Sometimes, the thesis of the Internet business model is enablement, not disruption.
An Internet business model mega-theme revolves around expression. It gets its power from giving individuals a bigger soapbox, motivating expression through facilitating the communication of ideas and opinions. We have expression that otherwise might not exist because the Internet puts bodies in the seats of the audience.
Another twist on expression is “enablement” or giving individuals a market for their ideas, talents, and interests. We express ourselves in ways other than just our words. Think ebay and etsy and the opportunity it gives artists, craftspeople, and others to sell their crafts or goods from their homes.
The same idea underlies Eventbrite. The founders of Eventbrite in this interview have an interesting discussion of their “enablement” business model which rests on giving individuals the tools to monetize events by selling tickets. Bands can have a house concert or people can throw cooking classes, and by being able to charge a little, they are motivated to do so.
By enabling individuals to generate economic activity that otherwise might not exist, the internet creates new markets. This is enablement.
Kevin and Julia Hartz (excerpted):
“Ticketmaster will do about $8.5 billion in gross ticket sales…That’s traditional ticketing, we call it, and it’s almost a completely different business model from how we’re approaching our market, and our market is enormous and it’s almost unknown. When you talk about enablement, that’s what really excites us about this opportunity…And on the democratization side, when you talk about enabling markets, that is bands that can now have a house concert, a show in their garage, and be able to promote that to the world and have those tools that were only previously available to the big promoters…This wide variety of content that is springing up; that gives me goosebumps. It is exciting.”