Following the Leader: You.

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Businesses don’t shape business any longer. Users do. I’m of course referring to the online world and am sure this will extend the tangible world. Some would argue this has always been the way, with businesses putting things out and then users dictating what is popular. Today’s paradigm is a little different with businesses following users examples. Examples are:

Users were there first and I’ve referred to this as the corporate social graph. For most businesses, their participation has been reactive. Customers are subconsciously revealing new business models and marketing techniques. For the most part businesses have never been able to get out of their own way and now they are not simply going where the users are; they are treating customers like partners.

I think this is partly the premise of Seth Godin’s book Tribes. (I say think only because I could not read it. I can’t get past Seth’s writing style. When I read it I feel like I’m trying to get a coat to stay on the back of a glossy wooden chair and it keeps falling on the floor.)

Apple is the one exception to this rule and yet, although they have a rabid fan base they also have no real online social community. iRovr is an iPhone based social network and it’s compete numbers look anemic compared to the total iPhone users.

This dynamic makes most businesses feel like ther’re chasing this emorphous mass that keeps changing shape and neeeds. Marketing folks; welcome to it.

By Michael Myers

I'm an Associate Teaching Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently focused on artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, biking, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive and/or surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and the art that tattooing has evolved into.

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