucial component
    of a new, 21st century content ecosystem that concerns everyone and should not be governed by monopolies and cartels.  Therefore, for Google I reckon that the music rights issue is  something that must go far beyond
    the traditional structure that's based on 'I own the rights, exclusively, and you'll
    need to pay whatever I ask for'. My prediction is that if the traditional rights-holders and
    the many societies that represent them don't materially change their thinking on this very soon, they may
    wall see a wide-spread revolt of their younger, more progressive
    members, because they know that not permitting the use of music on Youtube (and
    Google!) is simply a suicidal move, in terms of getting attention and building your brand. Get off the Ego and think Eco!

    The challenge of OpennessImage by gleonhard via Flickr

  • Microsoft's Windows OS is becoming less and less dominant (and relevant, too) as 'free' and cloud-based operating systems are gaining ground everywhere (Linux, Google)
  • Most telcos, mobile operators and ICT companies are trying to switch from the traditional 'total control of the network, the infrastructure and the users' to open platforms as fast as they can (e.g. AT&T's open source plans, Skype's open Silk codec, Nokia's Open Symbian Foundation, Google's Android Mobile OS)
  • In software, the continuing trend towards open-source and crowd-sourcing is clearly visible everywhere (e.g. the huge success of Firefox vs IE, and the rise of open-source DMBS)
  • Many large corporations are starting to move into crowd-sourcing, wanting to pursue increased openness in return for a chance to realize network-economy benefits. E.g. Glaxo Smith Kline's recent move to release a huge amount of cancer research data into public domain (Note: in this context, I highly recommend Yochai Benkler's fantastic book "The Weath of Networks")
  • The mind-boggling popularity and global success of API-driven web portals and platforms (Twitter's amazing growth, Friendfeed, the new Facebook 'River', widgets, the UK Guardian's open API etc)
  • For many large companies as well as for SMEs (small medium size enterprises),  Social Media is quickly becoming CRM (customer relationship management) – rather than running expensive ads that talk about 'Me' and how great the new product is (i.e. Ego), the switch to 'having conversations with the customers aka users' is visible everywhere: Ford's new Fiesta campaign, Kraft's cool iPhone app. Brands can no longer be just BIG EGOs – they are part of Ecosystems, too.
  • In Advertising, the entire paradigm of 'we'll yell until you listen' is finished – this concept was all about the Ego of the brands, and about us, the people formerly known as consumers, listening. Now it's all about the Ecosystem: Do you come recommended?  Who trusts you? What makes you worthy of my consideration? Why should I pay attention to you? Who vouches for you? Who has told me about you? Are you open and transparent? Here, too, Egosystem has become Ecosystem, and a Trillion $ industry is changing as a consequence – from Push to Pull, from Yelling to Talking / Listening. Tough gig but… a gold mine if you can make it  ;)

Age of collaboration ecosystem egosystem gerd leonhard futurist  

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