The Internet is at a nascent point in its history. In five or ten years, everything it is currently expected to do will change completely. In 100 years, today's uses for the Internet will appear quaint. This fits the historical pattern that has been true for all new technology:
• "Radio waves will pick up the voices of the dead…" is the promise for the new medium of radio as featured in a 1920's edition of RADIO WORLD magazine.
• Portable Chalk Boards would allow students to study from home because they could easily enter answers and bring them back to school.
• The original purpose of the iPod? External disk drive storage unit.
At the current, primordial stage of Internet use we are collectively applying analogue thinking to cage its potential. I.e.: Pages, views, radio, video, pre-rolls (:30 spots), telephony, recorded music. All of those applications are based on proven, traditional media. Nothing wrong with that, but don't go joking that it's innovation.
95%+ Internet applications and businesses to date have failed because the Internet is not TV, Radio, Magazines or newspapers. It is an unlimited, free distribution system, which is something the analogue mind can't quite grasp so it puts the Internet into familiar boxes. A :30 second pre-roll, really? Is that the best we can do? "…and if they watch it all the way through it tells us the viewer was really interested." ---said one Internet advertising expert.
YOU'RE THE EXPERT
At this point in time there are no experts, and that's the good news. It means you're an expert as long as you keep an open mind and dream. The three year old who can work an iPad but not a printed magazine is much closer to possessing the transparent digital expertise necessary to discovering the success paths of the Internet than the men in black. The men in black are those people who work at "digital" whatevers, drink only private label bottled water, prefer small plate meals and drone on and on about platforms and metrics. But the fact is they don't know anything.
Neither do I.
One expert informed me that research proved that website navigation buttons with rounded edges, like the ones on your iphone, would result in NO traffic. I gently asked to see that research and he became violent, jumping up from the small plate meal and threatening to leave. No, really.
FOR EXAMPLE, HERE'S THE ROI ON ONLINE VIDEO:
Media buyers repeatedly moan that they can't figure out how to see an ROI on buying Internet video in any form. Let me help you: A zillion people watch online video every day, many online video Webstars, like the Annoying Orange have more viewers than ANY cable show. There: a good investment.
TV viewership goes down every quarter: A weaker investment.
Today, your kid can create a video, edit it and distribute it to the world for free before you wake up. Your 8 year old is as much an Internet content expert as anyone in an exposed brick office.
Language is important in new businesses. From now I'm calling myself an apprentice.
Walter Sabo is the founder and creator of Hitviews. HITVIEWS is a company serving brands that wish to reach millions of customers using online video created by WebStars. Walter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.