This week a flurry of Financial Times stories starting with "Google and Ebay alliance in bid to avoid collision course" (Aug 28); "The Future is in Engagement" (Aug 29); and "Internet advertising stymied by lack of experienced staff" (Aug 30) caught my attention. (As an employee of the pioneering on-line consumer service, PRODIGY On-line Service when it's national roll-out began in 1988, I am closely following the on-line advertising business. Fellow PRODIGY alumni assure me that indeed PRODIGY invented banner advertising with the "leader ads" at the foot of the screen when PRODIGY launched.)
As a student of value networks becoming the new organizational model, I'm interested to see how the folks writing the Uplift Wiki will adapt their eBay Value Network diagram to reflect the new eBay Google alliance. But what this week's collection of business stories really had me thinking about was just how long innovation takes.
"The Future is in Engagement" article is the first I've seen making the case that a tipping point has been reached. Quoting Will Jeffery, managing director of a London-based production company specializing in "viral advertising" (the challenges of which are the subject of the larger story) it argues:
"big advertisers will in future create their viral advertising first, since he believes it is more in tune with their target audience than traditional advertising. They would then let this drive entire communications effort."
Clearly Mr. Jeffery has a bias but isn't it fascinating to ponder the nearly 2 decades of industry growth to reach the point? Even more so is seeing the next day's story Internet advertising stymied by lack of experienced staff. Adapting to changing industry forces and managing to support the new doesn't come easily, does it?