Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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My World in a Nutshell

[Editor’s Note: Originally I was writing a regular old post that had lots of links to things that I thought everyone should read. Instead, this turned into a manifesto of sorts. Here is a summary (with links) of what I write about at NoahBrier.com: Where we came from, where we are and where we’re going.]

Since the advent of digital technology, both business and culture have been rapidly changing shape. Digital technology let us lose the shackles of material goods, opening whole new economic doors. Lack of physical presence made both outsourcing and now ‘crowdsourcing’, a reality. The ones and zeroes meant most anything that had a data form was malleable. For the first time, mass customization and personalization could be realized.

Once the broadband internet became a widespread phenomena (at least in the United States), this ‘ones and zeroes’ mentality spread throughout culture. All of a sudden nothing was safe at the hands of ‘everyday Joe,’ a fact only heightened by an online community committed to the recording all their thoughts and experiences. It seems like a scientific law should exist that states: At any point anyone can search the web for anything and find it. In the process of all the creating and remixing, ‘everyday Joe’ exposes the inadequacies of the current copyright system.

Today we live in a world where open source can take on the big boys and consumers are part of the brand. It’s a place where the broadcast model no longer applies, in part due to video games showing us a better way. We want our content, we want it our way and we demand it now. Our way is not bundled in a 30 minute segment with four two-minute chunks, instead its in ever-shrinking pieces.

Increasingly people will demand that the companies they engage with provide real value, forcing them to build edge competencies and keep their data accessible. “Help me help myself and I’ll help you,” will be the cry of the empowered consumer.

One way companies can assist is by helping us spend our attention more effectively. After all, as computing becomes further integrated into our lifestyle, its our attention that will be the most scarce. Intelligent filters will become a huge growth industry as they focus on ROA (Return on Attention).

In the end, though, the most focus will again shift to product/service as businesses/marketers/designers and everyone else realizes that nothing can make up for a lousy experience.

I plan to add more links to this in the near future (it’s getting late tonight). I invite everyone to give me feedback/links/thoughts/criticism in the comments.

Update (6/12/06): I added three things that I left out from the original: outsourcing/crowdsourcing, AttentionTrust principles and new copyright schemes. I also highly highly highly recommend reading Geoffrey Moore’s Top Ten Truths of the Digital Ecosystem, which is a nice companion piece to this. If I think of anything else there may be more additions.

June 12, 2006