Monday, March 14, 2011

The Machiavellian CIO: Strategy, Analytics, Philosophy and More

By: Frank Buytendijk, chief marketing officer

It is encouraging to see how many people have found my channel "The Machiavellian CIO: Strategy, Analytics, Philosophy and More" and my first article about the iThink already. The first series of three articles is now published, keeping the philosophy theme light, before we'll get serious!

In this series of three I'll discuss how Marx actually predicted the end of Google and Facebook. I can't recall how I saw the connection, but the similarities are striking. Where in the industrial world companies were hungry for capital, in the internet world we see a different hunger: the hunger for information. The dynamic is the same. In the industrial world the value is delivered by the workers, but the shareholders benefit from the value. The workers are exploited. In the internet world, the value is delivered by us, the users. But we are not the customers, the advertisers are. The users are exploited.

In Part 1, I am taking some time to describe this dynamic, summarizing Marx' view. Although I wouldn't call myself Marxist in any way, one cannot escape the feeling Marx had a few things right, looking at the economic crisis of today.

In Part 2, I describe how Google and Facebook are heading for disaster in their current way of working, and I will explain what Marx might have thought of them. Rather provocative! We all know that Marx in the end was wrong. The post-industrial world didn't turn to communism, although some communistic elements are hugely popular on the web. I'd call Wikipedia one of the most communistic organisations I can think of today.

Part 3, lastly, describes where the world has morphed into: democracy. Also not perfect as a system, but not bad so far. Again, I will draw some parallels to the world of IT. Some have actually used the term information democracy. Intuitively it sounds attractive, but the term hasn't been properly defined yet. I will share with you how I would define an information democracy.

Can't wait to hear your reactions,