Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Research Note: The Death of 1%
There's this pernicious assumption that's been floating around for some time.
It started with Bradley Horowitz from Yahoo, I think - or at least that's the first person I remember discussing it in detail.
The assumption is this: only 1% (10%, whatever) of people will be active contributors/prosumers/etc.
This, in turn, leads to elaborate categorizations of prosumer behaviour. One I heard recently from the Beeb was something "Creators, Catalysts, Collectors, Consumers".
Cute. But missing the strategic point entirely.
Recently, we noted the CEO of Whole Foods hyping his own stock - and even asking for strategic advice on Yahoo Finance. Here's another example - a CEO's wife as forum-stock-booster.
The point is simple: assuming only x% of people will become active prosumers blinds us to a stark reality.
That reality is this: almost everyone is a prosumer of something.
Everyone has just a handful of things they really love. In the very near future, everyone will prosume the things they love.
In this world, worrying about 1% or 10% audience/prosumer ratio is to utterly miss the deeper strategic lesson.
That lesson is to build a deep enough, powerful enough, durable enough connection - an economic relationship driven by emotion, and nurtured by trust - to ignite the latent spark of prosumption, that as recent evidence tells us, lives within every consumer - whether they're a CEO or a C-grade Myspace chav.
Read my post Umair.
The entire point is that the 1%,10%,100% model is dying and our industry is actively working to accelerate its demise...
1%,10%,100% is a forensic, backward looking, empirical observation...
100%,100%,100% is a foreward looking strategy...
The '90% lurkers' statistic is definitely misleading, focused as it is on any one site, where most people are going to be 'passing through'. In contrast, when the focus moves to individual people, the figures change dramatically: a Pew study in 2003 found that 44% of adult American internet users had contributed content online. Do we contribute when we know something, and read where we don't, and the difference in results reflects the overlap between the two?