Have you noticed this past holiday season about a 3x jump in companies trying to get your attention via your email inbox? I did, and that brings us to another no-brainer but important prediction for startups and microISVs in 2011: attention is going to be the key resource, commodity and place to add value this coming year.
That we have too many emails, too many company newsletters, too many RSS feeds, too many blog posts and way too many chatty Twitter followers isn’t news. But that you can expect all of these attention-demanders, plus the usual suspects of traditional media, online goodies and distractions to get five times more demanding of your attention is. Why is this happening? Pick your flavor of the day: social media goes mainstream, taking entire industries with it; the uptake of great tools for sharing your marketing message like MailChimp; amazing technologies and shiny toys (you can decide which are which) that make us hungry and impatient for the next version to get here; the onlining of more and more of our personal, professional, emotional and economic relationships.
Steve Rubel, a consistently thoughtful blogger who a few years ago coined the term “attention crash” says,

“The unmistakable trend here is simple – we must innovate or die. That’s not a new theme, of course, but our society’s burgeoning addiction to technology stimuli will force marketers to more quickly iterate and also bail on what’s not working.” – The Stimulation Economy.

The why is far less important than what – what are you going to do about it? Find new and better ways of being worthy of the attention you crave as a startup founder or microISV. Shouting louder with more ads, more posts, more coupons, more noise won’t work. Thinking of, trying out, iterating through large and small ways to pay more value for the attention you want will.

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