(2007-03-13) Haque Ning Mistarget

Umair Haque thinks Ning has picked the wrong target. The SmallWorld strategy - which is what you are employing - is a fundamental mismatch for the markets you are targeting. You are trying to solve problems that don't exist. There is already a micro-Virtual Community for almost everything under the sun.... You've given us a great example of the next great error: choosing the wrong edge strategy. You've chosen Network-s, when you should have chosen Community-s. Now, this might seem trivial. But it's emphatically not. The consumers you're targeting have already made their choices: they've chosen communities... Why do the economics of communities, rather than the economics of networks, dominate interaction in consumption microniches?... Network-s are as different from communities as Market-s are from networks. Each relies on a hugely distinctive - and mututally exclusive - form of Collective Intelligence, which drives different sources of value creation. (Virtual Community, Network Economy, Market)

An older piece (PDF) discusses these, but doesn't clarify to me the point above.

I'm not sure anyone is treating these as cleanly distinct. This reminds me of Marshall McLuhan's hot/cool Media distinction: it would be amusing to see votes by groups of which media "have" which quality - I don't think you'd find much consistency...

Dec'2007 update: I don't think even Umair has a clear distinction in mind. I think it's more important to focus on these being similar flavors of the Network Economy.


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