Scientists from the RAND Corporation have created this model to illustrate what a “home computer� could look like in the year 2004. However the needed technology will not be economically feasible for the average home.
Also the scientists readily admit that the computer will require not
yet invented technology to actually work, but 50 years from now
scientific progress is expected to solve these problems. With the
teletype interface and the Fortran language, the computer will be easy
to use. � Popular Mechanics, 1954
June 2006, Internet World Stats reports that more than one billion people use
the Internet. That’s one billion people looking to
connect, be entertained, discover something new, even learn
something. As a result, the Internet has fundamentally changed how
some of the most basic human needs are met. The problem is that the
principles on which our society is built no longer apply, including the
laws of physics and many of the established economic models. It’s
an entirely different animal and it’s called The Attention Economy.
One important aspect of how this attention driven economy works is known as The Long Tail. Simply put, the long tail means that in terms of business, small is the new big since
storage, shelf-space and distribution no longer factor into the
equation. When the product range is broadened the sales
generated from small names, for example in books and music, starts to
add up and the volume of low popularity items exceeds the volume of high
popularity items. One thing remains constant though, it’s still all
about giving people what they want, and herein lies the challenge.
The challenge can be outlined as follows:
- Assume an almost infinitely broad selection of products
- Attention is the most precious resource that the user has - for this reason consider it extremely limited
- Present the user with the most relevant products in the shortest
possible time, and a minimal amount of work required on their end.
I’ve been focusing on how we spend money on music and books, but variations of this challenge exist anywhere we spend attention.
We chose the search engine that provides us with the best results,
subscribe to the feeds that have the best chance of keeping using up to
speed. Or at least we like to think that’s what we’re doing. We can
never really know what’s out there, if we missed that one important
thing that would have made all the difference.
Hi, I’ll have the Usual / What’s Good?
We’ve established that we all spend attention. The challenge ahead is
to maximize the “return of attention”. Ideally, I want relevant
products and information at my fingertips. Products that are a perfect
match for me, information I can use and enjoy.
How can we achieve this? Logic dictates that in order to do this
better, the source of these products and information needs to know more
about me - my likes and dislikes, what I’ve done previously. This is
where attention data comes into play.
As a consumer you can think of attention data as the relationship
you’ve established with the seller of the product in question. A premise
for this kind of relationship is trust, but once
established the experience becomes more enjoyable for you and more
profitable for the seller. A few real-life examples of this includes:
- The staff at your favorite restaurant - they come to know how you
like to be seated, the kind of food and drink you like. As a result they
will be able to recommend new dishes you’re likely to enjoy.
- The bartender at the place you usually hang with your friends -
lift a finger and she’ll respond with an ice-cold beer of your
favorite brand. Tell her what flavors you like and she’ll
suggest new drinks for you to try.
- The same thing goes for the staff at movie theatres, record stores,
bookstores, you name it. Basically anywhere they get to know you through
your returned visits.
understands this, and has been hugely successful as a result.
Their technology essentially serves the same purpose as the
bookstore clerks do in the real world. The big difference is that their
servers know about all books and all other customers. They’ve taken some
of the service that people enjoy in the real world, and made it work on
a large scale online.
The bottom line is that we are all uniquely special, and we
enjoy being treated as such, online or not. The use of attention data
will play an important role and shows great promise, but in order to
succeed we need to strike a perfect balance between too little or
too much data in terms of privacy. One thing is for sure:
The fight for attention has begun…
attention data personalizationrecommendationsprivacy