Sunday, May 21, 2006

Information Abundance, Attention Scarcity

VC Fred Wilson posits that, while scarcity leads to value in the analog world, it is abundance that leads to value in the digital world.

I'd like to take that one step further. Thanks to content management systems that ease the production of digital goods, it is not digital goods that are scarce. Thanks to RSS implementations that let users control where their attention goes, it is the attention of users that is increasingly scarce. That scarcity of attention contributes to the rise of ad prices in social media.

As we approach the singularity, the shift will only accelerate. Information will only grow more and more abundant; attention will only grow more and more scarce. Businesses that provide digital goods need to stop treating customers like dumb cows. Successful digital goods will not be artificially scarce sacred cows, but genuinely remarkable purple cows.

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