Everyone is trying to hit the lottery of attention
Richard A. Lanham

Google has made it the new business religion of the internet: the money is in advertising. That Search 2.0 may not be enough even for Google itself to sustain the revenue as expected is not beyond question--see also: On advertising, The only/last business model?.

However, before deciding whether or not advertising is going to be your value-capture mechanism, ponder these two facets of the information economy:
-it is oversupplied with content and undersupplied with human attention-
Indeed, the information economy is saturated with content--80 million websites, 500 TV channels, countless blogs/podcasts/mp3s/video downloads, etc--whereas the scarce resource becomes the human attention needed to make something out of the content described above and more.

If one accepts the two facets of the information economy as premises in the quest for internet riches, the practitioner, be that web designer or business person, would do well to consider insigth from non-traditional sources--rooted in the culture of our time. Richard A. Lanham, professor emeritus of English at UCLA, is such a candidate, and in his recent book, The Economics of Attention, one can find some practical advice as though coming from the perspective of one of the American masters of attention management: Andy Warhol himself. From the chapter 2 of the book here's an excerpt:

Let’s summarize the rules of attention-economy art as Andy practiced them:
  • Build attention traps. Create value by manipulating the ruling attention structures. Judo, not brute force, gets the best results. Duchamp did this for a joke. Do it for a business.
  • Understand the logic of the centripetal gaze and how to profit from it.
  • Draw your inspiration from your audience not your muse. And keep in touch with that audience. The customer is always right. No Olympian artistic ego need apply.
  • Turn the “masterpiece psychology” of conventional art upside down:
  1. Mass production not skilled handwork
  2. Mass audience not connoisseurship
  3. Trendiness not timelessness
  4. Repetition not rarity
  • Objects do matter. Don’t leave the world of stuff behind while you float off in cyberspace. Conceptual art gets you nowhere. Create stuff you can sell.
  • Live in the present. That’s where the value is added. Don’t build your house in eternity. “My work has no future at all. I know that. A few years. Of course my things will mean nothing.”
Those who choose to ignore these points do it at their own (business model) risk.

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Another 'classic' of this genera is "The Age of Access"

1 comment:

Dean said...

On the University of Chicago Press website you can read an interview with Richard Lanham and a twelve-page excerpt from The Economics of Attention.