Super post on what's changing and what's not changing about business when it comes to the Internet.
In brief: A McKinsey study estimates that Internet economic output is bigger than Spain and growing faster than Brazil. Web-intensive SMEs grow twice as fast, export twice as much, and are more profitable than non-Web-enabled, the McKinsey study concluded. eBay employs 17,000 people but 1.3 million earn a living from it.
With all this talk of revolution, disruption, and really big change, struck by the things that are not changing.
1. A great customer experience differentiates winners from losers. Winners are differentiated not by the technology but by the quality of the experience they offer customers.
2. The human side is critical to the use of technology. The biggest barrier to the spread of promising technology is the professionals. The same issue was raised about education. Adoption of new tools and incorporating new technologies into business or organizational models requires visionary, responsive leaders willing to change and to use the tools themselves.
3. Money needs to change hands. The Internet spreads faster when content is free but creators need to be paid. For all the freedom and ease of the virtual world, people still need to earn a living from what they produce.
4. The winner-take-all nature of Internet businesses poses risks of new monopolies controlling everything. That was one of many reasons that government officials want to protect citizens from Internet risks, from piracy to child pornography. For every problem — piracy, bandwidth, security — others argued that a private sector technology solution would be better, faster than a government solution.
According to McKinsey telecoms are capturing most of the wealth being generated from the Internet. For all the new world hype, the old world has a major role to play. And sometimes focusing on what is not changing help us figure out how to best master changes. We still need to find, delight, and excite customers. We need business models that pay people fairly for their work. Businesses must make a credible case to government that they act in the public interest. And the best asset for mastering change is still that old classic: leadership.