Thursday, May 3, 2007

How Second Life Is a Disruptive Idea?


What can be a truly disruptive idea? What can be said to take the business one step ahead of the competition? What can be the answers of these questions when they are asked in connection with media business? These are the questions which I ask myself again and again.

I think that in media the business ideas which succeed beyond expectations are those which truly exploit the potential of that particular medium. For example, what is the strength of Internet? Is it the fact that there are lesser or no size limits when compared with print medium, where you have to stuff all the news you have into 16 to 20 pages (in India)? Is it the fact that you can stream videos? According to me, until now Internet had 2 strengths – One, the hyperlinks [which make the Internet infinite, by always giving you some entry points and some exit points]. The other strength which Internet has is its ability of offering interactivity, or a window to react and be creative, for the users. For example, I can easily connect with a friend over content on a website using the same medium. Single medium is used as a content offering tool and at the same time also a tool to interact and communicate, unlike in any other medium except perhaps a mobile.

This takes us to a relationship between type of business idea and the characteristics of the medium. The relationship is –

[Extent of disruption caused by an idea] α [Extent of use of unique strengths of the medium for maximum benefit]

This point gets validated by the disruptive ideas on Internet in recent times. Google [connects you to resources on Web], Wikipedia, Youtube and Flickr [all 3 - window to create something], MySpace [connect with each others] and Amazon / eBay [imitate real life on Internet using interactivity and communication ability].

What will be the biggest disruption on Internet from its inception? I am sure it is going to be Second Life [as an idea. Current Second Life is not at all sophisticated in technology. Perhaps it will be Google’s similar offering that will change the game altogether]. If you look at Second Life, you will find that it has everything that I listed above – communication tool, transaction tool, creativity tool and a lot more than that like it is a real-time MMORPG which will keep you engaged, provide you an earning and also entertain you.

Keep your fingers crossed, because the Virtual World is going to change not only Internet – that will be a minute part. It is going to stir the Human Society to its roots by challenging the existing logic, notions, transactions, inter-relationships and Interactions in ordinary human life in most confounding way.

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