Dear Ms. Internet,
As someone who has spent 8+ hours a day with you over the past 10 years, both for professional and personal needs, I have to say that having a long term relationship with you is challenging at best and you are starting to get a reputation for your celebrity-length relationships.
You are young and in your prime and are the hottest girl at the dance. Your reputation precedes you wherever you go, from Sand Hill Road, CA to Varick Street, NY, and even then, we all want a piece of you.
The problem with this is that you are breaking hearts everywhere you go and businesses built on-top of you fail before they ever have the chance to breathe. If you are here for one night stands, then let us know as many of us expect you to be marriage material.
Let me explain.
Marriage material is when ecosystems (family) can bloom and everyone expects them to last so that society can adopt them into the fabric of life. Ms. Internet, you are making this impossible.
Consequences of your actions:
The rapid pace of innovation (which I love and made my name in) within the digital media space (including you, Ms. Internet) is going to contribute to its very demise. How can we build sustainable businesses when the life expectancy of an online business is virtually one capital raise and the entire industry is onto the next-biggest thing?
Why this whore-ish attitude does not work:
· Advertising: have you ever written a check for $100MM to one digital media partner? No. Let me explain why: Digital media partners (i.e. Hulu, Ad.com, AdMob) deliver a structured product (sometimes service) to meet the needs of a particular client. Generally, there is never enough inventory to spend significant dollars (scale issue) or by the time we have tested the particular product, the industry is onto the next best and greatest product (innovation issue).
· Venture Capital: I’m speaking from an outsider but there is a real movement from within the industry to change up the deal mechanics as within the digital media space, it’s just not sustainable. The speed of innovation is important here because if a company spends it’s venture money building a product for the market tomorrow, in two weeks, it may be out of fashion. I wrote a blog post about this a few years back about how social communities are like clubs – you do not want to be the hot one or you are the un-cool one next Fall.
We do not need more Friday or Saturday night flings. We need companies and services that have the time to breathe and blossom into something sustainable. My frustration comes from within the advertising world – we (you) are making it very hard to shift large amounts of money online with this type of attitude. Scale issues are solved when the market has time to mature and so far, we’ve had very little time because of the pace of innovation. I’d like to write a check for hundreds of millions of dollars, similar to how my television brethren do so, and with that, think about how much value that would be created within the digital media ecosystem.
Having said all of this, I love innovation. Innovation is important to any ecosystem and allows the ecosystem to keep evolving. As a person, I tend to be just ahead of the innovation curve but as a marketer, I can see that we’re moving a little too fast for the online advertising community to evolve.
All the best,