Tuesday, June 9, 2009

We live in a world of Twitter-time value creation

If you haven't been paying attention, this little thing called Twitter has been generating quite a bit of buzz over the past 6 months. Regardless of if you're a Twitter fanboy, hater or just trying to understand it, it's been incredibly interesting to watch not only the growth of the service, but also the huge range of opinions about whether or not it creates any real value. One day it's a life-changing technology, the next day it's dead!

Twitter has obviously changed the game in terms of how we can now consume information. It's no longer measured in days or hours, but instead it was become instantaneous. But does this create new value? For the average user, it may create more distraction than the value the instant information could bring. But it is starting to bring value to new technologies that are leveraging Twitter APIs to take the feed of information and turn it into something new.

So I have to ask a few simple questions:
  • Do we have any sense of what value is anymore?
  • Does long-term value exist anymore?
  • Is all value going forward going to be measured in Twitter time?
  • Is technology moving so fast that we won't recognize that we need additional value, or new value, until the technology is upon us?
On our trip to China, our new friend Joost at Volvo mentioned that if we wanted to come do business there, that we'd better have a business model that expected products & services to be copied in 90 days. Maybe that's the new duration of value creation. It's been about 90 days since Oprah first joined Twitter, the user count soared, and now it's coming back down to earth.
Or maybe there will now be phases of value created, like rounds of venture funding. Maybe Twitter has now been through it's adolescence value-creation phase, and over the next 90 days (or maybe 6 months, or maybe 12 months), it will have to decide if it's able to move into it's 20'something value-creation phase, or it's adult-maturity value-creation phase.

We live in interesting times. Fast moving times. Sometimes it's very difficult to not only keep up with the pace, but determine if the thing in front of you is valuable or not. I don't know the answers to my questions, but I do expect that they will flip the business world on its head over the next couple of years. Are you creating long-term value, or Twitter-time value?
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