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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Old Structures, New World

About three weeks ago I was at an event throw by David Berkowitz and the good people at 360i. Not surprisingly, one of the most impactful presentations of the day came from Google. It was on digital asset management and the basic crux was to forget about ‘campaigns.’ The idea is that on Google a lead is a lead. Doesn’t matter whether it comes in March or November, it’s still worth the same amount of money. Marketers should end the campaign mindset and just make all their assets digital and marketable all the time.

Obviously this is in Google’s best interest, but it also makes a lot of sense. As long as the system’s fairly efficient at weeding out non-lead clicks, then it should be no-brainer to run advertising all year long, especially if you’re a manufacturer who sells via the web.

Now for the issue: Companies still work on quarterly budgets. Thinking of working towards an indefinite ending is not really an idea many people understand. In this case, I ultimately see the structure of the organization as holding itself back from doing what’s best for the business.

Let me give one more example: Blogging. I was at OMMA a few weeks ago and during one of the talks an audience member asked who should own the company’s blog? I think it was Rohit Bhargava who said it should be whoever is most passionate. Blogs are an interesting problem for an organization. For one, they do not subscribe to the command and control ideology so many corporate communication departments use. Secondly, blogs cut across the silos. It’s a communication/product/sales/marketing initiative. That leads to ‘ownership’ questions.

Ultimately, digitalness is at the core of the whole debate. In an analog world, silos were mostly okay, information couldn’t really move across disciplines anyway. But in a digital world, where all information is made up of the same ones and zeros, those walls don’t work so well.

This is bigger than just business, look at terrorism: The perfect example of a networked architecture fighting a more traditional hierarchical one. Just ask the United States army and they’ll tell you it doesn’t work so well.

Look at schools. Here they are broadcasting at students used to engaging with media. The system simply wasn’t built to deal with a wired world and America’s children are suffering as a result.

Bottom line is we are living in a very different world than we did fifty years ago and structures built then are going to be forced to change.

October 9, 2006