traffic in attention

I was traveling most of September and this has been a great experience, bright new minds to engage and share ideas with, not to mention the odd disagreement.  However, the one area where I felt really disappointed with was the purpose this is being applied to when it comes to the economic or business part of innovation or startup life.

There are two camps of individuals that fed my disappointment.  Enthusiastic entrepreneurs unaware of their purpose, just happy to be ‘cloning’ the ideas already set in trend.  Usually, first time startup folk, so they have to learn and they will, like we all do.  The second group are of more concern.  They want to keep things as they are, support those with the cash to keep it and collect more of it.  Purpose is cash in the bank, whatever needs to be done.  This brings ruthless efficiency and the world needs these types, my only gripe is that their talent and energy could be released to lift all boats in the economy and garner vast returns on their own individual attention rather than the modest cash earned to fuel their lifestyle or just to pay the bills.  If I had to summarise their activities: servants of  the supply side of the current economy to traffic in human attention.

My acute pain was to hear of the SEO folks paying for the LinkedData / semantic web technology to help in their traffic generation manipulation for e-commerce businesses.  Same goes for affiliate marketing, create links where supply side see value in paying for.  Look, there is an argument that this activity is ‘correcting’ Googles et al search engine alogrithms for the better but I’ll buy that when every individual clicks on the ads instead of the core content links from ‘natural search’.

While online attention is still a fraction of a humans entire attention, its all still impacts human life.  While SEO and ads are becoming more of a ‘science’ on guessing, it is still guessing.

Last squeeze out of efficiency.

That is where were are right now.  The current economic model is using, e-commerce and getting traffic their via, search to SEO to affiliate links to groupon extracting the last grams of under used capacity in the system.  I listen to venture capitalist say that brand advertising and local advertising are the next ‘old’ economy cashflows to move online.  Even one declaring if one Pharmaceutical company brand advertising moved online, it would ‘sustain 5 new googles’!  Lets call this the last big squeeze moment.  Innovation both in society and technology however keep marching forward, a more uncertain future for the old way of thinking but a release to a new way for society to harness its collective (human) intelligence.

Attention is very precious but in a more human way than a diamond ring or bar of gold is.  Hopefully it is the attention (affection) of the ring wearer that really matters?  Individual centric attention services are the way forward, and note: attention reaches everywhere, from and to fellow individuals to those mining, designing and advising on e.g. a ring.  Attention moves instantly and everywhere, it is timeless, a common currency to connect life in a more human way than money.

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