‘Good wins out over evil’ – a cheery thought for the weekend

One of the reasons I like being a VC is that I think the work we do makes a difference to the world in a positive sense – or at least it does when the work is done well.  There are at least two levels to this – as an industry we are a catalyst for innovation, and as individuals we help build companies (which can be a profoundly enriching experience for all involved).

So you can imagine the philanthropic side of me was happy to read Umair saying that in the new corporate world good wins out over evil:

What makes revolutionaries – well, revolutionary – is the desire to change the world. For the better.

Almost all of today’s new market leaders, interestingly, share this trait: it is a deep genetic difference that underpins advantage.

Why is it that people who want to change the world for the better are suddenly winning out in business, when historically that hasn’t always been the case?

Today’s real radical innovators know that games of coercion and domination really don’t work very well in the edgeconomy – because you can’t coerce all of the people all of the time.

To explain:

Pre the internet consumers didn’t have access to good information and production technology made it difficult for companies to innovate quickly.  So the value maximising strategy was to control and manipulate the media to sell as much of your existing product as possible.

These days the game has changed in two ways which demand a relationship of trust between company and customer.  Firstly the internet makes it impossible for anybody to control the message any more, and secondly smart companies are now co-opting consumers into their product design processes.

Hence good wins out over evil.  Consumers will engage with radical innovators who are changing the world and help them to achieve their goals.  They will run from companies who are perceived to be manipulating or exploiting them.

The current hooplah about Facebook’s ad platform is an example of this playing out in practice.  People are worried that Facebook will shift from its current position of trust and exploit the personal information in their profiles to drive excess profits.  This shift from good to evil might kill the company, is the implication of a lot of what is being written – and I agree it might.  This is very clear in Umair’s post.

  • Hi Nic

    People fear losing their privacy right now. Ergo the backlash. What people need to do is get over privacy and manage it better and then get ready to sell it to advertisers for value or give it to trusted ID brokers who can aggregate multiple users.

    IF my personal information carries value to advertisers who are willing to pay FB to reach me, then they must be willing to share some of that money with me if they want me to be part of their conversation.

    Right now it seems unfair that all of my attention profile is given away by FB to advertisers and I make nothing which is why I consider it evil. Pay me something and I’ll think less evil of you.

    Ultimately social influencers will be paid more than others. The question is how do we start to measure social influence and/or reputation. In the real-world it is celebrity endorsement to a brand. In the digital world …?

  • Hi Nic

    People fear losing their privacy right now. Ergo the backlash. What people need to do is get over privacy and manage it better and then get ready to sell it to advertisers for value or give it to trusted ID brokers who can aggregate multiple users.

    IF my personal information carries value to advertisers who are willing to pay FB to reach me, then they must be willing to share some of that money with me if they want me to be part of their conversation.

    Right now it seems unfair that all of my attention profile is given away by FB to advertisers and I make nothing which is why I consider it evil. Pay me something and I’ll think less evil of you.

    Ultimately social influencers will be paid more than others. The question is how do we start to measure social influence and/or reputation. In the real-world it is celebrity endorsement to a brand. In the digital world …?

  • Totally agree with Sam on this. Take web advertising models … there’s been a movement from CPM to CPC now to CPA and the next (and last) stage will be sharing the advertiser/marketing budget between the platform (social network, shopping engine etc) and the user whether that be the individual shopper of the influencer (blogger etc). Consumers always engage with people who are giving them what they want relative to the other offerings out there. Social networks are perfectly placed to experiment here.

  • Totally agree with Sam on this. Take web advertising models … there’s been a movement from CPM to CPC now to CPA and the next (and last) stage will be sharing the advertiser/marketing budget between the platform (social network, shopping engine etc) and the user whether that be the individual shopper of the influencer (blogger etc). Consumers always engage with people who are giving them what they want relative to the other offerings out there. Social networks are perfectly placed to experiment here.

  • nic

    Thanks for your comments guys – a couple of thoughts in response.

    1) You are spot on Sam that people need to get over their irrational privacy concerns
    2) Also we all need to start understanding the trade off between value we give in the form of our personal information and the value we receive in the form of services. I agree that far – I suspect rather than going the way of getting cash back I think that it will be people choosing to pay for a service instead of having their personal data used.

    Key influencers in the community will start to get paid somehow though. I have a little something in the pipeline on this front that I will be able to share shortly.

  • nic

    Thanks for your comments guys – a couple of thoughts in response.

    1) You are spot on Sam that people need to get over their irrational privacy concerns
    2) Also we all need to start understanding the trade off between value we give in the form of our personal information and the value we receive in the form of services. I agree that far – I suspect rather than going the way of getting cash back I think that it will be people choosing to pay for a service instead of having their personal data used.

    Key influencers in the community will start to get paid somehow though. I have a little something in the pipeline on this front that I will be able to share shortly.

  • Hi

    I am blogging about a term I call CPF – cost per friend which might become a new social ad model.

    Again if advertisers want to ask me for my time/attention/recommendation and then to pass that onto my social graph (friends) they need to pay me. But for advertisers what rate do they pay me. i.e my CPF rate?

    My CPF rate will vary from others based on the size of my social graph and the influence/reputation I have.

  • Hi

    I am blogging about a term I call CPF – cost per friend which might become a new social ad model.

    Again if advertisers want to ask me for my time/attention/recommendation and then to pass that onto my social graph (friends) they need to pay me. But for advertisers what rate do they pay me. i.e my CPF rate?

    My CPF rate will vary from others based on the size of my social graph and the influence/reputation I have.

  • If you like mass market entertainment (say Champions League Football) ITV provide it for free as the reward for attention. The concept is already mass market. Sure, some won’t want to engage and will pay to opt out or to feel that they are protecting themselves but I can’t see that as the mass market play. In practice, that type of privacy flies in the face of the extraordinary growth of social networks anyway. In theory and practice, it seems illogical. We’re already compromised. It’s complicity.

    CPA technology is still awful to use (yes, Buy.at and Affiliate Window are to an extent exceptions) but when it picks up I fully expect it to merge with what is already an accepted concept, ie reward for attention. If that reward is framed as ‘CPF’ then great and I hope Sam makes a mint from it 🙂

  • If you like mass market entertainment (say Champions League Football) ITV provide it for free as the reward for attention. The concept is already mass market. Sure, some won’t want to engage and will pay to opt out or to feel that they are protecting themselves but I can’t see that as the mass market play. In practice, that type of privacy flies in the face of the extraordinary growth of social networks anyway. In theory and practice, it seems illogical. We’re already compromised. It’s complicity.

    CPA technology is still awful to use (yes, Buy.at and Affiliate Window are to an extent exceptions) but when it picks up I fully expect it to merge with what is already an accepted concept, ie reward for attention. If that reward is framed as ‘CPF’ then great and I hope Sam makes a mint from it 🙂

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