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May 11, 2009

Newly transformed industries...

One of the key changes that the internet has wrought has been to take out the middlemen. In almost every industry and area that you look we see the connecting role, one that used to be extremely lucrative, has now been shattered into millions of pieces and democratized. 

Travel agencies were the connectors between people and travel companies such as airlines and hotels. Today, there are numerous cut price websites that perform that function. 

Newspapers used to provide the connecting medium between real estate sellers and buyers. Today, again, there are many MANY websites that fill that same function. (The same could be said for classifieds)

Stock brokers connected us to the stock market, today I use an online broker, perform my own analysis, and buy and sell as I wish. 

In the first wave of internet growth we saw amazon replace book sellers, eBay replace many trading floors, Wikipedia replace the encyclopedia, and PayPal replace many other forms of currency movements. 

As we run through the second wave of internet businesses we start to see the medium evolve itself even further. 

We see that LinkedIn is a far more logical place to advertise for workers than In fact, those who work in the recruitment fields may well be judged for their next roles based on the depth and breadth of their network within specific industry sectors and geographies. (Now measurable)

Reference checking is an Inmail instead of a dozen phone calls, and candidates can have some of their references displayed immediately on their profiles for all to see. 

We see threats that Wolfram Alpha will replace Google as the standard for connecting people to information, and Facebook as the connector of choice for old friends, new friends and for reviving old networks. 

Right now I am in the connecting game. Within LinkedIn I use our consulting group to connect people to each other, connect consultants to interesting and informative news feeds, and to connect prospects to jobs. 

In my day job I am working to connect businesses to other parts of my consulting firm, to other clients, and to other sources of information.

Being a hub for connections means to add value - as the world splinters into smaller and smaller fragments the ability to drive connecting lines between these has become more and more important - and more and more appreciated. 

How can you connect your clients and prospect to something they really want or need? And do it faster, better, quicker and cheaper than anywhere else? 

The odds are great that if you have thought of it and don't act on it, then somebody else will.