Internet Business Models: Building Better Soapboxes

One Internet business model mega-theme, that I discussed in a prior post, is the Internet as a tool to shake up established markets by disrupting existing methods that consumers use to manage search costs.

Another mega-theme is the Internet as an evolution of better (or at least more novel, fun, or cool) tools with which individuals can express themselves.  I can chart a chain of  tools from when I first started using the Internet: interest-based UseNet groups, listservs, GeoCities and other “create your own website” tools, blogging tools, YouTube, Facebook and social networking sites, Twitter, Tumblr and microblogging sites, photosharing tools etc.  When consumers find a better way to express themselves, whether by finding more convenient ways to share and publish content, or better reaching audiences, customers flock to these sites creating valuable properties for entrepreneurs.  In particular, the recent “expression” tools have made expression easier and easier.  When you think about the limited opportunities for most folks to have a meaningful megaphone pre-Internet, and the degree to which people take advantage of their ability to express themselves now that they have them post-Internet, it is easy to understand the value-creation opportunities that the Internet has opened up, as there is a whole new level of human expression that has been enabled.

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