USC business students were kind to invite me to a meeting of GLOBUS, which is their international management society. I was greeted by eager, and super smart undergraduates, all of whom want to know how to get a startup moving.
I doubt that such a group of students would be readily accessible during the mid-nineties in New York, when I was an undergrad… These young people were fully versed in the culture of the Internet, their primary entrepreneurial medium of choice. I believe that they see the Internet as the primary medium for the startup, and unpacking some of the legends of the internet era was a lot of fun.
A pressing concern from business students was the impact of advertising. We discussed the emergence of Google AdSense, and put that innovation into context. I proposed that one of the fundamental failures of the initial internet startup period (1984 – 2000) was the failure to monetize sites based on advertising. Google successfully reinvented online advertising through AdSense, and reignited the drive to build successful internet content businesses. In my perspective, this created the Web 2.0 phenomenon, where social technologies like wikis, blogs, networks and such took hold. Without effective advertising, these important innovations would have little means to operate.
Now, I told them, entrepreneurs are seeking to put social processes online. This opens up a whole new array of innovations that I described as ‘metatechnological’ – making innovations in technologies that produce architectures for new social systems. These new metatechnological business models were fundamental to understanding why newer entities such as google were successfully pushing older, established companies out of the way.
We also talked about the efficacy in creating a startup in a time of minimal credit, and compromised budgets. The era of the ‘cheap revolution‘ is in full swing, with commodity computing, offshore engineering, viral social marketing, and feeless usership based on AdWords.
We also discussed the social analysis needed to model an enterprise. I told them about the basis for Next Acropolis, which is rooted in the social reality of corporations:
What I see happening in society is that
- education gets wasted
- Corporations become swinging doors for bum leadership and unmotivated hires
- People don’t go into what they care about, due to various factors (don’t have confidence in their truest desires, due to ignorance of the larger economy)
- Students are disconnected from the vital needs of employers (and economies)
- Students operate in a vacuum, uniformed and cut off from inspiration in the world
- Governments must cater politics to massive disconnected, underperforming groups of individuals
and this is product of our free market, monster.com labor system, which states:
- because big job boards make jobs available to anyone, anywhere, it’s easy to find work
- It’s easier to find a better job if you don’t like your current position
- Therefore, corporations can’t hold onto experienced individuals, because they never settle
- And therefore, corporations must not invest in employees, but instead leave it up to employees to invest in themselves as vessels
- Firms make all employment ‘at will’
- And promise less and less to the employees, who seem so capable of fulfilling their own objectives if the current situation doens’t suit them
- Jobs become merely tools to allow individuals advancement, and individuals are tools for organizations