Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Content Inflation

How can content be king if so many of us are willing to create content for free?
Many pay out of pocket in order to produce stuff. Many of the podcasters I listen to pay for server space and bandwidth so that listeners can more easily download their stuff. In addition, people often spend a lot of money on gear too.

Now, given that not all content is alike there are times when a particular, unique piece of content leads to an innovation that materially improves our lives, but that usually involves someone actually implementing something in a lab or assembly line somewhere, so it's not a pure content play. One must also wade through an awful lot of drivel in order to find such content anyway.

I suppose it makes marginally more sense to inflate the content supply than it does to inflate the currency because of the inequality of content versus the uniformity of money. Devalue one dollar, and you devalue them all; pay me to stay home and blog and we might get one really valuable piece of content out of it. Neither strategy makes much real world sense, but there isn't even a long shot, lottery style chance with inflating the dollar.

If I had a communications business I'd forget about content and focus on providing the bandwith. Content related profits are ephemeral; they will dissappear as it becomes easier and easier for all of us to be content creators. Sure, some will be particularly gifted and will be able to make a living for themselves, but the economies of scale will prove to be too small for corporations to be effective. I'd focus on getting paid for facilitating the transaction (i.e. providing the bandwith so that I can watch Ask A Ninja). I'd let my competitors focus on the fictional (intellectual) property.

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