Thinking Web FirstWe are upside down. The pre-web logistics systems, the contemporary equivalent of the Roman Aqueduct, created by big box retailers has been riding a big wave. As big boxers (big box retailers) figured out how to squeeze brands and consumer products goods manufacturers consumers were getting squeezed too.
Many ecept 1% at the top made less money last year then the year before (in real dollars). As the economy's vice grips tightened big box retailers with their "low price" promises rode in on a big white horse and offered a rescue.
Drowning men use what they can to stay afloat. Don't expect big box retailers, as heavily invested in existing logistics as they are, to do anything more than the bare minimum to help develop our new, better, mobile web enabled web.
Hearts and MindsBig box retailers think they are large and in charge, but their undoing is in view. With so much sunk into logistics and focus 100% logistics, a very particular kind of financial arbitrage, it is easy to miss the next web revolution.
The mobile, social web is the revolution.
The web destroys expensive and stupid. We will look back on today's multi-touch middleman in control logistics as expensive and stupid...eventually. Gatekeepers and middlemen don't fare well in a web enabled world no matter howgreat their logistics.
Self reinforcing systems only marginally focused on winning hearts and minds win some loyalty. Winning hearts and minds is not the game they play. Logistics based systems are dead men walking and the new Google is why.
The New GoogleI don't know if the new Google, the one that values content and confirming social signals, is Google's creation or reaction and it doesn't matter. The new Google's valuation of content, community and conversion mean any logistics-only system is dead...eventually.
Thinking like a middleman is a sure prescription future pain. No one loves middlemen or at least no one loves middlemen for very long. This is not to say logistics genius has no value, but logistics genius is so prevalent and readily available value can only go in one direction DOWN.
On the other hand those who build community demand is only going UP. Community is hard and expensive to build right now. Those two lines will cross - the line associated with hearts and minds social systems creation costs and the line expressing value of existing logistics super systems. Once the over (what is to be gained) on logistics is less than the under (costs of creating the system) big boxers are vulnerable.
When the inevitable line crossing day arrives and cost of creating hearts and minds social systems (the under) is clearly miles away from the over (ever increasing gains from developing the sysem) the battle is over once and forever.
All the logistics in the world can't make someone love you.
Last week was an amazing week. Our new crowdfunding cancer research idea is LIVE (CureCancerStaretr.org). We created the idea of crowdfunding cancer research with great partners like my two treating institutions (UNC & Duke). Since 100% of donations go to cancer research and we've had some BIG costs associated with building the new website I'm trying to THINK my way to new ideas that can help keep my job and so contunue to have an income I can use to upgrade our new website.
The CureCancerStarer.org crowdfunding cancer research idea lives in the middle of the Thank You economy. We are doing the right thing and hoping for the best. I sold insisting we would learn so much so fast my employer, Raleigh web and software developer Atlantic BT, would benefit in unique ways. I vastly UNDERESTIMATED how much we would learn and how fast (so good news).
Things Changed AgainGoogle has changed everything again. The new Google with insistence on QDF (Quality Deserves Freshness), content and social signals favors a handful "trusted authority" websites. How can your website become a trusted authority? Spend millions and plan for it to take years to climb the trusted authority ladder one wrung at a time.
Castle building is crazy when a giant pisses on your head as you lay each stone. Better to find a way to put your castle (castle = app, widget, content) in THEIR trusted and authoritative castle. Create CONVERSATIONS not websites. Conversations go anywhere, cost less and win more hearts and minds than any website ever.
My very tired story after an amazing week. What about you? How do you think big box retailers will change. Can they pivot and GET IT, the need to win hearts and minds, fast enough to continue to make money from the vast logistics networks they've built or are they soulless giants sure to fall? I go for the later even as I realize castles don't crumble in a day.