Soundview Executive Book Summaries


Anderson has Internet by the Tail

I read a terrific article this week by Ramana Rao, co-founder and CEO of iCurrent, a San Francisco-based online personalized news service. The article examines the potential for new business models for online content creation. Rao’s discussion of the deepening personalization of content is important because, as he points out, we need to remember that it should not occur at the deletion of mass media.

The Internet is probably the single greatest engine for customization ever invented. The power of search allows each person to create a set of filters that ensures he or she receives only the most relevant grains of sand from the seemingly endless digital desert of information available online. The challenge for those in the content creation business becomes measuring the depth to which to take one’s audience about a particular subject. There are those that theorize that traditional media outlets are at their best when they provide knowledge for the general public, allowing the Internet to provide the forum for deeper and deeper exploration. After all, if a Web site has small, it’s survival rate is much more certain than if a TV network to have a similar audience size.

Rao’s discussion of niche interests stems from his reading of The Long Tail by WIRED magazine Editor in Chief Chris Anderson. Anderson’s book, originally published in 2006, continues to be viewed as an influential title for those looking to understand the ever-shifting world of online business and culture. His examination of the niche markets created by the Internet provides essential insight into the unique connections producers and consumers experience online.

Of course, Anderson followed up this groundbreaking book with an equally impressive title: FREE: The Future of a Radical Price. This book proved to be one of the most impressive titles of the year. Anderson makes an interesting argument for businesses to use zero-price online giveaways as an important business strategy. The book is a much-needed aid to companies that are struggling to evolve from (as Anderson puts it) the economy of atoms into the economy of bits.

For those that have yet to delve into FREE, I should probably mention that our summary of Anderson’s book is available now at Summary.com. Subscribers will receive a copy in their January edition, but individual copies are also available for purchase.

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