Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why does it have to be either this or that?

What will you choose when the genie in your computer pops out and offers you the following:

A. A dream date (and much more) with the person of your fantasy (HORNY)

B. A billion dollars in your bank account (MONEY)

C. All of the above (BOTH HORNY AND MONEY, WOW)

The correct choice will only be known at the end of this post. So I request you to control your primal urges and read on.

I am relatively new to blogging and the whole social networking she-bang. However, I am not new to the world of internet and I am not talking about my email account :-) I can claim to have worked (?) in this space for nearly three years of which two years was spent in a full-blooded dotcom. In fact I entered the world of internet just when the dotcom bubble was about to burst. There is a sense of déjà-vu when I compare the dotcom days with what is happening today.

This sense comes from the ongoing debate (noise) between the agency types (advertising and related) on the one side and the social media mavens on the other. Both of them have drawn a line separating ‘mainstream advertising’ (TV, Print, Experiential etc) and the ever-morphing world of internet. Some of the agency types question the efficacy of ‘social media’ while the mavens keep predicting the death of advertising as we know it.

In the dotcom days there was a similar debate about how advertising was going to be eclipsed by anything prefixed with an ‘e’ (Remember it?) The dotcom bubble burst. Did it mean that advertising won and internet lost?


Dotcoms lost, though. However, the bursting of the dotcom bubble was the best thing to happen to the world of internet. The VC’s moved away. The internet companies that were serious like my company focussed considerable efforts on achieving great UI, outstanding customer service and innovative marketing (I had a zero-budget for marketing) They continuously experimented, started building robust revenue streams and were eventually rewarded. Most of them are going strong even today.

In my opinion the current innovations in social networking owes its development to the critical period after the bursting of dotcom bubble. User Groups, Message Boards, Forums and other online interactions were the backbone of internet companies in those tough times especially for people like me in Marketing. They are probably the catalyst to today’s popular destinations like Facebook, LinkedIn and so on.

Am I suggesting that the current bubble on Social Media should burst?

In the first place there is no Social Media bubble, only hype. Social Media is yet another manifestation (Avatar if I were to use a popular jargon) in the wonderful world of internet. Therefore, the debate between ‘Advertising’ versus ‘Social Media’ is erroneous as the comparision is erroneous (Apples & Oranges)

Companies like IBM, CISCO and suchlike have realized this. They embrace both mainstream advertising and the opportunities emerging technologies that internet is providing (of which Social Media is a part) to succeed in the marketplace. This should be a lesson to other companies and to the people who debate either this or that.

Like IBM and Cisco, I love both the worlds. I have spent most of my career in advertising in arguably one of India’s finest and as mentioned before also have a reasonably decent exposure in the world of internet (1 month = 7 internet years) I am aware that like dotcoms, Social Media might see a lot of churn. But that is a good thing as this will only make internet stronger.

Internet will continue to grow at a frenzied pace offering endless opportunities to one and all, including advertising. Its footprints via its various avatars will steadily pervade all aspects of an individual, corporation and society's life. In that sense it closely resembles our nervous system with synaptic pulses carrying information to and fro in many ways, to many destinations. Some of the tools, like email for instance, have already become so ubiquitous that we only realize it exists when there is a problem. Like our heart!

Now that I have finished my rant, let’s move on to more important matters.

I am talking about the multiple choice question posed by the genie – horny, money or both.You might think that keeping in mind the nature of this post, the right choice is ‘both’.

That, my dear friend, is called ‘wishful thinking’. The genie was lying, you horny loser.

(Image courtesy: Talie)


  1. You might enjoy my post on complexity called Nixon and complexity. It's the same point about getting away from a polarized world of black and white up and down.

  2. Thanks Charles. Read and loved it.