Search This Blog

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Is Don Tapscott right?

I listened to him speak in Copenhagen at the FTTH Council event and have to admit I have more notes from that session than any other. This week he has taken on the music industry.

Whilst Murdoch and Google battle it out over news access by us mere mortals, the music industry has been applying undue pressure, particularly in the UK, in order to protect an outdated business model.

Don has decided to point out to the music industry several options available for their survival. I personally would not want anything to do with the billing engine responsible for ensuring each person was credited the appropriate amounts, but hey, jobs for the boys there in his suggestions!

What many people are endeavouring to achieve is to change the scarcity model into that of abundance. The problem is that the "protectionists" apparently didn't see this abundance lark coming. So, not having considered solutions prior to its arrival, they now feel threatened. Instead of embracing it, they are panicking like mad and endeavouring to hang on to the olde worlde models.

Won't work. It is that simple. And the telcos are in a similar kerfuffle.

If someone comes along, doesn't play the game, and instead of offering an 'up to', unlimited connection by the current definitions of unlimited etc, makes available a connection that is, "Really, all you can eat. No, honestly, it is, try and break it if you want, we want you using bits", what will we hear from the telcos? Certainly, no more of Benoit's hunting the mythical bandwidth hog, because our all-new 'use it or lose it' telco will be celebrating having found the people who really USE their network. It should be in transporting bits that telcos are making money, not in throttling and restricting the movement of bits.

Several years ago at a conference, I had a chat with Steve Kennedy (previously of Thus) over lunch about data transport costs approaching zero. That is even more the case now. If you have built your network on an assumption that by moving bits around, you stand to make ever more money as the costs of doing so approach zero, then what you want is people USING your network. You want them sharing videos, video conferencing, using VoIP, uploading, downloading, you name it.

You need to make it easy for those users. Not hassle them as the top 5% bandwidth hogs. Don't frighten them into not downloading a film or music track in case it might prove illegal with threats that their kids will suddenly be cut off in the middle of career-affecting school work.

Let everyone have access to what they want. Solve the billing engine problems by collaborating across sectors eg news, music, video etc and charge a flat rate that is supported by similar reductions in access costs because those running the access networks will see their usage go through the roof.

Stop trying to be all things to all men. Focus on what you are good at, and do it well. Make your money from a penny (or a fraction of a penny_ made for each of millions of transactions, instead of trying to find the single million penny/pound deal. Make a little from lots and lots and lots of people doing things. Because by making everything abundant, you will be far better off than now.

No comments: