20 January 2007

Seth Godin’s Web4

By In Uncategorized

If you’re a marketeer or study any form of marketing you should read Seth Godin. Considering the traditional marketing education you get at most universities, you might not agree with his writings. For example, one of his basic ideas is that you can only really market something remarkable. Marketing anything else is just wasting money – you’re really not that interesting to hear about and no one cares (excerpt). But if you believe this, why bother studying four years to become a marketeer? If you can’t make people buy something you want them to buy, only something they will want to buy, what’s the reason you’re getting paid at all?
Sometimes I’m not really sure. But there’s an awful lot of truth in what he says. And it makes the challenge of finding a job a lot more interesting – and harder. Do you want to be a marketeer for any generic company, selling any generic product into a flooded market with no hope of making a real difference? Tell your kid that “daddy made the company sell 0.001% more than the competition today”? Or do you want to find that one company with that genius idea you believe in, something that will change the world as we know it – and be proud that you’re the one telling the masses about it.

Anyways, that was a huge intro for what should be a shorter post. Seth has written a blogpost about his idea for Web4. We all know what web 2.0 is… actually, no one really has any idea what web 2.0 is, but we’ll pretend we do… Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the web when it didn’t need a version number, then succeeded the phrase with Web 3.0. Web 3.0 is the semantic web, where computers are able to understand our writings. If in a review of a book I link to Amazon because it’s on sale there, Web 3.0 understands that. When other people are looking for information on that book it can tell them that I’ve reviewed it and apparently it’s on sale at Amazon right now. Not just because it simply matched some keywords in the search engine, but because it knows that’s the context of the things I wrote.

But Seth notes that what he really wants is Web4. What is Web4?

Web4 is about making connections, about serendipity and about the network taking initiative.

Seth wants a web that knows who you are, knows what you want, knows what you’re doing and uses that information to make life easier for you. Say that you’re going to a dinner appointment, but you’re stuck in traffic. Your web4 system knows this, since it knows your calendar, your GPS location and the length of the traffic jam you’re in. It knows you’re not going to make it. So it informs you of this and can then alert your dinner guests for you.

I’m not sure if this is really what we’re going for. I don’t even know if it’s something I want to live in (imagine getting more smothered by your computer than by your girlfriend). But it’s still an interesting concept. I recommend you read the post for more examples of what this world would look like. (via)

What do you think?