Learning From the Two Kinds of People Who Are Making Money in the New Economy

We are seeing a proliferation of content curators that create a profile of what they think you would like and then give you other offerings.

There are two kinds of people who are making money in the new economy.  One example is a very popular set of sites on YouTube called Machinima.  Machinima is a bunch of fairly young people who are videogame fanatics.  And they review games, they mash-up games, they basically give you a guide into the game world.  And surprisingly there are seven or eight people who are "personalities" on Machinima who are making more than $100,000 a month in net income. 

That's pretty interesting.  That's one business, and you can call them curators because in some sense they're saying this is the best video game or this is how you play this game.

So that's one level.  I think the other place where obviously a huge amount of money will be made is in the aggregation game.  That is what Amazon or Netflix are doing in the online download streaming business.  They're saying "if you like this, you might like this."  So in a sense what they're doing is creating a profile of you and your tastes and what you like and trying to offer up to you at the exact right moment on whatever device you want to get it on, the content that might delight you. 

Those are services that will be increasingly popular, and there's going to be a lot more of them.  Intel is getting in the game, Target is getting into the game, Microsoft, PlayStation Network - all of these services are doing essentially the same thing.  They are saying "I'm going to create a set of profiles around my users and I'm going to try to offer them up exactly the right content or the right business."

Obviously, Amazon has been very good at this business for a long time, and Netflix is getting better and better with their algorithms.  That to me will be an interesting play.  My advice to the content owners is treat them all as storefronts.  They all should have everything.  You wouldn't sell your books just to Amazon and not Barnes & Noble.  You wouldn't sell your DVDs only at Target and not at Walmart. 

So the old notion of exclusive deals with somebody has really gone out the window.  And you've got this proliferation of content aggregators, curators - call them that word, that's probably a good word - that are saying this is a profile of what I think you would like and here's some offerings.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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