The mother of all business models

gooseI’m sitting on the BART going to SFO listening to Empty Pages on my Droid, and every few seconds the song pauses and my Droid says its name in a machine-like voice. This means a message has arrived for me, probably from someone very dear to me, or possibly from a PR person pitching me a product. Either way it’s kind of nice.

I switch over to the Maps app when I get a GPS signal so I can see where I am. For the first time I get an idea of the route the BART takes through SF. When I’m home I have other things on my mind but when I’m on the subway it’s interesting to me.

While I’m looking at the map, a signpost appears with the name of a nearby business. Presumably they paid Google to get some mindshare. Was it specifically for me? Certainly not. But some day they will probably sell my attention. Want to get a message to Dave while he’s on the BART riding under SF? $5. Want to get a message to him while he’s walking the tradeshow at CES? That costs more.

If you’re important enough you shouldn’t even pay to use the mobile device. They’re going to make so much money from your attention. If you’re really important, thinking Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mike Arrington, they should pay you — a LOT — to use their device. Wow.

That got me excited. That’s what they have to be thinking at Google. And why not Twitter. Trying to think of a title for this post, I came up with The Mother of All Business Models. This is as far as I can see. A new economy. Nobodies pay, but important people are paid to use your brand cell phone/mobile device. I’m sure that’s the future. Might be horrible but we’re already almost there.

Namaste y’all!

Posted in Droid. 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “The mother of all business models”

  1. dotlizard Says:

    a) We are already there, in the world of fashion, sporting goods, and yes, even electronics — look in the “gift basket” of items worth tens of thousands of dollars given out at any major awards show. Celebrities are already used to getting name-brand products for free — but would certainly balk if “free” or even “we’ll pay you” required listening to random pitches. Even lowly commoners such as myself have been known to subscribe to a service or buy a paid version of an app in order to remove ads.

    b) as to getting messages through, if $5 could get your message in front of Bill Gates or Warren Buffet … well, it couldn’t. It’s highly unlikely anyone at that level would consider even a relatively fat paycheck to be worth constant annoyance with little dots popping up on their maps. It was once said of Bill Gates that if he were walking to work and dropped a $10,000 bill, it would not be worth his time to stop and pick it up (based on some back-of-the-napkin math on his hourly earnings). At this level, people pay enormous sums of money for staff and security just to protect themselves against the unwashed masses having access to them.

    And, full disclosure: I might be objecting so strongly because I am a “nobody”, and as such the thought of the rich and powerful getting enormous subsidies to use the things the working class has to scrimp and save for just strikes me as … icky. The cost of these subsidies would have to come out of someone’s pocket, and I’d be that someone.

    So yes, I’m sure it is an excellent business model, and one that will no doubt be making things more expensive for obscure individuals such a myself soon. Sigh.

  2. mikecane Says:

    I have a less enthusiastic view of this.

    I Don’t Like The Future Apple And Google Are Creating

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